Breast­feed­ing is hun­gry work! If you make good food choices now you can main­tain a healthy sup­ply of breastmilk for your baby and give your own health a boost too

Your Baby & Toddler - - The Dossier -

YOU HAVE BEEN BLESSED with breasts that know ex­actly how to make the per­fect milk for your baby. You don’t have to is­sue any in­struc­tions on the ra­tio of carbs to protein to fat! Through a com­pli­cated process in­volv­ing hor­mones, en­zymes and more than 200 in­gre­di­ents, your in­house fac­tory pro­duces ex­actly what your baby needs, while you sit back and re­lax.

What you do need to keep in mind, though, is that every­thing you put in your mouth ends up in your milk in one way or an­other, whether we are talk­ing about al­co­hol, med­i­ca­tion, caf­feine or even the flavour of the cheese you eat or the choco­late you in­dulge in.

Reg­is­tered di­eti­cian Zelda Ack­er­man says the amount of protein and car­bo­hy­drate in your breastmilk stays pretty con­stant, re­gard­less of what you eat. “How­ever, the amount of se­le­nium, io­dine and wa­ter-sol­u­ble vi­ta­min C and B com­plex, as well as fat, will de­pend on what is in your diet.

“For your baby’s sake, don’t just eat any old thing. It is worth keep­ing nu­tri­tion in mind.”

“For­get about those long lists of foods you are not al­lowed to eat. Toss the list and shift your fo­cus to eat­ing healthy food dur­ing your meal­times and snack times.

“Just a few min­utes of plan­ning ahead can make a dif­fer­ence,” says Zelda.


The hos­pi­tal break­fast was likely the last de­cent break­fast you had. Be­tween breast­feed­ing, ex­press­ing, chang­ing nap­pies and do­ing wash­ing there is not much time for a leisurely break­fast.

Try not to grab a sweet short­cut when you feel the need for an en­ergy boost. Ideally, you should take some time to sit down to a bowl of whole­grain break­fast food, com­bined with low fat milk and fruit. Try to eat within the first hour of wak­ing up. If you re­ally need a short­cut, use up the last of your preg­gie shakes. Oth­er­wise have a glass of milk, a pear or ba­nana and a whole­wheat bis­cuit.


No need to com­pli­cate things. Make a great sand­wich. Use low GI whole­grain bread or seed loaf and a spread that is en­riched with Omega 3 fatty acids. The filling will de­pend on how much time you have. Peanut but­ter, salmon spread or avo are good quick op­tions. Add a fruit at the end.

If you have more time, you can make de­li­cious com­bi­na­tions of let­tuce, tomato, cu­cum­ber with cot­tage cheese, cheese, tuna, chicken or egg.

SUP­PER A bal­anced, healthy sup­per does not mean hours in front of the stove. On the days when your baby just doesn’t leave you with free hands to cook, you can make some­thing speedy like cous­cous with tuna and mixed veg­eta­bles, bas­mati rice with a chicken breast and mixed salad, or a por­tion of fish with a baked potato and beet­root salad.

If your baby al­lows for more time while you cook, you can make more time-con­sum­ing dishes, or cook ex­tra veg­eta­bles or a salad. Try a jacket potato hol­lowed out and mixed with mince, and a green bean and car­rot salad, or pasta with chicken and mush­rooms, broc­coli and pump­kin, or hake with sweet potato, patty pans and peas.

To end the meal on a sweet note, pull the fruit bas­ket closer again. If you have time for it, make fruit salad, oth­er­wise just have an­other fruit. In this way you get a sweet kick, but also lots of ex­tra vi­ta­mins, min­er­als and fi­bre.


If you are leav­ing the house for a clinic visit or baby class, al­ways take some fruit along. Also keep some dry fruit or un­salted nuts in your hand­bag in case you’re over­come by a snack at­tack.

If you’re home, snack time can be de­li­ciously sim­ple if you make a smoothie with plain yo­ghurt and fruit.


Your breast­feed­ing fac­tory runs on liq­uids. Have you no­ticed how thirsty you are all the time, and that you drink a lot with­out hav­ing to run to the bath­room all the time?

While lac­tat­ing you need a whop­ping 3-4l of fluid a day, but let your thirst guide you. Take a wa­ter bot­tle with you wher­ever you go. Plain wa­ter is the best choice, or rooi­bos tea with no sugar.

Also make sure you drink up to three glasses of milk a day to keep your cal­cium lev­els up.

Rather limit the ex­tra en­ergy you would get from fruit juice and other cooldrinks.


Don’t worry too much if you have a rag­ing hunger at three in the morn­ing while nurs­ing your baby. This is quite nor­mal, es­pe­cially in the early days. A healthy snack be­fore bed could help.

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