When you become a parent it is easy to focus all your energy on your little one and forget about looking after yourself. By maintaining your good health, you will be able to be there for your child more.
Parents are important role models for their children. Research shows that your meal patterns and food choices will shape your child’s food habits and food choices as they grow up.
Focusing on you
Now you are a parent, ensuring that you eat a balanced diet may need more planning and better time management. Your instinct will be to give your child the highest priority, but you may need to make a special effort to pay attention to your own diet and health.
A good diet helps fuel the energy needed to care for baby. Diet is especially important for those recovering from the demands of pregnancy and birth. A healthy diet helps in returning to pre-pregnancy weight and reduces the risk of weight gain.
Healthy eating tips
- Eat regularly
- Eat a balanced diet
- Choose carbohydrates with a low Glycaemic Index
- Choose low-fat options
- Balance how much you eat with physical activity
- Drink plenty of water
Keep some easy-to-prepare, healthy food in your fridge. For example, fruit, vegetables, cheese, or yoghurt.
If you are breastfeeding
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid drinking alcohol
- Avoid smoking and other drugs
- Monitor caffeine intake
- Try to grab a snack every couple of hours rather than skipping meals
- Be careful about the mercury content of certain fish
Diet during breastfeeding
- During breastfeeding, a woman’s vitamin and mineral needs are up to double the usual requirements.
- Breastfeeding uses more energy than during pregnancy.
- The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) provides advice about how many serves of the five healthy food groups are needed by breastfeeding women.
- Breastfeeding mums need to eat more from all the five food groups, especially fruit, vegetable and protein foods. The Australian Breastfeeding Association has information on the recommended serves of food groups for women during exclusive breastfeeding.
- When you introduce solids to your baby, your food needs may begin to decrease. Milk is still the baby’s main source of nutrition for the first year of life.
Want to know more?
The Australian Breastfeeding Association – Breastfeeding information
The Raising Children Network – Pregnancy health and wellbeing