The nutrition requirements for breast-feeding are similar to those for pregnancy, and women are recommended to continue eating similarly to how they were eating during their pregnancy. However, a breast-feeding woman needs 200 more calories per day than she did during pregnancy, and it is important that the calories come from nutritious foods. Breast-feeding women usually lose per month without restricting their calorie intake.

If you're breastfeeding, you may need to consume more calories to keep your energy up (the amount varies from zero to 500 extra calories per day depending on how active you are and whether your child is nursing exclusively),

but the good news is you don’t have to follow a special breastfeeding diet—the amount of milk you make is based on supply and demand, not what foods you eat. Still, it’s a smart idea to have balanced meals with nutrient-rich food that will satisfy that seemingly insatiable hunger that comes with the territory (especially when your baby is going through a growth spurt).

  • Keep your caloric consumption a little higher to help your body maintain a steady milk supply.
  • Emphasize healthy sources of protein and calcium, which are in higher demand during lactation.
  • Take prenatal vitamin supplements, which are still helpful during breastfeeding, unless your physician tells you otherwise.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. Just as with the pregnancy guidelines above, refrain from drinking and smoking, and reduce your caffeine intake.
  • If your baby develops an allergic reaction, you may need to adjust your diet. Common food allergens include cow's milk, eggs, wheat, fish, and citrus. For a cow's milk allergy, you can meet your calcium needs through other high calcium foods, such as kale, broccoli, or sardines.

    While breast-feeding you should eat two to three servings of protein each day. A serving is equal to 2 to 3 serving meat, fish or poultry. Good sources of protein include: Meat,Poultry,Seafood,Egg ,Cheese,Milk and yogurt,Cottage cheese,Tofu,Dried beans and legumes
    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that nursing mothers not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish because of their high mercury content.

    The suggested daily intake of calcium for breast-feeding mothers is 1,300 milligrams per day. Reading nutrition labels can help ensure that you are getting enough calcium. For example, one cup of milk or yogurt contains 300 milligrams of calcium. The best sources of calcium are:Milk,Yogurt,Hard cheeses,Calcium-fortified orange juice,Calcium-fortified tofu
  • IRON
    Iron is also important for breast-feeding mothers.If you are 18 years of age or younger, you should get 10 milligrams of iron per day. For those over 19, the suggested daily intake is 9 milligrams. Good sources of iron include:green leafy vegetables, fruits, jaggary , nuts, raisins , Meat,Poultry,Seafood,Dried beans,Dried fruit,Egg yolks.
  • As mentioned above, it is important not to eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish because of their high mercury content.

    Nursing mothers need slightly more vitamin C than they did during pregnancy. If you are 18 years of age or younger, you should get 115 milligrams of vitamin C per day. Those over 19 should get 120 milligrams per day. Good sources of vitamin C include:Citrus fruits,Broccoli,Cantaloupe,Potato,Bell pepper,Tomato,Kiwi,Cauliflower,Cabbage,lemon,amla.
  • Vitamins and Minerals
    Breast-feeding mothers need to take some sort of daily multivitamin that contains 100 percent of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA). If you wish, you can continue to take your prenatal vitamin or mineral supplement — however, it contains much more iron than needed for breast-feeding. If you have problems with constipation or stomach upset, switch to a general multivitamin that contains 100 percent of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA).
    While breast-feeding you should drink at least 8 cups of water each day. Have a glass of water each time you nurse your baby. In addition to water, other good liquids are juice, milk, broths, herb teas and soups.
  • Exercise and high temperatures will increase your need for liquids. Therefore, drink even more water if you are active or it is warm, to make sure you keep hydrated.

