The first weeks after giving birth are essential for a mother’s recovery process. Nutrition is one of the important factors in a mother’s healing process. Mothers who breastfeed need nutrients even more so, as everything a mother takes in will directly impact the health of the baby.
The following nutrients are essential to include in a new mother’s diet in order to ensure a healthy postpartum recovery.
Iron: During childbirth, many women lose a lot of blood, causing low iron levels and anemia. When you are breastfeeding, your iron reserves also pass on to your baby for their development, meaning you lose even more. You can get more iron by eating red meat, liver, clams, and green leafy vegetables. You can also get an iron supplement or cook your meals on a cast iron pan. Some medical providers recommend continuing to take the prenatal vitamin in first few weeks after delivery.
Vitamin B12: In order for red blood cells to regenerate, the body needs vitamin B12. It helps to produce energy and form DNA. Babies who are deficient in vitamin B12 can also have slower development and brain growth. You can find Vitamin B12 in clams, tuna, salmon, beef, dairy and cereals. You can also take a vitamin B12 supplement.
DHA (omega 3-fatty acid): Mothers who have high levels of DHA in their breast milk can help to improve the brain development and vision of their babies. Even if the mother is not breastfeeding, DHA helps improve her mental focus, reduce inflammation, and lower the risk of developing postpartum depression. You can find DHA in salmon, sardines, fortified eggs, and dairy. You can also consume DHA supplements.
Choline: This nutrient is crucial for infant memory and brain development. During pregnancy, the need for this nutrient increases, and even more when breastfeeding. You can find it in eggs and organ meats.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D supports the brain, as well as the nervous and immune systems. It also reduces the risk of postpartum depression. You can find Vitamin D in salmon, tuna, liver, fortified dairy, orange juice and egg yolks. You can also take a vitamin D supplement or get an extra dose of sunshine.
It doesn’t matter if you’re breastfeeding or not, if you eat the right food after birth, it will help your postpartum recovery. It’s essential for mom to stay healthy so that they can take the best care of their newborn baby.