Nutrition Tips for Breastfeeding Moms – How Much and Which Foods to Eat

Industry: Healthcare

Intermountain Health gives new mom's suggestions to help them succeed at breastfeeding and provide their baby with enough nourishment to thrive.

Salt Lake City, UT (PRUnderground) February 13th, 2023

New moms might be surprised to know they need to consume more calories, eat more protein and stay well hydrated to help them succeed at breastfeeding and provide their baby with enough nourishment to thrive.

In the first few weeks postpartum, moms are still recovering from childbirth and are probably not getting enough uninterrupted sleep. Studies show it’s especially important for breastfeeding moms to take care of themselves by staying well hydrated and eating more protein and enough calories, while their bodies are working to produce enough milk for their baby.

Recommended calories per day for breastfeeding moms

“The recommended calories per day for breastfeeding moms is about 300 calories more than for all women. That’s roughly the equivalent of a healthy snack,” said Jennifer Wilke, a registered dietitian and a clinical nutrition manager of outpatient services at Intermountain Health.

“To make that snack extra healthy, it should include a variety of protein, carbs, and fat. I recommend a breastfeeding mom eat a varied diet that contains foods packed with nutrients and avoid eating ‘empty’ calories.

Examples of power foods

Wilke recommends breastfeeding moms try to eat a variety of fresh vegetable and fruits in a variety of colors, such as dark leafy greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, strawberries, and blueberries.

Increase water intake

“Breastfeeding moms should drink to thirst or about 25 percent more than the usual eight cups per day, so at least 10 cups per day to provide good hydration and support milk production. Have a glass of water and a healthy snack that contains protein almost every time you breastfeed. And don’t drink alcohol while breastfeeding. It stays in a woman’s system for a long time,” said Wilke.

Foods that help increase milk production

Wilke recommends breastfeeding moms eat these foods to help increase milk production or add supplements to their diet.

  1. Oats
  2. Omega 3 fatty-acids rich foods (chia seeds, flax seeds, fish oil, fatty fish like salmon, tuna or eggs high amount of omega 3’s)

Supplements that can help increase milk production

  1. Brewer’s yeast
  2. Nutritional yeast supplements
  3. Milk thistle
  4. Goat’s rue

“Start by eating healthy foods and add supplements if needed. If women are concerned they’re not producing enough milk, a lactation consultant can help them know how to increase their milk supply,” said Wilke.

Shedding pre-pregnancy weight

Some women may be concerned about shedding their pre-pregnancy weight. Most women will not lose all of their pre-pregnancy weight when breastfeeding, but breastfeeding does help the uterus contract back to its pre-pregnancy size. Set realistic expectations for weight loss. That last bit of weight may not come off until baby is weaned. This is due to the weight in the breasts and the extra body weight and fluid needed to support breastfeeding.

Some foods moms eat may bother her baby

“For babies that are fussy, one possible reason may be that they’re sensitive to some foods Mom is eating. Dairy products are a common offender. Moms can try to figure out what foods their baby is sensitive to by making note of when baby is fussy and keeping a food diary,” said Wilke.

For help finding a dietitian visit:

For breastfeeding help or a list of local outpatient lactation consultant services, contact a nearby hospital or visit:

Visit for a free, complete guide to breastfeeding booklet.

Go to the Intermountain Moms Facebook page for videos that answer breastfeeding questions and provide breastfeeding tips. has a virtual breastfeeding class available for expectant parents. It’s a one session, two-hour class and offered often. Cost is $15.

There is a national U.S. government program called Women, Infants and Children (WIC) that helps pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women and their children who are at nutritional risk. There is a WIC Hotline that is staffed Monday-Friday from 8 am – 5 pm. They can answer breastfeeding questions over the phone. The phone number is 1-877-942-5437.

About Intermountain Health

Headquartered in Utah with locations in seven states and additional operations across the western U.S., is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called SelectHealth with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information or updates, see

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