Diet after Childbirth: When Should I Start?

After giving birth, many mothers forget to pay attention to what they eat. This is a big mistake: when you're breastfeeding, there are rules to follow to make sure you and your baby get the nutrition you both need. Is it possible to go on a diet after childbirth?
Diet after Childbirth: When Should I Start?

Last update: 22 May, 2018

In this article, we’ll discuss the best time to start your diet after childbirth.

Many women are upset by the changes that pregnancy causes to their figure and eager to get back in shape once the baby is born.

But thinking about your diet after childbirth gives rise to a whole lot of questions, such as when to begin.

After nine months on a special diet, new mothers often ask themselves what they should be eating after giving birth. There are two reasons for this.

On the one hand, new moms want to get back in shape and lose the extra pounds gained during pregnancy. On the other, many women are keen to go back to enjoying all the food they did before conceiving, healthy or not.

If you’re in the second group, there is bad news: in the first six months after giving birth, you still have special nutritional needs. We’ll take a look at these below.

Diet after childbirth

In the first few months after your baby is born, there are certain indispensable dietary requirements. The most important are:


Breastfeeding depletes the supply of calcium in your body. With this in mind, make sure your diet makes up for what you lose in your breast milk.

This means plenty of dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt. Vitamin D helps your body absorb this vital mineral.


This is another mineral that your body might be lacking. The fetus draws iron from the mother’s blood as it grows in the womb. For this reason, it’s very important for a new mother to consume certain foods.

Iron can be found in red meat, fruit, grains and pulses. Eat iron along with vitamin C, which aids absorption.


At this stage, your body is focusing on producing milk to feed your baby. This means that you must drink plenty of fluids to reduce what you lose by breastfeeding.

Drinking water, natural low-sugar juices and herbal tea is the best way to stay hydrated.

Diet after Childbirth: When Should I Start?

Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables will also help you stay hydrated. These foods are also important because they’re rich in the vitamins and minerals that you and your baby both need.

Remember, at this stage your baby still gets all their nourishment from you.

When to start a diet after childbirth

As you’ll have noticed, your diet after childbirth should provide for your needs and those of your baby.

With this in mind, the top tip is to follow the recommendations of the medical practitioners responsible for both of your care. In this way, you’ll make sure that no nutrients are lacking.

If you’re looking to lose a few pounds after giving birth, there is no reason not to. Just make sure that no essential nutrients are missing from your diet.

The best time to start a diet to lose weight is around two months after giving birth.

If you begin before that, the calorie deficit may hamper your body’s efforts to repair itself after everything it has been through. What’s more, you may experience hunger and lack of energy.

Around two months after childbirth is also a good time to begin physical exercise. This is an indispensable part of gradual, healthy weight loss.

Although it’s best to take things gently at first, with time your body will look and feel much more like its old self.

“Your diet after childbirth should provide for your needs and those of your baby”

Foods to avoid

If, on the other hand, you can’t wait to eat everything you cut out during pregnancy, remember that you’ll still need to follow certain rules.

For example, it’s still important to avoid food that is heavy in saturated fat, refined flour and sugar. If you eat these kinds of foods, do it in moderation and always follow your doctor’s advice.

Diet after Childbirth: When Should I Start?

If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll still need to avoid alcohol. Similarly, stick to light meals. Your digestive system is still a little delicate, and rich foods might disagree with you.

As a final recommendation, try to eat every three hours, since your digestive system is still getting back to normal.

If you need medication, make sure to check with your doctor and follow the dosage instructions to avoid digestive discomfort.

Following a healthy diet after childbirth is important for your wellbeing and self-esteem. Just remember that, at this stage, you still have special nutritional requirements.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • DeLoughery TG., Iron deficiency anemia. Med Clin North Am, 2017. 101 (2): 319-332.
  • Enderami A., Zarghami M., Darvishi Khezri H., The effects and potential mechanisms of folic acid on cognitive function: a comprehensive review. Neurol Sci, 2018. 39(10): 1667-1675.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.