The way in which women accommodate for their increased nutritional needs during the lactation period is poorly investigated. In a cross-sectional study involving 220 lactating women (LW), equally distributed in economic quintiles (Q2, Q3, Q4), we investigated whether habitual dietary intake of LW differed from that of 200 pre-pregnant women (PPW) studied using the same methodology. Differences in dietary intake and nutrition sufficiency according to economic status were also investigated. Dietary intake data were collected using 2×24-h dietary recalls and FFQ. Energy, protein, Fe, Ca, Zn and vitamins A and C intakes were calculated utilising local food composition tables and were compared against Indonesian recommendations for adequacy. Energy and protein intakes <70 % of the recommendation and Fe, Ca, Zn and vitamins A and C intakes <77 % of the recommendation were considered insufficient. Except for Zn, dietary intakes of all studied nutrients were higher in LW compared with PPW. However, for all studied nutrients, dietary intake was insufficient in >25 % of LW. For Q2-LW, this proportion was >50 %, except for protein. LW across all studied economic quintiles approximately doubled their vegetable intake, and 71 % of LW indicated a belief that this enhances lactation performance. Biochemical status parameters were analysed in a subset of forty-five women. Anaemia as well as Fe, Zn and Se deficiencies were prevalent among LW, supporting the nutrient intake deficiency data. Despite increasing intakes in LW compared with PPW, habitual diets in the study area do not provide for daily nutrient requirements in substantial proportions for both LW and PPW across all investigated economic groups.