Parenting Now!

Nutrition for New Moms

As much as I love to run, the reality is that I can’t outrun a bad diet. Eating properly while also caring for a newborn is no easy task, particularly if you are breastfeeding.

Exercise requires proper nutritional support, but a lot of moms are also looking to lose weight. Prepping meals and snacks ahead of time can be a big help in avoiding empty calories and making sure you are providing your body with enough nutrients and fuel to be a mom and exercise too. I like to spend 30 minutes or so once per week cutting up veggies to keep in the fridge for when I’m feeling snacky. Boiled eggs, jerky, and nuts are easy forms of protein to have on hand for a more calorie-dense snack.

Losing weight or starting a new exercise regimen should be approached slowly, especially for breastfeeding moms. A calorie counting app like MyFitnessPal can be a great tool for monitoring food intake, but calorie restriction should be modest starting out. During the first 6 months of breastfeeding, it is recommended that mothers take in an additional 330 calories. For 6 months to 1 year, nursing mothers should consume an additional 400 calories per day. In total, nursing mothers need about 2,100 to 2,800 calories per day depending on the mother’s age, weight, and activity level.

It’s also important that new moms stay hydrated, especially if you are nursing. According to The Institute of Medicine, breastfeeding mothers should consume about 13 cups of fluids per day. The Institute also advises that you drink to satisfy thirst and pay attention to your body’s signals. If you are experiencing dry mouth, dark colored urine, or infrequent urination you probably need to drink more water.

In addition to watching the scale and water intake, watch your moods and energy level! Being an effective parent is much more important than the number on the scale.

Before taking on an exercise regiment, consult with your primary care physician.

Parenting Now!’s Mother’s Day 5K is just one week away! Register today to help support families in Lane County! Registration is $25, (5 and under are free to participate). Tickets are available at