20 Must-have Foods For A New Mom…Plus A Meal Plan


During pregnancy you may have gained some excess weight. And you might want to shed those extra calories after delivering the baby. But, did you realize there is something more paramount than focussing on weight loss? Yes, the diet – understanding what to eat and what not to is important. It not only helps you regain your much-needed energy levels but also pass on the nutrients to your baby.

MomJunction brings you a list of foods that you should take in the post-pregnancy diet.

What To Eat After Delivery?

Your body undergoes tremendous physical and hormonal changes post delivery. As you breastfeed, your body requires an additional 300 calories every day, just like during pregnancy.

Below is the list of the right foods new mothers should eat. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, iron, calcium, and omega-3s. They will help your body system recover from childbirth.

1. Low-fat dairy products:

Dairy products, whether milk, cheese or yogurt, form an important part of the diet during breastfeeding. They are an excellent source of calcium, protein, and B vitamins. Your baby absorbs calcium from the breastmilk for bone development. Therefore, have calcium-rich foods to replace the lost calcium in your body. Include three cups of dairy every day in your diet.

2. Lean meat:

Take lean meats as they are rich in iron, protein and vitamin B12, and help boost your energy levels. Lean meat is useful for you to make up for the draining energy levels while breastfeeding.

3. Pulses:

Pulses are a primary element in a well-balanced diet. They are good sources of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. You can have green and red grams by boiling and seasoning them, or halwa so that they are easily digestible and tasty to eat. Pulses also prevent fat from accumulating in the body.

4. Legumes:

Dark-colored legumes such as kidney beans and black beans are a high source of non-animal protein. They help in replenishing energy during breastfeeding and are perfect for vegetarians and vegan mothers.

5. Green vegetables:

They are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, iron, and dietary calcium. Green veggies are also low in calories and rich in heart-healthy antioxidants, which help in losing post-pregnancy weight. Leafy greens such as spinach, broccoli, and Swiss chard contain abundant amounts of vitamin A that are good for you and your baby. Eat more of these leafy greens, beans, pointed gourd (parwal), apple gourd (tinda), lotus stem, and other such seasonal veggies.

6. Brown rice:

You may be thinking of cutting down the carbs to lose weight. But drastic changes in your weight can affect your milk production and make you feel sluggish. Choose whole grain carbs such as brown rice to boost your energy levels. They provide the you and your little ones with calories.

7. Blueberries:

A great choice to meet your daily nutrient requirements post pregnancy, blueberries are filled with the right amounts of vitamins and minerals. Moreover, they offer healthy carbs which raise your energy levels.

8. Oranges:

Citrus fruits such as oranges provide you with vitamin C, which you need in abundance when breastfeeding. You can have either the fruit or the juice. Calcium fortified drinks will benefit you.

9. Salmon:

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.

Note: According to the US FDA guidelines, you can eat only an average of 12 ounces, i.e., two servings of salmon per week, to avoid mercury exposure to your baby. (3)

10. Whole wheat bread:

Folic acid is vital for the fetal development in the early stages of pregnancy. It is also an essential nutrient in the breast milk. Fortified whole grain bread and pasta are good options to increase your daily dose of iron and fiber.

11. Whole grain cereal:

When you have a sleepless night, whole grain cereals make the best breakfast option for the next morning. Most of the cold cereals available are fortified with vitamins and minerals, which help in meeting your everyday requirements.

Oats are an excellent source of calcium, iron, proteins, and carbs. They are also high in fiber, which helps relieve constipation. You can make a simple recipe of oatmeal with fruits, milk, and nuts. Other alternatives include khichdi or oats upma.

12. Eggs:

They are a rich source of protein. You may have egg scramble for breakfast, hardboiled egg along with a salad for lunch, or omelet for dinner . You can choose DHA-fortified eggs to improve the essential fatty acid levels in your milk.

13. Water:

You are at a risk of dehydration when breastfeeding. Therefore, you need to hydrate yourself to keep up your milk production and energy levels. Juice and milk may help, but none of the fluids can be as filling and hydrating as water. Take as much water as you can. Cut down the caffeinated drinks as they can cause sleep problems and irritability in the baby.

14. Turmeric:

Turmeric contains essential vitamins and minerals including vitamins B6 and C, potassium, manganese, magnesium and fiber. Turmeric aids in treating inflammation and therefore, helps heal post pregnancy wounds and stomach disorders (4). You may consume it by adding half a teaspoon in one full glass of warm milk, preferably before bedtime.

