I'm Hungry While Feeding My Baby: Simple Foods to Eat While Breastfeeding
Your newborn baby is breastfeeding non-stop and this makes you HUNGRY, too! Besides the go-to protein bars that we find in the pantries of too many new parents, what do you WANT to eat and what SHOULD you eat? No point in getting “hangry” when food can be at your fingertips.
Here is our list of simple and nutritious foods to eat while breastfeeding:
Fruits and Vegetables
Having cut up fruits and vegetables around make for great “grab and go” snacks that are packed with nutrition and FIBER (and we all know what fiber can do). These are the heavy hitters when it comes to Potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin A and folate. According to ucsfhealth.org, nursing mothers over 19 years old need 120 mg of Vitamin C per day. Cutting up citrus fruits, cantaloupe, strawberries, kiwi and cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli and peppers makes it easier on the breastfeeding parent to grab a handful of healthy options as they go through the day.
Eggs and Meats
Rich sources of iron (a breastfeeding woman needs about 9mg of iron per day) can be found in the simplest of foods: eggs (in particular, egg yolks), meat and poultry, dried beans, dried fruit and seafood. Hard boiling eggs in at the beginning of each week (we like to do this on Sunday), peeling them and refrigerating them in a sealed container makes for an easy grab and go snack for the week. They are easily made into egg salad sandwiches or used to top your favorite greens. Pre-cooking lean red meat (i.e. steak) and chicken, then pre-slicing it, keeps life simple and food ready to be heated with a side of vegetables or to top a salad.
Cheese, Yogurt, Eggs and other Proteins
Breastfeeding parents should eat 2-3 servings of protein per day. 3-4 ounces of meat, poultry or seafood is considered one serving (think of the size of a deck of playing cards). A carton of whole milk yogurt, 1 ounce of cubed or sliced hard cheese, cottage cheese or a glass of whole milk are other simple sources of protein. Cook up some dried beans in your Instant Pot (no soak recipe here) or make a beautiful, 15 minute stir-fry with tofu to fill your belly and meet your nutritional needs. Cheese, tofu, milk, and yogurt double as much needed calcium sources.
Snacks for the breastfeeding parent are not necessarily a bad thing. We’re not talking about a good ‘ol candy bar (ok, maybe once in a while), but prepared, packaged, and convenient shelf-stable snacks. Trader Joe’s and Costco carry pre-packaged, one-serving trail mix. Loaded with nuts, dried fruit and a bit of chocolate, they make for a satisfying treat that fits right in your stash at the pumping/breastfeeding stations around your home. You can buy bulk packages and put them in your own baggies, but time is not always your friend while juggling life with your new baby. Dried fruits, grainy crackers and your favorite nuts make for easy and nutritious snacks on the fly.
Pre-made, Heat and Eat Meals
Here’s where your helpers can come in handy. Have them prep and package up some breakfast burritos, lasagna, enchiladas, meat and vegetables and other hearty, comforting, tasty foods. Add some of your favorite recipes to Pinterest and point your helpers to them for the recipes. Order groceries to be delivered and your set for some satisfying meals.
Preparing for your postpartum requires planning before your baby arrives. Stock up on freezer and pantry staples. Stash a variety of snack foods and include a bit of junk food. By having these items on hand, you and all of your helpful friends and family, can easily provide you with the foods you need while you’re busy breastfeeding your baby. . Some postpartum doulas offer stand alone meal prep services or incorporate it into their daytime service packages.
Eat up! Feed yourself to feed your baby!
You can find additional postpartum food and planning ideas here:
Sheryl Cooksley is a Certified Postpartum Doula and owner of Family Tree Doula Services. She provides nurturing, compassionate, and comprehensive day and overnight postpartum support throughout Portland, Oregon and the surrounding area. You can contact Family Tree Doula Services here.