Healthy eating for new mothers – A diet to keep you and your baby fighting fit
So, you’re a new mother and the joys and the trials of childbirth are now behind you. You’ve spent months living with a figure that has changed beyond all recognition and now you want a little of the healthy ‘old’ you back to be able to help celebrate the joys of your new status.
Getting the lithe figure of pre-natal days back is a prime concern and so you decide to do this as quickly as possible and cut out a lot of your pre-natal diet. Not a bad idea in itself, as eating a little less is never a bad thing, as you’ll have recently been eating for the needs of you and your baby, but below are a few key dietary pointers to bear in mind for you as a new mother.
Having gone through pregnancy and the concept of ‘eating for two’, it’s sometimes tempting for new mothers to either continue with the same diet, or to lose the post-natal shape by crash-dieting. The simple approach is to do neither of these, but to follow a sensible and simple diet embracing a few essentials.
Let’s begin by assuming you’re breast-feeding; it’s the best way to ensure your baby’s health and growth, help keep your weight down and will make you feel good at the same time. An ideal diet for a new mother includes all of the following:
Fresh fruit and vegetables- Remember the ‘5-a-day’ principle as these food groups boost your iron absorption and are great for improving vitamin C levels which will reduce the risk of minor health complaints,
Lean meats (particularly red meat and liver) as these raise the iron levels in your bloodstream which often decrease during childbirth. A small aside is to remember that If you are breast-feeding try to avoid spicy food as this can be passed onto the baby in the form of mild tummy upsets!
Oily Fish – rich in omega 3 and other essential fatty acids and are vital for your baby’s development and help to reduce susceptibility to infantile asthma.
Milk, cheese and yoghurt – rich in calcium and protein which are good for your own and your baby’s bone structure.
Whole-grain cereals and snacks – as they’ll supplement protein and iron levels (particularly useful for vegetarians) and help with your digestion.
With such a varied selection available, vegetarians and ‘fussy’ eaters should easily be able to arrive at a balanced and healthy diet whilst making the new experience of motherhood a culinary joy!