Extra energy? - Each mum will be different. While breastfeeding does require energy, the amount depends on how much you’re breastfeeding and for how long. Exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months may increase your energy requirements by up to an extra 300 calories per day, but if you are combining this with some formula feeds this will be less.
Extra Nutrients? – Again, this is very individual, but there are increased needs for some nutrients to bear in mind.
• Protein requirements are increased during breastfeeding, but provided you include a protein source with each meal e.g. meat, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, you should be getting enough.
• Calcium needs special attention during breastfeeding as you need about 80% more than normal (1,250mg/day vs 700mg/day), so it’s important to include calcium-rich foods in your diet, e.g. milk, cheese, yogurts, tofu, dried fruits, lentils, in your meals and snacks each day.
• A 10mcg daily vitamin D supplement is recommended throughout breastfeeding, especially in the darker months of October – April.
For advice on foods to limit and avoid whilst breastfeeding, including some fish and caffeine-containing drinks and foods, have a look here - But to summarise the main points from here, you should
• Limit oily fish (and some white fish) to 2 portions per week and shark, swordfish and marlin to just once per week
• Limit caffeine and alcohol as much as possible
• No need to avoid allergens such as peanuts unless of course you are allergic to them (speak to your GP or HV if you have any concerns).
And just a final word about weight loss after you’ve given birth – if you eat healthily when you are hungry, avoid eating too many high energy meals and snacks, and you adjust your portion sizes to suit your appetite, then you will gradually lose weight, in good time.