Top 5 Health Tips for New Mums from BasilHealth
Eat plenty of calories while breastfeeding.
Many new mums we’ve talked to love breastfeeding, since they can eat pretty much whatever they want and not gain a bit of weight. But when you’re busy with baby, you may also have some “forget to eat” moments. Note that the Mayo Clinic recommends eating 500 calories more than you typically do in order to keep your energy up. Protein-rich foods are especially important, as is calcium. You may want to consider eating a wide variety of foods as there’s some evidence to suggest it will create a less picky eater down the road. (However, certain foods may also turn your baby off of your breast milk, so that’s something to keep in mind.)
Get outside at least one a day.
As a new mum, you’ll probably find yourself attached to your baby pretty much 24 hours a day. Your bonding, and it’s only natural that you want to spend as much time as possible with your new addition. However, it can be easy to get sucked into being inside constantly, as that may be the path of least resistance. Challenge yourself to get outside every day, even if it’s just for 20 minutes. Even better if you can do it while the sun is out; that will boost your vitamin D absorption and improve your mood.
Drink lots of water.
Hydration is important for any new mum, as it provides much needed energy and helps you heal after giving birth. It’s particularly important if you’re breastfeeding, since you’re losing water content from your body. “Mum is still drinking for two during this time,” says Andrea Meyer of Ocean Midwives. “Alternate water with an electrolyte drink like broth, herbal tea or infusion (without sugar), coconut water, and so on.” A good rule of thumb is to drink a glass of water every time baby nurses. Note that it’s best to avoid sugary drinks (even fruit juices) or caffeinated beverages if you’re breastfeeding. These are typically nutrient-poor and the sugar or caffeine can filter down to your baby.
Exercise your pelvic floor.
Broadly speaking, your pelvic floor is a swath of muscles, tissues and ligaments that expands from your pubic bone in front, to your spine in the back. During the extended weight of pregnancy and the effort of childbirth (whether vaginal or via c-section), the pelvic floor becomes stretched and weakened. Because this area is responsible for supporting your bladder and bowel, some women may become incontinent after childbirth. A weak pelvic floor may also make it difficult to resume enjoyable sexual activity.
Starting to exercise your pelvic floor after childbirth will help you recover faster by increasing blood flow to the area, and it may help you avoid issues later down the line. Even slow walks can help to strengthen this area, or you can try pelvic lifts or tilts. When you’re ready, using a device like Elvie can help take things to the next level!
Make sure you have enough fibre in your diet.
Constipation after childbirth is quite common for a variety of reasons. To help make your bowel movements more regular and comfortable, make sure you’re hydrating (as noted above) and getting plenty of fibre in your diet. The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition recommends 30g per day for adults. If you’re eating enough calories and only nutritious food, you should be able to get this through diet alone. But--let’s be real--you may be too busy and exhausted to worry about eating super healthy all the time. Try adding a high-fibre cereal every morning, or asking your doctor about the best supplements for nursing mothers.
By Jasmine France
Jasmine is the Editor in Chief for BasilHealth, a new digital health company focused on empowering people to take control of their health.