21 Sep What is postpartum nutrition?
The postpartum phase, often referred to as the “fourth trimester,” is a significant period in a new mother’s life.
OK. This is a gross understatement.
You’ve just been hit by the baby train. And all those great happy hormones that were coursing through your body during pregnancy have been flushed out. Your body hurts from childbirth, your milk coming in, and you’re not sleeping at all. It’s so overwhelming, and the last thing you probably can imagine is eating a balanced diet.
It’s important to understand, though, that adequate nutrition during this phase is not only vital for your recovery but also crucial for your baby’s well-being. In this guide, we’ll delve into the nuances of postpartum nutrition, offering practical tips and nutrition recommendations to help you get through the newborn fog.
What helps speed up postpartum recovery?
Meeting your postpartum nutritional needs can help with your recovery. Following childbirth, your body requires specific nutrients to aid in healing, boost energy levels, and support breastfeeding if you choose to do so.
- Here are key nutrients to prioritize during the postpartum period:
- Protein: Protein is essential for tissue repair and recovery. Opt for lean sources like poultry, fish, legumes, and tofu.
- Iron: Adequate iron intake is crucial, particularly if you experienced significant blood loss during delivery. Include iron-rich foods such as lean meats, fortified cereals, and leafy greens in your diet.
- Calcium: Calcium supports bone health, benefiting both you and your baby if you’re breastfeeding. Dairy products, fortified plant-based milks, and leafy greens are excellent sources.
- Folate: Folate aids in tissue repair and cell division. Incorporate foods like dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, and legumes into your meals.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These healthy fats are essential for brain development and can positively impact your mood. Sources like fatty fish (e.g., salmon), flaxseeds, and walnuts are rich in omega-3s.
- Prioritize Hydration: Maintaining proper hydration is crucial, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Staying well-hydrated helps support milk production and assists in your postpartum recovery. Shoot for at least eight glasses of water daily and consider hydrating snacks like water-rich fruits or herbal teas. Put on a water alarm. Always have a glass of water next to you while breastfeeding. Keep a jug of your favorite flavored water in the fridge (with berries, lemon slices, cucumber slices and more).
What are good postpartum meals and meal-planning strategies?
As a new mother, your time and energy have probably tanked. Again, we understand. Consider these meal planning strategies to ensure you receive adequate nutrition:
- Prep Meals in Advance: Before your baby arrives, prepare and freeze meals that you can easily heat when you’re too busy or tired to cook. Great options include chili, lasagna,
We’re also BIG FANS of freezer bag meals you can prep ahead of time, freeze, and take out to put in your slow cooker or instant pot: teriyaki beef broccoli bag, sesame honey chicken bag with veggies, Thai chicken satay, and more.
- Opt for Nutrient-Rich Snacks: Keep healthy snacks like cut-up vegetables, yogurt, and nuts on hand to curb hunger and maintain your energy levels throughout the day. Buy pre-prepared hummus, guacamole, and white bean dips to eat with whole-wheat pita bread and baked snack chips. Keep it simple and delicious
- Choose Nutrient-Dense Foods: Focus on foods that provide a wealth of nutrients in each serving, such as whole grains, lean proteins, and a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. Also, don’t forget about the magic of the egg! Scrambled eggs on a slice of wheat toast with avocado packs a power punch of nutrients, healthy fats, and whole-wheat goodness.
- Supplements: In certain situations, your healthcare provider may recommend supplements, like iron or vitamin D, to address specific deficiencies.
- Address Dietary Preferences and Health Needs: If you have dietary restrictions or particular health concerns, communicate these with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian. They can provide guidance on meeting your nutritional needs while accommodating your dietary choices and restrictions.
Is it hard to lose weight postpartum?
Don’t start counting calories yet. If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll need more calories to nourish yourself and your baby. Though many women want to rush returning to that pre-pregnancy weight, as postpartum nutrition specialists, we recommend your focus be health, not weight, at this time. It can take up to a year to return to your pre-pregnancy weight. There’s time!
Be good to yourself! The postpartum period is a time of adjustment, both physically and emotionally. And though it might feel impossible, prioritizing eating healthy and nutritious foods will play a significant role in supporting your recovery from childbirth. Likewise, this will help you with breastfeeding, keeping your energy levels up, and even sleep management.
Reach out to your postpartum dietitian regarding specific dietary inquiries or concerns. Get the support you need to navigate this intense time in your life.
Freezer Bag Recipes for Postpartum Healing (Nutrient-Dense, Budget, Delicious Meals!)