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Top 15 Foods New Mothers Need Plenty Of (#5 is So Easy to Make!)
If you recently gave birth, first off, congratulations! You probably followed your doctor’s instructions and ate a very healthy diet while you were pregnant, but do you know that you still need to continue that even after your baby is born? In order for your body to recover quickly from pregnancy and labor, you need to supply it with super foods every day.
If you are breastfeeding, this is even more important! Your baby will get all of his or her nutrition from you, and if your body isn’t being fed properly, your baby isn’t getting everything he or she needs for proper growth and development. A healthy diet will also stimulate your body to produce sufficient amounts of breast milk and replenish the nutrients that you lose.
The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months; however, the American Association of Pediatrics suggests a minimum of one year. Either way, your body is going to need some super nutrition for quite a bit longer, so you might as well start looking at all the best foods available.
To make certain that you and your precious new little one get all the nutrients that both of you need, be sure to add plenty of the following 15 super foods in your diet each week.
Keep reading so you can pick up more of your favorite super foods on your next shopping trip.
Newborns keep you busy, and finding time to cook is not always easy. Be sure to keep plenty of easy-to-reach-for foods in your kitchen so that you can replenish your body, even if you don’t have time to cook. Fruit is always a great choice when you are hungry and need a quick pick-me-up. Pears are loaded with fiber and natural sugars that will give you a burst of energy without the crash later on that junk foods cause. The high fiber in pears will keep your digestive system moving so you don’t become constipated. They are always a quick, easy choice and are loaded with nutrition. Always choose organic so that you don’t pass on any pesticide or herbicide residue to your baby.
You can’t beat eggs when it comes to high quality protein and the perfect balance of amino acids. Eggs will give you the strength and stamina to take care of both your baby and yourself. Egg yolks are one of the few foods that contain vitamin D, which is vital to the growth of your baby’s bones, as well as keeping your own bones and teeth strong. Eggs also contain choline, which builds the memory center of your little one’s brain. If baby’s schedule is keeping you out of the sunshine, eat two eggs each day. Hard-boiling eggs in advance is a great way to make egg salad, or simply slice them and eat them with a pinch of salt.
3. Drink, Drink, and Then Drink Some More!
In the first few weeks after giving birth, you will feel sleepy and become easily fatigued. This is completely normal, but if you are dehydrated, it will only amplify those feelings. This is the time to drink water like there is no tomorrow! This is perhaps one of the easiest ways to keep your energy levels high and your milk flowing. You might need as much as 13 eight-ounce glasses of water each day, so put a bottle in the diaper bag, in the baby’s room, in your bedroom, and keep plenty on hand in the fridge.
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4. Whole Grains
You probably hear this a lot, but whole grains really are super healthy for you. After you have had yet another virtually sleepless night, one of the best foods to help energize the body as well as regulate melatonin levels is something made form whole grain. Look for fortified whole grain cereals at your health food store. Cereal is a great meal any time of the day or night. It’s wholesome, loaded with important nutrients, and quick to make.
This is the most popular of all lactogenic foodstuffs. Oatmeal is a naturally high-fiber, whole grain food that is super easy for the body to digest. It takes only minutes to make and when you add a touch of raw honey (for you, never give honey to a baby!), some blueberries, and perhaps some milk, you have a breast milk producing meal that cannot be beat. If you are suffering from postnatal constipation, oatmeal will help to solve that problem. It is also high in iron, which can prevent iron deficiency anemia, a very common problem with new mothers.
6. Leafy Greens
Your momma told you to eat your greens, and now, as a new momma yourself, you should keep up that good habit. Leafy green vegetables, such as watercress, kale, and broccoli are loaded with vitamin A, which your baby absolutely needs. They are low in calories but full of vitamin C, iron, and calcium. Leafy greens are also full of heart healthy antioxidants, so you have lots of reasons to eat plenty of them every single day. Look for ways to add them to your diet.
