Eating right

On this page you can read about eating right for breastfeeding and for weight loss (below)

For breastfeeding

Adapted from NHS Choices: Eating and drinking healthily in breastfeeding

You don’t need to eat anything special while you’re breastfeeding but it is a good idea for you, just like everyone else, to eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water.

While breastfeeding, it’s recommended that you take supplements containing 10 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin D each day. You can get all the other vitamins and minerals you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. Ask your GP or health visitor where to get vitamin D supplements.

Small amounts of what you’re eating and drinking can pass to your baby through your breast milk. If you think a food that you’re eating is affecting your baby and they’re unsettled, talk to your GP or health visitor, or contact the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212.

Foods to avoid

Eating fish is good for your health, but don’t have more than two portions of oily fish a week. Oily fish includes fresh tuna (not canned tuna, because the good fats are lost in the canning process), mackerel, sardines and trout.

Caffeine

Drinks containing caffeine can affect your baby and may keep them awake. While your baby is young, drink caffeinated drinks occasionally rather than every day.

Peanuts

If you’d like to eat peanuts or foods containing peanuts (such as peanut butter) while breastfeeding, you can choose to do so as part of a healthy balanced diet. Don’t eat them if you’re allergic to them. Ask your health professional for more information.

Alcohol

Alcohol passes through to breastfed babies in very small amounts. It’s unlikely that having an occasional drink will harm you or your baby, but it might affect how easily your baby feeds. So when breastfeeding, it’s probably sensible to drink very little. For example, no more than 1 or 2 units once or twice a week.

For weight loss

When it comes to losing weight, you will have to cut your calorie intake and increase your level of activity. Simple as that! Don’t start dieting while you are breastfeeding. Below are some rough calorie guidelines (if you like that sort of thing) to help you lose weight.

Breastfeeding: 2000 calories each day, made up of approx:

  • Breakfast – 400 calories
  • Lunch – 400 calories
  • Dinner – 900 calories
  • Three healthy snacks of 100 calories each (swap this for 1 x 300 calorie snack three times a week)

For weight loss: 1600 – 1700 calories each day, made up of approx:

  • Breakfast – 300 calories
  • Lunch – 300 calories
  • Dinner – 700 – 800 calories
  • Three healthy snacks of 100 calories each (swap this for 1 x 300 calorie snack three times a week)

Just remember, eat less and move more. Try to eat a variety of healthy foods to give you maximum nourishment – you’ll need to be healthy and strong in your new role as a mum.

For more information the 3-Plan will give you some rough guidelines on calories, some healthy snack ideas and easy ways you can make your diet more healthy.