Postpartum Foods & Nursing Snacks for the New Mama
There's so much excitement, planning, and preparation that happens when you're pregnant. I spent so much time nesting and getting Noah's room perfectly decorated and ready, organizing his clothes by size, and looking into mommy-and-me classes, but one thing I didn't spend much time was preparing what I'd need once I came home from the hospital with a newborn. I think part of that is, you don't really know until you're going through it (and then frantically placing Amazon orders at 3am), but once you've been there, you're a pro and can help prep your sister or besties with everything that will help their transitions into new motherhood those first couple weeks. Part of that is essentials for mama's physical recovery (you can find all of my tips for that in this post) and another big part of that is... food!
There are specific foods that are extra nourishing for a new mama, and there are also certain necessities to have on hand for nursing moms who are famished at all hours of the day and night. When my sister came home from the hospital with her baby two weeks ago and I saw her emergency stash of Nature Valley bars and random cookies on her nightstand, I knew she needed some help. So I put together all of the essentials for her, and seeing the response I got via DM on instagram, I knew I should put it all in a blog post to share with you, your pregnant sisters, and your mom-to-be friends, too!
Let's just kick this off by saying... your body goes through a lot in labor. Even if you have an easy breezy labor (I wish I could say I did with Noah, but fingers crossed for next time ha!), your body goes through so many changes afterwards, and making sure you're getting the nutrition to restore your energy and replenish your nutrient stores is huge! Here are some things that mama will need, plus suggestions of my favorite recipes or brands.
Foods to Focus On
Warm, nourishing, easy-to-digest foods - think soups, stews, and lots of bone broth! I love this brand of bone broth (especially the coconut lime flavor) and would recommend warming up at least a mug or two of it each day during recovery. Bone broth is one of those magical superfoods that's rich in protein, collagen, and minerals that promote joint health, brain function, tissue repair, and healing, so drink up!
A few soups that would be ideal to prep and freeze:
A variety of cooked, colorful veggies - cooked is easier on digestion than raw. We get so many vitamins and minerals from healthy, organic (if possible) produce, so don't skimp on your veggies with your meals. Also, iodine-rich foods like seaweed snacks or seaweed salad are important for both mama and baby!
Protein & healthy fats - new moms need protein and healthy fats to keep them full and satisfied, and they're especially key for milk production if they're breastfeeding. Think lots of avocado, nuts and seeds, nut butters, protein & veggies cooked in extra virgin olive oil or grass-fed butter, fatty fish like salmon, grass-fed beef, chicken, eggs (yolks are high in choline which is important for mama & baby's brain health, too!).
Some recipe ideas to get you started if you're cooking for a friend (or if you're the new mama and making meal requests, which you should totally do!):
Hydration - never have I been thirstier than when I would first sit down and start nursing Noah. It was like the second he latched on, I was suddenly parched, and the amount of times I'd sit down, put on my "breast friend" pillow, get Noah in position, and then realize I didn't have my water bottle and have to yell for Mitch... it was not ideal! Make sure to have a large water bottle (with a straw since you'll often only have one hand available) like this one with you wherever you go - maybe one in each room that you usually nurse in! Don't forget to add electrolytes to your water - so important for recovery and also for milk supply! These Citrus Salt electrolytes are my go-to.
There are a bunch of healthy snacks you can prep ahead (and will want to continuously stock up on) that are great for nursing mamas. In the beginning especially, you're up at all hours of the night feeding your baby, and that burns a lot of calories, which means you're not only so thirsty, but also so much hungrier than usual! There are definitely those desperate 4am moments where you just need some fuel and will eat whatever is within reach, which is why it's so important to be prepped and stocked for those hangry moments!
There are a lot of snacks that are shelf-stable and easy to keep on the bedside table, and then also some refrigerated ones. Don't worry, I have a perfect solution so you don't constantly have to go downstairs to the fridge!
Refrigerated snacks - what I did for my sister was prep a bunch of the things on this list and I kept the majority of them in her fridge downstairs, and then I got her this cute mini, mini-fridge to keep on her bedside table which holds just enough snacking essentials for a couple days and then she can refill as needed! This saves her from going up and down the stairs for snacks all the time, especially while she's recovering and it's not so easy to do those stairs multiple times a day!
Other Helpful Posts & Links:
I hope you found this post helpful! Congratulations to you and the special new mamas in your life!
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Lindsay is a Holistic Nutritionist who lives for a great meal, a beautiful farmers market, daily matcha lattes, and homemade chocolate chip cookies. Weeknight Bite is Lindsay's happy place where her nutrition practice, simple recipes, and wellness tips come together to inspire you to live a healthy, balanced life.