    Include 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables in your diet regularly. Include plenty of leafy greens and fresh vegetables especially those high in beta-carotene. Carrots are said to work wonders in increasing lactation. Make an extra effort to ensure that your diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables high in phytoestrogens are believed to promote healthy breast tissue and lactation. Dark leafy greens are an excellent source of phytoestrogens as are carrots and dried apricots. Asparagus also contains phytoestrogens and has the added bonus of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that may stimulate milk supply through the production of prolactin.
  • Fiber
    Beans, barley, brown rice, cracked wheat, oats, millets, corn are some food rich in fiber. Include adequate fiber in your diet. Breastfeeding women should get 29 grams of fiber each day, according to the Institute of Food and Agricultural Services at the University of Florida.
    Include lot of fluids in your diet. Water, buttermilk, fruit juice, clear soups etc. Avoid sugar-added fruit juices. Stay well hydrated before breast feeding. Your body needs to be properly hydrated to produce milk.
    Nurse as much as your baby wants. The more frequently and effectively a baby breastfeeds, the more milk the mother's breast produces. It works by supply and demand, the more you stimulate your breasts, the more milk you are going to produce. Some moms say that pumping after every feeding, helps increase their breast milk production.
    Sleep well. It is found that a good sleep improves lactation.
    Stress will definitely affect your milk supply. Find ways to deal with your stress. Stay relaxed and calm.
  • Avoid smoking, alcohol and caffeinated drinks.
  • Avoid potato, raw banana and foods that generate heat like mango, papaya.
  • Avoid gassy and too spicy food


Limit caffeinated foods and beverages, such as coffee, tea and some sodas. It is a good idea to limit your intake of highly caffeinated foods and drinks .

Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. Do not use any street drugs. Also, it is important that you do not use any medications that are not approved by your health care provider, even those available over the counter.

We can divide breastfeeding period in 3 stages as below

STAGE 1.(Diet Plan For First 40 Days of Breastfeeding)
  • First 40 days are very important for you and baby.
  • You experience hormonal and physical changes in your body. Your body is healing; regaining strength, making milk.
  • While selecting food for upcoming 4 weeks you want to select not only nutrient dense food but the food which is digested easily.
  • You might get different advices about food from different people. Your mother or grandmother will tell you to eat selected foods while doctor mostly will tell you that you can ea
  • So to make a best diet plan let’s see how can you combine best of both ways: traditional way and modern way.

  • 1.Select all traditional galactagogue foods in your diet.
  • 2.Widen the limit, by adding healthy foods which may not be traditional foods e.g. curd or fermented foods like Idli and Dosa but make sure they are not sour i.e. fermented for short time.
  • 3.Include all liquid diet like Kheer, Panjiri and porridge in your diet as they get digested easily but do not limit diet to it. Include regular healthy meals too. (i.e. Chapatti, dal rice, salad)
  • 4. Select nutrition rich foods as you have to fulfill nutritional requirement of 2 bodies.
  • 5. Traditionally breastfeeding mother’s food plate is loaded with ghee and nuts, you don’t have to eat too much of it. But as these are nutrients rich food items you don’t want to skip it from daily intake.
  • 6. Very early morning breakfast and late night milk is very important as your baby will feed during night also. Your body has to be prepared for anytime breast milk need.
  • 7. You surely want to avoid chilly, spices, extra oil, junk food not only because its unhealthy for you but also because it may upset your baby’s stomach. Same way you should avoid: Potato , dal except moong dal, cauliflower, cabbage . As written above you should include nutrient rich foods in every meal as you are only having food for requirement of two i.e. you and your baby. So you should not include empty calories food.

STAGE 2(After 40 Days till Baby is 6 Months Old)
  • After first very caring 40 days of your baby’s life, he/she is now ready to try new tastes in breast milk.
  • You still have to continue same diet plan with an addition of variety in food.
  • For 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding you need to eat enough food as your baby is daily developing physically and mentally.
  • Do not take more than one new food in your diet in a day because you want to see if baby is ok with it (Like baby is not colic and passes motion as usual).
  • You may go on slowly introducing different vegetables, fruits, Chicken/mutton to your diet still avoiding spicy, oily and junk foods.
  • Once baby is 5 months old, you can eat all kinds of beans, potatoes, citric fruits, idli/dosa made up of well fermented batter, onion, even moderate chilies/spices. You can use black pepper in moderate in place of chilies. As you are going to start solids once baby is 6 months old so having all types of food through breast milk now can make her digestive system ready for direct solids. Once baby is of 5 months old, you can skip all extra breakfasts or snacks slowly, because in this last month of exclusive breastfeeding, you can use the reserves from your body which are stored during pregnancy and last 5 months. But go slowly on dieting else it may affect breast milk production and your health too. Remember exclusive breastfeeding itself is working for your weight loss.

STAGE 3(7 Months To 2 Years)
  • Now you can have your regular but still healthy diet. (You should have diet same as you had in pregnancy.)
  • Even after you started solids to baby you still have to breastfeed same quantity of milk for at least next one month. So go easy on dieting for weight loss, you still need energy and nutrients.
  • You don’t need the extra snacks in between your meals, so you can skip them.
  • After baby is around 7-8 months you may change your baby’s diet more on solids and less on breast milk.
  • Your baby is directly having energy/fat rich foods like ghee so you can reduce that in your own diet.
  • Read Weight loss after 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding.
  • NOTE: During breastfeeding period you must avoid alcohol/smoking.

    Use the above guide to make the best choices when planning your diet. Having food timely helps in sufficient milk production so stick to the diet plan throughout the exclusive breastfeeding time. Eating variety of nutritious foods helps meet your extra nutrients need.

A balanced and nutritious diet can provide the baby with a variety of nutrients. Mother's diet affect the quantity and quality of milk, so it is advisable to take a balanced and nutritious diet, rich in calcium, protein, vitamins and minerals. Including lot of fluids is also very important while breast feeding. It may vary for each individuals. What works for one might not work for another. So you have to find out what works best for you. Try different things and see what works best for you! Here are few Indian foods that can increase breast milk supply in lactating mothers.


    1.Increase lactation with Fenugreek seeds/Methi - Both fenugreek seeds and fenugreek leaves are said to improve milk supply in lactating mothers. Fenugreek seeds has properties that increases milk production in lactating mothers. It ranks high in the list of food to increase lactation. Way to include fenugreek in your diet. Fenugreek Tea Soak a tsp of fenugreek seeds in a cup of water overnight. The next morning boil that water until it reduces a little, strain and drink the fenugreek tea/decoction warm. Methi Pulao,Methi Paratha,Methi Soup,Vendhaya Dosa
    2. Tapioca /Yucca Root/Maravalli Kizhangu/ Kappa Some mothers swear by tapioca root to increase lactation. Sabudana (sago) pearls (make from tapioca root) can also be taken, if you cannot find tapioca root. Ways to include tapioca in your diet. Steamed tapioca puttu - (Wash, peel the skin and grate tapioca. Steam it, add freshly grated coconut and jaggery) Tapioca Stir fry,Sabudana Khichdi,Tapioca Pudding
    3.Garlic Garlic should be taken in moderation. Garlic has be used for centuries as a beneficial food to increase lactation. Garlic has been found to change the odor and flavor of breast milk. If your baby does not like the garlic flavored milk, you can stop eating garlic for a few days and then try again. When the garlic levels were high, babies suckled more vigorously and took in more milk. Some ways to include garlic in your diet.

  • Garlic cooked in milk - Boil or cook 3-4 cloves of garlic in milk and drink it warm.
  • Stir Fried Garlic - You can stir fry 3-4 cloves of garlic in sesame seed oil and have it.
  • Garlic Rice, Garlic Chutney, Milagu kuzhambu
  • Dal Palak

  • 4. Fennel Seeds (Saunf in Hindi) Fennel seeds are said to increase milk supply in lactating mothers. It also aids in digestion and prevents colic in babies. Fennel water - Boil a tsp of fennel seeds in a cup of water for a few minutes. Remove from heat and let it steep for 5 minutes. Filter it and drink it warm. Fennel tea -You can also make fennel tea with a tsp of fennel powder. Boil a cup of water with a tsp of fennel powder. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Then strain the mixture, add sugar or honey to taste and drink it warm. It can be had twice a day. You can chew a few fennel seeds after a meal, add a little fennel powder to your curries, gravy etc.
    5. Lentils (dals) Dal is a good source of protein and fiber which is very essential for a mother. Dal especially the red lentils or masoor dal is said to improve lactation. Moong dal is easily digestible than tur dal, so you can include more of moong dal than tur dal. You can prepare sambar, rasam, kootu and many North Indian style dal dishes to include a variety of dal in your diet. Moong dal , Masoor dal , , dal Fry , Rasam , Sambar , Dal Khichdi ,Moong Dal Khichdi
    6. Oats Oats are a nutritional powerhouse, providing fiber, iron, folic acid, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Many nursing moms worldwide include oats in their diet to boost breast milk supply.
    7. Brown Rice Brown rice also may have an effect on the brain to stimulate milk production by increasing the production of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that can stimulate prolactin, a hormone involved in lactation. Brown Rice Pulao, Brown Rice Upma, Brown Rice Pudding (kheer),Brown Rice Dosa, Brown Rice Idli
    8.Cumin Seeds/Jeera In India, cumin seeds has been used to improve lactation for years but there isn't any scientific research to prove that. Jeera helps with digestion and stabilizes blood pressure. Roasted jeera powder can be added to buttermilk, raithas, sabjis etc. Jeera water increases breast milk and prevent acidity Jeera Water Recipe - Boil a liter of water with a tbsp of jeera/cumin seeds for 10-15 minutes. When it reduces a little, turn off the heat. Filter it and drink it warn when needed. Jeera Pulao,Cumin Rasam
    9. Quinoa Quinoa is a rich source of protein and is a power house of nutrition. You can prepare quinoa salad, soups and many different dishes with quinoa. Check out quinoa recipes in the link below.
    10.Cracked Wheat/Broken Wheat (dalia) In North India soft cooked dalia with moong dal is given nursing mothers to increase breast milk supply. Some recipes using Dalia Cracked Wheat Upma,Cracked Wheat Khichdi,Cracked Wheat Sambar Sadam
    11. Sesame seeds Sesame seeds are rich source of calcium and and are a good source of fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese. Add toasted sesame seeds to your curries, stir fry, soups and salads. Sesame seeds rice,Sesame jaggery balls (ellu urundai),Sesame Seed Laddu
    12.Dry fruits and Nuts Dry fruits and nuts are high in antioxidants and good fats that are known to increase lactation. Include a handful of dry fruits and nuts (dates, figs, walnuts, almond, pistachios, apricots) Almond are just packed with protein and they are a good non-dairy source of calcium. Almond Kheer,Dry fruits and Nuts Laddu
    13. Barley Barley is said to increase lactation. Some ways to include barley- Barley Water - Wash and soak 1/4 cup of barley overnight and pressure cook with 2 cups of water. Filter it and drink the water when it is warm thorough out the day. If it is thick, you can add more water. You can add barley water to your soups. Barley Soup
    14. Moringa powder Moringa leaves powder has been clinically proven to increase the production of breast milk. Mothers who took Moringa leaves powder were shown to produce more than 2x the amount of breast milk than those who didn't. We all know instinctively that breast milk is the ultimate food prescribed by nature for the infant child and Moringa leaves powder can be instrumental in helping mothers produce more of this precious food.
    15.Flaxseed Flax seeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids great source of lignans, vitamins and minerals.
    16.Lactation CookiesThough it is not an Indian recipe, I want nursing mothers to know that there are lactation cookies (helps increase milk supply) available in the market. You can even make these cookies at home.
    17. Agathi Keerai - Agathi keerai soup can be taken once or twice a week to improve lactation.
    18. Shatavari