Here’s a breastfeeding snacking plan for new mothers who wants to keep themselves well-nourished and resourced while also keeping it simple.
I’m in the final stretch of preparing for the arrival of baby #2 and riding the wave of excitement. Nesting mode is in full swing, and I’m doing my best to get everything ready so that the first month of postpartum can be as smooth and stress-free as possible – well, that’s the intention, at least.
I’ve been down this road before, having breastfed my first bub for 9 months. But what I didn’t fully comprehend back then was just how energy-intensive breastfeeding can be during those newborn weeks. It’s like having a full-time job, spending 8-9 hours a day nourishing your little one while also feeling like you’ve hit the gym after work. The demands are no joke!
This time around, I want to be better prepared, particularly for those crazy waves of hunger that come crashing in during growth spurts. So, since I’ll be a breastfeeding mama again very soon, I’ve decided to stock up on my favorite snacks that are sustaining, quick and easy to grab.
A Very Short and Sweet Overview of Breastfeeding Nutrition
Replenish, Replenish, Replenish!
Nurturing and providing for your little one requires increased nutritional needs for you. The incredible processes of pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum recovery, and breastfeeding are profound biological events that demand an abundance of essential nutrients to support you both on this journey.
Your baby has the first pick from the nutrition buffet, drawing on your body’s resources to grow. Therefore, it becomes all the more vital to ensure there’s an ample supply of nourishing goodness for both of you.
As a naturopath, let me emphasise just how crucial it is for you to prioritise replenishing yourself and getting enough rest during these early months. Taking care of yourself now will have a profound impact on your future health and well-being, setting the foundation for years to come.
Eat Enough Food and Choose Foods that Will Give you Smooth, Slow Burning Energy
It’s essential to understand the incredible energy output that breastfeeding demands from your body. In fact, it’s akin to going for a 40-minute jog or a 2-hour hike every single day. So, don’t be surprised if you find yourself eating more now than during your pregnancy. Your body is working tirelessly to produce nourishing milk for your little one, and that requires substantial energy.
Maintaining stable blood sugar levels is of utmost importance during this time. Stable blood sugar levels provide you with lovely sustained energy without experiencing those drastic crashes and burns. The hormone insulin, responsible for regulating your blood sugar, closely interacts with all the other hormones in your body. As you navigate through the postpartum period, which involves significant hormonal shifts, stable blood sugar levels can make a world of difference.
Even though it’s not technically a snack, staying hydrated is incredibly important during this time! So think of snack time as a good time to hydrate as well. Aim to consume 2.5 to 3 litres of fluids each day. You can opt for filtered water, warm herbal teas, and nourishing broths.
To make it easier to drink regularly, keep a water bottle with a straw nearby (my preference is straw lids attached to a 1L ball mason jar); it’s amazing how convenient a simple straw can make staying hydrated!
One of my favourite practices is preparing a large 2-litre French press of nourishing herbal tea in the morning, filled with herbs like nettle, raspberry, chamomile, lemon balm, fennel, or catnip – and then all I need do is get to the end of it by the end of the day!
When It Comes to Breastfeeding Snacking, Remember to KISS (Keep it Simple Sweetie)
I’ve learned that simplicity is a smart motherhood strategy! If things get overcomplicated, they don’t happen. So keep your breastfeeding snacking plan simple and easy to manage.
You can have some store-bought options stocked beforehand or conveniently pre-load them to your weekly online grocery order. Additionally, you may choose a couple of breastfeeding snacking options that require a bit of preparation – baking, for example – the key is to make these in big batches and store them in airtight containers or the freezer to ensure they stay fresh and readily available.
15 Breastfeeding Snack Ideas
Easy to Grab
- Greek yogurt with fresh berries or fresh fruit and granola: Provides a great source of protein, probiotics, along with a satisfying crunch and sweet freshness.
- Sliced apple or pear with nut butter: My go-to easy-peasy snack. I personally love slices of pear with roasted almond butter.
- Boiled eggs with a little sea salt: You can also slice them and add them to crackers or toast. Or another way is to add it as a topping to soups (think ramen style) or congee.
- Roasted seaweed with avocado: A tasty source of healthy fats and minerals, aiding in brain function and nourishing your body. If you have some leftover rice on hand, you can make little temaki (sushi handrolls – more like little burritos). These are my toddler’s favourite, so they’re a regular feature on our snack rotation.
- Black sesame paste in dates: Black sesame seeds are held in high regard for the postpartum period in Traditional Chinese Medicine, as they are seen to nourish the kidney meridians, which play a big role in producing nourishing milk. They’re filled with calcium and extremely tasty to boot. Combining it with dates is a very lush combination.
- Lactation cookies: Specifically designed to support breastfeeding mothers with milk-promoting natural ingredients like oats, almonds, dates and flax seeds. These cookies are ridiculously delicious and are on regular rotation in my home, even when I’m not breastfeeding.
- Chia seed pudding made with full-fat coconut cream: Especially good in the first weeks after birth as chia seeds are wonderful stool softeners when consumed alongside plenty of water.
- Homemade bliss balls: The combinations are endless! These are great to make a few big batches in your third trimester as they freeze so brilliantly and are oh so easy to grab and eat with one hand. I love this recipe from Dr Aviva Romm.
