By Emily Folk
Many new mums struggle a bit during the postpartum period. Labor physically taxes the body, and hormones continue to fluctuate for several weeks after giving birth. All this happens while you’re struggling to adjust to the demanding job of caring for a newborn.
New mums need the right nutrition, not just to rise to the task of child-rearing, but also to heal. If you’ve just welcomed a little bundle of joy into the world, here are some tips for eating the right foods to nourish you during the postpartum period.
Get Plenty of Protein
Stretched muscles and tendons recovering from the rigor of labor and delivery need adequate protein to mend. In addition, protein makes you feel fuller for longer, making it easier to shed that baby weight.
Try to aim for a minimum of 71 grams of protein daily. Dine on lean proteins such as chicken and fish. Eating fish also guarantees you’re getting a healthy dose of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are critical for brain health.
Vegetarian or vegan? Opt for nuts high in both proteins and Omega 3s, like walnuts. Most lentils also contain solid amounts of Omega 3s.
Ditch the Diet for Now
Forget about the weight gain for a bit. Dieting during the postpartum period can backfire big time. New mums need an enormous amount of energy for lactation and child-rearing.
Not only that, but excessive dieting during the postpartum period greatly increases your risk of developing postpartum depression. Everyone gets a little cranky when dieting, and the postpartum period contains enough stress already. Be kind, and give your body the fuel it needs.
Pump That Iron
Pregnant women need extra iron in their diet, and this need remains high postpartum. Strive for at least 27 mg of iron daily by eating foods such as spinach and other leafy greens, nuts, seeds and tofu.
If you must take a supplement to meet the minimum iron requirements, be sure to take it with food. Taking an iron supplement on an empty stomach can cause nausea and vomiting in some women.
Water, Water Everywhere
This nearly goes without saying, but keep that water bottle handy at all times, especially if you’re nursing! Women who are lactating have a higher need for hydration.
Also, limit your consumption of alcohol and caffeine. Both can further dehydrate you. Limit your coffee intake to no more than two cups daily, and if you must drink alcohol, limit your intake to one glass of wine.