The first 6 weeks of bringing home a new baby is usually a blur. Between changing all the diapers, cleaning up spit-up, breastfeeding, and trying to get your new baby to sleep there is often not a lot of time to think about yourself. Having some good quality postpartum snacks for breastfeeding and recovery, can give you some essential nutrition to get you through the postpartum period feeling more energized and help you recover a whole lot quicker.
In this article you will learn:
- Why healthy snacks are important postpartum?
- How to choose a healthy snack
- 25 best postpartum snacks
Table of Contents
Why is Healthy Snacking Important Postpartum?
Eating a nutritious diet postpartum has so many benefits. Snacking plays a very important role especially if you are choosing to breastfed. Breastfeeding mothers need to consume an extra 500 calories when breastfeeding. Two quality postpartum snacks for breastfeeding and recovery can meet that extra 500 calorie need.
Speeds Up Recovery
Healthy postpartum snacks for breastfeeding and recovery can speed up your recovery time. Your body has just been through trauma whether you had a c section or vaginal delivery. You have just lost a lot of fluid and blood. Your diet is essential in repairing your body and building your blood supply.
Focusing on rich protein sources is necessary for repairing and healing your tissues. You will also need a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains which will help you recovery, repair, and fight inflammation.
Promotes Milk Production
Human breast milk is mostly made up of water (87% of breastmilk is water) so it’s recommended every time you nurse to drink a glass of water. Drink when you are thirsty and make sure you are drinking enough for your urine to be clear. It is recommended to drink between 10-16 glasses of water per day. You can also get a good amount of water from your foods or other beverages.
Breast milk is also 1% protein, 4% lipid (fat), 7% carbohydrate and contains many minerals including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium, many vitamins, and antibodies. It is all your baby needs the first 6 months of life.
Eating foods rich in protein, fats, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals can give your body the nutrients needed to produce rich breast milk for your infant.
Improves Physical and Emotional Health
Eating healthy nutrient rich foods will give you energy and stamina to meet the many postpartum demands you may face. Not only does that benefit you physically, but eating the right foods will support your mental health as your hormones are rapidly changing.
Studies have shown that the right foods postpartum can reduce your risk of postpartum depression. So eating a diverse diet with plenty of iron, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, vitamin B12, selenium, zinc, and folate can help regulate your mood postpartum.
What Makes a Healthy Breastfeeding Snack?
A healthy postpartum snack for breastfeeding and recovery will be energy rich and full of vitamins and minerals. A variety of snacking options is important so that you can balance all your recovery needs with your milk production needs. Fortunately, most foods that aid in your recovery will also be beneficial in your breast milk production.
Tips for Healthy Easy Postpartum Snacking
- Eat frequently: eating frequently throughout the day will lead to higher daily energy intake and diet quality. When you skip meals you are more likely to make poor dietary decisions throughout the day. So small frequent meals and snacks that are healthy will improve your overall diet.
- Keep snacks stocked and within sight: By having healthy postpartum snacks stocked up and organized where you can see what you have will increase your likelihood of choosing a healthy option vs something that holds little nutritional value
- Eat mindfully: Try to eat a healthy mix of homemade and store bought snacks. Store bought snacks are easy and quick but can be more processed and typically have a higher sugar content and artificial sweeteners. These types of foods will end up making you feel more tired and lethargic. Finding a healthy balance is important.
- Snack prep: setting aside time to prep your postpartum snacks will allow you to have healthy options quickly available to you when you need it. This could look like cutting up fruits & vegetables, making some protein balls, or organizing your snacks in your refrigerator.
- Easy on the go: Having several options that you can eat one handed or on the go can make it easier to take care of yourself when you are trying to balance breastfeeding and filling your body with healthy postpartum snacks.
This list of 25 healthy postpartum snacks for breastfeeding and recovery include items that may require a little prep, can be eaten one handed, are great for middle of the night feedings, and beverages to support recovery and milk support.
1.Hard boiled eggs: These are easy to make ahead and have at the ready to grab and go.
2. Homemade Granola or Protein Bars: If you want a quick snack to grab and go but want it homemade this recipe from the lean green bean for a delicious no bake peanut butter protein bar.
