As a new mum, you’ll be juggling a frequent feeding schedule with all the other demands on your time and energy. It can be exhausting.
Eating the right amount of a variety of foods will help you keep your energy levels up and provide nutritious breast milk for baby.
What’s the best nutrition for new mums?
Your recommended daily intake of nutrients increases up to 150% when you’re breastfeeding4, so you’ll need more nutrients to be able to make good quality breast milk. Increasing the quantities of vegetables and grains in your diet will support your own health and help you provide for your growing baby.
The Hong Kong Department of Health2 recommends a daily food plan for lactating women as shown in table below:
|Food group||Servings Per Day||Examples of a serving|
|Vegetables||4 to 5 serves||
- ½ bowl of cooked vegetables
An apple, an orange or 2 kiwi fruits
|Grains||4 to 5 serves||
1 bowl of rice
|Meat, Fish, Eggs and alternatives||6 to 7 serves||
40g raw meat/fish/chicken, or 1 egg, or ¼ block of firm tofu
|Milk and alternatives||2 serves||
1 cup of skimmed milk or calcium added soy milk
*1 bowl = 250-300ml; 1 cup = 240ml
When you want a snack, choose a healthy option like yoghurt, a piece of cheese or a piece of fruit.
- Cut back on processed and fast food. Takeaway meals and pre-made food like biscuits, cakes, processed meats, chips, sweets and soft drinks should only be eaten occasionally, if at all. When you want a snack, choose a healthy option like yoghurt, a piece of cheese or a piece of fruit.
- Drink at least 10 cups of fluid a day to keep hydrated.
Breast milk is recommended for baby's development
If you’re able to breastfeed, you’ll be providing the essential nutrition for your baby. Breast milk supports healthy development and helps bolster your baby’s immune system. Breastfeeding is also a great bonding experience for mums.
The World Health Organization (WHO)5 recommends that babies are exclusively breastfed for around the first 6 months of life and continue to receive breast milk until the baby is at least 12 months old.
What you eat and drink can be passed through your breast milk to your baby.
Foods and drinks to avoid or limit when breastfeeding
You’ll be happy to know that most of the food that was off the menu when you were pregnant can now be enjoyed again. But be mindful that what you eat and drink can be passed through your breast milk to your baby.
- Caffeine can make your baby restless and might interrupt your own sleeping patterns. Try to limit or reduce your daily intake.
- Alcohol and recreational drugs can affect your baby. The safest option is not to drink alcohol or take any recreational drugs when breastfeeding.
Nutritional support for new mums
Pregnancy may have left you low in iron and other important nutrients. Caring for a new baby will take up a lot of your time and energy, so you may find it difficult to eat properly in the first few months.
If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll need extra nutrients to cope with the demands of a hungry baby. Elevit®Pronatal is specifically formulated for women who are trying to conceive, pregnant or breastfeeding. It contains 19 necessary nutritions, include folic acid, iron and calcium, to help meet your increased nutritional requirements and help with your baby’s continued development.
If you are planning a future pregnancy take Elevit®Pronatal pregnancy supplement.
We’ve got more tips to help you out
Healthy eating will help give you the nutrients you need to stay on top of your new role. Now check out our lifestyle tips for new mums for advice to help you settle into your routine and enjoy baby’s first months.
- 2. fhs.gov.hk (2015) Family Health Service, Department of Health: Your pregnancy guide. Retrieved 20 Jan 2016, from http://www.fhs.gov.hk/english/health_info/woman/30005.pdf
- 4. Otten JJ, Hellwig JP, Meyers LD. (2006) Dietary Reference Intakes The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements (p532-535) Washington D.C.,: National Academy of Sciences.
- 5. Who.int. (2016). WHO | 10 facts on breastfeeding. Retrieved 20 Jan 2016, from http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/breastfeeding/facts/en/