by Carley Mendes
You’re well aware that your new addition has robbed you of a full nights sleep, but did you know that pregnancy and breastfeeding could also seriously rob your body’s nutrient stores? After pregnancy, you are more susceptible to anaemia, osteopenia, fatigue and depression. A balanced postnatal diet is crucial for your health. During pregnancy your body has been completely devoted to your baby, but focusing on your diet after giving birth isn’t self indulgent, it’s necessary!
As a postpartum nutritionist, I really love working with new mothers. All of the attention is on the new little babe in the beginning, but it’s really important that mama takes care of herself too. Her health must be made a priority so that she has the energy and clarity to give back to the family.
5 Tips For Postpartum Nutrition
1. Don’t Skip Meals
As a new mother you can often feel too busy to make a properly balanced meal. When you don’t take time to properly nourish yourself, either by not eating enough or not choosing nutrient dense foods, you’re more likely to overeat and make poorer food choices later. Being mindful to not get too hungry and to stop eating before you get too full affects your blood sugar, digestive system, energy and mood.
In the early weeks that follow birth, it’s important for a new mother to eat nourishing foods to help her heal, regain her strength and energy, and help her milk come in.
- Stock your freezer with meals before the baby comes. Arrange for friends and family to drop meals off for you once the baby arrives. Plan and prep meals to save time and energy.
- Snack Smart
Having healthy snacks on hand is one of the smartest things a postpartum mother can do. When time is limited and hunger runs high it’s easy to reach for less healthy options if you’re not prepared.
- Try balancing fruit with healthy fat: apple with tahini, or berries and coconut cream. Vegetables: kale chips, or sliced avocado & tomato drizzled with olive oil. Protein: hard-boiled egg or tempeh. Or have mini meals made from leftovers.
- Stay Hydrated
Water is an essential nutrient that nourishes every cell in our body. Without it we can’t survive. In the early days after birth, drinking extra water helps flush excess fluids retained in the body. Being well-hydrated also assists with the production of breast milk. Breastfeeding mothers should try to drink a glass of water at every nursing session. Infusing your water may help you drink more.
- Try adding citrus, cucumber, strawberry, and herbs like mint, basil or rosemary.
- Try Fermented Foods
Our digestive tracts take a hit during pregnancy to make room for baby, and it takes a while for our bodies to adjust back after birth. Fermented foods strengthen our digestion and immunity by providing probiotics to support the growth of beneficial bacteria in our intestines. We’re made up of more bacteria cells then we are of human cells. The “bad guys” feed off sugar and processed foods, while the “good guys” love naturally fermented foods.
- Try sauerkraut, fermented vegetables, preserved lemons, traditional pickles, kimchi, kombucha or kefir.
- Consider Dairy Free Calcium
In late pregnancy there is a huge demand for calcium as baby’s bones develop. If there isn’t enough calcium in mama’s diet, it gets pulled right out of her own bones and goes to baby! Calcium is also important post-pregnancy to replenish stores and make calcium rich breast milk.
- Some fantastic dairy free sources are broccoli, collard greens, spinach, turnip greens, kale, beet greens, almonds, sesame seeds, brazil nuts, sardines, and salmon.
- Chia seeds are also a very rich source of calcium, omega 3 and fiber. Try my chia seed pudding recipe.
Carley Mendes is a Holistic Nutritionist who specializes in naturally nourishing fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum. The birth of her son in June 2014 deeply reinforced her devotion to helping other women thrive during their journey into motherhood. Proper nutrition is essential for both mother and baby, but figuring out what that means can be very confusing. By combining the wisdom of traditional cultures with the findings of modern science, Carley will empower you with the knowledge and confidence that you are doing the best for both your body and your baby.
Oh Baby Nutrition, Naturally nourishing fertility, pregnancy, mama & baby.