Nutrition should always be a priority, but when you’re having a baby it becomes even more important. The right post pregnancy diet helps your body recover, and gives you the energy you need to care for your little one and yourself. The postpartum period begins after the delivery of your baby, and ends when your body has nearly returned to its pre-pregnancy state. Postnatal care involves self care to rebuild your strength, sufficient rest, and proper nourishment. The post pregnancy diet influences the breast milk quality, quantity and taste. A newborn is completely dependent on the lactation for receiving all the necessary nutrients. Hence a befitting diet for new moms should be on priority to ensure good health of the new mother, and proper growth and development of the baby.
Super foods that you must include in your post pregnancy diet
Here are the best after delivery foods for mothers that must be included in the post pregnancy diet to support baby’s development, and refuel the new moms body.
Green leafy veggies
Green leafy vegetables are rich sources of iron, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and fiber, hence a must have in after delivery diet. They are low in calories and rich in heart-healthy antioxidants, which help in losing post-pregnancy weight. Thylakoids in green leafy veggies promote weight loss. Leafy veggies like mustard leaves, dandelion, fennel leaves,kale, spinach, beetroot leaves, cabbage, moringa, fenugreek leaves, and turmeric leaves make excellent choices for the diet after delivery. Vegetables like broccoli provide vitamin A, pointed gourd (parwal), apple gourd (tinda) and lotus stem (kamal kakdi) are also best foods after delivery as boost immunity, and have nutrients like zinc, magnesium, copper and iron.
Low-fat dairy products
Lactating moms need anywhere between 2.25 to 3.1 liters of fluids every day, which sums up to somewhere between 9 to 13 cups. When it comes to the amount of milk, a good rule of thumb is to drink enough to sate your thirst. Your baby absorbs calcium from breast milk for bone development. Therefore, have calcium-rich foods to replace the lost calcium in your body as part of your post pregnancy diet. If you want to avoid milk, thinking that it may lead to postpartum weight gain, then choose the low-fat versions of milk products. Include low-fat milk, buttermilk, yogurt into your after delivery diet. These products are good sources of calcium, protein and gut bacteria.
Whole grain cereals
The after delivery diet for mothers should contain whole grains. They are rich sources of fiber and vitamin B complexes that help in preventing fat storage. Whole grains are known to boost body metabolism and prevent calorie retention. Oats are an excellent source of calcium, iron, proteins, and carbs. They are also high in fiber, which helps relieve constipation. Whole grain cereals like corn, bulgur wheat, barley, rye, millets, and quinoa must be included in the list of food for mothers after delivery.
Fruits and nuts
For your post pregnancy diet, include snacks like fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds. Fruits are the sources of essential vitamins and minerals along with fibers. They will keep you full for a long time preventing unwanted cravings. Also, the fiber and pectin found in many fruits act as natural fat burners as well as metabolism boosters. Nuts are high in calories but with the right portion sizes, they can aid in weight loss after delivery. Fruits like oranges, bananas, mangoes, guava, kiwi, berries, apricots, grapefruit, cantaloupe, melons, and prunes: and nuts like almonds, cashew, walnuts, peanuts, and brazil nuts provide amino acids, selenium, potassium, iron, zinc, vitamins like A, K, C, B, and E.
It stimulates lactation and increases breast milk supply. Also its chemical composition prevents postnatal depression and increases appetite of the breastfeeding mother. Brown rice in a post pregnancy diet helps to lose weight gradually keeping the stomach fuller for a longer time while providing sufficient calories to make best-quality milk for the newborn.
Proteins are the foundation of all the body enzymes, hormones, and tissues. Beans, seafood, chicken, lean meats, eggs, cheese, fish, and soy products are rich in protein and help your body recover from childbirth. Aim for five servings each day, or seven if you’re breastfeeding. Protein sources like chickpeas and lentils, help in milk secretion.
Besides being an amazing contributor to weight loss and diabetes control, fenugreek seeds are also good for enhancing lactation in new moms. They are a rich source of calcium, iron, vitamins, and minerals. They are also known to relieve joint and back pains. For weight loss, it’s compound galactomannan gives a fullness that won’t make you feel hungry for a long time. Methi seeds also boost the body’s metabolic rate that helps in fat burning, so making them an essential part of diet after delivery for new moms is beneficial.
Health benefits of cumin seeds are endless, as they benefit the digestive system, immune system, and enhance blood circulation. Cumin seeds contain antioxidants, calcium, and iron, and provide the body with high energy. It also helps the new mother during breastfeeding by increasing the milk production. The antioxidants in cumin seeds can improve hypoxic conditions in the placenta preventing the oxidative stress in preeclampsia. Cumin seeds have anti-inflammatory and anti-hypertensive effects which help heal the body after delivery. As cumin seeds stimulate bowel movements and provide relief against gastric problems, it acts therapeutic for a new mom when included in the post pregnancy diet plan.
