Being a new parent can be an extremely stressful and overwhelming job. With so many rules and tips to remember and follow, parenting can get confusing very quickly. Regarding breastfeeding, it's crucial to follow the proper diet to ensure you're producing the most amount of milk in the best quality for your child before they are old enough to switch to cow's milk. Thanks to Top Nutrition Coaching, you don't have to track your diet. With the assistance of qualified experts, you can follow a personalized diet plan so you and your baby can get the right amount of nutrients you need.
Get matched with a breastfeeding nutritionist today! Take the Quiz
Why Do I Need a Breastfeeding Diet?
When you're breastfeeding, everything you consume enters your bloodstream and transfers directly to your baby from the milk your body produces. Therefore, eating certain foods that aren't healthy, such as alcohol or too many fatty foods, can harm your child. Additionally, living healthily and managing stress can help you produce more milk, so you always have a stable supply whenever your child is hungry.
Your diet may contain specific foods or beverages that could make your child agitated or trigger an allergic reaction. Avoid the food or drink for up to a week if you think something in your diet may impact your baby, and observe any changes in your baby's behavior. Avoiding certain foods, such as cabbage, garlic, and onions, may be beneficial. Keep in mind that you don't need to follow a special diet while you're nursing. You and your baby will benefit from concentrating on making healthy decisions.
Top 10 Breastfeeding Diets
Working directly with a licensed nutritionist or dietitian can help you track what you eat while breastfeeding and how it affects your baby. However, if you're looking to try a new diet, here is a list of the top ten diets you can switch to ensure healthy breastfeeding.
1. Whole Grains Diet
Complex carbs, such as those found in brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, and oatmeal, help you feel fuller for longer periods of time and prevent energy dips. Versions made from whole grains are a crucial source of fiber, minerals, and B vitamins. Fiber helps your body digest food, makes you feel full longer, and keeps your blood sugar levels steady. Include oats regularly in your diet. They aid in the production of milk and are quite high in fiber. They also contain a lot of iron.
- It can increase energy and mood
- Can make you feel more full
- Aids in digestion
- Can be missing fiber
- More isn’t always good
Bottom Line: A whole grain diet can be beneficial for moms to feel more energized and physically stable while breastfeeding. However, you must consult a certified nutritionist to make sure you're getting the most out of this diet.
2. No Caffeine Diet
One who eliminates caffeine from their diet is said to follow a caffeine-free diet. Coffee, the majority of sodas, tea, energy drinks, chocolate, and many other foods and beverages fall under this category. Caffeine is transferred into breast milk during breastfeeding, but most babies are unaffected by it. You might want to restrict or avoid caffeine if your baby is having trouble sleeping or is acting up. Caffeine sensitivity may be greater in newborns than in older infants. The best course for you might be to stop consuming caffeine if you don't want to monitor and worry about it constantly.
- Less anxiety
- Better sleep
- More efficient absorption of Vitamin C nutrients
- Balanced hormones for women
- Healthy digestion
- Can suffer from caffeine withdrawal
Bottom Line: Cutting caffeine out of your diet completely can help your health in the long run, both while you're pregnant and after. However, it can be a challenge if you are dependent on caffeine.
3. No Sugar Diet
A sugar-free diet, also called a no-sugar diet, limits added sugar. While obvious sugary foods like candy and soda fall under this restriction, added sugar could also be found in savory foods like pasta sauce. However, this is not typically advised as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Fruits and vegetables, which already have sugar in them, may not be allowed on stricter versions of a no-sugar diet.
It is advised that breastfeeding mothers limit their intake of foods high in added sugars and processed fats because they are typically low in essential nutrients and may affect your child's food preferences. So while breastfeeding, a sugar-free diet can be a great choice while sticking to healthy fats.
- No formal guidelines or support
- Can be challenging
Bottom Line: A sugar-free diet can be beneficial to anyone's health. It's safe for breastfeeding moms to stick to a no-sugar diet as it doesn't remove any nutrients from their breast milk.
