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Diet, Sleep and Self Care

TDiet, Sleep and Self Careaking care of your new baby can bring you a lot of joy, but it does require plenty of time and loving attention. It is important to remember that in order to give your new baby the best care, you must also take care of yourself. This includes eating well to regain your health after birth, finding time for sleep and leisure, planning for birth control and communicating with your family and friends when you need help.

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What to Eat after Pregnancy

Healthy DietEating well is important before, during and after pregnancy. To keep up your energy and promote healing after giving birth, you should eat a balanced, healthy diet. If you are breastfeeding, eat a balanced diet with an additional 500 calories per day.

Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. This is especially important when you are breastfeeding. Aim for drinking eight to 12 cups of water, juice or milk each day. Try to limit caffeine because it can cause many unwanted effects, such as causing you to lose fluid or making your baby fussy and restless if you are breastfeeding.

In addition to caffeine, other foods to avoid while breastfeeding include alcohol and foods with mercury, such as high-mercury fish. These foods may cause serious health problems for your baby. For more information on what to eat while breastfeeding, talk to your health care provider or read our resources in our Health Library.

The chart below can give you an idea of what a balanced, healthy diet for a new mom looks like.

Food Group Serving Size

Pregnant Servings/Day

Lactating Servings/Day

Regular Servings/Day

Meats 3 ounces 2 2 2
Milk & Dairy 1 cup 4 4-5 4
Bread, Grains & Cereals 1 slice or 1/2 cup 5-6 6-8 4-5
Fruits & Vegetables 1/2 cup 2+ 2+ 2+
Fats 1 teaspoon 3 3 3
Fluids 1 cup 8-12 10-12 8-12

Sleep and Self Care

Sleep and Self CareWith a newborn’s unpredictable sleep schedule, it can be hard for new parents to get enough rest. Sleep is important for your physical, mental and emotional health and helps you be best equipped to take care of your baby. A good time to take a nap can be when your baby is sleeping, and reaching out to other trusted caregivers for help can provide more opportunities for you to rest.

For your well-being, make sure you have time to relax away from your baby and other children. You could read, go shopping, have some quiet time alone or go on a “date with dad.”

Having a new baby is a very large and demanding job, so don’t be afraid to ask for help with household responsibilities or even to let them go temporarily. The most important thing to do is to take care of your baby and yourself.

Birth Control

It’s important to know that you can become pregnant again in the first few weeks after you’ve given birth, and it is possible to become pregnant even if you are breastfeeding. If you want to prevent another pregnancy, talk with your health care provider about methods of birth control that are best for you.

Caring for Mom

  • Diet, Sleep and Self Care