You can increase your calories by having an extra 2-3 snacks from our suggested snacks list on the meal plans or you can increase your portion size of the meals. We list ideas on how to increase the portion size on each of the recipes too
If you are choosing to include our Healthy Mummy Smoothies on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge, these are also safe for breastfeeding mums and you can see the full ingredient list here
Plus you can also see the midwife reviews here on our plans
And as knowledge is power, we have given you some key information to arm yourself with so that you can lose weight with confidence when still feeding your baby.
Breastfeeding & Weight loss
Breastfeeding burns up a lot of energy (calories/kilojoules) to make breastmilk, particularly for mothers who are exclusively breastfeeding. These mothers should include 2-3 extra snacks per day (approximately 500 calories).
If you are unsure of how many calories you need in breastfeeding and weight loss you can work your daily energy needs out here – then you add 500 calories on for breastfeeding. But remember, nothing is set in stone, and if you are hungry eat more or if you are full eat less. See the calculator here
While breastfeeding, certain nutrients, energy and fluids will be in high demand, much more so than during pregnancy. These include:
- Iodine Since breastmilk needs to contain an adequate iodine content to support your infant’s growing brain, a new mother’s iodine requirements are almost double the normal. It is possible to meet these iodine requirements with food, although an iodine-containing supplement is usually recommended. It’s important to speak to your doctor before taking any supplements. Good sources of iodine include bread, iodised salt, seafood, eggs and dairy.
- Zinc is essential for skin health, immune function and optimal reproductive health. Good sources of zinc include meats, breakfast cereals, brightly coloured vegetables and fruit.
- Iron is a component of a number of proteins, including haemoglobin, which is important for transporting oxygen around the body. Eat too little iron and you’ll suffer fatigue and a weakened immune system. Red meat, chicken and fish are the best sources of iron, as well as also being good sources of protein and zinc. Smaller amounts of iron can be found in green leafy vegetables and legumes, but they should be consumed with foods rich in vitamin C (such as tomato, broccoli or capsicum) to increase the amount of iron the body absorbs.
- Water is the best way to quench your thirst without getting the added sugar and kilojoules found in sweetened drinks, such as fruit juices, soft drinks, sports drinks and flavoured mineral waters. Although it doesn’t increase milk production, it’s still important to keep hydrated; a good guide is to drink a glass at each meal and again with each breastfeed.
What to avoid
- Alcohol is best avoided for at least 4-6 weeks after birth. It takes most women about two hours to clear the alcohol from the blood and their breastmilk, so plan the occasional drink with this in mind.
- Caffeine in coffee and tea can be enjoyed in moderation – no more than 200mg a day (two cups of coffee).
MIX AND MATCH RECIPES
The 28 Day Challenge Plan is very flexible. Any of the recipes on the plan, can be substituted with any of the recipes from other days or weeks plus if you really fancy one of the recipes on our site – you can have one of these too – just try and keep within the calorie allowance of the meal you are swapping
Specific foods which may cause problems
There are no hard and fast rules about what a mum shouldn’t eat when breastfeeding – other than certain supplements mentioned above and alcohol. However there are certain foods which have been shown to cause upset in the baby – whether that be sickness, eczema, colic, trouble sleeping and irritability.
However, each baby is different and you should monitor yours to see how he reacts to certain foods and contact your Doctor if you are concerned about any reaction– below is a list of common foods listed by mums and Doctors as more likely to cause some kind of reaction with your baby:
- Milk, dairy, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and spicy foods have been linked to colic
- Too much caffeine may make your baby restless
- Eggs and peanuts have been shown to be linked to allergies in babies
More than anything it is important to eat a balanced diet when breast feeding and if you are trying to lose your baby weight, do so in a safe way and aim for approximately 500g-1kg per week.
Some babies have allergies, colic or digestive issues and can react to an array of different foods. If your baby is particularly sensitive we advise discussing a food plan with your Doctor and sticking to a plain diet with low taste foods to avoid any reaction. And you can read more on this from the ABA here
Milk Supply & Breastfeeding
When it comes to your milk supply, it’s not so much weight loss that’s the issue, more so the way you choose to lose weight. Dramatically reducing calories, restricting certain food groups or engaging in high intensity exercise can all play a role in reducing your supply. On the other hand, undertaking a healthy eating plan that focuses on providing your body (and baby) with all the nutrients you need, may actually help support your supply, especially if you’ve struggled to eat properly in the past.
Ensuring that you’re including regular, nutritious meals that contain adequate amounts of protein, carbs and healthy fats in your diet is essential for both your milk supply and own health. A healthy baby needs a healthy mum so taking care of your own health is absolutely vital, especially when breastfeeding.
A healthy and varied diet can help support a healthy supply as well as give you lots of energy, but what about foods and herbs that are reported to give a visible boost to your milk levels? These menu items, commonly referred to as lactogenic foods or herbs, are said to help increase your milk production, boosting your supply temporarily. It is often thought that by boosting your supply, your baby will eat more, which will then encourage your breasts to continue to produce a higher level of milk.
The scientific community errs on the side of caution when commenting on the actual evidential proof that certain foods or herbs can increase milk production, but the anecdotal evidence from other mums often hints strongly at the success of food and/or herbs in boosting their supply. Provided you don’t have any allergies to these foods or herbs, or go overboard, there’s no reason why you can’t include them in your diet if you are concerned about your supply.
The most commonly recommended lactogenic foods and herbs are:
- Carrots and spinach
- Legumes like chickpeas and lentils
- Brown rice
- Brewers yeast
- Ground linseed or LSA mix
- Fenugreek tea or tablets
A Healthy Mummy smoothie is a great option as it contains all the essential elements of a nutritious meal, along with ingredients like fenugreek and flaxseed that can help support your supply. A smoothie for breakfast and/or lunch is a quick and easy way to ensure you’re eating well, even when you’re pushed for time – and we suggest snacking in between meals too.
For more information , see our Breastfeeding Information page. You may also like to visit our Breastfeeding Q&A page for further answers to your questions
*This material is for information only and not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. Please consult with your Doctor before starting any weight loss program and do not begin any exercise routine unless you have your Doctor’s clearance.
We also recommend talking to your Doctor if your baby suffers from Colic before starting any diet plan as certain foods may exacerbate the colic if you are breastfeeding.
And when introducing any new food into your diet, we advise being alert to any food sensitivity in your baby such as a change in bowel movements and discontinuing any new diet plan if any food sensitivity occurs.