Diet & Vitamins

Most women’s bodies are very efficient at making breast milk, which provides all the nutrients a baby needs for healthy development in the first months of life, so you don’t need to eat for two. Whilst it is important for you and your baby that you eat a healthy balanced diet, this does not need to be expensive as breastfeeding does not require you to eat or avoid any specific foods.

It can be difficult to find the time to eat properly when you’re looking after a young baby so you might find these hints helpful:

  • Keep meals simple so they don’t take too long to prepare
  • Have a couple of simple snacks prepared in the fridge
  • Make eating regularly a high priority
  • Try eating smaller meals more frequently

Vitamins

While you’re breastfeeding you should take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin D. You should be able to get all the other vitamins and minerals you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. If you are unsure then please speak to your Midwife, Health Visitor or GP for more advice.

If you receive Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance, you’re entitled to some free vitamin supplements from maternity and child health clinics as part of Healthy Start. Click here to find out more.

Breastfeeding and weight

If you try and eat a healthy balanced diet, limit the amount of fat and sugar you eat, and keep physically active, this will help you to lose any extra weight you put on during pregnancy.

It’s not a good idea to try to lose weight while you’re breastfeeding because you need to keep your energy levels up as looking after a new baby can be very tiring and you might miss out on the nutrients that you and your baby need.

The good news is that women can burn up to 500 extra calories a day whilst breastfeeding because the extra fat laid down in pregnancy is used to make breast milk, so breastfeeding will help you get back to your pre pregnancy weight more quickly!