Healthy Diet Plan for Breastfeeding Mothers

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Diet Plan for Indian Breastfeeding Moms

Feeling hungry very often like never before? Yes because your baby is growing day by day and he is dependent on you during first 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding. Modern ways say eat anything as before. Your mom has given you list of tradition items to have like laddoos and panjiris. Wonder how does a perfect breastfeeding diet plan should be? Lets see how we can combine modern and traditional ways to make a perfect diet plan for Indian breastfeeding mommy.

Most Important Tips for Successful Breastfeeding

1. Have Lots of Porridges

Why? Because they are easy to digest. According to Indian traditional method, nursing women are given kheers/soups more than usual food, though your dietician will tell you, eat whatever you want. You have to eat a lot and digest it too. These special porridges prepared for Indian women by their moms has many galactogouges like Cumin, fenugreek seeds, poppy seeds, Ghee, almonds etc. You will not get bored of eating.

2. Stay Away from Spicy and Oily Foods

Though they say whatever you eat has no direct impact on baby, it is not true. Your baby will show you how your eating affects him/her. The spicy and oily food upsets baby’s stomach, and provides no significant amount of nutrients.

3. Eat Short Meals Frequently

If you eat heavy 2-3 meals, your digestive system will suffer. so take small meals with increased frequency.

4. Early Morning and Late Night Kheer

Take one bowl of kheer at night just before sleeping and also one more just after getting up. The Date Kheer/Almond Kheer/Aliv Kheer are best for nursing mothers.

List of Foods Must to Have: Secret of Successful Breastfeeding

Below are the foods you should include in your diet.
For details on Healthy Foods for Breastfeeding these click here

1. Fenugreek Seeds

fenugreek sprouts
Indians are lucky to get fresh fenugreek Leaves and Seeds, in rest of the world nursing mom take fenugreek supplements. The sprouted seeds are blessing for you during 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding. Add fenugreek sprouts to your regular subzi everyday. Or just try stir fry of it with onion and garlic. They do not taste bitter due to sprouting.

2. Garlic

garlic
Use Garlic in all your curries and soups

3. Cumin Seeds, Poppy Seeds and Fennel Seed

cumin
They are Galactogogues

4. Bottle Gourds

bottle gourd
Gourds help to boost milk production. Learn here

5. Dill Leaves

Healthy for you and baby

6. Almonds

soaked almonds
Soak them in water overnight and have them in morning, make your baby more intelligent.

7. Coconut Water

coconut
Full of nutrient and keeps you hydrated

8. Milk and Desi Ghee

desi ghee
Desi Ghee for DHA and Milk for Calcium. You must have these to avoid any knee and back pain in future.

9. Edible gum/ Dink (Gondh)

They make yours and baby’s bones stronger

10. Water

water bottle
After whatever you eat, water is must to digest and to make milk from it.

11. Whole Grains Sprouted

sprouts
Sprouted grains are much more healthier than usual dry grains. Try Wheat/Ragi/Bajra/Jowar. Make flour of sprouted and dried grains. Use it for making porridges.

Moringa Leaves

moringa leaves
They are super healthy. Find details here.
Try Shatawari Kalp after first 3-4 months of exclusive breastfeeding. Let your body make milk from the healthy regular food before you try any supplements.

We can divide breastfeeding period in 3 stages as below:
Stage 1. First 40 days
Stage 2. After 40 days to 6 months (Remaining exclusive breastfeeding period)
Stage 3. Extended breastfeeding (ideally till 2 yrs)

Diet Plan for First 40 days of Breastfeeding:

