Bringing your baby home from the hospital is one of the most exciting and nervous times of being a new parent. There are thousands of resources on how to care for your baby from the day you bring them home, but there are way fewer on how to care for yourself during this time. Here are our nutrition tips for new mums, including what to eat after giving birth an while breastfeeding.
Important nutrients for postpartum women
There are several key nutrients that you need to make sure you’re getting enough of after you’ve given birth. Speak to a health professional like your GP or dietitian about how to best get these nutrients into your diet. They may recommend supplementation but do not begin taking supplements before consulting them first.
- Iron is an essential mineral that most women do not get enough of. It’s especially important after childbirth, with deficiency causing fatigue, slower brain function and depressive symptoms.
- Vitamin D is important to be able to absorb calcium and for bone health. Here in Australia we get a LOT of sun throughout the year but many Australians are still deficient. Be mindful to get outside for walks so you can get some vitamin D from the sun and stretch your legs!
- Iodine, that easily comes from store-bought breads and iodized salt, is important for thyroid function in you and your baby (who gets it through breastmilk). The WHO recommends that post-birth and lactating women have an iodine intake of 250µg/day.
- Selenium works in the body to promote thyroid function, boost mental health (especially important due to Postpartum Depression) and for your baby’s development. A study done in New Zealand showed that a large amount of women were not getting an adequate amount of this mineral. It can be found in foods like brazil nuts, seafood, eggs, and rice.
Important nutrients during breastfeeding
If you have chosen to breastfeed, the milk you produce to feed your baby is full of lots of nutrients that initially come from you. If you aren’t eating the right foods to fuel your body, the milk you produce might not have the correct nutrient profile required to nourish your little one.
Many people don’t realise that breastfeeding requires you to eat more calories. You might find that you’re more hungry and thirsty than before you had your baby, but this is because both the fluids and nutrients from your body are being used to create breast milk. Making nutritious food more convenient will keep you feeling your best– below are some tips to help you out!
Tips for making nutrition easier as a new mum
You have brought a new life into this world and it needs you all the time, regardless of whether you are tired, hungry, or sore. Making sure you’re taken care of is just as important. Here are some tips to make healthy eating post-baby a bit easier.
1. Ask for help
Yes, this is tip #1. You do not have to have it all figured out! If you need your partner to make dinner, or have your mum or friend come over with groceries, that’s totally fine and 100% normal. You have people around you that want to support you during this stressful but exciting time– let them.
2. Pre-baby meal prep
Make your freezer your best friend. Preparing meals for you and your family before you have your baby will take away a little bit of stress.
3. Make quick, nutrient-packed meals
Things like smoothies and soups can be super easy to throw together in order to get in those important nutrients that we mentioned before.
4. Buy easy, snackable foods
- Whole grain crackers with avocado + tomato + cheese
- A bowl of yoghurt with fruit and nut butter
- Baby carrots or capsicum with hummus
5. Make sure you’re drinking enough water!
When you’re busy, it’s easy to forget this simple step. Hydration, hydration, hydration! Drinking enough water can prevent headaches, help with fatigue, lessen constipation, and make hunger cues more accurate.