There is so much preparation that goes into the process of growing and birthing a baby - from the very first discovery of pregnancy to the moment that baby is brought into the world. As mothers-to-be, we pour over the details of pregnancy, including how to best eat and nurture our body to give our babies the best start at life.

But what about once pregnancy is over and those babies have been brought Earth-side?

The truth is that caring for our bodies shouldn’t end at birth, and to thrive through motherhood, we need to continue to nurture ourselves with great care, gentleness, and devotion.

The Importance of Nutrition in Postpartum

The truth is that the pregnancy takes an enormous toll on a women’s body, and recovering from birth is a delicate and slow process that takes intention and support. This is in stark contrast to the mainstream messages that women are flooded with after having their babies, including, “Get your body back!”, “Lose the baby weight!”, and “Bounce back quickly!”.

Postpartum wellness has been misinterpreted as weight loss, but in actuality, a woman’s body needs careful attention for recovery and healing in the form of nourishing foods, rest, and support.

The pursuit of postpartum recovery should not be weight loss but rather, giving the body the optimal nutrition needed to heal from the transformative journey of pregnancy.

Focus on Quality Nutrition

In order to support postpartum healing and breastfeeding, a woman needs a variety of balanced meals and snacks that offer nutrient dense foods, including:

  • Carbohydrates to sustain energy and promote healing, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, like oats, quinoa and brown rice.
  • Protein, for rebuilding tissues and muscles in the body, including poultry, grass-fed beef, seafood, eggs, yogurt, cheese, nuts, beans, and seeds
  • Healthy fats to help the body absorb nutrients, for energy storage and hormone regulation, like olive oil, hemp or chia seeds, grass-fed butter, avocado, coconut and fatty fishes like salmon

Nutrition is not about perfection but rather, about treating the body well and giving it the nutrients needed to both promote recovery from pregnancy, support mental health and wellness, and provide the energy needed to sustain milk supply if breastfeeding.

Supporting the New Mama

If you are a new mama or mama-to-be, congratulations! You are taking part of the miraculous by growing and birthing a precious new life into the world. Just remember, mama - you need care and nurturing, too.

The postpartum period is not a time to worry about losing weight or squeezing back into those pre-pregnancy jeans. Your body has gone through so many changes to bring your little one Earth-side and into your arms and it deserves kindness in return.

Treat it well by keeping yourself nourished. Take some time to pre-plan some meals and snacks and make sure you have plenty of nourishing foods on hand to keep yourself satisfied and energized. Your body (and your little one) will benefit from the care and attention that you dedicate to yourself. If you find yourself needing more help, please be sure to reach out for support. You’ve got this, mama.

Additional Resources

Before you go, here are a few additional resources to look to for continuous support as a new mom:

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Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, is a Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist, Board Certified Lactation Consultant, & mama of 5. With a virtual nutrition practice, Crystal helps overwhelmed mamas nurture a peaceful relationship with food & their bodies, end the battles at the dinner table and transform their kitchens to place of peace & joy. Get the FREE guide, “Better After Baby: How to Get Your Mojo Back in Any Stage of Motherhood” and connect with Crystal on Instagram @crystalkarges.

Fueling Motherhood

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