Healthy eating for breastfeeding
A healthy, varied and balanced diet will help you and your baby thrive during breastfeeding.
Vitamins and food
Knowing what to eat, how much to eat, what vitamins to take and what to avoid is very important. Whatever goes into your body will also go into your baby's.
A supplement containing 10 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin D each day is recommended.
As part of a healthy diet you should try and eat the following foods:
- at least five portions of a variety of fruits and vegetables each day
- starchy foods such as bread and potatoes
- wholemeal bread, pasta and breakfast cereals, which all contain plenty of fibre
- protein-rich foods such as lean meat and chicken, pulses, eggs and most fish (see below)
- dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt
While you are breastfeeding you should avoid:
- more than one portion of shark, swordfish or marlin each week
- more than two portions of oily fish such as mackerel, sardines, trout and fresh tuna each week (tinned tuna does not qualify as oily fish)
- any significant weight loss
There's lots of information on healthy eating in the book 'Birth to Five', available, free, from your doctor, midwife or health visitor.
Drinks containing caffeine can unsettle your baby, so keep your intake of tea, coffee and cola drinks low.
Consuming alcohol in large amounts will affect your baby - so try to limit your intake, drink only occasionally and avoid drinking before you feed your baby.