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A healthy diet for you and your baby

Keeping well-nourished will help you recover from the birth and give you energy to help care for your new baby. Eating well is important for all new mothers however, in the early days you may find you have a little less time to prepare food. Try to eat and drink at regular intervals throughout the day, smaller more frequent snack-style meals may feel more manageable to start with.

Aim to include breakfast each day, keeping it simple and tasty, such as a bowl of wholegrain cereal, porridge or toast with some fresh/ tinned or dried fruit. See the First Steps Nutrition Trust website for more information including a practical guide on eating well for a healthy pregnancy. 

Healthy snacks/ smaller meal ideas

  • A piece of fruit
  • Vegetable sticks with soft cheese or humus
  • Small bowl of wholegrain cereal or porridge with banana
  • Small handful of whole or chopped plain (unsalted) nuts
  • Yoghurt with chopped fruit (fresh or tinned in natural juices)
  • Toasted teacake or crumpet
  • Slice of granary or wholegrain toast with peanut butter
  • Slice of toast or small jacket potato with baked beans
  • Small bowl of vegetable, bean or lentil soup with 1-2 crackers/ small slice of bread
  • Small sandwich with fillings such as egg and cress, chicken salad, salmon and cucumber, tuna and sweetcorn

Keep hydrated

Aim for around 8-10 glasses of fluid throughout the day and more if the weather is hot, or if you are exercising. Water is best but all fluids can count. Try keeping a fresh water bottle close by and topped up.

Care with caffeine

Limit caffeine intake to less than 200mg a day whilst breastfeeding your baby. Caffeine is a stimulant and can pass through the breast milk making babies restless or keeping them awake. If you enjoy drinking tea or coffee, try decaffeinated options. It is best to avoid energy drinks due to their high caffeine content.

Vitamin D

Breastfeeding women are encouraged to take a daily 10-microgram vitamin D supplement. New mothers can obtain all other vitamins and minerals they need for good health by eating a varied and balanced diet.

Healthy Start

Healthy Start is a UK scheme that supports eligible families with weekly funds to spend on healthy food items, plus free vitamins for pregnant and breastfeeding mums and children under 4. Find out more information on the Healthy Start Scheme including eligibility and how to apply. 

Further information and resources