Tips for Breastfeeding Moms

Tips for Breastfeeding Moms

Tips for Breastfeeding Moms

Making healthy food choices along with regular physical activity will keep you healthy while you breastfeed.

Find Your Healthy Eating Style

Choose a variety of foods and beverages to build your own healthy eating style. Include foods from all food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein foods.

The amount and types of food you eat is an important part of a healthy eating style. Before you eat, think about what and how much food goes on your plate or in your cup, bowl, or glass.

Making Healthy Food Choices

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Choose fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% juice. Include dark-green, red, and orange vegetables; beans and peas; and starchy vegetables.
  • Make at least half of your grains whole. Try oatmeal, popcorn, whole-grain bread, and brown rice.
  • Move to low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, or cheese. Fortified soy beverages also count.
  • Vary your protein routine. Choose seafood, lean meats, and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
  • Use the Nutrition Facts label and ingredients list to limit items higher in sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars. Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Choose vegetable oils instead of butter.

Doctors Recommend:

Your Baby’s First Food

  • Doctors recommend feeding only human milk (commonly referred to as breast milk) for the first 6 months. Continue breastfeeding in addition to solid foods until your baby is at least 1 year old.
  • Breastfeeding helps form a special bond with your baby.
  • Human milk helps protect your baby from illness.
  • Breastfeeding is also good for you. It may help lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, and breast and ovarian cancers.

What About…?

  • Talk with your doctor before taking any medicine (both over-the-counter and prescriptions), herbal or dietary supplements, or drinking alcohol or caffeine.
  • Keep your baby away from smoke. Don’t let anyone smoke around your baby.

Daily Foods Checklist

The Checklist shows different amounts of food depending on how much of your baby’s diet is breast milk. Moms who feed only human milk to their baby need slightly more food. This is a general checklist. You may need more or less amounts of food. *

Food Group Breastfeeding only Breastfeeding plus formula What counts as 1 cup or 1 ounce
Eat this amount from each group daily.*
Fruits 2 cups 2 cups

1 cup fruit or 100% juice

1/2 cup dried fruit

Vegetables 3 cups 2 1/2 cups 1 cup raw or cooked vegetables or 100% juice

2 cups raw leafy vegetables

Grains 8 ounces 6 ounces 1 slice bread

1 ounce ready-to-eat cereal

½ cup cooked pasta, rice, or cereal

Protein Foods 6 ½ ounces 5 ½ ounces 1-ounce lean meat, poultry, or seafood

¼ cup cooked beans

½ ounce nuts or 1 tbsp peanut butter

1 egg

Dairy 3 cups 3 cups

1 cup milk

8 ounces yogurt

1 1/2 ounces natural cheese

2 ounces processed cheese

* If you are not losing weight you gained in pregnancy, you may need to cut back on the amount or change the types of food you are eating.

Get a Daily Food Checklist for Moms designed just for you.

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Being Physically Active

Unless your doctor advises you not to be physically active, include 2 1/2  hours each week of physical activity such as brisk walking, dancing, or swimming. The activity should be done for at least 10 minutes at a me, and preferably spread throughout the week.


Your need for fluids increases while you are breastfeeding. You may notice that you are thirstier than usual. Drink enough water to quench your thirst. Drink other beverages such as low-fat milk or 100% juice as part of your Daily Food Checklist.


Seafood is a part of a healthy diet. Omega-3 fats in seafood can have important health benefits for you and your baby. Salmon, sardines, and trout are some choices higher in omega-3 fats and lower in contaminants such as mercury.

  • Eat at least 8 and up to 12 ounces of a variety of seafood each week from choices that are lower in mercury.
  • Eat all types of tuna, but limit white (albacore) tuna to 6 ounces each week.
  • Do not eat tilefish, shark, swordfish, and king mackerel since they are highest in mercury.

Learn about other nutrition assistance programs:

Based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and