Healthy breastfeeding diet

colourful selection of fruit and vegetables

The most important thing is to include a wide variety of fresh, healthy foods in your breastfeeding diet.

If you think something you’re eating is affecting your baby through your breast milk, talk to your GP or health visitor, or call the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212.

Food and drinks to include

You don't need a special diet while you're breastfeeding – just try to include a well-balanced, healthy variety of the following:

Aim to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and veg a day. Fresh, frozen, tinned, dried or juiced can be part of your daily allowance – avoid anything with added salt or sugar.

Starchy foods are an important source of energy, certain vitamins and fibre. This includes bread, potatoes, breakfast cereals, rice, pasta and noodles. Go for wholemeal, instead of refined starchy (white) versions, as much as possible.

Foods in this group include meat, fish, poultry, eggs, beans, pulses and nuts. Aim to have 2 portions of fish each week – make one of them an oily fish like salmon, sardines or mackerel. Shark, swordfish and marlin can contain more mercury than other types of fish, so avoid eating more than 1 portion per week.

Eggs produced under the British Lion Code of Practice (stamped with the red lion) are considered very low risk for salmonella, and safe to eat raw or partially cooked.

Dairy includes milk, cheese and yoghurt. It contains calcium and other essential nutrients. When possible, choose low-fat varieties, such as semi-skimmed, one per cent fat or skimmed milk, low-fat yoghurt and reduced-fat hard cheese. If you prefer dairy-free alternatives, such as soya drinks and yoghurts, go for the unsweetened, calcium-fortified versions.

Your diet and breastfeeding

If you think something you're eating is affecting your baby, you can always talk to your GP or health visitor, or contact the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212.

More info:

5 A Day: what counts? – find out what counts as a portion

The healthy way to eat eggs – what to look out for when buying your eggs

The Eatwell Guide – what and how much to eat from each food group

Change4Life – for snacks and meal ideas inspiration

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