30+ Delicious & Healthy Breastfeeding Snacks for Nursing Mamas

In 2018, Forbes Magazine’s conservative estimate that breastfeeding mamas spend approximately 1,800 hours in a single year nursing their little ones floored pretty much everyone. That’s 1,800 hours you’re stuck under a nursing baby wishing you hadn’t forgotten to charge your phone or bring a bunch of breastfeeding snacks with you.

Spending time bonding with your nursing baby is great, but so is ensuring you have things to occupy yourself with during nursing sessions when you just happen to be falling asleep, too. This especially includes gathering breastfeeding snacks to prevent getting hangry while you cuddle your nursing baby. 

When I say breastfeeding snacks, I’m talking about super nutritious, protein-packed snacks for you to enjoy while you nurse. After all, not only are you postpartum, but you’re also producing actual food for a human being, which means you need more calories than normal!

Finding healthy breastfeeding snacks is about picking items that curb your cravings and benefit your hardworking body. If you’re starved for snacking ideas (catch my pun there?), check out the 30+ ideas below!

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How Important Are Extra Calories When You’re a Breastfeeding Parent?

You might not think a natural bodily response would use much energy, but surprisingly making enough breastmilk for your baby is hard work.

Research shows the average person requires an extra 450 – 500 calories daily when nursing. 

You’ll likely feel extra hungry and thirsty while breastfeeding if your body lacks the calories and nutrients it needs for breast milk production. In fact, the UT Southwestern Medical Center reports that not drinking or eating enough is one of the top contributing factors to low milk supply.

So, not only should your water bottle be your constant companion while nursing, but it’s also wise to have a supply of breastfeeding snacks readily available.

What Makes Something a “Good” Nursing Snack?

Whelp, Kristen said we needed to snack more, so I’m going to fill up a cart with Little Debbies, Cheetos, and Bagel Bites…hold up there, Mama. 

While you need to increase your caloric intake while breastfeeding, there’s a “right” way to do it. Unfortunately, while stuffing our faces with all the sugary, fatty, zero-nutrient items we’d rather eat sounds like fun, they’re not going to offer the benefits our nursing bodies need.

So, what makes something a “good” breastfeeding snack? Take a look at the checklist below:

1. Choose Snacks that are Nutrient-Rich

From fatty acids, like Omega-3, to protein, our bodies need several vital nutrients while nursing. You can absolutely keep taking your prenatal vitamins, or even take a Genate test to see what your body needs postpartum. 

While supplements are great, focusing on what you put into your body in terms of food is never a bad idea!

As you’re planning your breastfeeding diet, consider the vitamins and nutrients below when planning your meals:

  • Protein: Eggs, cheese, yogurt, poultry, etc.
  • Omega-3: Chia seeds, walnuts, seafood, etc.
  • Calcium: Milk, cheese, orange juice, etc.
  • Iron: Dried Fruit, meat, dried beans, etc. 
  • Vitamin C: Citrus, tomatoes, bell peppers, etc. 
  • Iodine: Seaweed, dairy, fish, etc. 
  • Choline: Broccoli, beef, chicken, etc. 

2. Make Sure to Pick a Variety of Snacks

Finding breastfeeding snacks you love is amazing, but try to nibble on more than one thing. ALL of the nutrients above are important. 

Relying on one food that only offers one or two of them isn’t going to provide the well-rounded diet we breastfeeding parents need.

3. Avoid Problem Ingredients

Everything in moderation is the mantra when discussing healthy breastfeeding snacks, but there are a couple of specific ingredients to watch out for.

High levels of mercury, for example, can cause adverse effects on a baby’s brain and nervous system. Too much caffeine exposure can cause restlessness, jitteriness, and irritability.  This means no sitting back and chugging an entire pot of coffee while you’re nursing (I’m really sorry about this one!)

The CDC also suggests avoiding alcohol and not having more than one drink a day if you do imbibe. (My bad again!)

4. Consider Convenience

I know steak is full of iron and choline, but you’ve got to think about your eating experience when picking out nursing snack foods. There’s no way to easily manage cutting up your ribeye while cradling a baby to your breasts.

Try to stick with easy-to-eat options that you can enjoy while breastfeeding. Keep the temperature in mind, too; a cup of coffee might sound delicious during your morning feed, but make sure you won’t spill it on your baby’s head. Just felt like we needed to say that!

