Loss of appetite after delivery can lead to serious fatigue and lack of energy. Your body will deplete its resources to maintain your milk supply when breastfeeding and not taking in enough calories. The concern here isn’t just your milk drying up, but not eating after childbirth can lead to brain fog, hair loss, exhaustion, and weight loss.
For many women, no appetite postpartum was the first noticeable sign of something not being right, and even though it is normal for some women to lose their appetite for a few weeks after pregnancy, losing it for two months and counting? There’s likely more going on here, as we will explore in this article.
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Is it normal to lose appetite after delivery?
Yes. Due to being tired or still in pain, new moms often experience a short loss of appetite in the first few days after delivery, and you might feel too overwhelmed or busy to eat well. But eating enough and properly is important for your recovery, even if your appetite isn’t there yet.
Nourishing snacks and small frequent meals can keep you going until your appetite returns which won’t take long if you are breastfeeding since milk production requires a bit of extra energy and food. And here, increased hunger is completely normal and healthy since you’re eating for both yourself and your baby.
If your loss of appetite lasts for several weeks after the delivery and continues thereafter, you may want to ask your health care provider to check you for postpartum depression.
You should get an expert’s opinion if your appetite loss post-delivery lasts because it is a common symptom of depression.
Best foods to eat after delivery to boost your appetite
You will have to stick to eating fresh whole foods so you and your breastfeeding baby will get a full range of nutrients.
Plenty of fiber and lots of water is also vital for new moms to avoid constipation, which is very common postpartum, and plenty of calcium as the little ones need plenty of it in the first few months and proteins.
Some of the best foods after delivery include:
- Vitamin C – Foods rich in Vitamin C like spinach, berries, broccoli, and bell peppers can help with hormonal hair loss if you are facing such.
- Iron-rich foods – Red meat, oatmeal, fortified cereals, lentils, and beans are essential since you may have lost a fair amount of blood during delivery and need additional iron.
- Carbohydrates – Plenty of complex carbohydrates like whole grains boost your energy and add fiber.
- Fruits – Cut up fruits to add to your yogurt or easily snack on to add fiber and nutrients.
- Trial mix – Made of nuts and grains for an easy one-handed snack.
Smart ways to get your appetite back after delivery
We all know that gaining a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy and after delivery is important for both mother and child. However, many women face a serious decrease in appetite postpartum, making gaining enough weight an uphill task.
Check out the items on this list if what you are doing currently isn’t helping your appetite.
Keep it fresh
A decrease in appetite is often connected to a heightened sense of smell and aversions to certain foods. Keeping the house and especially the kitchen area fresh and aerated can help prevent the appearance of certain smells that could trigger a lessening of your appetite.
Lighting a candle in your kitchen and around the house can help bring some more desirable air into the house. The citrus smell may help settle your stomach making lemon candles perfect, or simply opening the windows could help bring some fresh air in.
Water, water, and more water
From fighting headaches to increasing your milk supply for your growing baby, water makes almost all the pre and post-pregnancy problems better.
Not eating can cause an upset stomach, which leads to a further decrease in appetite and on and on making a decrease in appetite a vicious circle.
So drinking water throughout the day is an easy way to make sure your stomach isn’t empty. Isn’t water the best?
Ginger anything, ginger everything
You didn’t think we would leave ginger off the list, did you? Ginger is among the most highly recommended solutions for decreased appetite in pregnant and new moms everywhere. It is known for its anti-nauseous, stomach-settling properties.
Ginger is available in just any form you can imagine, from ginger lollipops, ginger candies to ginger ale and many more. Keeping your favorite ginger close by can be very helpful, as ginger can help ease your stomach immediately settling any appetite loss.
Healthy light snacking can make your stomach feel better and give your appetite a boost, even though it may seem counter-intuitive.
Almonds and other light, high-protein foods are highly effective in reducing morning sickness, nausea, and appetite decrease that may follow.
Therefore, it’s recommended to keep snacking on them throughout the day to get the proteins you need and leave your stomach empty for business.
Exercise is one of the most natural ways to increase your appetite because your body needs to replace the calories burned while working out, and you’ll get hungry as a result. So walking around slowly and carefully might just be what you need to boost your appetite.
Eat small meals
Breaking your three large meals into smaller, more frequent portions can help you settle and not feel overly full as small meals make it easier to get the nutrients you need and keep yourself energized in a way that is easier for you, more so if your appetite loss is as a result of childbirth.
Are there foods to avoid after delivery?
Yes, caffeine. After the restrictions on eating certain foods such as Sushi and deli meats while you’re pregnant, you’ll probably be thrilled to know that nothing is off-limits while you are recovering after delivery.
That being said, you’ll have to limit your caffeine intake to 300 milligrams if you are choosing to breastfeed, according to the Center for Disease Control.
That’s about 2-3 cups of coffee a day and it also recommends feeding right before you have a drink or waiting 2-3 hours after having a drink to breastfeed.
New moms worry about their bundles of joy developing food allergies to dairy, peanuts, or eggs but food allergies are less common in babies. They do need time for their tiny stomachs to adjust to a more varied diet than they were fed in the womb, so it’s often wise not to cut out whole groups suddenly.
And, if you need to give up dairy or something, be sure you are getting plenty of calcium from other sources like tofu and leafy greens.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
Do I have the baby blues?
Postpartum baby blues begin within the first two to three days after delivery with common symptoms including anxiety, mood swings, crying spells, and difficulty sleeping and may last up to two weeks.
Could it be postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression may be mistaken for baby blues at first but its signs and symptoms are more severe and last longer and may eventually interfere with your ability to handle other tasks, including taking care of your baby.
Symptoms, some of which include loss of appetite or eating much more than usual develop within the first few weeks after delivery, but may begin earlier during pregnancy, or later, up to a year after delivery. It isn’t a character flaw or a weakness in any way.
How about postpartum psychosis?
It is very rare but an extreme mood disorder that may occur within the first week after delivery with severe signs and symptoms that may include confusion and disorientation, hallucinations and delusions, and even attempts to harm yourself or your baby. Postpartum psychosis may lead to life-threatening thoughts or behavior and requires immediate intervention.
While most women experience loss of appetite after delivery, you still need support as your body, your thinking, and your emotions adjust to your new life. Remember, that your food intake is also what your baby will be relying on, through your breast milk.
To help yourself and help those around to help you, Include the foods you love or the ones that serve as your comfort foods in your grocery list. It could be a dessert that you can eat after your meal and it will serve as a motivation for you to eat.
If your inability to eat is accompanied by symptoms that make you suspect that you are having postpartum depression, then the right thing you can do is to talk to a mental health professional about your concerns.
Then that way, you can get past the emotional distress and move on to a happy life that includes your new bundle of joy along with all the supportive members of your family and friends.