The pregnancy is over, the baby is here, and life transitions to one of overseeing a tiny human eat, sleep, make some funny noises… and repeat. There is certainly no lack of advice on how to care for a baby (medical providers, friends, family, and blogs are full of it!) but how do we care for the person who just gave birth? There are many ways to nourish a new mom – and this deserves equal thought and care.
After all, a new mom has just gone through the intensely demanding task of giving birth and has entered “postpartum mode,” which means big changes to hormones, stress, healing, digestion, sleep, and so much more.
And postpartum recovery isn’t just about recovering from birth – it’s about recovering from the many months of pregnancy, too.
Pregnancy is a very expensive task for a body to undertake – nutritionally expensive, that is. It takes a whole lot of amazing nutrients to build a baby and, often, this leaves a new mom in a nutrient depletive state, which may impact her physical and mental health for years to come.
Healing from birth and pregnancy can be significantly supported by good nourishment. Here are three amazing ways to nourish a new mom to make the transition to parenthood just a little bit easier.
three ways to nourish a new mom
Take Cooking Off The Table
Whoa, whoa. The first way to nourish a new mom is to… not cook?
Cooking (and grocery shopping, food prep, clean up, etc.) can be really overwhelming for new parents when there’s a new baby in the house. To remove it as a day-to-day task for the first couple of weeks, I recommend two things: getting the freezer stocked in advance and leaning on loved ones for support.
I like to approach postpartum freezer prep one of two ways: either tackled in a weekend or two, where everything goes into the freezer for postpartum, or gradually, starting in the 7th month of pregnancy.
For the latter method, I recommend double or triple batching meals and snacks that you’re making anyway. Making your favourite muffins? Whipping up some meatballs, a soup, or a frittata? Double up so half goes into the freezer for later!
Once the freezer is stocked, family and friends can fill in the gaps. Need some one-handed snacks or dinner for the next couple of days? Practise saying, “Actually, yes” when someone asks if they can do anything to help. Food is a great gift that meets a real-life and immediate need for new parents in the thick of newborn life.
Enjoy Comfort Foods
Postpartum recovery involves a fair bit of emotional energy, too, and all new parents deserve the same love, comfort and care being showered on their baby. That’s why favourite comfort foods should always have a place at the table (or couch or bed, if we’re talking real life with a newborn).
I often recommend thinking back to childhood: what meals made you feel cozy, cared for, and instantly more at peace?
Let’s make room for those foods, and consider how they can be healthified to be not only comforting but health-building too.
Take my favourite comfort food, for example – chocolate pudding.
When I was a kid, it was all about those little tetra-packs with the red tops. You know the ones?
Now I get the same delicious, comforting feelings making avocado chocolate pudding – antioxidant-rich raw cacao blended with brain-boosting fats from the avocado, tissue-healing protein from hemp seeds and collagen powder, and sweetness from my favourite local honey.
Embrace Postpartum Healing Foods
Cultures all over the world have long-standing traditions about what types of foods, meals, spices and drinks nourish a new mother.
Specific meal and drink recommendations vary, but one theme is present throughout: warm, broth-based meals rich in protein and iron are ideal for a body that just gave birth.
Soups, stews, porridges, congee, and other liquid-heavy meals are comforting and provide much-needed hydration and electrolyte replenishment for recovery and breastmilk production. Warm broth-based meals may include soft-cooked veggies and proteins, which are ideal for a sluggish digestive system and allow for easier absorption of nutrients.
Look for recipes with ingredients like:
- animal proteins
- bone broth
- cooked leafy greens
- colourful veggies
- full fat coconut milk
- warming spices like cinnamon, turmeric, cumin and cardamom
* Bonus: Soups, stews and broths can easily be batch-cooked and frozen, and are ideal for reheating day or night.
The recipe below is a quick curry from The Food Doula Cookbook that is packed with a number of nourishing postpartum foods, such as warming spices, greens, veggies and plant-based protein. It’s easy to double, easy to freeze, and can be made with whatever vegetables or greens you have on hand. The fat in the coconut milk helps keep you full and ensures that the vitamins in the veggies get absorbed into your system.Print
Whether you’re a new mother or have one in your life, these ways to nourish a new mom can be a supportive part of the healing process and make all those funny newborn noises even sweeter.
About The Author: Lindsay Taylor
Lindsay is a cookbook author, health researcher, doula, and mom who transforms an academic background into real-food, real-world, and practical solutions to help modern moms feel supported, nourished, and energized as they embrace the challenges and joys of new motherhood.
Learn More: www.thefooddoula.com