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.
Breastfeeding moms are especially at risk for energy-draining dehydration. To keep your energy levels and milk production up, make sure you stay well-hydrated. You can vary your options and meet some of your fluid requirements by drinking juice and milk. But be careful when it comes to caffeinated drinks like coffee or tea. Have no more than 2-3 cups a day, or switch to decaf. Caffeine enters your breast milk and can cause your baby to become irritable and sleep poorly.
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.
Iron-rich beans, particularly dark-colored ones like black beans and kidney beans, are a great breastfeeding food, especially for vegetarians. They’re a budget-friendly source of high quality, non-animal protein.
You might be tempted to cut back on carbs to help lose the baby weight. Don’t. Losing weight too quickly may cause you to make less milk and leave you feeling sluggish. Mix healthy, whole-grain carbs like brown rice into your diet to keep your energy levels up. Foods like brown rice provide your body the calories it needs to make the best-quality milk for your baby.
Portable and nutritious, oranges are a great food to boost energy. Oranges and other citrus fruits are excellent breastfeeding foods, since nursing moms need more vitamin C than pregnant women. Can’t find time to sit down for a snack? Sip on some orange juice as you go about your day — you’ll get the vitamin C benefit, and you can opt for calcium-fortified varieties to get even more out of your drink.
Folic acid is crucial to your baby’s development in the early stages of pregnancy. But its importance doesn’t end there. Folic acid is an important nutrient in your breast milk that your baby needs for good health, and it’s crucial you eat enough for your own well-being, too. Enriched whole-grain breads and pastas are fortified with it, and also give you a healthy dose of fiber and iron.
Leafy green veggies like spinach, Swiss chard, and broccoli are filled with vitamin A, which is good for you and your baby. The benefits don’t stop there. They’re a good non-dairy source of calcium and contain vitamin C and iron. Green veggies are also filled with heart-healthy antioxidants and are low in calories.
After yet another sleepless night, one of the best foods to boost energy for new moms in the morning is a healthy breakfast of whole-grain cereal. Many cold cereals are fortified with essential vitamins and nutrients to help you meet your daily needs. Whip up a healthy, hot breakfast by stirring blueberries and skim milk into a delicious serving of oatmeal.