Post Labour Recovery Food…
…can we talk about the tea and toast?
Labour is called labour for a reason. Your body will have done the most amazing thing possible, but it will have used up so much energy (and maybe taken a bit of a battering) to bring you your baby into the world. Afterwards it needs to be loved, cared for and gently nourished. My advice is to take some food to the hospital with you to eat after your have given birth and if you are staying in hospital for a few nights, get a partner to bring meals from home (use a food flask to keep them warm). The tea and toast might taste amazing but it’s not giving your body the nourishment it needs to recover from what you have just experienced!
When I gave birth for the first time, I hadn’t eaten for 17 hours and all they could give me was a crappy vending machine sandwich (it was middle of the night!). I really wish I had been more prepared and bought something with me. You can use a cool bag to keep things fresh or ask the nurses when you arrive if you can use a fridge to keep your food in. It’s something you can ask your midwife about before-hand to ensure you know your options before the big day. I took a hot meal in a food flask for my second birth and luckily he arrived really quickly so the food was still safe to eat. It felt so comforting to have something healthy and filling to eat and was way better than a piece of toast!
Here are my top tips for post-labour foods
𝙎𝙤𝙛𝙩 𝙛𝙤𝙤𝙙𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙚𝙖𝙨𝙮 𝙩𝙤 𝙙𝙞𝙜𝙚𝙨𝙩: your body needs to conserve energy after your hard efforts. Eat foods that are in liquid or mushy form such as soups, dahls and slow cooked stews as these are easy to digest and won’t require large amounts of energy for your body to breakdown. Soak oats, rice, pulses and beans before eating to make them softer or cook things for longer with more liquid so they are a bit mushier.
𝙒𝙖𝙧𝙢, 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙛𝙤𝙤𝙙𝙨. Most women find labour and few following days an extremely emotional time. You need warming foods that feel like a little hug in a bowl. Try to avoid raw, cold foods such as salads, raw veg, fruit, smoothies, ice cream and cold drinks as they are all harder on the digestive system.
𝙁𝙤𝙤𝙙𝙨 𝙝𝙞𝙜𝙝 𝙞𝙣 𝙜𝙤𝙤𝙙 𝙛𝙖𝙩𝙨. Good fats provide more energy than carbs or proteins. They are vital for hormone health and brain function (both of which need a little help after giving birth). They have also been shown to enrich breastmilk helping the baby’s brain to develop. Include foods such oily fish, eggs, pasture-raised meats (slow cooked) coconut milk. Homemade bone-broth is full of vitamins and minerals, collagen and other immune boosting properties, this is a powerhouse for recovery and nourishment.
𝙉𝙪𝙩𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙙𝙚𝙣𝙨𝙚 𝙛𝙤𝙤𝙙𝙨. Your body needs a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Make each bite count. Eat foods such as wild- salmon, organic liver, sardines, eggs, leafy greens (in soups and stews not raw). Dark beans such a black beans and kidney beans are great in stews and soups. Have porridge for breakfast made with coconut milk and nut butter, add soaked chia seeds in for an omega 3 boost and hemp hearts for extra protein.
Be prepared and have a few meals ready in the fridge or freezer so when you get home you don’t have to worry about cooking as you will be too busy starting at your beautiful baby!
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