How can I succeed Breastfeeding and Postpartum?
Congratulations and welcome to parenthood. Your body has gone through a lot these past nine months and it still has a while to go before it is back to normal. The next few months are going to give you and your body a whole new set of challenges especially if you are a first time parent. Recovering from childbirth is exhausting and when you throw a new baby who has no concept of time into the mix and you might find your head spinning. Eating well during this time is almost as important as eating well during your pregnancy.
Your body has just been through a traumatic ordeal. If you gave birth vaginally, you mind find yourself recovering from tears and what not. If you gave birth via c-section, you are recovering from major surgery. The first thing most hospitals and doctors like to make sure is that your plumbing and waste systems are working.
Eating high fiber food and drinking lots of water after your delivery will help make that first bowel movement a lot less painful. This can be a little hard for women who delivery via c-section because they are usually on a liquid diet for the first 24 hours. You may find you need a little help from either stool softeners or prune juice to make that first trip a little easier.
Once you are home from the hospital, you are going to need your energy to take care of the baby. Gone are the nights where you were able to get a full 8 hours of sleep. You might not see that again for at least three months, though ask any parent and they will tell you that getting 8 hours of sleep a night will not happen until your kids are grown and married.
Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on you and it is important that you eat healthy to maintain a decent amount of energy.
The postpartum period is usually where most women find themselves downing countless amounts of coffee or sugary foods to give them a quick fix. This is not healthy because once you come down from that high, you are going to be even more exhausted than you were before hand. Make sure all of your meals are balanced meals and stock up on quick and healthy snacks such as celery sticks, baby carrots and lots of fruit to get you through the day.
Eating healthy can also help you fight the baby blues those first few weeks. Nearly 80% of all women suffer from baby blues.
These usually kick in between the 4th and 5th day after delivery and can last for 10 days to 2 weeks. You may find yourself emotional for no reason and you may start to cry for no reason. Some women report a feeling of sadness that they are no longer pregnant and others report a feeling of helplessness when it comes to dealing with their new baby. The baby blues are caused by your hormone levels going back to normal. By maintaining your healthy habits that you practiced during your pregnancy could help you handle your changing emotions a little better.
In your third trimester, your baby was old enough to start getting a taste of the foods his or her mommy likes. Now that your baby is here and you’re breast feeding, your baby will get an even better taste of your favorite food.
Typically if you are nursing your baby you should produce anywhere from 23 to 27 ounces of milk a day. In order to do this, you need to increase your calorie intake by about 500 more a day.
You also have to increase your water consumption to at least 2 ½ to 3 quarts of water a day. You may notice that you are thirstier during nursing session. This is because the water you drink goes right to milk production. Try not to drink more than 3 quarts of water a day. Anything more than 3 quarts can reduce the amount of milk your body produces.
Plan to take in about 2500 calories a day or more if you are planning to nurse for longer than three months. These extra calories should not come from junk food. Junk food and sweets are just empty calories and offer no nutritional value to you or your baby. Eat more protein. A good rule of thumb is to eat 1 gram of protein each day for every pound you weigh. If you weigh 150, aim to eat 150grams of protein a day.
If you were not doing so during pregnancy, adopt the six meals a day program. Eat breakfast, a midday snack, lunch, a mid afternoon snack, dinner and a night time snack. Your body is going to be making milk continually so it is a good idea to keep it charged with calories through out the day.
There are some foods you might want to avoid during pregnancy. Pretty much everything passes through breast milk and to the baby. This is why the first thing pediatricians advise nursing moms to do when their baby has colic is to look at what they are eating. Chocolate has been blamed in many cases of colic and can cause an upset tummy for most babies. If you have a baby with a tummy ache think back to see if you had a candy bar or even a cookie in the hours before you nursed. The best advice is to stay away from chocolate while you are nursing.
Stay away from greasy and spicy foods while you are breastfeeding. Greasy foods sometimes upset adults stomachs, imagine what it would do to your baby’s immature stomach? Wait until your baby is older and no longer nursing before you start making trips back to McDonalds.
Remember it takes a few hours for the food you eat to make its way into your breast milk. You may have eaten one of these foods right before you nurse and see your baby is fine but by either the following nursing session or the one after you might find your baby having a reaction then.
Your breast milk does not only taste like what you eat, but also what you drink. Just as with pregnancy, you should stay away from a lot of caffeine while breastfeeding. You might need some coffee or caffeine filled soda to keep you functioning and a cup or two will not hurt you or your baby, but too much could have disastrous effects. Just as we experience the jitters and shakes from too much caffeine, your baby does also. Keep your caffeine down to a minimum.
Pregnancy is tough and the post partum period is just as tough. Make sure you take the best care of yourself as possible during this time. Eat right and continue to take your prenatal vitamin to make sure your baby is going to get the best care you are capable of.