Nutritional Needs While Breastfeeding

When you are breastfeeding, you have a higher need for some vitamins and minerals. Following your MyPlate Plan will meet most of these increased needs. 

breastfeeding woman and baby

On the entry page for the Checklist,

  • Select "Breast milk only, no formula" if you are not giving any formula. (Choose this even if you are also giving solid foods such as cereal or fruit.) 
  • Select "At least half breast milk, plus some formula" if you are sometimes giving formula in addition to breastfeeding at least half the time. 
  • Select "Some breast milk, mostly formula" if you are mostly giving formula, and breastfeeding only once or twice a day.

In each food group, choose foods that have the vitamins and minerals you need. Learn more about choices to make from each food group to provide the vitamins and minerals you and your baby need.

Also make choices that limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats. Added sugars and saturated fats can be found in foods like soft drinks, desserts, fried foods, cheese, whole milk, and fatty meats. Look for choices that are low-fat, fat-free, unsweetened, or with no added sugars. 

While you are breastfeeding, your need for fluids increases. You may notice that you are thirstier than before. Drink enough water and other fluids to quench your thirst. 

A common suggestion is to drink a glass of water or other beverage every time you breastfeed. Some beverages, such as soft drinks and fruit drinks, contain added sugars. Limit your intake of these beverages. 

Talk with your doctor before considering drinking alcohol or caffeine.

Vitamin and mineral supplements cannot replace a healthy diet.  In addition to eating a healthy diet, you may need a multivitamin and mineral supplement.  Talk with your doctor or health care provider about taking a supplement, and follow his or her advice. Be sure to tell your doctor  about any supplements you are already taking, to protect yourself against taking too much.


WIC Breastfeeding SupportWIC Breastfeeding Support is the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) breastfeeding promotion and support campaign. The goal of the campaign is to equip WIC moms with the information, resources and support they need to successfully breastfeed.