What Is Considered "Healthy Eating" While Breastfeeding?

Updated on June 08, 2008
T.M. asks from Dayton, OH
16 answers

I had my daughter in Mar and I am now back to work. I am in the military so of course, they are going to start looking for me to lose weight. I gained 75lbs during my pregnancy. I will admit, I wasn't looking pregnant so I decided to over eat so that weight will pick up on my belly to look pregnant. Of course it went mostly to my hips and thighs ;o(!!! Don't worry too much, I have lost 47 of those pounds so far!! I want to go beyond losing my pre-pregnancy weight; I want to look and feel good!!!

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone can give me an example of what to eat to get myself back into shape and lose more than my pre-pregnancy weight. I would like some advice on what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for weight-loss and for my daughter so I can continue to breastfeed. If I eat green vegetables, my daughter will suffer with gas all night. If I eat too much dairy, which I am trying to watch because I don't want her to be allergic in the future, will cause her to have gas as well.

I want to eat healthy but I want her to be a happy baby and sleep through the night. I sometimes wake up to a gasy baby, punching/kicking me with her little balled-up fists and feet! I am starting a work-out regiment so that I can help the process, but I don't want my milk to dry out, if that's possible!?

Please give me some advice; my mind is open to your ideas!

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So What Happened?

Thank you ladies for the quick responses. I have read your advice and I will take all of it and apply it with care for my daughter and I. You guys are wonderful! I will go and buy fruit now...I was a bit scared at first. I will walk with my daughter, since it's nice out, everyday, as well as walk around the track during our training time for work, 3 times a week. Last but not least...continue to drink plenty of water. God bless you all!

More Answers



answers from Indianapolis on

Eat every 2 1/2 -3 hours and eat protein and/or fruit or vegetable. i.e. and apple and a handful of nuts, cottage cheese and blueberries, carrots or cauliflower and string cheese. This will boost metabolism, eliminate hunger and overeating issues and keep down sugar cravings. This will keep your protein, fats & carbs in balance and get you plenty of fiber, too.

There are also herbs that help lactation.



answers from Columbus on

Hi T., I gained 40 pounds and lost 65 by joining Weight Watchers. Additionally, you can find healthy meals at meal prep stores such as Touch of Gourmet. www.touchofgourmet.net These meals are designed by a nutritionist who does a great job of sparking interesting flavors with nothing overbearing. Most meals cost $3-$5 a serving, with great package savings when you order more than 6 meals at a time. You can sign up online to reserve meals you want to make or have them ready for you to pick up to take home, freeze, and cook throughout the month. As a gift to new moms, you don't pay a service fee to have the meals made for you. Just enter STORK in the promo code during your online checkout. Questions? Call L. at ###-###-####. Enjoy your little bundle of joy!!


answers from South Bend on

Hi T..
Well, I am no expert, but I guess most of us aren't; we're just speaking from personal experience. :)
I am currently a breastfeeding Mom of a 5 mo. old boy. I have heard or read that you shouldn't try to diet while breastfeeding. Personally, I find that my appetite is still bigger than normal (before I was pregnant) & I eat a lot! But I am still losing weight. For breakfast I eat 2 eggs w/ shredded cheese, whole grain cereal or oatmeal w/ milk & a glass of water & o.j. For lunch it's usually leftovers from dinner (right now I am eating lunch & it's chicken stir fry w/ veggies & rice & a big glass of water). A lot of times I get hungry for a snack in the afternoon & that can be most anything that we have around (yesterday it was cheese & crackers). Dinner is a range of things, but I try to make it a balanced meal. All throughout the day I drink water. They say you need twice the recommended daily amount while breastfeeding. Makes sense if you think of it as your daily amount plus your baby's.
I eat all this & I am only a couple of pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. I think it will easily go back to that or less once I am through with breastfeeding.
I can't relate to my baby being gassy from the foods I eat though. Well, at least I haven't made the connection if it does.
Oh, I walk almost daily too. Just a half hour pushing a 20 lb. baby in his stroller! It's a good work out & always nice to get outside.
Well, I hope this helps, & chances are, you will probably keep losing weight without trying too hard!



answers from Evansville on

T., hi. The main thing is to get enough calories and water to drink. I would eat oatmeal for breakfast. You can try Dairy Ease milk to drink. I am severly lactose intolerant and it tastes like regular milk. i would eat peanuts or peanut butter on wheat for a snack. Or you can eat fruit and low fat yogurt, hard cheese with crackers, ect. Then eat a low fat lunch and dinner. Broccoli, salad, things that give you gas, will give your baby gas. Try different veggies, low fat fruits, and chicken and fish. Eat 6 small meals a day and you will be great. I lost all my baby weight and 30 extra pounds after my baby by eating like this. By the way oatmeal increases milk supply so that's a plus! Good luck! J. (Mom of 3) and breastfeeding peer counselor for 3 yrs.



