New mothers experience multiple physical and hormonal pregnancy-associated changes in their bodies and their dietary and nutritional requirements may differ compared to others before, during and post-pregnancy. Commonly, some women may prefer to shed off their pregnancy-related weight gain by adopting a weight loss-friendly diet but the caloric requirements may vary according to age, body, physical activity levels and breastfeeding duration hence, health experts insist that a proper nutrition is essential for new mothers, particularly for quicker pregnancy labor recovery, breastfeeding and overall health.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr. Archana Dhawan Bajaj, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Delhi’s CK Birla Hospital, shared, “Nutrition requirements may vary across mothers, particularly with the type of delivery. Women who undergo a caesarean delivery may require additional nutritional care for both the mother and baby as they recover from surgery and breastfeed. Mothers who have normal deliveries require equally proper post-partum nutrition for overall health of the mother and baby.”
She suggested, “A post-partum breastfeeding mother may require 2,300 to 2,500 recommended daily caloric intake as opposed to 1,800-2000 before pregnancy or for non-breastfeeding women. Largely, new mothers must consume a nutrient-rich diet rich in whole grains, fibre, and healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocados, leafy green vegetables, beans, and fruits. Also, protein through chickpeas, tofu or lean meats is recommended. A well-balanced calorie diet consisting of essential vitamins and minerals present in these foods can ensure proper energy and sustained milk supply. Nursing mothers must ensure proper hydration and consume up to 3 litres of water daily and may take prenatal or postnatal supplements or vitamins depending on the doctor’s advice. New mothers must avoid excess caffeine when breastfeeding as it can make the baby jittery.”
Bringing her expertise to the same, Dr Yogita Parashar, Consultant – Obstetrics and Gynaecology, at Delhi’s HCMCT Manipal Hospital in Dwarka, shared, “After going through the complex journey of childbirth, we want to unwind and relax and enjoy the new state of motherhood while eating whatever our heart desires and in whichever amount but we must focus on what we are eating as a good nutrient blended diet full of whole cereals, vegetables, and fruits, and adequate fluids are required. It is no secret that calorie requirement during breastfeeding increases by approximately 350 kcal/day. It also depends on age, the number of activities of the mother, her BMI, etc.”
She advised, “Mothers should try to intake a healthy diet full of vegetables, vitamin C-rich fruits, eggs and meat and keep themselves well hydrated there should be no rush to lose weight, it should be a slow and gradual process. At the same time, don’t add those extra calories with all the ghee and dry fruit laddoos that may add to your baby fat. A moderate amount of exercises like walking and Yoga is also recommended.”