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Are you a breastfeeding mom searching for the best foods to eat while breastfeeding? Wondering which foods are lactation friendly and which foods can tank your milk supply? You’ve come to the right place!
Breastfeeding looks different for all moms.
Some moms eat dairy-free. Other moms avoid certain foods, but what is the absolute best meal plan for breastfeeding moms?
Turns out, the breastfeeding meal plan for mom that is BEST is going to be one that is healthy for you AND your baby.
As a mom who has breastfed both her boys worked closely with lactation consultants and taken multiple online breastfeeding classes — I’m going to share my best tips to help you create your own breastfeeding meal plan.
However, please know, I am not a nutritionist or dietician. If you have serious nutritional concerns, I suggest you speak with a licensed or certified professional right away.
How to Make a Breastfeeding Meal Plan For Mom
You body changes the minute you get pregnant. It continues to change after you give birth and take on a new journey: breastfeeding.
With breastfeeding comes nutritional needs for mom and baby, intense cravings, and being aware of foods that can either make or break your supply.
Here are my top tips to help you create a healthy and sustainable breastfeeding meal plan.
Best foods to put on your breastfeeding diet plan menu
First things first, you’ll want to be sure your meals include these breastfeeding super foods.
Not only are they healthy, but they can have some positive impact on your milk supply (which is even more crucial for low supply moms too!).
Breastfeeding superfoods to include in your diet:
- Leafy Green Vegetables
- Beans & Legumes
- Healthy Fats (nuts, avocados)
- Lean proteins
- Iron-rich foods
- Omega-3 rich foods
- Needed Prenatal Vitamin (hands down the BEST prenatal vitamin formulated for pregnancy and postpartum moms — nourishing your body regardless of what your diet looks like).
Foods to leave off of your breastfeeding diet plan menu
While you know what foods you should be consuming while breastfeeding, there are a few foods you should stay away from as well:
- Peppermint & spearmint – This is a hit or miss herb. Some moms say they have had negative impacts of consuming ANYTHING with peppermint (like candies, teas, etc…) while others have had no effect. The problem here is that there really is not enough scientific research to give a definitive answer. If your supply is questionable from the start, I’d aim to play it safe.
- 300mg or more of Caffeine – Because of the way caffeine is digested, you can enjoy a cup or two of coffee or your favorite tea each day so long as it doesn’t exceed 300 mg of caffeine. You can also learn more about how caffeine is digested by your baby in this detailed article!
- Sage – Anecdotal evidence has shown sage is commonly used to help reduce an oversupply (oftentimes, successfully). Therefore, unless you’re an oversupply producer, keep away from sage.
Figure out how many meals you’d like to eat
It’s true that breastfeeding moms should consume an additional 450 to 500 kcal per day, but the key here is to make sure you’re consuming healthy calories and not splurging on too many empty calorie foods.
Instead of obsessing on calories though, focus on how many meals you’d like to eat instead.
Are you a 2 meals and 3 snacks kind of gal? A 3 meals and 2 snacks mama?
Whatever will be easiest for you to maintain, is where your focus should be.
In fact, my friend Katie Clark, who happens to be a certified lactation educator created an actual breastfeeding meal plan/cookbook to make this entire process easier! You can check it out right here to see a sample of some of the meals, they’re super delicious and easy to make.
Plan & prep your meals in advance
In order to actually eat the meals you planned, you need to prepare them in advance!
I know it sounds like a ton of work, but when you keep your meals simple and easy — it’s a piece of cake (even when you’re a full-time breastfeeding mom).
You can also follow a pre-made meal plan, like the one I mentioned above.
If you need a few ideas, here’s some easy meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner:
- Lactation friendly smoothie (any meal)
- Salad: Arugula, baby spinach, grilled chicken strips, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, thin-sliced apples, and dressing of your choice (lunch or dinner).
- Madras Lentil Turkey Chili (1 packet of Madra’s Lentils, Mix in cooked ground turkey & add in a pinch of chili powder – lunch or dinner)
- Lactation Granola Bars – delicious recipe by Eco Living Mama (snack or lunch)
- Toast topped with mashed avocado, 1 egg, and everything bagel seasoning (breakfast or lunch)
- Leafy Green Lactation Smoothie (any meal)
- Spinach Chicken Alfredo: I like to follow this simple recipe, but I add a few handfuls of torn spinach leaves until they get wilted. (dinner)
When preparing these kinds of meals ahead of time, I personally like to divide them into meal prep containers so all I have to do is grab one out of the fridge, warm it up, and enjoy!
Have snacks ready to grab & go
Another pointer to help you stick to your meal plan is to also make sure your snacks are ready to go.
No, you don’t need to handmake all of them.
How to lose weight while breastfeeding?
If your main purpose of creating a breastfeeding meal plan is to lose weight, it’s important to understand that your body is in a state where it needs much more nutrients than before.
Not only are you digesting food for yourself, but you’re making food for your baby too!
A few helpful ways to lose some weight while breastfeeding WITHOUT altering your meal plan too much include:
- Exercising: Keeping your body active and moving will help you burn more calories throughout the day. As long as your doctor has given you clearance to work out, JUNA has a wonderful exercise and nutrition app just for moms. You can try it for free too just by signing up through this link.
- Stay Hydrated: Keeping your body hydrated while breastfeeding and trying to lose weight has so many benefits. Water keeps things running smooth, to say the least. It helps with your metabolism, maintaining the function of major organs, and since breast milk is 90% water — you can only imagine why it’s crucial to ensure you’re hydrated on a daily basis.
- Avoid Empty Calories: I’m an advocate of eating the foods that make you happy because your mental health is important and your relationship with food is important. However, if your diet consists of empty calories all day long (cookies, baked goods, candy, etc…) then it’s likely time to make a small adjustment to swap those out for more nutrient-dense foods.
At the end of the day, it’s completely possible to consume a breastfeeding diet that’ll help you lose weight, but please don’t feel any pressure to do it if you’re not ready.
What Makes a Meal Plan for Breastfeeding Mom Different Than Regular Meals?
Honestly, breastfeeding moms really don’t need to think of their meals as a “breastfeeding meal” vs “regular meals”.
Eat the foods you enjoy eating. Make sure you add in healthy, nutrient-dense ingredients that aren’t full of empty calories.
If you’re dealing with a low milk supply, add in foods that could possibly help you increase your milk supply.
What does your breastfeeding meal plan look like? Drop your answer in the comments below!
Looking for more breastfeeding tips and advice? Check these out: