Postpartum Nutrition

postpartumThe postpartum period is often a blurrrrr… We are running on hormones and no sleep, and despite that we are rapidly transforming into incredible creatures – supermoms! We learn to change diapers in the dark, pee with a babe in arms, keep our cool when a mystery object in baby’s onsie turnsout to be a belly button. And we eat. Don’t we? Yes, I think so. We don’t have the resources to focus on our own nutrition, but we can ask others for help in this department, and we can also plan ahead as best as possible. Here are a few guidelines to follow, not only in the first 6 weeks postpartum, but also to continue as long as you’re breastfeeding.

Caloric intake should not fall below 1,800 Kcal/day + 500kcal/day if breastfeeding

The weight will come off. Don’t even consider dieting until a year postpartum. Your body is intelligent and is managing it’s weight in a specific way. Step back and let it regulate on its own. After a few weeks, when you’re feeling ready, focus more on getting you and baby outdoors for nature walks.

EAT MORE
  • Berries
  • Greens
  • Eggs
  • Bone broth
  • Fermented foods
    • Kombucha, fermented veggies (including saukeraut), apple cider vinegar
  • Antioxidant-rich foods
    • cacao, pomegranate, blueberry, herbs, goji berries, turmeric, clove, cinnamon, oregano, cumin, parsley, basil, ginger, thyme, pumpkin seeds, chia, dark chocolate, red wine, brazil nuts, hemp hearts, coconut oil, rooibos teas, nutritional yeast, seaweed
  • Healthy fats
    • Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, seeds
  • Mushrooms
  • Garlic + onions
  • Fish: large 1-2x per week {cod, haddock, pollock, shrimp, tilapia}
  • Lots of fibre + WATER to keep BMs regular and easy
POSTPARTUM SMOOTHIE
  • postpartum-smoothie1/2 cup frozen berries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • handful kale/spinach
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • Option to add: cacao nibs +/or goji berries
DIETARY CALCIUM

Some fantastic dairy free sources are broccoli, collard greens, spinach, turnip greens, kale, beet greens, almonds, sesame seeds, brazil nuts, sardines, and salmon.

Chia seeds are also a very rich source of calcium, omega 3 and fibre

WHAT TO AVOID
  • postpartum-strawberryMercury-containing fish {tuna only 1x/week, no shark, swordfish,
  • PCB-containing fish {farm-raised salmon, herring, and sardines}
  • Phytic acid {sprout grains}
  • Dirty dozen {ONLY BUY ORGANIC}
    • Strawberries, apples, nectarines, peaches, celery, grapes, cherries, spinach, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, hot peppers, kale, collard greens
HERBS
  • Red raspberry
    • to tone the uterus and get everything back in place
  • Fennel tea
    • to improve digestion and digestive health of babe
  • Licorice tea
    • to support adrenal function to help you cope with these new challenges
SELF CARE
  • postpartum-careExercise
  • Drink LOTS of fluid {up to 4L/day}
  • STRESS
    • Eliminating what you can
    • Accepting and managing what you can’t
  • Practice gratitude
  • Be creative
  • Time in nature
  • Laughter
  • Epsom salt + herb bath
  • Massage – breastfeeding posture can wreck your neck and back. Do your best to keep your spine aligned, but for those all-night hunched nursing sessions, book a massage to work it out.
SUPPLEMENTS
  • Prenatal
    • Your diet should give you what you need, but a prenatal will act as a safety net to make sure you’re not being stripped of important nutrients.
  • Vitamin D
    • If you have adequate vitamin D levels (150 nmol/L) your baby gets enough vitamin D via the breastmilk. If it’s lower than that your doctor will recommend that the baby be given vitamin D drops. I believe it’s better to supplement the mom to use her as a filter for any unwanted components in the vitamin D supplement, but also because her body will make sure that the baby is getting exactly the right dose (versus eyeballing it with a ballpark number of drops per day).
  • Omega 3 fish oil
    • This is important for baby’s neurological development.
  • Calcium magnesium
    • You need an extra 250mg calcium per day. This is in addition to the 1000mg per day you should be getting in your diet. It’s helpful to check with a nutrition assessment tool like My Fitness Pal to make sure you’re achieving this.
  • Probiotic
    • Can help with digestion and immune function, at a time when sleep deprivation can lead to stomach upset and increased susceptibility to colds.
  • B complex
    • B vitamins are important for many things, including your stress response. Not sleeping is a stressor. So if you’re not sleeping much, you need to support your adrenal glands. B vitamins can help with this.

 

6-WEEKS POSTPARTUM
  • postpartum-pelvic-floorPelvic physiotherapy
    • To make sure everything is moving back into place. This is especially important if you’re experiencing urinary, bowel or pelvic pain issues.
  • Well child check-up
    • This is the right time to bring your babe in to meet his/her new Naturopathic Doctor, and also a great time to share your birth story and make sure that everything is getting back on track.