Nutrition is an important part of postpartum recovery. You need good nutrition to recover from the losses you have experienced during pregnancy, to keep your energy up while sleep deprived, and to support your body as it heals. If you are breastfeeding directly or pumping breastmilk, you also need to replace the calories and nutrients that are spent on breastmilk production (between 200-600 calories per day!). However, anyone who has cared for a newborn knows that it is very challenging to fit self-care into your day, even preparing nutritious meals. Here are a few tips on how to make sure you can get enough nutritious food to eat while recovering.
Delegate- When you are recovering from birth you need help! Often there are friends and family who want to help but are not sure of the best way to do so (especially if you are the first in your friend group or immediate family to have a baby). Grocery shopping, preparing food, and cooking meals are excellent ways for your friends and family to support you. They can stock the fridge, cut up fruits and veggies, or pre-prepare sandwiches and other quick meals so they are easy for you to grab throughout the day. They can also pre-make full meals for dinner that just require heating. Many friend groups, churches, and neighborhood organizations will set up a Meal Train for new parents so that dinner is covered for the first few weeks.
Go for Convenience- Depending on the amount of support you have, you may not be able to rely on others 100% for your shopping and meal preparation needs. Postpartum is the perfect time to take advantage of convenience options such as grocery delivery and convenience foods like pre-chopped or frozen fruits and veggies, frozen meals, or meal delivery kits. There are plenty of options that don't require as much preparation as fresh food but are still nutritious and more affordable than ordering takeout.
Stock-up on Snacks- Keep non-perishable snacks like granola, dried fruit and pre-filled water bottles in easily accessible areas such as near the chair where you usually sit to nurse or pump, next to your bed, near the couch in the living room, etc. That way, even if you end up stuck under a sleeping newborn, you can stay hydrated and keep hunger at bay.
If you are pregnant or have a pregnant loved one- keep these tips in mind when preparing for the postpartum period or thinking about baby shower gifts. A gift card for grocery or food delivery (or you showing up with dinner!) will be much more appreciated than that millionth baby blanket. If you are looking for more tips and support for the postpartum period- Dr. Berens' lactation support visits and direct primary care membership is an excellent way to ensure new parents stay healthy and cared for. Lactation support visits can help address any breastfeeding problem, and the primary care membership can help ensure parents' physical and mental health is addressed postpartum. Gift cards are also available! Visit our website to learn more.