Ministry of Health Singapore. All Rights Reserved.
To earn Healthpoints, please setup your Healthpoints account in my profile.
You will not be able to earn points if you do not setup your Healthpoints account. If you wish to set up your account at a later date, please go to 'My Profile'.
As you breastfeed your baby, you need to stay well nourished. Read on to learn how you can eat well to sustain the production and the quality of breastmilk
There simply is no debate that breastmilk is the best source of
nutrition for an infant. Human breastmilk is designed by nature to
provide all the nutrients needed to support the optimal growth of an
Health authorities all over the world recommend that infants
should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to
achieve optimal growth, development and health. Only after that should
infants receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary food while
breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond.
Related: Healthy Start For Your Baby
The nutrient needs of a woman reach an all time high during
breastfeeding. Eating the right diet ensures that a woman can breastfeed
her baby successfully. Optimal nourishment helps to support milk
production and maintains the ideal nutrient quality of breastmilk.
Here are a few pointers to get you started on a great diet to nourish yourself as you breastfeed your baby.
By weight, 88% of breast milk is water. Breast milk volume increases
from as little as 50 ml on the first day, to as much as 750 ml a day,
when breastfeeding is well established. So, the most critical nutrient
needed for the production of ample breastmilk to meet a suckling baby's
demand, is water.
Aim to drink at least 1.5 to 2 litres of water
each day. Some mothers may need to drink more water each day when
breastfeeding is well established. Thirst is a good indicator of your
fluid needs. If you are worried that you may overlook it, pour out water
in a jug and try to drink it all up by the end of the day. Your water
needs can be also be met by including a variety of nutritious fluids
such as milk and soup.
of breastmilk requires energy. The need for energy moves up an
additional 500 kcal each day during this period of life. Just eat a
serving more from each food group of My Healthy Plate, to achieve the
additional energy needs effectively.
Most mothers naturally
experience hunger pangs during breastfeeding. Be watchful that you do
not gain too much weight during the process. So, select wholesome food
such as whole grains, fruit, vegetables, low fat dairy products, lean
meat, fish, poultry, eggs, beans, nuts and seeds to maximise the overall
nutrient quality of your diet.
50% of the calories of breast milk come from fat. Fat is an
essential nutrient in the diet, so include enough each day. Select
unsaturated fats, especially those that provide the essential fatty
acids, Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Arachadonic acid (ARA), as
they play a critical role in the optimal development of baby's brain and
eyes. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel are good sources of
DHA. Eating 2 servings of fatty fish a week will provide the necessary
DHA. Meat, poultry, eggs are good sources of ARA.
The need for all the vitamins increases dramatically during
breastfeeding, especially Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and many of the B
vitamins, including folate and B 12. A mother consuming a poor diet will
have lower levels of vitamins, especially the water-soluble vitamins B
and C, in breastmilk. So, eat a wide variety of wholesome food as part
of a well-balanced diet to help you achieve all these nutrients with
The need for minerals,
especially for iodine and zinc, increases significantly during
breastfeeding. Iodine is found in abundance in seafood, seaweed, milk,
eggs and poultry. Meat, poultry, milk, nuts and beans are great sources
Calcium needs remain high, so try to include an
additional serving of dairy food such as milk, yogurt and cheese in your
diet. Other great food sources of calcium are fish with edible bones,
legumes, soybean curd, green leafy vegetables and calcium-fortified
As nutrition is so critical to your
baby at this stage, always eat clean and safe food, as a bout of food
poisoning will deplete your body of critical nutrients. Continue to
avoid alcohol as it does pass through to the breast milk and can affect
baby's alertness and ability to suckle.
Limit caffeine to less than 200
mg each day as it may trigger restlessness in the baby. Avoid large fish
such as shark, swordfish and tilefish as they contain higher levels of
mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins, which may harm
your growing baby's nervous system.
Strong flavours in food such
as garlic and onion are also known to cross into breastmilk. Some
babies, sensitive to the changes in breastmilk flavour, may decrease
intake. So, be aware of your diet and stay away from these food during
This article was last reviewed on
Monday, January 29, 2018
Share on Facebook now for Healthpoints!
Fun Fruity Facts for Health
Eating Light At A Hawker Centre Is Possible
Getting Your Caffeine Hit
What is a Healthy Weight?
What Should My Daily Calorie Intake Be?
View More Programmes
With a curated suite of tools and resources, HealthHub Track gives you personalised lifestyle recommendations and easy-to-follow weekly plans to help you reach your health goals.
Share on Facebook now for Healthpoints
Kick-start your journey towards a healthier you.
Your health is yours. Caring for yourself is caring for your loved ones. Take charge and start your journey to good health today!
Browse Live Healthy
Ministry of Health Singapore. All Rights Reserved.