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When you’ve just given birth (you’re amazing, by the way!), you need the proper nourishment to take care of your healing body and your newborn baby.
It’s important to focus on eating a healthy, balanced diet during this time of your life — not just during the immediate weeks and months after you deliver, but in the long term as you continue to care for your growing baby.
Doing so will not only help your body heal but will provide energy to help you take care of your new baby.
After giving birth, your body is depleted of certain nutrients that need to be replenished. You’ll also need extra calories, and consuming whole, nutrient-dense foods rich in protein, fats, and fiber-rich carbs is the best way to meet your energy and nutrient needs.
While every new mom needs to focus on replenishing their nutrient stores, the specifics can depend on whether you’re breastfeeding, says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian in the New York City area.
If you’re breastfeeding, your nutrient demands will be even higher than they were when you were pregnant. You’ll need to up your nutrient intake in a handful of areas, including (but not limited to):
But breastfeeding or not, you’ll want to focus on consuming foods that are rich in micro and macronutrients. These include (but again, are not limited to):
We chose affordable mainstays that either came recommended by registered dietitians, or closely matched their recommendations. All of the products in this list meet the following criteria:
- easy to find in a store or online
- contain key nutrients for all new mothers, whether you’re breastfeeding or not
Eggs are one of the most versatile foods out there — they’re easy to quickly whip up for breakfast or to add in a sandwich or salad with lunch. Naturally nutrient-rich eggs provide a good or excellent source of eight essential nutrients, including high-quality protein, says Gorin.
Plus, what you eat when you’re breastfeeding goes to your baby as well. A large, 50 gram egg supplies
Chia seeds are high in fiber, magnesium, protein, and calcium, and fats — yep, all that goodness lives within a teeny tiny little seed! They’re also extremely easy to add into your diet. Just blend them into a smoothie or add a spoonful to your yogurt or oatmeal at breakfast.
“Fatty fish such as salmon is not only great for your own health, but for the health of your baby as it provides beneficial omega-3s,” says Gorin.
You can safely eat up to 12 ounces a week of lower mercury fish, such as salmon, sardines, and anchovies, or
Whole grain oats
Oats are full of fiber, which makes them an excellent choice if you’re dealing with post-delivery constipation and/or hemorrhoids. One serving can provide 4 to 6 grams of fiber, and you can give your breakfast another boost in this regard by topping it with fresh fruit. A dollop of protein-rich nut butter is another great addition!
Avocados are not only creamy and delicious, but they provide healthy, satiating fat that will help you keep your energy up while you’re breastfeeding. An avocado smoothie can be a great quick meal for busy new moms, says Gorin.
Pumpkin seeds are especially high in zinc, which is super important for healing postpartum, says Cassandra Stockwell MS, RDN, LDN, CLC, co-owner of Mamas Maternal Health Nutrition and Lactation Coaching in New York City.
On top of zinc, pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein, healthy fats, iron, and folate. Plus, these hearty seeds are easy to toss into salads, sprinkle on top of granola, or snack on by the handful.
Bone broth is a great source of collagen-building amino acids like glycine, which may help promote postpartum healing, healthy joints, hair, nails, skin and thyroid health, says Mikayla Wright MS, RDN, CLC.
It also helps to promote hydration, and its saltiness can aid with electrolyte replacement. You can also make your own bone broth at home using bones, water, vinegar, and whatever additional seasonings you desire.
Trail mix with ingredients like raisins, roasted unsalted soybeans, dried cherries, cranberries, raw natural cashews and roasted, shelled pistachios are packed with antioxidants, protein, fiber, iron and more.
These ingredients are beneficial for all moms whether you’re breastfeeding or not, as you’ve got to keep your strength and energy up either way! So if you’re a lover of sweet and salty combinations, this might be the go-to snack for you. You can also make your own trail mix at home to customize it to your liking!
Not only do prunes (dried plums) boast powerful antioxidants, they also offer many vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, magnesium and vitamin K, all of which are beneficial for postpartum recovery, says Gorin.
Dried plums are chewy, sweet, and make for a great snack. Or, if you’d rather drink your nutrients, try using prune juice (check that there are no added sweeteners) as the base for your next smoothie.
Hummus snack packs
As a new mom, it helps to have nutrient-dense snacks within easy reach. Hummus makes for a great snack because it provides both protein and fiber to help keep you fuller for longer.
For example, a snack-sized serving of hummus and pretzels provides 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber to help keep you fuller for longer, says Gorin.