Louise Pyne is a registered nutritionist with a special interest in the health of women and children, louisepyne

If you’re breastfeeding, filling up on nutritious food is just as important as it was during pregnancy. So put your diet plans on hold and focus on making it as easy as possible for your body to do its next vital job. Because during the first month or so post-birth, while your body is getting used to meeting your baby’s constant nutritional needs, you may feel hungrier than usual. And although you might be thinking it would be good to get out of your maternity clothes and back into your pre-pregnancy wardrobe, this isn’t the time to cut back on calories.  Adding these key ingredients to your diet you can make your milk the cream of the crop.

Dark leafy vegetables
It’s normal to feel a little anxious as you and your baby both get the hang of breastfeeding, but feeling stressed can be counterproductive. Although the stress hormone cortisol is naturally found in breastmilk, high concentrations may lower milk supply. Foods rich in the anti-anxiety nutrient magnesium can help trigger the release of happiness-inducing neurotransmitters in the brain, which can quell extra-high cortisol levels. Dark green leafy veg, such as spinach, and raw nuts are best to calm your nerves. Whizz together 200ml coconut water, half an avocado, 50g spinach, one tbsp sunflower seeds and a handful of blueberries to make the ultimate magnesium-rich no-stress smoothie. Then sit back and enjoy a delicious drink that will also help you relax and feel calmer.
There’s no hard and fast rule for when periods restart after giving birth—for some women it’s a month afterwards, for others it can be up to a year. But when your cycle returns, you may experience a drop in milk supply prior to your period and for the first few days into one. It’s thought that increasing calcium and magnesium intake from the time of ovulation through to the third day of your period may help offset this. A 200ml glass of skimmed milk has 34 per cent of your daily calcium intake.


You might be avoiding strong flavours while you’re breastfeeding, but certain tastes can make your baby feed longer. When a study compared breastfeeding mothers taking a garlic pill with another group taking a placebo, the infants exposed to garlic-flavoured milk sucked harder and nursed for longer. So put garlic bread back on the menu and see if your baby likes it too!

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