First 40 days are very important for you and baby. You experience hormonal and physical changes in your body. Your body is healing; regaining strength, making milk.
While selecting food for upcoming 4 weeks you want to select not only nutrient dense food but the food which is digested easily. You might get different advices about food from different people. Your mother or grandmother will tell you to eat selected foods while doctor mostly will tell you that you can eat anything as long as it’s healthy. So to make a best diet plan let’s see how can you combine best of both ways: traditional way and modern way.
1. Select all traditional galactagogue foods in your diet
2. Widen the limit, by adding healthy foods which may not be traditional foods e.g. curd or fermented foods like Idli and Dosa but make sure they are not sour i.e. fermented for short time
3. Include all liquid diet like Kheer, Panjiri and porridge in your diet as they get digested easily but do not limit diet to it. Include regular healthy meals too. (i.e. Chapatti, dal rice, salad)
4. Select nutrition rich foods as you have to fulfill nutritional requirement of 2 bodies.
5. Traditionally breastfeeding mother’s food plate is loaded with ghee and nuts, you don’t have to eat too much of it. But as these are nutrients rich food items you don’t want to skip it from daily intake.
6. Very early morning breakfast and late night milk is very important as your baby will feed during night also. Your body has to be prepared for anytime breast milk need.
7. You surely want to avoid chilly, spices, extra oil, junk food not only because its unhealthy for you but also because it may upset your baby’s stomach. Same way you should avoid: Potato, dal except moong dal, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli. As written above you should include nutrient rich foods in every meal as you are only having food for requirement of two i.e. you and your baby. So you should not include empty calories food.

Sample diet plan for first 40 days:

  • 6:00 AM Early morning breakfast
    • One portion of any of : Kheer/Panjiri/Gondh Laddoo/Porridge/Date milk shake/Almond Milk (Milk + Almonds paste, Almonds soaked overnight)
    • Herbal tea made up of galactagogues.
  • 8:00 AM Breakfast
    • Poha/Veg Upma (any non spicy regular breakfast, make use of sprouted fenugreek seeds)
    • 1 cup of milk
    • Non citric fruit
  • 10:00 AM Porridge
    (made up of whole grain atta like Raggi/Nachani or wheat or rice or bajara or jowar or shingada) Recipe here
  • 12:30 PM Lunch
    • Green veg curry (Methi-Fenugreek/Spinach/ curry made with jeera/cumin and garlic)
    • Moon dal curry
    • Whole wheat Chapati/bajara (Pearl millet) roti,
    • Rice
  • 4:00 PM Afternoon snack
    • Gondh Laddoo/Dry fruit kheer/Porridge,
    • Hearbal tea
  • 8:00 PM Dinner
    • Green veg curry (Methi-Fenugreek/Spinach/Dill leaves curry made with jeera/cumin and garlic)
    • Moon dal curry
    • Whole whar Chapati/Bajara (Pearl millet) roti
    • Rice
  • 10:00
    • 1 cup of Milk with protein powder or date syrup

NOTES:
1. Non vegetarian should include Fish curry or meat curry in meal but do not use chilly or spices in it. You should avoid eat meat; you should just use the soup in curry. You can boil meat for a long time for better extract of meat. Have Egg whites in breakfast.
2. You need to keep yourself hydrated, drink water or any healthy drink regularly. Most of times while breastfeeding you will get thirsty so it’s a good practice to drink 1 glass of water just before you start breastfeeding the baby.
3. You may use simple herbal tea instead of plain water.
4. Use jiggery instead of sugar wherever possible. Jaggery is source of iron.
See some recipes here for breastfeeding moms.

Stage 2: After 40 days till baby is 6 months old
After first very caring 40 days of your baby’s life, he/she is now ready to try new tastes in breast milk.
You still have to continue same diet plan with an addition of variety in food.
For 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding you need to eat enough food as your baby is daily developing physically and mentally.
You may go on slowly introducing different vegetables, fruits, Chicken/mutton to your diet still avoiding spicy, oily and junk foods.
Do not take more than one new food in your diet in a day because you want to see if baby is ok with it (Like baby is not colic and passes motion as usual).
Once baby is 5 months old, you can eat all kinds of beans, potatoes, citric fruits, idli/dosa made up of well fermented batter, onion, even moderate chilies/spices. You can use black pepper in moderate in place of chilies. As you are going to start solids once baby is 6 months old so having all types of food through breast milk now can make her digestive system ready for direct solids.
Once baby is of 5 months old, you can skip all extra breakfasts or snacks slowly, because in this last month of exclusive breastfeeding, you can use the reserves from your body which are stored during pregnancy and last 5 months. But go slowly on dieting else it may affect breast milk production and your health too. Remember exclusive breastfeeding itself is working for your weight loss.

