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5 health tips every new mom should know

Plus, how to deal with postpartum depression

By ELLE team  December 21st, 2016

If there’s one performance metric Indians have no trouble with, it’s reproduction. We’re talking second most populous country in the world, folks, we know how to keep that baby machine churning. Where we do struggle, unfortunately, is nutrition. According to the National Family Health Survey, 38% of children are too short for their age and 46% are underweight — stats which can be directly linked to poor nutrition in nursing mothers.

To simplify the medical jargon, we asked Kinita Kadakia Patel, nutritionist and author of The Athlete In You, to break down the essential health and dietary advice for new mothers. We hope you’re taking notes.

Best diet advice for new mothers

  • “The nutritional requirements of new mothers is much higher because the body needs to produce extra energy to create milk for the baby. But in India, we have a habit of consuming high calorie food because the only concept is ‘eat, eat, eat’,” says Patel.
  • Instead of consuming laddoos and dollops of ghee, just increase the portions of food you are used to eating. “If you ate one chapati before, now have three,” she advises. 
  • Many women treat the period after giving birth as a green signal to overindulge. “They feel like this is the only time they’re going to be allowed to eat whatever they want without any restrictions,” says Patel. “But the weight gain that comes from eating high calorie food puts women at risk of gestational diabetes and other unnecessary complications.”
  • While you’re pregnant, you should be careful to supplement you diet with the following vitamins and minerals: iron, omega acids, folis acid, B12 and D3. Once the baby is born, there is a weaning-off process as the mother’s body slowly gets used to its new requirements.
  • One clear way to deal with postpartum depression is to get back to your routine, especially exercise. If you’ve had a Caesarean delivery and can’t exercise for three months, get started on a weight loss diet immediately.