Last Updated on April 26, 2023 by Jada Glover
As a breastfeeding mom, you may be trying to balance your nutrition as well as make milk for your baby. You want to ensure you’re feeling good, while your baby is also growing and developing. That’s where a breastfeeding meal plan can come in handy!
Creating a breastfeeding meal plan that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods can help ensure that both you and your baby are getting the nutrients you need, help you stay organized, and plan and prep your meals for success. It doesn’t have to be complicated or overwhelming and can take the headache out of tracking every bite you eat.
In this blog post, I am providing breastfeeding meal plan samples. They contain easy meal ideas to help you make healthy food choices so you can feel your best while breastfeeding.
What Is a Breastfeeding Meal Plan?
A breastfeeding meal plan is a nutrition plan (or diet) that is designed to provide the necessary nutrients you need as a breastfeeding mom. This also means the meal plan should contain all the necessary nutrients for your baby’s growth and development.
While a mom can breastfeed even if she’s undernourished, milk supply or milk quality may suffer. This can potentially impact a baby’s overall growth and development.
That’s why a breastfeeding meal plan can be helpful to ensure you’re checking off all the important nutrients you and your baby need. It also makes it easier to plan and prep nutritious meals for you and your family.
A breastfeeding meal plan does not need to be complicated! Don’t get bogged down and feel overwhelmed by the sound of it.
Yes, there are key nutrients you want to include, and there may be foods you need to avoid. Ultimately, it should include a variety of foods from all the major food groups, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Breastfeeding Meal Plan Sample Nutrients
Below are some of the key lactation nutrients to be on the lookout for in the foods you’re eating. This is not an all-inclusive list, but it gives you a good basis of nutrients that affect milk production.
There are other vitamins and minerals that are important to you and your baby’s health while breastfeeding. That is why a well-rounded diet is important when creating your breastfeeding meal plan.
- Vitamin B12
- Healthy fats (and proper Omega-3 fat ratio)
- Antioxidant foods
- Fermented foods
Many of these nutrients can be found in the foods in this graphic:
Proper hydration to maintain milk supply is also key, including adding some electrolytes. If your urine is pale yellow and you’re drinking to thirst, you’re likely drinking enough water.
For most moms, this is about 8-10 glasses a day. I like to tell moms to drink when their baby drinks. Keep a bottle or glass of water handy at all times when you’re nursing or pumping.
Your breastfeeding meal plan should aim to provide a sufficient amount of calories. That will be at least 1,800-2,200 calories or more depending on your maternal stores, how often you’re breastfeeding, and your health goals.
Keep in mind that not all breastfeeding meal plans are created equal, especially in the diet industry. Avoid any breastfeeding weight loss plans that claim to be quick fixes, low calorie diets, or ones that require heavy supplementation or meal replacement shakes. They likely don’t have you or your baby’s best interest at heart.
I put together some key elements to consider when you’re looking for the best breastfeeding meal plan. These questions helped me after having both of my babies while I was breastfeeding to lose the unwanted pregnancy weight I gained.
If you want a breastfeeding meal plan that meets all of these and is done for you, be sure you check out my 21 Day Breastfeeding Meal Plan for Weight Loss.
Foods to Avoid or Limit in Your Meal Plan
Your breastfeeding meal plan may need to take into account any food allergies or sensitivities that you or your baby may have. If your baby is experiencing symptoms like extra gassiness, severe diaper rash, or is colicky, you may want to consider eliminating foods temporarily.
You can try an elimination diet to find the culprit foods. See the graphic below which shows some of the more common “fuss-foods.”
If you do need to eliminate any foods, you can simply reintroduce them when your baby is a little older, around the 6-9 month mark usually. At that time you will see if your baby is able to better tolerate those foods.
Types Of Breastfeeding Meal Plans
There are a lot of different types of breastfeeding meal plans out there. Let’s review some of the most common ones.
Whole Foods Meal Plan
This is a simple plan that focuses on eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods from all the major food groups, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. This is my preferred way of eating to maintain my weight while breastfeeding.
Vegetarian or Vegan Meal Plan
This type of plan is designed for moms who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, and includes plant-based sources of protein like beans, tofu, and nuts. If you follow this kind of diet or meal plan, you be may be at risk for B12 deficiencies.
B12 isn’t found in plant sources, which can cause your baby to be drowsy, nurse less, and affect your milk supply. Take a supplement for B12, and be aware of the other lactation nutrients you need as listed above.
Keto or Low Carb Meal Plan
This type of plan typically limits carbohydrates and focuses on high-protein and healthy fat foods like leafy greens, meat, salmon, eggs, nuts, seeds, and dairy. A modified keto approach is what I used after having my son to drop the baby weight while breastfeeding.
