Losing those pregnancy pounds might be at the front of your mind. But there’s something that's even more important for your body after your baby arrives: eating foods that give you the energy to be the best mom you can be.
Routinely eating healthy foods throughout the day will maximize the little energy you probably have as a new mom. If you’re nursing, the quality of your breast milk stays pretty much the same no matter what you choose to eat. But there's a catch: When you aren't getting the needed nutrients from your diet, your body will provide them from your own stores. So make sure you get all the nutrients you and your baby need. It will benefit both of you.
Try to make these healthy foods a regular part of your diet.
There's no such thing as a perfect food. But salmon is pretty close to it when it comes to a nutritional powerhouse for new moms. Salmon, like other fatty fish, is loaded with a type of fat called DHA. DHA is crucial to the development of your baby's nervous system. All breast milk contains DHA, but levels of it are higher in the milk of women who get more DHA from their diets.
The DHA in salmon may also help your mood. Studies suggest it may play a role in preventing postpartum depression.
One caution: The FDA recommends that breastfeeding women, women who are pregnant, and women who might get pregnant limit how much salmon they eat. The guidelines recommend an average of 12 ounces, or the equivalent of two main servings, per week. The reason is to limit the amount mercury your new child is exposed to.
The mercury level in salmon is considered low. Some other fish, such as swordfish or mackerel, have a high amount of mercury and should be avoided altogether. The 12 ounces are an average. Eating more in 1 week -- such as having three servings instead of two -- won't hurt as long as you eat less the following week.
Low-Fat Dairy Products
Whether you prefer yogurt, milk, or cheese, dairy products are an important part of healthy breastfeeding. Milk delivers a boost of bone-strengthening vitamin D. In addition to providing protein and B vitamins, dairy products are one of the best sources of calcium. If you're breastfeeding, your milk is loaded with calcium to help your baby's bones develop, so it's important for you to eat enough calcium to meet your own needs. Try including at least three cups of dairy each day in your diet.
Boost your energy as a new mom with iron-rich foods like lean beef. A lack of iron can drain your energy levels, making it hard for you to keep up with the demands of a newborn baby.
Nursing moms need to eat extra protein and vitamin B-12. Lean beef is an excellent source for both.