Let me guess – you’re a constantly hungry breastfeeding mom, looking for good snacks for breastfeeding. As a Registered Dietitian and three time breastfeeding mom, I’ve got several recommendations for filling breastfeeding snacks.
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Keeping healthy breastfeeding snacks around is imperative when you’re a nursing mom. It’s no joke that new moms get used to eating with one hand.
Initially, I thought that was a funny cliche, but I can vouch that it’s absolutely true.
I breastfed my oldest for two years, my middle for 18 months, and now we’re 11 months in with the youngest.
In each scenario, I always rely on the easy snacks for breastfeeding moms throughout this post.
Anyone with a newborn knows it can be hard to take care of yourself, let alone feed yourself on a regular basis.
Before I know it, it’s 11 am and I haven’t even eaten breakfast because I’ve been trying to get my older kids off to school, nurse the baby, get him down for a nap, get the dog walked, etc.
That’s why I’ve learned the hard way and am finally committed to it this time around – making these good snacks for breastfeeding ahead of time makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE.
Having a snack spinner to take to different rooms is SO KEY. I swear you won’t find this tip anywhere else, so you’re welcome.
Breastfeeding can be a time-consuming and demanding activity, especially in the first few weeks or months after birth.
But, when you are holding a baby, have a baby sleeping on you, or are nursing and you want a snack, we have several ideas for one handed snacks for breastfeeding.
Should You Eat More When Breastfeeding?
Yes, you should definitely eat more when breastfeeding.
To make milk, your body is using your fat stores and energy reserves, and it can disappear almost as quickly as you make it.
Most babies eat every 2-4 hours, so if you think about it, that’s a ton of energy your body is making and using around the clock so it certainly requires extra calories. It’s only logical that breastfeeding makes you hungrier.
This is on top of the other energy your body requires around the clock, like for your heart to pump, kidneys to filter, lungs to breathe, and more.
People tend to blame breastfeeding hunger for everything, from gaining weight, to being unhappy.
But, I like to take another approach – how COOL that you are producing food (breast milk) for a baby!? You are literally keeping that baby alive.
That takes a lot of work and energy on your body’s part and it may explain why you’re constantly in search of the best snacks for nursing moms.
You’re probably constantly thirsty too. When breastfeeding, I still rely on my favorite electrolyte drinks for pregnancy.
Society has implemented this fear of hunger among us, and we feel wrong for feeling hungry.
In reality, hunger is a GOOD sign from our bodies, signaling that we need more food that we can turn into fuel and energy to make milk, among other things necessary for motherhood.
Grab Our Intuitive Eating Guide to Help You Achieve Food Freedom!
So, nourish yourself, mama. Don’t feel guilty for feeling hungry and eating more when breastfeeding.
These easy nursing snacks are great options.
The Best Snacks for Breastfeeding
Keeping those tips in mind, these easy snacks for breastfeeding moms are truly easy to grab and easy to hold.
In fact, many of them can be eaten with one hand. Keeping grab-able, healthy, protein-rich breastfeeding snacks on hand is absolutely necessary.
Breastfeeding hunger WILL be around, HENCE, having a variety of good snacks for breastfeeding is essential.
Thank goodness for Thrive Market – I can’t tell you how much I’ve relied on them for my easy breastfeeding snacks requiring no preparation, as well as some of the homemade options below.
Honestly, I’m eating more (and I’m hungrier) than during my marathon training as a mom.
Running and breastfeeding can work well together with a little planning.
What Makes Certain Snacks Good For Breastfeeding?
When thinking about good snacks for breastfeeding moms, we want to use our knowledge of nutrition and a balanced plate.
In other words, we want to make sure there is a balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat, modeled after these performance plates.
Otherwise, the snack won’t hold you over for very long, and before you know it, you’ll be grabbing another snack for breastfeeding.
As a dietitian, and also a breastfeeding mom, I’m here to tell you that certain carbohydrates are going to be better for you than others. You can’t skip the carbs!
