After your pregnancy, you may be wondering if the same diet restrictions apply while breastfeeding. Though it’s essential to eat a healthy, balanced diet while breastfeeding, the good news is that there are not many foods you need to avoid! At Pumps for Mom, we know health is at the top of your mind, so we compiled a list of recommended nutrition tips for new moms who are preparing for their breastfeeding journey.
Eat This: Lots of Protein
Protein is excellent for the body any time, and especially when you’re breastfeeding! Eat lots of meat, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, dairy, and seeds to stay strong. Protein is essential for breastfeeding mamas because it provides nourishment for your baby.
Don’t Eat This: Fish that Might Contain Mercury.
While most fish types are okay to eat while breastfeeding, avoid anything like shark, swordfish, marlin, or others that might have high mercury content. Also necessary to avoid while pregnant, mercury can pass in small amounts to a child through breast milk and affect their brain and nervous system development.
Eat This: Fruits and Veggies
As always, make sure to eat your fruits and veggies. Try to consume three servings of green and yellow vegetables per day, and get two servings of fruit. Vegetables provide vitamins and antioxidants, while fruits are also nutritious and may also help relieve constipation. Look for fruits and veggies that contain high potassium or Vitamin A levels, like spinach, carrots, bananas, and mangoes.
Limit This: Fatty Foods
While it won’t hurt anyone to have fatty food now and then, it’s best to avoid cakes and cookies that have high sugar content. High saturated fats do not give you the nutrients you need for your breast milk, and they can lead to other health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke.
Eat This: Healthy Grains and Starches
Stock up on potatoes, pasta, and whole grains to fill up with all the nutrients you need. You’ll also get a lot of fiber, B vitamins, and minerals from these foods, which is excellent while breastfeeding because they will keep you full without the energy dips from other foods.
Limit This: Caffeine and Alcohol
While it’s okay to drink alcohol and ingest caffeine while breastfeeding, it’s best to do both in small doses. After drinking alcohol, wait a few hours before feeding or “pump and dump” if you still feel the effects of the drink. As far as caffeine, keep in mind that it may affect your baby’s sleeping habits. As always, consult with your doctor before deciding to drink alcohol or caffeine.
Herbs that Help Breastfeeding
Some herbs are helpful when breastfeeding, while others are known to decrease breast milk production. Herbs that are classified as galactagogues are known to help increase milk production. If you’re stressed or unable to rest and need something to help boost your supply, try incorporating the following herbs and other supplements into your diet:
- Blessed Thistle
- Brewer’s Yeast
- Milk Thistle
- Goat’s Rue
- Stinging Nettle
- Brewer’s Yeast
Herbs to Avoid While Breastfeeding
Other herbs, often classified as anti-galactagogues, are best to avoid due to their limiting effects on breast milk production Some of these herbs to avoid include:
- Black walnut
- Herb Robert
- Lemon Balm
- Periwinkle Herb
The best thing to do when in doubt about what to eat and avoid while breastfeeding is consult with your doctor. The key is to eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of nutrients, and you’re likely already on the right track towards providing healthy milk for your baby. If you have any questions about breastfeeding or want to know more about our breast pumps, reach out to Pumps for Mom today to say hello!