Congratulations on your new arrival! I’ve been there! I have three of my own, the endless feeding, the sleepless nights. So, take it from me you need to take care of yourself nutritionally especially when getting rungs on the sleep ladder are few and far between. So, prioritise it!
The postpartum period (following childbirth) involves transitioning through many changes, both emotionally and physically. Typically the postpartum period begins after the delivery of your new baby and ends when your body has nearly returned to its pre-pregnant state, often lasting 6 to 8 weeks. During this time you need to take good care of yourself, rebuilding your strength, through getting lots of rest and good nutrition during the first few weeks. These nutrition tips below will assist as a guide during this period of many changes you’ll experience whilst becoming a new mother.
Here are my Top 7 Nutrition Tips for New Mums!
1. Put your hand up for help.
During the first week or two, it is essential that you have some home-cooked healthy meals so I recommend preparing these meals before you deliver or organise for friends and family to deliver you some meals after your baby is born.
2. Don’t skip breakfast
In order to maintain your energy levels and to produce breastmilk make sure that you eat a balanced healthy meal when you get up in the morning. Breakfast should contain some protein (don’t skip this), a source of whole grain, some fruit or veggies, and something to hydrate you. Try my breakfast cookies for a one-handed breakfast you can eat whilst feed.
I’m mentioning this one again because it’s so important! Include protein at every meal especially at breakfast. For those of you who are breastfeeding this is particularly important for your supply late afternoon. So Dad’s get cooking a protein-rich meal for your breastfeeding partner in the morning it will make everyone’s life a little easier come witching hour! For animal-based proteins like meat, fish, and chicken choose a palm-sized portion. For eggs, have two and for plant-based proteins like legumes around 1 cup of cooked lentils is about right. You can also boost your protein by adding things like hemp seeds, nuts, cheese, and yogurt.
4. Keep healthy snacks at hand (for one hand!)
Some nutritious snack ideas include, washed and cut up fruit and veggies, hard-boiled eggs, veggie sticks with hummus, bean or avocado dips, homemade trail mix, cut apples dipped in nut butter.
This is extremely important! Stay hydrated! For breastfeeding mothers, 10 to 15 glasses of water a day are required to quench thirst and produce enough breast milk. This is also important to maintain healthy digestion. Always keep some water within arm’s reach, especially when you sit down to nurse your baby. Partners if you see her nursing make sure she’s always got a glass of water next to her.
6. Eat collagen-rich foods.
Collagen is a superfood for rebuilding tissues, we can obtain it in our diet from eating meats that have been slow-cooked on the bone and healing bone broths. You can also find hydrolysed collagen powders at the health food shop.
7. Take the appropriate supplements.*
Continue taking your high-quality prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding. *Whenever possible, choose high-quality, food-based supplements that have been recommended by a qualified health care professional.
And if you’d like more information on better health and how an experienced nutritionist may help you with support and guidance, please read my article on “Is it selfish to work with a Nutritionist?”