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Read our tips for keeping your own diet on track while looking after baby
After the umpteenth sleepless night and with a new baby to feed, you probably haven’t given your own meals a second thought. But the temptation to skimp on proper meals and grab the nearest biscuit could end up sapping your energy. Whether you’re breastfeeding or wielding the bottle, good nutrition helps new mums and dads to do a great job, with more zest. Read on to find out more.
B good to yourself
Research shows that B vitamins, such as niacin, riboflavin and vitamin B12, are important nutrients for releasing energy from the carbs in our diet. B vitamins are found in meat, poultry, fish, eggs and cheese, so try to eat these alongside starchy foods such as pasta, potatoes, rice and noodles.
Iron fights fatigue
A whopping one-third of women have low iron stores in their bodies, which puts them at risk of iron deficiency, a major cause of tiredness. Boost your iron intake by eating lean red meat a few times a week. Beans, pulses, fortified breakfast cereals and green veg, like broccoli and spinach, also provide iron.
Max on snacks
Fatty, sugary snacks may give an energy burst, but it’s short-lived, and hunger pangs soon return. Protein-rich foods are the most satisfying, according to new studies, so reach for nuts, seeds, yogurt and cheese on oatcakes instead of your normal chocolate treats.
Tea for two
Keeping hydrated is important when you’re on the go. Tap water, milk, tea, herbal infusions and cordials are the healthiest options, and all count towards your daily water recommendation of 8-10 glasses. High-caffeine energy drinks or strong coffee should be avoided if you’re breastfeeding, and your fluid needs might be higher, so drink more if you’re thirsty.
Baby weight is a certainty, but resist the urge to calorie count. This is the time to enjoy your baby, not worry about your waistline. Eating healthy foods and taking daily exercise, even with the pram, is the best way of shifting unwanted pounds. Breastfeeding is nature’s slimming remedy and causes gradual weight loss over time.
By Dr Carrie Ruxton, dietitian and health writer