A Guide for Supporting New Moms: Nutrition and Hydration
Whether you are expecting your first child, second child, or 17th, coming home with a newborn is an adjustment! Along with the excitement of your newest little family member comes the reality of taking care of another person, leaving less and less time to care for yourself. A few reminders for helping you care for yourself (or advice for family and friends who can help): nutrition and hydration are essential for new moms to keep up energy levels and recover from giving birth.
I gave birth to my first child in Copenhagen, Denmark, where midwives wheeled a tea cart into my delivery room with scones and tasty treats, adorned with little Danish flags. What I remember the most was drinking a LOT of tea and thinking that I’d never feel hydrated again. Also, sometime after getting home from that delivery (approximately 4 hours later…), I couldn’t drink out of a glass--strange I know! It felt like I was suffocating and turned out to be just one of my many odd postpartum experiences. My mom soon realized drinking from straws made the previously simple task of drinking water manageable. This week Meems explores some easy tips to support new moms (babies, siblings, and dads!) to make sure everyone is well-nourished and cared for during this period of transition.
Keep Snacks Handy
Often new parents will be busy adjusting to their new life and forget to sit down for a full meal. Keeping healthy snacks within reach can help everyone stay fueled through the day.
Here are some healthy suggestions that can support milk production and keep your energy long lasting. There are even a few you can eat with one hand!
As the Quaker Oats box reminds me daily, oatmeal is good for providing long lasting energy.
Another easy snack idea that a partner can help whip up is healthy granola bars. While you can easily grab these at the grocery store, making them at home allows you to control the ingredients and avoid preservatives.
These lactation cookies are a delicious treat that you can enjoy with the satisfaction of knowing that they are supporting your milk supply. This cookie packs so much into just one bite.
- Trail mix or plain Nuts
Making your own trail mix at home allows you to load it up with your favorite healthy ingredients. Low sugar is healthier, but you can add some fun pieces to mix up each bite! Trader Joe’s freeze-dried raspberries or homemade popcorn are two of my personal favorites! In a large bowl, mix your favorite items and then section out smaller portions into small bags or mason jars for easy storage and snacking. Include a type of nut: peanuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, or almonds. Next add a seed: pumpkin or sunflower. Lastly, add something fun like 70%+ dark chocolate bites, homemade popcorn, or freeze-dried fruits.
Get a cute stemless wine glass or mason jar, and layer the ingredients for an awesome snack or light breakfast dish.
Medical News Today provided a list of vegetables and fruits to include in your breastfeeding journey. Ask your partner to cut up your favorite veggies and fresh fruit each morning, and store it in the fridge or on the counter, as a visual reminder. This makes grabbing a healthy snack easy and will help ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need throughout the day.
If you prefer a bar to a cookie, then Boobie Bars are a great alternative. They list several milk-boosting ingredients (the jury is still out on some of them), but at least you can be confident and assured you both are getting a nourishing treat.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Giving birth is extremely dehydrating. If you are breastfeeding, you’ll be losing way more water than you are taking in. MedMD suggests drinking up to 16 cups of water each day during this time. To make this easier, try drinking a glass every time you feed your baby. As a person who had a hard time drinking straight water from a cup, I realized drinking something fun every once in a while kept me interested in my hydration. Some yummy drinks that will keep you hydrated: sparkling water, infused water, smoothies, and healthy juices.
The more meal preparation you can do for yourself, the better. In preparation for busy days and long nights with a new baby, take up offers from friends or family to drop off a hot meal. If that isn’t an option, consider the following alternatives:
- Home meal delivery service
Purchase a subscription to a meal delivery service where the ingredients and instructions are delivered to your door. This is easy for new parents who don’t have a lot of time to plan for themselves but still want to eat well.
- Grocery Store Meals
Stock up on your favorite Trader Joe’s prepared meals (like a French Tarte) and keep salad ingredients stocked in your fridge so you can always make a simple salad.
- Make a meal plan and schedule groceries
Write out your meal plan for the upcoming week, order everything you need for each day and schedule a grocery delivery ahead of time. This way your groceries show up with everything you need for your planned meal (or a few days at a time) and everyone knows what’s being cooked, and how to help.
Treat Yourself & Just Order Take Out!
Allow yourself to realize sometimes you just need to order some sushi! Try not to stress out when it comes to eating and remember that you can always order something that is healthy and yummy from your favorite restaurants. If people in your life are looking to give you a gift for having a baby, maybe skip the flowers and ask for Uber eats instead!
We hope this post helps make you better prepared for nourishing and hydrating your own body postpartum. Taking care of your wellness will help you be the best version of yourself, and your little one is routing for that! Most importantly, remember that you can’t do it all on your own and asking others for help after creating life is the least they can do!