How to Get the Right Nutrition when Breastfeeding or Pumping

How to Get the Right Nutrition when Breastfeeding or Pumping

Eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep is no easy task. And it can be all the more challenging when you’re feeding a newborn. Whether you’re breastfeeding directly or expressing your milk by pumping, it’s a demand on your body and one that means you’re getting far less sleep per night than you ever have. Yet, it’s when you're producing breast milk to feed your child that you should be extra mindful of maintaining good health. You’re not doing it for just one anymore, you’re doing it for two (or more if you’re the mom of multiples).

Whether you're about to start or have already begun feeding your child with breast milk, it’s important to know how it benefits you and your baby.

The health benefits of breastfeeding

Breastfeeding has a variety of benefits for mom and baby. Perhaps, most importantly, it's an opportunity to bond with your little one. Snuggling close and having skin-to-skin contact is comforting for your newborn.1 But it’s the process of lactation and the nutrition in breastmilk that really makes a difference for both of you.2

Benefits for baby

  • Nursing protects newborns from getting sick. Breast milk contains antibodies like immunoglobin A—an important component for building a strong immune system.
  • Drinking breast milk reduces their risk of contracting diseases like celiac, diabetes and leukemia, and developing ear infections and allergies.
  • Breastfed babies tend to have positive weight gain as infants and, according to the National Institutes of Health, are 15%–30% less likely to be obese.[3]

Benefits for mom

  • Breastfeeding can help with weight loss.[4] In addition to using the calories from your diet to produce milk, you’re also burning through the fat cells that accumulated during pregnancy. However, diet and exercise are still necessary as you work to obtain and maintain your post-pregnancy weight.
  • Your body will probably go “back to normal” faster. Breastfeeding produces oxytocin, which helps reduce bleeding and helps your uterus contract to its original size. This means the muscles and organs in your abdomen can begin going back to their original position sooner.
  • It may help reduce your risk of developing postpartum depression. Oxytocin also has anti-anxiety effects and encourages caregiving.
  • It can reduce your risk of diseases such as breast and ovarian cancer because of the way lactation affects mammary epithelial cells and delays ovulation from beginning again.[5]

What you need to produce nutritious breast milk

Breast milk does provide a lot of health benefits but the nutritional quality of the milk you make is directly related to what's in your body. And to produce enough milk with the right amount of nutritional advantages for your  little one, you need to be mindful of what you're eating and drinking. Extra calories count. You need an additional 300–500 calories per day to keep up your energy and milk production.6 Here are some nutrient-rich foods you should try to work into your diet:

  • Whole-grain bread
  • Peanut butter or an alternative for those with nut allergies (sunflower seed butter, tahini, soynut butter)
  • Yogurt
  • Bananas

Also, pack in the protein with:

  • Lean meat like chicken or turkey
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Seafood that is low in mercury like shrimp, salmon, catfish, sardines and anchovies

We know that it can be difficult for moms of infants to keep the perfectly balanced diet, so you may want to try a supplement to help keep you fueled. Multivitamin with Minerals is a simple way to make sure your body has the minerals it needs like calcium, iodine, iron, zinc and others.

Tips for moms who pump

At some point, you may decide that you need to pump. Whether it's to bottle feed or store a reserve amount of breast milk, having the right pumping equipment is important.

We have a variety of breast pumps available so you can find one that best fits your needs. Some favorites among breastfeeding moms who pump are:

You can also use this guide to compare all of our available breast pumps.

When you're ready to buy a breast pump, we'll be ready to help. Our three-step ordering process makes it easy to find the right pump and get insurance to cover it. Simply tell us the state you live in and who your provider is and you'll instantly see which pumps are covered by your plan. Choose yours and our breast pump specialists will handle everything else. They'll verify the benefits, contact your doctor and see that your pump is delivered right to your door.

Other items that can help you with your pumping journey include the Evenflo Advanced Milk Storage Bags. These are great to travel with because they’re resealable and leak resistant. They also make stockpiling a breeze because they are easy to fill and can be stored in the freezer flat or standing up. So no matter how packed your freezer is with casseroles from friends and family, your breast milkwill fit just fine. And if you’re on the go, the Spectra Insulated Breastmilk Cooler Bag Kit is compact and designed to keep the bottles cool for up to an entire day.

Caring for mom and baby

While breastfeeding is undeniably beneficial, it, can cause some discomfort for mom. Medela Tender Care Hydrogel Pads soothes sore nipples related to postpartum skin changes or breastfeeding complications. Lactating breasts can sometimes leak, causing embarrassing stains on clothes. To avoid leakage from unexpected letdown, Evenflo Advanced Nursing Pads have you covered. With 90 years of industry-led dryness technology behind them, these pads protect against leaking day and night. They are individually wrapped so they’re easy to use on the go and have a slim, discreet design making them easy to wear and comfortable on your skin.

If baby is having difficult latching, flat or inverted nipples may be the reason. The Lansinoh Breastfeeding Latch Assist is an iParenting media award-winning product that draws out flat nipples to help baby latch and feed comfortably. And when baby has a diaper rash and mom has tender nipples, the hypoallergenic and fragrance-free Ameda Triple Zero Lanolin Cream is a simple way to solve two problems with one solution.

How you provide your baby with breast milk, whether by breastfeeding directly, pumping for bottle feeding or both will be determined by what works best for you and your newborn. And that can, and probably will,  change over time. What matters most is that you make smart, healthy choices and know that you have options and solutions available to you. And, of course, always trust your doctor’s advice and mom instincts.

[1] "Skin-Skin Contact for You and Your Baby"” Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved from

[2] "11 Benefits of Breastfeeding for Both Mom and Baby," Healthline. Retrieved from

[3] The association between breastfeeding and childhood obesity: a meta-analysis," National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from

[4 ]Retrieved from

[5] "History of breast-feeding in relation to breast cancer risk: a review of the epidemiologic literature," National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from

[6] Retrieved from

[7] "Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk," American Academy of Pediatrics. Retrieved from