11 Superfoods You Should have while Breastfeeding
By : Baby Destination Editor
Breastfeeding is one of the most beautiful phases of motherhood and also, one of the most demanding. The birth of your baby gets your hormones surging. Where on one hand you feel immense love for your little one, on the other hand, your body gets ready to produce milk to feed the baby.
It is normal to constantly feel hungry when you are breastfeeding. You may also feel more tired than usual. This is because your body is now using a lot more calories to recover and simultaneously make milk.
Therefore, the key here lies in helping your body replenish its reserve through nutrient-rich foods. These foods may or may not be lactogenic in nature. However, they do help to fuel up your body with vital and healthy phytonutrients, fats, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that you are in definite need of.
Importance of eating the right food during breastfeeding:
A baby is going to get all the nutrition she needs from your breast milk, irrespective of whether your diet is balanced or not. However, eating the right food during breastfeeding is important for the following reasons –
- To make sure that the quantity and quality of your milk remains best at all times for your little one.
- To ensure that your baby is not deriving her nutrition from your nutrient reserves, thereby, depleting them eventually in the long run. Supplement your reserves with a nutrient rich diet that is sufficient for both baby and you.
- To have ample strength and stamina to care for the new entrant in your life. Caring for a newborn with or without help is super straining and demanding. Your body has to be ready for it at all times.
- To aid the process of postpartum recovery.
Super foods that you must have during breastfeeding –
These are foods that have been known for their nutrient values over generations now. Also, mentioned are some easy, no fuss, and quick, everyday recipes that you can use them in.
#1. Low-Fat Dairy Products
Dairy products are primarily rich in calcium. When your baby is deriving her calcium from your milk, you need to supplement the same to replenish your reserves as well. Milk provides Vitamin D to the body.
Low fat dairy products also keep you from gaining the extra pounds you are so eager to shed. Dairy products are very important for breastfeeding moms as they lend an array of nutrients vital for bone strengthening. They also help to keep one satiated for long, thus, keeping hunger pangs at bay. You must aim at incorporating three cups of dairy products into your diet every day. Example – Yogurt, cheese, and milk.
Recipe of Sooji Milk
This is great to have in summers and winters both.
- Low fat milk – 1 cup
- Roasted Sooji – 3 tablespoons
- Sugar – 1.5 teaspoons or to taste
- Almonds – 2-3 finely chopped
- Raisins – 4-5
- Warm the low fat milk in a pan and add the roasted sooji along with the sugar to it. Keep stirring on medium flame, till you can see the sooji granules swell up and absorb the milk.
- As the solution thickens, add the almonds and raisins.
- Bring to a boil now and switch off the burner.
- Let it rest for two to three minutes before having warm.
- You can also make rice kheer, oats, or dalia like this as alternatives.
Recipe of Mixed Vegetable with Paneer and grated cheese
- Paneer – 100 gms – cut into thin long pieces
- Carrots – 1
- Potatoes – 1
- Capsicum – 1
- Baby corn – 2-3 pcs
- Onion – 1 big
- Tomatoes – 2 medium – finely chopped
- Garlic pods – 5-6 – crushed to paste
- Salt – to taste
- Turmeric – 1 teaspoon
- Jeera (cumin) powder – ½ teaspoon
- Cumin seeds – ½ teaspoon
- Grated cheese and coriander leaves for garnish
- Cut all vegetables into thin and long pieces for uniformity.
- Take oil in a wok and heat it.
- Add the cumin seeds in it and let them crackle a bit.
- Now add the onions and garlic. Sauté them till they turn golden brown.
- Now add the tomatoes and cook at medium flame till the tarka is ready.
- In another pan, shallow fry all the mixed veggies till they change color and soften enough that a slight crunch still remains in the carrots.
- Now add the salt, turmeric, and cumin powder to the tarka and continue to cook on medium flame for 2 minutes.
- When the veggies are done, add them to the tarka and cook at medium flame for 5-8 minutes.
