The 5 Nutrients You Need Postpartum & Where to Get Them


May 17th, 2023

The 5 Nutrients You Need Postpartum & Where to Get Them

Adequate nutrition postpartum can be difficult and inconvenient but it is essential for the health, healing, and growth of both the mother and baby. Eating well can improve your sleep, at a time where restful sleep is scarce, positively impact your mental health, and, if you’re breastfeeding, is essential to the development and health of your baby. Mothers need to change a lot about their diets postpartum, including consuming an extra 500 calories each day and increasing their protein intake, but they also need an adequate amount of 5 essential nutrients.

What are these 5 Essential Nutrients & Where Do I Get Them?

  • Iron: The body loses a lot of iron during childbirth and it is essential to replenish it. Iron is necessary for growth, development, and proper cell function. Good sources of iron include red meat, seafood, and dark leafy greens.
  • B12: B12 is required for proper red blood cell development, energy production, and helping to form our DNA. Babies with low B12 levels have an increased risk of failure to thrive, developmental delays, and poor brain growth. The best sources of B12 are meats, fortified dairy products and cereals, and vegans should always take a B12 supplement.
  • Iodine & Choline: These two nutrients are essential for proper thyroid function and neurological development. Especially when breastfeeding, iodine and choline are necessary for infant memory and brain growth. The best whole food sources are dairy, seafood, legumes, liver, and eggs.
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common even though it aids in so many bodily functions. It supports the immune system, brain and nervous system, and reduces risk of postpartum depression and anxiety. The best dietary sources are salmon, tuna, fortified dairy and orange juice, and egg yolks.

At St Joseph Hospital, we believe in partnering with our mother’s and babies to ensure they are receiving the proper nutrition and care they need after their delivery. Our post delivery team of experts is there to support you and your family. These services include pediatrics to support the growth of your newborn baby, our midwifery team to coach and educate mothers through this new chapter in their life, and lactation specialists to support a healthy breastfeeding journey.

If you have any questions about postpartum health or nutrition, please contact us at 603-884-3162.