Prioritizing healthy eating, or just eating in general, can be difficult as a breastfeeding mom – but adequate nutrition helps with producing more milk and providing adequate nutrients for you and your baby. This 7-day breastfeeding meal plan utilizes simple, healthy meals that will help keep you full and satisfied yet make your life a little easier as a busy, breastfeeding mom.
With 3 meals and a snack, this meal plan prioritizes nutritious foods to meet the increased demands of breastfeeding but in a realistic way.
Increased Nutritional Needs During Breastfeeding
Calorie and Water Needs
Our body is working extra hard to produce milk, and like pregnancy, our nutrient needs are increased during breastfeeding.
Depending on the amount of milk you’re producing, our body needs up to 500 additional calories per day! While weight loss doesn’t seem to affect milk supply, consuming less than 1500 calories per day might.
Our fluid needs are increased because we are producing breastmilk, which is primarily water. So get yourself a large water bottle (like my fave Simply Modern 40 oz. Tumbler) and take a few sips every time you sit down to nurse!
It is recommended to eat an additional 25 grams of protein per day to maintain lean muscle mass while breastfeeding (1). One study even stated that protein needs should be even higher, an estimated 1.7-1.9 g/kg/day (2).
Protein takes a longer time to digest than carbohydrates and fats, therefore, it’s an important nutrient in keeping us fuller for a longer period of time. By prioritizing high protein meals and snacks, we might be able to curb that ravenous breastfeeding appetite and start to see some postpartum weight loss.
Choline and Iodine
Research has shown that breastfeeding women are often not getting enough of the micronutrients choline and iodine, which are important for the development of your baby’s brain and nervous system. Choline is essential in the development of cognition and memory.
Iodine can be found in dairy products, eggs, seafood and iodized table salt. Food sources of choline are eggs, meat, seafood, beans, peas and lentils.
It might be beneficial to continue to take a prenatal vitamin while breastfeeding to meet micronutrient needs.
As an Amazon affiliate, this post does contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I receive a small compensation when a purchase is made. However, I only promote products I love and feel would be useful to you!
Are There Foods THat Will Increase My Milk SUpply?
I wish I could tell you that certain foods will increase your milk supply, but research on the use of galactagogues is extremely limited, with low certainty that any of those foods increase milk production (3).
Some moms (myself included) will try just about anything to increase their milk supply while breastfeeding, and many have had success with eating oatmeal. Therefore, oatmeal will be front and center for this breastfeeding meal plan.
The best thing you can do to increase your milk supply through diet is to try and eat every few hours, and of course, drink water!
- Healthy, High Protein Breastfeeding Snacks
- Busy Mom Meals: A Guide to Quick and Healthy Home-Cooked Meals
- Dairy-Free Diet While Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding Meal Plan: 7-Days of Healthy Meal Ideas
This 7-day breastfeeding meal plan features recipes high in protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. It also has a salmon recipe, to prioritize omega-3 fatty acids which help with brain growth and development.
Most recipes utilize principles like sheet pan dinners and dump and go crockpot meals, as well as easy meal prep recipes you can batch cook for future meals and snacks.
Banana Cinnamon Overnight Oats using a safe protein powder for breastfeeding and pregnancy.
Pro-tip: prep a few overnight oats (even different recipes) at a time, and have breakfast already made for the next few days.
Grilled chicken over top a salad kit. Use a rotisserie chicken or frozen chicken (reheated) for more convenience.
15-Minute Sheet Pan Beef and Broccoli (Averie Cooks).
Apple slices and peanut butter.
2 eggs scrambled with 1/2 cup cottage cheese on two pieces of whole-grain toast with avocado slices.
Healthy Choice Café Steamers Grilled Chicken Marinara with Parmesan (or any of these healthy frozen meals high in protein).
Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner with Asparagus and Potatoes (Creme de la Crumb). It is recommended to consume fish high in omega-3 fatty acids (like salmon) twice weekly as DHA and EPA are important for baby’s brain and eyes!
Healthy No Bake Peanut Butter Balls without Chocolate (Haute and Healthy Living).
Healthy Pesto Egg Sandwich (Haute & Healthy Living) – batch cook these and store in the freezer for easy, grab-and-go breakfasts!
Greek yogurt parfait with mixed berries, topped with hemp hearts for healthy omega-3 fatty acids and extra protein.
Buffalo Chicken Crockpot Pasta: A simple crockpot meal with only 7-ingredients that’s packed with flavor and high in protein.
Popcorn and trail mix.
Baked Oatmeal (Love and Lemons) – a deliciously healthy oatmeal bake where you can store the leftovers.
Easy Quinoa Edamame Salad (Our Plant Based World, vegetarian).
Slow Cooker or Instant Pot White Chicken Chili (Real Food Dietitians). Dairy-Free.
2 hard-boiled eggs and crackers with a side of fruit. For a healthy dessert or treat, try these High Protein Strawberry Cheesecake Cups.
Creamy Strawberry Gut Health Smoothie, high in protein and packed full of prebiotics and probiotics.
Egg salad or chicken salad sandwich with a side of fruit
Meyer Sheet Pan Roasted Chicken (Grain Free Table). Dairy-Free and super simple.
Oatmeal Protein Bites (Kiran Campbell Nutrition).
Quick, High Protein Vegan Oatmeal (Bites with Blair).
Leftover chicken and black bean quesadilla in the air fryer.
Crockpot Salsa Chicken (Southern Living).
Monkey Yogurt Bark (Live Well Dietitian).
Veggie egg scramble and air-fried potatoes or this high fiber Chia Breakfast Bowl.
Pita pocket with hummus and vegetables.
One Pot Mexican Chili or any one pot chili recipe.
Cottage cheese on toast with honey and red pepper flakes, and a side of fruit.
Tips for Easier Meals While Breastfeeding
- Utilize principles that will make your life easier: Air fryers, slow cookers, sheet pan dinners, and one-pot meals can simplify the cooking process (and use less dishes).
- Meal prep: Is there a short period of time during the day that you know your baby will be sleeping, or occupied, that you can meal prep for easy lunches or dinners?
- Batch-cooking: Always make extra when time allows! Freeze your leftovers, too.
- Baby wearing: Baby wearing can be extremely helpful to get small tasks done – like chopping vegetables for the week (I recommend this vegetable chopper for meal prepping).
- Shelf-stable snacks: Have some high protein, shelf-stable snacks available at your nursing station for convenience.
This meal plan serves as a guide – feel free to personalize it based on your needs and preferences. There are no rigid rules, as breastfeeding is hard enough as is!
It’s important to take care of yourself during the process, though. Remember to nourish your body and take time for self-care.
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