Gina Ulrich’s Advice for Fourth Trimester Nutrition
Fourth Trimester Nutrition – Food to Help you Heal
Mum is comfort. Mum is nourishment. Mum is sleep. Mum is warmth. Mum is home. And mum is exhausted.
You’ve carried that little human in your womb for 9 long months. You have been through the enormous experience of bringing him or her earth-side. The Fourth Trimester is a time when although your baby is no longer physically attached to you, they remain attached in the sense that they are still completely dependent on you for love and nourishment.
Welcome to the forth trimester. The fourth trimester is the first 3 months of your baby’s life. It is a period of huge adjustment and change for both the mother and the baby. As your baby adjusts to life outside of the womb, you adjust to becoming a mother. It is a time to really nourish yourself as you allow your body to repair from birth and adjust to the demands of being a 24 hour a day carer.
It can be a time of severe sleep deprivation and emotional roller coaster. It is a time when some days you will feel like you are going to burst with love only to be drowning in a flood of tears the following day. I’m not going to lie, it’s tough. You are going to be tired, your boobs will be big and engorged, you will be bleeding for weeks to come & your emotions will be running rampit due to the surge and drop of several different hormones.
As I sit here with my cup of luke warm tea & tired eyes, balls deep into the fourth trimester, I can reassure you it is all worth it. You just need to glance over at your little baby and know that you made perfection.
Five Tips for Fourth Trimester Nutrition
- Pop that multivitamin! You may be deficient in some vital nutrients that are required for neurotransmitter or hormone synthesis. A multivitamin will help to fill the gaps in your diet. It won’t replace a healthy diet. Taking a high quality multi-vitamin designed for pregnant and lactating women is just as important if not more so than it was during pregnancy. If you have had significant blood loss I would also advise to follow up with your health professional to check your iron status & supplement appropriately.
- Focus on Macro-Nutrients. A sensible macro-nutrient balance diet is key, that means protein, good fats & complex carbohydrates from whole food sources with each meal & snack. I can’t stress the importance of protein enough, protein depletion can occur very quickly if there is not adequate dietary intake. A general rule is 1g of protein/kg of body weight but during pregnancy & breastfeeding this will increase to about 1.4g/kg.
- Eat your (Good) Fats. I recommend Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) during pregnancy for fetal central nervous system development and prevention of post natal depression. However, EFA are just as important postpartum. If breastfeeding the hind milk is rich in EFA’s and continues to support baby’s brain development. Research has also shown breast milk rich in EFA’s help with baby’s sleep duration. Now you are all saying give me some EFA’s! I recommend practitioner grade DHA (a type of EFA) and dietary sources from cold-water-fish, nuts, seeds, coconut, avocado & cold pressed oils.
- Stay Hydrated. Staying hydrated will help support soft bowel motions. If you are breastfeeding there is a reason why you always feel thirsty! There is a lot of fluid lost by producing and releasing breast milk. The amount of fluids typically consumed by breastfeeding mothers should be 3 liters (13 cups). Give or take depending on your size & climate.
Stock Your Pantry
You are about to master the skill of eating with one hand, you’ll become very good at it. So, stock up the fridge and pantry with nutrient dense foods that require little to no prep & cooking.
Postpartum Shopping List
- Nuts & Nut Butters
- Boiled eggs
- Chia pudding or over-night Oats
- Greek Yoghurt
- Milk or milk alternative
- Tinned Salmon
- Good quality bread
- Smoothie Ingredients
Enjoy this precious time in your life, all of it. The baby cuddles, dirty nappies, sleepless nights, that first smile, they are all magical moments that you will look back on and before you know it you will have a walking, talking toddler.