healthy_eatingBecoming a mother is demanding, fun, exhausting, stressful, exhilarating and mostly draining. Motherhood can be such a different experience for every woman, but something we all have in common is the need for nutrients to help support our health (and our baby’s growth) along with key nutrients for breastfeeding, if we choose to do so. Which is why following a sensible healthy eating plan – such as the one on the Lose Baby Weight plans is so important.
We all know that breast milk is best as it supports the immune system of your bub better than anything else. Formula comes close – but scientists are still not able to create anything as nutritious as breast milk itself.
I love to educate mothers who are having trouble producing enough milk and ask them to look at their diet and see if they can improve their nutrient intake to possibly produce more of this ‘liquid gold.’
A multi-vitamin will not usually contain therapeutic doses as recommended below – so please don’t always rely on your multi being able to cover you on all bases.
And although there is no scientific fact behind a good diet and improved milk supply, there is much anecdotal evidence from all over the world of mums improving their milk supply once their consume a better diet and it makes complete sense – if you eat good foods full of nutrients it is good for mums and bub. (Please note if you are having milk supply issues it is always a good idea to consult with a lactation specialist)
My list of most important nutrients for a new mum whether breastfeeding or not includes:


Studies show that drinking more water may not increase your milk supply. What it can do though is keep you hydrated, dilute spicy foods you may have eaten so they are less noticeable by bub and possibly help to keep you eating a moderate amount of food, which may help you to avoid overeating. As a general rule you should double your current water intake – so if you normally drink 2 litres daily you should double it to 4.


Breastfeeding women should consume 1.4g/kg of protein for their body weight. Non-breastfeeding women need to consume around 0.8g/kg of protein for their body weight. Keep a stash of healthy lean protein snacks in the fridge or cupboard such as homemade hummus, free range eggs, smoked salmon, low fat ricotta cheese, rye cruskits, chemical free almonds, 3 bean mix, or a tub of Healthy Mummy Smoothie mix. This way you are more likely to reach for something healthy – rather than a quick fix.

Essential Fatty Acids

The hind milk that a mum produces is a rich source of essential fatty acids (EFA’s) that help our baby’s brains grow and develop. We need to ensure our hind milk is richly concentrated in EFA’s. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an EFA vital for brain, eye and IQ development.  DHA supplements from fish oils (1-2g daily) are the best source as they are directly absorbed in the cells and don’t need to be converted into Omega 3. DHA food sources include: mackerel, salmon, herring, tuna, rainbow trout, flaxseed oil, hempseed oil and walnuts. They are also available in out Healthy Mummy Fish Oils


Breastfeeding women should consume around 1500mg of Calcium daily – which is around 7 serves. Non-breastfeeding women should consume around 800-1000mgs. It is required for bone, muscle and neurological development in your baby. Dietary sources include dairy foods such as full fat milk (organic or A2 preferably), natural yoghurt, tahini, seaweed such as kelp or nori, parsley, broccoli, raw almonds and sardines with bones.


Maternal Iron deficiency anaemia affects post partum emotions and cognition.  A strong association between iron status, cognitive variables, as well as anxiety, stress and depression can all be linked to low iron levels. Foods to eat more of include lean red meat, chicken, spinach, kale, pumpkin seeds, dried apricots, and chemical free almonds. Iron supplementation is also widely prescribed. Look for chelated Iron, as it is less likely to cause constipation and always consume it with Vitamin C to aid in absorption.


Decreased blood serum zinc can reduce symptoms of Post Natal Depression (PND). If you are identified as a high risk candidate of PND it is recommended to supplement in the range of 30-50mg per day of easily absorbable zinc split into 2 daily doses. Zinc can also be found in foods such as oysters, shellfish, fish, lean red meat, popcorn, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds, dahl and ginger root.


Iodine is an essential nutrient that humans need in very small quantities. The thyroid uses iodine to produce hormones vital to ensure normal development of the brain and nervous system before birth, in babies and young children. For this reason, it is very important that breastfeeding women get enough iodine. 270ug is the recommended daily intake while breastfeeding. Dietary sources include:
Seafood – eating fish 2-4 times a week will also provide most adults with enough iodine to fulfil their average iodine requirement. Bread is now made using iodised salt in Australia. Organic breads and ‘no added salt’ breads are the only exceptions to this rule. Seaweed (kelp), dairy products and eggs provide additional dietary sources of iodine. Some vegetables may contain iodine, but only if they are grown in iodine-rich soils.

Substances to avoid
  • Caffeine
  • Environmental pollutants especially BPA and phthalates
  • Sugar (too much of it) – it may make bub unsettled and make it harder to fall asleep
  • Alcohol, smoking and recreational drugs

Written by Elisha Danine – Nutritionist
As a Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Therapist I take a holistic view on foods and nutrients and how the body absorbs and uses them. Dosages provided in this article may not be suitable for you if you are on medication and recommendations given may not be in line with current government guidelines. This information is not intended to treat or diagnose any medical conditions. Always see your GP for further guidance or information especially if you are on prescription medication.
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