New mums: Nutrition advice
Our guide to the best foods for new mums
After giving birth your body has been through a lot and needs time and the right care to recover. Part of that care is ensuring you eat well and help your body recover from within.
It’s advised to slightly increase your calorie intake post birth to help maintain energy levels as well as up your protein, calcium and iron intake. Breastfeeding women also need about 500 calories more per day. What’s more, a low calorie diet so soon after giving birth is highly likely to lack the nutrients you need and leave you feeling tired and drained at a time when you need your energy the most.
The importance of protein
Protein will have helped your body support your baby’s growth for 9 months and it’s now needed to help you produce protein-rich breast milk so replenishing your own reserve is important.
You can get the protein you need from a variety of red meat, chicken, fish, seafood, nuts, seeds, peas, beans, eggs and soy. Try to aim for five to seven small, and try to keep it lean, servings of protein every day us a good amount for a new mum.
Get the calcium you need
Calcium is key for keeping your heart pumping, muscles functioning, and your nerves signalling. Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt focus on fat-free or low fat products), is the most common source of calcium as well as green leafy vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, kale), and soy products like tofu. You may not realise that fish where you can eat the bones, such as canned salmon is an exceptionally calcium-rich food too.
An iron rich diet
Iron is an essential mineral that helps creates new blood cells. Iron-deficiency (anaemia) is common during pregnancy but can also be an issue post pregnancy especially if you experience having blood loss in labour or afterwards. Your body can need a helping hand absorbing iron and you can do this by eating vitamin C packed foods e.g. orange, kiwi, lime, lemon, and strawberries. Iron can be found in red meat, tofu, beans, lentils, and dark leafy greens.
Overall, keeping to a healthy diet with protein, calcium and iron in mind will all help to give you the nutrition you need to help you get back to your pre pregnancy body.