Breastfeeding and Lifestyle

Be nice to yourself – rest as much as possible, sleep while your baby is sleeping. Housework can wait.


You do not need a specific diet while breastfeeding; although it is common to feel hungry more often while breastfeeding.
Eat 3 balanced meals a day and a snack before bedtime.
1-2 portions of oily fish are recommended as it is good for brain and eye development in infants.
3-4 calcium-rich foods are recommended daily.
Drink plenty of water, especially during a breastfeed.
Caffeine and excess chocolate may cause irritability in babies; it is advisable to limit your caffeine intake to 2-3 cups daily.
There is currently insufficient evidence to recommend avoidance of potentially allergenic foods during breastfeeding.


It is best to consume only small amounts of alcohol while breastfeeding. Small amounts of alcohol may be transferred to the infant through breastmilk; therefore it is advisable not to consume alcohol 2-3 hours before a feed.
‘Pumping and dumping’ does not increase elimination of alcohol from breastmilk.


Chemicals from cigarette smoke may be transferred your infant via breast milk.
Smoking can decrease milk production and can increase risk of sudden infant death.
Smoking alters the taste of breast milk.
Women who smoke should be encouraged not to smoke while breastfeeding and not to smoke in the home.
However, it is preferable to smoke and breastfeed than to smoke and not breastfeed.


Consult your pharmacy or GP before taking any ‘over the counter’ medications or herbal remedies.
Cough mixtures can reduce milk production.