I enjoy learning about new people working with or for new parents in our community. And I get super excited when I get to connect these people with folks in my network who will benefit from their services. Today I’m thrilled to introduce you to a new guest blogger sharing Five Tips for Staying Healthy Postpartum.
I’ve been following Olivia Blodgett—of Nourish Northwest, on Instagram for a while now @nourishnw. I wanted to reach out to her after seeing how much she involves her kiddo in meal preparation. I loved how they bonded in the kitchen making food together. It’s one of the sweetest things! Such a great idea to involve kids in the cooking process by giving them small, manageable tasks.
I even got to photograph the two of them cooking for a bit together. My heart basically melted into a puddle on the floor watching the two of them work together in the kitchen. You can see more photos below!
I’m super excited to introduce you to Olivia: registered dietitian, certified personal trainer, personal chef and owner of Nourish Northwest.
My nutrition career started 11 years ago at a WIC (Women, Infants and Children) clinic. I counseled pregnant and postpartum women on proper nutrition for themselves and their families. I fell in love with working with this population. These stages of life are so special. and Both are full of love and challenges. As a young dietitian, my knowledge mostly came from books. Although I felt confident in my expertise, not having had kids myself limited my ability to offer advice and empathy with complete authenticity.
Fast forward to two years ago when I became pregnant and prenatal nutrition had a whole new meaning for me. I recalled all those food recommendations I had made to clients in the past and realized that none of it mattered if you were completely nauseous and too tired to cook. You just do what you can do. The same goes for postpartum nutrition when the word exhaustion takes on a whole new meaning. Yes, nutrition is so very important during this stage but it is not the time to be counting macronutrients and worrying if you are meeting the daily value for every vitamin and mineral. Your focus is the beautiful little creature that you are just getting to know, who needs every ounce of your attention.
There is so much to consider when it comes to nutrition but I just want to assure you that if you are eating a generally balanced diet, with mostly whole foods and lots of veggies then you will be doing fantastic.
Try not to get hung up on the nitty-gritty of meeting all your nutrient needs. Do your best to eat as you soak up all of the special moments that you have with your little one.
These 5 tips will help you stay healthy postpartum.
You are 100% focused on your new baby, thus the importance of your own nutrition is often overlooked. Since you are and should be focused on baby now, it’s a good idea to have your postpartum health in mind before giving birth. Do as much meal planning before baby as you possibly can. This can include cooking and freezing, organizing a meal train or signing up for a meal delivery service. Meals should be balanced, include a source of protein and rich in vegetables. Variety is key to making sure you meet all your nutrient needs.
Birth is a tremendous physical feat and your body has used up a lot of energy and nutrients to replenish and heal. Nutrient depletion is very strongly related to postpartum depression and low levels of folate, vitamin D, iron, selenium, zinc and fatty acids have all been associated with a higher risk of PPD. A whole foods diet including foods such as nuts and seeds, dark leafy greens, fatty fish, whole grains and a variety of fruits and vegetables will ensure that you are meeting your needs.
Rather than worrying too much about reaching the daily value for every single micronutrient, just make sure you are eating enough. If you are a breastfeeding mom, your calorie needs will increase about 500 per day. Eating regular meals and snacks will help with your energy level, mood and maintaining lactation. Proper hydration is also essential — aim for 3 L of water per day. Placing snacks and water around the house for easy access can be a lifesaver. And take your prenatal vitamin for extra insurance.
The foods you eat have a profound effect on your mental state. Some of the key components that can enhance your mood are Omega 3’s, B-vitamins, carbohydrates and probiotics. Again, a whole foods diet including foods such as nuts and seeds, dark leafy greens, fatty fish, whole grains and a variety of fruits and vegetables will cover your bases. Consume fermented foods, such as kimchi, miso, yogurt and kombucha for an added bonus.
Take it easy, make sure to take time to rest and recover (In general, this is 6 weeks for vaginal delivery and 8 weeks for C-section, unless your doctor says otherwise). When you are ready to get moving, I encourage you to do so daily. Exercise is a powerful treatment for postpartum depression and has a plethora of other benefits, such as improving cardiovascular health, increasing metabolism and promoting weight loss. Taking your baby on daily walks is not only a great form of exercise but can be a beautiful way to bond and introduce them to all the wonders of the world.
How to find Olivia: