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What I’m Eating: Postnatal Edition

Alternate title: “The Art of the One-Handed Meal.” ;) Thank you to New Chapter for sponsoring this post!

When I was pregnant, you guys heard a lot about food from me – but mostly about how I really wasn’t excited about it. I spent most of the first and third trimesters just generally feeling “eh” about food – I was really hungry, and I felt worse if I waited too long to eat, but it was always really hard to decide WHAT to eat, and often there were many foods that turned me off entirely. What I wanted to eat also changed minute to minute – I remember one night calling Matt on his way home from work and telling him that I HAD to have taco salad (a childhood fave). I literally could not eat anything else ever, it had to be taco salad, and it had to be immediately. I’m sure you guys can tell where this story is going – by the time poor Matt got home from the grocery store with all the ingredients for taco salad, I had decided that taco salad was actually the last thing I ever wanted to eat, and proceeded to have chocolate milk and watermelon for dinner instead while Matt ate taco salad. Lol! So as you can imagine, now that I’m no longer pregnant I’m loving actually enjoying food again – and not having to worry about whether I’ll still want something once it’s in front of me (vs. just wanting it when I ordered it, or when we started making it).

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For the first month after giving birth, I wasn’t all that hungry – the pain meds I was taking early on due to the C section were probably messing with my appetite, and I had a lot of digestive issues during pregnancy that hung around for awhile in the early days postpartum, too. I had heard from friends how crazy hungry they were when breastfeeding, but I wasn’t experiencing that myself. It probably didn’t help that my sleep patterns were so all over the place, especially at first – I’d take a 2 hour nap some days and wake up to dinner, which felt like breakfast, so it was hard to eat a big hearty meal. And we were up all night, of course, which was also weird hunger-wise because each day felt like one really long endless day vs. a day and then night. And on top of that, I was extremely sedentary that first month, even compared to the end of pregnancy where I was still walking a ton. In short, my body (and my stomach) were very confused.

And then, suddenly, about a month and a half or so after Riese was born, BAM. I was STARVING. All the time. And I have been ever since. There was that breastfeeding hunger I’d been hearing so much about! Give me all the food!!

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I find I’m especially hungry earlier in the day, so I’ve usually been doing two breakfasts. My first breakfast is typically avocado toast with a fried egg or two and tomato and/or some greens. I love this because it’s a great combination of protein (eggs), carbs (toast), and fat (avocado, egg yolks), plus some fruit/veggie volume. Keeps me satisfied more than a minute!

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My second breakfast is usually something sweeter – a muffin, for example, plus some fresh fruit and a whole milk latte on the side (I stick with one shot of espresso).

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For lunch, I mix it up, but generally do either a sandwich with some veggies on the side, or a big grain salad bowl.

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In the afternoon, I need more than one snack now, and often have to remind myself to eat amidst the chaos of the day. Riese is extremely adept at starting to cry the second I sit down to eat, which makes it easy to let myself get too hungry because I’m taking care of her rather than taking care of myself. After several episodes of getting overhungry, I wised up and started to make eating much more of a priority, usually by having one-handed snacks available to tide me over while I feed her. Things like fruit, hard boiled eggs, lactation cookies/muffins/bites, etc.

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Dinner is generally all over the place in terms of what we eat, but I again make sure it’s a mix of protein, fat, and carbs, with some veggies for volume. And I make sure to have more volume in general than usual, too! Pregnancy and the postpartum period have both been good lessons to me in intuitive eating – when your hunger levels change so drastically from your norm you really have to pay attention and listen to your body because being on autopilot will mean you end up not eating enough.

In addition to making sure I’m responding to my hunger and thirst (breastfeeding makes me SO THIRSTY), it’s also important to make sure I’m meeting my nutrient-specific needs in this postpartum phase of my life, especially with regards to breastfeeding. I think it’s common knowledge to take a prenatal vitamin while pregnant, but it’s also smart to take a vitamin once the baby is born that is specifically formulated with the postpartum period in mind. Shortly after Riese was born, I switched from my prenatal to a postnatal vitamin to make sure that we were both getting the nutrients we need.

