The postnatal phase entails a brand new feeling for new mothers or moms-to-be. There is a lot of excitement and nervousness. The most important thing for women at this time is to not lose sight of the nutritional requirements for the sake of their own health and that of their babies. The nine-month pregnancy period is tricky and the importance of postpartum nutrition cannot be overemphasised.
There are a few important things that women are prescribed during this time.
A proper daily intake of leafy greens, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh juices, lean meat and proteins is a must. Whole wheat bread and eggs add a healthy amount of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Folic acid, fibre and iron help improve the quality of breast milk. Vitamin C-rich orange juice helps in maintaining strength and boosts immunity to fight infections and ensures a healthy flow of milk for the baby.
It is natural for a new mother to feel tired. She needs to replenish all the blood lost during childbirth. So it is important to consume iron-rich foods for a lactating mother. This will also enable the child to have wholesome milk rich in nutrients that build its immune system. Consuming foods rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin B12, along with zinc and iron, is necessary. Consuming foods rich in fibres, vitamins and minerals can help the body get the required nutrients to feed and nourish the baby. Micro- and macro-nutrients are also recommended.
A new mother should avoid alcohol and cigarettes. Any kind of alcohol taken can freely enter breast milk, causing the infant to consume contaminated milk. Though studies show that only a small amount of alcohol enters breast milk, pregnant women are advised to stay away from drinking altogether. And if needed, it is considered safe to breastfeed first and then drink a glass of wine or two at the most.
Spicy foods are never good for our body. New mothers too should avoid these. Overly spicy foods or carbonated drinks like sodas cause gas in the stomach. It might also lead to acute pain in the abdomen. This directly causes a decline in the quality of breastmilk. Excessive caffeine might hamper the milk flow as well. Beverages like coffee and tea should also be consumed in moderation. It is better to take caffeine-free drinks when breastfeeding.
Despite going for wholesome and nutritious food, a new mother can be missing some important nutrients in her diet. So she can consider taking supplements. But do consult a doctor or a dietitian for a postpartum diet aided by supplements.
In addition to ensuring a nutritious diet, it is also very important to stay hydrated at all times. Drinking adequate amounts of plain water and fresh fruit juices will keep the body cool all day. While it is good to maintain a healthy and strict diet, you can have guilt-free snacks occasionally. Intermittent snacking is okay as long as you don’t feed excessive toxins into your body. While the postpartum period brings many changes to everyday life, it is a beautiful phase of life, and with some changes, it can be peaceful. Being cautious can keep the mom and her baby healthy and happy at all times.