After months of anticipation, the baby is finally here and it’s a sacred time for…
As a soon-to-be new mom, I’ve been in full-on planning mode. For birth, of course. We have packages arriving daily with all the newborn essentials. But what I’ve actually been prepping for most is my own postpartum journey. Because I know that how you recover after giving birth reverberates across the rest of your life.
I don’t need to tell you that pregnancy takes an enormous toll on the female body. That growing your precious baby, building the placenta, increasing blood volume by 50%, and preparing for breastfeeding depletes you. You’ve felt it!
This is because of the biological shift that prioritizes baby’s needs first and the vast strain on all of our body’s resources. Not to mention the immense physical demands of labor and delivery.
So, we need to take the time to properly heal and replenish so that we can avoid postpartum symptoms and complications including brain fog, extreme fatigue, insomnia, thinning hair, easy bruising, dry skin, sensitivity to light and sound, postpartum thyroiditis, irritable bowel syndrome, hormone imbalances, anxiety, and depression.
It’s no joke what happens in our bodies as we create the next generation. Which is why I truly believe that the best thing we can do as mothers is to prioritize our needs (and our healing) as much as possible.
Easier said than done? I get it. I also promise that if you take care of yourself it will be so much easier to take care of that new little human. I see this in my clients all the time, and it’s why I’m putting so much energy into preparing myself for postpartum.
So…How does a Holistic Nutritionist set herself up for success and nourishment after giving birth? I’m glad you asked 🙂
Since first trying to conceive, I have been as proactive as possible with my nutrition and supplement routine. This is because I want to prevent, or at least lessen, deficiencies and related symptoms throughout pregnancy and to support recovery post-birth.
The first trimester definitely saw its fair share of bagels and cereal. But, in general I try to stick to whole, nutrient-dense foods with a focus on lots of healthy fats, protein, and lower carb veggies to keep my blood sugar and energy levels balanced throughout the day.
I also had labs drawn with my functional medicine doctor toward the end of my second trimester to assess nutrient status. Even with a solid diet, results showed borderline anemia as well as low vitamin D, calcium, and protein levels.
Knowledge really is power — so we increased my vitamin D drops, added an iron supplement, and I’m focusing on getting plenty of protein (80+ grams/day) and adding more iron-rich foods like red meat, leafy greens, beets, and legumes to support post-birth healing. You can also check out this delicious iron building smoothie.
We’re planning on repeat labs 3-5 months postpartum as well to reassess nutrient levels and check my thyroid since issues typically don’t arise until several months post birth( after your 6-week check up!).
Stocking My Kitchen
Knowledge around nutrition and lab results are great in theory, but you also logistically have to be able to feed yourself those nourishing, healing foods while caring for a newborn. That’s why I’m stocking my kitchen and freezer in advance with easy options — both homemade and store-bought.
My plan is to make the following for our freezer:
- Lentil Soup
- Energy Bites
- Banana Bread, sliced for easy grabbing
- Chia jam frozen in ice cube trays
- Lactation cookies
And I’m making sure I have these on hand for easy snacking and quick meals:
- Bone broth
- Frozen grains
- Frozen veggies
- Marinara sauce
- Lentil pasta
- Sprouted bread
- Canned beans/lentils
- Canned salmon/sardines
- Coconut milk
- Nut butters
- Dark chocolate
If you’re wondering how to make a meal out of the above, I’ve got you covered —
- Stir-fry with frozen brown rice + frozen broccoli + eggs
- Lentil pasta with frozen spinach and marinara
- Bone broth heated with curry powder and blended with frozen butternut squash and a splash of coconut milk
- Oatmeal with peanut butter and chia jam
- Sprouted toast with avocado and eggs
- Dates dipped in almond butter
I also have a legit fear of giving birth at 2am and the only food option for my first postpartum meal being a cold turkey sandwich or bowl of Cheerios. So I’m including these options in my hospital bag and I’m confident they will also be staples in my diaper bag postpartum!
- Bone broth
- Coconut water
- Oatmeal cups
- Nut butter packets
- Nettle tea
- and a note to grab things like fruit and avocado
If all of this seems like a lot — don’t forget you can enlist others to help stock your kitchen or do the grocery shopping!
My friends already know what they can bring over the first week we’re back from the hospital. I’ve asked for meal delivery services as part of our baby registry, and I have a list of our favorite healthy takeout places on my phone for mindless ordering in our soon-to-be sleep deprived state.
Don’t be shy about enlisting your friends and family. Forward them this article so they have information on what foods would be the most supportive for you. They can help restock your freezer and pantry. This article also has 15+ ways to help support your or a friend’s postpartum recovery. And this article has more information and resources on why supporting your nutrition postpartum is vital to your recovery. Let’s also make a cup of red raspberry leaf tea and cheers to taking care of ourselves too.