answers from Indianapolis on

You can definately exercise while breastfeeding. If you do too much too soon it can affect your milk supply. But in reality most women do not come close to that. You can safely do 30 minutes a day to start and then gradually increase it each week if you want. Now if you get to the point of exercising several hours a day then yes, you'll probably have a problem. :-)

I've breastfed all my kids and exercise quite a bit and never had a problem. My youngest is 9 months and this past winter I was playing ice hockey 2-3 times a week plus doing strength training 4-5 days a week. Hockey season ended a month ago so now I'm playing soccer 3-4 times a week, going on almost daily bike rides with the kids (baby bike trailers are a great invention!), and I recently started running a few days a week.

As for eating, just do a regular healthy diet with a variety of foods. Everything in moderation. There's no link between what you eat when breastfeeding and your baby developing an allergy to it (studies just came out a few months ago confirming). I drink alot of milk when breastfeeding (you need extra calcium when nursing) and no food allergies here.




answers from Columbus on

I am still nursing my 13 month old twice/day. I gained I think 60 while pregnancy and am below my pre-pregnancy weight.

The trick for me was exercise (light exercise, I walked and so light yoga) once I was able to a certain extent - remember we are burning a LOT of calories with the breastfeeding.

Hydration is right - that's the big key.

AND remember, cutting calories or adding them in, is NOT a huge change in our diets. When my doctor told me to increas by 300-500 calories while pregnant, I just ate evertyhign I wanted all the time. What I didn't realize until she told me I was WAY over was that a cup of apple juice or milk is an easy 110 calories right there.

My point is: even the extra calories we are instructed to eat while breastfeeding are not a lot over what we might normally consume.

My milk only dropped a bit when I stopped drinking water like a fish. Drink more water, I got more milk. (and for stress I took some fenugreek - at least psychologically I felt liek I was getting more milk until i started realizing it was water I needed)

*OH AND STRESS* It's a ridiculous situation, stress reduces milk supply, AND reduced milk supply causes us stress. Bad cycle to get in to.

I am sorry about the gas! For me, I was too lazy about burping her and that's where my kids gas came from. I ate peanut butter, milk, onions etc all the way through my pregnancy and still because there are no allergies in my family to that so I wasn't worried about passing it on.

Anyway, that's my story :)

I was 164 when I came home from the hospital and I'm 104 now and still breastfeeding but not dieting.

(I eat for my blood type - have you heard of that? I like it because it's not a diet... just helps me be healthy)



answers from Indianapolis on

You should be eating a normal diet (without dieting) plus one extra half-meal like a turkey sandwich or bowl of soup. As long as you stay hydrated, your body will produce milk for your baby. Don't eat junk and you will lose weight. If you want to count calories, aim for 2000 unless the military has you doing a lot of strenuous exercising. Nuts are a fantastic snack for pregnancy and bfing.
Good luck!



answers from Columbus on

hi! i breastfeed by daughter (now 20 months) for a year & i fully understand the baby with gas stuff & not sleeping through the night. all i can suggest is that exercising did not reduce my milk production; i actually think that is sort of a 'myth' of breastfeeding (that you will lose milk if you start exercising). i'm not such a good help with the type of food to eat; i know i ate a lot of carbs & fruit when breastfeeding. i gained about 50 pounds during the pregnancy & was able to lose about 48 pounds before conceiving again. it seemed that as long as i was still eating enough calories, my body still produced enough milk to satisfy my (very well fed) daughter. good luck!
sounds like you are an amazing mom & woman to have all of this on your plate (mom, breastfeeding, working, & exercising!). amazing!



answers from Dayton on

I think focussing on healthy exercise rather than "dieting" while breastfeeding would be wise. Also, just the act of breastfeeding will help you lose weight.

Here is some info about what to eat, etc. that might help:

I'm also breastfeeding, and I usually have plain yogurt (sometimes with whey protiene powder) and granola and fruit for breakfast, and that gives me a good start to the day.

You also might try to find a La Leche League meeting nearby. To find one, go here:

Also, I like this tea that helps keep milk supply: http://www.traditionalmedicinals.com/?id=30&pid=79

Good luck, and good for you, for taking care of yourself and your baby!



answers from Indianapolis on

You are right to be concerned about your milk drying up. If you diet and/or exercise too heavily, it can happen. It's best to consult you OB for ideas on how much you can do. Keep up the breastfeeding, it's well worth it!



answers from Cleveland on

When I was breastfeeding and talked to my doctor about a healthy diet, he basically recommended eating the same healthy foods that you would before you were pregnant. Lean meats like chicken, lots of fruits and veggies. You should eat when you are hungry and eat normal sized portions and don't forget to drink lots of water! I exercised throughout my preganancy and while breastfeeding and had no problems drying up. Pay attention to your what your body says...eat when you are hungry and don't over-exhaust yourself while excercising.

