quelle alimentation adopter quand on allaite ?

Breastfeeding: what diet?

Source: Carole Hervé - IBCLC Certified Lactation Consultant


Breastfeeding is a great way for babies to get nutrients and vitamins . Breastfeeding also helps strengthen their immune system and make them less vulnerable to infections such as diarrhea and ear infections. And breastfeeding also benefits the health of the mother. Here let us see what simple guiding principles can give you good vitality while breastfeeding your child. 

Breastfeeding and nutrition

How much to eat? What to avoid? How can diet affect the baby? It is normal to wonder. Maintaining energy and absorbing the nutrients necessary for milk production can become a concern with so much we hear about breastfeeding .

And if you simply put color in your dishes? These would then be composed of vegetables, fruits, vegetable and animal proteins, dairy products. That would make things easier, right?

Here are some broad outlines:

  • Proteins: meat, fish, milk, eggs, cheese, tofu, pulses (beans, lentils, broad beans, peas)
  • Fruits and vegetables: whether raw or cooked (2/3 of the plate)
  • Starchy foods: pasta, rice, potatoes, cereals (wholemeal or cereal bread, rice, pasta, whole semolina) (1/3 of the plate)
  • Water: the only essential drink, to be consumed without moderation
  • Dried fruits, such as raisins, oilseeds (cashew, walnuts, almonds, etc.).

Make according to your tastes and your pleasures. 3 meals won't be enough for you sometimes and you'll add a healthy and nutritious snack. We ban pastries and feast on dried fruit, fresh fruit, energy balls, cereal bread with oilseed puree, for example.

Breastfeeding causes your body to expend extra energy.

Breastfeeding is a 24 hour job. It's not just about the time spent at home with your baby, but also the time you spend away from him breastfeeding in public or at home. Your body needs energy to maintain this level of work and causes you to burn 300 to 500 calories more than usual.

If you are adept at calculations and are concerned about ensuring that your consumption is within the standards, we offer you a calculation.

Take your pre-pregnancy weight/healthy weight as an indicator.
Divide this number by 10.

And you will know how many calories you generally need every day.

Example: a woman who naturally weighs 63 kg will need 630 calories.
Then add an additional 500 calories if you are breastfeeding. 

Should a breastfeeding mother be hyper-vigilant about her calorie intake?

Luckily not! In general, women don't need to limit or avoid certain foods while breastfeeding, much less spend their day thinking about their nutritional balance. A healthy and varied diet does the trick.

Ultimately, no! Just listen to yourself and don't overdo it. You don't eat for two and you don't need to get your figure back in a hurry either. Give your body time to regulate itself.

Splitting up meals and indulging in healthy, nutritious snacks throughout the day can help increase overall calorie intake without gaining too much weight.

There are very few slimming diets that are recommended during breastfeeding, if your figure raises questions for you, seek advice from a doctor or a dietician rather than embarking on a drastic slimming diet. You could lose vitality.

If we want to consume 500 extra calories a day, where do we find them?

Breast milk provides perfect and complete nutrition during the first 6 months of the baby's life. It contains about 4% fat, which covers about 40 to 60% of the energy needs of the newborn.

Your body needs healthy calorie intake, including vitamins, DHA and ARA which are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) essential for your infant's growth.

The fats in breast milk are not only a source of energy, but they also provide fatty acids, lipid "building blocks" for organs such as the brain, which is very rich in lipids (they make up 50 % of dry matter weight).

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is an omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid naturally found in fish, seafood and seaweed.

ARA (arachidonic acid) is a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid found in meat, poultry and eggs

Breast milk from mothers on a balanced diet contains adequate levels of ARA and DHA to meet the nutritional and developmental needs of infants.

Ask your doctor for advice if you are not already taking multi-vitamin complexes.

While breastfeeding, drink to your thirst

Some give guidelines for how much water and other herbal teas to drink daily. We are talking about one liter to 2.4 liters of water per day . Should we therefore limit ourselves to drinking if we are not thirsty? Water is the best choice because it helps your body recover from pregnancy-related water loss and can help prevent constipation and urinary tract infections.

Obviously, drinking little can cause digestive and intestinal disorders. To check that you have had enough, simply look at what color your urine is. If it's dark, you'll need to think about drinking more.

How many mothers sit down with their baby and don't dare to move when he delights in the breast and thereby forget to drink because they didn't anticipate having a drink at their disposal? Keep a thermos with your favorite herbal tea, a bottle of water or a pitcher handy.

Nursing mothers need more vitamins and minerals than non-breastfeeding women.

  • Vitamin D. This vitamin is often recommended to breastfeeding mothers, as it helps the baby's bone development and prevents rickets (a disease caused by vitamin D deficiency).
  • Calcium. Calcium plays an essential role in the health of your child's teeth, bones and muscles. It also helps keep his heart beating regularly and his blood vessels strong to prevent them from weakening or bursting. Nursing mothers need more calcium than non-nursing mothers, as it helps them build up reserves for when they return to work or school at the end of maternity leave.
  • Some mothers, such as those on a vegetarian or vegan diet, may not be getting adequate nutrients from their diet alone and may be more prone to nutritional deficiencies. For this, they will need to supplement with vitamin B12.

Ask your doctor for advice.

Bottom Line: Good nutrition while breastfeeding has benefits for both baby and mom.

Bottom Line: Good nutrition while breastfeeding has benefits for both baby and mom. Eating well keeps you in top shape. It's good for you, it's good for baby and it's good for the whole family. You'll also feel great, which will help you enjoy time with your new baby.

Your doctor or midwife may suggest that you take vitamin supplements if your diet is unbalanced or if you develop deficiencies.


Finally, no worries, whatever you eat, your milk has the perfect amount of protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals and is easy to digest.

Source: Carole Hervé - IBCLC Certified Lactation Consultant

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