Congratulations Mama, you did it, you had your baby! The long nine months of nausea, backaches, and frequent trips to the bathroom are finally over. Thats something to celebrate, but the real work starts now!
There’s a beautiful baby in your arms that is depending on you to be nurtured and loved. To do that, you must take care of yourself. This is the time to nourish your body and make sure you are strong and healthy to be able to take care of your new bundle of joy. But don’t worry – Pickles & Ice Cream Georgia will walk through this with you together.
Nutrition is an important aspect of a new mother’s health, but it is often overlooked. After having a baby, you focus on taking care of them so much that you forget to take care of yourself!
The foods we eat affect our health and our healing. Nourishing your body during the postpartum period is just as important as eating well during pregnancy. Eating a nutritious diet will help you heal and give you the energy you need to be able to take care of your newborn. Feeding your body healthy food is essential if you are breastfeeding for your baby’s growth and development.
Here are a few benefits of eating well post-pregnancy:
- It can speed up your recovery
- It promotes milk production
- It supports overall well-being (energy and mood!)
Fortunately, there’s more wiggle room when it comes to food you can enjoy postpartum compared to your pregnancy diet! It is recommended that breastfeeding moms take in an extra 500 calories per day. Ideally, you want to eat 3 healthy meals and 2 snacks a day. Sometimes the demands of new parenting make this seem impossible so it’s a great idea to have healthy snacks available that you can munch on between all of the feeds, snuggles, and diaper changes.
Try these healthy snack ideas:
- String cheese
- Granola or protein bars
- Nuts and dried fruit
- Hard Boiled eggs
- Crackers or rice cakes
- Lactation cookies
Adding these foods will help you fill up on the vitamins and minerals you and your baby need (Wu, 2021).
- Vegetables (leafy greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and avocados)
- Fruits (citrus, berries, mangoes, melons, apples, and bananas)
- Whole grains (oats, quinoa, brown rice, and whole wheat bread)
- Lean or low-fat protein (fish, poultry, tofu, beans, seeds, nuts, and lentils)
- Dairy (yogurt, milk, cheese, and eggs)
Drinking fluids is also important for maintaining and replenishing fluid loss during childbirth. Try keeping a water bottle next to places you frequently sit for easy access. If you aren’t a fan of water, you can incorporate other fluids to support hydration; such as tea, milk, and juice (Postpartum Nutrition: How Diet Helps Maternal Mental Health and Healing, 2018).
Staying hydrated is essential if you are breastfeeding. A nursing mama’s hydration is key to milk production! It’s recommended to drink about 16 cups of water per day to compensate for the extra water loss it takes to make milk. That seems like a lot but it can come from food, water, or other beverages that you consume throughout the day. One way to help you get the fluids you need is to drink a large glass of water each time you breastfeed your baby (Klemm, 2022).
If you are a pregnant mama it may not be a bad idea to have a nutrition plan ready along with your birth plan. If you are a new mom, it’s not too late, and investing a little thought into mapping out your next few weeks of nutrition can benefit your body (and your little one). You’ve got this and remember: “Diet is a piece of self-care” so treat yourself – you deserve it. For more information, register for P&I’s Maternal Nutrition Class: https://picklesandicecreamga.org/upcoming-events/
Blog Writer: Adiba Hussain, MPH
- Klemm, S. (2022, March) Nursing Your Baby? What you Eat and Drink Matters. Eat Right. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. https://www.eatright.org/health/pregnancy/breast-feeding/nursing-your-baby-what-you-eat-and-drink-matters#:~:text=Keep%20Hydrated,is%20used%20to%20make%20milk.
- Wu, J. (2021, August 27). Your Postpartum Guide. What to Expect. https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/postpartum/postpartum-diet-nutrition-questions-answered/#:~:text=It%20can%20speed%20your%20recovery,hemorrhoids%20and%20much%2C%20much%20more.
- (2018, September 14). Postpartum Nutrition: How Diet Helps Maternal Mental Health and Healing. Crystal Karges Nutrition. https://www.crystalkarges.com/blog/how-nutrition-can-help-you-combat-postpartum-depression