15. Dry ginger powder:

This is another common ingredient you should include in your post-pregnancy diet as it contains vitamins B6 and E, magnesium, iron, potassium, manganese, and selenium. It is known for its anti-inflammatory uses. You can add a pinch of it to your meals. and chutneys.

16. Carom seeds:

Carom seeds are known to stimulate milk production and aid in the contraction of the uterus. They also relieve pain from indigestion and gas. They have antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, and antiseptic properties. You can toss a few carom seeds in your food as a seasoning or drink water boiled with carom seeds.

17. Finger millets:

This is an excellent source of iron and calcium, which you require the most after delivery. It will help you renew the strength you lost during childbirth. If you are allergic to dairy products, this can be the best alternative. You can make ragi malt, roti, idli, dosa, and halwa from it.

18. Almonds:

It is another ideal food to include in your post-pregnancy diet. The rich carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins B12, E, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, calcium, and potassium present in these nuts help you recover from delivery. You can add them to milk, or any foods that you eat., sheeraand more. They are a great munching snack too.

19. Fenugreek seeds:

Fenugreek seeds are a rich source of calcium, iron, vitamins, and minerals. They are known to relieve your joint and back pains though little evidence is found in its support. You can add a few seeds in the daily dishes that you make, or dry fry and powder them, and mix in your food. , roti, vegetables, and meats. You can also consider taking fenugreek tea, a favorite drink for nursing mothers.

20. Sesame seeds:

The abundant iron, calcium, magnesium, copper, and phosphorus levels in sesame seeds make them suitable for post-pregnancy diet. They help in replenishing your body system with essential minerals and regulating bowel movements. They can be added to chutneys, curries, and sweets.

These are the superfoods that you can add to your post pregnancy diet. For a customized diet plan, you may consult a doctor.

However, before you include any food in your diet, you need to consider your health requirements and those of your baby too. Tweak your plan in consultation with your dietician to meet your specific needs.


After Pregnancy Diet Plan:

Here is a sample diet plan for a week which gives you the idea of how you can include superfoods in your diet.

Sunday Fruit juice, sandwich Graham crackers with peanut butter Wrap sandwich Veggies and hummus Shredded chicken salad
Monday Cereal with skimmed milk, fruit Trail mix Veggie pasta Graham crackers with peanut butter Salad and parfait
Tuesday Banana sandwich with peanut butter Apple and string cheese Shredded chicken salad Veggies and hummus Rice and vegetables
Wednesday Cereal with skim milk and fruit Fruit smoothie Wrap sandwich Trail mix Frozen entrees
Thursday Toast, hard-boiled egg, and grapefruit Apple, string cheese Vegetable pasta Fruit smoothie Shredded chicken salad
Friday Cereal with skimmed milk, fruit Trail mix Bread with soup and fruit cup Graham crackers with peanut butter Wrap sandwich
Saturday Banana sandwich with peanut butter Fruit smoothie Frozen entrees Veggies and hummus Rice and vegetables

Given below are some sample foods you may include in your every day diet menu –

For breakfast –

  • A glass full of water, first thing in the morning
  • Omelette along with one slice of whole grain toast (or)
  • Flaxseed porridge with unsweetened rice, one tablespoon of flax seeds, half teaspoon of cinnamon, and coconut milk (or)
  • Berry smoothie made of natural yogurt, handful of berries, and two tablespoons of nuts and seeds

For lunch –

  • Large garden salad with grilled chicken (or)
  • Lentil quinoa salad along with spinach, tomatoes, and some herbs (or)
  • Baked sweet potato along with cottage cheese, colorful vegetables, and two to three tablespoon butter

For dinner –

  • Brown rice served with stir-fry beef (or)
  • Steamed salmon, mashed sweet potato with sauteed green leafy veggies (or)
  • Tuscan bean soup along with brown pasta, cannellini beans, onions, tomatoes, vegetable stock, and seasoning

As snacks –

  • Two oatcakes and hummus (or)
  • Fruit salad topped with seeds (or)
  • Natural yogurt topped with sunflower or pumpkin seeds (or)
  • Banana along with nuts

So, eat well while you breastfeed to gain enough strength for the next phases of motherhood challenges. Above all, having any more doubt about post-pregnancy diet plan, trust your instincts and keep your doctor in the circle of trust.


Culled from http://www.momjunction.com/


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