Guest post by OMC member, Nutritionist & Personal Chef Chelsea Fechtner of The Wildflower Kitchen
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of seeing magazine covers with celebrities that offer the perfect diet to help you “bounce back” after having a baby or return to your pre-baby weight in a month. Having a baby is incredibly depleting – so why would a restrictive diet be the answer? Instead, I’m all about focusing on what we can add in to support healing, boost breast milk production, and balance hormones. Below are a few of my favorite ways to support new mamas with food! And don’t worry about taking notes, there’s a free cheat sheet that you can download at the bottom with all of the cliff notes, as well as a tasty snack recipe!
Back to my soap box about restrictive diets being a bad idea for postpartum! The number one way to support your breast milk supply is to make sure you’re eating enough calories throughout the day. Breastfeeding increases energy output, meaning your body burns more calories and requires somewhere between 200-500 additional calories per day. This being said, it’s important to listen to your unique body and know that you may need more or less than this recommendation.
Healthy fats are a crucial piece of postpartum nutrition because they help rebalance hormones, boost metabolism and provide slow burning fuel that won’t leave you crashing an hour after your meal. Sources of healthy fats include coconut, grass-fed butter, avocado, nuts, seeds and full-fat dairy products.
Nuts & Seeds
Walnuts, almonds, flax seeds, chia seeds, black sesame seeds, tahini and pumpkin seeds are not only great sources of healthy fats, but also have been shown to boost lactation. Be sure to check out my Seedy Cocoa Bliss Balls in the free download for a simple (and delicious) way to include more of these into your diet. You can also try sprinkling walnuts on your morning oatmeal or drizzling tahini over a grain bowl or sweet potato.
While all of the macronutrients are super important (protein, fat, carbohydrates), I find that protein is the one that is often forgotten or skimped on. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or an omnivore, it’s definitely possible to include protein at every meal and essential for postpartum recovery. Include a wide variety of proteins to make sure you’re taking in a range of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Some high-quality protein examples include chicken, beef, salmon, lentils, eggs and tempeh. Eggs are especially nutritious for new mamas because they contain choline, which helps support baby’s brain development!
I consider bone broth a postpartum elixir! It’s warming, packed with electrolytes and easily absorbable minerals, and contains collagen, gelatin and glycine which are all great for postpartum healing. I love using bone broth as a base for soups for my postpartum clients. You can also just use it as a warm drink to sip on. Here’s a great instant pot bone broth recipe by Amy or you can try purchasing a quality brand like Bonafide Provisions.
Aim to include a variety of colorful produce in your diet to replete vitamins and minerals. Dark leafy greens and beets offer iron and plenty of antioxidants. Bell peppers are full of vitamin C and turmeric is great for calming inflammation. Try your best to include a variety of colors, however any produce will provide nutritional benefits!
Finally, I wanted to remind you that you have a lot going on in your postpartum journey and your nutrition doesn’t have to look perfect. Choose 1-2 of these points to focus on and continue from there! Don’t forget to download the free Breastfeeding Nutrition Guide for all of the notes from this post as well as a breastfeeding snack recipe!
You can follow Chelsea on Instagram