A Caesarean section delivery can be exhausting for a mother and she needs to take adequate rest and eat healthy to bounce back. She also needs a lot of energy to take care of her baby and herself. So, for an effective and speedy recovery post-surgery, the mother must follow a well-planned diet schedule. In addition, good nutrition is also required to produce adequate and good quality breast milk. Apart from this, there are certain foods that a new mother must have and certain foods she must avoid after the delivery.
5 foods to eat after caesarean delivery
A new mother, who has undergone a C-section, must eat a variety of foods, with no major modifications required in her regular diet. However, the quantity and frequency of the foods should be increased. She can derive maximum amount of energy (about 60 per cent) from rice, wheat and millets. Also, cooking oil is a concentrated source of both energy and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
- Proteins: This nutrient accelerates the healing process. More fish, eggs, chicken, dairy foods, meat, peas, beans and nuts should be included in the diet. Good quality protein is derived from milk, fish (avoid fish with high levels of mercury such as swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tile fish), meat, poultry and eggs. However, if you prefer a vegetarian diet, a good combination of cereals, pulses and nuts also provides adequate proteins. Consuming homemade protein shakes could be an excellent breakfast option.
- Calcium: A mother needs adequate calcium for proper formation of bones and teeth of the offspring, for secretion of breast milk rich in calcium and to protect her bones from osteoporosis. Dairy products; fish such as sardines, salmon, perch, clams; green leafy vegetables and tofu are good sources of calcium. Milk is the best source of calcium and consuming at least 2–3 glasses of milk per day can be beneficial.
- Iron: This nutrient is essential to compensate for the loss of blood during surgery. Include more fortified cereals, oysters, organ meat (such as liver), tofu, potatoes with skin, watermelon, figs, spinach and dried fruits to improve iron intake.
- Fluids: Drink at least three litres of water daily to remain hydrated and prevent constipation. Your diet should have water, fruit juice, soup (with less salt to prevent edema), decaffeinated coffee and herbal tea, water-rich fruits (watermelon, berries, grapes and peaches) and vegetables (tomatoes, lettuce and gourds).
How does eating healthy impact breast milk? Know all these and more by going through this article.
- Galactogogues: These are substances used to induce, maintain and increase breast milk production. Some of the common ones are fenugreek, fennel, anise, garlic, almond, asparagus, milk thistle, etc. Include these regularly in your diet to enhance milk production and immunity in the newborn.
Note: Iodine intake ensures the proper mental health of the growing infant. Vitamin A (found in carrot, pumpkin, turmeric etc.) is required during lactation to improve child survival. Besides these, nutrients like vitamins B and C need to be taken by the lactating mother.
5 foods to avoid after caesarean delivery
- Cruciferous vegetables: Vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. are known to induce gas and increase flatulence. These are also difficult to digest, so their consumption should be limited.
- Fried foods: These cause irritability in the digestive tract and lead to gastric disturbances. Due to the state of rest that the body requires during this period, high amounts of oil tend to cause acid reflux in the mother as well as the baby.
- Lentils: Though lentils are rich in fibre, which is beneficial for the mother, they contain flatulence-causing compounds. Hence, sprouting the lentils will aid digestion, instead of consuming them straight.
- Spicy foods: Not all spices are meant to be avoided, as most of them are beneficial for the mother. Spices such as fenugreek, ajwain (carom seeds), cumin etc. are good sources of calcium and other essential minerals. Hence include these spices moderately.
- Carbonated and caffeinated drinks: These induce gastric disturbances and cause frequent urination because of their diuretic properties. Higher intakes have been reported to impair the newborn’s growth as well.
Shiny Lizia M is a nutritionist from Chennai.
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