At &Breathe, we are all about finding your post-baby wellbeing in a gentle, sustainable way. We're not about starving yourself back into your pre-pregnancy clothes, because there's so much you need to fuel yourself and your baby. Focusing on a balanced and nutrient-dense diet rather than existing on lettuce leaves will help you feel more energised and healthy. And when that's the case, you'll care better for your little one too; whether through breast-feeding or just being able to have more energy to cope with a few more minutes of grumpy baby!
Pollen+Grace is a fabulous, superfood-filled lunch-to-go company both delivering to your door in London and stocking some of the capital's freshest outlets. Their nutritionist points out some of the best food to eat in the postnatal period. Though frankly, they're awesome for anyone!
Top Five Postnatal Foods
Leading a healthy + active lifestyle is important at all times, but never more so than when you have just given birth. Forget losing the baby weight, that will happen with time, now is all about fuelling your body to heal and to get the energy you need to look after the new addition.
Such a huge change in routine can also cause major changes in your digestive system metabolism, so eating foods to help and heal is all the more important. To make your life a little easier, we’ve done the research for you, and compiled a list of the top 5 foods to ensure maximum energy levels, healing & nutrients after birth.
Salmon is a powerhouse of all the right vitamins + minerals for any new mum, and is loaded with a type of fat called DHA, which is crucial to the development of your baby’s nervous system. Eating salmon will increase the amount of DHA in your breast milk, benefitting baby, but has also been proven to work as a mood booster, playing a role in preventing postpartum depression. It’s recommended to limit salmon to only 2 portions per week though, to avoid heightened mercury levels in the body. Grilling salmon makes it quick and easy to prepare - taking only about 5 minutes when you’re pressed for time.
It’s recommended to get at least 2-3 fruits a day, not only because they’re packed full of energy boosting benefits, but also because they contribute towards a sweeter tasting breast milk. Oranges are a particularly good choice as they’re loaded with vitamin C, which can often run low in nursing mums and is important to ensure you don’t get sick and run down, but also helps with the healing process after birth, particularly important if recovering from a c-section.
A great source of good fats, protein and omega-3’s and suitable for vegetarians and vegans who cannot get these from lean meat + fish. Their high calorie content also helps boost energy levels and your daily nutritional intake, perfect for getting those extra calories in if you’re breastfeeding. Avocado is also a perfect food to introduce further down the line when baby is transitioning away from pureed food, as it is soft and easy to eat, and has a slightly sweet taste. Leading by example and eating this yourself will definitely make them more curious to try!
Fennel is believed to help produce higher quantities of breast milk, but also relieves symptoms of colic when passed through breast milk to your baby. Not only this, but it has also been proven to aid in digestion and help with bloating and stomach upsets - something which becomes all more common when coping with the stress of a newborn alongside a disrupted sleeping pattern meaning your body doesn’t have time to digest and reset overnight as it would previously. You can get the benefits from either fennel seeds, which makes a great herbal tea when infused with water, or fennel which can be slivered and added to salads, raw.
Carbs are essential for keeping energy levels up post-pregnancy, when you have disrupted sleeping hours. Sweet potato is a great source of carbohydrates, without any of the downsides of refined, white carbs. It’s also packed full of minerals + selenium for increase your mood at the same time, and their bright orange colour can brighten even the dullest of meals. Their easy to prep too, simply pierce the skin with a fork and throw in the oven a couple of hours before dinner time then fill with whatever you have available. Fuss-free and delicious.
The basic principle of it all: so long as you’re sticking to wholesome, natural foods and eating throughout the day to maintain energy levels, there’s no need to worry about anything else! During pregnancy, it’s expected that you’re consuming around 300 calories more than the average, and it’s recommended to up this another 100 calories to makes sure there’s enough of the good stuff to fuel both you and baby should you decide to breastfeed. Eating natural foods such as those above regularly throughout the day allows you the peace of mind that your body is getting all that it needs, without having to worry about ‘counting calories’ or ‘watching what you eat’ - simply enjoy this time with your baby, and rest assured your body will thank you.
Our salmon glow box, with salmon, black rice, fennel + coconut cream dressing is also a powerhouse of all the vitamins + minerals listed above, making it ideal for new mums. We also offer delivery directly to you, for only £8.50 for those days when you want a delicious, healthy meal but someone else has other ideas!
&Breathe readers can get 20% off using the code ANDBREATHE20 at the checkout at Pollen+Grace