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Guidelines for Postpartum Nutrition

Published November 26, 2007        by Nicole

Continue eating a good quality diet just as you did during pregnancy.  If you are not breastfeeding, your nutrient and calorie needs will be the same as they were before you became pregnant.  If you are breastfeeding, or if you’re anemic or recovering from a cesarean delivery, special nutritional management is most certainly in order.

Take a creative approach to nutrition, choosing foods that take little or no preparation.  Fresh organic fruit, raw vegetables, melted cheese on toast, cottage cheese for breakfast, and yogurt with sunflower seeds or granola are quick and nutritious.  Broiled meats and fish are faster to prepare than casseroles and can be prepared whenever you have time to eat.

Let friends and family help you by providing nutritious meals during the early months after childbirth.  Meals that can be frozen are especially helpful since you can pull them out of the freezer for use on those occasional difficult days. And of course fresh fruit gift baskets don't hurt either.

Nurture yourself by taking time to sit and eat your meals.  Eating on the run or standing to eat makes you feel you have not had a meal; this habit contributes to fatigue.  Place your baby in a swing or infant seat so that your hands are free.  If your baby needs to be close to you, an infant backpack or sling is helpful.  Or you may wait to eat until your baby’s quiet time or when she is asleep.

Constipation is a common and unpleasant postpartum complaint.  You can relieve constipation by:

  • Getting some form of daily exercise, such as walking.
  • Making sure you have adequate dietary fiber.  Bran muffins, high fiber cereals, and lots of fruits and vegetables will help.
  • Drinking prune juice on an empty stomach followed by several cups of hot water, tea, or other hot beverage. [This works wonders for many mothers]
  • Drinking to quench your thirst, which ensures that you are getting the fluids you need.  Two or thee quarts of fluids a day is generally recommended.