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Breastfeeding Diet 101: Diet Plan for Breastfeeding Mothers

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breastfeeding diet

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When you are a nursing parent, your body is constantly producing milk for your child or children. Owing to the number of calories necessary to produce each ounce of milk, many nursing moms report feeling always hungry. You must follow a nutrient-dense diet while breastfeeding so that it replenishes your body.

Read on to find out everything about the breastfeeding diet — what to eat, what not to eat, how much to consume, and also the best diet plan for breastfeeding mothers.

How Much Do You Need to Eat When Breastfeeding?

You might be questioning why eating a healthy, nutrient-dense breastfeeding diet is so crucial. A nutritious diet while breastfeeding is crucial to make sure that your little one is receiving all the minerals they need to flourish in addition to maintaining your general health.

All the nutrients your baby needs for healthy growth during the first six months are present in breast milk, excluding vitamin D.

But if your diet as a whole lacks the necessary nutrients, it can have an impact on both your health and the quality of your breast milk.

Calorie Intake in Diet while Breastfeeding

Based on if you’re nursing solely or not, your body typically uses up to 300 to 500 more calories per day when you are breastfeeding. If you are, it usually ranges between 450 and 500.

Therefore, while you needn’t be overly careful about calculating calories and eating more, you should definitely keep in mind your additional nutritional demands when breastfeeding. If you followed your doctor’s advice about weight growth throughout pregnancy, you shouldn’t need to consume any more or less than that. If you’re unsure, check with your physician.

Nutrient Groups to Include in Your Breastfeeding Diet Plan

Depending on how much of each nutrient is released into your milk, you may divide the nutrients in breast milk into two groups. Below you can find the breastfeeding diet plan for both group 1 and group 2 nutrients:

Group 1 Nutrients

Group 1 nutrients won’t secrete into breast milk as quickly if you are low on them. Therefore, adding supplements with these nutrients might slightly increase their content in breast milk and improve your baby’s health as a consequence.

Group 1 NutrientsFunctionBreastfeeding Diet
  • Daily requirements from 450 to 550 mg after giving birth.
  • Essential nutrients help your baby’s brain development when you’re nursing.
  • Beef liver
  • Chicken liver
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Peanuts
  • Essential components of the thyroid hormones are triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) (T3)
  • Healthy fetal growth and neurodevelopment
  • The fetus or newborn may be in danger of iodine insufficiency and related cognitive and psychomotor deficits if a pregnant or nursing woman has low iodine levels.
  • Cod
  • Dried seaweed
  • Iodized salt
  • Milk
  •  The body requires selenium for healthy development and growth.
  • Some enzymes that aid in typical bodily activities require selenium to operate.
  • Brazil nuts
  • Seafood
  • Seeds
  • Turkey
  • Whole wheat
Vitamin A (Retinol)
  • Breast milk is the only source of vitamin A that the baby may access.
  • Overall growth, develop eyesight and fortify their immune system.
  • Carrots
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Eggs
  • Organ meats
  • Sweet potatoes
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
  • Support your general health since they are essential for a healthy body.
  • Together, they assist in maintaining energy levels and strengthen the body’s microbial defences.
  • Beans
  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Pork
  • Seeds
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
  • Almonds
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Oily fish
  • Red meat
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
  • Bananas
  • Chickpeas
  • Dried fruit
  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Potatoes
  • Poultry
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
  • Essential for infants’ healthy red blood cell production and brain development.
  • Infants will gain enough vitamin B12 if they receive breast milk from a mother who takes enough of the vitamin.
  • Crab
  • Eggs
  • Liver
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Oily fish
  • Shellfish
  • Shrimp
  • Yogurt
Vitamin D (Calciferol)
  • Rickets can be avoided
  • Supports healthy bone formation.
  •  From the first few days of life, breastfed and partly breastfed newborns should get 400 IU of vitamin D daily as a supplement.
  • Cod liver oil
  • Fortified foods
  • Oily fish
  • Some mushrooms

Group 2 Nutrients

Contrarily, the quantity of group 2 nutrients in breast milk is not influenced by the amount the mother consumes, therefore taking supplements won’t make your breast milk more nutrient-dense. Nevertheless, restoring nutritional stocks can still enhance maternal health.

Group 1 NutrientsFunctionBreastfeeding Diet
  • You require between 1,000 and 1,500 milligrams, and it’s crucial to consume enough because nursing depletes your calcium stores.
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Leafy greens
  • Legumes
  • Red blood cells formation.
  • Supports the health of the bones, neurons, immune response, and blood vessels.
  •  Helps in iron absorption.
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Organ meats
  • Potatoes
  •  Shellfish
  • Whole grains
  • Support the mother’s natural physiological responses as well as the best possible health of the fetus and kids.
  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Beans
  • Leafy greens
  •  Lentils
  • During birth and the early years of childhood, iron supports healthy cerebral development.
  • Beans
  • Dried fruit
  • Green vegetables
  • Pork
  • Poultry
  • Red meat
  • Seafood

Food to Include in Your Breastfeeding Diet Plan

When you are dieting while breastfeeding, eating healthy entails consuming a range of nourishing meals.

ComponentBreastfeeding Diet
ProteinTry to include at least three servings each day, which can include butter, cheese, lentils, meat, nuts, tofu, and yogurt.
High-fat foodsAttempt to consume as much as you did when pregnant. Healthy fats may be found in avocados, low-mercury seafood, nuts, and seeds and should be included in your diet.
Vegetables and fruitsEat four to five servings of vegetables per day, focusing on leafy green and yellow vegetables.
Whole grainsTo stay energized, you should consume three or more portions of complex carbohydrates with fiber each day, such as oatmeal, brown rice, and barley.

