Which Nutrients Are Important For Postpartum Healing And Breastfeeding?

Eating for two is what people think of when a woman is pregnant, not breastfeeding! But the postpartum/lactation period is truly the time when a woman is quite literally “eating for two” and this is evidenced by how hungry she seems to feel all the time! Mom needs to fuel her body with nutrient dense calories, protein, and healthy fats as well as with certain nutrients that are passed along to baby through breastmilk.There are some key nutrients that a woman needs to focus on after baby is born to make sure she is taking care of her own healing after the birthing process (regardless of whether baby was born vaginally or via c-section) and meeting her nutrition needs to help keep her energy up during those whirlwind weeks managing a new baby. Maintaining a healthy supply of breastmilk brings on even more nutrition requirements!So, what exactly should mom be eating to support her own healing, postpartum journey, and healthy breastmilk supply? Read on, friends, and you can learn how to “eat for two” in the middle of baby snuggles and nursing sessions!

1. Calories and Protein 

There is a reason why friends and family bring over casseroles, sandwiches, and other nutrient-dense foods after the baby is born. Making sure you are getting in enough calories and protein is one of the most important things you can do to take care of yourself. Calories are needed for healing, for lactation support, and to help you have the energy you need to care for your new baby.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reports that lactating women need an additional 400-500 calories per day to support her needs, generally speaking (there are always exceptions) (1). Additionally, most nursing moms need approximately 65 gm protein/day (2).

Having quick and easy protein-rich snacks that are easy to eat with one hand will help you meet your needs. A smoothie or protein drink like Nisus Life Journey Brand provides 15 grams of protein per scoop and is a great way to help make sure you are getting in enough of this nutrient in a quick and simple way.

2. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is transferred through breast milk to an infant whose mother is receiving enough vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is most commonly found in foods from animals (like meat and some fish).  Therefore, infants who only receive breast milk from mothers who consume no animal products are at greater risk for developing vitamin B12 deficiency shortly after birth. Breastfeeding mothers on a strict vegetarian or vegan diet should consider a supplement or protein powder that provides vitamin B12 to supplement her diet and help her breastfed baby receive enough of this vitamin to support brain development and produce healthy red blood cells (3).

3. Choline 

Choline is a nutrient that isn’t discussed a ton, but it is super-important for your baby’s brain development during infancy (4). And most prenatal/postnatal vitamins on the market provide zero milligrams of this important nutrient. That’s right-none! Breastmilk’s level of choline is 100% dependent on what mom eats-so if mom isn’t taking in adequate choline, baby isn’t either. If you are choosing a protein powder or supplement, making sure it contains choline is a step that will help support your baby’s brain health in a positive way.

4. DHA 

Most women know how important DHA is during pregnancy, but they don’t realize how key it is while breastfeeding too! DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is super-important for brain and vision development for baby (5). There are also benefits of taking in enough DHA for mom too.

One of the best sources of DHA is fatty fish, which is sometimes a challenge to get in when you are juggling a newborn and life. For a vegan option, algae is a great source of DHA (6). Supplementing with this important nutrient is a great choice during this critical time.

5. Selenium

Mom’s breastmilk levels of an important mineral, selenium, is dependent on how much of the nutrient she takes in via her diet or supplementation (7). Selenium is an antioxidant and helps support immune function. It is also important to make sure that baby is getting in enough of this important mineral and choosing a protein powder that supplies this nutrient is one smart way to fuel your baby.

6. Iodine 

Iodine is another nutrient that goes under the radar for breastfeeding mamas, but it is so unbelievably important to make sure you are getting in the recommended amount while you are breastfeeding to make sure your baby is getting in enough of this nutrient to support her brain development and thyroid function (8). It is also an important nutrient for you, as taking in adequate amounts may reduce the risk of developing postpartum thyroid dysfunction and also support your breast health.

Lactating moms’ needs for iodine are higher than when mom was pregnant. Iodine-rich foods are not super-popular in a typical American diet (think seaweed) so supplementation may be necessary. Making sure your supplement or protein powder provides at least 150 mcg of iodine to give your breastmilk the boost it needs.

7. Vitamin A 

Your breastmilk’s level of Vitamin A is dependent on your intake, whether it is via food or supplementation. Among other roles, Vitamin A supports baby’s immune system (9). Colostrum is especially high in this vitamin and is the reason why it has that yellow-ish tinge to it.

Making sure you are getting in enough Vitamin A via your diet should be a focus right now. Thankfully, Nisus Life Journey protein powder provides this important vitamin to help keep your baby fueled.

Tying It All Together

Eating during your postpartum period requires a little thought, and to the dismay of some, does not mean you can eat an extra 500 calories worth of chocolate chip cookies every day. Eating nutrient-dense foods that provide key nutrients will help keep you and your baby healthy. Choosing a protein powder that is specifically created to meet the unique needs of a postpartum mom is one thing you can do to make your postpartum journey a little less stressful. Choosing a protein powder that also provides galactagogues, probiotics and prebiotics, and mood-boosting ingredients is an even better choice to help support common challenges women may experience at this time in their lives, including milk supply issues, mood challenges, and difficulty with bowel movements. Nisus Life Journey protein powder is chock-full of essential nutrients and additional boosters to help support mom on her postpartum journey.


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