The best advice any breastfeeding mum should follow is to have a well-balanced and varied diet based on the food pyramid. On average you will need to take in around 300 – 500 extra calories per day. This will provide you with all the necessary nutrients you need to be healthy and produce good quality milk for your baby. These include:
- Meat without a lot of fat on it, fish, eggs, pulses (lentils and beans)
- Oily fish especially salmon, mackerel, tuna, trout as they are packed with Omega oils and are very important – eat oily fish once or twice a week
- Fruit and vegetables/ fresh juices/ soups – always get your 5 per day
- Milk, cheese, low fat yoghurt – you need 3 portions of calcium-rich dairy food a day
- Wholegrain cereals and breads, brown rice and pasta – these are very useful as they help to regulate sugars and keep you full longer
- Healthy snacks in the fridge if you get a craving between meals
- Plenty of water to keep you hydrated – breastfeeding increases thirst
- Foods packed with Vitamin D which includes oily fish, egg yolks, fortified milk, cereals, margarines (check the labels of fortified foods to make sure it is fortified with vitamin D) as Vitamin D levels tend to be low in Ireland
Some mums continue to take their antenatal vitamins whilst breastfeeding which provide a good source of essential nutrients but you still need to make sure you are eating a healthy balanced diet. And of course, most foods are fine in moderation but be aware of over-indulging on any particular food. To meet your need for extra calories take one or two extra servings from the bread, cereals and potatoes group or the dairy group or the fruit and vegetable group of the food pyramid.
If you would like to chat about good foods to eat, do contact our Careline.