5 Practical Nutrition Tips For New Moms

If you’re becoming a mom for the first time, it can be difficult to keep your life under control. Tending to the needs of your newborn coupled with the stress and exhaustion that comes childbirth demands that you recover as soon and possible. The best way to do that is to give your body all the nourishment it needs to repair, rebuild, and recover. Here are 5 practical tips you can use as a new mom.

1. Prioritize Protein

As a new mom, you could experience intense and constant hunger during your postpartum months. With your newborn child needing your attention, you cannot always afford to take snack breaks and neither can you stay hungry. To solve this problem, you can focus on foods that increase satiation and also help in healing and repairing tissue. This is why it makes sense to include more protein in your meals. If you have 20 to 30 grams of protein in each meal and have four such meals a day, you will be more satisfied with your food intake and will be less likely to snack in between meals.

Be sure to include healthy protein foods such as lean meat and chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, soy foods, and pulses. Have at least two portions of fish a week, including some oily fish. Also, it’s not practical to measure the amount of protein every time you have a meal. Instead, you can have a portion of protein that is about the size of your palm. You could also include dairy foods, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt as they contain calcium and are a source of protein.1

2. Eat To Support Recovery

Going through pregnancy and giving birth is an intense experience which puts your body through a period of stress. This makes recovery and long and difficult process, especially since you now also need to care for your newborn and maybe your other children. Doing all this while you’re dealing with sleep deprivation can be very challenging.

By eating the right food that contains a balanced mix of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, you can help your body recover faster. Having minimally processed food that is rich in nutrients can provide valuable fuel to your body which is in a state of depletion as part of the birthing process.

Many breastfeeding mothers also wonder if they should be eating more because they’re worried if the newborn is getting enough nutrition, but the answer is no. You can take in the same number of calories that you did before becoming pregnant.2 This strategy helps with weight loss after birth.

The Dietary Guidelines For Americans recommendation for caloric intake for all women 19 to 50 years old are based on activity level, as follows:

Sedentary: 1,800 to 2,000 calories per day
Moderately active: 2,000 to 2,200 calories per day
Active: 2,200 to 2,400 calories per day

Women who are not trying to lose weight following pregnancy should supplement the above DGA calories per day by 450 to 500 calories.3 But whether or not to increase caloric intake during breastfeeding is a decision that should be made with the assistance of a healthcare provider.

3. Eat More Veggies

There can be no dispute that vegetables are among the healthiest foods you can eat as a mother. A healthy diet includes at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day, including fresh, frozen, tinned and dried fruit and vegetables, and no more than one 150ml glass of 100% unsweetened juice. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and several other micronutrients that help your body replenish itself.

You can have them as salads along with your protein but if you don’t have the time, you can even go for smoothies that can be made in no time. If you find it difficult to eat veggies, start with three daily servings of veggies and push it to four to five servings.

4. Do Not Fight The Cravings

Every new mother has to deal with cravings before and after childbirth. During the postpartum months, cravings largely arise due to lack of sleep and high stress which make you crave for foods that are sugary and high in carbs.

The best way to deal with these cravings is to opt for protein and vegetables instead to keep you full. You can also try having smaller meals through the day so that you don’t experience hunger. However, if you have a severe craving for a particular food, don’t stop yourself from eating it. Trying to avoid your craving too much may result in binge eating at a later point.

If you know that you are craving for something that high in calories and not very healthy like cake or ice cream, make sure you have a decent portion size that satisfies your craving but does not leave you overfull or bloated. Getting cravings is completely normal when you’ve just given birth and are caring for your newborn. So don’t be too hard on yourself. Make healthy choices when you can and give in if the craving is strong. As you recover over the weeks and months post your pregnancy, the cravings will also settle and you will get back to your normal diet.

5. Keep It Simple

The last thing to remember is to keep things simple and not get overworked about your health and diet. As a new mom, you need to take things easy and relax as much as possible. Nature has made sure that your body has the ability to bounce back after pregnancy.

As a new mother, you will also find that your instincts become sharper and if you trust yourself, you will always know to do the right thing. Take the time to enjoy this special period in your life without worrying too much about getting every single detail right. Remember, becoming a mother is a process of learning.