What after the birth?

Breast milk is the natural food of every newborn and infant. The biochemical composition of breast milk is adapted to the needs of the newborn. Breast milk is optimally digestible, protects the child from infections and reduces the risk of allergy. All this affects the health and happier growth of your baby. In addition, breastfeeding establishes a strong emotional connection between mother and child.
And during breastfeeding, a balanced and varied diet is very important. Breastfeeding with its proper eating habits provides optimal foundations for the growth and development of the child.
During breastfeeding, energy and nutrient needs are increased, as the child draws all the necessary substances for their growth and development from breast milk. Therefore, breastfeeding loses very important nutrients that the mother must make up for with her diet.

The rule is: DON’T EAT FOR TWO!
Nutrition during lactation is not complicated and does not require any special diet. Mixed and varied foods should be eaten, covering all the basic groups of foods: cereals, milk and dairy products, meat, fruit and vegetables. A nursing mother needs an average of 500 kcal a day more than a healthy woman who is not pregnant and not breastfeeding. Additional energy needs also depend on the mother’s constitution and the needs of the newborn.

Eating healthy, normally fed nursing

(Mardešić Duško et al., Pediatrics, School Book, 2000.

Average needs of healthy women

Additional needs of nursing

Energy (kcal/day)


+ 500

Protein (g/day)


+ 20


+ 20% /day

Liquid (l/day)


towards a sense of thirst

An extra 500 kcals a day is not much and therefore you should be careful what and how you eat so as not to get overweight.

Some foods that are present in the diet of the nursing parent may cause bloating, colic or indigestion in the child.

‘Problematic’ foods in the diet of nursing parents

● citrus fruits – may cause reddening of the skin in babies.
● beans, peas, pods, onions, cabbage, kale – may cause oversuling and spasms in babies.
● Caffeine and theobromine (in cocoa and chocolate) – in higher doses can cause irritability and restlessness in babies.
● teine – a tea ingredient that has a similar effect to caffeine. Tea consumption is recommended, but one with a lower weight content should be chosen. Black tea should be avoided.
● Very salty or spicy is not recommended
● Fragrant vegetables (glass, onions, broccoli) contain fragrant oils that pass into milk and give it a smell, which will cause indigestion in most babies.
● dairy products – very common spasms in babies may occur as a result of maternal consumption of dairy products.

However, no food should be removed from the mother’s menu until the child’s eating disorders have been proven. Indeed, any possible problems that may cause foods present on the mother’s menu, the practice showed, but there is no firm scientific evidence yet. Do not allow your diet to become uniform as it is then very difficult to meet all the needs of the body for nutrients.
That’s why it’s up to mothers to pay attention to their baby’s sensitivity.

Fluid intake during breast-feeding

The need for fluids during breastfeeding is greater than usual. It is best to equate to a feeling of thirst, which in most nursing women is heightened.

Special teas for nursing women (e.g.: HiPP tea for nursing women)for which the lactogenic effect (increasing milk production) and multivitamin beverages for breastfeeding women (e.g.: HiPP dietary drinks for breast-feeding women with iron and folic acid)are scientifically proven.

Breastfeeding and smoking

Smoking is prohibited during breast-feeding. Women who smoke produce less milk and stop breastfeeding earlier. In their children, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea often occur…

It must not be smoked in the premises where the child resides as passive smoking is detrimental to the baby’s health. Respiratory infections in babies exposed to tobacco smoke have been shown to occur.

Vegetarian and macrobiotic breastfeeding

Any form of vegetarian and macrobiotic diet carries with it the risk of iron, calcium, zinc and vitamin D deficiency. Namely, all forms of plant-based nutrition are rich in phytatos and some other food ingredients that interfere with the absorption of important vitamins and minerals. In addition, the big problem is the lack of vitamin B12 with the extent that it is of animal origin.

It is recommended to supplement the diet with multivitamin-mineral supplements and vitamin B12 injections, but you should definitely consult a doctor.

Supplemental diet during lactation

For the proper development of the child, a healthy diet of the mother is necessary. Inadequate maternal nutrition can adversely affect the health status of the mother and cause a drop in immunity. Nutrition needs are increased during breastfeeding, but with a balanced diet, you can provide your body with a sufficient amount. The exception is iron and folic acid that need to be taken further, of course with prior consultation with a doctor.

If the nursing mother is not able to feed for some reason, it is necessary to supplement the diet with supplements prepared according to the specifics of the diet of the breastfeeding mother (e.g.: HiPP multivitamin beverages with iron and folic acid).

One day through the diet of a pregnant woman

With a balanced diet and without much hassle and renunciation, you can provide your body with most of the necessary nutrients. See what a healthy pregnant woman should look like one day.


