The amount of information new moms must process about their babies can easily become overwhelming. Learning when to feed, lie down, or even when to leave a baby alone can all be so time consuming that new mothers can often neglect their own personal health.
One of the best practices new mothers can engage in for the their health and that of their baby is to eat a nutritious and balanced diet.
While many mothers might be anxious to shed the pounds gained during pregnancy, eating a healthy and balanced diet will help provide mothers with a much needed boost of energy so they can be the best mom possible. Consuming nutrients your body needs at regular intervals throughout the day can help to maximize what little energy being a new mother has left you with.
For mothers who nurse their babies, it’s important to understand that breast milk quality generally remains the same regardless of what you eat. Even if you don’t provide your body with the nutrients it needs, your body will leach nutrients from your stores in order to ensure breast milk provides a baby with what it needs to thrive. However, for the well-being of a mother’s own health, and to ensure these stores of nutrients don’t run dry, it’s important new moms eat a variety of nutrient rich foods.
With that in mind, here are seven healthy foods that every new mom should make a regular part of their diet.
While no one foods holds the distinction as being nutritionally perfect, salmon comes pretty close as a nutritional source for new mothers. As one of the best breastfeeding foods for new moms to consume, salmon contains plenty of DHA, a type of fat that plays a vital role in the development of a child’s nervous system. While all breast milk contains this important ingredient, the levels of DHA are elevated in the breast milk of women who have diets high in DHA foods.
Some research even suggests that the DHA found in salmon can also help mothers better handle their moods, and prevent postpartum depression.
However, the Food and Drug Administration recommends that nursing women limit their consumption of fish to 12 ounces a week to avoid mercury exposure.
Dairy Products Low in Fat
Regardless if you’re a fan of cheese, milk, or yogurt, dairy products play a significant role in allowing new moms to follow healthy breastfeeding practices. Besides providing an abundance of vitamin D, B vitamins, and protein, diary products rank as a wonderful source for calcium. To help with the development of a baby’s bones, breast milk contains ample amounts of calcium, so mothers need to increase calcium intake to protect the health of their own bones. Nutritionists recommend a minimum of three cups of dairy daily as part of a healthy, new mom diet.
If you’re searching for foods that can help provide the energy you need as a new mother, try adding iron-rich foods like beef to your diet. A iron deficiency can sap a new mom of her energy, making if difficult to keep up with the constant demands of a newborn baby. Mothers who breastfeed especially need the extra protein and B-12 vitamins the body will receive from eating lean beef.
Mothers who breastfeed need to consume at least two or more servings of fruit or juice a day. Blueberries, which contain plenty of antioxidants, make an excellent choice to help you meet your dietary needs. Not only do these scrumptious berries offer plenty of minerals and needed vitamins, they also provide a nice dose of carbohydrates to help keep up energy levels.
Many new moms become anxious to drop the weight the gained during pregnancy, and many start by reducing the amount of carbohydrates they consume. While normally an effective weight loss strategy, shedding weight too quickly may cause a woman’s body to produce less breast milk and leave new moms feeling sluggish and lethargic. Instead of cutting carbs entirely, new mothers are better served to eat healthy whole-grain carbs such as brown rice.
Another great source for of needed nutrients and antioxidants, oranges also have the benefit of being easily transportable. Since mothers who are nursing need to increase their vitamin C intake, oranges and other types of citrus fruits make for excellent breastfeeding foods. Even if you can’t find the time to snack, drinking orange juice also provides new mothers many benefits in addition to increased vitamin C consumption.
One of nature’s few sources of vitamin D, egg yolks can provide mothers with this vital nutrient they need to maintain bone density. Beyond the vitamin D, eggs are also a great source of protein. Mothers concerned about their cholesterol should know that studies have found no significant increase in cholesterol levels in those who eat two eggs a day.
Timothy Lemke is a freelance writer. To read more of his work, visit the blog of Dr. Dick Hikade, a dentist Happy Valley residents have known for years.