We often focus on baby after birth, which is important – but so is the new mother’s health!
You’ve just spent the last nine to ten months producing another human being and recovering from the physically taxing act of labour. Not to mention the fact that your body continues to provide sustenance for your baby even after you’ve given birth, which may be both physically and emotionally exhausting.
This means that you need to continue to nourish your body with not only enough energy to heal and produce milk, but various micronutrients that are likely depleted after giving birth.
Here are some of my postpartum tips.
Continue with a Multivitamin or a Postnatal vitamin
While it’s always a good idea to discuss supplements with your doctor, I recommend continuing with a multivitamin to cover any gaps in your diet, especially with a focus on B vitamins, and Vitamins A and D as those levels in breastmilk are all affected by mom’s intake. Continuing your multivitamin is a great way to ensure you’re meeting the needs of both you and your baby.
Remember to also continue taking your calcium supplement (another important component of breastmilk), so that your body’s not depleted of this mineral at the cost of your bone health.
Increased calories intake:
Now, if you’re breastfeeding, you’ll also want to up your intake a little. The average women needs about 500 extra calories a day to meet the demands of lactation.
Say YES to Help
It takes more than just you to achieve postpartum wellness. Because the first few months of a baby’s existence might feel like a never-ending feeding frenzy, it’s a fantastic time to enlist the support of family and friends. If someone offers to assist, ask them to bring food or prepare a meal for you. Some days, not having to think about what you’re going to cook feels like a gift. Equally important is to enlist help from family to babysit while you get some shut eye.
Getting enough DHA and EPA
You should focus on fatty acids, notably EPA and DHA, in addition to calories and a daily vitamin.
These two fatty acids are essential during pregnancy as well as breastfeeding. While nuts and seeds like walnuts and flaxseeds contain ALA omega-3 fatty acids, only preformed DHA passes into breastmilk. This is why, during breastfeeding, some women might want to take a DHA supplement. Non vegetarians get enough if they consume oily fish regularly.
Increase your vitamin B12
Lastly, you’ll want to beef up your vitamin B12 for postpartum wellness support. The need for B12 increases during lactation due to the expansion of tissues and baby’s need for b12.
Normally your daily vitamin may contain enough B12, but make sure it has at least 30mcg per pill.
Exercise may help, but start slow
There’s a large connection between mental health and physical exercise, but that doesn’t mean that you should jump back into your old routines.
There’s a reason we’re asked to wait at least 5-6 weeks before doing any strenuous exercise, even longer if you’ve had a complicated delivery or a C-section. Heading back into heavy exercise too soon can deplete your precious energy stores and leave you feeling even more exhausted. It can also hamper your healing.
Light walks with your new baby and postpartum yoga are a great place to being before going back to your pre-pregnancy workout routine. This can also help you slowly build back up your strength and stamina along with a little endorphin mood boost.
Kanupriya Khanna, a senior Consultant Nutritionist and Dietitian with over 18 years of experience in reproductive nutrition can help if you need help. She is titled as one of the best dietitians in Delhi.