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Healthy Eating Tips During Breastfeeding

Posted in Women's Health

  1. Eat to your appetite. Though you may need more calories or energy, your body’s signals are the best guide.
  2. Avoid skipping meals. You may find yourself low in energy if you leave long gaps between meals.
  3. Eat wholegrain carbohydrates at each meal such as wholegrain bread, brown rice, pasta and breakfast cereals to maintain lasting energy and promote bowel health.
  4. Eat at least 3 portions of vegetables and 2 portions of fruit daily to provide vitamins and minerals in your diet.
  5. Eat 2-3 portions of protein sources daily such as lean beef, chicken, fish, eggs, beans, nuts and seeds.
  6. Take 3 portions of milk, cheese or yoghurt daily to ensure you are getting enough calcium to support your bone health. Take vitamin D rich foods such as vitamin D-fortified milk every day and salmon, mackerel and trout up to twice weekly to help with calcium absorption in the body.
  7. Aim for 2 portions of fish per week. Try to make at least one portion oily fish, a great source of an omega-3 rich, for example salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines or fresh tuna. Omega-3 fats are important for a healthy heart and your baby’s brain development.
  8. Drink at least 8 cups of fluid per day to stay hydrated. Your thirst may be your best guide. Water and milk are your best choices.
  9. Continue to enjoy a variety of foods, spices and seasonings. The foods you eat lend flavours to your breast milk and may help your baby to accept a variety of tastes later on.

What to avoid

There are some substances that pass into breast milk that may affect your baby:


Advice for vegetarians and vegans

Vitamin D for your baby

Weight loss while breast feeding

For additional information check our other factsheet on breastfeeding information and resources

Updated by Laura Harrington MINDI January 2016.

Review date: January 2019

© 2016 Irish Nutrition and Dietetics Institute, INDI. All rights reserved. May be reproduced in its entirety provided the source is acknowledged. This information is not meant to replace advice from your medical doctor or individual counselling with dietitian.  It is intended for educational and informational purposes only.

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