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Top 10 One Handed Snacks - Nourishing Your Post Natal Body

When breastfeeding, women have much greater requirements than during pregnancy to support the growth of the infant and post-natal recovery. This is not surprising as the expressed milk can support the growth of an infant’s nutrient and calorie needs up until approximately 6 months of age.

Eating well during and after pregnancy, along with breastfeeding is highly emphasised on for the health benefits of the mother and her child. This includes but isn’t limited to, a reduced risk of some types of cancers for each individual, along with maintaining a healthy weight for a reduced risk of other chronic diseases.

To meet the extra nutrient requirements in this phase, the recommended number of grains/ cereals and vegetable serves a day are greater (see below for the complete breakdown of recommendations for each age group). It’s important to remember that while there is an increased nutrient requirement for women during pregnancy and lactation, there isn’t a large increase in additional calories. This means that eating nutrient-dense foods, more so than calorie-dense foods are recommended to reduce the risk of excess weight gain.

Fluids is another factor that has increased requirements during breastfeeding to replace the amount used in breast milk (~700ml/ day). Aiming to incorporate fluids at each of the baby’s feeds and frequently throughout the day will help to manage constipation, energy levels and headaches. Water, low-fat milk or fruit smoothies should be prioritised over caffeinated beverages as caffeine passes into the breast milk. As such, coffee, tea, soft drinks or energy drinks with added guarana powder should be limited to 2 to 4 each day.


The Eat for Health Dietary Recommendations for breastfeeding (serves/ day)

  • Grains and cereals: 9 serves
  • Vegetables: 7.5 serves
  • Fruit: 2 serves
  • Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes/ beans: 2.5 serves
  • Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/ or their alternatives: 2.5 serves

For more information about what a serve of each of these food groups looks like, check out the hyperlinked Eat for Health website.

As in pregnancy, obtaining adequate omega-3 fatty acids in the diet is equally important during breastfeeding to assist in developing the infant’s nervous system. Aiming to eat fish twice weekly will help women ensure adequate healthy fats, however, avoid larger fish that may be high in mercury. Eating seafood, along with fortified bread, eggs and dairy will contribute to dietary iodine intake. As this mineral is essential for the baby’s growth and development, a supplement with 150mcg (micrograms) of iodine is recommended during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The use of a multivitamin can help in meeting extra nutrient needs with the guidance of your health professional.

A special consideration is also needed for adequate sources of calcium, iodine, magnesium, folate, zinc and vitamin B6 in the diet, as many lactating women consume less than the recommended amounts. Check out my previous blog post to read more about the major food sources of these essential nutrients.

Below I outline my top 10 practical, one-handed snacks for the time-poor mums. These nutritious options will help to meet the needs of the infant and the new mother.

  1.  Muesli bar
  2. Fruit smoothie
  3. Apple slices + peanut butter
  4. Cottage cheese + tomato on rice cakes
  5. Berries + yoghurt
  6. Veggie sticks + hummus
  7. Tuna + whole grain crackers
  8. Mixed unsalted nuts and dried fruit
  9. Unsalted popcorn
  10. Toast + avocado

For more individualised dietary assistance get in contact with me to organise a free 15-minute, no-obligation call to discuss how I can help you to achieve your health and lifestyle goals.

A side note: Breastfeeding is best however sometimes this is not possible. All mothers need support from family and friends in choosing what is best for them. If you require support with breastfeeding or any aspect of infant feeding, talk to your child health nurse or a lactation consultant to work out the best approach to feeding your baby and aiding your recovery.