Let's Talk About Why Postpartum Nutrition is Important

After my son was born, I could not wait to eat everything I missed while I was pregnant. Gestational Diabetes ensured that my sweet cravings (and several others) were put to eternal rest during those nine months. There were also several food myths that put a damper on several of the foods I loved to eat, Chinese, prawns (you know, the spicy kind). I had mentally prepared a list of absolutely everything I wanted to and (had) to eat after coming home from the hospital. Words like ‘nutrition’ and ‘healthy’ seemed distant because I knew that these ‘home cooked’ healthy meals were quite impossible in the initial days.

It's no surprise that postpartum nutrition can sometimes be the last thing on your mind after delivery. For me, the initial weeks of motherhood were overwhelming. With no sleep, a baby who constantly wanted to feed and so much excitement, I hardly paid attention to the food I was eating. I also conveniently forgot to continue my prenatal vitamins. Big mistake!
As new moms, the two most essential things required after delivery is 1. Energy (to feed the baby, take care of yourself and the million other things that come with motherhood) and 2. Mental well-being that will help you get through the exhaustion and physical strain while adjusting to new routines. A well-balanced and nutritious diet is the only thing that will ensure you stay focused, energised and sane (yes, I'm talking postpartum depression) through those first few busy (mostly) nights and days. A healthy food plan will also ensure you slowly start to lose the extra weight, something all new mothers are desperate to do once their baby is born. While I acknowledge that I did not follow this most important step in motherhood, I certainly feel I could have taken a few tiny steps to ensure I stayed healthier (and happier) during those first few months of motherhood.
  1. Just like those nine months of pregnancy, aim for smaller meals throughout the day. Fruits, nuts, smoothies, juices, oats, yogurt are all healthy snack options that can keep your energy levels going and squash those hunger pangs. Fruit and vegetable salads are a great source of fiber and are filled with all the essential vitamins.
  2. Never miss breakfast. Begin your day with a wholesome breakfast even if you feel like the only thing you want to do is sleep. Having my mom during those first few weeks was the biggest blessing as she forced me to eat a (rather large) healthy breakfast before my energy levels faded quickly. 
  3. Rest and exercise are an important part of your diet as well. I never did both. Looking back I feel I could have misinterpreted them and assumed that they were quite impossible during those first months. Rest! This means exactly what it is. Although it may see like there are a million things to do and your phone will certainly tempt, you must take every precious moment to sleep whenever you can. Exercise can be a simple walk in the garden with your baby. It can work wonders for your mind and body.
  4. Never stop or forget to take any vitamins prescribed by your gynecologist. Motherhood might seem like there's never a minute free to do something for you. I urge you to never forget about yourself because those vitamins are vital to counter several changes in your body after childbirth. 
Having someone from family during the initial days is certainly helpful but not possible for many new moms. It then becomes increasingly difficult to take postpartum nutrition seriously. The quick snack alternatives in the form of packaged food and restaurants might seem like the only solution and cannot be avoided all together. In these instances, try looking for the healthier options. The postpartum period is definitely the most challenging and if someone had to ask me what I feel is the most important, it's most definitely taking better and good care of yourself.
So moms bring on the reinforcements! They will surely make you a happier mom, wife, daughter, "everything".