Fourth Trimester Nutrition
by Natalie Von Bertouch
- Palmer's Brand Partner
- Accredited Practicing Dietitian
- Leadership & Wellness Guest Speaker
- Former Australian Netball Captain
Hang on a sec. Isn’t there only 3 trimesters?!
Officially, yes… But fourth trimester nutrition is a new buzzword that’s been gaining popularity to describe the importance of nutrition in the first three months of your baby’s life.
The fourth trimester is a time where your bub is not physically attached to you anymore but it still sort of feels like they still are. Caring for a newborn is an around the clock job and whilst the delicious cuddles make it worth it, it can take its toll physically and mentally.
Because of this, it’s vital that we nourish ourselves well to ensure we have the energy to meet our baby’s needs during this time as well as our own. Babies need strong, healthy mums to flourish. And surprise, surprise - looking after yourself actually results in a happier, healthier little one and you. A win-win situation!
So why then, for so many of us, is looking after ourselves so hard to achieve?
There seems to be a ‘mum gene’ that clicks into gear when baby arrives and suddenly caring for this gorgeous little person takes precedent over everything. Looking after yourself and prioritizing you just doesn’t seem as important. Thanks to feeding, bathing and nappy changes, it’s also not as easy to find the time to do so. And, once you add in a little sleep deprivation to the mix, our motivation can waver too.
But this is a vital time for both you and your baby, and the importance of good nutrition cannot be underestimated. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you through:
1. Make snacks count
Breastfeeding mums require around an extra 500 calories a day, so make sure you’re snacking regularly on healthy foods. Easy to grab goodies like nuts, yoghurt, fruit and veggies are all great options.
For mums who aren’t breastfeeding, healthy snacks are still a must to assist in post-birth recovery.
2. Focus on core foods
It’s important to eat from the five food groups regularly: breads and cereals, meat and meat alternatives, dairy products, fruits and vegetables. Picking whole foods and over processed foods will leave you feeling healthy and happy.
3. Keep the fluids up
Ever notice that each time you sit down to breastfeed, your mouth suddenly feels like the Sahara Desert? When breastfeeding, mums require additional fluids to support milk production, so make sure a glass of water is always handy.
4. Stock up your freezer
There are always going to be those days where it seems all too hard to make brekkie, lunch and dinner from scratch. I get it! Which is why when you do have the time, it can be helpful to freeze soups, casseroles, lasagna and the like. This way, when those days arise, you’ve got a healthy meal ready and waiting.
5. Be mindful of the ‘mum catch-up’
When meeting up with other mum friends, it’s all too easy to stop at the bakery or supermarket and pick up a bun or biscuits to take for morning tea. This is doing no one any good. Stock your pantry with goodies like nuts, popcorn and dried fruit for an easy, healthy, low maintenance snack whenever you need it.
The fourth trimester is a rollercoaster. Don’t get me wrong; it’s wonderful, but it can also be really tough. There is a lot of pressure to ‘bounce back,’ but do your best to ignore this and instead focus on eating a variety of whole foods. This will nourish your body and help you embrace your journey into motherhood.
Choc Mint Bliss Balls
1 cup dry roasted almonds
½ cup dry roasted cashews
½ cup dry roasted hazelnuts
½ cups pitted dates, roughly chopped
2 tbsp cacao or cocoa powder
½ tsp peppermint extract
1 tbsp water
Desiccated coconut for garnishing
Makes 25 balls
1. Place nuts into a food processor and mix until well combined.
2. Add dates, cocoa or cacao, peppermint extract and water. Blend until mixture is sticky. The mixture should be able to hold its shape when rolled, if the mixture is slightly dry add a little more water until the desired consistency is achieved.
3. Remove mixture from food processor and roll into balls.
4. Roll the balls in coconut until the ball is well covered.
5. Refrigerate until firm. Serve.