Avoid getting hangry with these amazing breastfeeding snacks!

Shelf-Stable Food for Your Breastfeeding Snack Basket

Whether you’re setting up a breastfeeding snack basket or a full-on breastfeeding station, or just searching for easy items you can eat on a walk with your baby in a carrier, these shelf-stable options can help satisfy your cravings:

1. Trail Mix and Nuts

Whether you buy pre-made pouches of trail mix or go to your local bulk food store to create some, this is one of my favorite healthy snacks for breastfeeding mamas. 

From the fatty acids in nuts to iron-rich dried fruits, you can include a versatile selection of items to ensure you get a broad range of essential nutrients.

You can also go for plain nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews, or pistachios

2. Bananas

Not only are bananas a great shelf-stable source of Vitamin C, but they’re also one of the best foods if you need an extra energy boost (and what new mom couldn’t use a bit of extra energy?) 

If you don’t like the texture of fresh bananas, you can also try dried banana chips

3. Fruit Pouches

As a mom of young children who love to snack all day, I’ve developed a soft spot for any “pouched” foods they can quickly eat while we’re out. 

These pouches are suitable for more than just kids, though!

Whether you go for the standard applesauce pouches or shelf-stable smoothies, these are excellent fruit alternatives when you want something simpler to eat.

Some of my favorite options include:

4. Olives

Did you know that adhering to the Mediterranean Diet increases your breastmilk’s antioxidant levels? It’s true! 

And what’s a staple of this dietary regimen? Olives, of course!

Olives are a fantastic source of Vitamin E, fatty acids, and, as previously referenced, antioxidants, which are all crucial for nursing mamas.

And, lucky for us busy parents, you can get them in convenient pouches, so you don’t have to carry around a giant jar!

5. Popcorn

If you want to include whole grains in your breastfeeding survival kit, why not throw in snack-size bags of pre-made popcorn

Keep in mind that you should probably eat popcorn in moderation. I’ve talked to some parents who noticed their little ones had upset bellies every time they ate popcorn, likely due to high fiber content. 

If your baby has consistent gas pains or constipation, try removing it from your diet. 

6. Dried Seaweed Snacks

Remember how we discussed including iodine when choosing healthy breastfeeding snacks? Well, I have the perfect option: dried seaweed! Trust me, I know this option isn’t for everyone, but it’s a fantastic snacking solution if you’re a fan. 

There are even different flavors you can try, such as teriyaki, wasabi, and toasted sesame. 

7. Kale Chips

Regarding food glow-ups, kale has to be one of the most impressive turnaround stories I’ve ever heard! It went from a silly little garnish that restaurants used to decorate our plates to the ultimate superfood packed with nutrients like Vitamin C, B6, K, folate, and fiber. 

Unfortunately, placing a giant bushel of kale inside your breastfeeding snack basket isn’t going to work. Thank goodness for kale chips!

You’ll reap all the excellent health benefits in a convenient and delicious, shelf-stable form. 

Picking the Best Granola Bars for Breastfeeding Moms

You might be thinking, why the heck did we leave granola bars off the list of shelf-stable healthy breastfeeding snacks? After all, is there a better snacking option when you only have one hand to feed yourself with?

Well, we left them off because we figured they deserved their own section! Whether you want protein-heavy granola bars, nut and fruit bars, or diet-friendly options, the list below includes some of our top picks:

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Our Favorite High-Protein Snacks for Breastfeeding

Protein is a crucial addition to any breastfeeding mama’s diet. Experts say we should consume at least two to three servings of it a day (a serving is approximately three to four ounces.) 

Thankfully, there are plenty of yummy snack options to increase your daily protein intake.

1. Beef Jerky

Not only is beef jerky the perfect high-protein snack for breastfeeding, but it’s also full of other great nutrients, such as zinc and iron. 

And if you’re not a fan of traditional beef jerky, meat sticks (such a delightful name, isn’t it?) are another good choice. 

2. Chickpeas

I’ve always been that person who goes to a salad bar and loads their plate with chickpeas.

So it shouldn’t surprise you that dried chickpeas or chickpea chips are among my favorite high-protein, shelf-stable snacks for nursing parents. 