Carbs can be some of the best snacks for breastfeeding in terms of nutrition, convenience and portability.
I love so many of the healthy options on Thrive Market. I signed up to be a member mainly for the snack choices – highly recommend it!
Many of these snacks below also double as breastfeeding night snacks, but I have a separate post on those since those strictly need to be shelf-stable, and able to live on your nightstand!
And also, I’d feel guilty for not mentioning, if you’re an over-producer or have breast milk that doesn’t get used, a good way to repurpose it is by making breastmilk popsicles to serve to the baby.
What to think about in healthy breastfeeding snacks:
- Calories – In the early postpartum period, our calorie needs are higher. We’re trying to replenish the marathon that is birth. Looking for low calorie snacks isn’t going to cut it. You need calories for energy to survive the blur that is the newborn stage. I generally recommend 200-300 calories for a snack, and these easy snacks for breastfeeding meet that standard.
- Carbohydrates – Carbohydrates are the body’s quickest source of energy. So while you likely aren’t sleeping a ton in the early weeks and months, carbohydrates can give you more energy during the day and prevent your blood sugar from dipping too much. If your blood sugar is too low, you risk fainting (I’ve been there), low energy, low nutrients and more. Opt for complex carbohydrates and whole grains when available.
- Protein – Protein is the satiation factor, plus it tends to offer an array of micronutrients, from zinc to iron to B-Vitamins and more (depending on which sources you choose!). Poultry, beef, eggs, beans, lentils, nut butters are all great options. See more about my favorite protein powders here. And make sure you’re getting enough protein at breakfast to start your day!
- Fat – Do people still think eating fat will make you fat? Fat is essential in the diet and is very important for our brain health, too. Focusing on mostly unsaturated fatty acids and omega 3 fatty acids (I love this liquid omega 3 for optimal absorption) boasts several nutrient benefits, and if breastfeeding, can carry over to the baby.
- Fiber – Whether you’re on an iron supplement due to blood loss postpartum, or the hormone imbalance or stress is causing constipation, eating enough fiber is imperative postpartum. Fiber-rich foods, like fruits, veggies and whole grains, also offer several important micronutrients as well. Fruits, veggies, oatmeal bites and bars are great sources of fiber.
- Antioxidants – It makes sense that there is inflammation in the body. We just carried a baby for 9+ months and gave birth. Our hormones are very confused, and we have to focus on healing. Making sure to include an array of colors on your plate alongside healthy breastfeeding snacks for natural dietary antioxidants.
- Hydration – Of course, it’s always important to stay hydrated and include electrolytes too, especially if it’s the hot summer months (use these summer hydration tips) or you’re waking up with night sweats in the early weeks (I know I was)! I prefer to make homemade electrolyte drinks and skip the extra sugary Gatorade and Powerade, though I have heard that certain flavors may help with milk production.
While there’s no “one best healthy snack”, as a dietitian, these ingredients and options below, when combined, are can be some of the best snack foods for breastfeeding.
Healthy Breastfeeding Snacks and Ideas
Here are several easy homemade breastfeeding snacks to help you stay nourished.
For that reason, they are one of the best snacks for breastfeeding.
You can buff them up with galactagogue ingredients, or any flavors, spices you like. Plus, they are hydrating, and getting enough liquids is important for breastfeeding.
Try these options:
- Pregnancy smoothies
- Cantaloupe Mango Smoothie
- Sweetpotato Smoothie
- Orange and Mango Smoothie
- Peanut Butter Coffee Smoothie
2. Energy Bites
These are so easy and have so many variations!
Sometimes I add cocoa powder for a chocolate taste. I eat them on their own or pair with a meal!
Try these as good snacks for breastfeeding:
- no bake vegan protein bites
- chocolate coconut bites
- lemon protein bites
- easy date power balls
- Daily Harvest has some of the best pre-made bites!
Oats are also a great lactogenic food to help with milk supply!
3. DIY Trail Mix
A healthy homemade trail mix is super easy to make yourself.
