Eat This, Not That: 17 Best and Worst Foods for Breastfeeding Moms

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17 Best and Worst Foods for Breastfeeding Moms | While there is no 'breastfeeding diet' per se, there are certain foods that can help and hinder your milk supply. What you eat while nursing can also make life easier - or harder - for a gassy, colicky baby, which is why you often hear new moms talk about going dairy free. Whether you're trying to increase milk supply, reduce symptoms of colic, and/or lose weight postpartum, check out this guide on what to eat - and what to avoid.

One of things new mamas are concerned about is making sure they’re getting the right nutrition while breastfeeding.

Diet and nutrition is always important, but for breastfeeding moms, it’s more important than ever.

You may not know, that when it comes to nutrition for new moms, not all foods are equal. Check out this list of the 17 best and worst foods for breastfeeding moms to know what foods to choose and which ones to avoid.

5 Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding

Just as you try to avoid some foods while pregnant, there are certain foods and other products that you should avoid while breastfeeding. Remember, it’s all about making good decisions when it comes to nutrition and understanding how certain foods can affect your little one.

  1. Fish high in mercury – While fish is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, it’s best to avoid certain types of fish that are high in mercury such as swordfish, marlin, tilefish, and bigeye tuna. Mercury is a toxic metal that can affect your baby’s central nervous system.
  2. Alcohol – It is best to avoid alcohol completely whenever possible while breastfeeding. You can have an occasional drink just as long as you are careful about the timing and the amount – the CDC recommends waiting at least 2 hours after your last drink before breastfeeding.
  3. Certain herbal supplements – Many herbal supplements contain heavy metals and most are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Make sure to check with your doctor before using supplements to try and increase your milk production.
  4. Highly-processed foods – Nutrition is key, so foods that are high in fat and sugar should be avoided to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. Some research has even shown that a baby’s food preferences can be influenced by their mother’s diet through breastmilk.
  5. Too much caffeine – Like alcohol, caffeine can remain in your bloodstream for a period of time after consuming it. Per the CDC, you should limit your caffeine to 300 mg per day – that’s about 2-3 cups of coffee. Also watch out for caffeine in things like tea, chocolate, and energy drinks.

12 Best Foods for Breastfeeding Moms

There are SO MANY great choices when it comes to healthy eating while breastfeeding. These superfoods will help you and baby get all the nutrition you need – and may even boost your milk supply!

  1. Nuts – High in calcium, zinc, and iron, as well as vitamins B and K, nuts are a great source of nutrition. They also contain protein and essential fatty acids and have been shown to help with milk production.
  2. Avocados – A nutritional powerhouse, avocados are a great source of energy, healthy fats, and essential vitamins. They make the perfect choice for adding some extra calories to your diet.
  3. Green Leafy Vegetables – If you’re trying to stay healthy while breastfeeding, green leafy vegetables are always a great choice. They also contain phytoestrogens which help with lactation.
  4. Mushrooms – Certain types of mushrooms such as shiitake, reishi, and shimeji are lactogenic, meaning they may help you see an increase in milk production.
  5. Beans and Legumes – A perfect source of protein, beans and legumes are a great choice for a healthy diet. They’re also helpful for maintaining your milk supply.
  6. Chia Seeds – Chia seeds are a powerhouse when it comes to important nutrients you need while breastfeeding. They are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, calcium, and magnesium.
  7. Hemp Seeds – Another superfood high in Omega 3’s, hemp seeds are also considered a complete protein. They contain both iron and zinc, which benefit both mom and baby’s health.
  8. Flaxseeds – To unlock their benefits, flaxseeds should be ground before eating them. They are a perfect source of protein, Omega 3’s, and fiber. You can also reap the same benefits by adding flaxseed oil to your diet.
  9. Other Seeds – Seeds are nature’s little nutritional wonder. With essential minerals and protein, you can choose anything from pumpkin seeds to sunflower seeds to sesame seeds to boost your nutritional intake and help your milk production.
  10. Turmeric – Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s what many new moms turn to when they want to prevent and treat mastitis or breast engorgement. It’s believed to also boost both mom and baby’s immune systems.
  11. Red and Orange Root Vegetables – Like green leafy vegetables, red and orange root vegetables contain phytoestrogens that help with milk production. They are also high in nutrients which benefits your overall health.
  12. Ashwagandha – This herb helps with many systems in our body including our immune system and endocrine system. It’s also used to increase energy levels and has been shown to reduce stress.

Breastfeeding and Nutrition: 4 Tips for New Moms

Along with choosing the right foods, there are other things you can do to make sure you stay healthy and maintain your energy:

  1. Stay Hydrated – It’s important to stay well-hydrated while you’re breastfeeding, so make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day – not just when you’re thirsty.
  2. Grab Some Extra Calories – Breastfeeding burns calories, so moms need to take in around 500 extra calories each day to help keep up their milk supply.
  3. Choose Variety – When it comes to proper nutrition, remember that variety is key. Mix it up with a selection of different foods each day, making sure to add in plenty of whole foods and vegetables.
  4. Get Your Nutrients – Talk with your doctor about continuing to take a prenatal vitamin after giving birth to make sure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals.

Keep this list handy so you’ll always know the best foods for breastfeeding moms.

A healthy mom means a healthy baby. By giving your body the right fuel, you’ll get the nutrition you need and be able to better produce the milk that your baby needs.

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