Healthy Foods Moms Should Consider Eating While Breastfeeding

Will your baby be breastfed? It’s a very healthy option, with benefits for both mom and baby. Breast milk is packed with nutrients that are important for a baby’s development, and can help reduce a woman’s risk of medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes. It also promotes bonding with the baby, and can reduce stress. It takes a lot of energy to produce breast milk, though, and it’s important for a nursing mother to eat the right foods to keep up not only her energy, but also the supply and quality of her milk.

When a woman is breastfeeding, her energy needs increase by about 500 calories. Adding these calories to the diet should involve consuming nutrient dense foods, including those that contain protein, vitamins D, A, E, C, and B12, selenium, and zinc. In addition to reducing fast food and processed food in the diet, a woman who is nursing should take care to stay hydrated and prioritize whole foods like:

  • Fish and seafood
  • Meat and poultry, including organ meats
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, coconut eggs, and full-fat yogurt
  • Fiber rich starches like whole grains, quinoa butternut squash, sweet potatoes, lentils, and oats
  • Probiotics like tofu, dark chocolate, kimchi, and sauerkraut

There’s no need to be limited to this list, but there are a few things that are advisable to avoid or reduce when breastfeeding. Caffeine can disrupt your baby’s sleep, so consume it in moderation. Alcohol should be strictly limited because it can make its way into breast milk. It’s ok to have a glass of wine, as long as it’s at least two hours before breastfeeding. Nursing moms should not smoke at all, and should not diet, because additional calories are needed for adequate milk supply. And while fish and seafood can be a healthy part of a breastfeeding woman’s diet, it’s wise to avoid fish that are high in mercury, like swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. It’s not necessary to limit spicy foods or anything else the mom enjoys, but if the baby is fussy, consider keeping a food journal to determine if there’s a connection between eating certain things and the baby’s mood. Ask your doctor about supplements; in some cases, a multivitamin may be advisable.

Eating well while breastfeeding is important for the health of both mom and baby. At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people by assisting with the healthy pregnancies that are the start of healthy families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.