4. Fish Diet
Salmon is a fantastic source of protein and is also high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12. It also has natural vitamin D, which is hard to find and is often missing in women. Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12 are suggested to prevent postpartum depression. Salmon is great for nursing moms because it has a lot of DHA, a type of fat that is important for the development of a baby's nervous system. Salmon, whether it is wild-caught, farm-raised, or canned, is healthy. Both salmon and sardines can boost the production of breast milk.
- Offers plenty of nutrients that may be lost due to breastfeeding
- Can prevent the likelihood of postpartum depression
- Increases breast milk production
- If the food is not prepared correctly, it can quickly become unhealthy
Bottom Line: For those who love fish and feel as though they are lacking important vitamins and nutrients due to breastfeeding, a fish diet can be a great choice. However, it may end up doing more harm than good if not adequately controlled.
5. Red Meat Diet
Breastfeeding moms have more need for the mineral zinc. Beef, or any kind of red meat, is a high-quality protein rich in zinc, iron and B vitamins. It helps you maintain your energy, and we all know having a new baby at home requires lots of energy. Choose grass-fed beef when you can because it has more omega-3 fatty acids and doesn’t have added antibiotics and hormones.
- High in vital nutritional ingredients
- Helps boost energy for moms
- Not a long-term solution
- Too much can lead to health problems
Bottom Line: A red meat diet is intended to aid in boosting energy for breastfeeding moms. Although it can become a health-risk in the long run, it can provide breastfeeding mothers with momentary relief.
6. Leafy-Green Vegetables Diet
Leafy greens are a good source of calcium, fiber, antioxidants, and the vitamins A, C, E, and K. Additionally, drum roll please, they have so little calories that you can eat them all day long without worrying about your calorie intake. Aim for no less than one serving every day. Be imaginative. Include them in salads, stir-fries, omelets for breakfast, smoothies, casseroles, and other dishes. Spinach is abundant in iron, whereas broccoli and Swiss chard are nutrient-dense and high in calcium. (Recall Popeye? Buy the pre-cut veggie trays when you simply don't have the time to wash, cut, and prepare vegetables. Additionally, you can cook with them. Or you can look in the frozen department for veggie steamer bags.
- Have great nutritional value
- It may boost the immune system
- Friendly environmental impact
- Less convenient
- Exposure to chemicals
Bottom Line: Following a leafy-green diet has many positive health effects while breastfeeding and won't harm your child's development. However, switching to it can be difficult, expensive, and inconvenient.
7. Nuts and Seed Diet
Protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and good monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can all be found in nuts and seeds. They are healthy for your skin, keep you looking young, and guard against heart disease. Almonds are recommended as a wonderful non-dairy source of calcium, making them ideal for nursing mothers. Moms who are nursing should consume 1,000 mg of calcium each day. Your bones and teeth may suffer if you don't get enough calcium in your diet, which is abundant in milk. Try eating almonds by the handful, add them to pasta dishes, casseroles, and snacks, and be sure you have almond butter on hand when you open the box of crackers.
- High in nutritional value
- Contain healthy fats
- Nut allergies are common
- Not very filling
Bottom Line: Nuts and seeds can serve as a tasty snack for many, and they are also a highly nutritious treat for breastfeeding moms. This can be a great solution for those looking to add something small into their diet without drastically changing their meal plans.
8. Yogurt Diet
You already know the value of calcium. Consume low-fat or Greek yogurt to help you meet your daily 1,000 mg requirement. Additionally, it has a lot of protein. You are likely to find flavors you enjoy because there are so many to choose from. For an even more delicious yogurt, add fruit or granola. However, dairy products like yogurt shouldn't be a part of your diet if your infant has been identified as having a milk protein sensitivity.
- Has probiotic nutrients
- Lower in lactose
- Contains lots of calcium and B-12
- Contains live active cultures and CFUs
- A mucus-forming food
- Some yogurts contain fillers
Bottom Line: A yogurt diet can be an excellent option for breastfeeding moms who are suffering from low calcium levels. It’s customizable and is a tasty treat that can be enjoyed at any time of the day. However, it’s important to watch what brand/type of yogurt you’re eating, so it might be best to check in with your doctor on what yogurt is best to eat while breastfeeding.
