Foods to eat and avoid while breastfeeding

A healthy, well balanced diet includes a variety of wholegrain foods, lean meat, chicken and fish, peas and beans, low fat dairy products and a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Eat sensibly by including the right nutrients in your diet: plenty of protein (lean meat, fish including salmon, mackerel and sardines, eggs, beans, lentils, nuts), calcium (milk, yoghurt, cheese, canned sardines, crab and salmon) and iron (from lean meat, beans, lentils, fortified breakfast cereals and green leafy vegetables).

Minimise junk foods as they have a low nutritional content and too much fat and calories you don’t need!

Drink plenty of fluids — at least eight glasses of water a day. Breastfeeding can be thirsty work.

Breastfeeding your baby uses up roughly 300-500 extra calories a day. These correspond to a sandwich (300 calories) or a portion of pasta with sauce (around 500 calories). So you certainly don’t need to eat for two!

And remember – gentle exercise will help to keep your energy levels and spirits up.

After the birth, your mantra should be: eat to hunger and drink to thirst.

In the early weeks, it’s hard to cook yourself healthy, nutritious meals, so it’s best to stock your fridge, freezer and cupboard before the birth with healthy ready-made meals and easy-to-prepare, nutritious snacks.

Try not to skip meals — you need calories to fight tiredness and keep your spirits up.

First 1000 Days Team

Our expert team of dietitians and nutritionists have created lots of articles, tips, advice and recipes all about the importance of good nutrition to help you give your baby the healthiest possible start in life.

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