A Guide to Postpartum Nutrition for a Healthy Recovery
There are many different rituals from all over the world related to postpartum care. You can find various traditions and diets passed down through the generations in China, Russia, Korea, India, and the list goes on and on.
If possible given your circumstances, the first 40 days following the birth of your baby is a time for you to rest, heal, nourish and bond with baby, allowing the new family dynamics to be nurtured and flourish. Having this sacred time to recover as a new mother can help decrease postpartum depression and keep at bay some of the undue stresses for mama and baby.
Food nourishes the body, mind and soul and is a wonderful way to help mothers heal and stay healthy during the postpartum period. What you consume will not only help you to rebuild your energy and replenish lost nutrients, but is also crucial to produce abundant amounts of that yummy milk that baby loves so much!
Here are a few postpartum food guidelines for a healthy recovery:
Soft, warm foods are your friend.
Can someone say comfort food? Think hearty soups, wholesome stews, anything creamy and oily that just feeds and nourishes your soul! What did your mother used to make you when you were under the weather or what do you eat on a cold, chilly evening?
Add earthy, grounding veggies such as spinach, asparagus, squash, zucchini, yams, sweet potatoes and carrots to your soups and stews as these are easily digestible.
Foods best to avoid…
It is best to avoid brassica veggies in the beginning (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and kale) for their gas producing qualities (which can cause discomfort for both mama and baby). If these are staples in your diet it’s best if you can cook them well. Uncooked food is more difficult to digest and your digestive system is more fragile postpartum as organs have shifted, muscles have loosened and they body is slowly trying to get back into it’s pre-baby form.
Remember that it might take some time for your body to return back to it’s pre-pregnancy functions so give it a little help in whatever way you can.
Love your fats!
You lose a ton of fluids when birthing your baby and while you are nursing which can cause the tissues within the body to become dry and depleted. Healthy, oily fats like avocados, nut butters and cashews will help to restore the tissues, aid in milk production, balance your hormones and give you energy. So enjoy these every day!
*Nuts are a great source of healthy fat but if eating them raw make sure to soak them overnight to make them easier to digest.
Drink up, Buttercup.
The need to flush toxins and replacing hydration, especially if mothers are nursing is super important. If you are breast feeding you will notice that you are thirsty…like all of the time! So make sure you drink a large glass every time you breastfeed and keep that cup filled nearby to re-fuel and replenish yourself often!
Bone broths are excellent to help nourish, replenish and restore the body postpartum. They are particularly helpful for new mamas as they aid in the reabsorption of minerals which is a must for your recovery. The gelatin found in the bones aids in repairing damaged tissues and joints thanks to the boost in collagen. This gelatin also helps to restore the digestive system. It really is the postpartum miracle food!
*If you make homemade broth make sure you are choosing the flesh foods and bones from animals (beef, chicken, fish) that were raised organically and fed grass and veggies only!
Observe how your food affects your (and your baby’s) body.
Most importantly always check in with yourself and your baby after eating. Remember that every mother and every baby is different. There isn’t a one size fits all diet that will work the same for everyone. So be mindful after each meal ensuring you feel fulfilled, nourished and replenished. If you pay attention to how you feel after eating you will learn quite quickly which foods are helping you and which are not by how you are feeling and especially by your baby’s response. Remember that finding the right foods for you and your baby will help you both to grow and flourish in the start of your new journey as mother and child.