After giving birth, most young mothers become concerned about losing the weight they have gained during pregnancy. But one should keep in mind that even more important than losing weight is to eat to stay healthy. After all your health is essential for you to take care of baby and even to produce milk should you opt to breastfeed. So what are the right foods and wrong foods for the mother after giving birth? Is is normal to have cravings although the pregnancy has ended?
Salmon And Fish
There are number of healthy foods that can help new mothers to maintain adequate energy levels. Although there is hardly any food that can be considered as a perfect food, salmon is one of the best options. Salmon like any other fish is rich in specific type of DHA which is helpful in growth and development of the nervous system of the baby.
The mother’s milk is naturally rich in DHA but the higher concentration in breast milk is dependent on the eating habits of the mother. Despite all the beneficial effects of salmon on baby and mother, the FDA recommends that all women planning to fall pregnant, already pregnant and new lactating mothers should limit the intake of salmon fish. The reason for this is to limit the amount of mercury exposure to the baby.
Dairy And Meat
Low fat dairy products like yogurt, milk and cheese are a very important part of the new mother’s diet. Apart from providing protein, vitamin B and D; milk is a rich source of calcium and calcium is essential for bone growth of the baby. Lean beef is a very rich source of iron as well as protein and vitamin B12. Deficiency of any of these nutrients will lead to poor energy levels in the nursing mother. Legumes are also known to be a very rich source of proteins which is ideal for vegetarians.
Fruits And Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet before, during and after pregnancy . It should be a balanced intake of fruits and vegetables – at least 2 fruits and 3 types of vegetable per day. There is a misconception that only meat and fish can deliver certain micronutrients. However, a healthy intake of all available fruits and vegetables is a good source of iron, calcium and vitamin C among a host of other micro- and macronutients.
Carbohydrates, Fats And Proteins
All three of these macronutrients are needed by the pregnant mother. Carbohydrates should be consumed in larger quantities compared to protein and fats. It is very necessary for energy of the mother and for milk production. The best option for carbohydrates is low glycemic index (GI). Fat is also essential but it needs to be consumed in the smallest quantities.
Individualized Eating Plans
Due to geographic, social, cultural, religious and even financial factors, mothers should look at seeing a registered dietitian (nutritionist) for individually developed diet plans during pregnancy and after childbirth. These eating plans will take into consideration of the factor previously mentioned in addition to the mother’s health, family history and even lifestyle. The needs of the baby will also be taken into account. While we all think that we know what we mean by “eat healthy”, there are still extensive fallacies and misleading myths.