After having some major food restrictions for nine months, you may be ready to begin enjoying all of your favorite food again, but there are still some nutrition needs your body will require from your postpartum body in order to fully recover; especially if you are breastfeeding.
The most important part of your postpartum diet is making sure your body gets enough calories every day. The calories and nutrients will go to your breast milk before it goes to you, so upping those calories to ensure both you and baby get enough is important. You may not be completely eating for two anymore, but you are still providing nutrients to two bodies.
Aim to consume between 300 and 500 more calories per day than you did before you were pregnant, dividing those between protein, carbs, and fat. You can always consult your doctor on exactly how many calories you should eat every day.
Protein is one of the most important things you need to have in your postpartum diet. You should try to eat at least an extra 25 grams, or five to seven servings of protein every day. This is an important nutrient to help your body recover from giving birth. It also helps promote cell growth and immune function in your baby.
Some great protein rich foods are milk, yogurt, beef, turkey, eggs, nuts, beans, fish, and tofu.
Calcium is another vital nutrient for you and baby. Your baby needs it for their growing bones, and since your body has lower estrogen levels when you are nursing, the extra calcium can help protect your bones from osteoporosis. You should aim for about 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily, which is about three servings.
Many new mothers tend to cut dairy out if their baby is gassy, spitting up, or fussy, but you should not do that right away. The baby’s system is adjusting to life outside the womb, so it is going to take a little time before the baby’s body sorts itself out.
Iron is what helps your body make new blood cells, so if you lost a lot of blood in your delivery, this is an especially important nutrient for you. It is recommended that lactating women consume nine milligrams of iron daily.
Red meat and poultry are high in iron, and it can also be found in dark chocolate, black beans, lentils, spinach, and kale. If you are vegan, you may want to consult your doctor about a good supplement to ensure your body is getting enough iron.
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are full of nutrients, but low in calories. One way that is often recommended to ensure your body gets enough fruit and vegetables is to fill half of your plate with them at every meal. Keeping them handy as snacks is also important.
You can get Vitamin C from citrus fruits, as well as bell peppers, broccoli, and snow peas. Vitamin A, another important nutrient, can be found in tomatoes, carrots, spinach, and sweet potatoes.
While this is not a vitamin, keeping hydrated is important for your recovering body, especially if you are breastfeeding. Try to drink 10 to 15 glasses of water a day. Not only will that keep you hydrated, it will also help your body produce enough breast milk. Your body will also rebuild and regenerate faster with extra fluids.
These are just some of the basic foods you can have to keep your body healthy after giving birth. Your doctor can provide you with more detailed information based on your body and your baby’s specific needs.