Your body after birth: your nutritional needs

It takes time for your body to build up stores of nutrients.

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IRON

Iron is necessary for healthy blood, and iron deficiency can lead to anaemia, which can make you feel very tired and lethargic. Eat lots of iron-rich foods such as lean red meat, fortified bread and breakfast cereals, dried fruit, eggs, beans and pulses and green leafy veg, such as spinach. Foods rich in vitamin C help your body absorb iron more efficiently, so have a glass of orange juice with meals.

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CALCIUM

Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth, and a healthy metabolism. Once your baby is born, some of your calcium intake will be passed to your baby through breastmilk if you’re breastfeeding. ‘You need an extra pint of milk a day, so two pints in total,’ says Angie Jefferson, a registered dietitian. Other good sources of calcium include cheese, tofu, leafy green veg, nuts and fish with edible bones, such as sardines.

FATTY ACIDS

Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna, flaxseeds, walnuts and leafy green veg are all good sources of omega-3, while nuts, pumpkin seeds and vegetable and sunflower oils are rich in omega-6 fatty acids. ‘Breastfeeding mums need to eat oily fish once or twice a week. However, don’t eat more than two tuna steaks or four medium-size cans of tuna because of concern about high mercury levels,’ advises Angie.

FEEL BETTER FAST!

As a new mum, there will always be days when you need an extra boost.

Pep yourself up!

Try a blend of essential oils applied to pulse points to give you an instant pick-me-up. Nealsyardremedies.com and mumstuff.co.uk have a good selection.

  • Try a tonic. Iron supplements, such as Floradix Liquid Iron Formula, can help beat fatigue. Take a look at Boots, health stores or goodnessdirect.co.uk
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  •  Take a brisk walk with the buggy. Sunlight helps us make vitamin D, needed for a healthy immune system, bones and muscles. It also stimulates mood-enhancing hormones. Meanwhile, exercise releases more happy hormones. 

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