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I’ve been taking New Chapter’s Perfect Postnatal Multivitamin; I like New Chapter’s postnatal multivitamin in particular for a couple reasons. First, they take a sustainable, quality, whole foods approach to their products. The perfect postnatal is made with organic vegetables, herbs, and superfoods, all of which have been chosen specifically to help moms with new babies by incorporating targeted nutrients that help nourish and provide energy, mood and lactation support.* These include fermented B Vitamins that work to support energy needs during early motherhood, and fermented iron, which is required for red blood cell production. If you’re breastfeeding, the iron, vitamin B6, vitamin D3, and iodine in particular will help to support lactation.*

Second, the multivitamin is gentle enough to be taken on an empty stomach, thanks to the fact that New Chapter uses fermented vitamins and minerals that are easily digestible. This was especially important in the early days when I was in a weird sleep-deprived haze – I didn’t have to worry about remembering whether I’d just eaten or not before taking the vitamins, and they never made me feel even remotely nauseous like multivitamins I’ve taken in the past have. The perfect postnatal is also Non-GMO Project Verified and 100% vegetarian with no artificial flavors or colors.

The other supplement I’m taking right now is New Chapter’s Wholemega™ for Moms Fish Oil supplement made from sustainable 100% wild Alaskan salmon. The essential DHA fatty acids help maintain heart health and support visual and cognitive development for babies when taken during pregnancy and breastfeeding.*

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New Chapter Vitamins can be purchased on their website (here’s a link to the Perfect Postnatal Multivitamin™ and the Wholemega™ for Moms Fish Oil), Amazon, Whole Foods, and Mom’s Organic Market, among other retailers. Click here to find a store near you.

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Fellow new moms – are you taking a postnatal vitamin? Did you take a prenatal vitamin? Also… any tips for mastering one-handed eating? ;)

*Certified Organic by International Certification Services, Inc., Medina, ND, USA.

**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Comments

  1. 1

    Glad you are figuring it out day by day. Got to make sure you nourish yourself and take care of yourself so that you can take care of baby! Those meals look epic, I’m hungry now!

  2. 3

    Really great info, and I appreicate you sharing your experiences from those first few weeks! We often forget about how much a woman’s life will change down to being able to eat and shower, basic necessities.

  3. 5

    Thank you for sharing! My best friend just had a C-section for her first baby and I’d love to bring her some meals that are easy to heat up/appetizing. I know everyone is different, but do you have any suggestions for meals that are good options to bring a postpartum mama? Thank you!

    • 6

      I would suggest something that has leftovers so they can enjoy it for awhile… something like my Mexican Lasagna is usually a winner – I brought it to some new mom friends in the past and it was always a hit! I usually would do a salad on the side too… nice to have something healthy when those pregnancy aversions go away! Since it’s winter, chili or something would be good too – check out my Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili!

  4. 7

    She is so beautiful! I also love that you’re sharing how much you need to eat postpartum/breastfeeding! There is so much emphasis for women on “getting your body back” and its refreshing to see someone who is listening and honoring their body rather than fighting it! Go you!

  5. 9

    Really enjoy reading the logic behind what you are doing!

  6. 11

    Hi Anne! I’ve read for a long time but I don’t think I’ve ever commented before! I just had to laugh at how much I relate to so many things you said about your experience with food during your pregnancy. I’m just about halfway there (woo!) with my first, and am having a conversation via text right now with my husband about how “everything sounds blah” for dinner. I had really bad morning sickness throughout my whole first trimester, and while it has eased up a little, I’m still like…has this little guy had a SINGLE veggie this week?? 5 a.m. dry cereal snacks have also become a staple, as have second and third morning snacks…

    Just wanted to say congrats and it’s been fun to read about your experiences. (And I’m glad to hear your hunger came back strong!!)

    • 12

      Thanks Melissa!! Oh man, those “all food sounds blah” days are tough – they will end, I promise! And until then, no shame about having cereal for all meals. ;) Hang in there and a big congratulations!

Trackbacks

  1. […] day for it! As usual, Riese wanted to be held and take in the action, so I continued to refine my one-handed meal skills. […]

  2. […] to keep the conversation going about prenatal and postnatal nutrition. Last time I shared my postnatal eating habits, and today I wanted to talk a bit more about staying on top of nutrition while pregnant. I’m […]

  3. […] (or, in my case right now, a postnatal-specific multivitamin – more on that in this blog post about what my eating is looking like postpartum) is a great way to make sure that you are staying on top of your hunger levels in addition to […]

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