Birth triggers a lot of big changes in the body, including shifts in the digestive system. That’s why cultures around the world, Chinese, Indian and Persian to name a few, have fed traditional foods to women after childbirth for centuries. These foods are easy to digest and nourishing to facilitate healing, comfort and improved breastmilk production. You can read more about foods to favor postpartum here.
According to Ayurveda, the foods to avoid postpartum fall into four categories: dry, rough, cold and stimulating. They should be minimized at least for the first six weeks postpartum because they can aggravate digestion for mothers and breastfeeding babies.
Keep in mind that this list is intended as a guideline. I’m a firm believer in listening to your body and feeding your cravings. For instance, if you’re craving red meat, eat it, but be sure to prepare it so that it’s easy to digest, like a stew or meatloaf. Mental health is also important; if you want chocolate for dessert because you need a treat after a long day, then by all means have it. My second meal after I gave birth was pizza, which includes a ton of ingredients on this list, but it was hearty and comforting and what I knew I needed at that moment.
That’s how I recommend planning your meals postpartum: eat conscientiously but also give yourself flexibility to also have familiar foods that you enjoy. I had some of my favorite recipes set aside for postpartum and simply modified them. (For instance, this beef and butternut stew is very nourishing; I would just leave out the sour cream and possibly the tomato paste if you’re breastfeeding.)
You’ll know what’s right for your body based on how it makes you feel.
THE WORST OFFENDERS:
- Raw or undercooked garlic
COLD FOODS AND DRINKS:
- Ice cream
- Raw foods
- Generally all chilled foods and drinks
- Red meat
- Fermented cheeses
- Sour cream
- Excessive nuts
- Fried foods
- Dried fruits (unless they’ve been cooked over the stove until soft and mushy)
- Soy sauce
- Most cheeses
FOODS THAT CAN CAUSE GAS AND RASHES FOR MOM AND BABY:
- Greens (You can make leafy greens easier to digest by cooking them down with oil and seasoning)
LEMON AND LIME
Lemon and lime should be avoided the first two weeks postpartum.