After delivering your baby, you need not discard spinach or other nutritious food from your grocery cart. Are you wondering why?
It is because your health largely depends on what you eat post-delivery. This also applies to the well-being of the baby if you are breastfeeding. However, compared to your pregnancy diet, you can eat a lot more items now.
Let us understand why having the best postpartum healing food is significant.
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Significance of Postpartum Nutrition
For nine months, you have carried a developing fetus along with surplus fat, tissue, and fluid to accommodate the tiny passenger. After an immense struggle through labor and delivery, the juggernaut has finally ended. Now, with all your energy drained out, you might not feel at your best.
Taking good care of your body in the postpartum period benefits you in the following ways:
- Speeds your recovery process: A diet filled with nutrients like finer, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein combined with sufficient hydration can work wonders in healing your body. A healthy postpartum diet helps replenish your iron stores, stave off bone loss, and head off hemorrhoids, to name a few.
- Boosts milk production: The quality and quantity of milk supply depend on what you eat and drink.
- Promotes overall health: A well-balanced postpartum diet supports you as you embark on your journey as a new mom. Nevertheless, you can occasionally give in to your sweet tooth or junk food craving.
Understandably, you would want to treat yourself after a struggle that lasted longer than the average Major League Baseball season.
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The Best Postpartum Food
A nutritious postpartum diet is not entirely different from a standard healthy eating plan. Here is how it looks.
- Fruit like berries, citrus, mangoes, apples, bananas, and apples.
- Vegetables such as bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, kale, tomatoes, avocados, celery, carrots, cabbage, and leafy greens.
- Whole grains like oats, brown rice, whole-wheat bread, and quinoa.
- Low-fat proteins like poultry, fish, tofu, seeds, beans, nuts, and lentils.
- Fat-free dairy such as milk, eggs, cheese, and yogurt.
Nutrients You Must Include in Your Diet
Several lactating females fail to include this trace mineral in their diet. It applies more to those who do not eat dairy products, table salt, smoke, or consume food that inhibits iodine intake, like some cruciferous vegetables.
You must be curious as to why I am stressing about the inclusion of iodine. The reason is that it boosts infant growth and brain development. A lactating woman must have 290 micrograms regularly.
It is almost double the recommended daily amount (RDA) during the pre-pregnancy period. A quarter teaspoon of iodized table salt contains 76 micrograms. However, several sea salt brands do not add iodine.
So, you must check nutritional labels before purchasing the product. Some fantastic sources of iodine are seafood, cheese, milk, and yogurt.
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It is present in breast milk and helps develop a baby’s brain and nervous system. A lactating female needs more choline daily to restock her store and fulfill the baby’s requirements.
Women who do not take folic acid supplements stand at a higher risk of getting too little choline. The dietary sources of choline include poultry, meat, fish, dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Just like a woman needs this element during pregnancy, she should have 8 to 12 ounces of fish every week if she is lactating.
It would help if you opted for varieties low in mercury and high in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), sardines, anchovies, and trout. DHA is the most crucial nutrient for fetal brain development.
Under all circumstances, you must stay hydrated even if you are not breastfeeding. Your target should be eight to ten glasses of water every day. In addition, you must have water from food sources such as fruit and vegetables.
Even after your baby has switched to formula food, you will require around eight to ten glasses of water every day. It is an essential component of your recovery from childbirth.
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A Sample Postpartum Diet Plan
You can resort to the below-mentioned diet meal plan if you have trouble customizing your meals.
You can start your day with oatmeal and low-fat milk. Moreover, adding a half cup of melon for extra fiber, vitamins, and potassium would help immensely.
It is an important meal where you can include three to four ounces of light tuna made with hard-cooked egg for choline and celery on whole grain bread. Topping it with crispy romaine lettuce, an excellent vitamin A source, and tomato slices for vitamin C will make it a little more delicious.
Keeping snacks in the 200 to 300-calorie range is a wise option. Such a range would give the perfect energy boost between meals. You can try low-fat Greek yogurt with almonds, frozen berries, popcorn, and apple slices, or a smoothie with yogurt, spinach, fruit, or kale.
The last meal must be light for a sound sleep. You can combine 2 ounces of chicken with a cup of vegetables like cabbage, red bell pepper, broccoli, and carrots, along with a half or a quarter cup of cooked brown rice.
Always remember to drink fluids constantly throughout the day. If you cannot have water during meals, you must drink water between two meals. Also, you need to cut down on your caffeine intake and limit or avoid alcohol while breastfeeding.
Do not be tensed. A healthy postpartum diet is nowhere close to medicine. Invest in healthy eating and drinking, and grab sleep whenever you can and need to. Nothing works better than proper eating and sleeping patterns in healing your body while you nurture your little superstar.