After nine months of being conscious of what you eat, it’s easy to fall into post-pregnancy binging. However, it’s critical for new moms to eat and stay healthy because they will need plenty of strength and energy over the coming months. We’ve asked Nurture Network resident nutritionist, Ms. Nieves Serra, on diet and nutrition concerns that moms may have after giving birth.
How should a mom look at nutrition after giving birth?
If you made some lifestyle changes for a healthy pregnancy, keep them! Perhaps you stopped smoking, or you ate more vegetables, fruits, or whole grains, or drank more milk. There is no particular food that is best after pregnancy. A well-balanced diet is necessary after the baby has been delivered.
All nutrients necessary for mothers prior to delivering the baby stay important after pregnancy.
Are there any particular foods that are best for the post-baby body?
Ms. Serra discussed that breastfeeding mothers need more calories. It is best to consume carbohydrates, proteins, and essential fatty acids when consuming said calories. This means including a variety of seafood high in omega-3 fatty acids in particular, DHA. This is to increase the DHA present in breast milk while keeping methylmercury low. Food cooked with broth, with moringa, or with malunggay leaves also help in breast milk production.
Milk, leafy green vegetables, and fish with edible bones provide calcium. Seafood gives zinc. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products have vitamin B12 and vitamin D to offer. Fortified grain products, and fruits and vegetables have folate to offer. Protein sources supply vitamin B6.
Our nutritionist recommends to avoid eating strongly flavored foods such as onions, garlic, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, spicy foods, and beans as these may give breast milk an unfamiliar flavor.
Is it okay to go on a diet to help lose post-pregnancy pounds?
For continued health, returning to pre-pregnancy weight slowly and steadily is important. Losing ‘baby weight’ may require a shift in lifestyle, not just in your eating pattern. Always eat a well balanced meal. Physical activity is part of the strategy. Start with walking together with your baby in a stroller, then work your way up to more strenuous activities.
What are good food to snack on when there is little time to prepare?
Ms. Serra said that the following make for good and quick snacks: peanut butter sandwich, egg sandwich, boiled sweet potatoes and bananas, boiled corn on the cob, fruits in season, and fresh fruit juice.
Is freezing meals for me and the family ahead of time a safe option?
Freezing meals may be done. Make sure to allocate the amount necessary per meal. Place meals in a clean covered container. Frozen meals must be eaten after 2 to 3 days only and thawed in the microwave oven.
- Ms. Nieves Serra Nutrition and Dietetics
- Duyff, Roberta Larson, “American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide”, John Wiley and Sons, 2012, USA