Nutritious suggestions for breastfeeding moms

  • Your fuel supply for milk production comes from your stored fat and extra food sources.
  • Find suggestions for breakfast, snacks, and main meals.

It’s essential for you to get enough calories, protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals during breastfeeding to support your own health. Here are some nutritious suggestions:

Start the day with foods such as an egg, whole-grain cereal and fruit with fat-free milk, or low-fat yogurt.

Smart snacks include vegetables and fruits (fresh, dried, canned or frozen), 100% fruit or vegetable juice, plain low-fat popcorn, whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese, half a whole-grain bagel topped with peanut butter and banana, or a glass of skim milk.

Main meals
Make your lunches and dinners wholesome crispy salads (dressing on the side), steamed vegetables, fatty fish such as salmon, poultry and lean meats, or lightly sauced whole-grain pastas with sautéed veggies.

Healthy snack ideas for breastfeeding

You may need 400 to 500 additional calories a day to cover the energy required for milk production. To produce breastmilk, your body uses about 100 to 150 calories a day from the fat you stored during pregnancy and extra energy from food sources. Eating a healthy diet will help you maintain the strength and energy you need to care for your new baby. Restricting your diet for weight loss may lead to decreased milk production. Here are some snacks that will help supply the extra energy and some important nutrients needed during breastfeeding, like protein and Calcium.

Peanut butter and banana on toast
1 slice whole-wheat toast topped with 1 tbsp. peanut butter and 1 medium banana, sliced 

Adding peanut butter to any snack is a great way to get protein. 

Walnuts and yogurt
1/8 cup chopped walnuts sprinkled over 6 oz. low-fat strawberry yogurt  

This snack provides Calcium and protein. Adequate Calcium and protein intake when breastfeeding is critical.

Turkey sandwich with watermelon
1 cup diced watermelon with ½ a turkey sandwich (1 slice whole wheat bread, 2 oz. deli turkey breast, ½ oz. Swiss cheese, 1 tomato slice, 1 lettuce leaf, 1 tsp. mustard, 1 tsp. light mayonnaise)

Choosing fruit instead of chips with your sandwich is a smart choice. 

Tuna and crackers
2 oz. tuna mixed with 2 tsp. light mayonnaise; serve with 6 whole-grain crackers and 1 cup raw zucchini and carrot disks.

Tuna** is a food source of DHA, which is associated with healthy brain development in babies. 

Carnation® Breakfast Essentials™ 
1 serving (11 fl. oz.) of Carnation® Breakfast Essentials™ Rich Milk Chocolate No Sugar Added ready-to-drink provides two times the protein of an egg (13 g) and two times the Calcium of 6-oz. cup of yogurt (500 mg). It contains 150 calories per 1 bottle serving.   

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