Eating well for you and your baby
If you are breastfeeding, the energy and nutrients you take in will be used by your body, in your breastmilk, to provide your baby with all the nourishment they need. However, even if you don’t breastfeed, it’s important to eat a healthy, balanced diet to keep you fit and well as you run around looking after your new baby.
How many extra calories do you need when breastfeeding?
Research has shown that in the first three months of breastfeeding, mothers of fully breastfed babies produce around 800ml of milk a day. That’s a lot of work for your body, so it’s no wonder that this milk production uses up around 500kcals a day. Therefore, it’s important to eat regularly and have plenty of healthy snacks to keep your energy levels up.
It’s not advisable to either diet or limit the variety of foods you eat while breastfeeding, as this could have an impact on the amount of important nutrients your baby takes in.
Keeping to a healthy diet
It’s not just the amount you eat, but what you eat. Many mums find their iron stores run low when they have young babies so make sure you eat plenty of iron rich foods, such as red meat or dark, leafy green vegetables. It’s also important to ensure you eat plenty of whole grains, cereals, fresh fruits and other vegetables. And try to get plenty of protein (such as meat, pulses and eggs) and calcium (such as milk, cheese and yogurts) too. Eating healthily will give you and your baby the energy you both need. And of course you can still have the odd treat!