Breastfeeding Nutrition Advice from a Certified Nutritionist

Congratulations! You’ve decided to breastfeed your baby! Did you know that on average, lactating women need an extra 500 calories per day? Although it may sound tempting, donuts and soda are not the recommended way to get the extra calories you need!! As a certified nutritionist, I’m going to give you all the breastfeeding nutrition tips you need to keep you and your baby healthy during this special bonding time!

While motherhood is an exciting journey, you may find yourself using Google and/or Pinterest to prepare yourself for the anticipated 4th trimester. It’s frustrating to see some of the misinformation that’s floating around on the internet. As a nutritionist, I often find articles that lead breastfeeding women to incorrect nutritional advice. Please be sure you are gathering information and knowledge from a reputable source!

As the Mommy Nutritionist I aim to be as helpful as possible and educate mamas with information that is crucial to their well-being as well as for their newborn. Here are a few tips to consider to make your fourth trimester enjoyable, comfortable, and hopefully free of ailments!

Staying hydrated is crucial to a nursing mama’s health! 

An easy way to stay consistently hydrated is to invest in a reusable water bottle. Make it a point to ensure it’s always with you and always filled up. You should be drinking to thirst which means regularly consuming water throughout the day, before ever becoming thirsty! It’s common to experience thirst during the act of breastfeeding your baby. Keep your water bottle within arms reach when baby is hungry!

If you’re not a huge water lover, try adding a slice of citrus or a few pieces of fruit for some flavor.

What nutrients are key during breastfeeding?

best foods for breastfeeding nutrition

Obtaining key nutrients such as omega-3, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin A, and vitamin D to avoid deficiency are important. Without proper nutrition mama and/or her newborn could face a deficiency or reduction in milk supply. Consider supplementing if you do not get adequate amounts of these vitamins through your diet. Taking a quality cod-liver oil supplement will give you proper omega-3, vitamin A and D! Eating foods daily from the shopping list below will also help fill your body with adequate breastfeeding nutrition!

If you’re feeling tired, unusually sad, in pain or just aren’t feeling generally well, don’t hesitate to call your doctor, nutritionist and/or breastfeeding consultant.

Is it true that what breastfeeding moms eat, baby eats too?

University of Florida researcher Linda Bartoshuk found that what mama eats builds baby’s palate, so eating fruits and vegetables will prepare your baby to eat and like these foods when they start solids. Whether you are breastfeeding or not, it’s a good idea to include the rainbow in your diet! Your body and your baby will benefit from it.

Should I eat allergy prone foods while breastfeeding?

Yes! Eating foods that top allergy lists (as long as you aren’t allergic) during pregnancy and while breastfeeding helps decrease the chances of baby obtaining allergies to these foods. Foods in this category include: peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, eggs, wheat, fish, dairy and soy. If you enjoy these foods, work each of these categories into your diet a few times each week to support your breastfeeding nutrition needs.

How many calories does a nursing mother need?

beautiful mother breastfeeding her baby

Research shows that breastfeeding moms need an 1800 kcal diet! This number rises to 2400 kcal if you are including exercise in your regimen. This helps to ensure that you are able to maintain a proper breast milk supply. Here are some yummy lactation recipes to boost and maintain your milk supply.

Whole foods are the best source of vitamins and nutrients.

Getting adequate vitamins and nutrients from whole foods is CRUCIAL to help your body heal from the birthing process. Whether you experienced a natural birth or a c-section, unprocessed foods are a great choice. Healthy whole foods will also help by making sure you are obtaining the nutrients you need to support breastfeeding and to avoid any mental health issues. It’s possible that postpartum depression can arise from nutrdeficiencies.

What should I stock my pantry with for proper breastfeeding nutrition?

It’s a great idea to plan a shopping trip to stock your kitchen shortly before your new baby arrives. It’s likely you won’t want to be running to the store with a new baby. This is a fantastic way to make sure you have all the foods on hand right away to get the nutrition you need. Added bonus: eating right will help you lose pregnancy weight!

This should also be your go-to list for the entire duration of your breastfeeding journey. All of the items on this list will help you fulfill your nutritional requirements during breastfeeding:

Pro Tip: Freeze items to make sure they stay fresh long enough for you to enjoy. Just cut into bite-sized pieces and store in a reusable container or baggie. Thaw when you’re ready to eat!

So there it is—7 tips to help you on your breastfeeding nutrition journey. We hope these suggestions are simple enough to remember, and hope this is helpful when it comes to planning and preparing for your new bundle of joy. 

If you have any questions regarding postpartum and/or breastfeeding nutrition, feel free to email me at You don’t have to do this alone!

For more nutritional advice, check out my other recent article: Best Travel Snacks for Babies & Toddlers


  1. Amber Arehart

    October 29, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    Remember that all the legumes and fruits and veggies can also be added into the protein section. Being that they all have plenty of protein in then to sustain a bf mama. And cow milk is never necessary being that we are not baby cows. Other than that thanks for all the tips. And smashing the myths. Eat on mama.

  2. Judi Greenhill

    July 2, 2019 at 11:58 am

    Thank you for such an important article! I especially loved the tip about allergy prone foods.

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