3. Fresh fruit: clean and prep your fruit and put into small grab and go containers to eat at your convenience.
4. Chopped up veggies: These you can also prep ahead of time. Cut them up and pair them with some hummus for a quick healthy snack. Fresh vegetables are full of important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
5. Avocado: Great source of healthy fats. You can put it on some fresh toast or whole wheat cracker. This may require a bit more effort since you can’t prep ahead of time.
6. Pumpkin seeds: are a great source of zinc which is essential for recovery and mood postpartum.
7. Edamame: is a quick snack that is full of antioxidants, vitamin K, folate and one cup has 18 g of protein.
8. Overnight Oats: There are so many different recipes out to please your palate but also give you the nutritional benefits. This one is from Because Im Addicted. The best part is you throw it in a jar overnight and eat it in the morning. Quick easy and delicious!
9. Roasted chickpeas: are high in protein and plant estrogens that can lead to increased breast milk production.
10. Protein Balls: These energy bites are from ambitious kitchen and are packed full of ingredients that are protein rich, aid in milk production, and delicious. These can be made ahead and properly stored to grab quickly when you need a snack.
11. That’s it Bars: That’s it makes these amazing little snack bars that are simply blueberry, mango, fig, or cherry mixed with apple. They are delicious and no added ingredients. They also make some other simple snacks. They can be found at Costco, Sam’s club, many grocery stores, and online. check them out.
13. Abby’s Better Nut butter : They come in a variety of flavors with simple ingredients. No unnecessary sugars or palm oils. Full of healthy fats.
14. Cheese sticks: quick fat and protein that is easy to eat with one hand and on the go.
16. Oats Over Night: this is a simple option if you don’t want to do it yourself. These packets are already mixed for deliciousness with great ingredients. All you have to do is mix it with milk, oat milk, almond milk, you name it and leave it in your fridge overnight for a delicious snack the next day. Full of protein, whole grain oats, and other ingredients that will support recovery and milk production.
17. Mama Chia Pouches: chia seeds can increase milk production and is full of calcium, fiber, and fatty acids. These are easy to grab and go.
18. Brown rice cakes: simple snack with unlimited options. You can add all sorts of toppings from cheese, nut butters, avocado, and so much more. Whole grain and made of rice it gives you a quick to make snack with a punch of variety.
19. Freeze dried Fruit: great option for on the go. Fruits in the freeze dried form will almost melt in your mouth but are crisp when you bite into them almost like a chip.
20. Beef Jerky: are also a simple snack to take on the go. They are great protein rich snack.
Teas and Drinks
21. Grass Fed Beef Bone Broth: can be mixed in with warm drinks or mixed in with other recipes as substitution for chicken broth. It is high in protein. Has high quality collagen to help with tissue repair and great for postpartum recovery.
23. Needed Prenatal Collagen Protein: This collagen protein is not only good for prenatal support but also postpartum recovery. This supplement has a neutral flavor and can be mixed into any beverage or food. Improves your gut health, eases joint pain, aids with pelvic floor integrity, and regulates blood sugar and weight management.
24: Needed Hydration Support: These sticks can be mixed with any beverage to add back electrolytes lost during birth. It will help improve hydration during breastfeeding and is sweetened by real fruit and no artificial sweeteners.
25. Lactation Smoothies- Blueberry Lactation Smoothie: This one is full of cashews (healthy fat), brewers yeast (increase milk supply), blueberries (antioxidants and vitamins), flax meal (high in omega-3 fatty acids), quick oats (great for recovery and milk supply), scoop of protein powder (improve recovery and increase energy levels). This is just one option but smoothies can be either made ahead of time and frozen or can quickly be made fresh for a fast snack you can eat one handed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Having high quality postpartum snacks for breastfeeding and recovery on hand, prepared in advance, and easy to get to can encourage a healthier diet in the postpartum period. Eating a healthy diet will increase your energy levels, improve your mental health, improve milk production, and speed up your postpartum recovery. Get your family and friends to help you so you can focus your energy, eat enough, drinking lots of water, and spend more time bonding with your new baby.
Jess is a registered nurse with over 6+ years of critical care experience for patients young and old and is the mother of two small children. After having her own children she felt inspired to provide mothers with real actionable guidance and education to make informed decisions throughout their pregnancy and postpartum experience.