Stage 3: 7 months to 2 years
Now you can have your regular but still healthy diet. (You should have diet same as you had in pregnancy.)
Even after you started solids to baby you still have to breastfeed same quantity of milk for at least next one month. So go easy on dieting for weight loss, you still need energy and nutrients.
You don’t need the extra snacks in between your meals, so you can skip them.
After baby is around 7-8 months you may change your baby’s diet more on solids and less on breast milk.
Your baby is directly having energy/fat rich foods like ghee so you can reduce that in your own diet.
Read Weight loss after 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding.
NOTE: During breastfeeding period you must avoid alcohol/smoking.
Use the above guide to make the best choices when planning your diet. Having food timely helps in sufficient milk production so stick to the diet plan throughout the exclusive breastfeeding time. Eating variety of nutritious foods helps meet your extra nutrients need. Learn more about diet for breastfeeding mothers to increase milk here.

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About Author

Sapana

Software professional - now work at home mom

43 Comments

  1. Jayshree Khilari on

    Thanks for your valuable information it’s help me a lot. Now my baby is five months old can I slowly skip my breakfast.

    • Sapana

      Hi Jayashree, Thanks for your comment. You should never skip breakfast. For everyone, a healthy n heavy breakfast is must. As your baby is 5 months old, you can reduce on extra fats we as Indian BF moms add on in our diet. e.g. extra ghee on dal rice, provided you have taken enough fats in your diet during first 5 months of exclusive breastfeeding. If you are asking this for weight loss then 2 important tips for you, Increase liquid diet and greens and reduce extra fats in your diet. Please note. you still need lots of energy as you have to exclusively breastfeed your baby for one more month and continue it even after intoduction of solid food to your baby. So go slow, dont make any changes in one day, give your body some time to accept changes.

    • Sapana

      The fore-milk i.e. breast-milk at beginning is watery always. You may not have noticed it before. Now in pumping you observed. Its absolutely normal. If even after one cup of expression, milk is watery then talk to your breastfeeding consultant.

  2. Hello Sapna,
    can u advice the above-mentioned diet plan is same for normal or c section,
    secondly how much qty of bajra should be added in a daily meal and in which form/dishes etc.

    • Sapana

      Hi Anurag, Yes, off course. It doesn’t matter if normal delivery or c-section. Diet plan suggestion is same for all new mothers.
      New mom can have Bajra as much as she likes just one thing I would like to mention is: According to Indian traditional thinking, Bajra is known for inducing body heat. So if new mom is not so used to this grain, slowly add it to the diet. After my delivery, I used to have Sprouted-Bajra-Powder Porridge once in 2 days and one Bajra roti medium size every day. Why sprouted: It increases nutrition and makes very easy for digestion, why Porridge: Its easy to digest and tasty too :D.. It was winter so I had it regularly. If it was summer I would have had a little less than mentioned. I hope this helps!

        • Sapana

          Hello Mani,
          The shelf life of bajara flour is very short. Even though you can buy the organic flour at shops they keep it at room temperature, I will recommend homemade Bajara flour only.
          For best nutritious porridge, make flour of sprouted bajara, it will double the nutritional value of the flour. Click here to know recipe sprouted bajara flour
          You may make it for 1 kg bajara and keep it in refrigerator in air tight container you may use it for up to 2 months if kept well packed in refrigerator.
          Recipe for Porridge from flour: Click here

  3. Hi Sapana….Thanks for the article. Very informative. Can you please advise if I can have Chapatis in my diet. Some say that it may cause problems to my breastfed baby. He is eight months old now. Not sure but if yes, then how many times in a day can I have since that’s my staple food.

