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Your post-pregnancy nutritional needs

Post Pregnancy Diet
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Advice on healthy eating after having a baby

Life will become very busy once your baby arrives and it can take time to adapt to new, often exhausting routines.

Physically recovering from the birth itself, and sleepless nights, can all take their toll on a new mum but it is still important that you continue to look after yourself.

Getting back into shape

After pregnancy the body needs time to recover but many new mums are keen to regain their pre-pregnancy weight and figure. The best way to lose any excess weight is to eat healthily and to start to move around as soon as you feel able.

You will need to start slowly and then gradually increase the amount and intensity of any exercise you take. If you have had a Caesarean it will of course take you longer to recover. Your doctor will be able to advise you when you can start to exercise.

Important facts to remember:

  • Avoid crash and fad diets
  • Eat well and choose high fibre, low fat foods
  • Don't skip meals
  • Cut back on fatty and sugary foods and replace cakes and biscuits with healthier snacks such as fruit

What should you eat when you're breastfeeding?

If you are breastfeeding it is important to continue eating a varied balanced diet that includes plenty of fruit, vegetables, starchy foods, fibre and protein.

Here are a few things to keep in mind: 

  • Eating fish is good for your health and the development of your baby. Oily fish is a good source of fatty acids, which helps the development of the baby's nervous system.
  • The UK-based Food Standards Agency recommends that you take a 10mcg supplement containing vitamin D each day while breast feeding.
  • Drink plenty of fluid. As a rule of thumb, try to drink at least six to eight glasses of fluid a day.
  • Certain foods need to be avoided or only eaten in small amounts while breast feeding. These include eating no more than one portion of deep sea fish such as shark, swordfish or marlin a week, due to the levels of mercury in these fish.
  • Regular intakes or large amounts of alcohol or caffeine should be avoided as these will affect your baby.
  • Weight reduction diets are not recommended when breastfeeding as cutting back on food can reduce the quality of your milk.
  • Peanuts, or foods containing peanuts, can be eaten as part of a healthy balanced diet providing you are not allergic to them. 

Some breast fed babies may react to food you eat, if you think this is happening you should discuss it with your doctor.

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