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Best nutrition for mom and baby

June 13, 2018

Rosemary Mueller, MPH, RDN, LDN, Clinical Dietitian at Northwest Community Healthcare Wellness Center

As a new mom, you need to consume about 1800-2200 calories per day, and up to 500 calories more if you are breastfeeding. Fill half of your plate with veggies and fruits; a quarter with lean protein, such as beans, fish,* lean meat, eggs or low-fat cheese or soy. Fill the last quarter with whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta or whole grain bread. Include low-fat dairy with each meal, such as low-fat milk or yogurt.

Enjoy tuna, but limit it to six ounces per week.  Include healthy fats in small amounts, such as olives, olive oil, avocado, low-fat mayo, nuts or nut butters. Drink six to 10 glasses of water per day to help support health and your milk supply for baby.

Note: Various herbs may curb breast milk production, including peppermint, sage and parsley. Avoid these in foods you eat if you are breastfeeding. Avoid alcohol and limit caffeine to two to three cups of coffee or tea per day. 

*Do not eat swordfish, shark, tilefish or king mackerel due to their mercury content. 

For baby:

Breast milk provides all the nutrients your newborn needs, plus important immune factors.  

Follow your pediatrician’s guidelines for introducing solids, adding one food at a time to test for baby’s tolerance.

Summer is the ideal time to take advantage of nature’s bounty through your own organically-grown home produce or local Farmer’s Market.  

Below is a recipe for a combo homemade baby food that’s sure to be one of baby’s favorites. Your baby will love the natural, smooth sweetness of this combo and you’ll love knowing you provided your little one with nutritious veggies packed with phytonutrients, vitamins C, A, beta-carotene and D; potassium and fiber. Steaming or roasting food prep methods retain nutrients well.

Note: two-tier electric steamers are great because they steam two fruits/veggies at one time.

Pureed Sweet Potatoes with Carrots

For sweet potatoes: Use two sweet potatoes/yams, washed, peeled and cubed. You can also use pre-cut, peeled sweet potato and butternut squash.

Choose a cooking method: Steam sweet potato for 20-30 minutes, or roast whole peeled potatoes at 400 degrees F for one hour.

Puree in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add water as needed to reach desired consistency; use breast milk or formula in place of water for a creamier texture.

For carrots: Use two medium carrots, washed, peeled and chopped. You can also use baby or grated carrots. Choose a cooking method: Steam carrots for 20-30 minutes, or roast carrots at 400 degrees F for 20-30 minutes.

Puree in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add water as needed to reach desired consistency; use breast milk or formula in place of water for a creamier texture.

Storage tips

  • Cool purees and pour into BPA-free containers or ice cube trays placed in zip-lock bags.
  • Label and date containers or bags. Refrigerate and use up to three days. Never store a leftover container with food your baby has eaten from.
  • Freeze only up to three months.
  • Thaw cubes overnight in your refrigerator; never at room temperature.  

To serve: Mix a half-cube each of thawed sweet potato and carrot. Serve room temperature or slightly warmed. Be sure to check the temperature of heated baby food before serving to baby.