Food and Nutrition for New Moms After Childbirth

Photo by Yuri Shirota on Unsplash

A woman and a man cooking together in front of a stove.

Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

After childbirth, nursing mothers need around 500 additional calories in their regular diet to create a healthy lifestyle and produce adequate breast milk to feed their baby.1 So, after the incredible intensity of childbirth, it is vital that new mothers reflect upon their lifestyle and choose a balanced diet that will help them post-partum. This article will outline three things new mothers should consider when developing their nutritional plans.

Maintaining a high-protein diet:

Amongst the chaos of new motherhood, when you’re preparing baby bottles and frantically dealing with all this new responsibility, it can be hard to find time to prepare food for yourself. You will need meals that are quick and easy to make but also keep you full longer during the day. That’s where high-protein meals come in to save the day. An article by Healthline1 highlighted that eating high-protein meals will reduce your hunger levels and will keep you fuller during your busy day. Protein can come from a range of foods: fish, lean beef, chicken, but also legumes and beans if you’re eating a more plant-based diet. For example, eggs are a great source of protein, and if you’re short on time, you can always meal prep a batch of egg muffins for a quick meal. Increasing your protein intake does not have to be a complicated task, it can be easy as meal-prepping something quick and efficient that you can eat throughout the week!

The benefits of snacking:

As mentioned above, finding the time to prepare meals for yourself can feel like an impossible task for a new mother, and sometimes, it can be easier to just binge easy-access junk food instead of healthy meals. Some new families might have benefitted from gracious food donations from friends and family during the early days of life with a newborn but eventually, it’ll be time to adjust your life back to home-cooked meals.

A great way to combat this is by meal prepping quick, healthy snacks that you can eat throughout the day. This way, you can still maintain your healthy diet whilst dedicating your time to your newborn. 

Preparing snacks is not a time-consuming task, it can be as simple as having a bowl of blueberries or popcorn or indulging in chocolate peanut butter dates. These snacks are nutritious and require minimal time on your part. So, while you’re preparing baby bottles, folding laundry, or watching your baby nap, munch on these snacks and keep yourself full! 

Staying hydrated:

When you’re busy monitoring the liquid intake of your newborn and measuring the exact ounces of milk they’ve consumed, it is important to remember that monitoring your level of hydration is just as necessary after childbirth. 

Research shows that dehydration in a nursing mother can cause decreased milk production, fatigue, and frequent headaches. For new mothers, it’s best to invest in a new water bottle that you use throughout the day in intervals.

When your baby is down for a nap, take the time to have some water, or indulge in fruits or vegetables with a high-water content, such as watermelons or cucumbers. Keeping yourself hydrated is crucial for post-partum nutrition and for any balanced diet. 

Overall, food and nutrition after childbirth is something every new mother needs to take the time to consider. By setting yourself up for a healthy diet early on, you’re creating a long-term lifestyle that you and your body will benefit from and will ultimately turn you into a great role model for your child. Don’t make any drastic or sudden changes to your normal diet, or the diet you’ve adapted during your pregnancy, but these are great ways to begin looking thoughtfully at your nutrition.

1 Nutrition and Sleep Postpartum: New Mom Services at UPMC Magee-Womens in Central Pa, University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre,,of%20fresh%20fruits%20and%20vegetables 

210 Science-Backed Reasons to Eat More Protein, Healthline,,4%20%2C%205%2C%206%20 

Column Health

Organisation and Meal Planning Tips for Busy Men

Four glass containers with meal-prepped healthy pasta and salad dishes.
Photo by S’well on Unsplash

Being organised isn’t always easy when you’ve got a hectic schedule. From early mornings to late
nights and responsibilities that take up a great deal of time, it can be hard to plan for meals or
consider adding exercise to your daily or weekly routine. But being organised doesn’t have to be
difficult. Here are some ways that you can help organise yourself, your mind, and your life, and
benefit in the long run.

The benefits of meal-planning:

Meal planning can sound daunting, but in reality, it is a very easy practice to adopt that will become
second nature in no time. Meal planning essentially involves prepping meals for the rest of the
week. For example, on Sunday you could meal plan for the following week by preparing five to seven
portions of overnight oats, or pasta salads that can be kept in the fridge, or freezer. Then when the
time comes, all you have to do is grab your meal, heat it up if needed, and go on with the rest of
your day.

The benefit of this type of organisation is that it makes the rest of your busy week more manageable
and less stressful in the kitchen. When meal planning, you don’t have to worry about preparing daily
breakfast, lunch, or dinner for yourself. It’s less stressful and less time-consuming.

Meal planning also doesn’t have to be for all three meals of the day.

If you’re the type who always
struggles to get breakfast in time, then meal prepping breakfast for the following week will solve
that problem. Similarly, if you don’t have time during the day to prepare lunch or dinner, having
ready-made meals is a quick and easy solution to make sure your diet is nutritious and filling even
during busy times.

If you’re in need of some inspiration for what healthy recipe you could meal prep, check out this
video on homemade egg muffins. These can be stored up to three days in the fridge and you can
customise the recipe for whatever vegetables you prefer.

