Women who have just delivered their babies need energy and stamina to take care of their newborns. Many are also concerned about losing excess weight gained during their nine months of pregnancy. However, mothers who are nursing their babies also need to make sure they are providing their babies with good quality breast milk and avoid foods that can cause problems like bloating and colic in their newborns. To accomplish these, mothers have to eat nutrient-rich foods and avoid certain foods that are not helpful in the post-pregnancy diet.
The post-pregnancy period is a very important period for both mother and baby. Here are some food after delivery for mother to maintain good health for themselves and their babies.
Food After Delivery for Mother
- Fish: Salmon - Of all the large, fatty fish available in the market, salmon comes close to being the perfect nutritional powerhouse. Fatty fish like salmon is high in DHA, a healthy type of fat that is important for a baby's nervous system development. Although breast milk essentially contains DHA, a diet rich in this fat can increase its levels. For mothers, DHA from salmon can help improve mood and prevent postpartum depression. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however recommends limiting the consumption of large fish in breastfeeding women, pregnant women, and women who may get pregnant. The guidelines suggest limiting intake to an average of 12 oz of fish per week (equivalent to two servings). The reason for this restriction is to prevent the baby from being exposed to high mercury levels, which may be found in large fish.
- Meat: Lean Beef - Mothers can also boost their energy by eating foods rich in iron like lean beef. A diet that is lacking in iron can drain energy levels, which can make it hard for mothers to keep up with a newborn baby's demands. Lean beef is also an excellent source protein and vitamin B12, which can give her extra strength and stamina.
- Fruits: Blueberries and Oranges - Breastfeeding moms need at least two servings of fruit or fruit juice every day. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants in the form of vitamins and minerals, as well as other natural plant chemicals that promote good health. They are also an excellent source of energy-giving carbohydrates. Oranges are great fruits that can also boost mothers' energy. Like other citrus fruits, oranges are excellent for breastfeeding moms who need more vitamin C. Orange juice can also help mothers obtain enough vitamin C and energy for the day. Calcium-fortified orange juice is a great choice for bone health as well.
- Vegetables: Leafy Greens - Leafy green vegetables like spinach, broccoli and Swiss chard, are rich in vitamin A, which is good for both mother and baby. They are an excellent non-dairy source of calcium and other nutrients like iron and vitamin C. Green vegetables are also tasty, rich in antioxidants, and are non-fattening since they are low in calories.
- Legumes - Dark-colored beans like kidney beans and black beans are a great choice for breastfeeding moms, especially vegetarians. They are an inexpensive source of iron and high quality protein.
- Dairy Products - Various dairy products are important in post-pregnancy diet and in healthy breastfeeding. These include milk, yogurt, and cheese. They provide mothers and babies with protein, calcium, vitamin B, and vitamin D. These are important for the development of babies' bone. Mothers are advised to include at least three cups of dairy products a day in the diet.
- Whole-wheat Bread - Whole-grain breads and wheat pastas that are fortified with folic acid are also important to the baby's development and good health. In addition, these products are also rich in iron and fiber, which are beneficial to mom's health.
- Whole-grain Cereal - Mothers often spend sleepless nights and need a boost in energy during the day. A healthy breakfast with whole-grain cereals can supply nursing mothers with essential vitamins and other nutrients to meet their daily needs. Cereals such as oatmeal can be mixed with skim milk and some fruits like blue berries to make a delightful and healthy breakfast.
- Eggs - Egg yolks are naturally rich in vitamin D, which is an essential nutrient that ensures strong bones and proper bone growth. Eggs are likewise important to meet one's daily protein requirements. Mothers can scramble some eggs for breakfast, make an omelet or add a hard-boiled egg to vegetable salad for dinner. It is also advisable to choose DHA-fortified eggs, which can increase the fatty acid levels in your milk.
- Water - Breastfeeding moms can become dehydrated, so to maintain proper hydration and ensure adequate milk production, moms should drink plenty of water. You can also meet your fluid requirements using other substances like milk and fruit juice, but it is better to stay away from caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee.
Foods to Be Avoided
- Strongly Flavored Foods - Nursing mothers must avoid overly flavored or spicy foods, especially chili because these can irritate the stomach and can cause bloating and indigestion.
- Greasy Foods - A breastfeeding mother should avoid fried foods and snacks, which are very high in calories and fat. Fatty food induces fatigue, mood swings, and baby blues. Avoid fried meats, burgers, fried eggs, and any kind of fast food. These foods are high in trans-fats, which are harmful to the heart. Opt for healthy oils when cooking, and these include canola oil and olive oil.
Potato chips and other types of junk foods are full of indigestible fat that have empty calories. They provide zero nutrition content and add to your weight, making it more difficult to lose extra flab.
- Certain Vegetables - Some vegetables are difficult to digest and can cause gas build-up in the gastrointestinal tract. These include onions, cucumbers, cauliflower, broccoli, green peppers, cabbage, peas, and tomatoes. They should be taken moderately and should be well cooked and not eaten raw.
- Indigestible Foods - Some foods that are not easily digested can cause constipation and bloating, and these include some cereals. Instead they can eat green gram (or mung beans), which are rich in protein and are easier to digest.
- Sugar and Jaggery - Sweets made from cane sugar or jaggery instead of white sugar must be taken in small amounts.
- Foods that Cause Gas - A mother who breastfeeds needs to avoid foods and drinks that are likely to produce gas, since this can be passed on to the baby.
- Cold Foods and Drinks - Some mothers advise new moms to eat warm foods instead of cold foods or drinks after delivery.
- Canned Foods - Nursing mothers are advised to avoid carbonated drinks, canned juices and other types of canned food. Canned foods contain salt and other preservatives which may be harmful for both mother and baby.
- Gassy Foods - Breastfeeding mothers should stay away from "gassy" foods like jackfruit and onions, which may cause colic to the baby.
Eating the right food after delivery for mother will help a new mum cope with the demands of caring for a baby and at the same time promote her own health, reduce excess weight and ensure proper growth and development of the baby.