Optimising your Health & Nutrition while Breastfeeding: A comprehensive guide

Optimising your Health & Nutrition while Breastfeeding: A comprehensive guide

Breastfeeding is a remarkable journey that provides countless benefits for both mother and baby.

However, what often goes unnoticed is the pivotal role that nutrition plays in this journey. The truth is, good nutrition during the postpartum period can make or break your breastfeeding experience. As a holistic lactation consultant, this is what I discuss with my clients when it comes to the essential aspects of nutrition and breastfeeding. 

Hydration: The Foundation of Breastfeeding Nutrition

One of the fundamental pillars of breastfeeding nutrition is hydration.

Producing breast milk is a demanding task for your body, and staying adequately hydrated is crucial to support this process. The general guideline is to aim for three to four liters of water per day. To make tracking your water intake easier, consider using a Bink drink bottle, which comes with hour markers to remind you to refill. Having multiple drink bottles strategically placed around your house, especially near your breastfeeding stations, can be incredibly helpful.

If you struggle to meet your hydration goals, consider using an electrolyte powder to make water more appealing or to ensure that you receive the necessary electrolytes.

Food: Nutrition for your Breastfeeding Journey

In terms of food consumption, it's essential to understand that breastfeeding increases your daily caloric needs. On average, you should aim for an additional 300 to 500 calories per day. These extra calories are not only for producing breast milk but also to provide the necessary nutrients for your baby.

The 500 extra calories can be distributed as a whole extra meal or as three substantial snacks throughout the day. Prioritize meals rich in protein, especially during the morning. Aiming for 25 to 30 grams of protein in each main meal is a good guideline, which can vary depending on your body weight.

In the early days of motherhood, when time and energy are limited, single-handed snacks become a lifesaver. Prepare snacks that are easy to grab and are protein-rich to keep your energy levels up.

Macronutrients required for breastfeeding:

During breastfeeding, protein requirements are notably increased to support the production of breast milk and ensure its quality.

On average, lactating mothers should aim to consume approximately 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal, depending on their body weight and individual needs.

Protein is crucial as it provides the essential amino acids necessary for the growth and development of the baby, as well as the maintenance and repair of maternal tissues. Ensuring an adequate intake of protein-rich foods such as lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, and nuts is vital to meet these heightened nutritional demands and promote a healthy breastfeeding journey for both mother and child.

Micronutrients required for breastfeeding: 

Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are essential during breastfeeding to ensure the health and well-being of both the mother and her baby. While macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, and fats provide energy and structural components, micronutrients play a critical role in various metabolic processes and overall health.

Key micronutrients needed in higher amounts during lactation include:

Vitamin D: is crucial for bone health and immune function in both mother and baby, and its deficiency can lead to issues like rickets in infants

Calcium: supports the development of the baby's bones and teeth

Iron: is essential for preventing maternal anemia and ensuring an adequate oxygen supply to both mother and child

Folate: is vital for DNA synthesis and the formation of new cells.

Meal Ideas while Breastfeeding:


Consider switching to an egg-based breakfast, with two to three eggs providing substantial protein. Opt for a savory breakfast to stabilize your blood sugar levels.

Lunch and Dinner:

Plan balanced meals with protein, fats, fribre and carbohydrates. Lean towards whole foods to ensure a well-rounded nutrition intake.

Snack Ideas:

Snacks are a great way to increase your overall calorie and macronutrient intake, and can be a very practical option for a busy parent. Single handed snacks prepared in advance, or by members of your support village can go a long way to boosting your energy levels and milks supply.  

- Hummus and chopped veggies

- Activated nuts

- Lactation Boost Smoothie

- Coconut yogurt with seeds and berries

- Hard-boiled eggs

- Nori Sheets

- Miso Soup

- Bone Broth

- Matcha, Turmeric, Chamomile Latte with collagen powder

- Bliss balls made with Lactation Boost to support blood sugar levels 

- Healthy choc chip lactation cookies made with Chocolate Lactation Boost

Blood Sugar Balance: The Hormonal Connection

Blood sugar balance is not only vital for overall health but also indirectly impacts breastfeeding.

Unstable blood sugar levels can disrupt hormonal health and energy levels, which, in turn, affect your breastfeeding and milk supply.

The Glucose Goddess Method offers a simple framework for maintaining blood sugar balance, emphasizing a balanced savory breakfast, the use of vinegar or acetic acid to reduce glucose spikes, fiber-rich veggie starters, and post-meal movement for at least 10 minutes.

Supplements: Continuing Prenatal Supplements

To ensure that your body remains in a balanced nutritional state, it's advisable to continue taking prenatal supplements throughout your breastfeeding journey. These supplements can help meet your increased nutrient demands and support both your health and your baby's development.

You can also add in Lactation Boost protein powder to help support your macronutrient intake and milk supply. 

Hydration, balanced meals, blood sugar control, and mindful caffeine consumption all play pivotal roles in ensuring a smooth and nourishing breastfeeding journey. By prioritising your nutrition, you can enhance your postpartum experience and provide your baby with the best start in life. Remember, a well-nourished mother is better equipped to nurture her child.

Remember- Nutrition is a vital aspect of successful breastfeeding.


This article was written by Holistic IBCLC and Naturopath, Joelleen Winduss-Paye. You can find out more about her and her services here. She offers face to face support in Naarm, Melbourne & Virtual consultations world wide. 

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