What to eat when you’ve just had a baby
Eating a healthy diet after you’ve given birth is just as important as when you’re pregnant
- You’ll need to replenish certain nutrients. Growing a baby is physically demanding so once you’ve given birth, making the effort to top up essential nutrients is an important step
- If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll need some ‘extras’. The recommended intake of most nutrients increases during breastfeeding – by more than 50% in some cases. Plus, your body needs more kilojoules when you're breastfeeding.
See infographic below
3 ‘new mum’ nutrients
A few key nutrients play a vital role in baby’s growth and development during pregnancy, and guidelines recommend topping up your levels of specific nutrients at least a month before conception.
5 nutrients to support healthy conception
Regardless of whether you’re breastfeeding or not, it’s important to boost your intake of these nutrients when you’ve just had a baby.
During pregnancy, baby draws iron from mum to last through the first few months after birth.
It explains why the recommended intake of iron is three times higher than usual when you’re pregnant and why as many as one in three women experience low iron levels in the first few weeks post-birth.
So, combined with the fact that iron is essential for energy production, it’s vital to rebuild your stores.
. Babies need a lot of calcium when they’re in the womb. Guidelines don’t suggest consuming extra calcium during pregnancy because pregnant women absorb calcium from food more efficiently, but around 70% of Australian women aged 19–50 aren’t meeting recommended intakes.
It gets a lot of attention pre-pregnancy and in the first trimester, but folate has also been identified as a nutrient that new mums may need to top up after giving birth – and not just breastfeeding mums.
Essential for forming red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body, as it’s a B vitamin
, folate can also help unlock the energy your body needs to function well.