- Now add the paneer pieces, mix lightly, and cook for another 2-3 minutes and then take off the flame.
- Garnish with coriander leaves and grated cheese before serving.
Fruit yogurt or vegetable raita are some great options to try out with curd.
Oats are a great source of iron which is needed for speedy postpartum recovery. Mums lose blood during childbirth and iron deficiency can lead to the reduced flow of breastmilk. Having a bowl of oats every day not only regulates milk flow but, also offers numerous other benefits. It provides energy and keeps lethargy at bay. It is rich in fiber and thus, helps to regulate your bowel movements, offering relief from post-delivery constipation. Oats are loaded with nutrients and therefore, help fortify the breast milk as well.
Recipe of Oats Kheer
This is a great dish to start your day or have as a snack in the evening. It is very filling and delicious. Oats have a tendency to thicken when left for some time. Therefore, you may consider adding more milk to this dish at the time of consuming.
- Oats – ½ cup
- Sugar – 2 teaspoons
- Ghee – ½ teaspoon
- Milk – 1 ½ cups
- Almonds – 3 to 4
- Raisins – 3 to 4
- Cardamom powder – a pinch
- Take a pan and warm the ghee in it at slow flame.
- Now add the oats and roast them in the ghee till they become slightly brown.
- Add the milk, cardamom powder, and sugar. Stir constantly.
- After 5 minutes the mixture will start to thicken.
- It is time to add the almonds and raisins.
- Cook for another minute and take it off the heat.
- Serve hot or cold as per taste.
#3 Brown Rice
Brown rice is a rich source of carbohydrates. It therefore, provides the much-needed energy for new mums without making one feel lethargic and bloated. It helps to replenish your calories and enhance the milk quality for the baby. Simply replace your regular white rice with brown rice to see the difference.
Recipe of Brown rice Pulao
It is advised to cook your brown rice in excess water and drain the surplus broth once the rice is soft and done. This method gives you less starchy, light, and healthy rice.
- Water – 1 ½ cups
- Salt – ½ tsp
- Uncooked brown rice – ¾ cups
- Butter – 3 tablespoons
- Chopped onions –1 ½ cup
- Minced garlic – ½ tsp
- Sliced carrots – 2
- Sliced mushrooms – 2 cups
- Chickpeas – 2 cups
- Beaten eggs – 2 (optional)
- Ground black pepper – ½ tsp
- Fresh chopped parsley – ¼ cup
- Chopped cashews – ¼ cup
- Bring the water to a boil and add rice to it. Cover the pot and let the rice simmer. It takes about 40-50 minutes for the rice to get tender.
- In another pan heat the butter on medium heat.
- Add the onions and sauté till soft.
- Add the garlic, salt, and the carrots, cook for another five minutes.
- Now add the mushrooms and cook for another 10 minutes.
- To this add chickpeas and cook for 1 min more.
- In the end, add eggs to the mixture and stir constantly to cook until the eggs are fully cooked.
- Remove from heat and add the pepper, nuts, and parsley.
- Take the cooked rice and spoon it into the veggie-egg mixture. Stir well.
- Serve the dish with soy sauce for added flavor.
Also Read: Is it Safe to Store Breast Milk?
Young moms often get busy in their routine and tend to either skip or have incomplete meals. As a result, they tend to binge eat later that leads to weight gain subsequently. It is therefore, good to know about foods that are ideal to start your day on Eggs, are one good example. Eggs are rich sources of proteins. Not only are eggs a great source of energy, they also keep the stomach full. They also lend essential fatty acids to your milk and therefore are a must to add to your diet.
You can have boiled or scrambled eggs for breakfast. Egg salad is another good option.
Recipe of Egg curry
This is a great curry to have with Biryani or Chapatis.