Check out my Keto Video Workshop & Quickstart Guide to learn more!
Mediterranean Meal Plan
This type of meal plan is based on the traditional eating patterns of countries around the Mediterranean Sea. It emphasizes whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and healthy fats like olive oil and nuts.
This meal plan is based on the idea that our bodies are designed to eat like our hunter-gatherer ancestors did. It emphasizes whole, unprocessed foods like meat, fish, vegetables, and fruits, and limits grains, dairy, and processed foods.
Allergy-Friendly Meal Plan
If you or your baby have food allergies or sensitivities, a meal plan that avoids common allergens like dairy, wheat, or soy may be necessary. Refer to the list of foods above that you may need to avoid.
Breastfeeding Meal Plan Samples For Weight Loss
The following breastfeeding meal plan samples offer breastfeeding-friendly foods incorporated into healthy recipes. You can try these ideas as part of a healthy, whole foods breastfeeding meal plan. A FREE printable PDF version is available in the download below too.
Spinach and Sweet Potato Egg Muffins
Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Salad Bowl
Kale Salad with Salmon
Celery sticks or apple slices with almond butter or peanut butter
Boiled egg and a handful of almonds
Dried fruit (apricots, dates, figs) with raw nuts
Avocado chocolate moringa smoothie
Cucumbers, carrots and hummus
Free Breastfeeding Meal Plan Samples PDF
If you’re looking for an easy breastfeeding meal plan sample, here is a 5 day plan. Just fill in the form below to get your FREE download. It also includes a shopping list and 5 days of easy recipes.
Breastfeeding Meal Plan Sample Recipes
The following recipes are part of the free breastfeeding meal plan sample pdf above. They include healthy foods that promote the best milk supply and give you quality nutrients your body’s needs.
Recipe #1: Breakfast – Sweet Potato Egg Muffins
1 1/2 teaspoons Avocado Oil
1 Sweet Potato (medium, peeled and chopped into cubes)
1 tablespoon of Coconut Oil
6 cups Baby Spinach
1/4 cup Water
1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon of Black Pepper
- Preheat oven to 350ºF (177ºC). Lightly grease a muffin pan with avocado oil.
- Steam sweet potato in a double boiler for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Let cool slightly.
- While the sweet potato is steaming, heat coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. Sauté the spinach until wilted and tender. Let cool slightly.
- When spinach and sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, divide evenly into the muffin cups of the prepared pan.
- In a mixing bowl whisk eggs until well scrambled. Whisk in water and salt and pepper.
- Pour the whisked eggs into the muffin cups to cover the sweet potato and spinach.
- Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or just until the egg is cooked through and no longer liquid on top. Remove from oven, let cool and enjoy.
Recipe #2: Lunch – BLT Salad Bowl
1 boiled Egg
2 slices Organic Bacon
2 cups Arugula
1/2 cup Cherry Tomatoes (halved)
1/4 Avocado (sliced)
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt & Black Pepper
- Hard boil your eggs by placing them in a small pot and fill with enough cold water to cover them by 1-inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, cover the pot and remove it from the heat. Let stand for 12 minutes then drain. Place eggs in a bowl of ice-cold water for 10 minutes.
- While the eggs are cooling, cook your bacon in a pan over medium heat until crispy. Remove from pan and pat excess oil away with paper towel. Once cool, chop it up.
- To assemble the salads: divide arugula between bowls and top with cherry tomatoes, avocado, chopped bacon and hard-boiled egg. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!
Recipe #3: Dinner – Kale Salad with Salmon
6 cups Kale Leaves (chopped)
1 Lemon (juiced)
2 tablespoons Hemp Seeds
Sea Salt & Black Pepper (to taste)
1/4 cup Coconut Oil (divided)
6 ounce Salmon Fillet
- Add kale leaves to a large bowl with the lemon juice, hemp seeds, salt and pepper and half the coconut oil. Massage the dressing into the kale with your hands for 2 to 3 minutes, until it is softened. Set aside.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and brush with the remaining coconut oil. Season the salmon with salt and pepper, then add it to the pan skin-side down, cooking for about 3 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, until the flesh is opaque throughout.
- Divide the massaged kale between plates and top with the salmon. Add an extra squeeze of lemon if desired. Enjoy!
If you like these recipes, and want more, I have a breastfeeding meal plan that is already done for you! Check out my 21 Day Breastfeeding Meal Plan for Weight Loss.
Simple Tips to Boost The Breastfeeding Meal Plan Samples From Above
Sometimes quick-to-fix snacks or mini-meals are the only way you can eat when you have a baby in your arms. Trust me, I understand, my daughter is going through a mental leap and teething right now.
