Postpartum Diet - 3 Life Changing Tips

The key to a good postnatal diet is that it provides all of the important nutrients you need to fully recover from the birth and ensure that you can produce enough quality breast milk to feed your baby.

The word ‘DIET’ should be used to describe a way of eating and NOT a calorie cutting exercise.

However that’s not to say that a good diet for postpartum mothers can’t help you to lose weight as well, in fact done correctly, this is exactly what can happen.

In this article we’ll discuss the importance of certain foods after childbirth and also discuss which ones should be avoided.

Here are my top 3 postpartum diet tips…

Fresh foods are vital for a good post pregnancy diet

1. Don't 'Diet' - Instead CHANGE Your Diet!

If you go on a diet, you cut down the amount of calories you eat. But instead of restricting food, make these 10 simple changes…

  1. Ensure EVERY meal you eat is served with either vegetables, salad or fresh fruit.
  2. Eat whole grains whenever possible to improve digestive health as well as supplying important B vitamins. Brown rice, oats, whole-wheat bread and Rye are good options.
  3. Stay hydrated - Drink at least 6 glasses of water every day.
  4. Limit processed foods such a cakes, pastries, white bread and ready meals to occasional treats
  5. Eat Salmon, Sardines, Anchovies or scallops twice a week for the fats they supply
  6. Take a post pregnancy ‘one a day’ supplement
  7. Avoid eating fatty, fried foods as these fats can be be passed through breast milk to your baby
  8. Don’t drink alcohol - Sorry, if you’re still breastfeeding now isn’t the time for a drink
  9. Increase the protein you eat - switching to a more protein/plant based diet will help you get in shape faster.
  10. Cut down on sugar - Eating lots of sugar negatively affects your moods and you’re more likely to gain weight

If you’re determined to go on a postpartum diet, then don’t restrict calories, you’ll need extra for breastfeeding (up to 500 a day) so you may find that you naturally lose weight if you just make better food choices.

TAKEAWAY TIP: Eat oily fish twice a week for the essential fatty acids that they provide.

2. Postpartum Diet Essentials: You Can't Build Bricks Without Clay!

Protein is your body’s clay. The best postpartum diet MUST include healthy sources of protein to speed up recovery from the delivery and ensure that your breast milk also contains the right levels of nutrients to help your baby grow and develop.

The best sources of protein to eat after you’ve had your baby are - fish, skinless Chicken or Turkey, low fat dairy, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds, lean cuts of meat and eggs.

The best choices of fish for a breastfeeding mom are Salmon, Anchovies, Sardines and Scallops, with Salmon being a clear winner due to its high levels of certain Omega 3 essential fatty acids. These fatty acids are very important for your baby as they help in the development of the nervous system. For this reason it’s a good idea to eat Salmon twice a week.

Some types of fish should be avoided post pregnancy because of their high mercury content, these include Swordfish, Marlin, Tilefish, King Mackerel and Tuna. Also avoid eating Sushi until you finish breastfeeding.

Another fantastic food often referred to as the ‘PERFECT’ protein is eggs. Very high in Omega 3’s, so eat these regularly and keep some boiled ones ready at hand to eat as high protein snacks. 

When breastfeeding, the things you eat can effect your baby, much the same as during pregnancy. This is through your breastmilk. Substances such as nicotine, coffee and alcohol can be absorbed in to your milk. Your baby’s reactions to caffeine in your milk can be restlessness, irritability and a difficulty sleeping. Caffeine is present in Coffee, tea, many soda’s, energy drinks and chocolate. Alcohol can reduce milk production, affect your baby’s sleep and hinder their early development.

TAKEAWAY TIP: If you have the option, your postpartum diet should include high DHA Omega 3 eggs which are laid by chickens fed on a diet supplemented by eating Flax seeds

eggs are great for a postpartum diet snack

3. Consider Taking A Good Vitamin & Mineral Supplement

In a perfect world we’d get all the vitamins and minerals we need from what we eat. However this isn’t always true. There are some circumstances where it might be prudent to take supplements. During pregnancy and postpartum are 2 of these situations.

For example Vegans and vegetarian moms will almost certainly not get enough Omega 3 fatty acids in what they eat. So a supplement that contains algae, flaxseed or Chia seeds could be a good alternative.

For all new moms Calcium levels can be low, so half fat dairy is a good option.

Iron levels may well have been affected during the birth. Whilst you can get iron from things like red meat, poultry, green leafy vegetables and various kinds of beans, it could be worth looking at taking a special postpartum supplement from a reputable company.

Remember that fruit and vegetables can provide you with a wide range of vitamins and minerals so eating as many as possible, ideally organically grown should help you cover most bases. Just remember to thoroughly wash everything first, regardless of where it’s from.

Highly processed foods containing lots of fat, sugar and salt should be avoided on the whole. That’s not to say never, just think of them as a treat and eat them rarely.

TAKEAWAY TIP: Eating a wide range of natural, unprocessed foods little and often in smaller meals throughout the day ensures you get a regular supply of nutrients.

Jago Holmes

If you want to get in to shape fast after having your baby, and find out how other new moms just like you are making it happen. Go here to find out more - The Baby Belly Fat Loss Plan

picture of Jago Holmes author of breastfeeding and exercise

About the Author of 'Postpartum Diet - 3 Life Changing Tips': Jago Holmes

I'm the founder of New Image Personal Training here in the UK and an experienced personal trainer myself for over 20 years.

Over the last 10 years I've spent much of my time creating a range of 'Do It Yourself' health and fitness programs, so you can get the exact same results as my wonderful one to one personal clients do for a fraction of the cost! You'll have access to all my years of experience so you can be sure to find the quickest way to achieving whatever fitness goal you have. 

On Jagoholmes.com, I want to help you to become the BEST version of "YOU' possible.