- Boiled eggs – 4
- Cubed potatoes – 2
- Minced Onions – 2-3 large
- Minced Tomatoes – 2-3 large
- Ginger garlic paste – 2 tablespoons
- Cumin powder – 1 tsp
- Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
- Turmeric – 1 ½ tsp
- Salt and pepper – to taste
- Coriander leaves and garam masala for garnish
- In a pressure cooker take some oil and heat it.
- To it, add the cumin seeds and let them crackle.
- Now add the onions paste along with the ginger and garlic. Sauté for sometime till the mixture turns golden brown.
- Add the tomatoes and stir further till the paste darkens and starts to leave oil.
- Meanwhile cut the boiled eggs into equal halves and arrange in a serving dish.
- Add the salt, haldi powder, cumin powder, and pepper powder to the masala. Mix it well.
- Now add some water along with the potatoes and close the lid of the pressure cooker.
- Let it cook for 15 minutes on medium flame or till you get 2-3 whistles.
- Take it off the flame and open the lid once the cooker releases all its steam
- Pour this curry over the boiled eggs in the serving dish.
- Garnish with coriander leaves and garam masala before serving
#5. Whole-Wheat Bread
Folic acid is an essential part of your baby’s growth both, inside and out of your body. It helps healthy growth of your little one and also keeps you energetic and going. Breads made from whole grains are fortified with folic acid and are also a rich source of iron and carbohydrates. Therefore, you must include them in your diet post delivery, to get ample energy. Whole Wheat provides essential fiber to the body that is needed to aid normal bowel function. New mums often complain of constipation and the answer lies in eating fibrous foods.
Recipe of Egg/Paneer and whole wheat bread sandwich
This is a wholesome mini meal or breakfast options loaded with fiber.
- Toasted whole wheat bread slices – 2
- Sliced boiled egg – 1 or Paneer slices – 2-3
- Butter – 1 tsp
- Sauce – 2 tablespoons
- Lettuce leaves – 2
- Sliced raw veggies – cucumber and carrot
- Thin and long sliced onions – 2
- Garam masala, Chaat masala, salt, pepper, and green chillies to taste
- Toast the bread in a toaster or on the tava using butter.
- In a pan, sauté the onions till golden brown and add salt, garam masala, chaat masala, pepper, and green chillies to it.
- Cook for some more time and put aside.
- Now smear the slices with sauce and place the lettuce leaves on them.
- Now start layering your sandwich alternatingly with the onion mixture, raw veggies, and the egg/paneer slices till all the items finish.
- Your sandwich is ready.
#6. Green Leafy Vegetables – Spinach, mustard leaves, broccoli, methi, and more
Green leafy vegetables are a storehouse of multiple nutrients and a power packed mini meal for nursing mums. A great source of fiber and energy, green veggies also keep your digestive system running in great shape while ensuring you have healthy bones as well.
Green leafy vegetables are also helpful in regaining any drop in hemoglobin levels during the pregnancy or childbirth. They contain phytoestrogens, which facilitate lactation and enhance breast health. Most importantly they supplement your milk with nutrients essential for the baby, thus improving its quality.
Recipe of Daal Palak
This is a super nutritious recipe that energizes, is satiating, and is still light on the tummy. What’s best is that this cooks effortlessly keeping in mind the little time new mums have at hand.
- Spinach (Palak) leaves – a bunch of 20-30 leaves – washed and cut into two or three pieces only
- Masoor sabut daal – 1 bowl (you can try this with Maa ki daal too but that gets very heavy)
- Finely chopped onions – 1 cup
- Grated ginger – 2 tsps
- Minced garlic – 2 tablespoons
- Chopped tomatoes – 1
- Salt, pepper, turmeric and garam masala – to taste
- Ghee for tarka – 1 tablespoon
- Put the pressure cooker on medium flame and add a spoon of ghee first
- Drop in a few cumin seeds and wait till they start to crackle
- Now add the ginger garlic paste and saute till golden brown
- Now add the onions and saute some more time
- When the whole mixture turns golden brown, add the tomatoes and cook till the tarka is ready
- Now add the daal, large chunks of the palak leaves, 750ml water along with salt and spices and close the pressure cooker.