- Homemade Lara bars pr granola bars: A nutritious blend of nuts, seeds, and dates, giving you a quick energy boost when you need it. Again, like the bliss balls, they freeze well and are easy to grab. This recipe from Lisa of Farmhouse on Boone is my go-to.
- Trail mix (you can also turn this into baked granola): a great blend would be almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, dried figs, milk chocolate or dark chocolate chips. You could also add oats and make it into a baked granola with coconut oil and maple syrup (make sure you add the dried figs and chocolate chips at the very end with the mixture cooled) for the Greek yogurt and berry snack. This is another Dr Aviva Romm recipe I use regularly.
- Pumpernickel, Danish rugbrot (sourdough bread made of whole grains and seeds such as dark rye, fennel, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and linseeds) or rice cake with various toppings. Some of my favourites:
- Avocado toast with cheese, tomato and EVOO
- Cream cheese or cottage cheese, smoked salmon (or trout), sliced egg + chives
- Pate and pickled beetroot
- Hummus, avocado, flakey salt
- Avocado and sauerkraut
- Hummus made with extra virgin olive oil and seeded crackers (like Mary’s Gone Crackers or these fabulous Life Changing Crackers): A delicious combination of protein and healthy fats that keeps you full and satisfied. And this is the most creamy, light, zesty hummus recipe ever. Making your own hummus allows you to include so many nutritional benefits from choosing good quality olive oil and tahini, and avoiding canola or vegetable oil versions.
- Little charcuterie board with hummus, cheese, olives, and seeded crackers: A delightful assortment of flavours and nutrients for a satisfying treat.
- Celery and peanut butter: This snack is so nostalgic for me. It was a regular feature of my lunchboxes growing up, and I still love it to this day. Crunchy celery with creamy peanut butter is such a satisfying mix of textures and nutrients. Opt for 100% peanut butter (the type that can be ground fresh at natural food stores). If you want it more savoury add some flakey salt, or for something a bit sweet add raisins or sultanas (also known as “Ants on a Log” here in Australia. Or you could do both!
- A cup of bone broth with ginger-miso ball and leafy greens: This is a creative way to make an Insta-soup. Pre-rolled miso balls containing miso paste, seaweed, spring onions and grated ginger can be frozen and then added to a cup of steaming broth. It’s a comforting and nutrient-rich option to keep you warm and nourished. For a miso-ball recipe, this recipe is the original that got me going with them! A comforting and nutrient-rich option to keep you warm and nourished.
Breastfeeding Snacks Tips
Lactation Cookie Dough
- Prepare a double or triple batch of lactation cookie dough.
- Bake only a portion of the dough, and for the rest, roll it into logs wrapped with baking paper.
- Secure the ends with elastic bands or wire twists and freeze the logs.
- When you want cookies, simply take out a log, let it become semi-soft, slice cookie rounds, and bake!
- Keep little snack stashes in several accessible places: a breastfeeding essentials basket, your bedside table, your handbag/nappy bag/diaper bag (for when you’re ready to venture out again), and in the car.
Preparing Essentials Shopping List
- Before your postpartum period, create an “essentials” shopping list in your preferred online grocery store (or grocery stores if it makes sense to organise it that way.
- Choose a few snacks that appeal to you from the snack ideas and add them to your list.
- This way, when you need to restock, you can easily add them to your cart without any extra effort.
- If you enjoy making your own bread, consider making a half dozen loaves and pre-cutting them before freezing.
- Similarly, if you get your bread from a local bakery that doesn’t offer delivery, consider freezing a few loaves in advance.
- Request someone to boil 6-12 eggs and store them in the egg carton they came in.
- Boiled eggs will keep for up to 4 days in the fridge, providing you with quick and protein-packed snacks whenever you need them.
Breastfeeding Snacking FAQ
Does snacking help milk supply?
Yes. Snacking can indeed help with milk supply during the first few months of breastfeeding. Along with your hearty, nutritious meals, having healthy snacks in between provides your body with the extra calories and essential nutrients it needs to produce lovely, rich breast milk for your little one.
Is it OK to eat junk food while breastfeeding?
While it’s absolutely okay to occasionally eat junk food and sweet treats (we all have our cravings!), it’s not a wise long-term strategy. Relying solely on junk food may lead to nutrient deficiencies, and it’s not the best fuel for your body during this nutritionally important time. Be flexible, trust your instincts, and remember to give yourself plenty of grace as you navigate the early days of motherhood and breastfeeding.
Should you snack at night when breastfeeding?
Oh yes! If you’re hungry during the night, snacking when breastfeeding is a wonderful idea. Those days of frequent feeding and nighttime cluster feeding during a growth spurt can be quite demanding, and you’ll need that extra fuel to keep your energy levels up. Keeping a little snack stash on your nightstand will be a lifesaver
Why am I never full while breastfeeding?
While breastfeeding, you may often feel like you’re never full because breastfeeding burns extra calories, making you hungrier and in need of frequent meals and snacks (there’s always a good reason when our bodies are giving us signals!) To feel more satisfied, make sure you’re getting enough protein and fat with each of your meals and snacks. The breastfeeding snacking ideas I’ve shared are packed with good protein and fats, which should give you a sense of satiety without needing to eat huge amounts.
Remember to listen to your instincts and hunger levels – your body knows best when it comes to nourishing yourself and your little one.