16 Best Foods For Breastfeeding

6 min read

Written by Bindu Raichura

Bindu Raichura

mom breastfeeding her baby

Breastfeeding is a beautiful journey that can get quite complicated and tiresome in no time, for some. Though it is one of the most natural habits for a mother to feed her child, it doesn’t come very easy for most women. The effort that goes into it, the sacrifices made, the adjustments are all never spoken of. One of the biggest adjustments and efforts put in by the mother to nurse her child is her diet! She has to eat right even if she has never been a conscious eater all her life. She has to suddenly know and prefer only the foods that can aid in lactation.

In this article, we will talk about the 16 best foods for breastfeeding, some of which have also been called ‘superfoods’ and are suggested by the National Health Mission of the Government of India, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and other health organizations. Who knows, maybe you love most of them!

16 Best Foods For Breastfeeding

If you are a nursing mother looking for foods to increase your milk supply and to ensure your little baby gets all the nutrition possible, here are 16 items you can include in your diet. These are not only beneficial to the baby, but to you too. Yes, you are important too and you need to take care of your health as well!

1. Sesame Seeds

These are super rich sources of calcium, a very important nutrient for both the nursing mother and the tiny baby. These can be added to any food as seasoning; sprinkle it on everything and enjoy the tasty, crunchy, and healthy addition to your otherwise regular foods.

2. Oatmeal

Oats are galactogogue, meaning they help in improving the milk supply of a breastfeeding mother. Oats are low on calories and can help you feel full for longer. Sanford Health recommends Oatmeal for all lactating mothers as they are rich in fiber and iron.

3. Avocado

avocado for breastfeeding

Avocados are not healthy just for fitness-conscious people, it is a great source of nutrition for nursing mothers too. When you are breastfeeding, your body is constantly producing milk, burning calories and thus making you feel hungry all the time. Avocados are full of healthy fats that can help you feel fuller longer. They are very easy to prep and store. You will need just a few minutes to blend it into a smoothie or spread it on a toast that you can eat while running around or even nursing your baby. They are filled with Vitamin B, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Potassium, Folate, and Vitamin E.

4. Almonds

Nuts have been a powerhouse of nutrients without all those unnecessary fats. They are a rich source of essential nutrients like iron, calcium, zinc, Vitamin B, and Vitamin K. They are Lactogenic, which means they help in producing milk.

5. Spinach

Green leafy vegetables have been an essential part of a breastfeeding mother’s diet for generations. U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) also suggests new mothers include leafy vegetables like spinach in their diet to make it balanced and nutritious. They are rich in phytoestrogens, which are believed to have a positive impact on the milk supply.

Let’s not forget, that having greens as a part of your regular diet can help your baby adapt to it easier when they start their solid foods. The aversion towards “green foods’ ‘ can be reduced to an extent at least.

6. Ginger

ginger for breastfeeding

Ginger is not just good to keep your morning sickness in check. Its galactagogue is filled with antioxidants. This can help your body fight all those bacteria, chronic diseases, and even heart diseases. Ginger tea can be very soothing for a new mother who is forever tired!

7. Berries

These tasty little wonders can be a great snack anytime you are hungry or a power food just before you sit down for another nursing session. Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries are all rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. They can help build immunity and keep those free radicals in check (for both mother and baby). A handful of these (fresh or frozen) can satiate that never-ending hunger until you have time to prep a full meal.

8. Pumpkin Seeds

This is a super-rich food that can be snacked on at any time of the day. Pumpkin seeds are rich in iron, fiber, and protein, which are very important to both mother and baby. You can have them roasted, add them to any food, or just powder it and add to your glass of milk.

9. Beef

beef for breastfeeding

This is a rich source of iron. Postpartum and breastfeeding can reduce your iron levels, thus causing anemia that can lead to severe hair loss, fatigue, and a fall in your milk supply. Beef can defeat all that.

10. Salmon

These are filled with protein, omega 3s, and Vitamin B12. All these are very important for the baby’s nervous system. They contain essential fats and are low on calories, something even health-conscious mothers can eat without any guilt. This is the reason why WebMD calls this “close to perfect food” and suggests lactating mothers having it to also fight post-partum depression.

11. Carrots

This root vegetable is rich in nutrients and is believed to help improve both the supply and quality of breast milk. It helps nourish both mother and baby.

12. Turmeric

turmeric for breastfeeding

A very rich source of antioxidants. This can help build your immunity, which can be particularly low after your delivery, and for the baby whose immunity is at an all-time low. Turmeric can help with bloating and also prevent mastitis. Add a pinch of this wonder ingredient to all foods for some extra flavor and color.

13. Garlic

This is one of the most recommended foods in many cultures for a breastfeeding mother to increase her milk supply. Garlic can be added to almost anything and can enhance the taste instantly! If you can ingest raw garlic, then you can add crushed garlic to your diet too.

14. Milk

The National Health Mission (NHM) considers having milk and dairy products important due to their multiple benefits. One of the easiest ways to get all those essential nutrients and minerals for both you and the baby. Whole fat cow’s milk can be a great source of nutrition for nursing mothers, and this requires no cooking! Just perfect for a mother who has no time to eat.

15. Brown Rice

brown rice for breastfeeding

Filled with complex carbs that take time to digest, brown rice can help the nursing mother feel full for longer periods of time. These are low on calories and one can eat more of this instead of regular white rice.

16. Sweet Potatoes

Good source of energy food to fight that mom fatigue, to keep up with all those sleepless nights, and yes, to fight the “mommy brain” that seems to just forget almost everything. Sweet potatoes can improve your memory and can aid your baby’s vision too.

It can be quite exhausting to produce milk and feed that little human being as and when there is a demand. It is easy to forget about yourself and just do things that are best for the baby. However, remember, taking care of your health needs is beneficial for the baby too! All the recommendations have been approved by various health agencies, but if in doubt, you can always consult your doctor about the best foods to have while breastfeeding!

Bindu Raichura,

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