A baby is born. Congratulations!
Delivery or childbirth is one of the major challenges faced by a woman in her lifetime, in many cases the biggest. Being a paramount phenomenon the variances caused by its aftereffects are considerable and quite challenging. While your system is still striving to rebound to its original state as it was before pregnancy it is also coping with the aftereffects of the hardship endured by it during the process. You may experience an array of physical challenges such as fatigue, mood swings, hair loss, night sweats, dry skin and increased urination. It is important to understand that your body has undergone a strenuous physical activity and that you have to give it some time and support for its recovery.
After the childbirth while your primary focus may be to nurture and nurse the baby it is extremely important to take care of yourself so as to bring forth the best of the mum in you. It is important to take the right food and to make sure you get all the needed nutrients to meet with the physical and mental demands of the new maternity. After all whatever you eat is what gets transferred to the baby through breastfeeding and it is crucial to ensure that the infant gets all the nutrients necessary for its development by keeping up your diet of vital nutrients. Sometimes even when you aren’t consuming the right kind of food the nature of your breast milk remains good. But that is only because when you aren’t constantly providing the body with the right choice of food then it extracts the required nourishment from your own bodily stores which may soon leave you with a depleted health which is doubtlessly unrewarding for the baby and yourself.
Try to include the following smart and strengthening nutriments in your diet to comfortably work your way to optimum health.
Docasahexaenoic Acid (DHA) is an Omega-3 fatty acid imperative for the development of the infant’s nervous system, a process that takes place soon after birth. Hence there will be a dire need in the baby’s system for food rich in DHA. Cold water fatty fish like salmon, cod, herring and trout are concentrated with DHA. You can also choose DHA or omega-3 eggs which are eggs of chickens on a DHA-supplemented diet. Note that guidelines recommend a maximum of 12 ounces of DHA per week.
Lactating women are at high risk for iron deficiency due to excessive loss of blood during menstruation and delivery and due to reduced intake or absorption of iron. This will lead to fatigue, dizziness, breathlessness, hemorrhage, dysfunction of immune system, postpartum depression, insufficient milk syndrome and so on. Thus it is crucial to take food rich in iron like green leafy vegetables, legumes, calf liver and Brewer’s yeast. 1 teaspoon of black strap molasses twice daily is recommended. Intake of junk food, black tea and soda is not advisory as they inhibit iron absorption.
The high importance of folic acid doesn’t end with pregnancy. Even after delivery it is very important for the health of both the baby and your own self. Pastas, egg yolk, sunflower seeds, enriched whole grain, liver, leafy vegetables and kidneys are high in folate.
Infancy is indeed a time of speedy growth and development. Hence it’s needed to make sure that your little one gets sufficient amount of protein which is an important requisite for growth, without leaving the infant with an under-dosage which will take a toll on its growth process or leaving the infant with an over-dosage which in turn is likely to take a toll on the baby’s immature kidneys. While lactating you must have 2-3 servings of protein each day. A serving equals 3-4 ounces of fish, meat or poultry. Eggs, cottage cheese, dried beans, poultry, fish, meat, milk and dried beans are good sources of protein.
Lactating mothers lose 3-5% of their bone mass due to the baby’s increased need for calcium. Nevertheless the recovery after this reduction is rapid. Even though it is very less likely that deficiency of calcium will occur, mothers during their peripartum periods are advised to take 1g of calcium on a daily basis by including low-fat dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables, salmon with bones, almonds and corn tortillas in their diet. As for the babies building strong bones right from infancy not only slows bone loss in later life but also protects from rickets.
Even though you may be tempted to cut down your carbohydrate intake after pregnancy to restore your pre-pregnancy shape, losing too much weight in short span will lead to reduction in the secretion of milk, lack of energy, sluggishness and postpartum depression. Assimilating healthy whole grains like brown rice apart from keeping up your energy levels helps provide best quality breast milk.
Nursing mothers need relatively higher amount of Vitamin C than pregnant mothers. 120 mg of Vitamin C is the suggested amount for breast feeding mothers. This vitamin aids in the physiological development of the baby. Tomato, broccoli and citrus fruits like oranges are the providers of Vitamin C. Other vitamins such as B12 and D should also be a part of the diet. Lean beef and eggs are fortified with these nutrients.
Breast feeding mothers are highly prone to dehydration and energy drain. Make sure you stay hydrated. Drink sufficient water-8 cups or you may substitute it with juices and other liquids.
Avoid caffeinated drinks as they enter the baby’s system through your breast milk and cause them to become very irritable and sleep poorly.
Shark, swordfish, King Mackerel and Tilefish are must-not food during and after pregnancy since they contain high levels of mercury.
Drinking of alcohol has adverse effects on the development of babies. Remember that your baby’s liver is tiny and immature and that even one drink per day during lactating periods is harmful for the baby.
It is wise to stay away from processed foods as they contain too much of additives. Also the excess fat in meat should be cut off.
Vanan is an accredited fitness and health professional from www.ezfit.sg , Singapore who is passionate about coaching and promoting people to healthier and better lives. With years of experience and knowledge in the field of nutrition, health and fitness he works with people across age groups and life styles to bring forth the fitness enthusiasts in all.