Post-natal Nutrition: The Ultimate Guide
Ideally, your first, and probably second, drink of the day: COFFEE, nice and hot, probably an extra sugar – you will need the pick-me-up. Lovely toasted bagel, smothered with Nutella, oh and a banana – we must reach our 5-a-day! Snacks, let’s see, what’s handy, small bag of popcorn, some dried fruit, lots of water, maybe some diet coke, raisins – watching our weight, you see . Lunch, toasted sandwich, maybe some crisps, an apple; things we can push the buggy while consuming. Supper, “Darling, please pick up a takeaway on your way home, maybe Thai (…you are thinking, “hmmm.. lots of vegetables, nice and fresh, must be the healthy choice”?). Glass of wine, ice cream; ok, now you have caught on… this can’t be right?!
The cold hard truth is that post-natal nutrition plays a vital role in rebalancing your vitamin, mineral and essential fat levels which will have been exhausted during pregnancy and labour. Post-birth, zinc levels are greatly lowered by the demands of labour, iron levels are usually low through blood loss; B vitamins are lost with all the energy expended, and calcium and magnesium stores are depleted by hours of contractions.
Put simply, post-natal nutrition ensures that mother and baby get all the important nutrients necessary for recovery, growth and development.
Below are some SUPERfoods to guarantee your SUPERmum powers!
Blueberries: These delicious berries are bursting with nutrition, so I have placed them at the top of my list of super foods.
Eggs: They are an excellent source of inexpensive protein with the ideal balance of amino acids, the building blocks of protein.
Sweet potatoes: These yummy roots are an excellent source of vitamin A, potassium and fibre. They are easy to digest, and are beneficial as they do not increase the blood sugar levels significantly, despite their high carbohydrate/starch content.
Beans: They also are an excellent source of inexpensive protein, as well as fibre, iron and B vitamins. They contribute lots of antioxidants and have been shown to reduce risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Kale: Kale contains more than 45 different flavonoids, which have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Kale contains high amounts of vitamin K (more than any other vegetable), calcium, vitamin A and provides a significant source of fibre.
Yogurt: Yogurt is considered a live food due its high bacterial content. It is associated with increased life expectancy in the countries where it is eaten regularly. Try to go for a really good quality yoghurt, and avoid all the fat-free rubbish. Best of all, yoghurt is an excellent source of calcium.
Almonds: These nuts provide a variety of nutrients for the body, including vitamin E and essential fats that are important for brain development. They also provide protein and calcium for bones and teeth; this is an excellent snack, and brilliant in pregnancy!
Avocadoes: Avocadoes are often omitted from the diet due to their high fat content. They are high in fat but mainly monounsaturated fat, which is very beneficial for preventing heart disease. They also provide a good amount of Vitamin K, fibre, folic acid and potassium.
There are many good vitamins and supplements that should be considered, especially if breastfeeding your newborn, but really, that is a whole other article!
Weight loss is always something we concern ourselves with, more so than ever after giving birth; please try to avoid fad-diets, and over-exercising. Consider the best nutritional intake for you, and your baby, and the weight will take care of itself.
About the Author
By Caroline Barber, mum of 2, Baby Massage Instructor, Baby Yoga teacher, Postnatal Doula, Babywearing Consultant, complete food lover.
You can email your comments to Caroline at firstname.lastname@example.org