Good luck and enjoy your little one!



answers from Columbus on

When I was nursing I was also not able to eat green vegies and a lot of dairy b/c of my son being gassy. My diet consisted of a lot of fruits and proteins. All the carbs I ate were whole wheat. For example, for brkfst I ate a pancake that I made out of whole grain oats, eggs, blueberries, vanilla flavor and a bit of cinnamon. A great energy booster and filling. For lunch I would eat different types of lettuce w/some type of protein. Sometimes grilled chicken strips or tuna or something and tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, etc. And some interesting salad dressing on the side like: honey mustard. For dinner (for example) I would eat whole wheat pasta w/turkey meatballs and a little bit tomato sauce. I learned to eat right when I read: "Body For Life" by Bill Philips. It's a great book that offers a very balanced diet. The recipes are interchangeable and it is easy to substitute the green vegies w/zucchini, etc. and to cut out the dairy. He does recommend protein drinks but when I took those to my Dr., she told me to just stick w/regular food b/c protein drinks are not FDA approved so manufacturers don't have to disclose harmful ingredients. I hope this helps. By the way: Now that my son is older, I realized that when he is completely off dairy, he sleeps through the night b/c he does not have gas anymore at all. Just a little tip b/c it took me forever to figure this one out. I would have had a lot less sleepless nights if I had known. You may want to consider to cut out dairy completely and see if your daughter will do considerably better during the night.



answers from Evansville on

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answers from Columbus on

I just finished weining my first baby, so I'm not exactly experienced but I can share with you my experience. I exercised once I could following delivery and I didn't have any issues with my milk drying up. I think maybe the reason some people have that issue is because you are sweating and losing hydration and if you aren't replacing that water loss you will have trouble with your milk supply. Just drink A LOT of water and you should be fine. It is amazing how directly related your milk supple and your fluid intake are! Even if you aren't exercising it could be affected by low fluid intake. I was also amazed at how many calories you burn just by breast feeding alone. The main rule I followed was to eat "good" food, not junk food and just eat when I was hungry....which I found to be very often. :) I didn't follow a specific diet or necessarily count calories. I just made sure I was eating fairly balanced and then just ate when I was hungry (and tried to stop when I was full!) Also, I had to keep reminding myself that it wouldn't happen over night. I had this goal that I would be back down to pre-baby weight in 4-5 months. That didn't happen but it did happen in about 10-11 months. I just had to be patient. I also recommend a weight workout as well as cardio. That made me feel better because I was getting muscle tone and felt firmer.

Good Luck.



answers from Indianapolis on

Congratulations on your new joy! Although my youngest son will turn 12 in October, I started a new exercise and meal plan the week before Thanksgiving. I eat a healthy breakfast of either oatmeal, whole grain bagels w/ a little cream cheese, a glass of 2% milk and maybe a turkey sausage & an egg white. Variety really helps you stick to your plan! For lunch I have a salad with light dressing and tuna, turkey, or chicken breast. Add chopped apples, sunflower seeds, lowfat cheese, walnuts, boiled eggs or other healthy additions as you wish. For dinner try lots of steamed or grilled veggies (taste great when prepared w/ chicken broth), grilled chicken or fish, or whole grain pasta. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER DURING THE DAY! If you get really hungry during the day, keep healthy snacks. The more protein you eat, the better success you'll have with your milk flow. NOW HERE IS WHAT NAILED THE WEIGH LOSS FOR ME: On November 16, 2007 I started walking. The first day I walked three miles, the next day, four miles, after that five miles. I now walk (approximately 4.5 mph) four days a week. I find that this is a true testament to losing my weight. On Nov. 16 I was weighing 164 lbs (I'm 5'7") and wearing a size 14. In two months I had lost 15 pounds. I now maintain a healthy 144 lbs. and I wore a size 4 skirt to work yesterday! WALK, WALK, WALK. Since you're in the military, I'm sure a good workout is no stranger to you. :-) Good luck! Take care of yourself and that beautiful daughter.



answers from Columbus on

When I was losing the baby weight and breastfeeding, the most important thing I found was to drink lots of water. Milk is, obviously, mostly water, so that's what kept my production up!

For gassy babies, I found that it helped to bicycle her legs in the air and let her stretch out (being in the carseat didn't help!)

Good luck!

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