They’re also an excellent alternative for nut-free folks who want that crunchy, snacky goodness!

3. Protein Shakes

If you don’t have time to make a protein shake before sitting down to nurse your baby, you’ll be thrilled to learn you can buy pre-made alternatives that don’t need refrigeration! 

This makes them an ideal pick when planning your breastfeeding snack basket.

Some of the most popular options include:

4. Nut Butter

Whether you want to eat some almond or peanut butter plain or throw it on some crackers or fruit, any nut spread is a fantastic protein source. 

When discussing convenient breastfeeding snacks, I especially love that there are so many individual pouches and cups available for on-the-go eating. 

Increase Your Breastmilk Supply With These Snack Options

During your search for healthy breastfeeding snacks, why not pick foods that can also boost your milk supply? 

While many of the suggestions above will do the trick, there are some other options you might want to consider. Check out the suggestions below:

1. Lactation Cookies

Lactation cookies are a fantastic snack option when you’re craving something sweet and want to boost your milk supply simultaneously. 

You can bake a batch or purchase pre-packaged cookies that include essential ingredients for milk production, such as oats, flaxseed, and brewer’s yeast.

Oatmeal, and other oat-heavy foods, are filling snack options that provide tons of nutritional benefits to breastfeeding parents. 

They’re jam-packed with vitamins and supplements, including fiber, iron, magnesium, and zinc – plus, they help with milk production. 

Some popular breastfeeding snack options are oatmeal crumble bars, overnight or cold oats, and granola

3. Avocado

Avocados are a breastfeeding diet staple, and they’re also delicious (can you say guacamole?) 

When you need to boost your supply, why not add some avocado toast on whole wheat bread, avocado muffins, or even sliced avocado to your snacking rotation?

Easy to eat snacks that have protein are a great addition to your breastfeeding snacks!

Yummy Snacks that Need to Be in the Fridge or Freezer

Shelf-stable options are excellent for your breastfeeding snack station, but plenty of refrigerator and freezer foods deserve our attention, too. Take a look at the suggestions below to learn more!

1. Greek Yogurt

While nursing, Greek yogurt parfaits with antioxidant-rich berries and granola were among my favorite snacks. 

Not only is Greek yogurt versatile and delicious, but it’s also protein and calcium-heavy, making it an excellent treat for breastfeeding parents. 

2. Cheese

Sticks, cubes, slices, or wheels – no matter how you prefer to eat your cheese, I’m thrilled to tell you that it’s a top-notch breastfeeding snack. 

Cheese is a great option to add extra calcium to your diet.

3. Edamame Beans

In our house, you’ll likely find several packs of frozen edamame beans in our fridge at any time. 

My children obsess over them, and I don’t mind because they’re much healthier than the chips and cookies they usually ask for 24/7.

But they’re not just good for ravenous children; edamame beans are a popular treat for us nursing mamas.

And luckily, you can even buy them pre-shelled, which is perfect for those times when you’re munching while feeding your little one. 

4. Hummus

I know we talked about dried chickpea snacks, but we can’t put together a list of healthy breastfeeding snacks for nursing parents without including hummus!

Something I love about hummus dips is how many options there are. From roasted garlic to olive tapenade, everyone can usually find a flavor they love.

Not into the savory choices? No worries, chocolate hummus with strawberries or pretzels will blow your mind!

5. Hardboiled Eggs

From choline to healthy fats, hardboiled eggs are an easy-to-eat breastfeeding snack packed with vital nutrients. 

Cook up a batch on the weekend, and then you’ll have them readily available all week!

Time to Add Healthy Breastfeeding Snacks to Your Shopping List

Listen, I know how tempting a daily trip to Chick-Fil-A or Taco Bell for breastfeeding snacks might seem, but let’s face it, fast food isn’t going to give you the nutrients you need to boost your milk supply or stay up all night with a newborn (although it is absolutely fine every now and then!)

The suggestions above will give you all the essential nutrients you need to keep your body energized and strong throughout your breastfeeding journey. Plus, most of them are delicious, too!

So, whether you start building a healthy breastfeeding snack station or load up your fridge with goodies, it’s time to start writing your shopping list and loading up on yummy snacks to enjoy while your baby’s having their meals, too. 

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If you’re already a nursing mama, what are your favorite breastfeeding snacks?

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