pregnant woman with milk and fruit

By Dr Michelle LIM, Associate Consultant and Associate Professor Tan Thiam Chye, Visiting Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital

By week 36 of pregnancy, you may have decided that you want to breastfeed your child. It's important that you continue to eat well. Having the proper nutrition now will help you nourish your baby with the nutrients your little one needs. Here are a few pointers on nutrition during breastfeeding:

Do Have:

jar of nuts

DHA-rich foods: DHA or omega-3 fats nurture your baby's brain and eye development. Don't forget to add at least two servings of fatty fish to your weekly diet, such as salmon, tuna and mackerel.

Fenugreek: This herb is traditionally used to increase milk supply and is considered safe.

Specially formulated milk: Some mums can also supplement their nutrition with special milk formulated for breastfeeding mums. These are fortified with certain vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, B vitamins, folic acid and DHA.

However, there are also some foods you should avoid if you're planning to breastfeed.

Related: Eating right for Breastfeeding

Don't Have:

woman in thought over a mug of juice

Alcohol: The alcohol you drink passes through your breast milk to your baby. It's recommended that you abstain from alcoholic drinks in the first week after delivery. If you do drink, note that breastfeeding should be delayed for at least an hour for every glass of alcohol consumed. Do be aware that this also applies to several traditional health tonics that contain alcohol.

Food cooked with alcohol: While alcohol evaporates when added to food during cooking, some will still be present. Either avoid consuming food cooked with alcohol, or take note of how many hours you need to postpone breastfeeding.

Caffeine: This can pass to your baby through breast milk. Just as a good dose of caffeine can keep you awake, too many glasses of kopi can cause caffeine stimulation in your little one too. One or two cups of coffee or tea a day will not affect your baby, but be aware that caffeine can also be found in soft drinks and some medicines.

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Read these next

  • Feeding your baby: Breastfeeding
  • Breastfeeding
  • Breastfeeding Your Baby

  • Sources:

    The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World Scientific

    Healthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore