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Food and breastfeeding understand everything!

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During pregnancy, a woman's diet must be adapted for 2 reasons:

1. Help your child’s good development

2. Have the most nourishing milk possible

The mother-to-be's diet has an impact which may be important on the composition of milk. Indeed, although the concentration and quality of carbohydrates and proteins in breast milk are not very dependent on the mother's diet, those of lipids do!

You should know that the body always prioritizes the child over the mother. Therefore the risk of deficiencies concerns the mother rather than the child.


During pregnancy , the woman will accumulate energy through her diet.

This energy will make it possible to meet the breastfeeding needs for the first 4 months of the newborn's life. It is stored in the form of nutrients which are used in the composition and production of milk.

When breastfeeding , you must compensate for the loss of energy. You should know that approximately 1/3 of energy expenditure is covered thanks to energy storage carried out during pregnancy.

You still need to provide energy daily to avoid being deficient. A breastfeeding woman should consume around 500kcal more per day than a normal woman. It is also common to have cravings during pregnancy, so it is recommended to treat yourself with healthy and energetic snacks.


Protein intake should not be neglected

If protein intake in the diet is too low, the casein content in milk will be insufficient for the infant. This casein is responsible for the newborn's feeling of fullness.

But given that the average casein content in milk is relatively low, the recommendations for daily intake are the same as for non-breastfeeding women, namely: between 11% and 15% of the daily energy intake.

It is therefore necessary to have a food source of protein ! Favor them  minimally processed foods for better assimilation of proteins and other nutrients.

Among the carbohydrates, lactose is important for the newborn

It has several roles:

- Energetic: it provides 40% of the energy

- Structural: it allows the synthesis of galactose which enters into the composition and metabolism of brain cells

- It promotes the absorption of iron and calcium and participates in the establishment of intestinal bacterial flora

The mother's diet has very little influence on the lactose content of breast milk except in cases of severe malnutrition where lactose production is reduced. This is therefore not a point of vigilance. You simply need to eat a diet composed of carbohydrates that allow you to store energy.

Lipids are the primary source of energy in breast milk

Their quantity and quality depends on the woman's diet and their content increases with the length of time the woman breastfeeds her child.

Among lipids, polyunsaturated fatty acids are the most important because they are the best for health and are essential in brain and retinal development. They must be provided by the mother's diet in their direct form or by their precursors.

In terms of quantity, their intake should be similar to that of a normal woman, i.e. around 35-40% per day, but we must pay attention to their quality!

Oilseeds type Almonds , hazelnuts , cashew nuts are therefore very good examples of foods rich in omega-3/6 and 9. These are galactogenic foods because they naturally stimulate the flow of milk and are rich in vitamins and minerals.

Energy balls that contain these nuts are therefore ideal snacks to stimulate milk flow and provide good lipids!


The content of micronutrients in breast milk is linked to the woman's diet

This is particularly true for iron, calcium, iodine and selenium. Concerning copper and zinc, their content in milk is linked to the mother's diet only during the 3rd trimester of her pregnancy.

Among these, the iron allows respiratory exchanges and metabolic reactions in the body. There is a strong need during breastfeeding and it is often under-stocked during pregnancy, which is why some women need supplements. This also helps to compensate for losses during childbirth, so iron is important for both the child and the mother.

Concerning calcium , it allows growth, muscle contraction and maintenance of the skeleton, necessary for the development of the infant. The recommended daily intake is 1200 mg of calcium because there is a strong need for the newborn and the mother since her calcium reserves are degraded in favor of the calcium composition of her milk.

In conclusion

A woman who wishes to breastfeed must have a balanced diet from the start of her pregnancy to be able to store maximum energy.

You must ensure that you have a diet:

- good quality protein source

- rich in carbohydrates for energy and lactose

- rich in lipids by favoring polyunsaturated fatty acids while trying to vary the sources

- source of minerals and in particular calcium and iron

We recommend Nüttree Energy-Balls to bring deliciousness to your pregnancy and meet nutritional needs:

Organic wellness energy balls

Learn more to eat better!

Sources :
- Bérénice Castel, Claude Billeaud, “Nutrition of the breastfeeding mother”, Notebooks of Nutrition and Dietetics (2017)
- D. Turck, “Breastfeeding: the benefits for the health of the child and his mother”, Archives de Pédiatrie (2005)