If you’re looking for middle of the night breastfeeding snacks, you’ve come to the right place. As a Registered Dietitian and breastfeeding mom to a newborn, and having done this three times now, I share my favorite nutritious breastfeeding snacks at night.
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I’ve written about breastfeeding hunger before. It can feel insatiable. It’s constant and it’s strong.
As a new mom, you’re likely in a depleted state. I know I was, three times through.
You’ve been eating extra during pregnancy (and hopefully keeping up with your pregnancy electrolytes!), only for your baby to hoard most of those nutrients away for their growth.
And then you give birth, which is the biggest marathon of your life, and you’re body is a wreck.
You are, and probably feel, depleted in so many nutrients.
If you’re a breastfeeding mother, you then go on to produce milk for a mini human, 8-12 times a day. It’s incredible, but it’s also very draining.
If you aren’t nourishing yourself properly, you can get into a lot of trouble with imbalanced hormones, nutritional deficiencies, poor mental health, extreme exhaustion and more.
Whether you’re 3 months postpartum or more, you need to take care of yourself.
At 16 weeks, I’m just starting my return to running.
I know that it’s even more important for me to stay hydrated and well fueled to maintain milk supply, avoid injury with running and just function as a daily human.
Here’s more information on breastfeeding and running.
What Makes A Balanced Breastfeeding Night Snack
When choosing your breastfeeding snacks at night, you’ll want ones that will hold you over, but also ones that taste good and are shelf stable.
Eating balanced for breastfeeding is the same as the plate method for athletes – we want to keep our blood sugar stable and eat a combination of foods for lasting energy and nutrient replenishment.
Eating enough is extra important as a new mom because you are literally in recovery mode for weeks, if not, months.
And if you’re nursing, you need to be eating enough for milk production.
Focus on these key things in your late night breastfeeding snacks.
- Protein – Protein is key for keeping us full and minimizing muscle loss. While the latter probably isn’t your main concern at a 2am feeding, you do want to fill up so you’re not incessantly needing a snack. You need some well-deserved rest!
- Carbohydrates – The combination of protein and carbohydrates is key for sustaining fullness for longer periods of time. While carbs do give you energy, they also are the main source of “power” for our cells. So having something with carbohydrate along with your protein is ideal for balancing blood sugar and keeping your hormones in check, too.
- Fiber – While fiber is not necessary for your breastfeeding night snacks, if they are a healthy option, they usually will have fiber in them. And while fiber can be great for digestion, in this case, its advantage would be that it helps to keep us full. However, a crunchy apple may not be what you’re craving for a nighttime snack, but some nuts, seeds or granola may be perfect.
The best way to stock up on healthy storebought snacks is to use a service like Thrive Market and have them sent monthly. Then you never have to use the grocery store for these staples and they’ll always be stocked.
These midnight snacks for breastfeeding moms will help avoid a spike in blood sugar during the night.
In fact, many of the best snacks for breastfeeding will apply here, at night. We will just focus on shelf-stable, easy ones that you can keep on your nightstand or by your bed.
While I love a good, nourishing greek yogurt smoothie, I doubt many of us will be going downstairs to make one after breastfeeding at night.
The Best Snacks for Breastfeeding at Night
Here are some of my favorite snacks for breastfeeding at night. Some of them are homemade, and some are storebought.
If you know you definitely want to opt for the storebought ones, I highly suggest checking out Thrive Market! They have options for every dietary preference (vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, etc.) and they are delivered right to your door.
Oats are also a great lactogenic food to help with milk supply. Bliss balls, aka energy bites or oatmeal bites, are so easy and have so many variations.
They also blend carbohydrates, protein and healthy fat for a balanced, sustaining snack. If you’re looking for specific recipes, I love no bake vegan protein bites and chocolate almond balls for my sweet tooth.
Or, these lemon protein bites for a palate cleanser.
DIY Trail Mix
Trailmix is another ideal blend of carbohydrates, protein and fat. Plus, can stay in a stasher or ziplock bag on your nightstand.
It’s also a great source of magnesium, which is a micronutrient that powers over 300 reactions in the body. Super important and likely depleted in new, nursing moms, at least it was for me – and I specialize in nutrition!
You can make it in bulk and pre-portion it out.
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.
If you’re not a fan of the storebought bars (which we have suggestions for below), try making some of your own healthy homemade bars.
Hemp seeds are a magical protein booster – you don’t taste them but they provide SO much nutrition!
Muffins are another easy homemade evening snack for breastfeeding moms. I often have one BEFORE bed with yogurt, and sometimes another during our night feeds.
I will say, I love the muffin recipes in Rise and Run, but I have several awesome ones on the blog, too!
- Zucchini almond flour muffins
- Blueberry muffins with crumble topping (dairy free!)
- Gluten free chocolate zucchini muffins
- Pumpkin zucchini muffins
- Strawberry chickpea flour muffins
- Baby led weaning muffins (lots of fruity ones here!)
You can also just do half a muffin, or as much as needed as your midnight snack.
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.
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 late night breastfeeding snack.
Keep a stack of them in your stasher on your nightstand! These 3 ingredient vegan peanut butter cookies are another good one to munch on.
Talk about pumping up the protein – greek yogurt and cottage cheese are both good breastfeeding snacks at night.
Plus, both are high in bone building Vitamin D and calcium.
I usually add cereal or granola on top because I cherish a little crunch, and gotta pair that carb and protein!
If you have a mini fridge in your room (I’ve been there!), add some single serving greek yogurts.
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!
Jerky is an easy, portable, one-handed snack that is great as a late night breastfeeding snack. Pair with fruit or some carbohydrates for more sustenance.
Also, I love Thrive Market’s jerky, and you can get turkey or salmon options, too. Jerky, nuts and protein bars are some of the best packaged snacks for breastfeeding.
I was also going to add tuna packets here, but I’m not sure how appealing that would be in the middle of the night.
Nonetheless, if you’re a savory fish lover, tuna packets are high in omega 3 fatty acids (great for managing inflammation post birth), protein and tons of micronutrients.
Storebought Protein Bars
I’ll add the nut butters to a banana or muffin. I usually keep a few in my nightside table for late night breastfeeding snacks.
Don’t Skimp on Daytime Calories
Remember, you also want to be eating consistently during the day as well. That’s when I really rely on things like lactation smoothies, postpartum snacks and several of these make ahead postpartum freezer meals.
If you undereat during the day, your nursing appetite may be even higher at night, making it harder to sleep and feel satisfied.
My best tip is to make your breakfast ahead of time, so when you’re up in the morning, still feeling like a zombie, you have a nourishing option.
These healthy breakfast ideas for pregnancy are wonderful for postpartum, too.
I can’t tell you how much easier it has made going from 2 to 3 kids for me, just having something prepared for the busy mornings.
When I’m working 1-1 with clients, the goal can never be to lose weight while breastfeeding and having young babies.
It’s just not in line with what your already depleted body needs or how it works.
Be kind with yourself and realize that this stage of life won’t last forever. These breastfeeding night snacks can be an important piece of the puzzle to breastfeeding for longer, especially if they put YOU in a better place.