Nutritionist-Approved: 10 Best Foods for Postpartum Nourishment and Recovery

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ou've just experienced something miraculous.

You’ve just experienced something miraculous. Something spiritual. And something so exhausting hunger looms larger than the moon at its full peak. This is the after-birth effect few discuss. After giving birth–and really throughout motherhood–what you eat is just as important as what your newborn consumes. 

We asked nutritionists to share the foods to help replenish lost nutrients after birth, nourish your body for breastfeeding, provide energy to cope with longer days and shorter nights, and support a speedy recovery from any health complications you may have experienced during delivery. Their suggestions include eating lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats to get adequate nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fiber, and healthy fats to aid postpartum recovery and support breastfeeding. Below, are their top five.

1.

Avocados are a great source of healthy fats that can boost your mood and help with postpartum discomfort.

Avocados are a godsend to postpartum mothers. Not only are they delicious and versatile, but they also contain healthy fats that can work wonders for your body. The healthy fats in avocados can help alleviate discomfort and pain associated with childbirth while also boosting your mood. So, it’s no wonder that this green fruit is so popular amongst moms. Whether you’re a fan of guacamole or you like to slice it up for your toast, avocados are a must-have in any postpartum diet. They can help you feel better both physically and mentally, which is key during this transitional period in your life. 

2.

Bananas offer minerals like potassium, and vitamins B6 and C that can help your energy levels after childbirth.

Bananas are not just a delicious fruit, they’re a powerhouse of nutrients too. Did you know that they can help replenish your energy levels after giving birth? Packed with potassium, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin C, bananas are the perfect snack for new moms who need a boost. Not only are they convenient and easy to eat, but they also provide a quick source of energy without any added sugars or unhealthy fats. So, before you reach for that candy bar or bag of chips, consider grabbing a banana instead. Your body will thank you for it.

3.

Blueberries have antioxidants that can help improve overall health and reduce inflammation associated with childbirth.

Blueberries are a superfood that can’t be ignored. These little blue gems are packed with antioxidants that can work wonders for your overall health. Not only are they great for keeping you healthy, but they’re also known for their ability to reduce inflammation that usually accompanies the physical strain of childbirth. That’s right, blueberries can help put out that fire in your body and give you the relief you need. So, if you’re looking for a way to improve your health and reduce inflammation, go ahead and add some blueberries to your diet – your body will thank you!

4.

Bone broth can help with tissue repair, gut health, and joint health.

Labor and delivery can cause inflammation in the body, especially in the pelvic area, as the uterus contracts and the cervix dilates. The postpartum period is characterized by a natural inflammatory response, which helps the body to heal and repair tissues, especially in the uterus, cervix, and perineum. That’s why bone broth, which contains collagen, can help with tissue repair and healing, including skin, hair, and nail health.

Bone broth is an excellent postpartum food, offering a range of benefits for healing and recovery. The glutamine in bone broth helps heal and seal the gut lining, reducing inflammation and supporting digestive health. Additionally, it contains glucosamine and chondroitin, which can alleviate joint pain and inflammation. Bone broth is also a valuable source of essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, helping to replenish stores that may have been depleted during pregnancy and childbirth. You can treat yourself to bone broth made from beef, chicken, turkey or fish bones, the electrolytes and minerals present in bone broth can soothe the nervous system, reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation, which is particularly beneficial for new mothers navigating the postpartum period.

5.

Dates can provide a natural energy boost, support milk production, and promote uterine health.

Dates are an excellent postpartum snack, offering a range of benefits for energy, digestion, and recovery. As a natural sweetener, they provide a quick energy boost without the crash associated with refined sugars. Dates are also high in fiber, which can alleviate constipation and promote overall digestive health. Traditionally, dates have been used to support milk production in breastfeeding mothers, making them a valuable addition to a nursing mother’s diet. Furthermore, dates are rich in essential minerals like potassium, copper, and iron, helping to replenish stores that may have been depleted during pregnancy and childbirth. Additionally, dates have been used to support uterine health and promote contractions, which can aid in postpartum recovery by facilitating the uterus’s return to its pre-pregnancy state.

6.

Fatty fish is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which help to provide your body with essential nutrients for postpartum recovery.

When it comes to postpartum recovery, it’s essential to nourish your body with nutrient-rich foods, and salmon is definitely one that should be added to your list. Not only is it a delicious and versatile meal option, but it’s also packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial for maintaining good health. These healthy fats help reduce inflammation, improve brain function, and support a healthy heart. Plus, they can also aid in reducing the risk of postpartum depression. So, whether you enjoy it grilled, baked, or even in a salad, incorporating salmon into your diet is a postpartum must!

7.

Leafy greens can provide your body with important vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

As a new mom, your body has been through a lot. And while taking care of your little one is the top priority, it’s also important to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. One way to do that is by incorporating a variety of leafy greens into your diet. Spinach, kale, collard greens, and especially Swiss chard, are healthy veggies packed with essential vitamins and minerals, like vitamin A, calcium, selenium, and iron, that your body needs to heal and recover after giving birth. Plus, they’re also high in fiber, which can help keep your digestive system running smoothly (an important factor during this time!). So the next time you’re at the grocery store, be sure to grab a bunch of spinach, kale, or collard greens to add to your meals. Your body—and your taste buds—will thank you!

8.

Legumes offer fiber, folate, protein, and immune-boosting zinc.

A nutritional powerhouse for postpartum recovery, beans like lentils, black beans, and chickpeas are inexpensive, high in fiber, folate, protein, and zinc. This makes them an excellent choice for new mothers. Legumes like lentils, chickpeas, and black beans can help replenish iron stores, support milk production, and promote digestive health. They are also rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which can help reduce inflammation and promote overall well-being. And since bowel movements can be hard—especially the first one—the fiber from legumes helps with regular bowel movements after delivery. 

9.

Steel-cut or old-fashioned oatmeal is a comforting and nourishing food that can provide a good choice of complex carbohydrates.

Rich in complex carbohydrates, fiber, and iron, oatmeal is an excellent choice for postpartum recovery as it is said to be a galactagogue, which helps to support milk production. Additionally, the fiber in oatmeal can help soothe digestive issues like constipation and reduce cholesterol levels. Steel-cut or old-fashioned oats are the least processed and have a lower glycemic index, meaning they are less likely to spike blood sugar levels compared to more processed instant oatmeal varieties. If you had gestational diabetes, check with a postpartum nutritionist and your doctor before including oatmeal into your diet.

10.

Sweet Potatoes are a nutrient-dense food rich in vitamins A and C, and fiber.

An excellent choice for supporting immune function, tissue repair, and digestive health, sweet potatoes are also full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which can help reduce inflammation and promote overall well-being. Additionally, they are easy to digest, making them a great option for new mothers who may be experiencing digestive issues. Roast, boil, or toast them for a side dish, snack, or for your morning toast.

These foods can provide additional benefits to support a new mother’s physical and emotional recovery after childbirth, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian for personalized guidance.

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