Ah, breastfeeding - the most beneficial and convenient baby-feeding option for mums. If you choose to breastfeed and it works for you and your baby, you’re giving them everything he needs to grow big and strong - and it’s free. But key to providing your baby optimal nutrition is following a healthy eating plan yourself.

Generally while breastfeeding, the normal rules of healthy eating and physical activity apply. However, one notable difference is that due to the production of milk, your body is expending more energy and burning more calories, so you actually need to consume slightly more food than usual to support your energy levels.

You might be keen to start cutting calories to get back to your pre-baby weight, but it's especially important to fuel your body fully during those first few months. In addition to the breastfeeding, consider all the work you're putting in looking after your infant - sleepless nights and stressful hours abound!

Remember, what you put in your body inevitably transfers in part to your infant through your breast milk. The Australian Department of Health reports that breastfeeding is important for a number of reasons. It provides complete nutrition for your infant for at least the first six months of life, protects against disease and boosts the immune system. Breastmilk is also easily digested and helps a baby develop and grow.

For optimal health for you and your baby, doctors recommend eating plenty of fruits and veggies, whole-grain cereals, dairy products such as cheese and yogurt, and lean meat like chicken and fish. These foods contain iron, calcium, protein, vitamin C, folate, and many more of the nutrients you and your baby need. You also need to make sure you’re drinking at least 2-3 litres of water a day, great for you and also for your milk supply.

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