Diet care for a new mother post delivery
Pregnancy itself is a stressful period for a woman and the delivery can be a traumatic experience for some, a relatively easy process for others. In any case, during the postpartum or postnatal period a new mother must receive exceptional care, especially in dietary matters.
Some women can experience post traumatic stress disorder. She can have nightmares or have problems relating to her child or husband. She can have bouts of trembling, irritation and sweating as well as a disturbed sleep. Some women, post delivery, experience physical symptoms such as constipation, urinary problems and discomfort. Rest, proper medication and care resolve the issues in time and she will regain normal health. It is not uncommon for women to experience heaviness in the breast and pain in the nipples as well as irritation due to disturbed sleep and feeding her infant.
While a doctor can resolve these matters, you can do your bit to help by giving her special care as regards diet.
- A new mother should be given small but frequent, wholesome and nutritious meals.
- Foods must be chosen to prevent constipation and should have high fiber content in addition to balanced nutrition with special attention to iron, vitamin, minerals, protein and carbohydrates. In the first few days following delivery you can give her soft foods such as upmas, idlis, khichdi, fruits, bulgur wheat, cooked vegetables, paneer, curds and nuts. Make sure she gets more than sufficient proteins in the form of paneer, dal, curds or milk. If you are non-vegetarian, fish and lean meats are ideal.
- Always try to include fruit juices or soups and dals as a way to get plenty of fluid into her body to aid digestion, prevent constipation and promote healthy blood circulation as well as organ function.
- Avoid oily, spicy and fried foods or keep them to the bare minimum.
- Avoid strongly flavored foodstuff like garlic and vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage and green or red chillies that could alter the taste of her milk.
- You can try giving her herbs that help her mammary glands secrete more milk. Fenugreek, dill, sesame, carom, dried ginger and shatavri are well known herbs that help increased milk production. You could also include brahmi, shankhpushpi and bhringraj that will help keep her calm and relieve stress.
- It is better to feed her dry fruits and give lassi or buttermilk that will give feeling of fullness besides being nutritious instead of junk foods.
A typical diet chart for a mother in the first two months following delivery would be something as follows:
- Breakfast may include milk or tea, whole wheat preparation like bulgur wheat, chapatti or parathas
- Brunch may comprise of a fruit salad or milkshake with a generous garnish of nuts
- Lunch need not be heavy and may include chapattis, vegetables, curds and lentils
- Mid afternoon snack may be something as simple as dry fruits or upma or milk or lightly sautéed paneer cubes or just a tall glass of lassi to beat the heat. Add nuts
- Dinner should be light, preferably rice or khichdi with plenty of dal in it, curds and some vegetables and for dessert you can give a small dish of rabdi or sweet laddu made of coarse wheat flour mixed nuts and poppy seeds for that feeling of fullness.
- Make sure she is not given foods to which she is allergic or which cause diarrhea or constipation, headaches or acidity.
If you are the father you must know that your precious child must also receive proper care. Some housewives may advise you into giving your child honey or some herbal infusions. These are not required for the first six months since the child subsists entirely on mother’s milk. Take special care not to give honey to children below one year of age since honey can cause severe problems.