Healthy Eating & Exercise

Healthy Eating for Mom

Eating a variety of healthy foods and drinking lots of water and fluids will help you recover from giving birth. Healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables are good for keeping your energy up while you take care of your baby. Take vitamins or supplements as recommended by your doctor.

While you are breastfeeding, you might need to eat about 400 to 500 more calories a day to keep your energy up. Making healthy choices can help your milk production, including protein-rich foods, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

If you are trying to lose postpartum weight, making similar healthy food choices can help, as well as smaller portion sizes. Increased physical activity and regular exercise after you have recovered from delivery can also help with weight loss.

Sometimes you may not have enough food in your home.  Resources are available in our county to help.  Click on More Information below to find resources (2-1-1, How to Find Food Help in OC, WIC, SNAP).

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Daily Exercise

After your pregnancy, it’s a good idea to start exercising after your doctor says it’s safe. If you exercised during your pregnancy and had a normal delivery, light exercise like walking and stretching should be safe a few days after giving birth if you don’t have any pain.

Exercise for babies is important too. Keeping your baby in a stroller, car seat, or play yard for long periods might delay your baby’s development. Your baby will need to use their muscles for everything from holding their head up to taking their first steps. Place your baby on their stomach for a few minutes of supervised “tummy time” each day.

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Infant Feeding

Breast Feeding

Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby. It can help protect your baby from infections and diseases. It also improves brain growth for your baby! Breast milk has most of the nutrition that babies need and is recommended until a baby is at least age 1.  Shortly after birth, most infants will need an additional source of vitamin D.  To avoid developing a vitamin D deficiency, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfed and partially breastfed infants be supplemented with 400 IU per day of vitamin D beginning in the first few days of life.

Most women can start breastfeeding quickly after their baby is born, but breastfeeding can be difficult in the beginning. After your baby is born, be patient and take some time to get comfortable with breastfeeding.

Talk to your provider about obtaining an electric breast pump before delivery to support your breastfeeding goals. That way you can have breast milk available for your baby even when it’s not convenient to breastfeed.

Orange County Breastfeeding Resources

Breastfeeding if you have COVID-19 English | Spanish

Formula Feeding

Not all infants are able to breastfeed exclusively for a full year. Iron-fortified infant formula may be used instead of breastmilk until infants are 12 months old. Cow’s milk should not be given to babies under age 1 year.

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Healthy Eating for Baby

Basic solid foods may be introduced to a baby’s diet beginning at age 4 to 6 months. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests asking these questions before starting your baby on solid food.

  • Can your baby hold their head up?
  • Does your baby open their mouth when food comes his way?
  • Can your baby move food from a spoon into their throat? (Remember, your baby has never had anything thicker than breast milk or formula before, and this may take some getting used to.)
  • Is your baby big enough? (Infants are usually ready for solid foods when they double their birth weight, or weigh about 13 pounds or more.)

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