Postpartum Nutrition (Guest Blog: Luka from boobtofood)
A lot of women I have spoken with (myself included) have agreed that when they start trying for a baby or became pregnant is when they started to delve deeper into their nutrition needs, habits and try to ‘clean up’ their diet. Suddenly our body is a vessel, our nutrition needs are not just our own and what we eat baby will beneﬁt from also.
However, we then have said beautiful baby, and suddenly our needs are second, third, fourth down the list! Eating to survive becomes priority as we give full attention and nourishment to our little ones, and i’m sure many new mums will remember ﬁnding their cold breakfast at 1pm that day that they didn’t get a chance to eat.
Unfortunately, this is a time that new mums nutritional needs are higher than ever - whilst recovering from labour and all it entails, or a major surgery such as caesarean section, often antibiotics, hormone surges, sleep deprivation, breastfeeding, anaemia, low iron stores, infections, wound healing - the list goes on. All these factors can lead to postnatal depletion which studies have shown can last for 10 years postpartum!
I would recommend seeing a naturopath in pregnancy and having some supplements ready to take postpartum (as its hard to ﬁnd the time to see one after). Some supplements I would recommend looking into:
1. Continue to take your prenatal vitamin (i would recommend a practitioner prescribed brand - I used Metagenics).
2. Magnesium - I would recommend a practitioner prescribed powder. Amazing to take in pregnancy also - assists with restlessness, insomnia, cramps, headaches and assists with hundreds of vital chemical reactions in the body.
3. Omega 3 DHA - Supplement and increase intake fo oily ﬁsh, beef, chia seeds, walnuts, salmon, ﬂaxseed, hemp, sunﬂower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
4. Vitamin D
5. B12/B9 - can supplement and increase foods like beef, eggs, legumes and broccoli
6. Iron- if you were on a supplement in pregnancy continue to take it until your 6 week check as its normal to lose up to 500ml of blood at birth, then continue to have vaginal bleeding (lochia) for up to 6 weeks - so your iron stores will naturally lower. Increase red meat, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, dark leafy vegetables.
7. Gut health - take a probiotic and increase intake of fermented foods such as kombucha, keﬁr, sauerkraut, keﬁr, cultured yoghurt, whey.
8. Protein - it is recommended a breastfeeding mother increase their protein intake by 15%. I would recommend a breastfeeding safe protein powder (personally I like Teresa cutter or Nutraorganics) - make sure it is a clean protein without additives. Protein powder is a great supplement to keep you full for longer (see my smoothie recipe below for an easy, quick and nutritious meal/snack).
I would also highly recommend that you use your maternity leave to pre-prepare some nutritious meals and freeze them, especially a bone broth! If your new to bone broth I would try chicken ﬁrst as it is more palatable. You can add this to meals or drink on its own! Its an amazing drink to have ﬁrst thing after having baby as its highly nutritious, easily digestible, incredibly high in minerals, boosts immunity and lines the digestive tract - there are a couple of recipes on my IG.