NUTRITIONAL NEEDS FOR NEW PARENTS AND THE NEW LITTLE ONE PART ONE: THE NEW PARENTS


You don’t have to look very far to find research speaking to the many health benefits of breastfeeding your new little one. In addition to containing all of the nutrients needed, breast milk also contains antibodies that will help to protect your little one from bacteria and infections.

The reality, however, is that not every new Mom will choose to breastfeed and not every new Mom will be successful when it comes to breastfeeding. Rest assured that your formula fed baby will not “suffer” any ill effects due to your choice and/or inability to breastfeed; your little one’s iron- fortified formula will provide the needed nourishment to support his/hers growth and development just fine. Your little one will also have been provided a good dose of immunoglobulin (antibodies) from you during the labour process.

Whether you are a new “breastfeeding” Mom, a new “formula-feeding” Mom or a new Dad, becoming a new parent is not only incredibly exciting but it is incredibly stressful. Becoming a new parent brings with it many sleepless nights, new worries and stressors and a whole new routine to settle into; a routine that can make it very difficult to get adequate sleep, prepare healthy meals or even find the time to sit down relax and eat a meal.

In order to meet the additional demands of new parenthood and care for your new little one it is imperative that you are taking care of “you”.

Meeting Your Nutritional Needs:

  • Eat a variety of nutrient-dense, natural, good quality foods ensuring that you are incorporating plenty vegetables: 5-10 servings daily (1 serving = ½ cup)

Asparagus, onions, beans (yellow or green) peas, beets, peppers (green, red, yellow, orange) Broccoli, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin, cabbage – green, radishes, cabbage – red, turnips, carrots, spinach, cauliflower, squash, Swiss chard, sprouts, sweet potato, collard greens, tomatoes, corn, snow peas, romaine lettuce, cucumber, kale, parsnips, mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini, white potato.

Dark green leafy vegetables are the most nutrient dense and should be eaten once or twice a day. Choose raw vegetables whenever possible, and experiment with live sprouted foods for even more nutrients.

  • Avoid refined, processed and pre-packaged food items: these are high in sugar, sodium and often contain additives and preservatives

  • Avoid caffeine and sugar as much as possible, not only will these interfere with your much needed good quality sleep but they also deplete your body of needed nutrients

  • Choose organic when possible to avoid pesticides and herbicides (among other toxins)

  • Ensure adequate protein: Required Daily Intake based on body weight: Multiply your weight in pounds by .36g. Example: .36g x 150 lb. = 54g of protein a day (for a sedentary adult). If you are active multiply your weight in pounds by .7 to find out your daily requirement. (Example: .7g x 150 lb. = 105g of protein)

Eat some with every meal and snack: Chicken, fish, yogurt, eggs, milk, cheese, tofu, beans + rice, beans + bread, veggie burger, almonds, peanut butter, seeds, cereal + dairy, legumes + seeds. (The paired foods represent complete vegetarian protein sources)

  • Choose complex carbohydrates: 5-10 servings daily (1 serving = ½ cup)

Slow burning and full of valuable nutrients and fiber. Whole grains such as brown rice, barley, oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, whole grain bread and crackers, beans, lentils, rye bread, whole grain muffins, corn tortilla chips, popcorn, pancakes and waffles made with whole grain flour, whole grain cereals.

Avoid simple carbohydrates with the exception of fresh fruits, which should be limited to 3 servings per day due to the high natural sugar content

  • Ensure adequate healthy fats are incorporated into your diet: 3 servings a day (1 serving = 1 tsp.)

Olive oil, canola oil, sesame oil, walnut oil, flaxseed oil (do not heat), butter (in moderation) Nut butters (1 serving = 1 tablespoon)

  • Ensure that you are well hydrated, on average 8-8oz glasses of good quality, fresh water per day

  • Consider adding a Probiotic – helps boost immune system and provides friendly bacteria

  • Consider adding a calcium/magnesium supplement, considered essential to human health

  • Consider adding a Multi vitamin/mineral complex as an added measure to ensure that you are not depleted in any one area. Be sure to choose a good quality, whole foods supplement

  • Consider adding an Omega-3 supplement, thought to protect against heart disease, inflammation, certain types of cancer and diabetes and is critical for proper brain development and neurological function in developing babies

IF YOU ARE BREASTFEEDING THE FOLLOWING IS ALSO PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT:

  • Be mindful when using herbs: acceptable herb choices include – alfalfa, blessed thistle, dandelion, fennel, horsetail, and raspberry. Those you should avoid include – black walnut, sage and yarrow as they decrease volume of milk

  • Mother’s milk tends to be low in vitamin C, D, and Iron so choosing food items rich in these nutrients is important

  • Mother’s who eat garlic increase their baby’s desire for milk and cause them to nurse longer. Garlic is good for both baby and mother.

  • Avoid honey and eggs for baby (can harbour harmful bacteria)

  • avoid seafood that is high in mercury and choose good quality fresh water fish instead of farmed fish choices.

  • It's important that you keep a food journal, recognizing those food items that you are consuming that may not be well tolerated by baby; if you suspect a food item that is problematic for baby, eliminate it from your diet for a few days and monitor how baby is responding to this change

PROMOTING GOOD SLEEP HYGIENE

We need ample, good quality sleep to help our body detoxify, heal and repair itself. Good quality, ample sleep is important to foster optimal health and wellness.

When we’re tired we tend to make fewer healthy choices throughout the day and reach for the quick-fix energy boost we need, often in the form of sugar-filled options and processed snacks.

When we’re tired we are unable to keep up with our daily demands, we do not have the energy required to eng