E.value (kcal)

Calcium (mg)

Iron (mg)

Fiber (mg)

2 wholegrain rice crackers (15g)

1 cup natural orange juice (2.4dcl)






E.value (kcal)

Calcium (mg)

Iron (mg)

Fiber (mg)

1 slice rye bread (60g)

1 large tablespoon fresh cow’s cheese (50g)

1 small tomato (100g)






E.value (kcal)

Calcium (mg)

Iron (mg)

Fiber (mg)

1 larger banana (135g)

1 cup Ab culture 0.1% m.m. (2,4dcl)






E.value (kcal)

Calcium (mg)

Iron (mg)

Fiber (mg)

200g chicken fillet (skinless)

2 smaller potatoes (250g)

100g mushrooms

200g lettuce

2 tbsp olive oil (10g)






E.value (kcal)

Calcium (mg)

Iron (mg)

Fiber (mg)

2 large tablespoons fresh cow’s cheese (100g)

1 smaller apple (106g)






E.value (kcal)

Calcium (mg)

Iron (mg)

Fiber (mg)

5g wholemeal pasta

2 small carrots (100g)

1 small pepper (100g)

1 small tomato (100g)

3 shrapnel edamera (60g)

2 tbsp sour cream 12% m.m. (60g)





E. value(kcal)

Calcium (mg)

Iron (mg)

Fiber (mg)






Supplemental nutrition during pregnancy

stem cells during pregnancy

Today there are numerous dietary supplements on the market intended for pregnant women, but it should be borne in mind that such preparations are not almighty. Proper and balanced nutrition is the main factor affecting the health of the mother and baby.

However, due to the increased need for all nutrients in pregnancy, it is difficult for the organism to provide a sufficient amount of all substances with a normal diet. It should be known that vitamins and minerals are not a substitute for nutrition, only its supplement.
Taking care of a quality diet certainly involves taking care of the intake of dietary supplements throughout the pregnancy.
Therefore, it is recommended to supplement the diet with multivitamin-mineral preparations, but it is necessary to know what to choose.


●The body can best use calcium from natural sources (milk and dairy products) and no additional intake during pregnancy is required

●too much
vitamin A
can cause damage to the fruit, and increased needs during pregnancy can be offset by a balanced diet (increase the intake of fresh fruits and vegetables containing beta carotene)

●Iron željeza intake is necessary to increase during pregnancy, but too much iron in prenatal preparations will be poorly absorbed.

●There are a number of interactions between nutrients:

  • high doses of iron interfere with zinc uptake and copper absorption
  • increased zinc doses affect copper absorption
  • high folate plasma concentrations reduce zinc absorption
  • calcium inhibits iron absorption
  • calcium affects zinc, phosphorus and magnesium metabolism

Due to all existing evidence of nutrients interactions and their impact on the functions of the body, caution should be exercised when supplementing them in order to avoid unintended consequences.
Take a good look at the composition of the preparations and consult your doctor or nutritionist.

Anaemia in pregnancy

According to WHO data, of all micronutrients, iron comes first when talking about a deficit in the body. There are several factors that affect iron deficiency.

Anemia in pregnancy is becoming more common and is becoming a public health problem. Due to all the negative consequences of pregnancy anemia, more attention should be paid to this problem in order to avoid possible complications.

Factors influencing iron deficiency:

▪ insufficient food intake
▪ poor absorption from the digestive system
▪ increased iron loss
▪ the increased needs of the organism

At a time of tumultuous growth and development as well as in pregnancy, women have an increased need for iron and there is a risk of anaemia. Therefore, pregnancy is a condition of specific metabolic needs, so a specific diet is also necessary to avoid possible complications caused by the lack of nutrients. In fact, insufficient iron intake results in too small stockpiles and even the foetus cannot meet the iron needs. This increases the risk for complications, greater blood loss during childbirth, increased preterm birth rate, low birth weight of the foetus and perinatal mortality.

Maternity anemia is a major problem both in industrialized countries, but also in developing countries. The WHO reported a degree in the incidence of maternity anaemia. In developing countries, 35-75% of pregnant women suffer from anaemia and 18% in developed countries.

Due to the growth and increased needs in pregnancy pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to iron deficiency anaemia. A number of negative effects of anemia were observed for both the mother and the child.
Most iron is required during the third trimester, and a sufficient amount of iron is difficult to settle from food due to a restrictive diet and severe bioavailability of iron due to high intakes of dietary fibres and phyto.

Current findings indicate that anaemia in pregnancy is a risk factor that may result in preterm birth and low birth weight of the foetus. Although little is actually known about the benefits of supplemented iron for mother and child, it is still an iron supplement with a very widespread health measure. There are a large number of women around the world who become anaemic during pregnancy.

Anaemia and birth weight of the foetus

Several studies have observed a link between haemoglobin concentration in the mother’s blood and birth weight of the foetus. A proportional ratio of anaemia and foetal weight was observed. The higher the concentration of hemoglobin, the higher the weight of the newborn, and this important role plays the complementation of the diet with iron.

Anemia and preterm birth

baby nutrition

There is a lot of evidence of a negative effect of anaemia in the earlier stages of pregnancy on the occurrence of preterm birth, which results in a small birth weight of the foetus.
Klebanoff et al. study showed a double risk of preterm birth in anaemic women.

