Food in the Fourth Trimester

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Most women spend a lot of time preparing for their baby, but most of them forget to prepare for their own postpartum! The truth is, your postpartum nutritional needs matter.

I know, I know. Even showering is a major accomplishment with a newborn. Add in meal planning and healthy eating? Forget it! You’d rather fill up on whatever is lying around. Believe me, we know what that’s like. We have been there. Doula’s honor.

You’re not alone. In fact, one of the things you can do is to say “YES” when friends and family ask “Is there anything I can do for you?”. Let friends and family bring you and your family meals. It’s extremely helpful, and hopefully(fingers crossed), those meals are filled with ingredients best suited for postpartum healing.

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Eating nutritious food doesn’t just affect mom and baby in pregnancy, but also impacts your delivery. Your body desperately needs that fuel to pump out breastmilk(aka, that liquid gold) AND heal itself. It’s a tall order, but we’ve got some basic suggestions to help. You might find it’s easier to pick a few to focus on and then gradually add in more and more as you go. You’ve got this mama.

  • Fruits like berries

  • Sweet vegetables, like yams, squash, carrots and beets

  • Whole grains, like quinoa and oats

  • Protein, like chicken or fish

  • Dark leafy greens

  • Healthy fats, like avocado, extra virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, fresh flax oil, and fish oil

  • Raspberry Leaf Tea

  • Iron, especially if you suffer from postpartum symptoms. Found in things like fortified cereals, prune juice, and lean meats.

  • Vitamin C, found in oranges, tomatoes and natural fruit juices. This can help with wound healing for mothers who delivered by cesarean section.

Snacks deserve a category all their own. Your increased metabolism isn’t going to want to wait around for three meals a day. It’s important to plan for quick and healthy snacks to satisfy your cravings.

  • Whole-grain crackers with hummus

  • Nuts, like almonds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds

  • A cup of whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk

  • A hardboiled egg with some baby carrots

  • Cheese and a piece of fruit

  • Peanut butter on an apple

  • Plain Greek yogurt — add in a cup of blueberries or strawberries to avoid added sugar

There are some foods new moms should avoid as they can either disrupt milk production or could be upsetting on a newborn’s digestive system.

  • Caffeine

  • Excessive amounts of dairy

  • Spicy foods

  • Large amounts of peppermint or spearmint

  • Large amounts of Oregano and Sage

www.kellymom.com has a much more comprehensive list. Obviously, women who choose not to breastfeed need not worry about contraindicated foods.

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Continue taking care of yourself. We know it’s not easy. We know those first few weeks are a whole new world for you. There will be things best let go of for the time being. This post is not intended to shame you in the least. We think you’re absolutely wonderful. Few truly recognize the vulnerability and love that it takes to navigate your postpartum period. We hope that in giving yourself the grace to be your authentic self, you choose nourishment - physical, emotional, and mental nourishment.

 

Love,

Maura + Kasaundra