I mix peanuts or almonds, cereal, dried fruit (usually raisins or mango), m&m’s and sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
So easy! Personalize to your liking. Snack on the couch.
4. Homemade Bars
Try these options for nursing snack bars.
They are so satisfying and give you enough carbs, fat and protein to support milk production.
- Vegan peanut butter cheerio bars
- Hemp seed protein bars
- healthy carrot cake bars
- Nut free protein bars
5. Yogurt/Cottage Cheese
Talk about pumping up the protein – greek yogurt and cottage cheese are both good snacks for breastfeeding and great ways to get enough satiating protein.
Plus, both are high in bone building Vitamin D and calcium. I usually add cereal on top because I cherish a little crunch.
You can also make this chocolate coconut cream pudding for a vegan chocolate pudding.
Plus, these are single serving so super easy for grab and go or eating with one hand while breastfeeding.
6. Edamame or Roasted Chickpeas
I buy frozen edamame and let it thaw, or microwave it for a few minutes.
Some of my favorite storebought options are:
- dry edamame and snack out of the bag.
- Fava beans
- Hippeas – Chickpea Puffs
- Harvest Snaps
- For homemade BBQ roasted chickpeas, I generally do a savory spice mixture – rinse and drain the chickpeas, then dry them and lay out on a baking sheet. I bake at 400 for 40ish minutes.
7. Muffins with Nut Butter
Muffins are good snacks while breastfeeding because they are one-handed!
Some of my favorite muffin snacks for breastfeeding moms are:
- Sweet Potato Zucchini Muffins
- Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins
- Almond flour banana muffins
- Gluten Free Zucchini Muffins
- Dairy Free Pumpkin Muffins (for dairy free breastfeeding moms)
- Strawberry Chickpea Flour Muffins
- Sweetpotato Apple Muffins
For premade, easy protein muffins, I love using these minute muffins.
I love them because they have extra protein, and if you mix in milk (dairy or soy), that can up the protein even more.
Typically, I slather with nut butter and eat when I want something extra soft or comforting, usually after dinner or for a late afternoon snack with a slab of dark chocolate.
8. Leftover Oatmeal Cookies
Not your typical sugar-rich cookie, these leftover oatmeal cookies are fiber and protein-rich.
Made with a handful of staple pantry ingredients, these cookies are soft, gooey and make for the best breastfeeding snack.
Plus, oats can help with milk supply!
9. No Bake Cookie Dough Bites
Yes, that’s what I said.
Just take them out of the freezer and enjoy as an easy snack for breastfeeding moms.
Daily Harvest also has some delicious pre-made bites that you just stick in the freezer!
10. Overnight Oats
Sometimes, snacks need to be more filling, similar to a meal. These high protein overnight oats do the trick, with hint of apple and cinnamon.
But, really, switch in any fruits you have – fresh or frozen both work beautifully!
Lemon blueberry overnight oats are very refreshing too!
I mentioned I love throwing granola on yogurt or in milk, but it’s great as it’s own too! I love this granola so much, but making your own is easy, too!
My go to recipes are:
12. Chia Pudding
Chia pudding is another favorite because you can make it in advance!
I love adding bananas, but again, choose any fruits and flavors that suit you.
13. Hard Boiled Eggs
Easy to make in advance, and full of protein, B vitamins, choline and more.
I love pairing a hard boiled egg with dried fruit or toast.
While fruit on its own isn’t sustaining for a good breastfeeding snack, pair it with yogurt, eggs, or throw it in a smoothie or smoothie bowl.
This strawberry banana smoothie bowl is my favorite.
Fruit is full of antioxidants to help nourish your postpartum body and help support your health.
15. Hummus and Veggies and Crackers
If you’re more of a savory fan, hummus and veggies never fails. They are a good snack to eat while breastfeeding.
Pick any crunchy veggies in season, or if you prefer, toss hummus on a tortilla or wrap and layer with egg or tuna salad.
Thrive Market has some great whole grain cracker options, too!
