What can/can’t you eat while breastfeeding?

It is important for everyone to eat a varied and healthy diet. But if you are breastfeeding, this is even more important, because only then will the baby get all the nutrients it desperately needs for development. But what is healthy and varied and what advice does the Nutrition Center give about this? What supplement do you and your baby need? What can/can’t you eat and drink while breastfeeding? What stimulates breastfeeding?

What is healthy and varied?

In the table below you can see the advice given by the Nutrition Center.

Nutrient

Quantity

Bread

7 to 8 slices, mainly whole wheat

Rice/pasta/potatoes/legumes

5 spoons (250 gr)/5 pieces

Vegetables

4 spoons (200 g)

Fruit

3 pieces (300 g)

Dairy

Dairy products 450 milliliters and 1.5 slices of cheese (30 gr)

Meat/fish/egg/meat substitutes

100 to 125 gr

Margarine <40% fat

35 to 40 gr

Oil/frying/frying products

1 spoon

Drink

2 to 2.5 liters

But healthy eating alone usually won’t cut it if you’re breastfeeding. For the development and growth of your child, you need more of all nutrients than normal. And you just can’t get it from your daily diet. It is therefore wise to take a supplement in the form of a nutritional supplement (pills or effervescent tablets). These can be obtained from a drugstore or from your own pharmacy.

Supplement for the baby

If you do go to the pharmacy, take a bottle of vitamin K and a bottle of vitamin D with you. These are not for you, but for the baby. In the first six months your baby does not need any other food, then breastfeeding is sufficient, as breast milk contains almost everything the baby needs. The additional vitamin D is for strong bones and teeth. Your baby needs 300 micrograms of this, or 10 drops, until the age of four. The additional vitamin K is for good blood clotting. The baby needs 150 micrograms (5 drops) daily from day eight to three months after birth. This vitamin K is no longer necessary if breastfeeding and bottle feeding/formula feeding are combined (if the baby receives more than 500 milliliters of formula). These vitamins are already included in the formula.

Your own nutrition during breastfeeding

But what should you pay attention to when it comes to your own eating habits during breastfeeding? Compared to pregnancy, it can be a relief, because you can eat everything you want again. Do not diet if you are breastfeeding, because then you will miss out on nutrients. And so does your baby. When you breastfeed, the pounds generally come off quickly enough, so don’t diet! Your diet does not influence the extent to which your baby experiences cramps. Cramps are a consequence of the development of the intestines, so your diet has no influence, as was previously thought. The cramps generally disappear after three months. However, there are a number of nutrients that you should not consume too much, for example oily fish (because of harmful dioxins). The same goes for certain herbs (aloe, senna, kava kava, fennel and anise). For fennel and anise, a little would be good for breastfeeding (calming effect in the intestines and a slight increase in milk production), but too much of these herbs would have an adverse effect (cramps and reduction in milk production).

Drinking while breastfeeding

It is always important to drink enough, but especially when you are breastfeeding. Good drinks to drink are always: milk, tea (without caffeine) and water. Also drink plenty of dairy products, as they contain calcium and that is good for the development of the baby (including his/her bones). The advice from the Nutrition Center is 450 milliliters of milk or another milk product per day. This is equivalent to two cups of (butterm)milk or yoghurt. It is not good to drink (too much) alcohol while breastfeeding. Because alcohol reaches the baby through breast milk. It is impossible to predict what too much alcohol is, this can be different for each woman’s body. The best thing you can do is leave the alcohol in the cupboard for a while. If you would like to drink something, drink immediately after breastfeeding. Then wait three hours before feeding, because the alcohol has been broken down in the body. The advice is not to drink too much coffee, tea or cola. It contains caffeine and this substance can cause your baby to become restless. If you are breastfeeding, it is better not to consume more than 100 milligrams of caffeine per day. That’s about one cup of coffee, two cups of black tea or five glasses of cola.

What actually works well?

Just as there are no truly harmful foods, it has also not been proven that some nutrients would actually have a positive effect in combination with breastfeeding. But in practice the following stimulating nutrients are mentioned: anise, fennel, cashew nuts, almond paste, pineapple, papaya, bean sprouts, brown beer and oats. In addition, a number of other special names of nutrients: katjang kuning, katjang hijau, mochi, fenugreek, sano tea no. 14, angus cactus, herbal galactagogues and lactaflow.

Other lifestyle habits

Make sure you don’t smoke while breastfeeding. Harmful substances (nicotine) end up in the baby through breastfeeding. If you smoke you also produce less milk. It also happens that babies born to smoking mothers who are breastfeeding cry a lot or suffer from intestinal cramps. If you use medication while breastfeeding, consult your doctor/lactation consultant. Most medications can be combined well with breastfeeding.

read more

  • Bottle feeding vs. Breastfeeding
  • At the table! Eating problems in toddlers
  • Swaddling (method for crying babies)
  • Storing and warming breast milk
  • Smoking, passive smoking and smoking before, during and after pregnancy