Breastfeeding Diet: What to Eat? Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding

A breastfeeding diet after childbirth should be varied and balanced, like at the end of pregnancy but, preferably, with an increased amount of dairy products: 3-4 cups of milk per day, including kefir or yogurt.

Lactating mothers’ needs for additional food increase depending on the amount of breast milk secreted by their mammary glands. However, these are the basic recommendations on what to eat and drink while breastfeeding. A breastfeeding diet is still widely discussed in the communities, but generally, specialists give recommendations on the diet, that are related to healthy eating plans of adult people with some corrections.

General Tips on Breastfeeding Diet

There are main recommendations for dieting while breastfeeding to increase lactation in the first month: to drink enough fluid (about 2 liters per day). Maintaining the drinking regime of a nursing mother is extremely important for complete lactation. She should drink not less than 1000 ml of liquid in addition to the usual volume (in the form of milk, juices, beverages, vegetable broth, herbal teas, fruit drinks, infusions, weak tea, etc.).


During lactation, put beside you a glass of water to quench your thirst and eliminate the feeling of dryness in the mouth. It should be noted that it is forbidden to add large quantities of liquid to the diet of lactating mothers immediately after childbirth. So, the number of fluids you drink (including a first course, fruit, and vegetables) should be limited to 1000 ml before the beginning of lactation, during the production of colostrums.

Otherwise, with the beginning of lactation, which normally happens in 2-4 days after childbirth, the amount of milk may be excessive, challenging its separation; lactostasis may develop as a result (stagnation of milk in the ducts of the mammary glands).

General tips on breastfeeding and more: Breastfeeding: Don’t Believe the Rumors!

Lactation Problems

More often, the child receives less or is completely deprived of milk because of the lack of its production. In order to prevent this, the nutrition of lactating mother should be correct and complete in the first days after childbirth and the first month, and in the second month and onwards, as well as a lactating mother, should relax fully.


The mammary glands of healthy lactating mothers form and secrete on an average 800-1200 ml of milk per day. Therefore, the caloric value of the daily diet of the lactating mother should be increased by 700-1000 calories. An approximate daily set of products of a lactating mother should contain 200 g of meat, poultry, or fish, 20-30 g of cheese, 100-150 g of cottage cheese, 1 egg, 50 g of butter, 1 liter of milk in any form, 200-300 g of fruits, 500-600 g of vegetables, including potatoes not more than 15%. The total caloric intake of lactating mothers’ diet – is 3200-3500 kcal (see the list of products for lactating mothers in table № 1, 2).

List of Products to Consume Daily

Table 1: A sample list of products for lactating mothers per day, the menu for lactating mothers.

Product nameAmount,
Fats, gCarbohydrates,
Energy value,
Meat products12016,29,2147,6
Cottage cheese (low-fat)17023,80,815,4112,5
Kefir, fermented baked milk2006,76,77,4124,0
Dairy butter300,1223,540,15220,2
Sour cream501,014,01,5142,58
Oil vegetative3532,48270,2
Rye bread1007,01,045,0223,0
Wheat bread1007,11,047,5230,0
Flour products
(bun, cookies, etc.)
Groats and pasta products607,441,540,0208,0
bulb onions350,953,516,1
Fruits, berries
or fruit juice
Total …122,91114,05419,253121,58

Basic Elements your Body Needs for Nursing

Table 2: The lactating mother’s need for basic nutrients.

Proteins, g120
Including animal proteins72
Fats, g113
including vegetable fats34
А, МЕ8250
В1, mg3
В2, mg3,5
B6, mg4
С, mg120
РР, mg25
Mineral substances:
Са, mg1900
Р, mg3800
Мg, mg1250

Nutrition of lactating mothers (breastfeeding diet) should include fruits and vegetables – they are a source of vitamins and minerals, as well as products such as potatoes, bread, cereals, and rich in vitamins B. Eat fruits in each meal. Green vegetables should fill about a quarter of the lactating mother’s menu. During the first two weeks of breastfeeding, you should come up with a breastfeeding diet plan.


It’s advisable to use a lot of vegetables and salads in the diet of a lactating mother, as in the first days after childbirth and the first month, so in the second month. At any time, there is a certain selection of fresh greens. In addition, frozen vegetables are available all year round.

Canned vegetables and fruits should be discarded, because canned food is dangerous for a lactating mother’s feed and, therefore, for a newborn baby. Fruits should be introduced gradually to the diet of lactating mothers. It is undesirable to prepare the fruit salad of several new fruits, not previously used in the food of a breastfeeding mother because, in the case of a child’s allergies, you can’t determine what kind of fruit has caused it.

First of all, try each fruit separately at intervals of a few days and observe the reaction of the child. If the child is all right, you can experiment safely. The same applies to foods of breastfeeding diet and vegetable dishes. Attention should be paid to the method of cooking. It is desirable for food to be not subjected to prolonged heat treatment. Try to keep the food not very oily, and avoid spicy and smoked food.

The preference in the breastfeeding diet of the nursing mother (as in the first days after childbirth and the first month, and in the second month) should be given to digestible foods: eggs, fish, and meat as sources of complete protein.

The need for proteins should present in 60-70% due to animal protein, 1/5 part of fats – due to vegetable oils. The menu for breastfeeding mothers should include buckwheat and oatmeal porridges, berries, juices, and compotes. It is necessary to avoid sharp flavorings and spices. For nursing mothers, it’s better not to eat garlic, horseradish, because they can cause an unpleasant taste in milk. Don’t be afraid of eating fresh and pickled vegetables as well as fruits and berries, allegedly because of that, the child’s digestion will be disrupted.

It’s advisable for the nursing mother to eat 5-6 times a day before each child’s feeding.

You have to understand that the eating plan of the nursing mother should be divided into 5-6 meals – it means that you should eat often, but little by little. Firstly, it facilitates better digestibility. Secondly, it promotes the formation of high-grade milk.

A nursing mother needs good rest, walking in the fresh air for 2-3 hours a day. Family members should take care of the nursing woman and give her the possibility to sleep at least 8 hours at night and make her able to sleep during the day for 1-2 hours. Mild physical work and exercises are useful.

It is essential that you minimize the consumption of the pollutants like alcohol and smoke.

Read more here: Alcohol and Breastfeeding: How Much Can You Drink?

The Simple Menu of Breastfeeding Mother

Daily breastfeeding diet plan

6.00 – yogurt



  • Milky rice porridge
  • Bread with butter and cheese
  • A tea

Second Breakfast

  • An apple
  • A tea


  • Salad of carrots, cranberries, and dried apricots with vegetable oil
  • Soup with fresh cabbage
  • Casserole with stew and potato
  • Compote of dried fruits
  • Bread


  • Apple juice, 1
  • Cookie (biscuit)


  • Salad of cucumber and greens with vegetable oil
  • Boiled fish in milk sauce with vegetable ragout
  • Tea with milk
  • Bread