Nutrition during breastfeeding and childbirth

Everything a nursing mother needs to know about her nutrition

The diet we follow is reflected through our skin, our hair and our immune system, always combined with our general lifestyle and other factors. However, the saying “We are what we eat” rings a bell for our eating habits and for a balanced nutrition plan. Now imagine how much the mother’s diet during breastfeeding and childbirth is important, as it not only affects her, but also the infant through the breast milk she consumes. Indeed, the World Nutrition Summit (2021) focused on issues of countries’ readiness in terms of their commitment to better nutrition for mothers and their children. Therefore, it is easy to understand that the observance of this commitment is important for the essential support and defense of breastfeeding. (World Health Organization 2022)

The truth is that a lot is often heard about the topic of proper nutrition for a nursing mother and how it affects the development of her baby. Many times even “special” diets are suggested that will contribute to the good health of both, baby and mother. However, these practices almost entirely belong in the realm of breastfeeding myths. According to the literature so far, no special diet is required during the breastfeeding period• the nursing mother can have variety in her diet and eat whatever she wants, because it is this taste variety that contributes to the broadening of the baby’s tastes through the process of breastfeeding. It is therefore important to encourage the baby to choose between a multitude of tastes and smells and to consume a variety of foods in species, herbs and flavors. This is beneficial for the infant because each special flavor passes through his palate, offering him early positive stimuli.

According to authoritative research, the smell and taste of food determines both the relationship of the infant with the mother’s breast and the process, for example, when the mother has consumed garlic, the infant spends 50% more time at the breast, the same happens and when he has consumed vanilla. Indeed, it is proven that the transition to foods after the 6th month of the infant’s life is easier if there have been many taste stimuli through breastfeeding.

Mediterranean diet & breastfeeding

It should be emphasized that regardless of the mother’s diet model, breast milk is always available and rich in antibodies and valuable nutrients for the baby. However, the recommendation of most experts is that lechoida should be fed based on the Mediterranean diet model. As a rule, in her daily life she must follow:

  • 5 meals a day
  • 2L liquids per day (water)
  • 2 meals of tea (honeysuckle, anise, fennel)
  • Preference for soups every day

A balanced diet with a variety of foods and nutrients lays a healthy nutritional foundation for the nursing mother and for the whole family.

Nutrition Plan

  • 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day
  • Milk and milk products are rich in calcium
  • Whole grain products that are rich in fiber

Tip: In order to avoid the appearance of allergies in the baby, we can make a two-week chart in which we record our eating habits, so that in the event of an allergy, we can refer to the chart and identify the food to which the infant has developed an allergy. Allergy can manifest itself in the following ways:

  1. With blood in the diaper
  2.  Rocket-like vomiting
  3. Green stools

Food supplements for milk enhancement

Nature is our ally also during the important occasion of breastfeeding. There are some herbs whose consumption enhances lactation, and these are the following: honeysuckle, anise and fennel. It is recommended to take them daily from one to two cups a day. Also, one of the best herbs that drastically enhance lactation is milk thistle. However, we use it in a specific way and based on instructions to avoid overproduction of milk.

Diet and lehoida

Research has shown that losing one to two pounds of baby weight per month is safe for both the baby and milk production. Of course, the condition is that the nursing woman follows a balanced diet with a minimum intake of 1500 calories per day. At this point, it should be noted that 2/3 of breast milk is enriched by the amount of fat in the mother’s diet and 1/3 by the fat stores of her body. Therefore, a diet rich in Omega-3 fats is recommended, i.e. consumption of fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardine), olive oil, vegetable margarine or even special food supplements for breastfeeding women who follow a diet poor in nutrients due to work or other obligations.



National Nutrition Guide for Infants, Children & Teenagers:
World health organization 2020
Breastfeeding Association of Greece, Nutrition and breastfeeding. Pack of informational leaflets on breastfeeding.


Friendly, your midwife – next to you!
Midwifery, MsC sport and physical health
[email protected]

Editing of text: Aristi Tselou

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *