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Updated on November 30, 2020

Diet for Breastfeeding Mothers

Your breast produces colostrum during your pregnancy.  It starts to increase the production of milk within 30-40 hours after delivery of the baby and will have full production by the 2nd or 3rd day (although some mothers may take slightly longer if it is a first-time mother, Caesarean delivery, excess blood loss during delivery or stressful & painful labour)

The 3 stages of breast milk are;

  • Colostrum is the first milk which is thick and yellow from birth to day 3-5.  Although it is in small quantity (around 10-30 ml initially), the colostrum helps to line your child’s digestive tract and prepare for your breast milk as well as providing antibodies to protect the child from infections
  • Transitional milk is produced from day 3-5 for the 2nd week
  • Mature breast milk is produced after 15 days

Human breast milk is specially produced for babies and it tastes and smells different each time because the fat content may change from feed to feed.

Some tips to improve your milk production

  • Drink more water every day to quench your thirst, but not too much to cause over-hydration
  • Warm your breast with moist heat and gentle massage
  • Place your baby near your breast to encourage skin-to-skin contact
  • Pump your breast regularly alternating between each breast at a time or simultaneously using a dual electric pump
  • Take foods which encourage lactation (see below)
  • Eat enough calories every day while breast feeding
NormalPregnant mothersBreast feeding mothers
1800-2000 kCal/day2000-2470 kCal/day2500 kCal/day

There are also common food taboos found in Asian countries such as avoiding ‘cold food or drinks’ to prevent ‘wind’, ‘chills’ and ‘rheumatism’.  Mothers are encouraged to eat and drink according to their needs if the diet is balance and in moderation.

Click to view Nutrition Talk video on How to increase breast milk supply

There are many Galactagogues (substances which help stimulate milk production) found naturally in our foods which can be included into delicious soups or meals.  These include;

  • Green papaya
  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Fenugreek seeds
  • Carrots
  • Fennel
  • Sesame seeds
  • Almonds
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Black cumin
  • Red dates
  • Goji berry

Diet tips during your confinement period

  • Start your diet with early digestible foods
  • Eat local and seasonal fresh produce
  • Eat more nutrient-dense foods such as green leafy vegetables
  • Avoid empty calories (like biscuits or snacks)
  • Avoid raw meat or fish like sashimi

Discuss with your doctor or lactation therapist if you

have trouble breast feeding your child

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Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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