You have had your baby! Suddenly all the necessary and unnecessary advice you got throughout pregnancy from friends and relatives seems to have doubled. When you reach out for that piece of mango, your mother-in-law is horrified. You can’t eat that she says pulling the fruit away. You have just delivered!. Your mother wants you to have a tablespoon of ghee with each meal. An aunt who has come to see the baby checks with your mother if you are getting a special mix of dried fruits and nuts.
Who should you listen to? Having just delivered, do you really need to have a special diet? Can you eat normal food or does everything have to be specially prepared for you? If you have had a caesarean section, will any food affect the wound?
Indian culture places a great deal of misplaced importance on food and its effects on the woman who has just delivered. Common sense should dictate what you eat after a delivery.
After the delivery you will find you have lost more than half of what you had put on in pregnancy. You still have to lose a few kilos to regain your pre-pregnancy weight.
Obesity in women starts very often in pregnancy. If you don’t lose all the excess weight after the delivery, you will put on even more in a subsequent pregnancy. This additional weight tends to accumulate each year.
How much weight should you have gained in pregnancy?
The amount of weight you should gain in pregnancy depends on your pre-pregnancy body-mass index (BMI) If you have gained the ideal amount of weight then you fill find it easier to regain your pre-pregnancy weight. If you have gained more than you should have then you will have to work harder to take that weight off.
You do not have to eat large quantities because you are breast feeding. It is important to eat a balanced diet. There are no foods that will affect the baby. There are no specific foods that you should not eat after the delivery. A balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables is very important after the delivery.
When you are breastfeeding, you should drink 2 glasses of milk and eat 2 cups of curds a day. If you have gained too much weight in pregnancy you can drink low fat or skim milk. Even curds can be made from low fat or skim milk.
Proteins are the building blocks for the baby. Make sure that your diet includes dairy products, grains, nuts and pulses, eggs, meat, fish or poultry. Avoid deep fried food.
Carbohydrates provide you with energy. When taken in larger quantities, you will only get empty calories. You do not need to increase the quantity of rice that you normally take. Substitute chapathis for rice at one meal. If you are gaining too much weight.
Vegetables provide vitamins, minerals and roughage. A rainbow of vegetables and fruits on your plate provides excellent nutrition! Greens will help avoid constipation.
Many women of childbearing age have low Iron stores. It is important to be on a combination supplement of iron, B –complex and folic acid for a few months after a delivery. Calcium requirements double during pregnancy and lactation.
Old wives tales
Eat plenty of ghee. It will help the uterus heal. Not true! This will only make you put on unnecessary weight and is very unhealthy since it is a saturated fat. Avoid spicy food and hot or cold drinks because it will harm the baby. Not true!
Eat lot of garlic, it will increase milk flow. Not true! Garlic by itself does not increase the flow of milk. It makes the milk smell which may tend to make the baby suckle more.
Ajwain water is good for you not true!
Avoid certain kinds of lentils, root vegetables and certain fruits. Do not eat papaya, pineapple and mangoes after a delivery. Not true