Mother, Daughter and Childs Daughter

Women and Newborn Health Service

Services A – Z

 
King Edward Memorial Hospital
Breastfeeding Centre of WA

Healthy eating for breastfeeding

Your body is well prepared for feeding your newborn baby. It has stored energy during the middle stages of your pregnancy ready to begin production of breast milk as soon as your baby is born. In fact you may have already noticed, in the latter part of your pregnancy, a thickish milk leaking from your breasts. Colostrum provides sustenance for your baby for the first three to five days of its life until your breast milk is in full production. The antibodies in breast milk will provide your baby with protection against any infections over the duration of breast feeding.

Breast milk alone is the best food for your baby for the first six months. Your breast milk is specifically suited to your baby’s growth needs. At the beginning of a feed your milk is lower in fat, but after you ‘let-down’ the fat content increases. Suckle on demand to ensure the maintenance of an adequate supply to meet growth needs of your baby.

The changes Special points about nutrition
  • Your body needs even more energy to produce milk than to provide nurishment to your unborn child. You may feel tired, hungry and thirsty!
  • Eat to your appetite, chosing foods of high nutritional quality. (refer to the food wheel below).
  • Drink well over the day. Eight to ten glasses of juice, milk or water would be adequate.
  • Rest whenever possible.
  • Your milk is providing the minerals needed for the development of your baby's bones and teeth.
  • You require 1200mg calcium to meet this need and maintain your own bone status.

For example:

2 1/2 cups low fat milk 875mg
1 cube cheese 260mg
1 orange 90mg
1/2 broccoli 80mg

Total 1265mg

See 'calcium pamphlet' available at KEMH.

  • Remember that your milk can carry drugs auch as alcohol and caffeine across to your baby. It is more difficult for your baby to break these down and expel them.
  • Always check with your doctor before taking medications.
  • Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake.
  • Weight loss appears to be individual. Some people are less efficient at using energy than others. Watch and adjust your meal intake accordingly.
  • For those of you losing weight quickly, eat more foods of high nutritional quality.
  • If you fail to lose or actually begin to gain weight choose foods high in nutritional quality, and limit your fat and sugar intake.
  • Maintain the fitness of your body.
  • Exercise regularly - walking, cycling, swimming are the most appropriate.

Food wheel

A pattern for daily food choices in pregnancy

Food wheel

Breads and cereals

1 serve is:

  • 1 slice bread
  • 2 large / 4 small crackers
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup cooked pasta
  • 2/3 cup breakfast cereal
  • 1/2 muffin
  • 1/2 bagel

Fruits

1 serve is:

  • average piece of whole fruit
  • a melon wedge
  • 180mls fruit juice
  • 1/2 cup berries, sliced or cooked fruit
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit

Vegetables

1 serve is:

  • 1/2 cup cooked or raw vegetables
  • 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables

Milk, cheese and yoghurt

1 serve is:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3cm cube of cheese
  • 20gram carton of yoghurt

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs

Total of 150 to 200 grams daily

Alcohol

None

Fats, sweets

Keep to a minimum

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