- Let the daal cook for 15-20 minutes or till you get 3-4 whistles.
- Now turn off the flame and wait for the steam to come out before opening the cooker.
- Garnish with garam masala to serve.
Water although does not classify as being a food item; yet it is something that plays a vital role especially during breastfeeding. Not only does water enhance breast milk supply, it is also needed to compensate for the fluid loss from the mother’s body.
Breast milk is made using water and food from the mother’s body. Therefore, it is important for the mum to stay hydrated to make up for the water her body is losing too. Keep a glass of water close to your nursing chair and sip it on a regular basis. It is advisable for nursing mothers to have at least 2 litres of water a day.
Recipe of Mint, Ginger, and Lemon Infused Detox Water
This infused water recipe is good to be had once or twice a day. Mint aids digestion, while lemon flushes out body toxins. Ginger is an effective anti-inflammatory agent and works well for postpartum recovery.
- Water – 500 ml
- Mint leaves – 5 to 7
- Ginger – 3-4 thin cut slices
- Lemon – 2 thin cut slices
- Salt – optional
- Take a 500 ml infuser bottle. A regular fridge bottle of same capacity would also do.
- Fill it with water and all the other ingredients.
- Let the water sit for 2-3 hours. I let my water sit overnight to ensure that the ingredients infuse well.
- Once the water is infused, it is ready for you to have throughout the day.
- You can have a glass in the morning and one at night. Alternatively, you can sip it slowly throughout the day.
For winters you can use warm water infused with ginger. Add a teaspoon of honey and a dash of lemon juice to it before drinking.
#8 Garlic (Lehsun)
Garlic has been known for its lactogenic properties since ages. This means that garlic helps increase breast milk supply. Garlic also aids digestion and offers effective relief from cough and cold during winter months. However, the pungent taste of garlic sometimes alters the flavor of breastmilk. Many babies do not like this change and may temporarily get averted to breast milk. It is therefore, best to consume garlic as part of a dish rather than having it raw.
Recipe of Missa Garlic Parantha
This recipe is a wonderful take on the popular missi roti. Enriched with garlic and gram flour, it is super nutritious and easy to make.
- Wheat flour – 1 cup
- Chana gram flour – ½ cup
- Garlic – 8-10 crushed cloves
- Milk – ½ cup
- Malai – ½ cup
- Chopped onions – ½ cup
- Mint leaves – 3-4
- Coriander leaves – fine chopped – ¼ cup
- Salt – to taste
- Jeera powder – ½ tsp
- Chilli powder – ½ tsp (optional)
- Chaat Masala – ½ tsp
- Water – as needed
- Take a large bowl to knead the flour and simply put all the ingredients in it.
- Start kneading with a light hand slowly folding all the ingredients in.
- The milk and malai will help put the mixture together into a dough.
- Use water as per requirement only to bind the dough into a smooth consistency.
- Keep kneading till the dough reaches a smooth, clump-free consistency that can be rolled into balls.
- Make equal sized balls.
- Heat the tawa and put some ghee on it.
- Use a rolling pin (belan) to shape the dough balls into paranthas on a rolling board (chakla).
- Cook the paranthas on both sides till they turn golden brown.
- Eat hot with curd or butter.
#9 Fenugreek ( Methi)
Fenugreek is well known for its digestive properties. It is also a tried and tested lactogen that your granny will surely approve of. Water infused with fenugreek seeds is very good for breastfeeding mothers and can be had early in the morning. You can use fenugreek leaves to prepare veggies or mix them with dough to make delicious methi paranthas for breakfast.
Recipe of Methi Malai Paneer
This dish is great for the main course and cooks real fast. you can replace the malai with fresh curd for a variation.
