The work your body is doing: Shedding what was made for pregnancy and is no longer needed, healing from birth and making milk.
How you can help: Give your body what it needs to do this work - proper nutrition, hydration and rest.
Beneficial foods, postpartum
There is a long list of foods that are healing and delicious (especially when prepared well). Be intentional about adding these specific things into your meals and snacks:
- good, healthy fats
- probiotic foods
- dark greens
- good, quality meats
- purple foods (raisins, prunes, beets)
- nuts and seeds
- root vegetables
- bone broths
- made from scratch
- made from fresh ingredients
- soft, well-cooked, slow-cooked
- simple (think: fewer ingredients)
- bonus points if your meal can be eaten with one hand (mugs and straws are helpful)
Foods that are not as beneficial as others, postpartum
It’s not surprising to find that the least beneficial postpartum foods are the same foods that are least beneficial in other stages of life:
- over-processed grains and densely-glutinous foods (ex: bagels)
- fried foods
- msg, carrageenan, nitrates
- added sugar
- caffeine (gasp!)
Keep some basics on-hand
Before your little one makes his or her arrival, make a few nourishing staples and tuck them into your pantry and freezer:
- bone broth
- postpartum herbal tea
- crockpot meal (protein + veggies + fat)
- stewed fruit (can be added to oatmeal, or made into a crisp)
Ask for help
So many people would love to help after the birth of a baby. Share this guide with your loved ones and ask them if they would consider dropping off a nutritious meal after baby's arrival (you can leave a cooler on your front steps for food to be placed in, in case they stop by at a time when you don't want to be disturbed).
Eat throughout the day (and night)
It takes more calories to feed a baby than it does to grow a baby (yep, seriously). Eating well and often is important for milk supply and is crucial if we want to avoid the dreaded blood sugar drop that results in hanger. Keep a few snacks on your nightstand, so that you always have some fuel close at hand.
Last, but not least, don't forget to hydrate
Water is wonderful, but fluids provide another opportunity to supply ourselves with nutrients. Broths, herbal teas, a splash of apple cider vinegar or a squeeze of citrus + a pinch of salt added to your water, are all good options.