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Mother breastfeeding her newborn

Foods for Lactation

While breastfeeding, you may notice yourself becoming hungrier than usual. Nursing puts a lot of demand on your already exhausted body. It is important to not be restrictive about your diet, but focus more on adding nutrient-dense foods to the menu.

Nutrition
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Below are the top five foods for breastfeeding moms:

1. Water:

Of course, this is not technically a food, but its importance still puts it at the top of the list. The recommended fluid intake for nursing mothers is around 16 cups a day. One way to make sure you drink enough is by keeping a large water bottle with you all the time.

2. Salmon:

Salmon is one of the most nutrient-dense proteins for nursing mamas. It is full of DHA and EPA, which are omega-3s that support your baby’s brain and nervous system development. Salmon is also packed with vitamins B12 and D. To avoid consuming too much mercury, stick to around 12oz of salmon a week, or two large filets.

3. Lentils:

Lentils are rich in both protein and fiber. These keep you full and help your digestive system function. They are also a great source of potassium, folate, and B-vitamins.

4. Oats:

According to anecdotal reports, oatmeal is one of the best foods for boosting milk supply. Oats are also a good source of fiber, folate, and iron - which are important for nursing moms and babies.

5. Bell Peppers:

Bell peppers are loaded with vitamin C and vitamin A, both of which are in high demand while nursing. These vitamins protect your immune system and help you heal. Eating veggies while breastfeeding also helps expose your baby to the flavor, making them more likely to enjoy them once they start solids.

Other great foods:

  • Leafy Greens
  • Fennel
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Chickpeas
  • Papaya
  • Lactation Cookies

Don’t Forget to Eat:

While taking care of your newborn, it's easy to forget about taking care of yourself. Make sure to eat something every 3-4 hours. This prevents your blood sugar from crashing. Don’t be embarrassed to set up a meal train for yourself. Getting help during those first couple months is extremely helpful.

About the Author
Sarah Rueven, RD, CDN
Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist

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