As a nutritionist and a Mum myself, I believe that there just isn’t enough of a focus on how new mums can nourish themselves after pregnancy. Labour can leave you short on nutrients (particularly if you’ve had a long labour or lost a lot of blood), so eating a balanced diet will help with the healing process, optimise energy levels and mood and support milk flow if you are breastfeeding.
Here are some quick tips for looking after yourself during those first few weeks as a new parent.
Consume foods rich in the amino acid tryptophan (which is a building block for serotonin) to helps support those baby blues. Great examples include chicken, turkey, salmon oats, lentils, avocado.
Invest in a slow cooker – if you’re super organised you can even start batch cooking/freezing portions of things like soups, stews and casseroles in the weeks before your baby is due.
Do not put any unnecessary pressure on yourself to lose the baby weight! As new Mum’s, we live in a culture that expects us to ‘bounce back’ shortly after giving birth. However, now is not the time to be restricting calories or doing any strenuous exercise that could put added stress on your body. Instead, enjoy those first precious months with your new baby and give yourself some credit for bringing new life into this world!
Stay hydrated. The first sign of dehydration is tiredness so make sure you drink enough water every day to help reduce fatigue. Drinking enough water is also really important for Mum’s who are breastfeeding so make sure you have a glass of water next to you before a feed.
Get your nutrient levels checked by your GP. It’s common to experience nutrient deficiencies post labour such as low levels of vitamin D and iron (especially if you are breastfeeding). So, if after a few weeks, you are still feeling under par – request a blood test from your GP to make sure your nutrient levels are all optimal.