The importance of self-care as a mother through adequate nutrition.
Nurturing the nurturer: the importance of self-care through adequate nutrition
by Renata Lardelli - Nurse, Midwife + Founder of Lila Jasmine
As a new mother your world revolves around caring for your precious little one. Amidst the joys and responsibilities of motherhood, it's easy to overlook your own well-being. However, just as you prioritise your baby's health, it is equally vital to focus on self-care and ensure you are nourishing yourself adequately. In this blog post, we will explore the significance of looking after ourselves, especially through proper nutrition. Embracing self-care and mindful eating will not only support your health but also enhance your ability to be the best mother for your baby.
Water is the elixir of life and as a mother your hydration needs are of utmost importance. Throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding, your body undergoes numerous changes, and water plays a pivotal role in many essential processes. From aiding digestion, nutrient absorption, and transportation to temperature regulation and waste elimination, water is an indispensable component of your well-being. Pregnant and lactating women are advised to drink between 3+ litres of water daily, and even more if they engage in exercise. By prioritising hydration, you not only benefit yourself but also contribute to your baby's well-being during breastfeeding.
Ensuring adequate hydration need not be complex. Here are some practical tips to help you meet your daily fluid intake:
- Infuse water with flavour: elevate the taste of water by adding a squeeze or slice of lemon, lime, strawberries, or mint leaves
- Keep water handy: keep a bottle or glass of water within easy reach, whether at your desk, in your bag, or on your bedside table
- Drink with meals and snacks: accompany each meal and snack with a glass of water to ensure consistent hydration throughout the day
- Hydrate during breastfeeding: drinking a large glass of water at every breastfeed helps combat dehydration caused by breastfeeding
- Get creative with ice cubes: enhance the appeal of water by adding ice cubes made from fresh fruit for a refreshing twist
- Set reminders: use your phone to set reminders every couple of hours while awake, prompting you to take a moment to hydrate
During pregnancy and breastfeeding, nourishing your body with a variety of healthy foods becomes even more vital. A well-balanced diet supports your own well-being and provides essential nutrients to your growing baby. Each of the four main food groups plays a unique role in maintaining your health:
- Vegetables and fruit: these provide carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins, and minerals while being low in fat. Aim for a colourful variety of vegetables and fruits daily, ensuring you get at least five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit each day.
- Breads and cereals: these foods offer carbohydrates, fibre, B vitamins, and minerals. Opt for wholegrain varieties to gain extra nutrients and reduce constipation during pregnancy. Aim for at least eight servings of breads and cereals daily.
- Milk and milk products: essential sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals, especially calcium. Choose reduced- or low-fat options and consume at least two servings of milk or milk products each day.
- Legumes, nuts, seeds, fish, and seafood: these foods provide protein, iron, zinc, and other nutrients necessary for your well-being. Iron-rich foods are especially crucial during pregnancy to support you and your growing baby. Additionally, fish is recommended for its protein, iodine, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids that contribute to your baby's brain development.
As modern mothers in our busyness we can lose focus on the importance food has in our postpartum recovery + oftentimes a nutritious breakfast is the first thing to drop off. I’d like to leave you with one of my favourite breakfast recipes, porridge [especially when laden with fruit, brown sugar + cream]. Whether loved or hated oats are most prized for their nutritional value + health benefits. Oats are associated with heart benefits, may prevent a sharp rise in blood glucose, increases satiety [feeling full], the fibre within oats contributes to bowel regularity and the prevention of constipation, they're also an ingredient traditionally used to boost breast milk supply. You could also try making overnight oats, also known as bircher muesli as a quick, easy no-cook solution for a nutrient-dense breakfast or snack.
Porridge [serves 2];
- Bring 1 cup milk, 1 cup of water + 1 cup of oats to the boil
- Reduce the heat to simmer, stir frequently until liquid has been absorbed
- Add desired toppings such as fruit, sweetener, chopped nuts, cream,
- My favourites are mashed banana, cinnamon, cream, brown sugar + chopped almonds or stewed apples, cinnamon, candied almonds + cream
Overnight Oats or Bircher Muesli [serves 2]
- 1/2 C of rolled oats, 1/2 C of milk [any variation will work], 1/C of greek yoghurt, 1 T of chia seeds, 1 T of maple syrup or honey, 1 pinch of salt
- Add to a mason jar, screw on lid + shake. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight
- These will keep for up to 5 days, before eating top with your favourite toppings
- The topping options are endless but here are some ideas - fresh or frozen berries, grated apple + cinnamon, cocoa powder + peanut butter, passionfruit pulp + raspberries + coconut
Available at Whisper & Wild is the nutritious on the go lactation bars created by Renata, they are delicious and provide everything you need while on the go. They are also suitable for the whole family not just nursing mums.
Lila Jasmine Lactation Bars - Try them now!