It’s likely that as a new (or maybe even not so new!) mom you’re caught in the middle of the balancing act of caring for your kid(s) and caring for yourself. And while you know that eating well and your health should be a priority, you’re also figuring out how to care for your new baby (and maybe multiple kids!), are exhausted from long, jam-packed days, and focusing on meals for your entire family. And consistently finding the time to get to the gym for your workouts? That routine has probably changed, too. Spending lots of time on healthful meals and ample nutrients for you on a day to day basis is probably a laughable proposition. You need quick & easy, and you get bonus points if it’s good for your waistline. A dinner of leftover dinner scraps from toddler plates is not beneath you. #momlife.
If you’re breastfeeding, you probably also recognize the constant hunger that comes from providing your baby with his or her nutrition. And, as a result, you’re probably even more mindful about what you put into your body since you’re passing that nutrition onto your babe.
The good news? It’s pretty safe to say you can be sure you’re giving your body what it needs when you make an effort to eat a diet rich in a variety of whole foods each day. Continuing a daily multi supp is also smart just to cover those bases.
That said, there are a few key nutrients that all mamas should be a bit more mindful of. And we’re here to give you some simple ways to get those nutrients without requiring you to shoehorn too much more time and energy into your already filled day-to-day routine.
Immediately postpartum (up to 1 year) there are a few key nutrients you really want to be mindful of consuming. These include iron, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids.
1) Iron 
The primary role of iron is to deliver oxygen throughout your body and without proper levels, you’ll be left feeling tired, depleted and even light headed. Working out will also feel impossible. Iron deficiency is one of the most common forms of nutritional deficiencies and immediately postpartum it’s important to consider your iron levels, especially if breastfeeding. When pregnant, the amount of iron that your body requires on a daily basis increases to support additional red blood cells, the placenta, and your growing baby. And after delivery, your iron levels will drop – so developing postpartum anemia is possible and not uncommon for women. There are 2 types of iron, heme (animal) and non-heme (vegetarian). If you’re vegetarian or vegan you’ll likely need to supplement, as iron from plant sources is not absorbed as efficiently as iron from animal sources. Maintain adequate levels by choosing foods including lean animal protein, leafy greens, bell pepper, broccoli and cauliflower. Bonus points if you pair your plants with foods rich in Vitamin C for better absorption!
Calcium is critical for muscle contraction as well as building, strengthening and repairing bone. And, although this mineral is important throughout your lifetime, your body’s demand for it is even greater during pregnancy and postpartum. If you’re breastfeeding, your levels of calcium intake are even more important as your baby’s demands for the nutrients will deplete your stores. (Studies showing that women often lose 3 to 5 percent of their bone mass during breastfeeding, though they recover it rapidly after weaning) And, if you’re back to regular workouts, calcium is lost through sweat and muscle contractions, making it even more essential for active individuals. Reach for unsweetened organic dairy such as yogurt or kefir, and aim for one meal a day that includes lots of leafy greens.
3) Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids
Omega-3s (DHA & EPA) are essential fats, meaning they cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained through our diet. While these fats are pivotal to overall good health (heart health, inflammation, and skin), they are especially important postpartum; Specifically, they have been shown to lower risk of postpartum depression. Your most concentrated food source of Omega-3 acids will be deep-sea cold water fish including salmon, cod and tuna. Plant sources include walnuts, chia and flax seeds.
Beyond specific nutrients, there are two supplements that all moms out there can benefit from. And with very little effort, it’s pretty simple to slip these into your day to day routine.
Yup, even if you’re no longer trying to conceive or you’re carrying a developing baby, taking a prenatal is still a good idea. Your prenatal should contain key nutrients including folate, iron, calcium and vitamin D. Postpartum these higher nutrient levels help support your recovering body. And, if you’re nursing, can ensure delivery of nutrients required for the development of your babe. Beyond that, prenatal vitamins are designed for women in mind and the nutrients they put in them, in the levels provided, can be beneficial for all women to help replace the gaps in your otherwise healthy diet.
While not as common as a prenatal, collagen supplements are growing in popularity and with good reason. When you’re postpartum, incorporating collagen into your diet is smart. Collagen is the protein that our body relies on to ensure the health and vitality of skin, hair, tendons, cartilage, bones, and joints and adding this supplement into your diet will not only support the growth of your nails and hair (hello postpartum hair loss) it also helps support your muscles, which is especially important if you’re working out + have high demands on your body from carting your kids (and their stuff!) around each day. Collagen is tasteless so you can pick up a collagen peptide supplement of your choice and add 1 – 2 scoops into your daily smoothie or even your morning coffee.
Finally, don’t forget water! Staying hydrated is not just important if you’re sweating daily but also if you’re nursing or even trying to maintain or lose weight.
While your day to day life can seem like constant chaos, know that just a few mindful tweaks to your diet can ensure that you’re covering your bases for better health and overall wellness. And remember that if you’re unsure about your body’s needs, it’s always best to consult with your healthcare practitioner.
If you want to learn more about any of the supplements mentioned here, you can leave us a note or head over to your local Reflex Store. Happy Mothers Day to all the mama’s out there. We hope you have a relaxing day and get to fit in a sweat session!
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