Nutrition Tips for New Mothers
Without a doubt, the first few weeks with a new bub are among the most joyous of your life — but they are also the most demanding physically, mentally and emotionally. In the chaos of new motherhood, very rarely do mums take time for self-care or prioritise any of their needs, especially nutrition.
Eating well during this time is important for two reasons. Firstly, to recover from giving birth and secondly, to ensure energy levels are high to cope with the demands of a new baby. So, in an attempt to keep you at your best during this time, here are some simple nutrition tips to ensure your vitamin and nutrient intake is as good as it can be.
Prioritise your meals
Often new mums will start the day feeding bub and then forget or run out of time to eat until several hours later. Even though you may not be in the mood, grabbing a quick, nutrient-rich snack before your first feed is a great habit to develop when it comes to optimising your nutritional intake. Great ideas include a protein or nut-based snack bar, slice of toast with cheese or avocado, or even a glass of milk or yoghurt — all easy to eat while feeding your little one.
Focus on timing
When you are busy and fatigued, it is easy to forget about eating, or push it off until late in the afternoon. We are so hungry at this point that we may continue to eat and graze late into the night. Unfortunately, when it comes to weight control, this is the worst food pattern we can find ourselves in, as we naturally store more calories consumed at night.
To avoid late eating becoming a pattern, set a food cut off time, perhaps at 8.00pm or 9.00pm and then try not to eat again until early the next morning. If you do find yourself hungry overnight while feeding, the best options are lower carb snacks such as cheese, nuts or Greek yoghurt.
Know your quick and easy options
Most people don’t usually have time to think about food preparation in their day, let alone new parents. For at least a three-month period, become familiar with your quick and easy healthy meal options. BBQ chicken and vegetables, steamed fresh fish and even prepared meals from supermarkets are relatively healthy options that are much better for you than fast food or take away options.
When you have a new baby and someone offers to help you out, ask them to help with cooking or food preparation. Whether they drop off a meal, help you cook up some mince or vegetables, or send through some prepared meals, it is a smart way to utilise the help of others in a way that will truly take a weight off you.
Be gentle on yourself
The first few weeks of having a baby fly by so quickly and sometimes we can get too caught up worrying about small things. Ideally, we would look after our fitness and nutrition during this time, however this should not be the priority, and more importantly, you should not beat yourself up if you let these things slide slightly. Remember, there will be plenty of time to get your nutrition back on track once your baby is in a good feeding and sleeping routine.
About the Author
Marisa Nastasi is an Accredited Practising Dietitian. She specialises in children’s nutrition and has recently completed further studies in paediatric dietetics. She has worked in the industry for 8 years and has developed a strong working knowledge on how good quality diets can benefit the health of children so that they can develop to their full potential.