Congratulations! You’ve made it! Baby is here and you’re finally on the “other side”. Whether this is your first or fifth pregnancy, you’re probably craving a little balance now that your new babe has arrived. The postpartum period officially ends around 8 weeks after delivery, but for most mama’s this period seems to stretch on much longer. The postpartum period is filled with many physical and emotional highs and lows and figuring out how to navigate it all while meeting the many demands of a newborn can feel overwhelming. To find balance, a postpartum mother (any mother for that matter!) needs to take care of herself by getting rest, appropriate nutrition, and help during those first months.
Tips For Achieving Balance
Your new baby will not be on a predictable sleep/wake cycle for some time. As the old adage goes, sleep when the baby sleeps - everything else can wait. For you nursing mommies, once your breastfeeding is established (around 3 weeks) you can consider introducing a bottle during the night feedings. This allows someone else to feed the baby and you can have longer periods of uninterrupted sleep. Also- delegate. And then delegate some more. And then be a gracious receiver of any help that is offered! This was something I struggled with after I had my first son. But I quickly hit a wall and realized I needed help if I was going to survive those early months. Newborns (all children, really) go through lots of stages, changes, ups and downs. Accepting help, love and support from your village during those times is crucial!
Don’t Diet (ever!)
As you probably know, I don’t do diets, and this is no exception after having a baby. In my opinion, you should ditch this word from your vocabulary forever. Aim to eat a little less than you did when you were pregnant. Focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean meats and seafoods - you will get everything you need. Keep a running shopping list on the fridge. Delegate this list to friends and family. Items to include: eggs, low-sodium canned beans, quinoa, nuts, avocados, oatmeal, precooked brown rice, yogurt, Kefir, nut butters, sprouted corn tortillas, frozen fruits and vegetables, and frozen salmon. These all deliver maximum nutrition for minimum effort. For those of you who eat fish, this is excellent time to introduce canned sardines (sustainably caught) to your diet. They are an excellent source of omega-3’s….good fats for you and, if you are nursing, the excellent for you baby’s brain development. I know this is a lot to remember, so to make it easy, you can download a shopping list here. Silver Spoons Nutrition also offers pre and postnatal nutrition workshops at local businesses. We are excited about our upcoming workshop at Pure Barre- Virginia Highlands on May 12th! Interested in learning more? Contact Margot today!
Drinking is very important. It helps prevent dehydration, fatigue, and- as a bonus- it can aid in weight loss. Sometimes we mistake hunger for thirst, which can not only add extra unwanted calories to our day, but more importantly can perpetuate dehydration. For those of you who are nursing, it is critical to stay hydrated as to not negatively affect your milk supply. So- how do you know if you are drinking enough fluids? Take your current weight and divide by half. This is roughly how many ounces of fluid you should drink in a day. Not a huge fan of water? Take the boredom out by adding cucumbers, citrus and/or berries. Coconut water is also flavorful and is a good source of potassium.
Don't Wait Too Long To Eat
A lot of us are so focused on our new baby that hunger pangs go ignored. Forgetting to eat is something every new mom does. I’ll be honest, as a mom of a two boys (not babies!) - I still do it myself! But waiting until we are ravenous does not usually lend itself to healthy eating. Ideally you should eat every 3-4 hours. Waiting until five hours and beyond is pushing it. Plus, for you nursing mommies, you need the extra calories so your amazing body can manufacture all the milk your little one needs. If you find yourself not eating enough, set a timer to remind yourself or ask someone in your village to make sure they are bringing you a nutritious snack or meal every 3-4 hours.
Are You Too Pooped To Plan?
Yes, planning does require energy, something you are short on these days. These nutritious snack ideas require little prep, can be made ahead of time by your partner and can even be whipped up when you’re wide awake after that 3am feeding!
Celery, carrots, and pepper with hummus or nut butter
Egg or chicken salad on whole-grain bread (made with plain yogurt)
3 -4 graham cracker squares spread with nut butter with low fat dairy or nut milk
Delicious thick creamy bowl that can be eaten with a spoon.
1 cup of non-fat dairy or nut milk
2 cups frozen mango chunks
½ frozen banana
1 tbsp of hemp seeds
1-2 tbsp of honey (optional)
1-2 tbsp of cashews (optional)
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Add ice to thicken as desired.
Pour into a bowl and top with optional garnish ingredients to add flavor and nutrient density.
I hope you find these tips useful and practical in your early months with baby! Have other tips to suggest? Share the wealth so other new moms can benefit from your knowledge! We’d love to hear from you! Email Margot directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow Silver Spoons Nutrition on Facebook or Instagram!