Pregnancy, labour and delivery can take a lot of energy and nutrients out of you. Even in an uncomplicated delivery, your body undergoes significant changes as your uterus shrinks down to its pre-pregnancy size, the internal wound left by the placenta heals, your connective tissues adapt, your breasts begin producing milk (whether or not you choose to breastfeed), your skin regains elasticity, your hormones adjust, and so much more.

In our western society, we don’t do the best job at taking care of moms postpartum. When we look at traditional cultures and the way they support and nourish moms, there are differences based on the region, but in general some commonalities are: 

  1. Inclusion of animal products (particularly bone broths / organ meats / seafood / eggs) 
  2. Inclusion of warming foods (cooked foods / soups / broths / porridge / teas / warming spices) 
  3. Lots and lots, and LOTS of help for the mom.

Here are a few of my tips to optimize your nutrition after you have had a baby. I always recommend seeking individualized care, but whether you are pregnant now, or already postpartum, these might be helpful tips for you to start with!


To start with, mamas, you don’t need to do this all alone, and you shouldn’t. ASK for help. People are typically SO happy to help! Some tips I found useful when it comes to asking for help include: 

  1. Delegate in advance (have a plan for meals that people will bring you or prepare for you in advance). There are apps and websites that can help you organize this – for example
  1. Save some of your favorite recipes in one location on your phone. That way if someone asks what they can bring you, you can send them the links to some recipe ideas that you like. 
  1. Have favorite meals picked out at local takeout places, that way, again if someone asks if they can bring anything over, you can send them the meal idea to bring! 
  1. Prep as much food as you can while you are pregnant for freezer stores! I find having one healthy, one handed snacks particularly useful to have on hand for mamas. This can include granola bars, energy balls, muffins, granola etc. – loaded with nuts, seeds, healthy fats and proteins!

You might be surprised to learn that nutrient needs in the early postpartum phase—and especially while breastfeeding—are higher than while you were pregnant. Breastfeeding mothers, for example, require on average approximately 500 extra calories per day, but I encourage you to talk to your pregnancy or postpartum care provider about your individualized needs. 

It is really easy for moms to undereat during this postpartum phase. That sweet new babe takes over your attention and time, and the last thing you think about is prepping food (that is until you are starving – and if you have felt this ravenous postpartum hunger, you know what I am talking about!). This point emphasizes the importance of tip # 1 – having lots of pre-prepared food and lots of help and support lined up for these early postpartum days. 


Adequate hydration is SO key for all women, and it plays an even bigger role if you are breastfeeding. The general recommendation is 2-3L water or more per day, but talk to your care provider for individualized recommendations. A couple of tips to get enough water in include: 

  1. Have a cup with a straw dedicated for water in your house, ideally set up where you plan to feed your baby. Ensure it is always full and sip it throughout the day! 
  2. If plain water is getting boring, add things like different fruits or veggies to make it more interesting. My favorites are raspberries and lime, and cucumbers and lemon. 
  3. Always bring a water bottle or cup with you in your diaper bag


The tissues in your body have literally been stretched, torn, and possibly cut. For these tissues to heal you need to consume enough protein, particularly sources rich in the amino acids glycine and proline. These amino acids help make collagen to help repair these tissues.

Great sources of protein include: Lean meats, Poultry, Seafood, Eggs, Nuts and seeds, Beans and legumes. 


Additionally, healthy fats help keep you full and your blood sugars more stable. If you are breastfeeding, the quantity and quality of the fats you eat may also be reflected in your breastmilk! Some moms notice when they ensure they are getting enough fats in their diet, their babies stay full longer and are less colicky. Great sources of healthy fats include avocados, whole eggs, seafood, nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil, and organic dairy products if you tolerate these well. 

DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, is an extremely important nutrient to consume during pregnancy and postpartum. It is transferred to the baby in high amounts during pregnancy, and also transfers to your baby through your breastmilk. It is found in high concentrations in seafood, grass fed beef and eggs. 

I encourage women to see a naturopathic doctor like myself who focuses in pregnancy and postpartum care to ensure they are receiving enough of these vital nutrients, and find out if any supplementation is right for them! 


Pregnancy can deplete us of a lot of nutrients if we aren’t on top of it. Then, add labour and delivery into the mix, and mamas can be left feeling really depleted and low. There are some a few labs that I run in most of my patients postpartum to make sure their nutrient needs are being met, and any postpartum deficiencies are being identified nice and early. Though all of these labs aren’t necessarily related to your food consumption, I wanted to include them here because they are important! This list is not thorough and care is always individualized, but a few common ones I run are: 

  1. Iron assessment
  2. Vitamin D 
  3. Vitamin B12
  4. Thyroid assessment 

Though these are just a few pieces of postpartum nutrition, I hope this is helpful as a starting point for you! If you have more questions or want more individualized suggestions or support, I love supporting postpartum women and would be happy to work with you one on one. 

Dr. Ally