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The time after giving birth is extremely precious for every mom. This is when new moms spend most of their time bonding with their babies, caring for them, breastfeeding, and taking rest to allow their bodies to heal. However, when it comes to postpartum nutrition, many mamas tend to focus on how they can lose weight instead of nourishing their bodies properly. Clearly, it’s a huge mistake!
After birth, your body needs healthy, nutrient-dense foods to promote your recovery, milk production, and have energy for all the daily tasks you have to do during the day.
Today, we will dive into postpartum nutrition and review a few useful tips on how you can care for your post-pregnancy body with the right foods and healthy eating habits.
Why Postpartum Nutrition Is Important
As a new mom, you have just spent nine long months growing a baby in your belly, and you are recovering now from labor. And if it would not be enough, you are caring for your baby full-time. It’s easy to see that with all these changes going on in your life, your body requires optimal nutrition to function properly.
Proper postpartum nutrition can help you recover physically, enhance lactation, and decrease the risk of developing postpartum depression as well.
Hence, for your own good, the best thing you can do is to pay attention to what you eat after birth and do everything to avoid nutrient depletion.
Related read: The Complete Postpartum Care Checklist
Tips for Proper Postpartum Nutrition
Now that you know why nutrition is crucial during the period of postpartum, let’s see what you can do in order to have a healthy diet that fulfills all the extra needs of your postpartum body. Below you will find a few practical nutrition tips:
1. Hydrate properly
We all know that hydration is vital to bodily functions. However, when it comes to breastfeeding moms, adequate water intake is more important than ever.
If you are also breastfeeding your little one, then make sure to consume at least 10-15 (eight-ounce) glasses of water each day. About this amount of water is required to quench your thirst and promote lactation. You can also check whether you are properly hydrated by taking a look at the color of your pee. If it’s pale yellow, you are hydrated. However, if it’s rather dark-colored, you might be dehydrated.
Additionally, by staying hydrated all day long you can help your body to recover faster from birth as well.
2. Eat nutrient-dense foods
Having a balanced diet is necessary for everyone, including new mamas. Therefore, try to focus on eating nutrient-dense foods. Instead of consuming empty calories, get your nutrients from healthy sources, such as fruits, vegetables, protein, carbs rich in fiber, and fats (for example, seeds, nuts, avocados, etc.).
Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, B vitamins, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, folate, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and selenium are all important nutrients for new moms.
Related read: Postpartum Workout Plan
3. Have some anti-inflammatory foods
If you want to take your eating habits to the next level, consider also getting some anti-inflammatory foods in your postpartum diet. Your body will appreciate it!
Here are a few examples of anti-inflammatory foods:
- Fruits, particularly berries
- Various fresh vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables
- Healthy fats, such as avocado oil, coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil
- Fatty, lower mercury fish, for example, salmon
- Proteins that are rich in iron, including liver, beef, lamb, buffalo, bone broths
- Whole grains like oats, rice, quinoa, etc.
- Probiotic foods, such as kefir, yogurt, and sauerkraut
4. Opt for foods high in collagen
If you want to help your body to heal, consider eating foods high in collagen. These foods can help reduce your postpartum hair loss, improve your skin tone, rebuild your tissues, promote better bone health and stronger muscles, and more.
If you are wondering which foods are rich in collagen, here are a few great sources of collagen:
- Egg whites
- Leafy greens
- Red and yellow vegetables
Of course, if you find it easier, you can also take collagen supplements to increase your intake and boost your recovery.
Related read: The Ultimate Postpartum Recovery Plan
5. Consume caffeine only in moderation
When it comes to caffeine, it’s better to be careful if you are nursing. This is because the caffeine you consume can get into your breast milk. Although research shows that usually, the amount found in breast milk is too small to cause any adverse effects, you might want to limit your caffeine intake to 200-300 mg a day to be safe.
6. Take dietary supplements
It’s highly recommended for new moms to continue taking their prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding as their bodies need these extra vitamins during postpartum as well.
Additionally, other dietary supplements can also be beneficial for you. Make sure to ask your doctor which supplements would be the best in your case.
7. Keep healthy foods at home
If you want to eat more healthily during the postpartum period, one of the most effective things you can do is to always keep some healthy foods at home. Fill your pantry and fridge with healthy snacks (fruits and veggies are the best!) and eliminate unhealthy foods, including chips, cookies, and desserts.
This way, chances are that you can improve your diet and cut back on empty calories.
8. Get your freezer meals out of the freezer/ask someone to cook for you
With a newborn at home, it’s pretty hard to find enough time (and let’s admit it: energy as well!) to cook nourishing meals. Thus, if sometimes you end up ordering some food or skipping a meal, you don’t need to feel ashamed. I understand you mama!
However, if you have taken advantage of nesting during pregnancy and you have stocked your freezer with some freezer meals, then it’s time to get these delicious and healthy meals out of the freezer and eat them.
Also, you can ask a friend or family member to bring some home-cooked meals to you. For example, when they ask how they can help, tell them that you would love to eat a healthy dish but you are too tired to cook. – Remember that you should never be afraid to ask for help. Your loved ones will be happy to help you!
Related read: 11 Mom Motivation Quotes for When You Need Them
Take care of both you and the baby
Understandably, after giving birth your priority is taking care of the baby. But you should not forget about your own needs either. Focus on eating well and develop a healthy, nutrient-dense postpartum diet. Thus, you can speed your healing, boost your milk supply, increase your energy levels, and improve your overall health. And if you think about it, your baby can also gain from these things, so it’s a win-win!
How does your postpartum diet look like?