Foods and Nutrients for Postpartum Healing
- September 21, 2021
Hey mama, congratulations! You did it. You completed the marathon of pregnancy and birth. Your little one is finally in your arms, and you are making your way through all the new chapters of parenthood.As you start this new part of your journey, it’s easy to spend all your time focused on your new baby. But don’t forget that your care matters too! Your body still needs time to process and repair from all the amazing hard work it’s been through. Combined with nursing and establishing milk supply, nutrition is vital to support healing and repair. The truth is that most moms need even more nutrients for postpartum recovery and establishing milk supply than during pregnancy.Just as with pregnancy, a well-rounded, nutrient-dense postpartum diet supports you and your growing baby. Here are some of the top foods and nutrients required for optimal healing.• Collagen. Collagen is a type of protein found in our bodies. It acts as the glue that holds our tissues together. It may help support healing from tearing and even stretch marks since it’s beneficial for skin elasticity. Collagen can also help with hair loss (postpartum hair loss is a thing if you haven’t already experienced it). You can find collagen in foods like bone broth or gelatin, or supplement powders make it easy to add to your foods or beverages.• Protein. Protein is critical for postpartum healing. The building blocks of proteins, amino acids, are used to create nearly all the cells and tissues in your body, including collagen. Certain amino acids are also critical for building collagen. Surgical wounds from c-sections or tearing need even more protein to heal. Plus, protein is also essential for your milk supply. High protein foods include animal products like meat, chicken, fish, dairy, or eggs, but it also is found in plant foods like nuts, beans, seeds, lentils, or quinoa. You can also use nourishing protein powders that are easily added to smoothies.• Vitamin C. Vitamin C can help reduce inflammation, repair your tissues, and keep your immune system strong. It’s also a nutrient needed to produce collagen. Foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, broccoli, strawberries, and bell peppers.• Essential fatty acids. Healthy fats are deeply nourishing when you are healing from childbirth. They provide the nutrients you need for energy and milk production. Essential fatty acids are also critical for brain health, helping with mental clarity for you and supportive for your baby’s developing brain. Mix up the fats in your diet but focus on olive oil, avocados, fatty fish, flax and chia seeds, and nuts and seeds.• Brightly colored fruits and vegetables. As cliché as it sounds, fruits and vegetables are critical for proper healing. They provide an array of anti-inflammatory micronutrients and polyphenols that prime your body for repair. Think of including a rainbow of options, including leafy greens, berries, and sweet potatoes.• Probiotics. Taking care of your gut is always important, but especially after delivering your baby. Since the gut is closely aligned with our immune health and even our mood, probiotics can support the healthy, beneficial bacteria that keeps us well. Additionally, depending on your personal birth story, you may have been given antibiotics before delivery which can disrupt the natural balance of your gut bacteria. Probiotic-rich foods include miso, kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, or kefir. You can also find probiotic supplements if you aren’t able to include fermented foods each day.Proper postpartum nutrition is critical for healing while reducing fatigue and keeping your mood stable. Taking care of yourself means you have more energy to give to your baby. And don’t be surprised if you feel absolutely ravenous in the first few weeks to months as your body adjusts. Listen to your body and give it the care and nutrients it deserves.