On average, you will need about 450 extra calories per day while breastfeeding. That’s the equivalent of:
- A bowl of soup with two slices of bread
- A cheddar cheese and pickle sandwich with a banana
- Two wholegrain pitta breads filled with lettuce, cucumber and houmous
What should I eat?
- Plenty of fruit and vegetables (fresh, frozen, tinned, dried or a glass of juice). Aim for at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day
- Starchy foods, such as bread, pasta, rice and potatoes
- Plenty of fibre, found in wholegrain bread and breakfast cereals, pasta, rice, pulses (such as beans and lentils), fruit and vegetables
- Protein, such as lean meat and chicken, fish, eggs and pulses
- Fish at least twice a week, including some oily fish
- Dairy foods, such as milk, cheese and yoghurt, which contain calcium and are a useful source of protein
What should I avoid?
- Don`t eat more than two portions of oily fish a week
- Don`t eat more than one portion of shark, swordfish or marlin a week, because of the levels of mercury in these fish
If you think that some foods you eat are affecting your baby, don't stop eating them without talking to your health visitor or midwife. Remember, it's normal for breastfed babies to have loose stools.
What should I drink?
- Water, milk and unsweetened fruit juices are all good choices and will help you replace the fluids your baby takes when breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding will make you very thirsty so always make sure you have a large glass of water to hand when feeding your baby
Caffeine and alcohol
Drinking caffeine or alcohol regularly, or in large amounts, will affect your baby so keep them to a minimum or cut them out completely.