Once baby has arrived, continue to follow a healthy nutrition routine

A healthy diet that includes a variety of food groups will help you keep your energy levels up and maintain general health.

If you are breastfeeding, your needs for iodine, selenium, zinc, Vitamin A and Vitamin C remain a little higher. So be sure to eat seafood and fish for iodine, as well as substituting ordinary salt for iodised salt in cooking, a few Brazil nuts for selenium, some meat or meat alternatives and nuts for zinc and Vitamin A, plus fresh fruit for Vitamin C. Oh, and fatty fish like tuna and salmon remain the go to fish for a good dose of omega-3 essential fats, which we all need all the time for good health. You’ll need a breastfeeding supplement which contains 150 μg iodine, which is the amount Australia’s NHMRC recommends for breastfeeding women. Your folate and iron needs start to return closer to normal. Energy and protein requirements are also slightly higher, to support breastmilk production.

Eating according to the dietary guidelines will also ensure that you get enough of the nutrients you and your little one need, including those listed above. A breastfeeding supplement with sufficient iodine will look after the rest. You can review the Dietary Guidelines in detail here, and we’ve included a summary below, but if you need a little more information, be sure to reach out to an accredited practising dietitian.

  1. To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, choose amounts of nutritious food and drinks to meet your energy needs and be physically active;
  2. Eat a wide variety and recommended serves of food from these major food groups every day: 1) vegetables; 2) fruit; 3) grain foods (preferably wholegrain); 4) fish, meat, eggs, nuts, legumes; and 5) dairy, mostly reduced fat (low fat is not suitable for children less than 2 years of age);
    Vegetables Fruit Grains Fish/Meat/Legumes Dairy
    5-7½  serves/day 2 serves/day 6-9 serves/day 2½ serves/day 2½ serves/day
  3. Limit your intake of food/drinks that have added sugar, salt and/or saturated fat and for women who are breastfeeding, the safest option is not to drink alcohol;
  4. Encourage, support and promote breastfeeding;
  5. Prepare and store food safely.

Oh, and be sure to drink plenty of water.

For more information on how to breastfeed, see the Australian Government’s site healthdirect here.

If you are unable to breastfeed or are no longer breastfeeding, rest assured that infant formula is the only suitable and safe alternative to meet your little one’s nutrition needs. In terms of nutrition needs for mums, the same nutrition advice is in place in terms of choosing and consuming foods according to the Australian Dietary Guidelines. As with all new mums, tiredness and fatigue can get the better of us at times and often, our own nutrition needs may be forgotten. Plan to ask for help from those around you, to stay well stocked with fruit, vegetables, fish, eggs, a little meat and poultry for freezing and lots of healthy legume and grain foods.

Perhaps think about preparing some soup and simple pasta sauce for freezing (see our recipe section). Pasta sauce may be mixed with steamed or boiled rice, barley, pasta or lentils. Minestrone soup is another winner. For the summer time, smoothies prepared using milk such as our Australia’s Own A2 Protein Milk or our great pea protein milk called Australia’s Own Like Milk are a great source of complex nutrition and you can further enhance the nutrition of these ‘food drinks’ by adding whole barley flakes and oats, such as our Barley+ Traditional Porridge and frozen fruit. These food smoothies will be rich in protein, essential nutrients and fibre and taste sensational. Aim to keep a food diary, to help keep you on track with eating consistently throughout the day and to help you recognise whether you’re eating sufficiently from the food groups described in the dietary guidelines. Finally, have a wonderful time with your new baby and don’t forget to ask for help and support from those around you.

Article provided by:

Dr Jaci Barrett and Dr Sonja Kukuljan
Accredited Practising Dietitians