The nights are long, the days full of newborn snuggles and your adrenaline is still in high gear from the birth. Life with a newborn is anything but organised, but it is important to keep your body nourished. Postpartum nutrition is just as important as prenatal nutrition, and if you are breastfeeding, eating for two really begins after your baby is born. Your body needs to recover from birth, handle those long, but enjoyable days, and establish and maintain a healthy milk supply. With little time to make yourself something to eat, or even eat, foods that pack plenty of nutrition should be your main focus.
Keep up the fat - butter, avocados, coconut oil, full fat coconut milk, nuts, seeds, oily fish, and egg yolks. Fats are a concentrated energy source that provides the building blocks for cell membranes (to protect cells, what your body is made up of), a variety or hormones and hormone like substances (chemical messengers that act on bodily processes and functions. It is a carrier for the important fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and is needed for mineral absorption. Eating enough fat throughout the day will also keep your sugar monster from rearing its ugly head.
Ditch the sugar - sugar wreaks havoc on your entire body; stresses adrenals, raises insulin levels, displaces essential nutrients from your body, contributes to hormonal imbalances and postpartum depression. Just say no to sweets and stay away from low fat and fat free foods as the fats is replaced with sugar.
Kick the coffee - caffeine over works the adrenal glands, interferes with cortisol (body’s stress hormone), melatonin (controls sleep and wakefulness), oxytocin (the love hormone), displaces essential nutrients from your body, disturbs digestion and can upset your baby's stomach if you are breastfeeding. Try drinking herbal tea, a tumeric latte, or a herbal blend coffee replacement. Lemon balm tea is an energising hot morning drink. A tumeric latte provides you with a dose of curcumin (anti inflammatory and antioxidant part of tumeric) and a healthy fat option. If you are oh so desperate for a coffee, drink it with full fat milk, cream, or full fat coconut milk to reduce the effects of caffeine on your digestive system. .
Snack - Your body is working overtime, you are recovering from birth, you often do not have time to sit down for a meal, and you may be breastfeeding. Even though you may not feel like it, you are burning calories. Fuel your body and keep insulin and hormones stable throughout the day.
Water - The most important nutrient for the body and is needed in every bodily process. Ensure adequate hydration each day. Breastmilk is made up of mostly water so aim to drink 2-3L per day. If you are tired of water try adding lemon juice or slices of lemon to your water or brew a herbal tea of choice and drink over ice.
Breastfeeding mamas need to put nutrition as their top priority (after the wellbeing of your baby of course). Fats, adequate calories and plenty of water. Eating for two begins after your baby is born to establish and maintain milk supply. Making your liquid gold requires an extra 400-500 calories per day and what you eat does affect your milk, so ensure a wholesome diet! If your baby seems to have an upset stomach, is gassy or colicky try eliminating irritating foods such as caffeine, chocolate, dairy, citrus and garlic from your diet.
Pre plan and prepare your nutritious food ahead of time (like when your honey is home from work). I know at the end of the day, when your little one is in bed, all you want to do is sit on the couch. But take 30 minutes to prepare a few nutrient dense options for the following day. Your baby and your body will thank you immensely.
Here is a quick recipe for energy balls. They are a great single hand snack when you are stuck under a sleeping baby and an even better 2 am “up with baby” snack.
2 cups oats
1 cup ground flaxseed
1 cup almond butter or peanutbutter
⅓ cup honey
2 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
Mix all ingredients together. Roll into balls of desired size and voil’a.
** My name is Kendra and I am a Holistic Nutritionist student and hold a diploma in herbalism. I am a past elite distance runner for Canada and have been studying nutrition for many years. My aim is to educate, share, encourage, and inspire you to take control of your health and happiness through nutrition, herbalism and a more natural way of living. You can find out more through my blog: https://thisisournourishedlife.wordpress.com/
Or if you would like to get in touch please email me at: email@example.com