What is the Best Breastfeeding Diet?
You do not need to follow a specific diet when breastfeeding. Stick to healthy eating advice with a diet high in fruits, vegetables, moderate in protein and carbohydrates and low in saturated fat and sugary foods.
Foods to boost your milk supply
Certain foods will help increase your milk supply. The official terms for these foods are lactogenic and galactagogues (wow that’s a mouth full!). If you are concerned about getting the best from your diet when breastfeeding, I would highly recommend Hilary Jacobson’s book Mother Food. The book is packed full of information for what to eat when breastfeeding, including a diet plan and breastfeeding recipes.
Lactogenic foods are ones which are known to help increase your milk supply. Eating a well balanced diet and drinking plenty of fluids is important. Complement your diet with these foods. They contain specific nutrients which cause your body to produce more milk.
- Barley Water
- Coconut oil
- Dark Green Leafy Vegetables ( beetroot leaves, kale, Swiss chard, spinach, chicory, collard greens)
- Flaxseed oil
- Garlic (use with caution can cause some sensitivity in some babies)
- Ginger (do not take if you haemorrhaged after birth as it has blood thinning properties)
- Grains and Legumes (oats, millet, barley and rice chickpea, mung beans and lentils)
- Green Drinks ( barley-grass, alfalfa leaf, spirulina, corellas, kelp, oat-straw)
- Green Papaya (not recommended for women on warfarin or with latex allergies)
- Herbs ( marjoram, basil, anise, dill, caraway)
- Nutritional and Brewer’s Yeast ( you may want to try non-alcoholic beer) recommendation is true!)
- Nuts (almonds, cashews, and macadamia nuts)
- Sesame oil
- Sesame Seeds (lots of tahini)
- Special breastfeeding teas
- Spices (Turmeric, black pepper)
- Sweet Potato
- Virgin olive oil
Galactagogues are herbs which you can use to help to boost your milk supply. Add them directly to food, take as supplements or drink a herbal tea. Herbal medicine can be very powerful and even toxic if taken at the wrong dose. Please consult with a herbal specialist or qualified herbalist midwife/health visitor.
- Goat’s Rue
- Red Raspberry Leaf
- Blessed Thistle
Foods to Avoid When Breastfeeding
These foods should not be automatically excluded from your diet. This is a list of common problem foods which are known to cause sensitivity with breastfeeding babies. Eating these foods can cause baby to have colic like symptoms or fussiness. If this happens, monitor your intake of these foods to detect sensitivity to them. Dairy is the number one cause of food sensitivity amongst babies. Remember to discuss any concerns you have with your health care provider.
- brussel sprouts
- chocolate (usually milk or white)
- citrus fruits
- mint (mentha) family herbs (peppermint, garden mint etc)
- peppermint (and other herbs from the mint group)