What I Eat While Breastfeeding
Today I’m showing you what I eat in a day as a plant-based breastfeeding mom, along with what my son Caleb eats!
The number one thing I hear from breastfeeding moms is: I am hungry ALL THE TIME!
I feel ya mamas — especially in the early days of breastfeeding, the hunger is real. Breastfeeding burns an additional 500 calories per day and, combined with a lack of sleep (which can raise the hunger hormone ghrelin), most breastfeeding mamas feel like they are eating round the clock.
I’ve been asked by my fellow new breastfeeding mamas to share what my diet looks like now, so I decided to put together a “What I Eat in A Day” while breastfeeding as a plant-based mom to provide examples of my meals and snacks.
When I shot this video, my son Caleb was 13 months and down to just two breastfeeding sessions a day. Disclaimer, I’m eating a lot less than I did in the early newborn stage but I hope this video will provide some general insight about the nutrients and hydration needs of breastfeeding moms and some yummy, simple recipes ideas — all of which are appropriate for babies 6 months+.
Keep in mind that every mom’s needs are unique depending on your body, dietary pattern, and where you are in your breastfeeding journey.
What I Eat in A DAy WHile Breastfeeding
6:30 AM: I need my coffee! I usually have one cup of regular coffee and one cup decaf.
I’m often asked — can breastfeeding moms have coffee and caffeine? The answer is yes! Research shows that a moderate amount of caffeine is perfectly safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Up to 300 mg of caffeine per day has been shown to be safe for nursing moms, which is equivalent to ~2 cups.
8:00 AM: Vegan Gluten-Free Waffles topped with peanut butter and fresh berries
Caleb and I both had these for breakfast. As iron is a critical nutrient for babies to get from the diet after six months, I make a double batch and add iron-fortified baby cereal to his half. (Though the waffles are iron-rich already!)
10 AM: Fresh berries before Caleb’s nap (shared these with him).
1:00 PM: Vegan “Egg” Salad Sandwich with carrots and pineapple on the side
This “egg” salad is great for batch-prepping at the beginning of the week – it’s full of healthy fats, plant-based protein, and it’s super tasty.
Caleb had a deconstructed tofu “egg” salad sandwich with peanut butter toast on the side. You want to keep sodium as low as possible for babies, so I leave out the salt when I make this recipe for him.
3:30 PM: PBJ Baby-Led Weaning Muffins
These muffins have protein (from chickpeas and oats), healthy fat, iron, and no added sugar (just sweetened with bananas), so they’re perfect for babies!
I make these for Caleb but I end up eating them as a snack as well, usually topped with a little nut butter and extra chia jam.
The original version of this muffin uses kale to pack in some greens and vitamin C.
6:30 PM: Vegan Mac N’ Cheese with riced broccoli
This vegan Mac N’ Cheese is awesome because you can make the powder ahead of time and just mix it with water for a quick, easy meal!
I always keep a big jar of the mix in the fridge for easy weeknight dinners. As a new mom, I know how hard it is to find time to cook, so having something like this on hand is a major lifesaver when you’re totally beat from a long day taking care of baby.
7:30 PM: Green grapes. I cut Caleb’s into quarters to prevent choking. Babies should have all round esophagus-sized foods cut up until age 4.
BEDTIME TEA + ACTUAL DESSERT
8:30 PM – Vanilla decaf tea + dark chocolate from Theo
AND WATER, OF COURSE!
I ALWAYS have my water bottle on me. Breastfeeding moms need about 13 cups of water a day to support milk production so it’s important to stay hydrated – especially in the early stages.
And those are my eats for the day!
*Note – exclusively breastfed babies should take a 400 mg vitamin D supplement starting at birth and an iron supplement from 4-6 months until they begin to get enough from their diet. I encourage plant-based mamas/parents to talk to their doctor, pediatrician, or a registered dietitian specialing in pediatric plant-based nutrition about you and your child’s unique needs.
For general supplementation recommendations for plant-based babies and breastfeeding/pregnant women, check out Plant-Based Juniors’ free Supplement Guide.
Starting solids? Check out my ebook, First Bites – a comprehensive guide to starting solids with your plant-based baby using baby-led weaning.
Weigh in: What do you eat in a day while breastfeeding? What are some of your favorite plant-based meals for breastfeeding?
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