You’ve just sat down to breastfeed your infant when — wham! — as you get settled in, you’re hit with an all-consuming sensation of hunger.
You look around the room, wondering if there’s anything within arm’s reach to eat. With no snacks in sight, you make your way to the kitchen, baby in arm, ready to devour anything not nailed down.
Is that normal?
In a word, yes. Creating enough milk to feed a growing baby places enormous demands on your body, which requires extra calories — about
With all you have on your plate as a breastfeeding parent, you may find yourself snacking or grazing more throughout the day — and that’s totally fine. Padding your diet with extra snacks can be a healthy way to reach your extra calorie requirements.
We’ve got you covered with 25 suggestions for quick, good-for-you options for breastfeeding noshing.
Choosing healthy snacks while breastfeeding isn’t all that different from doing so at any other time in life. (After all, even though you’re superparent, you’re still human, too.)
It’s best to meet your extra caloric needs with nutrient-dense foods — the kind that pack plenty of vitamins and minerals. These include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meats, nuts, dairy products, and legumes.
As for boosting your milk supply, there’s no magic food that’ll take you from dwindling to overflowing, but some foods have been associated with promoting lactation. These are known as galactagogues. We’ve included several in our snack lineup.
Additionally, your fluid needs increase while breastfeeding, so foods that are hydrating are another great choice. Getting enough fluid will help your body create plenty of nourishing milk for your little one.
Finally, as every nursing parent knows, logistics matter when you’re hanging on to baby with one arm and trying to snack with the other. We’ve chosen plenty of options perfect for one-handed munching.
Here are 25 snacks to fuel your nursing days (and nights).
1. Oatmeal protein balls
Some galactagogues are backed by dubious evidence, but one stands out for the science behind it: oats. Oats are rich in a fiber called beta glucan, which has been associated with boosting the milk production hormone prolactin.
Whip up easy oatmeal protein balls by processing 1 1/2 cups oats, 2/3 cup peanut butter, and 2–3 tablespoons honey in a food processor. Form into poppable rounds and eat!
2. Cucumbers with cream cheese and smoked salmon
Cucumbers are among the most hydrating veggies, making them a top choice for replenishing your fluid stores. Cut up a cuke and top with a layer of cream cheese and protein-rich smoked salmon.
3. Crackers and cheese
It may not be the most glamorous snack, but crackers and cheese is a go-to for good reason. A stack of cheddar slices and whole wheat crackers is easy, portable, and full of calcium — which your body needs plenty of while breastfeeding. Plus, whole wheat also contains beta glucan fiber.
4. Dried fruit
Ounce for ounce, dried fruits contain more nutrients than their juicier counterparts (though they tend to have less fiber and, obviously, aren’t as hydrating). Opt for unsweetened dried fruits like apricots, strawberries, and mangoes for plenty of vitamin C and potassium.
5. Antipasto kabobs
It isn’t just kids who enjoy eating food off a stick. You can, too! Thread a bamboo skewer with sliced deli meat, cheese, olives, and/or artichokes for a portable, protein-packed charcuterie board you can nibble while nursing.
6. 5-ingredient banana blender muffins
As a busy parent, you may not have all the time in the world to bake homemade muffins. Shortcut your way to a home-baked snack with blender muffins!
Blend 3 bananas, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup honey, 2 cups rolled oats, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pour into muffin tins and bake 15–20 minutes at 350°F (176.7°C). For even easier eating, make these in a mini muffin tin.
7. Fruit and yogurt smoothie
Don’t put the blender away just yet!
With 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt, a frozen banana, and a handful of frozen berries, you can whip up a quick and easy smoothie, perfect for sipping while you nurse. Toss in a few handfuls of spinach for an extra boost of iron.
8. Toast with peanut butter and banana
A slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and sliced banana is the whole nutrition package. Slow-digesting complex carbs in the bread and banana keep you fuller longer, while peanut butter supplies healthy fats and
9. Hummus and veggies
Another source of healthy fats and plant-based protein? Hummus! Dip carrot matchsticks or mini peppers into this fiber-rich spread.
10. Watermelon ‘fries’ with yogurt dip
Hydration is right there in the name! Watermelon is
11. Whole wheat waffle with applesauce
A toasted multigrain frozen waffle can be a blank canvas for any number of healthy toppings, like a no-sugar-added applesauce. Pro tip: For cleaner one-handed eating, spread the applesauce just short of the circumference of the waffle.
