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Wellness for the Family: Must-Have Nutrition for Breastfeeding Moms

August is National Breastfeeding Month.

Studies have shown that breastfeeding women can lose 3-5% of their bone mass while breastfeeding.

During Wellness for the Family, registered dietician with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Shanthi Appelo breaks down what foods and specific vitamins are key for new moms and the health benefits they have on newborns.

Delicious Smoothie to Support Breastfeeding Mothers’ Needs

A smoothie can be a convenient breakfast or on-the-go snack that packs in a variety of nutrients. This smoothie is tailored to support the needs of breastfeeding moms, incorporating the following ingredients:

Milk or milk substitute. Studies have shown that breastfeeding women can lose from 3% to 5% of their bone mass while breastfeeding, as the body takes from its own calcium stores to give the baby the amount of calcium it needs. Breastfeeding women should aim to consume for the recommended daily 1,000 milligrams of calcium. Many milks and milk substitutes contain or are enriched with vitamin D added, which helps the body absorb calcium. 

Kale. Getting enough folate helps to ensure the continued development of a nursing mom’s child. Though most leafy greens offer a generous helping of folate, kale is the star of the show offering 19% of the daily recommended intake. It also packs in a healthy serving of iron, needed to help mom and baby maintain their energy. 

Strawberries. A cup of strawberries exceeds the daily  need for vitamin C, which helps the body absorb iron. Though most berries contain vitamin C, strawberries provide more of this water-soluble vitamin than blueberries or  raspberries. 

Flax seeds. Flax seeds offer up the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a precursor for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which can aid in brain and eye development  in infants.

Protein powder. Breastfeeding mothers need more protein while nursing to build, repair and maintain body  tissues and muscle. Nursing moms should aim for 1.05 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily. 

Nutritious Nursing Smoothie


  • 1 cup milk (dairy or calcium and vitamin D-enriched dairy substitute)
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 Tbsp. flax seeds 
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder 
  • Handful of kale


  1. Blend all ingredients in a blender. Enjoy!

For a direct link to Shanthi Appelo’s “A Healthier Michigan” website with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan 

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