Breastfeeding and Postpartum Healing Nutrition Tips from Online Postnatal Dietitian

Once a baby is born, everyone seems to know what’s best — from your family to that lovely stranger standing behind you in line at the supermarket. You might be buried in baby books and would rather use them to roast marshmallows than try to understand what’s happening. As a new mom, you can feel overwhelmed, scared, and stressed. You are not alone.

Inhale. Exhale. As dietitian nutritionists, we love to work with new moms and support them in their postpartum healing as well as breastfeeding. August was declared National Breastfeeding Month (NBM) in 2011 to support breastfeeding as a “public health imperative”. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of a baby’s life to promote optimal growth and development (

Breastfeeding doesn’t necessarily come naturally. It takes time, work, and a plan. Whether you breastfeed exclusively, combine bottle feeding with breastfeeding, or bottle feed your baby, as a new mother, you need to take care of yourself and your health. Your body has just gone through incredible changes, is dehydrated after birth, and will need lots of care!

Here are some nutrition tips for new moms to keep you and your baby healthy, and they won’t break the bank:

  • Hydrate: During labor, a woman loses a significant amount of fluids and blood. It is important to make drinking a priority, preferably water (at least 10 glasses per day). You can set a timer to remind yourself to drink or download water apps like Waterlogged or WaterMinder. Staying hydrated will also help soften bowel movements and keep you hydrated for breastfeeding. Keep a glass of water next to you while breastfeeding.
  • Think healthy, not weight: It’s understandable for women to feel uncomfortable with the changes in their bodies after gaining weight during pregnancy. However, now is not the time to focus on dieting. Instead, prioritize recovery after birth and taking care of your baby. This means eating well-balanced meals and high-energy snacks.
  • Nutrition-packed meals with enough calories are a must: Meals and snacks should be nutrient-dense and go above and beyond. Breastfeeding moms need more calories, with an average of 2700 calories per day for a woman breastfeeding a single baby and about 3200 calories per day for a woman breastfeeding twins, which is about 500 calories more per baby than normal. As mentioned earlier, this isn’t the time to try to lose weight. Instead, focus on getting enough calories to nourish both you and your baby(ies). A well-rounded daily nutritional intake should include:
    • Protein should account for 20-25% of your daily calorie intake. To meet this requirement, consider incorporating lean meats, eggs, dairy, beans, lentils, and low-mercury seafood into your diet. While high-mercury fish such as tuna, king mackerel, tile fish, and swordfish can be eaten, it is recommended to consume no more than 6 oz per week.
    • Healthy fats are an important component of a postpartum diet as they provide essential nutrients and energy needed for healing and breastfeeding. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can help to reduce inflammation in the body, support hormone production, and aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin D and vitamin E., with options such as almonds, walnuts, avocados, olives, olive oil, and fatty fish. 30% of a woman’s diet, postpartum, should come from healthy fats.
    • Complex carbohydrates can make up the rest of your diet, such as whole-grain bread and cereals, barley, quinoa, fruits, vegetables, whole-wheat pasta, and rice. Complex carbohydrates are an important source of energy. They are high in fiber, which can help regulate digestion and prevent constipation. And many complex carbohydrates are also rich in important nutrients such as B vitamins, iron, and folate.


Key nutrients should be part of your postpartum diet plan.

    • Iron plays an important role in supporting postpartum healing and breastfeeding. It is essential for the production of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. After childbirth, a woman’s body goes through a significant amount of blood loss, and if her iron levels are low, it can impede the body’s ability to heal and recover. Iron is also important for the production of breast milk. During breastfeeding, a woman’s body requires additional iron to support the increased demand for blood production and milk production. Include iron-rich foods like lentils, dark-leafy greens, and whole-grain products. Pairing these foods with vitamin C-rich options can help the body absorb iron efficiently.
    • Calcium is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in maintaining bone health and other important bodily functions. During pregnancy and breastfeeding, a woman’s body requires more calcium to support the growth and development of the baby’s bones and teeth. Additionally, calcium helps with blood clotting, muscle function, and nerve signaling. Dairy products, leafy greens, calcium-fortified or enriched cereals, and soy products are rich sources of calcium.


Congratulations on your new bundle of joy! The first year of parenthood can feel like a whirlwind of late nights and early mornings, leaving many moms feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. But don’t worry, you’re not alone.

One important thing to remember during this time is to take care of yourself. Get on an eating schedule so you can stay nourished and energized. It may seem challenging to find the time, but setting an alarm as a reminder to eat can be a helpful solution.

Remember, this is a special time in your life that will pass all too quickly. While you’re caring for your little one, be sure to also take care of yourself by eating well, resting as much as possible (even if it’s just a few minutes here and there), and enjoying the special moments with your beautiful new addition. You got this!

Cottage Cheese and Berry Parfait


  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup mixed berries (such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts


  1. In a small bowl, mix together the cottage cheese and honey (if using).
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the mixed berries.
  3. In a small glass or bowl, layer the cottage cheese mixture, followed by a layer of the mixed berries. Repeat until the glass is full.
  4. Top with chopped walnuts.
  5. Enjoy!

This snack provides protein from the cottage cheese and walnuts, calcium from the cottage cheese, iron from the walnuts, and choline from the cottage cheese. Plus, the mixed berries provide a dose of antioxidants and vitamins.