Meal and Hydration Plan for Enabling Milk Supply
Your food and beverage choices can help you improve the quality of your breast milk, the quantity of your supply, and the resultant health of your baby for years to come. Generally, you should aim to drink at least eight 8oz cups of fluid daily. During pregnancy, the recommendation increases to at least ten 8oz cups daily, and at least thirteen 8oz cups daily while breastfeeding and even more if your diet is low in produce (which is naturally high in water content) to stay hydrated and help keep your milk supply flowing. Increasing your intake of fluids is also critical because you’ll be losing fluid through your breastmilk. This plan will show you how to hydrate the best way for you and your baby.
The below tips, meals, snacks and recipe ideas will help you stay hydrated, and support your milk supply and nutrient composition of your breast milk.
Aim to drink a full glass of water each time you sit down to nurse, and during your meals and snacks. Try to carry a water bottle around and always keep it handy throughout the day.
To help improve the nutrient composition of your breastmilk, be sure to meet your recommended DHA intake of 8-12 ounces of omega 3-rich fish per week, by choosing fish lower in mercury such as wild salmon and canned sardines. The DHA you consume is secreted into your breastmilk and helps your baby’s eye and brain development.
Selecting meals and snacks from the options listed below will best enable your milk supply and help ensure you consume foods that include nutrients needed for growth and development of your baby.
Drink 10 ounces of water or 4 ounces of 100% fruit juice mixed with 6 oz water
- Option 1: Oatmeal with fruit (fresh or dried) and nuts
- Option 2: Whole grain cereal with fruit, low-fat milk or milk alternative, and flax, hemp, or chia seeds
- Option 3: Whole grain toast with nut butter. Low fat plain yogurt, and ½ grapefruit or orange
- Option 4: Bran flakes cereal with low-fat milk or milk alternative and sliced bananas
- Option 5: Eggs scrambled with veggies (like spinach, tomatoes and onions), topped with sliced avocado; side of fresh fruit
Drink at least 10 ounces of water or seltzer
- Option 1: Whole grain cold pasta salad with broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, cheese cubes tossed with vinaigrette dressing, and hard-boiled eggs
- Option 2: Peanut tofu whole grain wrap with sliced bell pepper and cucumber; side of baby carrots
- Option 3: Omelet with shredded cheddar and diced tomatoes with whole grain toast and green salad tossed with oil and balsamic vinegar
- Option 4: Tuna fish* with chopped celery and low-fat Greek yogurt on bib lettuce wraps and an apple
- Option 5: Grilled chicken over salad with avocado, tomatoes, chickpeas, with a white-wine vinaigrette dressing and whole grain crackers
Drink at least 10 ounces of water or seltzer
- Option 1: Grilled salmon over mixed spinach and chopped vegetables tossed with vinaigrette dressing served with brown rice
- Option 2: Spaghetti squash tossed with grilled or broiled shrimp and pesto sauce. (Cut the spaghetti squash in half, remove the seeds, place cut side down on a cookie sheet and roast for 30-45 minutes. Once cooked, scrape out the squash with a fork into strands. Then mix strands with store bought pesto)
- Option 3: Grilled steak, grilled portobello mushrooms marinated in balsamic vinaigrette and baked sweet potato fries
- Option 4: Ground chicken tacos on whole grain tortilla, served with toppings that include chopped tomatoes, cabbage, sliced avocado and shredded cheese with side salad and herb vinaigrette
- Option 5: Ground turkey with tomato sauce and whole grain pasta with sautéed vegetables
Drink water, seltzer or decaffeinated unsweetened tea throughout the day
- Option 1: Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit
- Option 2: Plain low-fat yogurt on brown rice cake with sliced bananas
- Option 3: Vegetables and hummus
- Option 4: Guacamole with carrots and celery
- Option 5: Apple slices with nut butter and 8 ounces of low-fat milk or unsweetened almond milk
Non-caffeinated drink swaps
- Option 1: Make your own naturally flavored waters: try cucumber and mint or a fruit combination like strawberry and orange slices. Place the ingredients in a 2-quart jar, crush them with a wooden spoon and cover with several cups of ice. Fill the jar with water and chill for several hours to infuse the flavors. Water will keep in refrigerator for 2-3 days.
- Option 2: Herbal non-caffeinated teas; iced or hot
- Option 3: Homemade simple hot cocoa: made with 8 ounces plant-based milk, 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (limit to once per day)
*Pregnant women should eat no more than 6 ounces of high mercury fish per week
For more on this topic, check out the following articles: