We hear so much about the importance of good nutrition throughout pregnancy. Many women spend months focusing on healthy eating to nourish their bodies and their growing babies—but what about after your bundle of joy is born?
The reality is that getting good nutrition as a new mama is super important for both of you. Meeting your own nutrition needs helps support the recovery of your mind and body, while also giving you more energy to care for your baby. With so many changes in your life, it will definitely take some practice to find a healthy eating routine that works to meet your needs. Here are my top four postpartum nutrition tips to help get you started!
In the postpartum period, new mamas have greater nutrition requirements (especially those who are choosing to breastfeed). This leads to increased hunger, i.e. your body’s way of encouraging you to eat a bit more to keep your energy up. Aim for more frequent meals or snacks roughly every 3 to 4 hours for both health and hunger satisfaction.
Snacks are a great way to maintain your energy levels throughout the day. To keep you energized and satisfy cravings, aim for a snack with protein and fibre. It’s also important to stock on-the-go options that you can basically eat with one hand, if need be. Some great snack ideas for busy new mamas include whole grain muffins, hardboiled eggs, fruit paired with Greek yogurt, or homemade trail mix.
With so many things to do in a day and so little time, having nutritious meal options stored in the freezer can make all the difference. When you’re cooking, try preparing larger recipes and freezing convenient pre-portioned meals. If it’s an option, accept support from friends and family! This can help with keeping nutritious meals on hand.
In addition to food, postpartum mamas also need to drink more! Keeping yourself well-hydrated can help prevent you from feeling tired and sluggish throughout the day (as well as support milk supply, if you are breastfeeding). You will have many competing priorities, so keeping track of your fluid intake—or even remembering to drink something!—can be a challenge. A clean water bottle can be a helpful reminder to take a drink, keep track of your fluid intake, and avoid spilling over a glass!
As new moms, we have completely different priorities and responsibilities then we’ve ever had before. It can be difficult to continue focusing on healthy eating after giving birth because, chances are, you’re feeling physically and emotionally drained. And with little energy to spare, it’s totally normal to shift from taking care of yourself to taking care of your baby. Just try to remember to meet your own food and beverage needs in between feedings, play time, and diaper changes.
Perinatal Registered DietitianPUSH Mama Care Inc.
Bradie is a dietitian with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Nutrition and Food, and a Master of Health Sciences in Nutrition Communication at Ryerson University. While working at Toronto Public Health in the Healthiest Babies Possible program, she developed a growing passion for prenatal and infant nutrition. Bradie is a registered dietitian who supports women throughout their pregnancy. Over the years, she has continually provided prenatal nutrition education and counselling. She believes in the importance of using this tool to help both mama and baby—by supporting their health and quality of life during fetal development, post-partum, and beyond.
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