New Mums: you need to eat well too!

Recipe of the week by guest blogger Dietitian Liz House

Did you know that breast milk is nutritionally complete in that it contains all the nutrients required for growth of a baby to 6 months? It can also boost immunity and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease later in life. A woman’s body will actually produce breast milk of the right nutritional content irrespective of what she is eating, however the production of breast milk is prioritised over her own body’s needs. This means that breastfeeding is a time when eating a nutritious diet is particularly important to maintain the new Mum’s health and wellbeing. Managing to eat a nutritious diet whilst caring for a newborn can be tricky, this blog aims to provide practical tips to eating well when breastfeeding.

What are the dietary considerations for breastfeeding women?

For a mother who is exclusively breastfeeding (i.e. breast milk is the sole source of nutrition for the baby) for the first six months it is estimated that she needs on average an additional 2000 kilojoules of energy per day. Whilst this might sound like a lot, it can easily be achieved. Specifically, the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommends breastfeeding women increase their serves of grain (cereal) foods, and vegetables and legumes because these foods are good sources of vitamins, folate and iodine which are of extra importance during breastfeeding.

So what does 2000kJ of food look like over the day?

  • Add an extra ⅔ cup or 30g of high fibre breakfast cereal
  • Stir through ½ cup of beans to soup or salad at lunch
  • Snack on 3 wholegrain crispbreads topped with tomato and cucumber
  • Have an extra serve (½ cup or 75-100g) of cooked brown rice at dinner time
  • Add an extra serve of vegies (75g) to lunch or dinner

What are some nutritious foods for breastfeeding mothers?

As mentioned earlier, a nutritious diet is important for the health and wellbeing of a breastfeeding mother. For practical reasons nutritious foods that don’t need much preparation are helpful for breastfeeding mums. Below is a list of foods that are worth stocking the pantry, fridge or freezer with to make access to nutritious food easy for a busy mum:

  • Wholegrain cereal such as rolled oats, wheat biscuits
  • Wholegrain bread (this can be frozen and used as needed)
  • Wholegrain crisp bread
  • Brown ‘ready to serve’ rice (rice that just needs microwaving)
  • Tinned or frozen vegetables (tinned without sugar or salt)
  • Baked beans (salt reduced)
  • Four bean mix (this can add bulk to sauces, soups or salads and is a good source of fibre)
  • Soup (salt reduced)


  • Hummus dip (can be eaten as a snack with vegetable sticks or as a nutritious alternative to margarine)
  • Unsalted nuts
  • Tinned fruit in natural juice (added to yoghurt, cereal or eaten on its own)
  • Tinned tuna or salmon
  • Eggs (versatile food e.g. can be boiled, poached, made into an omelette or frittata)
  • Reduced fat yoghurt
  • Reduced fat UHT or long-life milk (a smoothie can make a nutritious snack)
  • Leftovers (most leftovers can be frozen and used later)


Looking for a quick meal to make tonight? Why not try this Quick Mexican Quesadilla recipe below?


Quick Mexican Tortilla Toasties (or Quesadillas)

Preparation time: 5 minutes | Cooking time: 4 minutes |Serves: 4


  • 1 soft medium avocado, peeled and mashed
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 250g can kidney beans or four bean mix, drained and rinsed
  • ⅓ cup mild chunky salsa (salt reduced where possible)
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped into small pieces
  • 8 wholegrain tortillas
  • ⅓ cup reduced fat tasty cheese, grated
  • Low fat plain yoghurt (optional, to serve)


  1. Pre-heat grill or sandwich press
  2. In a bowl, combine avocado and lemon juice
  3. In a separate bowl, combine beans, salsa and tomato
  4. Spread four tortillas with the avocado mix and then spoon the bean mixture on top
  5. Sprinkle with grated cheese
  6. Place the remaining four tortillas on top, to create tortilla sandwiches
  7. Place tortilla sandwiches onto a tray (or in the sandwich press) and grill on each side until golden brown (2-4 minutes)
  8. Cut tortilla sandwiches into quarters and serve with a side salad and yoghurt (if desired)


For more information on diet during breastfeeding check out the Eat for Health website.

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