16. Tuna packets
Are you getting ample omega fatty acids and EPA and DHA? So important, not only for overall health, but also your brain and growing baby.
An easy way to do it (without cooking!) is to buy those shelf-stable tuna or salmon packets, that you can eat as is, or pair with some crackers. Easy healthy breastfeeding snack!
Jerky isn’t just for meatheads anymore. It’s an easy, portable, one-handed snack that is good as a breastfeeding snack.
Pair with fruit or some carbohydrates for more sustenance.
Also, love Thrive Market’s jerky, and you can get turkey sticks or salmon options, too.
Jerky, nuts and protein bars are some of the best packaged snacks for breastfeeding.
18. Storebought Protein Bars
I usually keep a few in my nightside table for breastfeeding snacks at night.
Pouches can be GREAT for a quick snack. The thing is, most pouches DO NOT have protein, so you’ll want to pair with something like nuts, seeds, nut butter or jerky.
My favorite pouch that does have 5 grams of protein are these Noka pouches.
Great flavors and ingredients! They also have specific nut butter pouches.
Yes, that’s right. I said dairy milk (or non-dairy protein options, like soy milk, or pea milk.
Not only is it giving you Vitamin D and calcium for bones (which you need to moniter when nursing), it has a great blend of protein and carbohydrates.
I usually choose Fairlife milk or Horizon milk boxes.
Tips for Eating with a New Baby
When you are breastfeeding and holding baby’s head with one hand, you might find it challenging to eat with the other hand.
New moms are so busy learning to care for a newborn that they often aren’t taking care of themselves.
And feeding themselves is important, whether they are or are not breastfeeding. Even if not breastfeeding, postpartum snacks are going to be crucial.
To make eating while breastfeeding easier, you can try:
- Eating small, frequent meals throughout the day instead of three large meals.
- Preparing easy-to-eat snacks that can be eaten with one hand, such as those listed below.
- Keeping healthy snacks and a water bottle nearby when you sit down to breastfeed. I loved the mother’s cart and still use it now.
- Asking for help from a partner, family member, or friend to hold the baby while you eat.
- Using a nursing pillow to support your baby, allowing you to have both hands free to eat. Or, put baby in a bouncer or swing so you have a break.
One Handed Snacks for Breastfeeding
While many of the above options can be eaten with one hand while breastfeeding, here are some specific one-handed snack options.
- Granola bars or protein bars – some of my favorites are Perfect Bars, Kind bars and Clif Bars. I recommend getting these all on subscribe and save.
- Toast or rice cakes with nut butter (the nut butter makes it more satiating)
- Smoothie pouches
- Fresh fruit – bananas seem to be the easiest for one hand!
- Cheese sticks or babybel cheese
- Hard boiled eggs
- Homemade oatmeal bites – carrot cake bites or chocolate almond balls
- Leftover pizza from the night before (I’ve done this too many times!)
- Single serving yogurt containers or yogurt pouches (or make your own with these homemade DIY yogurt pouches)
- Daily Harvest bites – keep these in the freezer, so good frozen! Plus, get up to $60 off your order!
- Smoothies – see above options
Other Tips to Keep Eating Easy for Breastfeeding
While snacks for new moms are important, so are postpartum freezer meals.
These other tips help make healthy snacks during breastfeeding easier.
- Do some meal prep while you’re pregnant or have friends drop off meals if you can. Dinner may just be really random, but if you have a stash of freezer meals for moms, it helps tremendously.
- Rely on convenience foods – It may be a Daily Harvest bake, leftovers thrown over veggies, pasta (thank god for Banza), take out, frozen waffles, air fryer turkey burgers, Butcher Box chicken nuggets, etc. Anything that gets YOU (and kids) fed. Because if you’re not fed, everything else falls to the wayside.
- Keep water bottles in several different rooms, so you can always be hydrated. Same with quick easy no-bake snacks, like protein power balls.
- Remember to prioritize YOU getting fed, mama. Hope these ideas help for quick snacks for breastfeeding moms.