Good nutrition is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for new mamas who are recovering from the strain pregnancy and childbirth put on their body, and possibly also breastfeeding! Nutritionist Fleur Bugeja gives us her recommendations below...
It’s important to stay away from fad diets and calorie counting, and focus more on getting enough of the good stuff and limiting the junk. You need to get plenty of calories, but most of those calories should come from whole foods. This means focusing on nutrient-rich foods, such as:
If your cabinets and refrigerator are full of healthy foods, you’ll be more likely to eat the way you should be eating. Planning ahead and cooking in bulk can save you time and help you avoid convenience foods. Make a list of healthy choices and stick to it when you go to the grocery store. Don't shop when you’re hungry if you can avoid it. Also, read labels and avoid processed foods with more than five easily identifiable ingredients.
It’s important to choose healthy snacks, such as whole, fresh fruit, nuts, fresh vegetables, cottage cheese, and whole-grain crackers. Remember to watch your portions and limit your intake of unhealthy snacks.
Staying hydrated is important for everyone, but especially for new mums. Be sure to drink enough water throughout the day, and keep a glass of liquid near your favorite breastfeeding spot.
Breastfeeding mothers or women who are pumping breast milk frequently ask if there are special dietary considerations during this time. In most cases, the answer is no. Nutrition for breastfeeding mothers should consist of a well-balanced diet and enough liquids. Although shedding the extra weight gained during pregnancy may be one of your concerns, strict weight-loss programs are not recommended, especially during the first few months of breastfeeding!
There are no special diets a breastfeeding mother must eat, but the following suggestions may help you focus on your eating patterns while breastfeeding:
Experts recommend that you eat at least 2,000 calories per day while breastfeeding, with your optimal caloric intake being 500 calories above what was recommended for you before you became pregnant (for total calories between 2,300 and 2,700). Make sure to eat foods from the following food categories:
Other nutrition considerations for breastfeeding mothers include:
In conclusion, despite the instinct to focus mainly on your newborn, taking care of your nutrition is crucial as a new mama. A balanced diet with adequate fluids, good sources of protein and whole foods and enough calories is key to supporting your body's recovery after pregnancy and birth, and to adequately support breastfeeding.
Should you like to book a personalised consultation regarding your pregnancy or postpartum nutrition, the author Fleur Bugeja (State Registered Nutritionist, MSc. Weight Management, BSc. (Hons.) Physiotherapy, P.G. Dip. Nutr. & Diet., SRP) can be contacted on [email protected] or on +356 79314049.