9. Legumes and Beans Diet
Legumes and beans should be a part of your diet since they are excellent providers of protein, iron, and fiber. They also include a lot of minerals and phytochemicals, which are compounds that plants naturally create but are not nutrients. They can also boost the immune system, stop harmful substances we eat, breathe in, or are exposed to from becoming carcinogens (substances that cause cancer), reduce the type of inflammation that makes cancer more likely, prevent DNA damage, help DNA repair, reduce the kind of oxidative damage to cells that can cause cancer, and help control hormones.
- Have plenty of nutrients
- Can protect against disease
- Can block the absorption of vitamins and nutrients
- Can be harmful to people with other health conditions
- Can cause gas and slight abdominal discomfort
Bottom Line: A legumes and beans diet can be an excellent solution for breastfeeding moms to ensure they get the proper nutrients and vitamins they need to stay healthy. However, if you have other health concerns, it may be wise to check in with a doctor before consuming too much.
10. Sweet Potato Diet
For mothers who are breast-feeding, one medium sweet potato provides the recommended amount of vitamin A for the day. Vision, bone development, immune system health, and cell specialization all depend on vitamin A. For the vitamin A needed for growth and development, your baby is reliant on what you eat. Another benefit of breastfeeding is that. Rarely are breastfed infants discovered to be vitamin A deficient. Additionally, sweet potatoes are a great source of potassium.
- A great source of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals
- Taste good
- Low in calories
- Have a high content of antioxidants
- No real threats or concerns to your health
Bottom Line: Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamins and minerals, especially for breastfeeding moms. The best part is, there are no proven disadvantages or dangers to enjoying this tasty fruit so you can’t go wrong with enjoying a delicious sweet potato with your meal!
How Top Nutrition Coaching Can Help
It can be difficult and stressful to decide which diet to begin when breastfeeding. Every diet will be different from parent to parent because every mother and child is unique. To ensure that you and your child get the most out of your diet, working with a qualified nutritionist or dietitian at Top Nutrition Coaching can help create a personalized plan to maintain healthy eating habits.
Several tools offered by Top Nutrition Coaching will make it easier for you to find a nutritionist. After completing your health evaluation, you can speak with a matched specialist to see the nutritionist who is the best fit for you. It's a quick and straightforward way to get in touch with someone who can help you achieve your health-related goals. Take the Top Nutrition Coaching health assessment to support a matched professional to better understand your goals and way of life.
Switching to a breastfeeding diet is crucial for your health and the health of your child, whether you are currently breastfeeding or in the last trimester of your pregnancy. You don't have to decide on the best diet for breastfeeding on your own. A registered pregnancy nutritionist from Top Nutrition Coaching can assist in developing the ideal diet due to the abundance of available options and other health conditions that may impact your eating. This will ensure that you and your baby can both breastfeed successfully.
Start your two-week free trial today! Take the Quiz
Frequently Asked Questions
Still unsure about breastfeeding diets? Below are a few frequently asked questions that may help you form a decision.
What foods should I avoid while breastfeeding?
The top five foods to limit or avoid while breastfeeding are fish high in mercury, some herbal supplements, alcohol, caffeine, and highly processed foods. While some of these are okay to consume in specific moderation while breastfeeding, it may be easier to avoid these foods altogether or consult with a registered nutritionist.
Can I go on a weight-loss diet while breastfeeding?
Yes, it's safe to diet as long as you consume at least 1,800 calories per day while breastfeeding. When breastfeeding, you need to consume more calories than average so that you and your baby have the proper nutrients. You can supplement your diet with exercise once your doctor clears you.
How can I naturally increase my breast milk supply?
You can naturally increase your milk supply by nursing your baby often, gently massaging your breast before and during feedings, using relaxation techniques to reduce stress and promote the flow of milk production, and maintaining healthy eating habits to reduce stress and gain more energy.
Want to learn more? Find a registered nutritionist near you.