Bringing home a new baby comes with many new responsibilities, challenges, and less time for yourself. Simple tasks such as preparing healthy meals are often forgotten. However, during this post partum period, it is important that you take care of you! Delivering a baby takes work, and your diet is an important part of the recovery process. Whether you are breastfeeding or formula feeding, a healthy diet plays an important role.
Many women immediately want to start thinking about weight loss during the postpartum period. However, it is important to eat enough calories and a balanced diet to support your body’s recovery. If you are breastfeeding calories are also important to support milk production. According to the American Pregnancy Association mothers who are breastfeeding, require about 300-500 additional calories per day to provide milk for their baby and to meet their own calorie needs.
Good nutrition after pregnancy is important for moms who are breastfeeding and who are formula feeding. Food is energy, and eating a variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and protein while staying well hydrated will give you the energy you need in your new role as mom.
Adequate calcium is also important, and calcium needs for the nursing mom are the same as the general population. Having oatmeal or a smoothie made with milk or milk alternatives, yogurt, and cheese as snacks are easy ways to meet calcium needs. While nutrition needs for lactation are different than they are for a mom who is formula feeding, eating a balanced diet including all food groups and variety will help all moms meet their nutrition needs.
Planning ahead can help you eat well when you don’t have a lot of time or energy to prepare healthy meals. Meal planning and freezing meals before your baby arrives can help you be sure that you will have healthy meals ready for when your baby is here. Having friends or family members prepare food for you is also helpful. Always have nutritious snacks available because if you do not have the time to sit down and have a meal, a snack will help keep you full until you are able to have a full meal. Many healthy snack options take minimal preparation.
Healthy snack examples include:
An apple with a piece of string cheese
A banana with peanut butter
Whole grain toast and almond butter
Plain greek yogurt with berries
Hard boiled eggs
Hummus and whole grain crackers and/or carrots
Enjoy this time with your baby and remember that nutrition is an important part of the post natal recovery process.
Linzy Ziegelbaum, MS, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian and owner of the private practice LNZnutrition LLC. She provides nutrition counseling and education to clients of all ages with many nutrition needs. Linzy enjoys sharing her love and nutrition expertise with others through counseling, her LNZnutrition blog and social media pages, including Facebook and Instagram.
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