The postpartum period is also known as the fourth trimester—and that’s because it’s very much a part of having a healthy pregnancy.
Keeping yourself optimally fed and watered with a nourishing postpartum diet is an important part of navigating this period.
The weeks after you give birth are a whirlwind.
Hormonal changes, new schedules, and the physical recovery process create a unique blend of challenges.
A nutritious diet can help with breastfeeding, kick-start your recovery, and boost your general wellbeing.
But keeping up with a nutritious postpartum diet is easier said than done. Having a newborn is a job and a half.
Finding the time and energy to focus on your diet can feel impossible.
The bottom line? Convenience has never been more of a priority.
So, with all that in mind, our goal is not to give you a postpartum diet that is impossible to follow.
Let’s rather talk about how you can realistically make nutritious food a part of your diet so that you feel your best.
In this article 📝
- What is the best diet for postpartum?
- What food should you avoid after delivery?
- Postpartum weight loss plan
- 10 postpartum diet ideas
What is the best diet for postpartum?
The short answer is that there’s no such thing as the best postpartum diet plan.
There are so many factors that go into what is best for your body, from your birth experience to cultural background to good ol’ preferences.
If you have a health condition such as diabetes or allergies, that will also play a role in how you manage your menu.
With that in mind, let’s have a look at foods that may be helpful to you—as well as those that it’s best to stay away from right now.
What food should you avoid after delivery?
Thankfully, once baby is born, you can be reunited with many foods you had to give up during pregnancy—hello, lunch meat and soft cheese!
However, there are a few that you should still stay away from for now:
- Fish that may be high in mercury. The CDC recommends that while you are breastfeeding, you stay away from fish that have the potential to be high in mercury. These include tuna, swordfish, shark, mackerel, and tilefish.
- Too much alcohol. Many new mamas start reintroducing alcohol once their babies are born. While the odd drink should be okay, it’s best to keep your intake to a minimum. If you are dealing with postpartum depression, alcohol can make things even tougher. (If you need support, reach out to your Peanut community).
- Too much caffeine. Drinking too much coffee can leave you feeling dehydrated. Also, if you are breastfeeding, it can be passed onto your baby. But don’t worry, a small amount a day is totally fine. You don’t have to do this without the help of your morning cup.
Postpartum weight loss plan
Real talk—while you may be itching to get down to your pre-pregnancy weight, the goal here should be nourishment above all else.
You need to keep your calorie intake to at least 1,800 and 2,200 a day—and if you’re breastfeeding, it’s necessary to add 330 to 400 calories to that, according to the CDC.
If you want some help with a postpartum diet plan while breastfeeding, head here.
If you want to lose weight, take your time.
In the weeks after you give birth, the recommendations from the U.S. National Library of Medicine are that you don’t try to lose more than a pound and a half a week.
That means that, ideally, you need three nutritious meals a day, and two healthy snacks to keep you going.
So how can you reach that goal without having to spend too much thinking about food all the time? Here are our pro tips.
10 postpartum diet ideas
- Don’t put yourself on an official diet. You have a lot going on right now without the word diet looming over your head. This is added pressure that you just don’t need. Rather, think about aiming for nutritious food that will help fuel you through this demanding time.
- Fill half your plate with fruit and veg. They pack a nutritious punch. Leafy greens and yellow veggies contain a host of vitamins and minerals that keep you running at your best. Just be warned—postpartum gas. It happens. And broccoli and cauliflower can be culprits. Fruit is also filled with nutrients and has a lot of the fiber you may need to stave off constipation (another highlight of the postpartum period).
- Keep your iron intake up. Iron is important both during and after pregnancy. Some new mamas lose a lot of blood during delivery, and this can affect iron supply. Red meat, poultry, and beans are all excellent sources. Speak to your doctor about whether you should take a supplement.
- Don’t forget your calcium sources. Both you and your baby need it right now. If you are breastfeeding, the National Academy of Sciences recommends you consume about 1,000 mg of calcium a day.** Good sources are dairy products, leafy greens, almonds, and calcium-fortified foods like cereals and juices.
- Protein. Protein helps to prepare and build your cells, and this is really crucial right now. Lean meat, dairy products, beans, nuts, and tofu are all good sources.
- Fiber helps to keep everything regular. Eating fruits, vegetables, beans, cereals, and whole grains can all help. If you’re really struggling, chat with your healthcare provider about a gentle laxative.
- Keep your liquids up. According to the WHO, breast milk is over 80% water. Yep, you’re not only satisfying your own thirst, but your baby’s thirst too.
- Talk to your doctor about continuing with your prenatal vitamins. As the CDC tells us, this is a good idea for some mamas. But it’s not the right course of action for everyone, as you may not need the amount of iron and folic acid that these supplements provide. It’s important to work with your healthcare provider to figure out the best path for you.
- It takes a village to feed a mama. If your partner, family, or friends offer to make/buy nutritious meals for you, take them up on the offer. End of story.
- Enjoy your food when you can. Try to make space for mealtimes. This simple act can be a radical display of self-care.
Be gentle with yourself, mama. You’re on quite a journey.
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