Disclosure: This post is part our series in observance of World Breastfeeding Week and is sponsored by Woman’s Hospital.
Best Foods for Breastfeeding
Many breastfeeding moms worry about the foods they eat, thinking they have to eat a perfect diet in order for their baby to get perfect breast milk. This often leads to unnecessary stress as they try to juggle eating the right foods while tending to a newborn. But it’s important to remember that the body is an amazing machine and will always work to make the perfect food for baby. While food and water intake can affect milk production, the need for a healthy diet is more for mom’s benefit. Eating a balanced diet will help give mom the energy necessary to help keep her healthy and strong.
Not only is oatmeal quick and traditional, but it is high in iron, too. This super food fights iron deficiency, improves blood sugar, boosts daily energy levels and may increase milk supply.
Try: Oatmeal Energy Bites
- Combine 1 cup dry oats, ¼ cup peanut or almond butter, ¼ cup honey, 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed, 2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips, dash salt and ½ teaspoon vanilla in a large bowl. Form into tablespoon-size balls; refrigerate.
Almonds are a convenient snack packed with healthy monounsaturated fats, protein and calcium. This super food is great for helping you reach the recommend goal of 1000 mg of calcium a day.
Try: Almond Trail Mix
- Combine 1 ½ cups roasted almonds, 1 cup pumpkin seeds, 1 cup unsweetened dried cherries, ½ cup chopped dark chocolate, ¼ teaspoon sea salt and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon in a large bowl. Divide into ½ cup portion snack bags.
Leafy green vegetables
Making food for two can leave your body lacking certain nutrients, but a daily dose of leafy green vegetables can prove to be a great solution. This super food category can include kale, spinach and even mustard greens, which provide calcium, fiber and many different vitamins.
Try: Peachy Green Smoothie
- Combine ¾ cup low-fat milk, 1 cup raw spinach or kale, 1 cup frozen peaches, ¼ medium avocado, 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice in a blender and blend until smooth.
Low-fat dairy products
This super food category can help you receive the nutrients you need without drastically changing your diet. This can include milk, yogurt and cheese, which are high in vitamins B and D as well as calcium, some of the main building blocks of breast milk.
Try: Vanilla yogurt topped with berries
Salmon is an excellent source of DHA, which is a type of Omega-3 fatty acid that is important to a baby’s developing nervous system. This DHA may even promote a healthy mood for mom, and prevent depression.
Try: Salmon Spread
- Combine 16 ounce can salmon, 3 ounces low-fat cream cheese (softened), ¼ cup chopped green onions, 1 tablespoon chopped red onion, ¼ cup grated carrots and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Spread on whole grain crackers or slices of cucumber.
Eggs are a good source of high-quality protein and iron. Look for eggs that are DHA-fortified to boost your Omega-3 levels.
Try: Sliced boiled egg on whole grain crackers and sprinkle with salt and chili powder
While it’s not always easy to eat healthy when juggling a new baby, take “baby steps.” Rotate these foods on your grocery list, so you have a few super-snacks available at all times. If you need more assistance with balancing your diet with the demands of motherhood, check out the Balance program at Woman’s Center for Wellness.
Learn More About Woman’s Hospital ::
Jennifer is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Lactation Consultant at Woman’s Center for Wellness. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University and completed her internship at Touro Infirmary. From there, Jennifer worked in New Orleans and Baton Rouge area hospitals. She has moved to several different states and Canada with her husband and three children before returning home to Louisiana.