Postnatal Nutrition

I didn’t post as much as I wanted to about nutrition during pregnancy, but I will be sure to do some posts on that topic in the future. I did, however, mention my extreme hatred for vegetables that I had during my first trimester. I struggled quite a bit during the beginning of my pregnancy because although I was really hungry, it was mostly bland, carb-heavy foods that appealed to me. I ate an absurd amount of bagels, cereal, french toast, mac and cheese and peanut butter and jelly. Fortunately, during the second and third trimesters my relationship with vegetables wasn’t so hostile and I started enjoying chicken again, rather than forcing some down my throat for protein. I was able to eat mostly healthy foods for the remainder of my pregnancy, but I definitely was a lot more lax with my nutrition and found myself indulging more often than normal.

I knew that after I had my baby I really wanted to get my focus back on eating mainly whole, nutritious foods with the majority of my diet coming from fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Fortunately, I have been able to do just that and I feel great. We have been buying lots of produce and grilling tons of chicken instead of resorting to eating take out during this busy time/adjustment period. If you have healthy foods on hand and think of easy-to-prepare meals, it’s just as fast to whip something up as it is to order takeout. This way you know what’s in the food you are eating and can feel great about your choices.

I am determined to get my pre-pregnancy body back sooner rather than later, but more importantly, I want my son to receive as much nutrition as possible through my breast milk. Although I knew during pregnancy that my choices would have an impact on the nutrition he received, I think it’s even easier to see now that I know him and love him so much more than I ever thought possible.

Feed me mom!

Some quick tips for eating healthy with a newborn:

  1. Plan out when and what you are going to eat. You’ll need to eat often, especially if you are nursing. I find that I am even more hungry now that I am nursing than I was during pregnancy. Everyone is different, but you may burn around 600 calories a day just feeding your little one!
  2. Make extra food when you’re cooking. Cook enough for at least 2 meals each time. You’ll appreciate leftovers and not having to take time to cook dinner the next day.
  3. Think of some go-to, easy-to-eat meals and snacks that you can eat while nursing or multi-tasking. I love making smoothies with Sun Warrior (all-natural, vegan protein), different kinds of fruit and almond milk. I get in several servings of fruit, a good amount of protein and some calcium to boot. I can drink them while feeding or snuggling with my little man.
  4. Freeze some dinners before you have the baby or freeze leftovers for nights that aren’t going so smoothly. (I haven’t done this much since we grill so often, but I think if it was winter I would have done more of this.)
  5. Speaking of the grill, it is your friend. You can grill up some chicken, veggie burgers, turkey burgers or steak tips in a very short amount of time. Throw any of these on top of a salad, in a wrap or with a few simple sides and you’re good to go. Grill extra chicken you can use in sandwiches, salads, quesadillas or on top of homemade pizza for lunch or for dinner another night.
  6. Drink water…lots of it. When I first started nursing I noticed that I got dehydrated more easily than ever!
  7. Have healthy snacks on hand. I have had a few times when the hunger beast hit hard. It’s good to have fruit, veggies, nuts or healthy bars on hand for these times when you need a quick fix.
  8. Take people up on their offer to make dinner or come over and help clean up. We have some seriously generous friends and family and during the first few weeks we were home with CJ, it helped so much just to have a few nights where we didn’t have to think about what to make for dinner.
  9. Make time to go to the grocery store or make a list and have someone (like your husband) go for you. Don’t fall into a trap where you feel like you have no time.
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Hope some of this helps. Obviously, none of it is rocket science, but I strongly believe eating well after you have a baby is key to your recovery, your sanity, your health and the health of your baby (if you are nursing). If I chose to eat crap when we got home from the hospital, I’m sure the lack of sleep would be catching up with me a lot more.

How do you stay on track with your nutrition when you’re busy or dealing with a major life change?

Comments

  1. I would like to add that the extra “up to 600 calories a day” for breastfeeding apply more to a 3-6 months old infant than to a newborn. Newborns consume very small amounts of milk; during the first week it might be as little as 300 ml (around 10 ounces) per day which is a meager 180 kcal! It, however, does increase but gradually! I do not mention this to discourage women from eating enough during breastfeeding but from unrealisitc ideas about how much they are burning! An older baby, however, really makes a difference!

  2. Jessica says:

    Amanda, these posts are so great! So much helpful information about fitness and nutrition, thank you so much! You’re making me really look forward to having my son in September :) I can’t wait to have him smile at me like your son smiles at you!

    • Thanks Jessica! :) You should absolutely be looking forward to your son smiling. It’s seriously the best feeling ever to know your kid is happy. Right now CJ is in love with his activity mat and I love the smiles he does and noises he makes when he plays on it!

  3. Great post! And your son is just adorable. :)

  4. Thanks Kate! :)

  5. Love your tips! I’m planning on making and freezing meals and stocking up with lots of healthy snack foods. Then, I’ll cross my fingers and hope for the best :)

  6. Great idea…and I don’t think you’ll even need to cross your fingers. You are so good about taking care of yourself. :)

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