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10 Postpartum Nutrition Tips to Help You Bounce Back

by Katlyn Joy | September 24, 2013 8:24 AM
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So much of what you've been doing has been geared towards giving your baby the best possible start. Now it's time to give some thought to your health and nutrition during your postpartum weeks. By taking care of your body in the weeks following childbirth, you will help your body bounce back quicker and easier.

1. Don't go crazy and revert back to a bad pre-pregnancy diet.

Sometimes after giving birth women will want to celebrate their freedom and their non-sharing of their body by eating solely for themselves. Sadly, that often means a greasy burger, a bag of sour cream and cheddar potato chips and a sampler plate of chocolate bars. Instead, think about building up your health and energy, and deliver the right fuel to your body.

2. Don't skip the folic acid just because you are postpartum.

Breastfed babies benefit from folic acid as do any future babies you have. Plus, it's a healthy, powerful nutrient for you too, Mommy. Folic acid can be found in fortified cereals, breads, pastas and noodles, leafy veggies, beans, peas and nuts, and fruits. Liver is a good source of folic acid as well, for you more adventurous eaters.

3. Drink Lots of Water.

If you're nursing, be sure to sit down before each nursing session with a nice glass of milk, water or 100 percent juice. Don't rely on calorie-laden soft drinks, dry powders that contain less than healthy sugar substitutes, or caffeine heavy drinks. Breastfeeding moms are more prone to dehydration. Even if you are not nursing, drinking water will help flush away toxins.

4. Pump up the iron.

Even if you've never been anemic before, this is a likely time when your iron levels will dip. Low iron means low energy and a lowered ability to fight off infection, as well. Your doctor may decide your deficient enough to warrant taking a supplement. Either way, you can help yourself get stronger by eating iron rich foods like lean meats, egg yolks, organ meats, and spinach.

5. "C" your way to better postpartum health.

If you are working on restoring iron levels, you'll help your body absorb it better by getting plenty of vitamin C. Non-anemic moms can boost vitamin C. Eat citrus fruits, drink orange juice, and eat potatoes especially baked ones, tomatoes and steamed broccoli.

6. Bulk up.

Most new moms suffer from constipation. Water is a big help in fighting off this pain. Also, eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies to get healthy constipation fighting fiber.

7. Pick complex rather than simple carbohydrates.

Opt for potatoes, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and the like rather than chips, fries or pastries. If you go for simple carbohydrates you'll feel like sinking into the couch in short order. Complex carbohydrates will build up your energy.

8. Shop for healthy meals and snacks.

Keep it simple by buying a healthy snack base such as veggie sticks, rice cakes, hummus, pita chips, and yogurt. Make sure it's easy to open the cabinet or refrigerator and pull out something that will provide a nutritional punch not a junk food indulgence.

9. Pay attention to what you eat.

Sometimes we wonder why we aren't losing weight when we grab handfuls of chips or down cans of soda without even thinking about it. Many women find it helpful to be accountable to themselves and write down everything they eat. Notice your patterns and when you are most susceptible to eating poorly, or perhaps your food journal will help you link your indigestion with your late night sausage sandwich.

10. Remember the nutrition guidelines:

Aim for something from each category at each meal, and try to get the widest variety of fresh and in season foods whenever possible.


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