What Foods to Eat While Breastfeeding? How to Eat Meals in Breastfeeding?
Created by Parentune Support Updated on Feb 07, 2020
The importance of mother’s milk for an infant is known to every new mother. Breast milk is easier to digest and can be exclusively fed to infants for their first six months. It contains antibodies, antimicrobial factors, enzymes, and anti-inflammatory factors along with fatty acids (which promote optimal brain development) and the required amount of water needed for the baby.
Breastfeeding also helps in building a life-long bond between the mother and her child. Since the infant is totally dependent on the mother for food, a mother needs to pay an equal amount of importance to her nutrition as well during this period.
What to Eat When Breastfeeding?
For a breastfeeding mother, a healthy and balanced diet is important. A breastfeeding mother needs to focus on three major nutrients —protein, calcium, and iron-- to keep herself healthy and give the most nutritious milk to her baby. Since the mother is going to secrete milk which is rich in energy, she needs additional energy/calorie in her daily diet.
- Include enough cereals like dalia, bajra, ragi, oats (which are good sources of iron, calcium, and vitamins) apart from regular staples like chapatti, rice. Extra energy from ghee/butter/oil is also given to meet the essential fat requirements. However, too much fat is not beneficial, as it adds on to the mother’s weight unnecessarily.
- Include enough of milk, curd, paneer, dals, beans, eggs, fish, and poultry (if non-vegetarian). They provide the required amounts of proteins, calcium, vitamins, minerals, required both for mother and the milk she is secreting.
- Give plenty of vegetables especially dark green leafy, deep yellow, orange vegetables, fruits like mango, papaya and carrot. These contain sufficient iron, vitamins, and minerals.
- Do give nuts like almonds, walnuts, peanuts, seeds like sesame, flax, sunflower, chia as they all provide for extra needs of proteins, essential fats like omega -3, and other micronutrients.
- Enough fluid is required for adequate milk production. It can be provided by milk, milkshakes, juices, buttermilk besides plain water.
How to Eat Meals in Breastfeeding?
Here are some tips on ensuring that a breastfeeding mother gets all the foods in her diet:
- Small, well-spaced six to seven meals rather than three main meals are better. Through this, you can have a variety of foods to eat and digestion stays better too.
- Have nourishing fluids such as soup, milk, lentil soup, before breastfeeding.
- Have snacks of nuts, dried fruits, paneer/cheese and sprouts between meals.
Foods or Diet That Help to Increase Milk Production/Lactation:
It has been seen that certain foods help in increasing milk production and can be included in the diet of breastfeeding mothers. They are ajwain (carrom seeds), jeera (cumin), methi seeds (fenugreek), saunf (fennel seeds), saunth (dried ginger), garlic, etc. Seeds like til (sesame seeds), pumpkin seeds, melon seeds and nuts like almond, walnuts and cashew nuts are also known to help in milk let down. But before you go on a spree, ensure your body is able to tolerate these foods well, you are not allergic to any, and also that they should be consumed in reasonable amounts.
Some of these foods also help in digestion and some provide extra protein, iron, calcium, B complex vitamins to the nursing mothers. However, these food items are not meant to substitute medical advice. In case you have any specific concerns, contact your lactation consultant immediately.
According to the World Health Organisation(WHO), breast milk is more than 80% water, especially the first milk that comes with each feed. So, this will satisfy the baby’s thirst also without additional water (with the exception of oral rehydration solution, drops, syrups of vitamins, minerals or medicines). This is one of the reasons that WHO recommends children to be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life. Breast milk contains the right balance of nutrients and the antibodies to boost your baby’s immune system. Beyond the health benefits for your newborns, breast-feeding might help you lose weight after childbirth.
A nourishing, tasty meal-in-a-bowl is ready!!!
Have a balanced diet and importantly, stay happy. Even research has shown that a happy mother is able to breastfeed her child better than a stressed mother. So, be cheerful and enjoy it.
| May 29, 2016
Hi surely i ll follow d diet but need to ask i used to feed my son regularly but suddenly from last 2 days milk seems to b reduced as i try to remove it out its not the same kind of flow nd both breast r also tender kindly suggest wat to do i was having fever nd cold is that the reason
| Sep 23, 2016
@Amreen, hi how are you doing? I hope your breastmilk supply has increased sufficiently to feed your baby. If not then follow these steps before you feed your baby -- drink lots of water before every feed (no it will not dilute your milk but it will ensure that your milk letdown is smooth), You may also drink ajwain, jeera and saunf water to increase the breast milk supply.
| Sep 27, 2016
hi. since you need to feed breast milk and latching is poor, then best way is to express and then feed your son. Regular milk expressing will increase supply and also avoid breast related issues like engorgement etc. there are lots of foods that can help increase milk flow. There is an entire blog on this - Nutrition tips for breastfeeding moms. Also read - How to safely store breast milk for your baby.
| Nov 03, 2019
Please I took eggs and the whole night my baby couldn't sleep is OK if she doesn't sleep but she cry throughout from 9pm to 5am on 2 occasions. After I gave medicine she was able to shit but her faeces was full of the eggs the way I took it in and she also stopped crying and slept well