Nutritional Needs of New Mothers Dr.Irfan Suleheria

2 min read

Nutritional Needs of New Mothers Dr.Irfan Suleheria

After delivery, it is natural for new mothers to shed off the weight gained during pregnancy as soon as possible. However, they should not go on a diet or take any weight-loss medications immediately after pregnancy, especially if they are breastfeeding. New mothers shouldn’t take drastic dieting measures after  delivery as it will not only deter their healing but as breastfeeding mothers, they will be depriving their child of vital nutrients.

Weight loss after giving birth should be gradual. On average, a new mother will lose about 6.5 kg within the first week after giving birth. Breastfeeding mothers can expect to lose weight as long as they keep a nutritionally balanced diet. Losing more than 0.5 kg per week can decrease breastmilk production and put both the mother and baby at risk. The best way to return to pre-pregnancy weight is through regular exercise, such as walking the baby in a stroller once a day.

If they choose to bottle feed their baby, the weight loss may be slightly more rapid. It is important for the mother the first 3-4 weeks to maintain their pregnancy diet in order to make sure that they allow enough time for their body to heal properly. Their body will need the extra vitamins and minerals to help them heal quicker and lower the risk of any complications. They can return to their original nutritional needs within a few weeks after delivery, and begin exercising to help further reduce the excess weight.

Requirements for breastfeeding:

It is always best for them to obtain proper nutrition from a well-balanced and varied diet and to make sure that you are drinking 2-3 litres of water per day in order to maintain proper milk production. While they are breast feeding, they still have a need for increased calories and essentially all nutrients, especially protein, calcium, vitamin A, and Vitamin C. So, their diet while breastfeeding will remain the same as when you were pregnant.

NutrientNon-PregnantPregnant
Protein46g71g
Vitamin A0.07mg0.77mg
Vitamin C75mg85mg
Thiamine *B1) / Riboflavin (B2)1.1mg1.4mg
Niacin (B3)14mg18mg
Vitamin B61.3mg1.9mg
Vitamin B120.0024mg0.0026mg
Calcium1,00-1,300mg1,000-1,300mg
Folate0.4mg0.6mg
Magnesium320mg360mg
Iron18mg27mg
Iodine0.15mg0.22mg
Selenium0.055mg0.06mg
Zinc8mg11mg

The period after birth is a very stressful period for the mother. With irregular sleep patterns and the nutritional cost of birthing a baby, keeping the immune system is important for new mothers. Taking the above guidelines in consideration, it is important that they avoid skipping any meals due to a lack of time or the desire to lose weight. They need to make sure that they are eating three healthy meals every day. The better care the mothers take of themselves, the easier it will be for them to provide care for their newborn.

Benefits of Breastfeeding:

For the Mother:

  • Promotes optimal maternal-infant bonding.
  • Helps to mobilize fat stores to help the mother lose weight, especially in the lower body.
  • Stimulates uterine contractions to help control blood loss and regain pre-pregnant size.
  • Readily available and requires no mixing or dilution.
  • Cheaper than purchasing bottles, nipples, formula, and requires no sterilization.
  • May decrease risk of thromboembolism, especially after surgical deliveries.

For the Infant:

Benefits of breast milk according to doctors;

  • Breast milk is always better than formula. It is unique in its types of concentrations of macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat). Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), hormones, growth factors, host resistance factors, inducers, modulators of the immune system, and anti-inflammatory agents. It contains optimal amounts and forms of nutrients the infant can easily tolerate and digest, and it changes to match the needs of your growing infant.
  • Breast milk is a natural food that contains no artificial colourings, flavorings, preservatives or other additives.
  • Breast milk is sterile, at the proper temperature, and is readily available.
  • Breast milk promotes better tooth and jaw development than bottle-feeding because your child has to suck harder.
  • Breastfeeding is protective against food allergies.
  • Overfeeding is not likely with breastfeeding.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.