Nourishing Your Body After Giving Birth & During Postpartum
A woman's nutrition is just as important after giving birth as it is during pregnancy. And because of this the postpartum period following childbirth is not a time for us to go on a "diet" or restrict calories.
I know it may be tempting to jump into a diet as soon as possible with the hopes of losing weight and regaining your pre-baby body. But I strongly urge women to focus less on weight loss and more on rebuilding our nutrient stores and supplying nutrient-dense breastmilk to our baby!
The extra weight your body gained during pregnancy actually serves a purpose -- it protects you and serves as an energy storehouse for you and your baby.
Breastfeeding your baby places higher calorie energy and nutrient demands on your body. Your body is providing fuel to a quickly growing tiny human. Your baby will be growing faster and moving more than they were in the womb, which means they need more nutrition from you.
The recommended intake for micronutrients is based on what is excreted through your breast milk. Your calorie needs may be higher if you have an underlying issue, or are healing from a very traumatic birth.
The estimated additonal calorie needs for a breastfeeding mom is about 500-700 more calories per day. Focus on eating highly nutrient-dense foods and less on counting calories. If you are severely restricting calories in an effort to lose weight you will not only compromise your milk supply, but also create stress on your body.
What If I'm Not Breastfeeding?
There are many reasons why a woman may not breastfeed. If you are not breastfeeding, you still require a diet high of high-quality foods to help your body heal and to prevent issues from arising.
On a seperate but related note, your relationship with breastfeeding is between you and your baby. Sure, we all know that breastfeeding is best, but in reality it doesn't always work out for every mom.
Nutrition Necessities for Healthy Mom and Baby
- Eat when you're hungry.
- Choose nutrient-dense real whole foods.
- Avoid "junk" or processed foods. When in doubt, avoid food in packaging.
- Eat protein and fat with every meal
- Don't skip meals
- Carry healthy snacks with you
- Ask a friend to make a meal delivery registry for you
- Aim for 6-10 serving of vegetables daily
I hope this helps you to trust your post-baby body, and to trust the process. Be gentle with yourself, and focus instead on optimizing every cell in your body. If you don't things can take a turn real fast, because nutrient deficiencies lead to hormonal imbalances, postpartum mood disorders, low energy, unwanted weight issues, overwhelm, hair thinning and a drop in your breastmilk supply.
I see this so often in my practice with women.
So, eat well momma!
If you're interested in my support and wellness coaching during your postpartum time, reply to blog and let's chat.