Oftentimes while pregnant, we read about what to expect during those nine months and we research about labor. You may find yourself excited about your baby registry and birth plan, but what is often forgotten is life postpartum. Labor and birth will be a day or two...and then what?
While it may seem hard to imagine now, life with a little one will be here before you know it! Taking the time to plan and prepare nourishing foods postpartum is something that will pay you back multiple times. In fact, many cultures have rituals and specific foods to enjoy in the immediate postpartum period — because nutrition plays a big role in postpartum recovery — which is typically considered to last 30-40 days. This period is not only intended to help the mother transition into her new role and recover from childbirth but also to ensure good health in her future (including through menopause). These traditions are filled with wisdom, many of which are thousands of years old. Luckily, today we have modern conveniences to support the postpartum period, yet nothing can replace a helping hand and a warm bowl of homemade food!
Interested in learning more about traditional healing? Click here: Postpartum Confinement: Healing and Nutrition
Preparing for postpartum involves one very important distinction — postpartum healing focuses on YOU, the mother! A mother who feels nourished and supported is one that can take amazing care of her newborn. The first few weeks your baby will need very little things, but a lot of your present attention and care.
There are many ways you can prepare yourself and your home for postpartum nutrition...
1. Cook & Freeze Meals (really!)
Prioritizing making food for yourself after birth can be difficult, but you will thank yourself a million times over for taking the time to do it now. Starting 3-4 months before you expect baby’s arrival, cook 1-2 extra meals per week that you can freeze. This way, you don’t need to spend hours in the kitchen while very, very pregnant. Plus, the extra time and money that you'll spend each week to prepare the food upfront is very minimal.
What foods should you focus on?
Think about foods you crave in the fall and winter, that’s what you want to make for yourself postpartum — regardless of the time of year. Ingredients like pastured beef, chicken, lentils, carrots, beets, yams, rice, and spices such as ginger and turmeric are popular postpartum foods. These warming and hearty foods are exactly what your body needs to recover from birth and manage the sleep deprivation of having a new baby. Your meals should be easy to digest. Well-cooked foods like oatmeal, soups, and stews are perfect. As with pregnancy, it’s best to avoid sugar and processed foods whenever possible.
- Chicken or veggie soup
- Hearty beef or bean chili
- Butternut squash soup
- Chicken or veggie stir fry with rice
- Pasta with homemade sauce
Breakfast & Breastfeeding/Postpartum Snack Ideas:
- Majka No-Bake Lactation Cookies
- Waffles or pancakes you can toast to reheat (and eat one-handed)
- DIY Majka Protein Energy Balls
- Homemade Majka Granola Bars
- Herbal tea blends
- Majka Overnight Oats (can be enjoyed warm too!)
- Majka Nourishing Lactation Bites
You may want to avoid dairy and spicy foods in the meals you are making because some babies are sensitive to these things in the mother’s diet. Traditionally, all foods eaten postpartum are cooked and eaten warm, as it’s believed that cold foods will let in “air” and cause fatigue and other health issues with the mother.
On top of this, setting up a meal train (or having someone set one up for you) will mean you can have homemade food delivered for the first weeks after baby’s arrival. If you desire privacy or expect that you may be busy, set up a cooler outside your door so that the food can be dropped off without interrupting you.
Lastly, make a list of staple foods and household items that people can bring when they visit! You’ll likely get many inquiries of “what do you need?” and this is a simple — yet extremely helpful — response. Challenge yourself to always ask for something, even if it's a loaf of bread or a package of toilet paper.
2. Set Up Snack Stations
Choose 1-3 places in your home that you expect you’ll be spending a lot of time in during the first month postpartum (your bed is a great one!). Then, set up breastfeeding stations in those rooms.
In each breastfeeding station, include a water bottle, a place for snacks, and a phone charger. It’s true that you become thirsty the moment your baby latches! So you'll always want something to drink and eat nearby. A breakfast tray can be handy to enjoy a meal in bed or a tray table is perfect for beside your couch.
3. Prepare Your Support Team
In the days after baby is born, your support team needs to already know what they can do for you and how to feed you. Keep a written menu with heating instructions on the fridge for each meal you made ahead of time, along with instructions for the other foods you would like to eat. Ask them to make frequent rounds, making sure that your water bottles are filled and your tea is hot.
For your partner, remind them that taking care of the new mom is number one, and her job is to take care of the baby. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries with guests and ask for what you need! Also, don’t expect to follow a schedule in those first weeks after birth. Eat when you get the chance and remember it’s okay to prioritize yourself...in fact, it’s necessary! If you don’t feel that you have family or friends to help, consider hiring a postpartum doula and do whatever you can to focus solely on your baby.
The first weeks after baby is born will become a blur. A blur that can include you being well-fed and hydrated while getting to know your newest addition.
By spending time during your pregnancy to focus on the postpartum period, you will gift yourself time to focus on your baby and healing after birth.
Need more nutrition tips?
Click here: The Best Foods to Eat Before and After Labor
At Majka, it's our goal to help you to better enjoy early motherhood. We hope these tips help you to nourish your body postpartum. Were you able to incorporate any of these tips into your postpartum healing? We'd love to hear about your experiences in our Majka Mamas Facebook Group. If you share on Instagram, be sure to tag us! @lovemajka #lovemajka #fuelingmotherhood