Hope you all are doing well. I’m finally sitting down to write this post (that I’ve been trying to get to for a couple weeks now). We’re starting to get into a rhythm and sort of ‘regular’ schedule with two kiddos–including one who still wakes up multiple times a night, so I’m actually carving out time to get back to blogging.
I wanted to talk about post partum nutrition and what I’m doing personally, in case any other mamas out there are confused or overwhelmed about how they should eat while raising a tiny human (or more than one).
Let me first start off by saying, yes I’m a certified fitness nutrition coach, however, I am NOT a doctor or your doctor. If you have outstanding medical diagnoses that require certain dietary guidelines from your doctor or nutritionist or dietitian follow those! What I explain here is just my own personal journey as well as some research-based guidelines for post partum nutrition.
Ok…so nutrition post partum. It can be tricky because your hormones are off, you’re not sleeping very much or very well, if you’re breastfeeding, you’re likely hungry all.the.time.
Let’s start with the basics…eat what makes you feel good when you are hungry. Back to that ‘ol ‘listen to your body’ thing. ☺️ The first few weeks after giving birth to Matthew, I was hungry all the time. I’m also breastfeeding which burns extra calories and activates a serious hunger-monster in me. So those 2am feedings, you bet I had bars, nuts, and dried fruit at the ready.
The first couple weeks should be about getting enough calories in to establish your milk supply (if you’re breastfeeding) and maintain it. This is NOT the time to count calories or cut back in hopes of ‘getting your body back’. This is a time to care for yourself, meaning eat whenever you’re hungry (even if it’s at abnormal times for you), and eat filling, nutritious, satisfying foods. Focus on getting enough protein and fat because when we’re sleep deprived, we tend to want more carbs. There’s nothing wrong with that, but they won’t keep you full for as long and you’ll likely be needing to eat more often, so make sure you get a good balance of protein and fat as well as the carbs.
I ate things like oatmeal, protein shakes, filling sandwiches and salads for a lot of my meals. Snacks usually included another shake, bars, nuts, dried fruit, etc. Once my supply was established I didn’t have the middle of the night hungries anymore (although you might, and if so, honor that hunger and eat!). I focused on getting protein at every meal/snack to keep me full and tried to incorporate lots of fruits and veggies (so little man would get them via my milk). I also really had to focus on hydration. I’ve always been good at drinking enough water but when you’re tired and taking care of two littles, you tend to forget to eat and drink enough. So making sure I have my water bottle always nearby is very important.
Around the month mark, we learned that Matthew has reflux and a dairy allergy (poor kid!), so I had to cut dairy out of my diet (which wasn’t that hard since Andrew is lactose intolerant and we already don’t have much dairy) and I limited my salads a little bit. The fiber in them seemed to cause extra gas meaning more screaming (there was already a lot of it to begin with b/c of the reflux).
At 7 weeks post partum I’m still fairly hungry (making milk is hard work!) but my appetite has regulated some. Although the past couple weeks, I’ve starting working out again and the appetite is ramping up to compensate for that, so I’m needing a mid-morning snack most days when before, I could just go from breakfast to lunch. I’m still eating big oatmeal bowls almost every morning because they keep me full and satisfied for several hours. I’m having a salad for lunch here and there but mostly eating leftover dinner from the night before. I’m making sure I get protein and veggies of some kind with each meal and drinking a TON of water. As well as a few treats here and there because, well, it’s me.
Key points to post partum nutrition:
- Eat enough calories to maintain milk supply if breastfeeding (and to just keep your energy up even if you’re not breastfeeding)
- Hydrate more than you think you need
- Include protein and fruits and veggies at every meal to maintain good blood sugar levels and achieve satiation throughout the day
- Eat when you’re hungry!
- Do not cut back on calories during this time
- Focus on carving out time for yourself to eat and drink enough. Yes, mommy-ing is a full time job, but you can’t do it if you’re depleted!
Hope this was helpful!
Until next time,