Scheduling in exercise:

Once you begin meal planning, the next life organisation area you could focus on is your physical
(and ultimately also your mental) health and fitness. Now that you’re managing your food intake
through meal planning, organising your exercise routine is equally important, and helpful, to
maintain a healthy lifestyle.

First, you need to have a routine that isn’t overly taxing. You need energy to go on with the rest of
your day and you don’t want to spend it all on intense fitness routines. So, this means finding a quick
twenty-to-thirty-minute workout that you can schedule into your day. This can be running, morning
spin classes, weightlifting, or whatever makes you feel energised for the rest of your day.

If working out in a gym or going to classes isn’t your thing, why not try regular walks on your lunch
break or before or after work. Maybe you can also think about splitting your commute into partially
public transport and a walk to get your daily steps in.

But where do you schedule in any additional exercise? It will probably seem unappealing at first, but
research shows that waking up early is beneficial for your daily routine. Waking up early, before your
work or responsibilities require your time, gives you extra time to spend on yourself. So, much like
meal planning, you should prepare yourself a gym bag—with a portable electric shaver, your work
clothes, and your essentials—and wake up just an hour earlier to squeeze in that morning routine.

Taking time for self-care:

An important part of being organised is taking time out for self-care – to reflect, ground yourself and
take care of your mental health. Meal planning, and exercising are aimed at improving wellness, as is
self-care. For men with busy schedules, it can sometimes be difficult to prioritise self-care. And it’s
often not on the top of the priority list for many men. However, an article by BetterUp shows that
self-care benefits those experiencing burnout and who want to improve their mental health. 1
Thereby making self-care vital when organising your week.

Self-care will look different for each person. For some, it can be meal planning or exercising such as
working out or going for a refreshing walk in nature, and for others, it can be treating yourself to the
latest grooming kits, electric shavers, cologne, or more. Self-care is about finding something that not
only appeals to you, but that you can fit into your busy work week, and that ultimately makes you
feel at your best!

Overall, organising yourself and your life is all about making small, flexible changes which can
hopefully improve your well-being. Three great ways to add this structure to your busy lifestyle are:
meal planning, scheduled exercise, and self-care.


1st April 2022

This week Bosco Santimano founder and executive director of social enterprise You Can Cook, shares his thoughts on the good food nation bill introduced in the Scottish Parliament last year in this final part of his two-part column.

In my previous column I wrote about what the “Good Food Nation Bill” is and when and why it was first introduced and its main objectives. This column will now focus on what the Good Food Nation Bill actually does in practice and the importance of linking it with the Right to Food Scotland Bill. Government bureaucracy is the same no matter where you are on this planet, some countries may be more efficient than others but overall, the workings and processes are very similar and tightly controlled. This is the current Scottish governments flagship policy and has come a long way since 2014 when the idea was first introduced to the public. To give credit to the SNP, it’s a very forward and radical way of looking at food in Scotland and for the very first-time food will become an indicator of people’s health and well-being and hopefully a human right!

So, will the bill do what it intends to achieve in the coming years for the people of Scotland? The answer is not very clear as yet, since we are at the very beginning of a very long process. The initial bill tabled is vague and very ambiguous and not very clear as to who will be finally responsible for providing or not providing good nutritious food to the citizens of Scotland. At first glance the bill seems to address all the main factors in determining who, when and how the policy should be implemented, but as they say in any flagship policy, the devil is in the detail. Having read the bill we as an organisation are not fully convinced that this policy will do what its intended to deliver to its targeted audience especially children, low-income families, people on benefits and vulnerable groups. The reason being that all benefits are not in Holyrood’s control eg. Universal Credit. In determining the content of the national good food nation plan, the Scottish Ministers must have regard, among other things, to the scope for food-related issues to affect outcomes in relation to — (a) social and economic wellbeing, (b) the environment, (c) health, and (d) economic development. These factors alone make it impossible from the onset to expect any constructive, positive, long-term outcomes for the very section of society that it aims to benefit and address food related health problems and inequalities. Most aspects of the bill as mentioned before are vague and will not go even close to eradicating the very problem this bill is meant to address.

Local authorities and health boards are required by law to draw up “Good Food Nation Plans” along with a specified public authority! Not sure what and who this refers too. According to this bill “food-related issue” means; (a) a food matter, or

(b) any other matter connected with (i) the availability of food, (ii) the production, processing or distribution of food, (iii) the preparation or service of food for consumers. The onus will be once again on big business and corporations to heavily influence this bill in their favour as profits will start to tumble if more food is grown locally and by small farmers and community groups.

I and many other across the political divide have argued that Scottish Labour MSP Rhoda Grant’s The Right to Food (Scotland) Bill should be included as part of the Good Food Nation Bill to ensure no one goes hungry in Scotland. If the bill became law, the Scottish government would have responsibility for ensuring that food is available, accessible, and adequate for everyone. This ultimately will help support citizens of Scotland in achieving good, cheap and affordable nutritious food for all.  In a nutshell, a slow but steady start to what could well become a shining example for the rest of the world to see an effective and robust food policy delivering at grassroots level all across Scotland.

*Originally written & published in the Peeblesshire News.