12. Vanilla overnight oats
Reap the benefits of oats’ lactation-boosting beta glucan fiber once again with an easy overnight oatmeal.
Before bed, soak 1/2 cup of rolled oats in 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk and a drizzle of honey. Stash in the fridge. After a few hours, oats will be nice and soft (so you can grab this if hunger hits during baby’s 3 a.m. feeding).
13. Dark chocolate and strawberries
Dark chocolate isn’t just delicious — it may also help relieve stress. A
Pair with strawberries for extra fiber and vitamin C.
14. Trail mix
Nuts like pistachios and almonds are an excellent natural source of melatonin, which promotes better sleep. Try a trail mix with these nuts and dried fruits shortly before bedtime to help you make the most of your precious window to snooze.
15. Shelled edamame
Unless you have an extra hand, shelling edamame is a tall order while you’re breastfeeding. Instead of wrangling beans out of their pods, make life a little easier by choosing shelled edamame.
16. Cereal with drinking yogurt
If you haven’t explored the world of drinking yogurts, maybe now’s the time. Filmjölk, a traditional Scandinavian beverage, has the consistency of milk with the probiotic content of yogurt.
When you have a moment (and two hands free), try some poured over a bowl of whole grain cereal, like raisin bran.
17. Pumpkin smoothie
No matter the season, canned pumpkin can create the flavors of fall in smoothie form. For a creamy drink, blend 1/3 cup pumpkin puree, a frozen banana, 1 cup almond milk, 1 tablespoon honey, and a dusting of cinnamon.
It’s not only tasty; it may also boost your milk supply. A small
18. Veggie egg muffins
Eggs are a high-protein, whole food snack — but certain preparations aren’t exactly portable. (Looking at you, over easy.) Up the convenience factor of eggs by baking mini veggie frittatas.
Fill 12 muffin cups with a whisked mixture of 8 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, a pinch of salt and pepper, and diced veggies of your choice. Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 18–20 minutes.
19. Roasted pumpkin seeds
For an easy on-the-go snack you can toss in your diaper bag, roast a stash of pumpkin seeds. Spread dry seeds on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil, then bake at 300°F (149°C) for 45 minutes.
When you’re run down from too little sleep and too much stress, the seeds’ zinc content may help keep your immune system going strong.
20. Avocado chocolate pudding
We all need a sweet fix from time to time. Enter avocado chocolate pudding, a nutrient-dense dessert that can help you meet your breastfeeding calorie needs without a ton of sugar.
In a blender, whip half an avocado, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Chill and eat!
We get it — sometimes you’re literally too busy (or juggling too many things in your hands) to make even something as simple as peanut butter on toast. When your day is completely bonkers, you can always opt for a pre-packaged snack for utmost convenience.
These five purchasable options are almost as good as what you’d throw together at home.
21. KIND Cinnamon Oat Bars
Oats to the rescue again! In KIND Cinnamon Oat Bars, you’ll find 22 grams of fiber-rich whole grains and only 5 grams added sugar.
22. That’s It Apple Blueberry Bars
Wait… that’s really it? Just apples and blueberries? Yep. The folks at That’s It dehydrate whole fruits into a portable bar you can easily toss in your purse (without ending up with a mess of squishy blue goo).
23. Trader Joe’s Seasoned Kale Chips
When you don’t have time to bake kale chips in the oven, Trader Joe’s has you covered. Flavored with a tahini-spice blend, these crispy veggie snacks provide calcium, iron, and fiber for something healthy to nibble while you nurse.
24. Alaska Smokehouse King Salmon Jerky
You’ve tried beef jerky… and probably turkey jerky. What about salmon jerky? Fifteen grams of protein per serving will help meet your increased needs, while omega-3 fatty acids and zero sugars add to this convenient snack’s nutrition profile.
25. Sahale Snacks Mango Tango Almond Trail Mix
For something a little sweet — with plenty of healthy fats to meet your calorie needs — Sahale Snacks’ Mango Tango Almond Trail Mix fits the bill. Shake the mix of dried mango, banana chips, almonds, and peanuts right into your mouth. We won’t judge.
With your increased calorie needs, it’s smart to be prepared for extra hunger. Get ahead of snack attacks by keeping healthy, nutrient-dense foods on hand. This way you’ll be able to whip up something nourishing, tasty, and handy to fuel your body as it fuels your baby.