Supplements to Include in Diet for Breastfeeding Mothers

There is no doubt that taking various supplements may assist in restoring your levels of specific vitamins and minerals, even if a balanced breastfeeding diet is still the most crucial aspect of nutrition during nursing. Here are some of the supplements that can be included in your diet for breastfeeding mothers:


Your consumption of vital vitamins and minerals can be increased by taking a multivitamin.  After giving birth, it’s normal for women to be vitamin and mineral deficient, and deficiencies don’t distinguish, impacting mothers in both high- and low-income environments.

This is why taking a daily multivitamin could be a smart option, particularly if you don’t think your diet alone will provide you with sufficient vitamins and minerals.

Vitamin B12

When you’re dieting while breastfeeding, vitamin B-12, a vital water-soluble vitamin, is crucial for both your health and that of your infant.

In addition, many women are already diagnosed with low B-12 levels, particularly those who consume a diet high in plants, have undergone gastric bypass surgery, and those taking specific medicines (such as those for acid reflux).

A B-complex or B-12 supplement is an excellent choice if you fall into one of these categories or believe that you don’t get enough B-12-rich foods.

Vitamin D

In breast milk, vitamin D is typically only available in small concentrations, particularly when sunlight exposure is restricted.

Breastfeeding mothers frequently experience severe vitamin D insufficiency. Deficits can also have a detrimental impact on health, increasing the incidence of postpartum depression, for example. It is advised to take this vitamin as a supplement because of this.

Request precise dose advice from your doctor depending on your existing vitamin D levels.

Omega-3 (DHA)

Omega-3 fatty acids are naturally present in fatty fish and algae and are crucial for both the health of the mother and the fetus. The growth of your baby’s nervous system, skin, and eyes depends on the omega-3 fatty acid DHA.

Keeping Yourself Hydrated When Dieting while Breastfeeding

Following a nutrient-rich diet while breastfeeding is not the only important aspect of nursing in a healthy manner. Even the best diet for breastfeeding will fail if you do not keep yourself hydrated.

Try to consume at least 8 glasses of water each day in addition to fluids from other sources like fruits and vegetables. It will aid in your body’s recovery, particularly in the weeks after delivery. Your precise requirements will depend on a number of variables, including how frequently you breastfeed, how active you are, and even the weather.

Remember that unless you are very dehydrated, your milk production won’t be reduced, however, your urine will get darker and scantier.

The Best Diet Plan for Breastfeeding Mothers Does Not Include…

You can have anything you want to have when you’re nursing, but you’ll have to leave out a few things off the dinner table. The following items should be avoided while you’re on a breastfeeding diet:


One percent of the caffeine you ingest is excreted in breast milk, and studies show that newborns’ metabolisms of caffeine are substantially slower than adults. Although it has not been proven to be harmful, drinking caffeinated drinks such as coffee may interfere with the baby’s sleep.

As a result, it is advised that nursing mothers consume no more than 2 to 3 glasses of coffee daily.

Herbal Supplements

Little is known about how herbal supplements influence a breastfeeding infant because there hasn’t been much research on their safety. To be safe, avoid using any herbal remedies without first seeing a doctor, and consider hard before consuming herbal tea or other brews while nursing.


Alcohol may enter breast milk as well. Even one or two drinks can reduce your baby’s milk consumption by up to 23% while also making them agitated and unable to fall asleep.

While nursing mothers are completely welcome to consume wine, it is preferable to wait at least two hours before feeding their child.

Diet Plan for Breastfeeding Mothers to Lose Weight

After giving birth, you can feel pressured to shed pounds rapidly, and you must be wondering what a diet plan for breastfeeding mothers to lose weight looks like.

But let’s get one thing straight — losing weight takes time, and you should treat your body gently while it adjusts.

You could experience a greater hunger when nursing due to the numerous hormonal changes that occur throughout the process and the calorie requirements of producing breast milk.

Overly stringent calorie restrictions, particularly in the early months of nursing, may reduce your milk production and vital energy levels.

Assuming you are not malnourished, to begin with, losing around 1.1 pounds (0.5 kilograms) each week through a mix of a good diet and exercise shouldn’t have an impact on your milk production or milk production.

To Summarize the Breastfeeding Diet

Having a baby is a lot of effort! To keep you and your unborn child fed and healthy, your body needs extra calories and nutrients.

Eating a range of healthy, wholesome foods and avoiding processed foods are more crucial than ever. To keep your baby healthy, limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine to the suggested levels.

Your breast milk’s quality may suffer if you don’t consume enough calories or nutrient-dense meals. Additionally, it could be harmful to your health.

Breastfeeding FAQs:

1. What food should I avoid while breastfeeding?

You can have anything you want to have when you’re nursing, but you’ll have to leave out a few things off the dinner table. The following items should be avoided while you’re on a breastfeeding diet:
  • Caffeine
  • Cow’s milk
  • Herbal Supplements
  • High-mercury fish
  • Alcohol
  • 2. What foods increase milk supply?

    Simply have a nutritious breastfeeding diet that consists of a range of fruits, vegetables, grains, lean protein, and small amounts of fat. According to some studies, garlic, onions, and mint alter the flavor of breast milk, which may encourage your infant to nurse more frequently and increase your milk production.

    3. What are the best foods to eat when breastfeeding?

    The best diet for breastfeeding mothers includes the following: Include protein-rich foods including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, nuts, and seeds 2-3 times each day. Eat three servings of veggies every day, particularly yellow and dark green ones. Consume two portions of fruit each day. Include whole grains in your diet every day, such as oatmeal, cereal, and whole wheat bread.

    On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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