Sesame seeds contain a lot of macro and micro nutrients like iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium. Til (sesame seeds) can be consumed in many ways to provide nutrition to the lactating mother. Sesame seeds are high in calcium and estrogen-like properties, which boost breast milk secretion. These seeds regulate the bowel movements, aid digestion and help release gasses from the body. Also packed with omega-3 fatty acids, help replenish the body with essential minerals hence should be included in the diet for mothers after delivery.
Also known as ajwain, carom seeds work wonders in alleviating issues in new mothers. Carom seeds can relieve post pregnancy back pain due to its anesthetic properties, resolve indigestion and gas problems, increase lactation, and help heal the body internally after delivery. According to Ayurveda, ajwain is a powerful cleanser which benefits the kidney and respiratory system, and also stimulates the appetite. Ajwain water is given to babies to relieve colics as ajwain water treats flatulence. The digestion boosting properties of carom seeds help in post pregnancy weight loss.
Panjeeri, is a nutritional supplement that has healthy contents which improve a new mother’s metabolism and maintain healthy weight. When eaten after childbirth it replenishes the energy needed to kickstart the healing process, helps regain strength, builds immunity, and provides essential nutrients for breastfeeding. Panjeeri is a mix of ghee, whole grain fibers, and dry fruits making it a highly nutritious, and super delicious snack of the post pregnancy diet. It helps regulate the flow of breast milk, removes excessive fluid from the uterus after parturition which helps the uterus to get back to its normal form. The whole wheat in panjeeri has a low glycemic index, which curbs the appetite and prevents unnecessary food cravings. Ghee, in it, provides good fat and energy required by the body to combat the postpartum weakness.
Ragi or finger millets are the powerhouse of nutrition as they are rich in calcium, iron, and magnesium. It supplies energy and strength needed post delivery. It is the best substitute for the lactose intolerant moms. Finger millets also improve the hemoglobin levels in breastfeeding mothers. It is a must have after delivery food for mothers as it enhances the breast milk with amino acids, calcium and iron.
Eggs are a superfood as they are protein rich and deeply satiating to a depleted body. Eggs contain vitamins A, D, E and K, folate, B12, choline, phosphorus, selenium, calcium, zinc, and omega-3 fats. In breastfeeding mothers it enhances the breast milk production, increases the good cholesterol levels in the body, provides high energy and also helps lowers the risk of heart ailments. Eggs are very beneficial in the diet after pregnancy, especially in the nursing stage as they are the storehouse of essential amino acids which boost baby’s growth and development.
Consuming dates immediately after delivery significantly reduces the blood loss and hemorrhage after delivery. Dates are called nature’s original sweet candies that can be consumed stress-free. Eating dates is a healthier way to satisfy the sweet tooth as they are a good source of natural fructose. Dates provide high energy to fight post pregnancy fatigue making it an essential ingredient of the after delivery foods for mothers. Theseso loaded with fiber which fight pregnancy-related constipation. Dates are also rich in potassium which relaxes blood vessels and reduces blood pressure, folate which reduces chances of any birth defects, iron that enhances hemoglobin production, and vitamin K that helps make the baby’s bones, muscles and nerves strong.
It is said to be a nutritional powerhouse for new mothers. Like any other fatty fish, salmon contains DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) , a type of fat, which is useful for your baby’s nervous system development. Although breast milk contains DHA naturally, the levels of this fat are higher in the milk of mothers who have DHA-rich foods. DHA also elevates your mood and plays a prominent role in warding off postpartum depression. It is therefore essential that you include this in your post pregnancy diet.
Breastfeeding moms make up to 1 liter of milk a day, hence they are at a risk of dehydration. Water is a quintessential contributor to milk production and an essential part of postnatal care. Also, it helps in keeping the mother’s body hydrated and detoxified which will help in getting a glowing skin too. Water also boosts the body’s metabolic rate that helps with weight loss. Hence along with a good postpartum diet it is essential to keep the body well hydrated with water, and juices.
Foods to avoid after delivery
Along with consuming foods that benefit after delivery, it is equally important to stay away from some foods that can be harmful if consumed in a postpartum diet. Avoid the following foods after delivery:
These foods are likely to cause indigestion and glasses. Also the nutrient value of the junk foods is too low to provide any necessary nourishment and energy. A baby needs to be well breastfed for better development. Junk foods, processed foods, and fast foods are unhealthy and can be stale, hence unfit to be consumed by a new mom during her crucial period of lactation and replenishment. Junk foods also make post pregnancy weight loss difficult.
It only adds to the extra pounds of weight post delivery, increasing risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases. Refined sugar has a high glycemic index, robs off the body’s essential minerals, premature aging, fatigue, depression, increases bad cholesterol, damages the immune system, and can make children hyperactive. It is best to avoid cold drinks, soft drinks, and all the sugary foods and beverages during the post pregnancy diet period.
