Eating Well Postpartum: The Basics

eatwellpostpartumfeaturedIf your like most new mothers, your preparation for motherhood starts as soon as you get that first confirmation of pregnancy. Between, doctors visits, child birthing classes and baby registries there is more than enough prep work to be done.

But most parents, especially after the first week or so, will make it clear. No matter how much you try to prepare, its almost impossible to truly know what to expect until baby is actually born and you are actively parenting.

That said, taking care to eat well after giving birth can help ease postpartum recovery and transition from pregnant to parenting. By getting plenty of rest, water and good food, you will give your body the fuel it needs to recover from pregnancy and childbirth and support lactation.

Experts strongly recommend against dieting while breastfeeding because the postpartum woman needs an additional 300-500 calories to support healthy lactation. The source of these calories is also very important and most dietitians agree that a wholesome meal plan of nutrient dense foods is optimal for the breastfeeding duo.

 Ali Segersten of nourishingmeals.com shares her guidelines for healthy lactation and postpartum nourishment:
Good foods to nourish a postpartum mom:

Plenty of purified water
Wild salmon
Organic chicken and vegetable soup with plenty of fresh herbs
Greens!! Fresh salad greens, dark leafy greens, and green smoothies
Sweet vegetables (yams, squash, carrots, beets)
Raw nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds)
Raw almond butter
Whole grains (quinoa, amaranth, oats, sweet brown rice, millet, teff)
Organic berries
Sea vegetables
Lentils
Carminative herbs and spices (cumin, cardamom, fenugreek, ginger, mint, fennel seeds)
Raspberry leaf tea (raspberry leaf along with fennel help to contract the uterus)
Nettle tea enriches and increases milk production
Healthy fats (avocado, extra virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, fresh flax or fish oil)
Foods to avoid during the postpartum period (may cause upset in newborn baby):

Dairy products
Citrus fruit, especially juices
Peanuts
Heavily spiced foods
Beef
Raw garlic and onions
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage)
Wheat / Gluten
Refined soy products
Caffeine (coffee, tea, soda)
Chocolate
Prenatal vitamins (the iron may be irritating to baby)
As a postpartum doula, I use Ali’s list as a general guide when preparing meal plans for my clients. I also take into account any allergies or dietary restrictions the family may have.
What do you think of  this list? I’d love to hear your tips or recipes for healthy postpartum eating!

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