Figuring out what to eat after birth can be difficult. Your body has just been through a lot and it is important to help it recover. Just like your baby’s body is continually changing and developing with different nutritional needs, so is yours. You’re no longer carrying your baby and therefore, your needs change. It is important to try and get yourself on a regular eating schedule. The first few weeks may be difficult but it is just as important to provide yourself with nutritious foods as it is for your baby. It is important to remember each mom is different and their needs are different. The best way to meet your needs is through mini meals/snacks. It can be hard to have a sit down dinner, let alone eat an entire dinner without having to tend to your baby. Mini meals and snacks can be a way to meet nutritional needs while being time savvy.
Breastfeeding burns between 300-500 calories a day, if you choose to breastfeed. To assure your milk supply is maintained, you should not drop below 1800 cal a day. The number of calories that you take in also depends on your activity level as you start to become more active, you should increase your calories to assure your body still has enough to supply milk and maintain your energy level.
Foods and Nutrients to Focus On
Whole grains – which can include whole wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa, barley, oatmeal and whole wheat pasta
Fruits – aim for a variety of fruits and eat a variety of colors
Vegetables – aim for a variety of vegetables and colors
Lean proteins – choose chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, lean beef/pork. Protein is important for moms who had a C-section to ensure the wound heals properly
Dairy – this provides you with a source of calcium, which will help maintain strong bones, teeth and healthy heart function. Choose low fat or part skim dairy products
Fats – fats can be good, you want to focus on the healthy fats like omega-3 fats and unsaturated fats that can be found in fish, olive oils and avocados
Iron – plays an important role in making new blood cells and transporting oxygen throughout the body. It is also important to make sure you get enough if you lost a lot of blood during your delivery
Vitamin C – also important for moms who had a C-section because it can help to fight possible infections.