Nutrition tips for new Mums
Bringing home your first baby from the hospital is a rollercoaster of emotions. There are SO MANY help books, websites, blogs and Facebook groups outlining how to look after your baby but looking after YOU is often a neglected topic. It’s an absolute no brainer that making YOU a priority is essential in order to prevent feelings of exhaustion and burn out overwhelming you. Eating well is a foundation form of self-care but is often the most difficult to implement in that initial new born phase! Here are some tips from our Dietitian on how to look after yourself and eat well as a new Mum, particularly in those early days:
1. Go easy on yourself!
Let’s be realistic, having a newborn baby is all-consuming, there is so much to learn and adapt to and it is naturally really difficult for new Mums to prioritise themselves during this crazy yet exciting time. Let’s be real…you won’t eat perfectly healthy all the time and that’s completely fine. Take each day as it comes and don’t beat yourself up about every little thing that goes in your mouth. Mumma needs fuel! Learn from the moments where things haven’t gone to plan with your food and brainstorm how that can be prevented in future (maybe a little bit of meal planning or ingredient prepping would be helpful? To be discussed below). Too often do we hear about mums actually undereating and ‘forgetting’ about lunch due to the demands of the day. Don’t be afraid to reach out to loved ones for support with tasks like cooking and shopping when you need it – people love to help and will embrace a practical / achievable task! No family or friends nearby? There are a million and one delivery services with delicious and nutritious food on offer – this is the time to prioritise food in your household’s budget. It’s crucial to remember an under-fed Mum is going to have a MUCH harder time looking after and nourishing bub – Happy mumma, happy bubba.
2. Preparation is key!
This doesn’t mean Michelin star meal prepping like those high achieving Insta mums - let’s be real, how many new Mums really have time for that?! BUT having simple healthy snack and meal options available at home goes a long way in helping you to eat well during the newborn stage. 10 minutes at the beginning of each week is all you need to write a simple meal plan for the week; which you can then use for the grocery shopping (online shopping is a life saver at this time if you don’t have support from another person to do the shopping DO IT – once you go online there really is no going back!) Meal planning is also a great way to take the stress out of dinner times during the week and when there are healthy snacks in the house you know you’ll be more likely to reach for them.
Fill the fridge with yoghurt, berries and cupboards with vita wheats and peanut butter…appealing, easy and filling snacks. Chopped vegetable sticks stored in a container make a great snack, chopped veggies ready to throw into the oven or steamer for dinner, and pre-chopped fruit you could add to yoghurt to snack on while baby is feeding or napping. If it’s pre-chopped you’re far more likely to munch on it than if you see the whole veggie staring at you!
Prepping breaky? Use your time efficiently and wack some peanut butter on a couple of vita-wheats and pop in a container for your mid-morning snack. Cut up some fruit and top with muesli and yoghurt and pop it in the fridge for arvo tea – Prep once, enjoy thrice!
3. Convenience foods can be healthy too
As a new Mum, you don’t have to eat ‘superfoods’ or organic to be healthy. Your body requires plenty of nutrients to support you and your new baby - particularly if you are planning/able to breastfeed. Eating something that is pre-packaged is better than not eating at all. Quick, easy to grab at the shops, snackable foods like wholegrain crackers, pre-chopped vegetable sticks, nut bars, portioned packets of nuts or sachets of Greek yoghurt are healthy snacks to have on hand in the house so you know you have something healthy within reach when you need it. Pre-packed salads, tinned tuna, microwave rice and pastas are examples of convenience foods that can be put together to make a healthy meal in no time at all.
4. Stay hydrated
While you’re busy, it’s easy to forget about drinking enough water. Keep a water bottle with you when you’re out and about, and even nearby when you’re at home. Staying hydrated will help to lessen fatigue and headaches, manage appetite and prevent constipation too.
We hope these tips are helpful for our new mums and new mums to be! Our Dietitian offers in-person and Zoom consultations (perfect for those Mums struggling to get out the door) to help support healthy eating through your motherhood journey. Reach out to us if you’d like to book in.