- Methi – fine chopped – 2 cups
- Paneer – 100 gms – cubed
- Malai – 1 cup
- Onions – fine chopped – ½ cup
- Tomatoes – fine chopped – ¾ cup
- Garlic – minced – 3 tsp
- Ginger – minced – 1 tsp
- Oil – 1 tablespoon
- Jeera seeds – ½ tsp
- Moti elaichi – 1
- Choti elaichi powder – ½ tsp
- Haldi powder – 1 tsp
- Salt – to taste
- Red chilli powder – to taste
- Coriander leaves – for garnish
- Heat oil in a karahi
- To it, add jeera seeds and moti elaichi and let them fritter.
- Now add ginger and garlic paste and cook till golden brown.
- Add onions and cook till golden brown.
- Now add tomatoes and cook till soft. You should get a thick brown tarka paste.
- To it add salt, haldi, chilli powder, and elaichi powder and stir to mix well.
- Now add the paneer chunks and the methi leaves. Mix well.
- Let it cook for 10 minutes on medium flame or till the methi leaves start turning dark in color.
- Now add the malai and mix well with a light hand and cook for another 7-8 minutes on medium flame.
- If you are adding curd, cook for just one minute and turn off the flame.Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.
Also Read: 6 Ways to Support a Breastfeeding Mother
#10 Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are power houses of energy and nutrition. They are rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are good in-between meal snacks and keep you satiated for long. They also aid recovery after delivery.
Recipe of Nutty Mix for milk
This is a nutritious mixture that you can prepare using different nuts and seeds. Fennel aids digestion while the sesame seeds are great stress busters. The almonds boost milk production, while cashews are a great source of calcium. Add this mixture to your daily glass of milk every morning to ensure a delicious and energetic start to your day. It is also good to enhance the quality of your milk.
- Almonds – 75 gms
- Pistachios – 50 gms
- Cashews – 50 gms
- Black sesame seeds – 20 gms
- Fennel seeds – 20 gms
- Cardamom powder – 1 tsp
- Sugar – 100 gms
- Mix all ingredients and grind them well in a mixer.
- You should look at fine powdered consistency.
- Take out the mixture and store it in a glass container.
- Mix 1 tsp every day with a warm cup of milk.
- You can also replace sugar with honey. However, the honey must be added to the milk.
#11 Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes are rich sources of proteins that are a must for a breastfeeding mom. They help one fight hunger pangs while offering great nutrition to the baby. Legumes can be cooked as daals or soups for that daily dose of minerals and phytochemicals. Beans make for delicious veggies. However, beans may cause gassiness in the baby. To counter that do not forget the fennel seeds.
Recipe of Tomato, Lentil Soup with Beans
This is a great soup for cosy evenings. It is light, nourishing, and soothing for the nerves as well.
- Dry yellow moong daal – 1 cup
- Tomatoes – 3-4 large
- Garlic pods – 4-5 chopped
- Beans – 5-6 – fine diced
- Butter – 1 tsp
- Salt – to taste
- Black pepper – to taste
- Coriander leaves – for garnishing (optional)
- Water – 1 litre
- Take a pressure cooker and heat it on medium flame.
- Add butter and warm it a little.
- Add crushed garlic in it and let it turn golden brown.
- Now add the rest of the ingredients.
- Add water and close the lid of the pressure cooker.
- Let it cook on medium flame for 10-15 mins or till you can hear 2-3 whistles.
- Remove from flame, let the cooker cool down.
- Now open the lid and strain the soupy mixture into a large jug or bowl.
- Press to strain out any pulp that remains in the sieve.
- Garnish with bread crumbs, coriander leaves or a little butter and serve hot.
Although, breastfeeding is a great experience, it can become more pleasurable only if you, as a mother, remain healthy and fit. This is possible when you are able to focus on your nutritional intake, fluid intake, and the amount of rest you get during the day. Your baby’s infancy is a wonderful time meant for you to enjoy to the fullest. So take care of yourself and make the most of this time together.
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