Healthy Pregnancy and Postpartum Nutrition

I'm writing this on the tail end of International Women's day. After I've cleaned, changed and fed my  3 week old, I look back on all of the things that make me proud to be a woman.

I'm not perfect by any stretch. But I do try my best to make my life and those lives around me a mindful and positive experience. A quote that touches me still is, "and when you're gone, people won't remember the things you did, they will remember the way you made them feel."   

This post is meant to help those that read it not only want to create a healthier lifestyle during pregnancy and beyond, but also do it because it makes themselves feel better on a deeper level. And thus, you can share the wealth with others in your life. This is one of the reasons I studied Nursing and Nutrition. When you feel good physically, it affects you mentally as well. And this echoes on to impact every day of your life.

The photo on the left is me at the end of my pregnancy, the one on the right is 9 days postpartum. I'll share with you my typical diet and activity throughout pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, and postpartum/breastfeeding. While it is important to maintain a healthy diet, don't forget that there are pregnancy cravings that you may HAVE to give into sometimes, or healthier alternatives on others!

My Typical Pregnancy Diet

(Do not forget about healthy fats like avocado and nuts and olive oil/dressings on salads - they help absorb fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K! Being pregnant does not give you the pass to "eat for two" but you do need extra calories depending on the trimester - 1st: same, second: ~300, 3rd: ~500 Postpartum/breastfeeding: ~500)

Breakfast: Yogurt, Toast with peanut butter and banana slices or peanut butter and jam, Cereal with 2% or Whole Milk, scrambled eggs and toast with butter
Snacks: Multigrain Cereal bar, nuts and dried fruit mix, crackers and cheese
Lunch: Soup and Salad (spinach/spring mix with tomatoes, peppers, carrots, mozzarella cheese, chickpeas/chicken/light tuna, croutons, dried cranberries) with balsamic vinegar or french dressing (my personal favorites), Chicken and Vegetable Stir fry, grilled turkey and cheese with spinach and tomato (make sure to sear any lunch meat to avoid listeria)
Dinner: whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce, peas, and chicken sausage, Newman's own Pizzas (what pregnant lady wants to cook all the time?) Pho noodles and vegetables and chicken, Rice bowls with veggies and meat
Dessert: Ice cream! Watermelon, Cantaloupe, and Honeydew melon with whipped cream, chocolate, whatever you crave!


For Postpartum Nutrition

(Aim for ~500 additional calories per day)

I generally ate the same food items, only now I've opened it up to more deli meats like roasted turkey the occasional glass of wine, and sushi of course! I also still take prenatal/postnatal vitamins to help with breastfeeding. 

Some tips on diet while breastfeeding:

Oatmeal is great for supply. I like to have maple or cinnamon added to my oatmeal.

There is no need to "pump and dump" that precious liquid gold. Just like with the bloodstream, alcohol dissipates over a period of time. One glass of beer or wine will take about 2 hours to clear from your system.

You also don't need to boil a bottle. Just warm it up in hot water from the faucet. You can even offer it cold as the baby will take it based on comfort.

Whatever you eat will still pass into the breastmilk. Spicy food will make your milk a bit spicier for baby, or broccoli, etc could give the baby some gas. Some allergies can even develop based on what you eat in your diet and is passed to the baby like cow's milk allergies.

Breastfeeding also makes you VERY thirsty. As you should be! You're producing lots of milk!

Keep in mind that it can be HARD to breastfeed but that breastmilk is the perfect food for baby. Spit from the baby is passed through the nipple so your body knows what the composition of the milk should be. The body is AMAZING! That being said, whether it's formula or breastmilk, its perfect as long as the baby is being fed!


There it is, a short and sweet post on pregnancy and postpartum nutrition. Feel free to ask any additional questions or comments!


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