Believe it or not, these can end up being my favorite meals because they balance convenience and healthy food options. When you need something quicker than the breastfeeding meal plan samples and recipes discussed above, here are a few simple ways you can boost nutrition in your meals today.
Snack On Fruits & Vegetables
Cut up an assortment of raw vegetables when you have a chance, including broccoli, bell peppers, carrots and other favorites. Keep them in a covered container in the refrigerator and grab a handful when you are hungry and need something to munch on.
Or, you could bring out a tray of veggies with a yogurt dip, cheese, and olives. You can also add hummus, peanut butter, and other nut butters to make a satisfying snack or meal with some whole grain bread or crackers.
Increase Consumption of Healthy Fats
Wild salmon, avocado, seeds and nuts are examples of great options. Avoid junk fats such as chips, cookies and candy.
Pair canned or pouched wild caught salmon with salad greens and top with plain yogurt. Serve some sliced fruit on the side, and you have a fast, appealing, and nutritious meal.
Avocado is also a great source of healthy fats. You can enjoy these sliced with a squirt of lemon juice or mashed into a dip or spread and served with raw vegetables.
Eliminate Hidden Sources of Junk Food & Choose Healthy Carbs
Read labels and avoid foods that contain high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and anything with a number (such as food dyes). Remember though, not all carbs are bad for you!
Again, read labels and choose carbs that are low in sugar and high in protein and fiber. For example, if you like eating breakfast cereal, choose one that contains fewer than six grams of sugar and has at least 3 grams of fiber and 3 g of protein per serving. Or, try overnight oats instead with chia seeds, honey, and fresh berries on top.
Stay Hydrated & Drink Smoothies
Avoid sugary drinks and diet drinks. Choose to drink water, coconut water or 100% all natural fruit juice instead.
Smoothies can be a quick all-in-one meal. Whip up a quick fruit smoothie with plain yogurt, fresh fruit, ice, and flaxseed oil or peanut butter. You can even add unflavored collagen powder to give it a protein boost.
Check this out for some awesome breastfeeding smoothie ideas too.
How Many Calories Should Moms Eat When Using these Breastfeeding Meal Plan Samples?
While supply and demand is a critical component of breast milk supply, there are other factors that play a role too…including what we eat! When it comes to nutrition and breastfeeding, there are two main factors: calories and nutrients.
Yes, you will be hungrier while breastfeeding. That’s just natural.
But, it’s up to you to choose the foods that are going to nourish your body and give it the nutrients it needs (and that’s when you’ll see results!). A breastfeeding mom uses about 300-500 calories per day to make milk depending on how much milk you are producing for your baby (or babies) – exclusively, mostly, or partially.
The amount of milk you produce varies based on how often you are nursing or pumping, and if your baby is eating solid foods. Once your baby is introduced to solid foods, he or she won’t require as much breast milk, and your milk production will naturally decrease (isn’t your body amazing?!).
Not only does it take calories to make milk, but you’re giving away calories in your milk when you breastfeed. Most moms have to maintain at least 1,800-2,200 calories per day for an adequate milk supply.
Individual calories required vary based on maternal fat storage, weight gained during pregnancy, and other unique factors like age, height, weight, physical activity, how often you’re breastfeeding, etc.
Some moms may require a lot more than 1,800-2,200 calories per day, especially if they are breastfeeding multiple babies or they’ve just had their baby and their milk supply is regulating. Your body wants to know that you’re in a “time of plenty” while you’re ramping up milk production.
Don’t Reduce Calories Too Quickly
Dropping too many calories too fast can negatively affect your milk production.
If you’re trying to lose weight while breastfeeding, be patient and aim for slower, gradual weight loss. Be patient and aim for slower, gradual weight loss (1-2 pound loss per week). You will start feeling better with more energy before you may see results on the scale. Celebrate every victory along the way!
If you want to make your own meal plan, choose simplicity and plan. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a bunch of new healthy recipes. Instead, use mostly staple recipes that you can make a little healthier by easy swaps, and add in 1 or 2 new recipes per week.
Plan and prep for your week ahead so you know what you’re going to eat. This can help remove the temptation of junk foods or less healthy food options.
Finally, if you want a breastfeeding meal plan that is already done for you, be sure you check out my 21 Day Breastfeeding Meal Plan for Weight Loss.
You can follow the breastfeeding meal plan samples from above if you are trying to lose weight postpartum or want to maintain your health and your baby’s health as a new mom.
Remember, the most important thing when it comes to breastfeeding nutrition and creating a breastfeeding meal plan is to eat a balanced, varied diet that includes plenty of nutrient-dense foods. This will help ensure you are meeting your nutritional needs as well as your baby’s.
It’s also important to stay hydrated and to listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Good luck with it all!