It’s no secret that the food we eat drives our everyday activities, especially when those daily activities involve babysitting and breastfeeding.
However, for many new mothers, the urge to shed the baby’s weight may take precedence over providing their body with the proper nutrition to promote healing, milk production, rest, and all the other responsibilities necessary to get through the day.
Many women’s go-to weight-loss strategy is drastically reducing overall carbohydrate intake, but this isn’t the best option postpartum. Carbohydrates are necessary for new moms — not just for breast milk production but also for mental health, hormone regulation, and more.
The good news is that you can lose a few pounds gradually (if that’s your aim!) while still eating enough calories to meet the physical and emotional demands of caring for your child. So be patient, eat well-balanced meals, and give yourself plenty of time.
Why is postpartum nutrition important?
The body usually changes during and after pregnancy. So what happens to the body after giving birth? The hormones responsible for maintaining pregnancy are also the reason for the changes that occur after pregnancy. These changes will reverse soon after delivery; some might take more time or even be permanent. People who gave birth a few days ago may experience changes such as stretch marks, a wider waist and hips, and a softer belly. On average, women will be 1 to 6 pounds heavier after pregnancy.
Physical healing through postpartum diet
Whether you had a C-section or not, the labor and delivery process causes trauma to your body, which must heal. You lose electrolytes, fluids, and even a significant amount of blood during birth, so it’s critical to refill your body.
In the postpartum phase, your body will require more energy (calories) than during pregnancy. This is especially true if you’re nursing your baby. Drink plenty of fluids, and try adding electrolytes to some of them to aid your body’s repair and recovery.
For mending, you’ll also need to focus on protein, particularly complete proteins (from animal sources), which contain glycine and proline, two amino acids crucial for tissue repair. High-quality protein sources also supply necessary B-vitamins for recuperation and iron, essential for restoring blood storage.
Finally, to aid your body’s healing, consume a mix of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Vitamin A, C, B, and zinc are all nutrients that assist your body heal, repairing tissues, and combating inflammation.
Preventing postpartum depression and anxiety through diet
Your mood is another strong reason to pay attention to your food after having a baby. Around 10-15% of new mothers experience postpartum depression and/or anxiety.
Nutrition has been demonstrated in studies to help reduce the incidence of postpartum depression by preventing dietary deficits, which can cause postnatal mood problems.
Mood disorders have been linked to shortages in omega-3 fatty acids, folate, vitamin B12, iron, calcium, selenium, and zinc, and pregnancy depletes your storage of several of these nutrients. Getting enough folate, B6, B12, vitamin D, and zinc (both during pregnancy and after delivery) is essential for your body to generate feel-good neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
According to recent research, inflammation may also have a role in postpartum sadness and anxiety. So, consuming plenty of anti-inflammatory foods to help your body battle inflammation may aid physical and mental recovery. Foods substantial in omega-3 fatty acids, colorful fruits and vegetables, and whole grains are examples of anti-inflammatory foods. In addition, probiotic-rich foods may also help combat inflammation by promoting gut health (which is linked to a better mood)!
Best foods to eat postpartum
Fluids – WATER and even some electrolyte-containing drinks.
Protein-Rich Soups and Stews – Often given to new mothers in traditional cultures, soups made with bone broth are healing, nourishing, and warming.
Healthy Fats – Get plenty of healthy fats to keep your omega-3 stores up. These include nuts, avocados, olive oil, and fatty fish (see below).
Seafood – High in protein and omega-3s, seafood is excellent for you and your little one. Aim for lower mercury sources like wild-caught salmon and albacore tuna, freshwater trout, sardines, and wild-caught cod.
Eggs – are my absolute favorite for new moms because there’s so much nutrition packed into a super easy and versatile food. Even better if you can purchase the kind with higher omega-3 content.
Meat – is high in those necessary amino acids for tissue repair and iron, zinc, and B vitamins. Include red meat postpartum!
Fruit – Aim for a variety of colors. Fresh and frozen are both excellent options.
Vegetables – Also, get a colorful variety of veggies, especially leafy greens, which contain many healing nutrients you need. Cooked vegetables are easier on your digestion than raw, which is helpful in those first few days.
Whole grains – Minimally processed whole grains are great for fighting inflammation and give you much-needed, lasting energy. They also contain B-vitamins and folate. Oatmeal is my favorite (it’s also great for milk supply!), but quinoa, brown rice, and farro are good options.
Probiotic Foods – These foods nourish your gut. Yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and kombucha are just a few. (And kefir is so convenient, too!).
Beans/Legumes – Canned black beans, chickpeas, or other beans and legumes are easy to make and provide much-needed folate, zinc, and iron.
Pre – or Postnatal Vitamin – Keep taking your prenatal vitamin or switch to a postnatal formula to act as a safety net, especially if you are breastfeeding. Your doctor might also put you on an iron supplement for a month or longer to help replenish your stores.
Collagen – While a collagen supplement isn’t at all necessary, it can help you heal, especially if you don’t eat a lot of meat. It can also be a convenient way to get more protein at times when you don’t have a lot of help and need to make something fast, like a smoothie. I like Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides and did notice a difference in my joint pain in the postnatal period when I used it. Avoid these foods during the postpartum period.
Never follow crash diets or fad diets. They may give good results in the beginning, but the weight one loses the fluids present in the body, and there are a lot of chances to gain back all the lost pounds. One will gain back any fat you lose on a crash diet once you return to normal eating.
Postpartum diet plan while breastfeeding
Many breastfeeding mothers are concerned about how their food choices affect their milk supply.
Perhaps you’ve wondered if you should avoid certain foods to prevent your kid from developing digestive problems or allergies. But, on the other hand, maybe you’re wondering if you need to eat certain meals in order to produce the proper volume of milk or milk of the highest quality for your kid.
The good news is that your milk will most likely be adequate for your baby regardless of what you consume. This is because, at each stage of development, your body knows precisely what nourishment your kid requires.
Choose a healthy protein:
Including protein in the diet can boost metabolism, decrease appetite and reduce calorie intake. Studies demonstrate that protein has a more significant thermic effect than other nutrients. That means the body uses more energy to digest it than different foods, which results in more calories burned. Protein can also suppress appetite by increasing the fullness hormones GLP-1, PYY, and CCK, as well as reducing the hunger hormone ghrelin. Healthy sources include lean meats, eggs, fish, legumes, nuts, seeds, and dairy.
How Qua Nutrition help you in your postpartum period
For better guidance towards healthy weight loss after pregnancy, check with the dietitians who can guide you well. QUA nutrition aims for better lifestyle practices with no side effects or causes any discomfort because the body has already been into toil, a challenging period. Weight loss after pregnancy is not similar to other weight-loss methods; a lot of care and nutritive intake is essential for the mother and the baby to improve.