5 Healthy Food Options For New Moms After Delivery

Pregnancy and childbirth may take a toll on the body. However, new mothers try their best to do everything in their power to ensure their baby is healthy and well-nourished. One way to ensure this is by consuming a proper diet after delivery.

While you may have been extra careful about everything you consumed and read the label of each food item while you were pregnant, it does not end with delivery. Breastfeeding utilizes energy and nutrients from your body. Hence, a well-balanced and healthy diet helps prevent illnesses in new mothers. It also helps in breast milk production and recovering from the trauma of childbirth.

Read this article to learn about some healthy foods you should consider adding to your diet to help keep yourself and the baby healthy and energetic.

In This Article

Foods to Include in Diet After Delivery

Ideally, following the birth of your baby, every food that you choose should be healthy and nutritious to make up for the strenuous job of pregnancy and childbirth. Here are five healthy food options for mother after delivery:

 1. Proteins:

Diet after delivery should include ample protein

Image: IStock

According to the American Pregnancy Association, postpartum moms need around 25 grams of protein in addition to their daily requirements (1). Adding more protein foods to your diet is therefore a must during this period.

It is a good idea to add more dairy products to your diet as they don’t just give you your required proteins but also provide your body with the extra calcium you need. If you’re a vegan, you can add more pulses, seeds, and legumes to your diet to get your protein content while non-vegetarians can easily consume lean meats and poultry foods (1).

 2. Whole Grains:

Complex carbohydrates present in whole grains are a good option

Image: Shutterstock

Carbohydrates are the quickest source of energy for you during this crucial period in your life, and you will now need a lot of energy to produce milk for your newborn. While simple sugars may seem like a good option when it comes to getting energy, they are not reliable. They tend to raise blood sugar levels fast and drop them down suddenly, which could leave you feeling tired and weak.

Complex carbohydrates present in whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, barley, oatmeal, and bulgur are a good option. They get absorbed more slowly and stabilize your blood sugar levels, providing you energy without getting you the extra calories like in sugary foods (2).

 3. Fats:

Fats make for a very important part of your diet following childbirth, but you have to make sure you take the right kind of fats. Fatty fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which will boost the brain development of your baby.

So make sure you get your two or three servings of catfish, tuna, salmon or Pollock every week, preferably the quality-canned variety so as to cut down the risk of any toxicity. It is also a good time to switch to healthier cooking oils like olive oil during the postpartum period if you haven’t done that already (3) (4).

4.  Veggies and Fruits:

Veggies and fruits can supply healthy carbs and vitamins

Image: IStock

This one obviously doesn’t come as a surprise. Veggies and fruits are the best choice when it comes to a post-pregnancy diet. They are loaded with fiber that helps promote digestive health and prevents constipation. They also give the body a good supply of important vitamins and minerals, which is great if you’re breastfeeding your baby (5).

Veggies and fruits also supply healthy carbs that your body needs after delivery and will be immensely helpful if you’ve had a C-section delivery or are taking narcotics for pain relief. Make sure you pick organic foods at this point of time since they contain no pesticides and chemical additives as opposed to other foods, which are usually chemically ripened (6).

If you do not have access to organic produce, make sure you avoid spinach, apples, strawberries, celery, grapes, and peaches as they tend to contain high levels of pesticides. Stick to onions, pineapple, avocado, kiwi, mangoes, eggplant, sweet peas, asparagus, sweet corn, and cantaloupe- they have the least amounts of pesticide residue.

Quick tip
Adding veggies and fruits of different colors to your pregnancy diet can provide you with all the necessary nutrients.

 5. Other Foods:

Apart from these, many other foods are great when it comes to providing you optimum nutrition during your postpartum and lactation period (1) (7) (8).

  • Turmeric: rich in potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C and manganese
  • Dry Ginger Powder: packed with selenium, fiber, vitamin E and magnesium
  • Oats: an excellent source of iron, fiber, calcium, carbs and proteins.
  • Carom seeds: amazing antioxidant properties that cleanse the uterus.

Foods To Avoid During Post-Delivery

Now that we’ve focused on what are the foods to eat after delivery, here are some foods that are a strict no-no during a post-pregnancy diet; for obvious reasons.

Processed and packaged foods are bad for you at any given point in time, and if you’ve just delivered a baby, your body is actually lacking out on a lot of nutrients, and given that you’re breastfeeding too, your body is losing out on a lot of essentials it needs for its survival; gobbling down a bowl of two-minute noodles isn’t exactly the kind of thing your body needs.

Make sure you keep away from all these foods after delivery (9).

  • Processed, cured meats

    Cured meat should be avoided after delivery

    Image: Shutterstock

  • Salted chips, sugary biscuits and other packaged snacks.
  • Ready to make meals
  • Fast food takeaways
  • Sugary drinks like sodas and colas
    Health fact
    Avoid excessive alcohol, caffeine, and high-mercury fish such as swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish to avert their harmful effects on you and your baby (5).

    Sugary drinks and soda contains too much sugar

    Image: IStock

All these foods are packed with unhealthy ingredients, and they’ll actually harm your body in the long run. What’s more, your baby is now at a very tender age and is more vulnerable to anything that could cause them harm.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When can I start dieting after delivery?

You should wait for at least two months or until your milk supply has stabilized before considering cutting down on calories from food (10). It is best to consult your doctor before you begin dieting to not lose out on vital nutrients.

2. What is the best food to eat after giving birth?

Experts recommend a balanced diet for postpartum mothers. It means you must have foods rich in all the essential nutrient sources such as protein, antioxidants, complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and iron. Drinking adequate fluids is equally important to ensure a healthy milk supply (11).

A mother’s responsibility does not end with childbirth. After delivery, she breastfeeds and takes care of the baby. To accomplish this, she needs to be healthy and energetic. Therefore, it is imperative to choose your lactation diet with caution. Include healthy foods such as whole grains, pulses, seeds, fat sources, and different kinds of fruits and vegetables. Add variety to your meals to ensure you get all types of nutrition. Stay away from processed foods, sugary drinks, and fast food takeaways, which provide little nutrition and may even be unhealthy.

Infographic: Foods To Include In Diet After Delivery

A varied postpartum diet that includes nutrient-rich foods can help the new mother recover faster and provide the necessary nutrition for her baby. This infographic outlines some foods to be included in a postpartum diet. Make a note of these foods and take your doctor’s/dietician’s advice if you are apprehensive about consuming any.

incorporate these foods in your postpartum diet (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • New mothers require a proper postpartum diet for optimal health.
  • Breastfeeding necessitates energy and nutrient-rich food, while a balanced diet helps with recovery.
  • Focus on consuming healthy and nutritious foods after delivery, including proteins, whole grains, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables, and choose organic produce.
  • During postpartum and lactation periods, certain foods can be particularly beneficial, such as turmeric, dry ginger powder, oats, and carom seeds.
  • Avoid processed and packaged foods, cured meats, packaged snacks, ready-to-make meals, fast food, sugary drinks, excessive alcohol, caffeine, and high-mercury fish.


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