12. Nutrition after Birth

  1. Emma Derbyshire BSc, PhD, RNutr

Published Online: 6 OCT 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444344790.ch12

Nutrition in the Childbearing Years

Nutrition in the Childbearing Years

How to Cite

Derbyshire, E. (2011) Nutrition after Birth, in Nutrition in the Childbearing Years, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Chichester, West Sussex, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444344790.ch12

Author Information

  1. Senior Lecturer and Researcher in Human Nutrition, Manchester Metropolitan University

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 6 OCT 2011
  2. Published Print: 30 SEP 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444333053

Online ISBN: 9781444344790



  • breast milk;
  • breastfeeding;
  • infant growth;
  • dietary requirements;
  • allergy risk


Getting the diet right after birth is just as important as before or during pregnancy. A diet adequate in the right nutrients can help to replenish nutrition stores, optimise the nutrition quality of breast milk and support the health of both mother and child. Women need to be supported and guided about how to maintain a balanced, nutritious diet at such a busy and important life phase, especially as healthy eating practices can be embedded in children during the early years. Breastfeeding should be encouraged and the full health benefits (for both mother and child) should continue to be promoted. Many women may breastfeed initially, but rates decline rapidly after birth, particularly in Western mothers. Ideally, women should try to feed their infants ‘exclusively’, i.e. with breast milk alone for 6 months before weaning should take place. New foods should then be introduced to infants diets gradually alongside breastfeeding. Ongoing support strategies and health campaigns are needed to help support women with breastfeeding during this important time of life.