    • Sapana

      Hi Neha, Is your baby allergic to wheat? If yes, then you should talk to your doctor. Other wise wheat is totally ok. Whole wheat is in fact very good for breast feeding mothers. It provides energy and fibers. Chapati was part of my breastfeeding diet from day 3-4 of delivery. In fact in maternity hospital I was given Chapati in my all meals.

  4. Hi Sapna i have reduced a lot of my weight i am 32 yr 5.2 height now weight is 45 whenever i meet people they say u have lost your health my baby is 16 month now still breast feeding plz let me know how to gain extra weight. Please help

    • Sapana

      Hello Padma, Reducing weight rapidly after breastfeeding is surely not healthy. Try adding high protein foods to your diet. As baby is still on breastfeeding, maintaining your calcium level is very crucial. so Milk, Dairy products, Bananas, figs, almonds, lean meat and lentils is what you should have more in you meals. Growing baby keeps you on run, which makes you miss your regular meal times. But try to maintain the schedule and never ever skip your breakfast.

    • Sapana

      Hi Chiki,
      If you do not have any allergy of capsicum and you have taken it before pregnancy then there should not be any problem in having it now. Red / yellow / green bell peppers are very healthy specially if consumed raw they provide you high amount of Vitamin C.

  5. Hi ,
    My baby is 7 months complete and I am feeding my boy two meals in the and breastfeed him but I am not sure if he s getting enough milk my mil insists on starting cows milk and says I don’t get enough. Pls advice how can I tell my baby is getting enough milk

  6. Pingback: How to Tighten Loose Abdominal Skin after Pregnancy? | GoMama 24/7

  7. Hello Sapna,
    my baby is 6 months old he got cold and cough with some congestion. Please let me know some home ramedy for cure this.

  8. Hello Sapana,

    am was searching about “breastfeeding healthy diet plan” and i was faced with your great article . God job especially your article is superior to whattoexpect article which is a giant website. I wish to cooperate in the near future for our readers

    Thanks,
    warm regards

  9. This is a complete diet plan for breastfeeding moms that every new mom should follow. I have been following it from past 04 months and the benefits I received are commendable. I just want to ask you that till when I have to continue the same. My kid is 6 months old and he has started solids. Should I have to continue or I can switch to my regular diet?

    • Sapana

      Hi Ridhima,
      Thanks for coming back and leaving me a valuable feedback.
      Well the breastfeeding diet plan and food is to be followed for exclusive breastfeeding. But please make a smooth change to regular diet. specially with the hard to digest food and spicy food. As a mothers body also get used to such diet in this period and your baby’s major food is still the breastmilk. In period of 1-2 months you can shift to usual pre-pregnancy diet without any worry.

  10. Hi Sapna,

    I would like to know whether we can have horse gram water during breastfeeding. I m having a baby of two months old.

    • Sapana

      Hi Pratibha,
      Horse Gram Soup right (We call Horse Gram as ‘Kulith’)? Its delicious and very healthy. But as far as I know it is known to induce body heat. In my native state, we avoid it in summers. Also most of breastfeeding foods are already body-heat inducing so I think you should try it in small quantity first. Ragi is best in any season, least allergen and tasty too. Any such grains you use, try to use the sprouted grains’ flour because it is easy to digest and also way healthier than normal flour.

  11. My baby is not putting on expected weight from last 2 months….. He was very healthy and chubby in first 2 months. …Can you suggest some tips to make him healthy again?

    • Sapana

      First of all the negative thinking of mother must not be there. Increase the number of feedings. Seeing a breastfeeding consultation is highly recommended. Sometimes the nursing positions are incorrect. Your food is also very important. You should have healthy foods and increase the liquid intake. Hence porridges are good. they are easy to digest and help in breastmilk production.

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