Recovering from Delivery: Why Nutrition & Rest is Critical
You have just delivered your bundle of joy. As exciting as it is, it’s also been intense, exhausting and maddening, not to mention the effect of the hormones that are still raging through your body. It’s time for repair and rejuvenation for your body. It’s also time for nurturing and breastfeeding your infant, which can be sometimes be extremely demanding on your body. Nutrition and rest therefore become super important for you. Healthy eating after delivery and resting are essential to replenish your lost strength. After all, without proper nutrition, you won’t be able to take care of your baby. Your postpartum phase starts once the baby is born and finishes when your body comes back to its pre-pregnancy shape or condition. This phase lasts for approximately 6 to 8 weeks post-delivery.
Throughout this journey, you can expect to undergo various emotional and physical changes. And if you are a new mother, the task of juggling your own and your baby’s needs might seem truly challenging. However, remember that new mothers need balanced and timely meals and sufficient sleep and physical activity to be strong enough to care for the little ones. So, the after-delivery food for mothers should include items from all major food groups.
Here are some tips to take care of yourself, while you tend to the baby:
- Consume food while feeding the baby: Snack on high-protein foods such as paneer, Greek yoghurt, nuts and dry fruits, or light string cheese, while feeding the little one. It will help you to limit cravings, decrease tiredness, and help in reducing your waist-line as well.
- Keep healthy snacks handy: If you are going out, stock some healthy snacks in the diaper bag. It can be nuts, dry fruits, fresh fruits, or soy chips or chunks, which are easy to carry and prepare.
- Hydrate yourself: Consume plenty of water throughout the day. It will not only keep you hydrated, but will also fill your tummy and keep you away from junk foods. Water flavoured with fruit chunks or herbs is an excellent alternative, if it is without sugar. Sometimes, while nursing the baby, the mother can get thirsty at a faster rate. So, try and keep a jug of water and a few healthy snacks near your bed for easy access.
- Cook and store extra meals: Cook in large quantities. For example, steaming a lot of brown rice or baking potatoes, boiling eggs or making lasagne can help. You can store these in the fridge for quite some time and make your days easier.
- Get groceries delivered: Going to the supermarket with your baby can become challenging initially. So, search for websites that deliver groceries at home. If you visit a supermarket, the chances of buying unwanted things increases too. Instead, stick to a healthy list while placing your order, and save time.
- Store extra healthy frozen foods: Fruits and vegetables that are frozen provide similar nutritional benefits as the fresh ones. Using these ingredients, you can follow a balanced diet after delivery, and easily prepare stir-fried veggies, smoothies, soups and stews.
There is a difference in the body clocks of babies and new parents. Newborns need to be fed after every 3 hours and made comfortable too. So, if this is your first bundle of joy, you need to learn new ways to take proper rest:
- Sleep along with the baby. Even though it can be for a short while, every minute counts.
- Keep the bed of the baby near yours, for feeding at night. It will save time..
- If guests come over, do not feel obliged to cater to them. You can easily excuse yourself and go take some rest or feed the child. You can gradually start with postpartum physical activities and step out of the house for some time every day, as advised by your specialist. Initially, for a few weeks, take help from others to fulfil your responsibilities, other than baby feeding and taking proper rest. .
A mother’s body undergoes many changes during pregnancy and birth. New moms need to give their body some time for recovery too. Apart from rest, a proper diet is also essential.
Breastfeeding mothers need to consume food whenever they feel hungry. So, it is essential to plan meals that are easy and simple, but also include all the food groups. Healthy eating after delivery should consist of:
- Cereals: Whole-grain cereals like wheat, oats, millets, rice, corn, bajra, nachni, and jowar.
- Vegetables: Choose from a variety of colourful vegetables, i.e. dark green, light green, red, purple, orange, yellow, and starchy vegetables.
- Fruits: All fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Choose whole fruits over fruit juices as they are richer in fibre and provide more satiety.
- Dairy products: Focus on low-fat milk and milk products such as curd, buttermilk, yoghurt, and paneer. They are high in protein and calcium.
- Proteins: Choose low-fat, lean meats. Go for eggs, fish, chicken, legumes, pulses, nuts and seeds (also high in healthy fats), and soy.
- Use nut oils while cooking rather than animal fats, because nut oils have essential nutrients.
It is no news that babies require a lot of attention and care, especially for the first year of their life. To continuously meet the needs of your baby, you need to invest ample time and energy too. So, it is always better to get as much help as possible, from your partner, family, friends, or a professional caregiver. It will help you focus on your and the baby's health better, and you will get to spend quality time with your little one too.