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The Importance of Good Nutrition After Pregnancy

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 23 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Nutrition Health Diet Pregnancy Baby

Just as it’s important to eat healthily and nutritiously when you’re pregnant, it’s also important when you’ve had your baby too.

Why is Post Pregnancy Nutrition Important?

Having a baby can be exhausting and really take its toll on a woman. You can never be quite sure how labour will go – quick and easy, or long and enduring – and adapting to life with your new baby can take time.

Your body has undergone quite an experience and it takes time to recover, especially if you’ve had a caesarean section. Looking after all your baby’s needs, especially if they’re not sleeping well and constantly wake up crying in the night, can take a toll on your energy levels. If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll need a decent amount of energy to keep going and meet the demands of a hungry baby.

Whilst your main attentions will of course be on looking after your new arrival, it’s important to look after yourself too. One tried and tested way of boosting your own energy levels and looking after your health needs is through eating healthily.

What to Eat

A healthy diet is one in which you consume at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, have plenty of whole grains and cereals, protein – through eating meat, pulses or nuts – iron rich foods, such as leafy green vegetables, and calcium. It may well be that you don’t have to change your diet all that much, as you were eating healthily whilst you were pregnant.

You can begin to introduce some of the foods that are recommended to be cut out during pregnancy, like unpasteurised cheeses. If you are breastfeeding, then small traces of your diet can get through to the breast milk. Not all babies react well to everything, so keep an eye on your baby and if you notice they become particularly restless or have bad wind after certain feeds, then you may need to slightly change what you eat.

Other foods you may like to eat include red meat, which is a particularly good source of iron. For non-meat sources you could try breakfast cereal or leafy green vegetables. Drinking a glass of orange juice at the same time, which includes lots of beneficial vitamin C, will help absorption. It’s also good to try and increase the amount of calcium you eat after having a baby. This can easily be done by eating foods such as reduced fat yogurt or cheese, or through drinking a glass of milk. Sugary and fatty foods can be enjoyed too, but it’s best to only eat them in small quantities.

In order to help your body produce plenty of milk supplies, it’s important to keep hydrated through drinking plenty of fluids too. Water is a good option – try and aim to drink eight glasses a day. Although you can drink tea or coffee too, avoid overdosing on caffeine as the effects can be picked up by your baby through your milk.

If you’re feeling particularly exhausted and run down, despite eating healthily, then you may need a dose of a vitamin, such as vitamin B or iron. Some women can for example, become a bit anaemic during and after pregnancy. If you’re not feeling great, then see your doctor or speak to them during any mother and baby check-ups you go for.

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