Isn’t breastfeeding brilliant? Feeding a little one yourself means you need extra calories…
Extra calories means… you get to eat more.
However, especially if you are a first-time mum, you might have lots of questions about your breastfeeding diet.
Which foods work best and which ones not so much… and what about drinks? While you should always refer to a professional for guidance, if you are looking for a few tips for your breastfeeding diet… here is our top 10!
TOP 10 TIPS FOR YOUR BREASTFEEDING DIET
1) ENERGY AND CALORIES
Feeding your little one requires energy (if you are already doing it, you know exactly how it feels!).
That is why it is recommended that while breastfeeding one child who is exclusively on breast milk, you should consume between 2200 and 2800 calories each day.
Time for a party in our mouths!
2) WHERE ARE YOUR EXTRA CALORIES COMING FROM? BREASTFEEDING DIET TIPS
Unfortunately, I also have bad “breastfeeding diet” news – These additional calories needed during breastfeeding shouldn’t come from cake, crisps, chocolate or sweets.
Rubbish! the one time we have a free pass to consume more calories and we can’t use them to gorge on unlimited pastries or bowls of ice-cream.
While you can obviously have the odd treat, it’s best not to use your extra calorie allowance to fill up on sugary or processed food.
3) AVOID CAFFEINE AND ALCOHOL
What? No caffeine? I hear you say!
But I’m so tired!
Well, sadly caffeine can pass from you to your baby so it’s best to avoid it completely or stick to a small cup, and only drink it just after a feed so it’s out of your system by the time the next feed is due. According to NHS:
“It’s a good idea for pregnant and breastfeeding women to restrict their caffeine intake to less than 200mg a day:
1 mug of filter coffee: 140mg
1 mug of instant coffee: 100mg
1 250ml can of energy drink: 80mg (larger cans may contain up to 160mg caffeine)
1 mug of tea: 75mg
1 50g plain chocolate bar: up to 50mg
1 cola drink (354mls): 40mg
Try decaffeinated tea and coffee, herbal teas, 100% fruit juice (but no more than one 150ml glass per day) or mineral water. Avoid energy drinks, which can be very high in caffeine.”
Goes without saying that boozing while breastfeeding isn’t a good idea – save your favourite tipple for once you’ve weaned your little one.
4) AVOID SOME SEAFOOD
Seafood contains mercury, which you will have needed to avoid while you were pregnant, but also during your breastfeeding journey too.
For this reason, try to avoid Swordfish and Marlin. This NHS guide www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/foods-to-avoid gives you additional help to understand what fish (and other foods) you should try to avoid while breastfeeding.
5) THE GOOD NEWS: THERE ARE SAFE SEAFOOD OPTIONS TOO!
Salmon, tilapia, sardines, shrimp, scallops, crab, clams, squid and lobster are all safe to eat… The trick is to keep it varied and not just eat one type of seafood.
Try to limit it to no more than 2 portions a week.
6) BULK UP YOUR MEALS WITH HEALTHY, NUTRIENT-HIGH OPTIONS
Eggs, meats, beans, peas, fruit and lentils are all great options to bulk up your meals and contain great nutrients too.
As well as plenty of fibre from pasta, nuts, wholegrain bread, fruit and veg.
7) BREASTFEEDING DIET TIPS: KEEP AN EYE ON VITAMIN D AND B12
As most adults, Vitamin D is something you should keep a close eye on.
According to NHS:
“Everyone, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10mcg of vitamin D.
From late March/April to the end of September, the majority of people aged 5 years and above will probably get enough vitamin D from sunlight when they are outdoors. So you might choose not to take a vitamin D supplement during these months
You can get all the other vitamins and minerals you need by eating a varied and balanced diet.“
Especially if you are vegan and breastfeeding it’s vital you get enough Vitamin B12 for both you and your child
A supplement may be necessary, to ensure you are both getting as much as you need to stay healthy. As always, contact your GP for more guidance.
8) SPICY… TIPS FOR YOUR BREASTFEEDING DIET
You may love a good spicy curry, but these can affect your milk supply and your newborns digestion – so keep it mild, or wait until they are a little older!
Abstaining might be hard, but just think how good that Rogan Josh is going to taste when you can finally enjoy one again.
[H3] 9) MORE CHEESE GROMIT?
Yes! Cheese is a fantastic addition to the breastfeeding diet. As are milk and yoghurt. Packed with protein and calcium they will aid your milk production.
10) KEEP HYDRATED
Breastfeeding is thirsty work!
Make sure you drink plenty throughout the day, and have a glass of water on hand during feeds. According to NHS, water and skimmed or semi-skimmed milk are all good choices.
And finally… I think it probably is the law or something though to have at least one piece of cake a week, right?
After all, you are doing such an excellent job of feeding yourself and your new baby.
Go on, you deserve it!
Estelle Thomson Photography – based in Fawkham Green – specialises in newborn, baby and maternity photography for families in and around Sevenoaks, Kent.