Best Superfoods for Breastfeeding Moms
New moms realize that they’re eating for two, but when they consider the complexity of information about food that’s out there, it can be a swirl of stats, suggestions and misconceptions that can lead to confusion.
Midwives at Avera take pride is swatting down the myths and misleading claims out there in the world of food for women who are beginning to breastfeed.
“Your diet should focus on eating better for you, and for baby. I think the most important thing is hydration and as many whole foods including fruits, vegetables and protein as you can,” said Avera midwife Lisa Van Gerpen, CNM, MSN.
Avoid overly processed foods, and carefully review food labels. Another idea is to not overdo the idea of “more is better.” Those who are pregnant only need 300-500 more daily calories.
“What’s most important is that mom is consuming the necessary nutrients for her baby," said Van Gerpen. A diet rich in a variety of nutrient-dense options is best.
Any mom with questions can schedule an appointment to get help from Avera's midwives. Avera dietitians can also help with consultations.
Here’s a look at the trio’s top food picks for redesigning your diet for baby and breastfeeding
Super Foods For Breastfeeding Moms
Oatmeal: This hunger-satisfying food is loaded with lactogenic properties and offers plenty of iron and fiber. Go with steel-cut oats or “old fashioned” varieties that take a bit longer to cook, but pack more nutrients.
Yogurt: With plenty of protein and calcium, this easy-to-eat food is a good breakfast go-to, and in addition, it’ll offer probiotics your digestive system can use to help you be healthy.
Avocado: A super-food is on almost all health-focused folks’ list of must-eat foods. It offers fiber, healthy fats good for your heart and is also an antioxidant-filled choice.
Quinoa: Enjoyed in a wide range of dishes, where it brings pure protein and lots of good fiber to the plate. Since it’s a low-glycemic grain, you’ll feel fuller longer, and it’s also gluten-free.
Beans and legumes: Babies won’t burp more if you eat plenty of fiber-full beans. Try them in place of fattier meats and enjoy the protein that comes with this super-food.
Salmon: Naturally low in fat, but high in heart-healthy omega 3 fats, this fish is rich in proteins and nutrients — it has tons of vitamins, especially vitamin D.
Lean red meats: The iron found in lean red meat is easily absorbed. It's also a great source of protein. You’ll also find lots of niacin, zinc and vitamins B6 and B12 in this recommended-for-mom choice.
Leafy greens: You’ll rarely go wrong with spinach and other greens, since they are chock-full of iron, vitamins A and K+ as well as antioxidants. Plus, their fiber counts are off the charts.
Eggs: Boost protein with the simple and satisfying egg, which is another good way to get healthier fats in your diet, all while adding folic acid and vitamins B6, B12 and A.
Apricots: Skip the sugary snacks and have this instead. It adds a source of prolactin producing nutrients as well as a digestion aid.
Strawberry Banana Lactation Smoothie
- 1 cup calcium-fortified milk (you can use coconut, almond or soy milk instead)
- 1 handful strawberries, stems removed
- 1 banana
- 1 handful fresh spinach
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- Ice as needed
- Mix all ingredients in a blender, using pulses to make a consistent smoothie.
- Use “store-bought” ice for best results – ice-cube tray cubes can damage some blenders.
Quinoa Salad with Avocado and Black Beans
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 cup fresh, frozen or canned corn (drain canned corn if using)
- 1 medium avocado, diced
- 8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon pepper to taste
- ¼ teaspoon salt to taste
- Cook quinoa according to package directions; set aside and let cool.
- Whisk olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper together.
- In a medium bowl, combine quinoa, corn, avocado, tomatoes and black beans.
- Stir in lime-juice mixture gently.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes prior to serving for best results.
Mama Trail Mix
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 1 cup raw cashews
- ¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- ½ cup freeze-dried raspberries
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- Toss all ingredients together in a bowl.
- Stir until combined; store in an airtight container.
Note: Makes a great snack as-is, or as a topping for oatmeal or yogurt.
Lactation Energy Bites
- 2 cups rolled oatmeal
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- ¾ cup ground flaxseed
- ⅔ cup raw honey
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- In a large bowl, add all ingredients.
- Stir until very well combined.
- Using a small cookie dough scoop or your hands, roll into balls.
- Place on baking sheet and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
- Store in airtight container in the fridge after set.