Find information on nutrition while breastfeeding and learn how to use Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide to balance your diet and provide optimal nutrition for your baby.
Good Nutrition Means Good Milk
The quality and quantity of your breast milk depends upon your sound nutrition intake. It is vital to eat a balanced diet that consists of adequate amounts of nutrients essential not only to your health and wellbeing, but also to the positive development of your baby.
Maintain an adequate and healthy caloric intake.
Breastfeeding women expend a greater amount of energy that pregnant women. In fact, doctors say that on average, nursing mothers require 330-400 more calories a day during the first year. It is imperative to derive these extra calories from nutritious sources so that you maintain your healthy milk supply and contribute to your baby's healthy growth. Your baby will draw her required nutrition from you, however you mustn't forget to replenish your own stores, too. Remember to eat - plan healthy menus in advance and pack healthy snacks for when you're out and about.
Learn How to Use Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide to Balance Your Diet
Visit Health Canada’s My Food Guide Servings Tracker
Proper hydration is intrinsic to your milk supply. Aim for 13 cups of fluid or more each day – your body needs extra when breastfeeding. Water is a great option; other healthy choices are low fat milk or 100% fruit or vegetable juices. Limit your consumption of alcohol, caffeinated beverages, soft drinks and energy drinks.
Eat foods that contain DHA (an Omega-3 fat)
Once your baby arrives, he will receive DHA from your breast milk, so continue to eat a DHA-rich diet. DHA and ARA (sources of Omega-3 and Omega-Omega-6 fats) are important fats that support your baby’s normal brain and eye development and growth. Eat foods rich in DHA, such as low mercury, fatty fish (e.g. salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring)* and DHA-enriched eggs, milk, bread and yogurt. Canada’s Food Guide recommends that Canadians eat at least 2 servings (of 75 g or 2 ½ oz each) of fish a week.
*Health Canada provides advice for limiting exposure to mercury from certain types of fish.
Visit Health Canada’s Prenatal Nutrition Guidelines on Fish and Omega-3 Fats
Avoid unhealthy habits
Continue to avoid alcohol, cigarette smoke, medications and foods that can contain toxins or pesticides.
Learn What Foods to Limit and Avoid
Stay balanced. The first three months after the baby is born is a devlopmentally challenging time for your baby. This is also a phycially demanding time on you. A balanced diet can help give you the energy you need.
Learn How Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide Can Help Balance Your Diet