Fish with high mercury content
Mercury poses toxicity that can damage kidneys, cause skin rashes, itching, affect the immune system, lungs, brain, and disrupt the reproductive system. Mercury poisoning can be caused by the consumption of fish that contains high mercury content or through direct exposure to any mercury-containing products. Fishes like King Mackerel, Albacore (White) Tuna, Shark, Swordfish, and Tilefish are high in mercury content.
Tea and coffee
Caffeine in tea and coffee is harmful for the body, as it may raise blood pressure, increase risk to heart problems, cause gout attacks, cause breast tissue cysts, incontinence, insomnia, indigestion, allergies, miscarriage, decrease fertility, inhibit collagen production, increase anxiety, depression, and cause headache and migraine. Avoiding or limiting caffeine consumption is advised when on a post pregnancy diet.
Alcohol consumption is known to cause side effects like drowsiness, diaphoresis, deep sleep, weakness, decrease in linear growth, abnormal weight gain and decreased milk ejection reflex with high maternal ingestion of alcohol. Nursing mothers should wait 2–3 hours before nursing their infants if they have consumed alcohol in low to moderate quantities.
Spicy foods, fried foods, processed foods, greasy foods, carbonated drinks are known to cause gasses and colics. Some foods are very healthy, such as beans, broccoli, bran, brussels, peas, cabbage, cauliflower, whole grains and dairy products, but may produce excessive gas, such foods should be consumed in limits.
Consuming some foods may cause allergies to the lactating mother and the breastfed baby. One has to be attentive regarding what suits them the best. Foods like eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soya, tree nuts and wheat can cause allergies in some people.
Limiting the foods that may harm the body and do not provide nourishment is important during the postpartum diet period. Following an appropriate diet after pregnancy is important for the health of the new mom and the baby.
Why is Postpartum Nourishment Important?
Eating foods for the mother after delivery that supports development of the baby and nourishment of the new mom is important.
The loss of blood and nutrients during parturition makes new moms weak and malnourished. Also the growing fetus takes away all the nourishment from the mother’s body which needs to be replenished with best foods after the delivery for the new moms. Hence, a good postpartum diet is necessary, to keep the mother and the baby healthy, energetic, happy and active.
Enhances Breast Milk
Galactagogue foods that enhance lactation are a very important part of the after delivery foods for mothers. Foods like asparagus, turmeric, garlic, ginger, fennel, fenugreek, barley, dandelion, almonds and oatmeal enhance the breast milk which help in faster and better growth of the baby.
“Good food equals good mood” is the correct saying, as what you eat affects all your body systems. Good digestion keeps your body feeling light and energetic, which helps keep your mood happy and mind active. Mood boosting foods produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that has a calming effect on the brain which improves mood of the new mom, inturn reducing stress, blood pressure, and post pregnancy depression. Foods like meat, dairy products, nuts, beans, cholotales, salmon, chia seeds, lentils, avocados, sweet potatoes, and blueberries are well-known mood enhancers.
Include all the foods for mothers after delivery to get the benefits of consuming a good postpartum diet.
How much should I eat?
Most new moms need between 1,800 and 2,200 calories every day for about a year after childbirth. When lactating, the new moms need 500 more calories to meet the needs of the breastfed baby.
Underweight mothers, mothers who work out more than 45 minutes each day, and mothers feeding multiple infants need much more calories. Consult your doctor to know the right amount for you and to determine any necessity of vitamin supplementation. The body needs to restore lots of nutrients to get back to its normal form like the pre-pregnancy phase. Every meal of a new mom should have a half plate of fresh fruits and vegetables and the other half should be whole grains, sprouts and protein rich foods. Aim for five servings of protein each day that help the body recover from childbirth. The after delivery diet for mothers, needs 1000 milligrams of calcium per day, i.e. 3 servings of low-fat dairy products; and 9 mg/day of iron in lactating mothers.
What should I eat after giving birth while breastfeeding?
You should eat foods that are fresh, organic, chemical and preservative free, and healthy. Consuming natural foods that boost breast milk production, and foods that are packed with macro and micro nutrients which provide energy and nourishment, are the best foods for mothers after giving birth while breastfeeding. Staying well hydrated is equally important as maintaining a good postpartum diet. Have a balanced diet full of fibers, proteins, good fats and sufficient carbohydrates in your post pregnancy diet plan.
Which fruit is best after delivery?
Fruits rich in potassium, zinc, selenium, and vitamin A, C and B complexes are beneficial for consumption after delivery. The fruits that are best for after delivery diet of mothers are:
- Green papaya
As important as supporting your baby’s growth for 9 months during pregnancy, a supporting postpartum diet is as much of importance. A healthy after delivery mother’s diet is necessary to produce protein-rich breast milk, and to replenish your own nutritional reserves.