Therefore, anemia caused by iron deficiency is a risk factor in early pregnancy. Preterm birth also greatly affects the health of the foetus.

Anemia and development of the nervous system

Iron deficiency anemia in the early stages of life is associated with the development of the nervous system and also affects behaviour. Numerous studies conducted on children show that this is an irreversible (irreversible) effect. Most of all this is manifested in the chemistry of neurotransmitters and the organization and morphology of neural connections.

The brain exploits iron depending on the brain region, and the passage of iron through the blood-brain barrier is controlled. Iron deficiency in the brain has numerous consequences from the neurochemical and neurobiological aspects.

Therefore, iron is a very important micronutrient for neurological functioning and development.

Anaemia and risk of postpartum depression (PPD)

The effect of anaemia on the occurrence of postpartum depression (PPD) is not fully clarified. PPD is a serious disorder with negative consequences for the physical and mental state of the mother and child. Psychosocial factors are known to increase the risk of PPD such as: prepartum depression, child care, child temperament, lack of self-esteem, poor social status, and others PPD can have long-term consequences in terms of developmental and cognitive downtime.

In addition to evidence that thyroid dysfunction plays a role in certain cases of PPD, some physiological variables have also been detected which may be a significant predictor for the occurrence of this disorder. One of them is fatigue, the other is anemia. Anemia promotes fatigue and is associated with additional symptoms such as sensitivity, apathy and inability to concentrate. In addition, iron deficiency affects the metabolism of the thyroid gland. Therefore, anemia is associated with symptoms of depression. The study, which aimed to confirm this hypothesis, involved 37 women who had just given birth. The researchers visited the women in their homes on the 7th, 14th and 15th. 28, 2014 in New York City. the day after delivery. Every time a woman visits, a blood sample is taken to determine the level of hemoglobin. Anemia is defined in cases where haemoglobin concentration is ≥ 120 g/L. In addition, the researchers obtained information on eating habits, prenatal care and working status using questionnaires. On their last encounter, the women completed filling out a questionnaire assessing symptoms of depression.

The results of the study showed that early postpartum anemia indicated by low haemoglobin levels is a significant factor for the development of PPD.

A lower concentration of Hb is a normal occurrence in a healthy pregnancy and for the first 3-4 days after delivery. Then the concentration should begin to rise. In the 8 women in this study, the concentration of Hb was observed that the concentration of Hb did not return to normal. All eight women soon experienced symptoms of depression.
Therefore, anemia can contribute to the development of a depressive condition. Some of the symptoms resulting from anaemia (pemority, irritability, low concentration) significantly affect the mother’s feelings in the post-pregnancy period and the relationship to the baby.

However, further tests are still needed in order to determine with certainty the link between these parameters.

Nutrient requirements in pregnancy

During pregnancy, the need for all nutrients, especially iron, iodine and folic acid, is increased. It is necessary to provide the organism with a sufficient amount of all nutrients to avoid the consequences of their deficiency.

Nutrition should ensure the intake of nutrients that meets the needs of the foetus and the woman.
In pregnancy, metabolism is influenced by hormones that redirect nutrients towards the placenta (placenta) and mammary glands. Renal function has been altered and water-soluble vitamins have increased. The volume of blood and compositions also change. In the third trimsetru of pregnancy, the volume of blood increases by 35-45%, mostly due to the expansion of plasma volume and an increase in erythrocyte mass.

Due to changes in pregnancy (“second condition”), the diet of pregnant women must monitor changes occuring in the body of the woman. In the development and growth of the unborn child, maternal nutrition plays an important role, but this does not mean that the mother must eat twice as much food.

Since from the moment of conception until childbirth there are numerous changes in the body of the woman, which includes the increased work of the organism, it is necessary to balance the nutritional components (proteins, fats and carbohydrates) well, and the necessary vitamins and minerals. The mother’s needs for certain vitamins and minerals during pregnancy increase significantly.
But what is good in small amounts, does not have to be better in larger quantities, especially during pregnancy. Vitamins and minerals in high doses can have harmful effects per body. This is especially evident during pregnancy, namely in vitamin A and vitamin D, which exhibit toxic effects when inused in levels that do not meet recommended daily amounts.

Recommended daily nutrient intake for pregnant women

(DRI, 1997)


(25-40 years)

Pregnant women

Energy (kcal)

1800 – 2000

2000 – 2300

Vit. A (μg)



Vit. C (mg)



Vit. D (μg)



Vit. E (mg)



Vit. K (μg)



Vit. B1 (mg)



Vit. B2 (mg)



Vit. B3 (mg)



Vit. B6 (mg)



Vit. B12 (μg)



Folic acid (μg)



Pantothenic acid (mg)



Biotin (μg)



Choline (mg)



Calcium (mg)



Phosphorus (mg)



Magnesium (mg)



Iron (mg)



Zinc (mg)



Fluoride (mg)



Iodine (μg)



Selenium (μg)



Chromium (μg)



Copper (μg)



Manganese (mg)




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