Perhaps you’re the mum of a new baby and you’re so busy trying to keep the show on the road that looking after your nutrition seems like a delicious but out-of-reach pipe dream? Well our readers have come to the rescue, providing some no-nonsense, road tested healthy eating tips – direct from the trenches of mum life!
#HELP! During the early days after birth it’s hard knowing which way is up, let alone eating 3 meals a day. What’s your advice for setting up healthy eating habits? And for breastfeeding mums, how do you get the extra kilojoules needed in your diet? – Jacq
New mum, Jacq was feeling a little overwhelmed after the birth of her child and asked the Babyology community for a little help and advice – and what she got was plenty of really good and sensible advice. Go mums!
Healthy eating tips to support breastfeeding mums
Keep it simple
Granted you might be hankering for something fancy to appear on your plate, but simple achievable nutritious meals are the best approach in these tiring early days. Think easy soups, salads, slow cooked meals and speedy stir fries and you’ll be on the right track.
“Chunky soups, bolognaise sauce packed with vegetables, curries and casseroles work really well. You could even do a batch of bircher muesli or home-made granola,” one mum suggested.
Concentrate on calories
Do try and eat regularly and if more formal meals are proving tricky, snack on wholesome snacks at regular intervals and pack your calories in that way instead. Successful breastfeeding relies on a healthy mum, so look after yourself and you’ll be contributing to your milk supply and baby’s nutrition too.
“Starting your day with a quality breakfast sets you up for energy and milk making – eggs was my go to breakfast. Dinners were always doubled to ensure lunch for the next day – slow cooker is the best,” one Babyology mum advised.
“[Snack on] individual dips if you’re feeling it. Muesli bars, protein bars, fruit that needs no prep, trail mix, cashews, jerky, bliss balls, oat slice etc,” were all options suggested by an experienced mum and reader.
Keep your fluids up
Make sure you’re sipping plenty of fluids during the day, to stay hydrated and optimise your milk supply.
“Breastfeeding is thirsty work and requires around an extra 500 calories (2,090 kJ) each day as well as a higher intake of most nutrients and nearly a litre of extra fluids! This might come in the form of slightly larger meal portions or a couple of extra snacks. Getting a little energy from your fluids is a great idea too, particularly if you find drinking enough water difficult. Aquamamma’s hydration drinks are excellent for giving breastfeeding mums the extra fluids she needs whilst being low in sugar and containing added folic acid,” one mum, a nutritionist and dietitian, added.
Something you’ve prepared earlier?
Thinking ahead will pay dividends, so always cook at least double what you’ll eat and pop the rest in the fridge or freezer for later. Do the work once and smugly and deliciously reap the reward twice (at least!)
“I cooked massive meals and froze them in portion size for lunches or dinners while I was pregnant,” one reader shared. “Then I did nappy free time with bub on the mat while I ate breakfast. Everything else could just be taken out of the freezer. Got extra calories from chocolate!”
Aim for routine (and make the most of stolen moments)
Find a snippet of your day, every day, when you can snatch some time to do some healthy meal prep. This might not mean cooking a whole meal, but at least prepping what you need for when you do need to cook can mean the difference between a delicious casserole and a peanut butter sandwich.
“I took one day a week when bubs having a nap to cook up bulk meals stews, casseroles, spaghetti, lasagne etc that you can stack in a lot of veg, freeze and you’re set for the week,” an organised reader advised.
Convenience is king
Let others do the work for you, if you can. Have your shopping home-delivered, try a meal prep service for the first couple of months post-bub and make the most of products like conveniently pre-chopped fresh vegetables to make the most of your time and keep everybody well fed and sane. (Those ready-veggies make an excellent breastfeeding snack, too!)
“Steam bags of veggies, and then steam bags of flavoured rice. Microwave them, put them together & they make lunch ready in 6 minutes with one bowl to wash up. Plus they’re pretty tasty!” A Babyology mum advised.
Get a little help from your friends (and family?!)
Now is not the time to make that valiant attempt at the whole super-mum thing. Let your family and friends know that any wholesome meals they might want to drop on your doorstep would be sorely appreciated.
These tips should go a long way towards simplifying getting food on the table when your baby is very young, and will also ensure that your breastfeeding body is getting the care and nutrition it needs.
(This is a sponsored post for aquamamma®, the only healthy hydration developed by an Australian obstetrician for bump and beyond. )