The months after birth are a very exciting yet busy time. Looking after your new baby, the rest of the family, and yourself may seem overwhelming. Sometimes meal times are on the run or skipped. These habits can add to how tired you can feel. You still need to be mindful that you are eating enough to support both you and your infant. The following tips will help you include healthy, quick meals to your daily routine.

Q: How do new moms and those that are breastfeeding maintain a healthy diet?

A: Nutrition Tips for New Moms from Amanda Schantz, clinical dietitian at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center:

Moms exclusively breastfeeding their baby need to eat more compared to moms who choose to formula feed. In fact, it is estimated that breastfeeding moms require an additional 500 calories per day to maintain their current weight. 500 calories may seem like quite a bit, but consider that this amount can be a single item.

Not all choices are created equal. Take a moment to test your nutrition know-how!

Can you guess which option has more calories?

  1. One medium package of McDonald’s French fries OR one blue bunny ice cream sandwich
  2. A cheese stick OR one cup of strawberries
  3. One package of peanut butter crackers OR one package of carrot sticks with light ranch dressing

Click to View Answers. Were you right?

  1. French fries = 380 calories, ice cream sandwich=140 calories
  2. A cheese stick = 60 calories, 1 cup of strawberries=53 calories
  3. One package of peanut butter crackers = 190 calories, one package of carrot sticks with light ranch dressing = 130 calories


Tips for choosing the best snacks:

  • There are no wrong choices, just balances and moderation. If you choose the French fries, then to prevent weight gain, it may be best to limit your after dinner snack.
  • Some people find that eating a larger volume of food keeps them feeling fuller longer. Get your volume from raw and cooked veggies.
  • Others find that having small snacks throughout the day is a satisfying way to ward off hunger.
  • Try these snack ideas: Two tablespoons of low fat peanut butter with apple slices. One tablespoon of almonds with six ounces of low fat yogurt. One small avocado with six whole grain crackers
  • Everyone has an off day from time to time. Don’t beat yourself up. Take it one day at a time, even when you have a specific dietary goal.
  • Try to limit junk foods such as soda, candy, fried foods and desserts since they are high in calories and low in just about everything else.
  • Consider washing and cutting your fruit up. Store it in the fridge in a visible location that is easy to grab.
  • If you skip a meal, have a small snack before you prepare dinner. This will help control the munching and overeating.

Remember, selecting foods that you find tasty and are easy to eat is the key!

Do you have more questions about Maternal/Child health?

Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Centerand Washington Adventist Hospitals provide a full spectrum of services for expectant moms, new parents and babies.

Register for a wide range of Maternal/Child classes including parent education programs, maternity tours, and  infant care courses, to help every member of your family prepare for your new bundle of joy!

Wondering about breastfeeding? Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Centerrecently became the first hospital in Maryland to achieve Baby-Friendly designation through the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund. This recognizes the hospital’s optimal level of care for breastfeeding.

To achieve designation, the hospital must uphold 10 policy standards, including helping mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth as well as practicing “rooming-in,” which allows mothers and infants to stay together 24 hours a day.

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