breastfeeding nutrition
The Mumpreneur Diaries

What to Eat When You Are Breastfeeding

By Renata Trebing, Intuitive Nutrition Coach

Congrats! You’ve had your baby and now you are breastfeeding!

Breastfeeding can put a different demand on your body than pregnancy. In fact, breastfeeding mamas may need up to 500 additional calories each day! Aim to keep yourself well hydrated and well fed during this time. 

The key is to have a balanced and nourishing eating plan. Fill your plate with lean proteins, healthy fats, plus lots of fruits and veggies too. Eat and drink regularly, and ask others to help fill your fridge and freezer with ready made casseroles, smoothie packs, pre chopped fruits and veggies, protein balls/bars etc. This will make your life, and eating, so much easier! 

Your doctor may advise continuing to take your prenatal vitamins. This helps to ensure that you are getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals each day.  You may even consider adding a Vitamin D supplement, especially if you live in a less sunny region. Calcium is also helpful for bone health, along with the Vitamin D.

Remember, what you eat and drink will be transferred to the baby. Just think of it this way: the flavor of the foods you eat will change the breast milk and your baby will get to try lots of new flavors too!

If you’re worried about supplying enough milk for your baby, food can have a great impact on production. 

Here’s 5 ingredients that may help your milk production during your breastfeeding journey.

  1. Barley: Barley is a fantastic grain that can be added to bulk up soups, salads and stews. It is high in beta-glucan, a molecule that has been shown to increase breastfeeding hormone production. You can also use barley malt, as a sweetener when baking or in drinks.
  2. Oats: one of the most commonly known ingredients for helping breast milk supply. This is because, after Barley, Oats are second highest in beta-glucan. You can add oats to just about anything, like granola, protein balls/bars, smoothies, crumbles and even savory dishes like meatballs or a savory oatmeal. 

This Pumpkin Protein Oatmeal is one of my favorites! It is creamy, nourishing and comforting too. And you can meal prep it! Click this link for the full recipe:


pumpkin protein oatmeal
  1. Brewers Yeast: this slightly bitter tasting powder is high in vitamin B, chromium, iron, and protein. You can add it into richly flavored foods like fruit smoothies, chocolate brownies, and pancakes, for example, to help to mask the slightly bitter flavor. 
  2. Papaya: Some Asian cultures use papaya as a special part of a breastfeeding mother’s diet plan. You can enjoy papaya in both sweet and savory dishes, such as part of a fruit salad, or even shredded in a green papaya salad with spicy chili dressing and peanuts. 
  3. Fenugreek: this herb and spice is another commonly heard of milk booster. Fenugreek is high in protein, fiber and essential vitamins and minerals like Vitamin B, manganese and iron. You can find fenugreek supplements or simply add fenugreek to dishes like curries. Some moms find an increase in milk supply just 24-48 hours after taking fenugreek.

Since we are all uniquely different, you may find one ingredient works well for you, whereas another mother may find a different ingredient works well for them. 

breastfeeding mama

My biggest tip for you while breastfeeding is look after yourself. It can be really easy, with a newborn baby, to feel like all you do is tend to the needs of someone else. But you are just as important. So spend time on you, whether it be eating enough food, drinking enough water and getting as much sleep as you can. For everything else, ask for help. Lastly, if you’re in the first few months of breastfeeding, now is not the time to try to lose weight. When and how to lose weight while you have a baby will be part of my next article in this series. So stay tuned!

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