Women who are postpartum and breastfeeding need approximately 20% more protein than they Recommended Daily Allowance prenatal. This recommendation increases if they are exercising in any capacity. Protein is especially important during the early weeks of recovery for women who have given birth. Their body is doing all it can to repair and restore while simultaneously devoting energy to milk production. Protein should make up about 30% of your overall diet but remember that breastfeeding moms can need anywhere from 500-1,000 more calories per day depending on their height/age/weight and their baby. When making an effort toward this goal remember to focus on whole foods- items that are minimally processed and nutrient dense. Food is the medicine and energy your body needs to thrive and to support your baby!
In addition to protein, carbohydrates are also an important part of the lactation phase and supporting the production of breastmilk. Think about measuring carbohydrates in handfuls and attempt to get a handful at each meal, if there are days when you are walking more or exercising you may find yourself craving more carbohydrates like brown rice, potatoes, oats and whole grain bread and this is GOOD! Your body is letting you know that it requires energy to operate and that is a exactly what it needs. Life is real and we can’t always make the perfect decision but we are not meant to be perfect. We are meant to enjoy life as it comes, sometimes snagging that handful of cheez-itz and an applesauce pouch from your little one when you get hungry! Do your best to find balance and see your choices on a spectrum (i’m busy today and this is a good choice, I’m relatively relaxed today and this is a great choice, Today is easy and I made the best choice!).
The individual needs of each mom will vary depending on their lifestyle and their body, the recommendations are general and a great starting point. If you are looking for more answers and one-on-one assistance please contact us in regards to our Nutrition Program at Cole Pain Therapy Group or call to schedule an appointment today!