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Wild caught salmon is highly recommended for new mothers due to its incredible nutritional value. This fatty fish contains a type of fat called DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which helps your baby develop a properly working central nervous system. It is also high in vitamin B12 and protein, and the omega- 3s have been shown in some studies to help prevent postpartum depression. Always look for wild caught salmon and try to eat two servings each week. If you are lucky, hubby will even cook it for you. Tell him to break out the grill.
Like pears, oranges are a great way to get a natural boost of energy without much work. Oranges are portable and loaded with vitamin C. If you can’t find time to peel an orange, sip on some unsweetened juice as you go about your day (or night!). You will find that you have more energy, and you can take comfort in knowing that your baby is getting his “C” as well.
9. Brown Rice
Whole grain carbs, such as brown rice, are something that all breastfeeding moms should include plenty of in their diets. Brown rice will help to keep your blood sugar levels stable so that you don’t crash. With stable blood sugar, you will have more consistent energy throughout the day. Brown rice has more essential nutrients and fiber than plain white rice, which will help to increase your supply of breast milk. Before you cook it, soak your rice in plain water for a few hours, then drain. This will make it cook faster, as well as making it easier for your body to digest.
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These are super important sources of protein. Legumes are foods such as beans, peas, peanuts, and lentils. Dark colored beans, such as black beans and kidney beans, are a great food for breastfeeding moms. They are budget-friendly, rich in iron, and, as we mentioned, contain protein! Try to add some legumes to your diet each day, even if it’s just a handful of peanuts.
We don’t like making absolute statements, because everyone’s body is different, but all new mothers should seriously consider including blueberries in their diet. This tasty fruit is overflowing with antioxidants, which fight free radical damage. Blueberries also have all the really important minerals and vitamins that a new mother needs. They are also great for boosting energy levels, because they contain healthy carbs. Eat one or servings of blueberries every day to help your body recover from the stress of being a new mom.
12. Lean Beef
If you have been feeling like a snail in molasses, you are not alone. Most new mothers feel worn out much of the time. This is why you should include iron-rich foods such as lean beef. Many new mothers have iron deficiencies, which will leave you feeling drained. When you are breastfeeding, you need to eat extra protein and get plenty of vitamin B12. Free range, lean beef will provide you with all of the above.
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Almonds are another great snack food that will give you some essential nutrients that new mothers and their babies really need. Almonds contain vitamin E and omega- 3s, which increase your milk supply as well as providing calcium and protein. To increase breast milk production, soak 4 to 6 shelled almonds in water overnight, and then eat them the next morning. You should also eat a handful or so during the day as a super food super snack!
This herb isn’t as well known here in the US, but it is super helpful to new mothers! Fenugreek will increase breast milk production as well as ease digestive problems such as gas and constipation. Both the seeds and the leaves of this plant should be included in your diet. You can soak one tablespoon of the seeds in one cup of water overnight. In the morning, boil the seeds and the water for a couple of minutes, strain out the seeds, and then drink the water. Fenugreek has saponins and choline, both of which your baby needs for proper development.
This is another super food that all new mothers should consume, as it can help prevent colic! Everyone wants to avoid a painful episode of colic, and this is an easy way to do just that. Fennel will also increase your breast milk as well as improve your digestion. You can chew one teaspoon of fennel seeds after each meal, or make a fennel tea by boiling two teaspoons of seeds in four cups of water. Allow the mixture to simmer for about 5 minutes, cover it, and turn off the heat. Once it is cool enough to drink, strain it, and add a teaspoon of honey to taste. Drink this tea once a day.
Just one more note about food: although most new mothers are concerned about regaining their pre-pregnancy body, resist the urge to diet. Rest assured that if you are eating a healthily, slowly but surely, your weight will return to a more normal level. When you are breastfeeding, your body needs more calories. Despite what you might have seen from some television celebrity, you should focus on feeding yourself and your baby the healthiest, most energizing foods possible. Never cut back on calories until you get the OK from your doctor. Enjoy this time with your newborn, rather than focusing on your weight.