FiberThe first bowel movement after delivery is gonna come whether you like it or not. If you had an episiotomy, tear, or C-section it can be particularly uncomfortable to go to the bathroom. Also, your doctor or midwife may have prescribed you pain medications which can slow everything down even more. Make it easier by eating foods that have a lot of fiber. Beans, fruits, veggies, and whole grains can help. Also talk to your doc about a stool softener before you leave the hospital.
FrequencyEat often, at least every 3-4 hours. It is easy to forget to eat when you have a new baby but you really need good nutrition now more than ever. Think about all the hard work your body just did during pregnancy and labor. On top of all that, your body is working to make milk for your baby. All of this healing, milk making, and recovering require energy, and food is your energy. If you find that you are not eating at least 3 meals a day, eat a little something every time your baby eats as a reminder. It doesn’t have to be a lot, maybe a yogurt, a piece of fruit, or a granola bar here and there. Eating frequently also helps keep your blood sugar level which can help with your mood. When those baby blues come, being hungry can just make everything worse.ProteinIf you are nursing your body requires more protein than when you were pregnant! Protein is also necessary to heal any stitches or c-section incisions you may have. Try to get some sort of meat (or meat substitute if you are a vegetarian) at least once a day during your postpartum recovery. Eat plenty of other proteins like eggs, nuts and peanut butter, and dairy products. Eating plenty of protein will also help your body replenish your iron stores, which are often low from pregnancy and delivery.
FluidsKeep a water bottle by you and sip throughout the day. In addition to fiber, plenty of fluids will also help with constipation. If you are nursing you may find that you are especially thirsty. Make sure you have a drink by you before you sit down to breastfeed. Dehydration can also cause feelings of fatigue which we all know you do not need any more of as a new mom!
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Nutrition for Postpartum Healing
Ok Mommas, you had your baby and tried your best to eat healthy throughout pregnancy. Now you are living in a fog of sleepless nights and dirty diapers. But what you eat now in the postpartum stage can really make a difference in how well you recover and how much energy you have to care for yourself and your baby. There are some important nutrition factors to consider whether you delivered vaginally or had a C-Section: fiber, frequency, protein, and fluids.
If you are pregnant and getting close to your due date, try to stock up on easy to make meals and make sure you have some groceries and snacks in the house. If anyone asks if you need anything, ask them to bring you meals after you have the baby!
The postpartum time is a time to bond with your baby and heal yourself. Accept help from everyone who offers! And remember: try to rest as much as you possibly can and don’t worry about your messy house for now. You are doing the most important thing by feeding and caring for your newborn and yourself.
- Allison Leonard, RD