Whether it’s your firstborn or your tenth, being a new mom is exhausting. Recovering from the birthing process can be a long and challenging process. You also have to do it while taking care of a new baby while running on no sleep!
So with so little time for yourself, nutrition is probably the last thing on your mind. For many new moms, they’re just focused on surviving those long days (and nights) of motherhood – nutrition can wait until later!
But postpartum nutrition is a crucial part of helping your body recover heal from your birthing experience. Nutritional needs will vary based on your circumstance, such as whether you are breastfeeding or not. But all postpartum moms can benefit from nutrition targeted to their needs.
Here’s how postpartum nutrition supports recovery and health.
Vitamins Postpartum Women Need
In the postpartum period, many women need to replenish their body’s stores of calcium, vitamin B6, and folate. If your diet (especially during the hectic newborn phase) does not provide enough of these vitamins, a low-dose multivitamin may be required.
For most women, dietary iron requirements in the postpartum period should go back to your pre-pregnancy baseline. The exception is for women who had a high blood loss volume during childbirth (more than 500 ml). These women should continue with an iron supplement under a doctor’s supervision.
For women who are nursing, the daily required nutritional intake is significantly higher than usual, and there are additional vitamin needs that should be addressed through a healthy diet. Supplements can help to fill gaps when they occur.
The essential vitamins needed for breastfeeding women include:
- Vitamin B6
In addition to vitamins, breastfeeding women need to take in more calories than usual, especially for women with significant milk output or naturally slender. If possible, get these calories by eating as much as possible. Protein powders and meal replacements shakes can help, but solid food is essential to maintaining overall health.
Food Sources of Postpartum Nutrition
The following foods can help you get the postpartum nutrition you (and your baby) need.
For breastfeeding moms, your baby will get their iron from your iron stores. Eating red meat, leafy green vegetables, clams, oysters, and livers are great ways to maintain iron stores within the body.
To help support your energy production and red blood cell development, foods rich in B12 include beef, tuna, liver, salmon, and fortified dairies or cereals. (Vegetarians and vegans most frequently need to consume supplements.)
Choline is another nutrient that breastfeeding moms need, as it helps their baby’s brain development. Eggs and organ meats (like liver) are the best source. Vegetarians should use a supplement.
It can reduce postpartum depression and anxiety, and support your overall immune system. Find it in foods like salmon, tuna, liver, fortified milk and orange juice, and egg yolks.
And remember, even though your time with prenatal vitamins may be done (for now), there are still a variety of multivitamins for women, and vitamins specifically targeted to support postpartum women’s needs, that you can use as part of your postpartum nutrition regimen.
Multivitamins for Moms
Whether you’re pregnant, nursing, or hope to be pregnant, try Prenatal & Nursing Formula from Klaire Labs, a multivitamin, mineral, and trace element supplement that supports reproductive health in pregnant and nursing women, and women wishing to become pregnant.
Another multivitamin option is Baby & Me from Megafood. Baby & Me is gentle on the tummy multivitamin that provides essential vitamins and minerals for both pregnant moms-to-be or new moms looking for sources of postpartum nutrition.
Or try Perfect Postnatal Multivitamin from New Chapter. With vitamins and minerals needed by nursing moms – including iodine, iron, vitamin B6, and vitamin D3 – it provides whole food support to new moms for energy and a healthy mood.
For nursing moms who want to support or increase their milk supply, start with these options:
- Lactation Support from Gaia Herbs. Gaia Herbs’ Lactation Support uses fenugreek, fennel, marshmallow root, red raspberry leaf, and blessed thistle to help support lactation.
- More Milk Special Blend from Motherlove. For new moms with milk supply issues, More Milk Special Blend is an alcohol-free natural supplement that contains fenugreek seed, Blessed Thistle Herb, Nettle Herb, and Fennel Seed to help support the development of mammary tissue and breast milk supply.
How do you take care of your postpartum nutrition needs?