Nourishing the New Mom

Nourishing the New Mom

I have a special place in my heart for this phase of life. This is where it all begins, in utero, and then during those first precious days and weeks spent nursing while gazing into your little miracle.
Making milk is truly amazing. I remember the first sensations of my milk coming in with my firstborn, and then the gulping, eyes rolling back…”punch drunk on mommy’s milk” Tom would say.
I didn’t know I had it so easy. Lily latched on immediately without a problem, my milk came in so soon, she never cried (until I ate broccoli soup that is).
I was well nourished. My mom was there to care for me and cook for me. My breakfasts arrived on a tray with a flower. Sweet rice cereal, toast with almond butter, sliced fresh fruit in a bowl. Lunches of homemade chicken noodle soup chocked full of kale and dinners of wild salmon, beets, yams, greens, and quinoa were on the menu. These are nourishing, breast milk-promoting foods.
New moms need to be taken care of. They need to feel safe and secure so they can do the most important thing in the world, care for their new baby.
My mom was there for all of my births and then stayed for weeks after my babies arrived, cooking and cleaning everyday. When our twins were born, she added “playing with the girls” to the list.
Rest, water, and good food are the three most important factors to get that milk flowing. There are certain foods that can help promote the flow of breast milk (though most of the evidence is anecdotal). My knowledge comes from my own experience and from the stories of other moms.
There are also foods that can cause problems with the new breastfeeding baby and should be avoided for the first 3 months or so. Below is my list of super breastfeeding foods for the new mom and foods to avoid.
Yesterday we got a call from a friend who just gave birth to a beautiful little baby girl. She had an emergency c-section and needed some help getting her breast milk to come in. It was my time to pay it forward. My friends came to my need for the first 4 months after my twins were born and brought meal after meal after meal (even with a number of food restrictions).
So the girls and I cooked up a pot of homemade chicken noodle soup, red lentil dal, brown rice, roasted yams, sesame halibut, a baby green salad with grated raw beets, ginger salad dressing, hummus, and cut raw veggies. Grace and I delivered the food just in time for dinner and were lucky enough to meet the sleepy new baby.

Good foods to nourish a post partum mom:

Plenty of purified water
Wild salmon
Organic chicken and vegetable soup with plenty of fresh herbs
Greens!! Fresh salad greens, dark leafy greens, and green smoothies
Sweet vegetables (yams, squash, carrots, beets)
Raw nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds)
Raw almond butter
Whole grains (quinoa, amaranth, oats, sweet brown rice, millet, teff)
Organic berries
Sea vegetables
Lentils
Carminative herbs and spices (cumin, cardamom, fenugreek, ginger, mint, fennel seeds)
Raspberry leaf tea (raspberry leaf along with fennel help to contract the uterus)
Nettle tea enriches and increases milk production
Healthy fats (avocado, extra virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, fresh flax or fish oil)
Foods to avoid during the post partum period (may cause upset in newborn baby):

Dairy products
Citrus fruit, especially juices
Peanuts
Heavily spiced foods
Beef
Raw garlic and onions
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage)
Wheat / Gluten
Refined soy products
Caffeine (coffee, tea, soda)
Chocolate
Prenatal vitamins (the iron may be irritating to baby)
I have included a recipe here that would also be nourishing for a new mom. It is also a great, simple recipe to make on busy days (and because I bet many of you reading this blog are not new moms!). If you have meals or foods that worked for you during this phase of life, please share!

Curried Lentil and Rice Casserole
I initially created this recipe to utilize the fresh turmeric I had on hand, but it also can be made with dried. If you work during the week, then try making this recipe on the weekend to have available for the week. The long baking time may not make this suitable for a quick weeknight meal. I use a stone casserole dish for this recipe. Portions can also be frozen into small containers for future use. Enjoy!
a few tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh turmeric, or 1 teaspoon dried
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons sea salt
4 carrots, chopped
1 1/2 cups french lentils
1 cup long grain brown rice
5 cups water
1 can coconut milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Saute onion in olive oil until soft, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add ginger, turmeric, spices, and salt. Continue to saute for another 2 minutes until fragrant.
Place onion-spice mixture into a large casserole dish. Add carrots, lentils, rice, water, and coconut milk. Mix together well. Cover and bake for 2 hours.
After 2 hours, turn oven temp up to 425 degrees F. Remove cover and cook for another 20 to 30 minutes to let excess liquid cook off. Stir and serve!

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