Hi Moms! My name is Danielle Shea Tan, Certified Holistic Health and Lifestyle Coach and Founder of Healthy Mamas for Happy Families. Mom Meet Mom was kind enough to invite me to write another guest blog post on simple nutrition tips for the new mom. Since giving birth only 13 months ago, I personally have experienced the benefits of rapid healing by making small nutrition and lifestyle changes to support my body after pregnancy, labor and delivery.
I never expected to feel any different after having a baby, but today (one year later) I feel more powerful than ever. Growing and delivering a baby is more taxing on the mind and body than I ever imagined. But, now I am a mother, a goddess. Hear me roar! (Now, you roar. Go on. Do it. It feels good!)
As moms, we know personally how strong and resilient the female body is. Through 40 weeks of pregnancy, our muscles have been stretched and stressed from hormones and added weight. Then during labor and delivery, our body is challenged with a multitude of taxing experiences from sheer physical exhaustion, blood loss, rapid hormonal changes to toxin exposure from antibiotics and/or pain medications. This is all within hopefully a 48-hour period or less!
Healing our minds and bodies from these intense experiences can take up to 12 months or longer. Keeping in mind we may appear healed on the outside, but internally our bodies and minds still need extra TLC to rebuild and strengthen back to pre-baby health. Fortunately, new moms (and their partners!) can take simple steps to promote healthy healing and strengthening. Below are five simple nutrition tips to support the new mom after baby is born:
1. Replenish your blood. You’ve likely lost 1-2 pints of blood through delivery either via c-section or vaginally. It can take your body 1-3 months to fully regenerate red blood cells depending on how much blood is lost. During this process, you can expect more fatigue and an increased risk of infection. Help your body rebuild blood stores quickly by consuming highly absorbable iron from food sources and combining these iron-rich foods with foods containing vitamin C or lactic acid to ensure absorption occurs. Lastly, do what ever it takes to drink at least ½ your body weight in ounces of water.
Simple nutrition steps to replenish your blood:
- Make a smoothie that contains frozen spinach or kale and strawberries
- Make a healthy bowl containing whole grains like rice or quinoa, broccoli and red peppers
- Install an alarm or an app on your phone to remind you to drink water
2. Boost your immune system. As your body heals from pregnancy and delivery, it’s using all of its energy to regenerate tissue and blood cells, regulate hormones and for many moms, produce milk. That means it has less energy to fight off infection and illness. Typically, this wouldn’t be much of an issue because when we sleep our bodies can work overtime on healing. But, since most new moms are sleep deprived (if you aren’t please don’t tell anyone) their bodies aren’t getting the proper time to heal. As a new mom, you don’t want to get sick from a cold or stomach bug if you can help it. Take steps to boost your immune system naturally by consuming foods containing vitamin C, the healthy immune system vitamin (read here for the amazing immunity boosting benefits of vitamin C), allicin, a natural antibacterial and anti-viral phytonutrient, and foods containing natural probiotics and fiber to promote healthy digestion the key to a strong immune system (read here for more details on the connection between a healthy digestive tract and our immune system.)
Simple nutrition steps to boost your immune system:
- Snack on red bell peppers, strawberries or kiwi which contain high levels of vitamin C
- Eat guacamole since it usually has raw onion and garlic which contain allicin
- Add kefir which contains high levels of probiotics to the smoothie you’ll drink for replenishing your blood
3. Get energy naturally. I know you are stinkin’ exhausted. I get it. And, I’ve lived it way too recently (my one year old just started sleeping through night on occasion.) When we’re tired, our bodies naturally crave sugar and caffeine to give us energy. This wouldn’t be a problem if we actually did get energy from these things, but we don’t. In fact, both caffeine and sugar require the body to use more energy to break them down thus leaving us more tired and fatigued after the initial jolt we experience from consumption. The first step to getting energy naturally is ensuring you’re consuming adequate nutrients and calories, especially if you are breastfeeding. With an infant around, we’re often so focused on them that we forget to eat. This practice is sure to deplete your energy and cause fatigue. Instead focus on eating nutrient dense foods throughout the day so you’re regularly providing your body a jolt of energy.
Simple nutrition steps to get energy naturally:
- Eat avocados by the spoonful since they’re packed essential nutrients and healthy fats
- Keep baked sweet potatoes in the fridge for easy access
- Add chia seeds your smoothie; the contain essential b vitamins to boost energy
- Swap green tea for coffee if you need a stable, healthy boost
Bonus Tip: Rest. Rest. Rest. Forget the dishes, the laundry or whatever else is causing you to not rest and sleep. It will all be there tomorrow so no need to rush and do it today. Eat off compostable paper plates if it means you’ll sleep more. Spend $20 and drop your laundry at a wash & fold laundry center.
Want to learn more about becoming healthy post-baby? MomMeetMom readers get 15% off my upcoming program, The Power of Mom (use discount code MMM15). The Power of Mom is a virtual group coaching program where you and a group of moms will take simple, easy steps to achieve your health goals and transform the health of your family for the long-term. In the meantime, you can also follow me on my blog, Facebook and Pinterest.
Visit www.healthymamasforhappyfamilies.com for more information on my nutrition and lifestyle coaching services and to receive a free gift that will help you along your healthy lifestyle journey.