The Ins and Outs of Nutrition & Breastfeeding

May 25, 2023

Every stage of reproduction from prenatal to postpartum comes with nutrition implications for Moms, and when breastfeeding there’s more!

If you choose to breastfeed your baby there are other nutrition and health implications to be aware of. The decision to breastfeed is not an easy choice to make, but there are numerous health benefits to you and your baby that you can expect if you do. Babies will have reduced risk of infectious disease, reduced risk of asthma, obesity, diabetes, and crohn’s, and will promote mom and baby bonding. Mothers will have a reduced risk of breast and ovary cancer, reduced bleeding after childbirth, aids in weight loss post pregnancy, and reduces risk of diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

And that’s just to name a few! 

So with that being said, for the Moms that choose to breastfeed – what else should you keep in mind during your postpartum time?

  • Energy needs. During pregnancy your energy needs increase slightly – and during breastfeeding they also stay slightly elevated. An additional meal or snack per day, is about the amount you need to reach your needs. At the 1 year mark, as you have probably almost completely weaned your baby, is when your energy needs are going to reduce. Seeing a Dietitian during this time is a great resource for managing energy needs, and/or using a tracking app to help keep you balanced – eating what you need, not more or less.
  • Vitamins and Minerals. The important part of every stage of reproduction. After pregnancy, is a time to replenish your stores, whether breastfeeding or not. But in postpartum with breastfeeding, it’s important to think about replenishing your stores as well as the nutrients that will get passed to your baby such as vitamin D, vitamin B12, and iodine. More specifics to come on this in future posts, including food sources!
  • Stay hydrated. You will get thirsty while breastfeeding. And especially during the warmer months of the year, it’s imperative to be aware of your hydration levels both for your ability to breastfeed, as well as for your energy levels. Keep a water bottle handy, try using one that is insulated so the water stays at a temperature you like. Also sugar-free homemade popsicles or a nice fruit salad can be hydrating too! 
  • Physical activity. There is no reason why you should not be able to resume an exercise routine after your baby is born, even if you are breastfeeding. Starting with simple low intensity exercise, like taking walks or a stretch routine. Just as with pregnancy, be sure to choose postpartum safe exercises and speak to your doctor before starting any intense exercise routine.

Bonus: What to know about Nutrition & Milk Production 

Important health factors to keep in mind during the breastfeeding process:

Supply of breast milk is determined by the needs of the baby. The baby’s needs, in turn, are determined by the baby’s age and weight, and their health and nutrition status. Mother’s may experience low milk production from issues such as illness or fatigue. They may see slow milk flow if they are stressed or anxious. Milk may also be affected by the infant. If the baby has increased energy needs, or a low net consumption due to conditions such as malabsorption from allergies or gut issues, or low general consumption from incomplete emptying or being fatigued. 

There is a lot to manage when it comes to breastfeeding, and it’s a good idea to seek support from a Dietitian and a Lactation Consultant to guide you during this time. To learn more about what Dining With Nature offers – take a look at our Services page.