You have your baby, you leave the hospital, and then life becomes MUCH more overwhelming. Sleeping is sometimes not a daily activity, eating is confusing and personal time is nowhere in sight. You think to yourself, “what did I sign up for and why is no one talking about this?”. We’re here to tell you that what you might be feeling is normal, felt by many new moms, and more importantly, that you are not alone.
Referred to by many specialists as the fourth trimester, this is the period where you can experience heightened physical stress, emotional stress, nutrient deficiencies, and more fluctuating hormone levels.
Postpartum care and support is so important for you and your family. In the absence of a proper care plan and accessible resources, mental health can really start to decline. It is known that 10-15% of new moms experience depression and/or anxiety following childbirth. The key to supporting your mental health is by supporting your body’s nutritional needs. You need adequate levels of protein, whole grains, fruits and veggies to heal your body both mentally and physically. Proper nutrition replenishes those feel-good neurotransmitters, your body's ability to heal tissue, and your baby’s food source (if you choose to breastfeed).
For Mama’s who are breastfeeding, your body needs approximately 500+ calories and lots of liquids to supply adequate levels and nutrient dense milk for your baby. We’ll cover nutrients to include in your diet in the next paragraph, but as for hydration, you’re going to want to lean on things like bone broth, warm water, coconut water and electrolyte rich beverages. You can start by adding good quality sea salt to your water or use our favourite LMNT packets for electrolytes because of their filler free ingredient list.
For both breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding Mama’s, your list of foods to include should look a little something like this:
Lean protein sources such as chicken, eggs, turkey, beef, tofu, edamame, tempeh.
Calcium rich foods such as dairy, greek yogurt, dark leafy greens, beans & legumes.
Vitamin B rich foods such as red meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy, chickpeas, lentils, leafy greens, seeds & avocado.
Fruits and vegetables for antioxidants, polyphenols, fibre, and minerals (think zinc, magnesium, manganese).
Whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, barley etc. Whole grains can support milk production for breastfeeding moms.
Omega 3’s: fatty, low mercury fish such as salmon and sardines, chia seeds, nuts and seeds.
Warm soup/stew meals (bonus when they come frozen) that can help bring the body back into balance after childbirth says Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners.
Iron rich foods to help replenish stores from blood loss during childbirth. Foods high in iron include red meat, poultry, seafood, beans & peas.
All of our meals and snacks are crafted with these ingredients in mind so that finding balance and proper nourishment can be taken off your plate and served directly to you, prepared and delivered.
And while it’s not a food item per se, it’s recommended to keep taking your prenatal supplement to work alongside your nutrient dense diet and offer additional support in the fourth trimester.
A small note on protein from leading functional nutritionist, Kelly LeVeque, who recommends increasing daily protein intake as it is the most nutrient dense and satisfying macronutrient when it comes to tissue repair and healing post childbirth. She leans on beef liver supplements (we recommend these), daily bone broth and a large serving of any protein at each meal and snack.
Now as for foods to limit for both breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding Mama’s, you’ll want to examine your intake of caffeine, trans fat, sugar, undercooked meat/seafood and artificial sweeteners. We know it’s unrealistic to cut all of these out completely. Instead try to refocus your energy on nutrient dense foods and cellular hydration - it will be a healing tool for you while recovering from childbirth and one that will help ease the transition from the fourth trimester to feeling like yourself again. Postpartum health is a journey, not a destination. Remember to focus on the day to day, cherish the good days and quickly forget about the bad ones because you are your baby’s world and your family is rooting for you.
If you have any questions about specific dietary needs and you're interested in ordering meals for yourself or a loved one, send us an email at email@example.com and our in-house nutritionist Julia will reach out!