Top Foods to Eat While Breastfeeding

While breastfeeding, it is important to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet to support both your own health and your baby's growth and development.

You need extra nutrients when you are breastfeeding as you are supporting yourself and your baby.

The nutrients in breast milk come directly from the mother's body. If the mother's diet is deficient in essential nutrients, the mother's body may prioritize their baby's needs, potentially leading to nutrient depletion in the mother. For example, if the mother's diet is lacking in calcium, your body may use calcium from your bones to meet your increased needs.

Here are some nutrient dense foods that can be beneficial to include in your breastfeeding diet:

So, which foods should you eat while breastfeeding?

1. Green Leafy Vegetables

Leafy green vegetables are a vital part of any healthy diet. They're jam-packed with essential vitamins and minerals and loads of fibre. In addition, leafy green vegetables help keep you regular and help reduce bloating. Some of the best dark green leafy vegetables to include in your diet include kale, spinach, cabbage and bok choi.

2. Eggs

Eggs are a fantastic source of protein. A large egg also contains:

  • Vitamin A: 6% of the RDA
  • Folate: 5% of the RDA
  • Vitamin B5: 7% of the RDA
  • Vitamin B12: 9% of the RDA
  • Vitamin B2: 15% of the RDA
  • Phosphorus: 9% of the RDA
  • Selenium: 22% of the RD

The best part is, whether you like them scrambled, boiled or fried, they're super quick and easy to make, so even the busiest breastfeeding mums can fit some eggs into their day.

3. Wholegrains

While avoiding heavily-processed grains like white bread and white rice is a good idea, whole grains should be part of every breastfeeding mum's diet.

Rolled oats, brown rice, rye bread and quinoa are easy ways to increase your whole grain intake. The whole grains will help you feel full; they'll give you a tonne of energy, and they're packed full of iron, B vitamins, selenium, magnesium, and potassium.

Adding oats to your smoothie for breakfast or a slice of rye bread with avocado are quick and easy ways to up your nutrient intake with the power of whole grains.

4. Salmon

Salmon is highly beneficial for breastfeeding mums due to its rich content of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, essential for infant brain and eye development. It serves as a valuable protein source for tissue repair and growth, while also providing essential nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin B12, selenium, and iodine.

Additionally, its omega-3 content may support maternal mood and mental health, making it a valuable addition to a breastfeeding diet for both the mum and the baby's wellbeing.

5. Nuts and Seeds

We understand eating healthy is not always easy for busy mums. It's hard to find time, and after all the feeding, burping, washing and changing, sometimes you just can't be bothered making a meal. That's where seeds and nuts come in.

A handful of nuts and seeds will give you and bub a powerful concoction of macro and micronutrients.

Nuts and seeds are:

  • Excellent sources of protein (a great alternative to animal protein for vegetarians and vegans)
  • Full of phytochemicals that act as antioxidants
  • Rich in B vitamins, as well as Vitamin E, folate, niacin, zinc, calcium, copper and potassium
  • Low in saturated fats
  • Source of good fats

Nuts and seeds are also an excellent alternative to highly-processed or sugary snacks. Having a bag of mixed nuts and seeds handy will help you avoid the temptation of sweet treats and make snack time more nutritious.

6. Legumes and Pulses

If legumes and pulses aren't part of your diet, being a new mum is the perfect time to introduce these wonderful foods into your weekly rotation. Chickpeas, lentils and beans are the ideal base for curries, stews, salads and veggie burgers. They are a great source of protein and the best part is that they cost a fraction of the price of meat.

Legumes and pulses are also key food items in the 'blue zone' population. Blue zones refer to areas with high longevity rates, and in every one of these areas, the population consumes large amounts of legumes and pulses. So add them to your diet to supercharge your breastmilk, and set you and bub up for a long and healthy life.

7. Fermented Foods

The world is just starting to wake up to the importance of gut health. Building good gut health is especially important for young babies, and fermented foods are a great way to fill your breastmilk with healthy bacteria.

Sauerkraut, kefir, and kimchi are great ways to introduce fermented foods into your diet.

8. Avocados

Avocados are considered one of the best foods for breastfeeding mothers due to their rich nutritional profile. They are packed with healthy fats, particularly monounsaturated fats, which are essential for brain development in infants and help keep mothers feeling full and satisfied.

 Additionally, avocados are a good source of vitamins C, E, and K, along with folate, potassium, and fiber, all of which contribute to overall maternal health and well-being..

9. Brightly-Coloured Fruits and Vegetables

Eating the rainbow is an easy way to fill your diet with vitamins and nutrients. A diet full of brightly-coloured fruits like apples, blueberries, oranges and mangos, as well as vegetables like eggplants, capsicums and sweet potatoes, will ensure you're giving your body the variety it needs to thrive. Each colour has different nutritional benefits so eating a rainbow every day will help keep your nutritional requirements covered.

10. In Shape Mummy Health Shake

Often busy Mums will need a bit of help to keep on top of their nutritional needs. The In Shape Mummy Health Shake is packed with vitamins, nutrients and probiotics to fuel your body and keep your supply strong. Each serve contains protein, 25% of your daily essential vitamin & mineral requirements, probiotics and herbs that have been used for centuries to support breastfeeding mums.

How can I find time to prepare healthy food?

While it's natural to direct your attention towards looking after your little one, it's equally essential to ensure you're not solely relying on sugary snacks. While the temptation is understandable, it won't benefit your body or your baby in the long run.

One convenient solution to maintain a healthy diet, even when time is limited, is to incorporate the In Shape Mummy Health Shake into your routine. This shake offers a quick, balanced, and nutrient-packed meal replacement option, ensuring you get the essential nutrients your body needs without the demands of traditional meal preparation.

As for speedy meal ideas, consider options like chicken stir-fry with brown rice, or opt for a hearty salad packed with greens, lean protein, and colorful vegetables. These choices not only provide essential nutrients but also require minimal preparation time, making them ideal for busy days, especially if you've been breastfeeding at night and need to replenish your energy levels.

To simplify healthy snacking, keep a selection of pre-chopped fruits and vegetables in your fridge. Additionally, consider stashing a bag of unsalted nuts in your nappy bag for those moments when peeling a manderine with one hand during breastfeeding seems like an impossible task. These accessible and wholesome snacks will help you maintain your energy and nutrition while caring for your baby.

In Summary

Maintaining a healthy diet will help you and your baby thrive, as well as help you achieve a healthy weight.

While breastfeeding can be nutritionally demanding, it's essential to emphasize that it's also a highly beneficial and rewarding experience for both the mother and the baby. Many mums find that they can meet these increased nutritional demands by consuming a well-balanced diet and staying hydrated.

Additionally, the In Shape Mummy Health Shake for Breastfeeding Mums is a quick and easy way to fill potential nutrient gaps and help ensure you are meeting all your nutritional needs.

And remember, breastfeeding is an incredibly selfless act, don't deny yourself a treat here and there. You deserve it.

Shevi is a qualified nutritionist with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and food sciences. As a new mum herself, she is passionate about postnatal-related nutrition. Shevi has worked alongside some of the most famous leaders and celebrities in the fitness industry throughout Australia and the UK.

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