Raising a baby takes a lot of energy, and new parents need the proper nutrients to fuel that energy — especially if they’re breastfeeding. Getting all the nutrients you need postpartum is important for ensuring that both you and your newborn stay as healthy as possible. Here are six helpful foods to eat after giving birth, according to health experts.
Salmon is a great source of a fat called DHA, which is critical to the development of a baby’s nervous system. But it also offers a health benefit for mom, too! Studies show that DHA has antidepressant effects and could help in alleviating symptoms of postpartum depression.
While a breastfeeding parent’s seafood consumption should be limited due to mercury content, the mercury levels in salmon are considered low so it’s safe to eat approximately two main servings per week, according to WebMD.
2. Lean beef
Lean beef is rich in iron, which helps keep your energy up as a new parent. It’s also a tasty source of protein and vitamin B12, which helps the body make red blood cells.
3. Nutritional yeast
If you don’t consume any animal products due to a vegan diet, nutritional yeast is another source of vitamin B12. It’s unlikely you’ll get all the B12 you need from this cheesy-tasting flakey powder, in which case the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends vitamin B12 supplements to avoid deficiency.
4. Leafy greens
Leafy greens are an excellent source of vitamin A, which plays a key role in supporting vision, immunity and promoting the growth of healthy organ tissues — all of which are super important for a developing baby and postpartum parent.
6. Low-fat dairy products
Breastfeeding means you’re delivering a lot of calcium to your baby so you need to make sure you’re loaded up on the stuff. Dairy is a great source of calcium and comes in a variety of forms like yogurt, cheese, and milk.
Don’t forget water
A balanced post-labor diet must include plenty of water, especially if you’re breastfeeding because you might become more thirsty as you’re nursing. Stanford Children’s Health recommends keeping a pitcher of water beside your bed or breastfeeding chair.
While these are all great items to eat post-birth, try not to let yourself get bogged down in specific foods. At the end of the day, a post-birth diet is really about getting a healthy serving of fresh fruits and vegetables, balanced with proteins and carbohydrates.
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