Breastfeeding can take a lot out of the body, using up to 300-500 calories a day, which can equate to one extra meal or three large snacks. It is essential to support your body with essential nutrition and hydration over this intensive time, including one handed snacks, lactation cookies and a lot of water and electrolytes.

Vaughne Geary, Naturopath, Doula and Author of Life After Birth shares that eating a healthy, well balanced diet can provide all the necessary nutrients required for your baby’s growth and wellbeing. To cover all bases, breastfeeding mothers could benefit from a quality prenatal vitamin to fill in any gaps. Breastfeeding increases your appetite too and you need to ensure that you are getting enough good quality, nutrient rich food to support you both. Boosting quality protein and complex carbohydrates can make a world of difference and help to balance blood sugar levels, as well as improve milk supply. Don’t forget that hydration is one of THE most important aspects of milk production, so aim to drink 2-3L daily in the form of water, coconut water, herbal teas and bone broth. Ask your partner or support person to keep filling your water bottle through the day, and always have a drink and one-handed snack when your baby feeds.

Vaughne Geary: Breastfeeding Nutrition 101

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Vaughne’s recommended foods to focus on:

Protein: grass-fed meat, free-range poultry, fatty fish, eggs, tempeh and tofu, nuts, seeds, lentils and legumes, organic dairy.

Starchy carbohydrates: whole grains such as rice, quinoa, spelt sourdough and root vegetables( sweet potato, potato, beetroot).

Healthy fats: ghee, grass-fed butter, whole egg mayonnaise, extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts and seeds.

Omega 3: oily fish, oysters, walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds and hemp seeds.

Choline: eggs, liver, beef, chicken, fish and broccoli.

B vitamins: nuts and seeds, whole grains, eggs, legumes, meat, fish and dark leafy greens.

Vitamin A: liver, eggs, oily fish, dark leafy greens, pumpkin, sweet potato and red capsicum.

Vitamin C: tomato, capsicum, berries, citrus fruit and broccoli.

Vitamin D: oily fish (salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines, anchovies), eggs, mushrooms and safe sun exposure.

Iodine: seaweed, seafood, fish, eggs and dairy products.

Selenium: Brazil nuts, fish, legumes and oats.

The power of food prep

Freezable meals and snacks are also great, as you can cook, freeze and take out the night before so that all you need to do is heat and eat the next day. When sleepless days and nights feel upside down in the early months of parenthood, meal prep is a life saver. Find a couple of staple recipes that you can rotate to set you up for success, prioritise meals rich in protein for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Short on time? Of course you are! Lean on friends and family and ask them to do a meal train, or bring a meal or snack with them every time they visit. Food is love!

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