Are you looking for ideas for the most nutritious, best postpartum diet plan that fits into your schedule? We’ve got you covered. Read on.
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 well-being.
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: 📝
- When should I start my postpartum diet?
- How do I start a postpartum diet?
- What is the best diet after pregnancy?
- What are the best foods for postpartum?
- What to avoid eating during postpartum?
- How can I reduce my tummy after delivery?
- 10 postpartum diet ideas
When should I start my postpartum diet?
Your postpartum diet starts the minute you have your first food after delivery.
There’s a misconception that a ‘diet’ is always with the goal of losing weight, but that’s not actually the case.
A diet is simply the foods you eat.
So your postpartum diet doesn’t have to be planned with the intention of losing weight ‒ it can just be the best foods for you to get the right nutrition for you.
How do I start a postpartum diet?
If you’re switching to a totally different postpartum diet plan, it’s important to ease yourself into it.
Switching up your diet quickly can be hard for your body to deal with, particularly as you’re already in your postpartum recovery period.
But the great thing about a postpartum diet plan is that it’s pretty similar to a pregnancy diet plan.
So you don’t have to change too much if you’re already eating pregnancy foods.
If you’re starting a postpartum meal plan to lose weight, it’s worth speaking with a doctor first ‒ making sure both you and baby get the nutrition you need (particularly if you’re breastfeeding) is fundamental right now.
What is the best diet after pregnancy?
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.
So there is no single definition of a “healthy” postpartum diet ‒ healthy looks different to each mama.
What’s the best postpartum diet plan while breastfeeding?
Even if you choose to breastfeed, there’s not just one best postpartum diet plan.
But there are some foods that are beneficial for breast milk supply that you might want to incorporate as part of your postpartum nutrition:
- Lean meat: An excellent source of protein, which is necessary for breastfeeding.
- Eggs: Another source of protein.
- Nuts: Also packed with protein and low in saturated fats.
- Legumes: A great source of protein for vegans and vegetarians.
- Yogurt: Dairy products are a great source of vitamin D and calcium, vital for yours and baby’s health. Go for Greek yogurt for some protein, too.
- Papaya: A nutritionally-packed fruit with galactagogue, which can help increase your breast milk supply.
- Brussel sprouts: Leafy greens in general are great as part of your pre- and postpartum diet plan, but feel free to cut them out if they’re causing you or baby too much gas or discomfort.
- Avocados: Fiber and healthy fats make this a must as a postpartum food.
- Potatoes: A great source of energy, potatoes also have lots of minerals to benefit you and baby.
- Spinach: Another leafy green to add to your postpartum meal plan.
- Kale: Calcium and phytoestrogens make this a great addition to your postpartum diet.
- Fenugreek: This simple seed is beloved by breastfeeding moms around the world as a way to boost your breast milk supply.
- Whole grains: Brown rice, whole meal bread, bulgar, and barley, to name a few, are great ways to keep you going while breastfeeding.
- Water: Sure, it’s not technically a food, but staying hydrated while breastfeeding is one of the most important parts of your postpartum diet.
What are the best foods for postpartum?
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.
But the best postpartum foods are the foods that you enjoy that are also nutritionally complex, so you and baby have the nutrients and minerals you need.
- Whole grains for carbohydrates ‒ brown rice, quinoa, oats, and whole meal bread.
- Sources of protein like nuts, seeds, eggs, poultry, tofu, lean meats, beans, chickpeas, pulses, and most fish (although some fish are worth avoiding ‒ more on that below).
- Healthy fats like avocados, coconut oil, sesame oil, and olive oil.
- Leafy greens like Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli, kale, collard greens, cabbage, watercress, arugula, and chard.
- Dairy like yogurt, milk, cheese, and eggs.
Which fruit is best after delivery?
Some of the best postpartum foods are fruits, so here are our top postpartum fruits to add to your diet:
- Prunes (not too much, mama!)
What to avoid eating during postpartum?
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 high in mercury
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, caffeine 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.
How can I reduce my tummy after delivery?
Real talk—while you may be itching to get down to your pre-pregnancy weight, the goal here with your postpartum diet plan should be nourishment above all else.
You need to keep your calorie intake to at least 1,800 and 2,200 calories 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.
10 postpartum diet ideas
So how can you reach that goal without having to spend too much thinking about food all the time?
Here are our Peanut mamas’ top tips:
1. 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.
2. 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.
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).
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Protein keeps you going
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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. It takes a village to feed a mama
If your partner, family, or friends offer to make or buy nutritious meals for you, take them up on the offer.
End of story.
10. Enjoy your food when you can
Try to make space for mealtimes.
This simple act can be a radical display of self-care.
Whatever you choose, your postpartum diet plan will be whatever is best for you.
There’s nothing at all wrong with treating yourself.
Be gentle with yourself, mama.
You’re on quite a journey.