Postpartum is the phase when both you and your baby need extra surveillance and consistent monitoring. That’s because, during this phase, you recover from the delivery process, and your child gets strong to live in this beautiful world. So, you must take good care of your health and eat a nutritious diet.
A postpartum diet must include balanced food like lean meats, fibre-rich items, low-fat dairy, vegetables, fruits, and more. Besides that, there are several other things to include in a healthy diet after giving birth. Here’s a quick overview:
Keep Yourself Hydrated
Hydration is one of the most crucial aspects during postpartum, especially for lactating mothers. That’s because lactating mothers are at high risk of dehydration. Also, hydration helps to deal with the regular body changes after childbirth. That’s why it’s not worth missing out on the same.
Water helps to transfer nutrients to the baby. It further helps the mother to absorb and transport vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients easily. So, it’s recommended to drink water at regular intervals throughout the day.
If not water, you can try other modes of hydration, like milk and fruit juices. While milk can be a great source of protein and calcium, pure fruit juice without any added colour, sugar or preservatives is packed with nutrients. You can choose either of them for your hydration. However, try to avoid drinks with caffeine or keep them in moderation.
Eat Fish But Not High Mercury Ones
Fishes are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and DHA, and you can definitely include them in your diet. However, stay clear of any high-mercury fish, as it can affect both you and your child’s health. When a lactating mother consumes mercury-rich fishes like mackerel, shark, swordfish and orange roughy, the mercury in them gets transferred to the breast milk.
In fact, it’s said that breast milk consists of about one-third of the mercury in the mother’s blood. This mercury then eventually gets transferred to the infant during breastfeeding and affects their brain/nervous system development.
Instead of mercury-rich fish, you can try salmon, sardines, and lake trout. Not only are they low in mercury, but they are also quite rich in protein, vitamins B-12 and D, and more.
Avoid Alcohol During Postpartum
You may know about the effects of alcohol during pregnancy, it’s the same for the postpartum period too. You shouldn’t drink alcohol after your delivery as it can decrease your milk production and reduce the breastfeeding duration.
Alcohol can stay inside the body for several hours. It can eventually transfer from the mother to the baby and affect their brain and spinal development. In fact, its excessive use in mothers can also disrupt the baby’s sleep pattern and overall development.
When the mother drinks alcohol, its concentration in her blood and breast milk is equal. This alcohol can enter the baby’s body during breastfeeding and can affect the baby’s sensitive brain, which is still in the developmental stage. So, drinking during postpartum is a big no-no!
However, you can start moderate alcohol consumption after the first six weeks of delivery. Make sure to consult your doctor before you include alcohol (in any form) in your diet.
Take Postnatal Vitamins
Postpartum is like recovery after pregnancy, that’s why you should add essential multivitamins to your diet during this time period. Ask your doctor whether a postnatal vitamin while breastfeeding would be beneficial for you. Take vitamins that are rich in folate, Vitamin D, DHA, and iodine.
Your doctor may prescribe multivitamin during the breastfeeding period or beyond that, as required. If you’re not breastfeeding, it’s recommended to take postnatal vitamins until six weeks of postpartum. As postnatal vitamins can fill the dietary gaps for both you and your child, it isn’t worth missing out. However, do not self-medicate, and ask your gynaecologist about the vitamins.
Eat Protein and Iron rich Food.
Postpartum requires a diet rich in both protein and iron. Not only does it help you during the childbirth process, but it also adds strength to your body. It can boost cell growth and keep your immune function intact.
The thumb rule is to add about 25 grams or five to seven servings of protein daily. However, it’s best to ask your dietitian and gynaecologist about the same. You can include food rich in protein, like seafood, eggs, soy-based products, beans, and lean meats. While you can consume protein through food, avoid taking supplements like shakes and powders.
After postpartum, you can go iron-deficient due to anaemia. This may eventually lead to health implications like fatigue, lack of strength, and depressive symptoms. That’s why you should consume iron-rich food like chicken, fish, eggs, meat, fortified grains, etc. These foods can help in quick recovery and make up for blood loss during childbirth.
Meanwhile, avoid eating junk food and empty calories. You can satisfy your unhealthy cravings with healthy options.
Don’t Get Overwhelmed With Your Weight Loss.
Pregnancy can make you gain a lot of weight. However, you shouldn’t go on any extreme diet immediately after your delivery. That’s because going on a vigorous diet can make you lose important nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. It can further reduce your body strength and contribute to fatigue.
Instead, wait for about eight weeks and let your body recover. Then, you can start a healthy diet with safe postpartum exercise to shed those extra kilos. You may also lose some weight automatically after delivery due to the loss of retained fluids. Additionally, breastfeeding can contribute to postpartum weight loss too. So, let your body re-adjust to its pre-pregnancy mode for healthy weight loss.
These are some of the diet tips you can try for your postpartum period. Try out these steps for a healthy, happening, and safe postpartum.