Your child might be tiny in size, yet the amount of your energy that she consumes is enormous. And whether you’re a brand-new mom or have settled into a (somewhat) predictable routine with your little one, you’ll need plenty of fuel to keep up with her.
Everyone needs healthy snacks to get through the day, but new moms have special challenges. When your baby wakes you up regularly, you develop an interrupted sleep pattern that can wreak havoc on your appetite hormones, says Boston-based registered dietitian, Kate Scarlata. Plus, moms who breastfeed have higher nutritional and hydration needs than other women.
“You want to be healthy and able to take care of your child. If you’re not constantly locked and loaded [with nutritious food], you’re always chasing hunger,” says Scarlata. “When you sit down to eat balanced meals and snacks, you’ll have the energy to get through the next few hours instead of feeling like you’re dragging.”
Noshing on something small every three hours will help keep your blood sugar stable, Scarlata says. (Read: You won’t end suddenly end up cranky, ravenous, and hunting for a Snickers bar.) A 150-200 calorie snack that’s rich in protein and calcium (two nutrients especially important for breastfeeding moms), like a half cup of yogurt with a sprinkle of chopped nuts and fruit, will do the trick. Other quick nibbles that are easy to sneak while your baby naps:
- Whole grain toast smeared with peanut butter
- Scrambled eggs with spinach and an English muffin
- A cheese stick and sliced apples
- A low sugar granola bar (we love KIND Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt bars, $2 each, kindsnacks.com)
One more thing: Don’t forget your H20! Dehydration can lead to fatigue, so drink water or seltzer flavored with a splash of juice throughout the day. Experts recommend that breastfeeding moms drink a glass of water with each meal or snack, plus another glass each time you breastfeed.