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Diet and Nutrition

Busy, tired new mothers often find it difficult to eat regular meals and drink plenty of fluids, but these are important to your recovery. They will supply the energy and strength you will need to care for yourself and your infant. Plan to eat three good meals daily with healthy snacks and plenty of water in between.

Don't be overly concerned about losing the weight you gained during pregnancy. If you follow the food pyramid guidelines and cut out most sweets and fats, you'll naturally lose excess weight. Registered dietitians teach nutritional information, and they can advise you in meal planning for your family.

For good nutrition, include daily servings from each block of the food pyramid.

Diet and nutrition information for new mothers at Providence health and services in Washington. 

Nutrition for Breastfeeding Mothers

Nearly one-third of the calories you consume will go directly to the baby in breast milk. To provide adequate nutrition for the baby, your own diet must include extra protein, calcium and three to four quarts of liquid each day. You can get those needed nutrients by eating at least four servings of dairy products (milk, yogurt and cheese), taking prenatal vitamins and drinking 12 to 16 cups of nonalcoholic liquids daily.

Some breast-fed babies are particularly sensitive to foods their mothers eat. If your baby seems gassy, try decreasing your intake of fruit juice, carbonated beverages, caffeine and spicy foods.

Nutrition for Bottle-Feeding Mothers

A well-balanced diet is as important for you as for nursing mothers. A nutritionally sound diet will optimize your health and stamina while allowing you to lose weight safely.

If you decide to use formula for your baby, you won't need as many calories as a nursing mother. You should, however, follow the food pyramid guidelines and drink plenty of water. If you have prenatal vitamins left when your baby is born, continue taking them as prescribed until the bottle is empty.