A Quick Postpartum Diet Guide

healthy weight before pregnancy

A postpartum diet, or postnatal diet, refers simply to what foods and drinks to consume after childbirth, both for restoration purposes and for providing great nutrition for your baby. It’s all about nourishing both you, your body and your baby. Your body needs healing after giving birth – and there’s no better way for your body to heal than through a healthy postnatal diet and rest. For a deeper look into postpartum diet information visit postpartum diet for more details.

Benefits of a Healthy Postpartum Diet

  • It accelerates recovery: A diet rich in nutrients like complex fiber, protein, and healthy fats, plus proper hydration, can speed up your body’s healing process. A healthy postnatal diet plan will possibly help to prevent bone loss, prevent haemorrhoids, and boost your iron stores, among other benefits.
  • It facilitates milk production: What you eat as part of your postpartum diet greatly determines the quality and quantity of the milk you produce.
  • It supports your general wellbeing: A balanced postnatal diet will also support the stamina you need 24/7 in this new role.

Guidelines for a Healthy Postpartum Diet

All women, after birth, need to nourish their bodies and rest, regardless of wether they are
breastfeeding or not. Your postnatal diet should consist of healthy sources of a wide variety of food from each food

Vegetables and legumes – we need roughly 5 serves of vegetables in our daily diet. For
women breastfeeding there is an increased need for a few more serves of vegetables and
legumes on your daily plate.  This can be quite tricky, one way to help this is to have your
snacks based on this food group, think cut up vegies and hummus dip for example.

Fruit – there is no increased need for fruit in a postpartum diet. Fruit provides us with fibre
and vitamins and minerals and we still require approximately 2 serves per day.

Grains and Cereals are very filling. They are a good source of energy and fibre, which is
important for a healthy postnatal pregnancy. It is important once again to choose healthy
wholegrain carbohydrates (brown breads, rice and pasta) not refined carbohydrates (white
breads, pasta and rice).

Meats, poultry and legumes nuts/seeds – To ensure a healthy postnatal diet, you should
incorporate around 2 -3 serves of protein-rich foods into your diet each day, breastfeeding or
not. Try and make them high iron foods (such as lean red meat or tofu).

postpartum vitamins

Good sources of plant-based protein include beans, nuts, legumes, lentils, nut butter, and seeds, soy products and tofu, plant-based protein powders (e.g., pea protein powder). Animal- based protein, such as beef, fish, chicken, or eggs can also enrich a postnatal, as they are loaded with essential amino acids.

Milk, yoghurt, cheese and alternatives – Calcium, protein, iodine and vitamin A and D are just some of the nutrients that this food group can provide. Milk, cheese and yoghurt are great dairy options or look for some non-dairy calcium enriched alternatives.

What to Drink Postpartum?

Adequate hydration is an important part of postpartum nutrition. Nursing mothers need to consume approximately 2-3 litres of water per day. When you are breastfeeding, you need to drink more to replace the fluid used in breast milk (~700 ml/day). Achieve this by having a drink, such as water or milk (within your dairy serve recommendations) every time your baby feeds. You will also need to drink more fluid at other times during the day. Quick tip: before you sit down to feed your baby go grab a glass of water. The best choice is always water.

Postnatal Vitamins?

Postnatal and breastfeeding mothers should consider postnatal vitamins. There is an increased need for some nutrients for breastfeeding women so for some people it is possible that diet alone may not be sufficient to ensure adequate nutrition. Breastfeeding mothers may benefit from taking a multivitamin supplement, as would non-breastfeeding mothers, for health and wellbeing.

Of particular note are iodine and choline in lactation. Iodine sources are dairy products, eggs, seafood, iodized table salt. Choline can also be found in dairy foods and also in eggs, meats, some seafood, beans, peas, and lentils. Once again talking to your healthcare professional before commencing any supplement is recommended.

Foods to Reduce After Childbirth

  • Aim to reduce packaged foods as these foods can be often high in salt/sodium, calories/kilojoules and fat or sugar
  • Discretionary foods (you know the ones we mean) – chips, chocolates and cakes
  • Soda/soft drinks, sports drinks, flavoured milks and high calorie drinks
  • Try to consume good monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and decrease your intake of saturated and trans fats. Plant based foods are the winner here
  • If you are hungry try not to eat snacks that are high in fat or sugar such as candy/lollies, or cookies/biscuits or chocolate. Try and reach for a healthy snack

Foods to Avoid After you Have Had a Baby?

Caffeine Postpartum?

Definitely, caffeine does pass into your breastmilk, so if you are breastfeeding then limit your caffeine drinks to around 2 each day (it does depend on how much caffeine is in your drink so make sure you read the label). There is caffeine in many drinks such as coffee, tea, cola, cocoa and energy drinks. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA recommends no more than 300 mg of caffeine per day. Too much caffeine can make your baby fussy or keep baby awake.

Alcohol Postpartum?

Generally speaking if you are nursing your baby it is best to not consume any alcohol.
Alcohol can affect your baby, as it passes very quickly into your breast milk.  If you choose
to drink, just having one single alcoholic drink once in a while if your baby’s breastfeeding
routine is well established and if your baby is at least 3 months old, may be recommended.
You then need to wait at least 4 hours before your breastfeed your baby.


A healthy postpartum diet is a key to recovering from childbirth and pregnancy. It is important to aim to enjoy the gift of new motherhood. So, before you modify your current diet, why don’t you take the time to show yourself some kindness? Rest when you feel there’s a need, move your body when it seems right to and enjoy lovely healing foods that nourish your body and your soul.