After nine months of careful planning and watching what you eat, you would think that you can finally go back to consuming your favourite foods again now that baby’s here. However, that was just the start! Postpartum recovery is just as important to ensure that both you and your newborn receive the essential vitamins and nutrition you need to strengthen your bodies.
Foods to Help with Postpartum Recovery
It is crucial to get sufficient nutrition and fluids to aid in postpartum recovery and breastfeeding. Nutrients like iron, vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium are especially important. You can get these from lean protein, leafy green vegetables, fibre-rich carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
Foods that can be prepped and stored easily include overnight oatmeal, roasted sweet potatoes, grilled chicken, baked fish, steamed broccoli, brown rice, bone broths, and one-pot soups or stews containing beans and lentils.
Make Postpartum Recovery Meals Healthier
Postpartum recovery foods tend to be quite oily and high in sodium. So ensure that the oils you use are cold-pressed and unrefined (e.g. sesame oil, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil). Avoid using refined vegetable oils (e.g. corn oil, sunflower oil, canola oil) that are high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids.
Next, instead of having snacks or desserts containing refined carbohydrates and sugars, try to opt for whole food, fibre-rich carbohydrates. Examples include quinoa, basmati rice, yams, and sweet potatoes.
If you must use sweetener, use unrefined ones like maple syrup or molasses. These have a richer mineral profile when compared to refined sugars.
Lastly, try adding herbs like fennel and ginger as seasoning to your foods. They help in digestion, postpartum recovery, and breastfeeding.
Meal Planning Tips
Meal preparation allows you to save time and money, while helping to control your portions. You’ll also know exactly what is going into your food. Here’s how to simplify the process:
- Plan ahead,
- Jot down ideas for meals,
- Shop for ingredients (have groceries delivered to you if you can’t leave the house),
- Prep in bulk,
- Cook for the week, and
- Store them conveniently!
Supplements to Boost Milk Supply
For nursing mums, it would be useful to include the following herbs in your meals. These have been used for centuries as galactagogues, which means they may effectively boost milk supply in breastfeeding mums. While they are generally considered safe, always talk to your doctor or lactation consultant first before trying any new medications or supplements.
Fennel – Fennel has oestrogen-like properties that can stimulate milk glands and increase milk production. It also contains tryptophan, an amino acid that may increase milk supply. It can be consumed in powder form (in a capsule), in a tea, or even in its seed form (over salads or in sauces).
Fenugreek – Fenugreek is rich in protein, vitamin C, and iron. It is a popular herbal remedy used to boost breast milk supply, due to its effect on the stimulation of mammary glands.
Milk Thistle – Plant oestrogens found in milk thistle may be the reason for an increase in milk supply. Milk thistle may also increase prolactin levels, which is the hormone responsible for stimulating milk production and increasing milk volume.
Brewer’s Yeast – Brewer’s yeast is a rich source of vitamin B, iron, selenium, chromium, and protein, all of which are important to lactation and help support milk production.
1-Day Sample Meal Plan for Postpartum Recovery and Breastfeeding Mums
Lactogenic foods contain nutrients that naturally support and promote lactation. Including them in your diet may improve breast milk supply, boost maternal health, as well as enhance milk composition. This tasty, healthy 1-day sample meal plan is especially good for breastfeeding mums, although the whole family can enjoy it too!
Breakfast: Lactation Oats
Oats are a known galactagogue. They are also a form of whole grains which are nutritious for breastfeeding mums. Busy new mums can try ms.kinny Lactation Oats for extra convenience. Fortified with natural ingredients like milk thistle, fennel and brewer’s yeast, it aids in production of breast milk. The whole grains and oats in the drink keeps you full longer, regulates your blood sugar levels, and is high in iron. It is sweetened with stevia, a plant-based sweetener that’s a healthier substitute for refined sugar.
Method: Mix one sachet of ms.kinny Lactation Oats with 100-150ml hot water, depending on desired level of thickness. Enjoy as a lactation drink or have it as an oatmeal bowl with your favourite toppings.
Lunch: Spinach and Chickpea Mediterranean Salad
Apart from being high in minerals, vitamins, and enzymes, dark green leafy vegetables like spinach (also kale, broccoli, seaweed, and lettuce) contain phytoestrogens and tryptophan that may increase milk production. Likewise, chickpeas are a nutrient-rich, high protein legume that can enhance the nutritional value of one’s diet and breast milk.
Method: In a large bowl, toss together 1 can of chickpeas, 1 medium chopped cucumber, 1 chopped capsicum, ½ chopped red onion, and a handful of chopped olives. Make a vinaigrette using 2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp chopped parsley, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve over a bed of baby spinach with a handful of sliced cherry tomatoes.
Snack: Raw Almonds
Almonds are a good source of protein, calcium, and healthy fats, for both mother and baby. They may increase the creaminess and sweetness of breast milk, and contain lactogenic benefits.
Method: Grab a handful of raw (preferably unsalted) almonds, and crunch away!
Dinner: Honey Baked Salmon with Brown Rice
Salmon is another lactogenic food that is high in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin D and B12. It may boost lactation hormones and enhance milk composition.
Method: In a bowl, combine 6 tbsp honey, 4 tbsp lemon juice, and 1 tbsp soy sauce. In a saucepan, fry 5 minced cloves of garlic for 2 minutes. Add the sauce and continue to cook until it thickens. Place salmon fillet on a tray and pour the sauce over. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve over a bed of brown rice.
Tisha Jaswantha (@wellnesswithtish) is a certified health coach, plant-based nutritionist, and real food advocate. She promotes a holistic approach to health and wellness through individualised coaching programmes and workshops, and strongly believes in the power of food to heal the body and transform us into the best versions of ourselves.
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