As a new mother are you experiencing hunger pangs, acidity, gassiness & feeling exhausted post delivery? These are common issues postpartum. Your body is recovering from childbirth & also in the constant milk production mode while you are busy tending to your newborn. Eating healthy & balanced meals at regular intervals can go a long way to help recover your body from the effects of pregnancy & delivery, reduce gastric issues like acidity, bloating, gassiness as well as satiate your hunger and help boost lactation.
Read this post to learn some yummy and easy to make traditional Indian healthy snack ideas for breastfeeding mothers.
Importance of healthy snacking postpartum
A woman undergoes many physical & hormonal changes during pregnancy & childbirth. Post delivery, her body needs optimum nutrition for recovery from the physiological changes, blood loss and resetting of hormones to pre-pregnancy levels. Besides, lactation requires additional energy/calories (hence the constant hunger). Constant childcare duties, sleepless nights can tax your digestive system which is still in recovery mode (hence the gassiness, bloating or acidity).
Nourishing snacks/meals will promote lactation, aid recovery & keep acidity & bloating at the bay [click here to read about traditional postpartum diet plan]. Remind yourself to have balanced healthy meals and sufficient intake of water at regular interval to:
- Promote lactation – Listen to your body’s hunger & thirst cues; eat nutritious food & drink plenty of liquids. Studies reveal that nursing women need additional calories for lactation .
- Avoid acidity/gas/bloating – Have small frequent meals which are easy on the digestive system
- Aid recovery from childbirth – Include foods rich in micronutrients like calcium, iron, vitamins etc.. to help the body recover from physiological changes during pregnancy
- Nourish baby – If you decide to breastfeed your nutrition will affect the breastmilk quality/quantity
Traditional Indian food for breastfeeding mothers
To increase breast milk supply:
Galactagogues are a category of foods that are known to boost lactation. Following are some of the traditionally recommended Galactagogues, which are also powerhouses of various nutrients:
- Gourd family vegetables
- Dry fruits like almonds, dates, raisins, cashews
- Methi seeds
- Fennel seeds
To aid postpartum recovery (foods rich in calcium, iron & other micronutrients):
- Aliv (a.k.a. Garden cress seeds)
- Sesame seeds
- Dill seeds
To aid digestion (relieve cramps or reduce acidity, bloating or gas):
- Fennel seeds
Note: Many of these superfoods are packed with nutrients; play more than just one role & are thus very beneficial to lactating mothers.
Simple and yummy traditional Indian snacks
There are many traditional food items served to lactating mother like Goond/Methi laddoo, Panjiri, Aliv kheer, Halwa, Bajra roti etc.. These recipes cleverly used the power-packed nutrients to make yummy and healthy postpartum meals.
If you have no help to make these traditional recipes or are pressed on time, you can include the traditionally recommended postpartum food items in various ways in your meals. Below are some easy & yummy options:
It contains Indian superfoods which aid lactation, improve digestion and help reduce acidity.
Eat a spoonful post your main meals.
2. Quick fix Laddoos
Aliv/watercress seeds laddoo: Click here for a quick & easy recipe Alive laddoo recipe.
Methi seeds & Gondh laddoo: A traditional methi gondh laddoos recipe made with milk.
Quick methi seeds, gondh, dry fruit laddoo:
Break gondh into small pieces (around 1 cm big). Melt ghee in a big vessel. Roast 2-3 spoons of broken gondh pieces on low flame. Gondh will swell on roasting. Cool it and then crush/grind it to powder form. Dry roast dryfruits of your choice (almonds, walnut, pistachio, cashew, dry dates etc.) and grind them. Dry roast methi seeds on low flame, cool them and grind into powder.
Mix dry-fruit powder, crushed gondh and methi powder. Add powdered sugar or grated jaggery. Add ghee as required to shape the mixture into laddoos. Binding the mixture into laddoo requires more ghee. So you can skip shaping the mix into laddoos. Just store the mix.
You can snack on it in-between meals or even late at night.
3. Instant Pancakes/ Chilas/ Thalipeeth
A quick and healthy snack or even breakfast option.
Use millet in flour form like jowar/ragi/bajra. Optionally add rice flour/wheat flour/sooji. Add finely chopped or grated veggies like carrots, bottle gourd or methi leaves. Also, add sesame seeds, ajwain, cumin seeds as per taste. Add tastemakers like salt, curd, salt, red chilli powder etc..
For thick pancake/ Thalipeeth:
Add water and mix well to form a smooth and moist dough (for Thalipeeth you can skip wheat/rice flour if you want). Grease a flat pan with little oil, moisten palms and spread the dough on the pan. You can also spread the dough on a muslin cloth first and then carefully place it on the pan and remove the cloth. Cook well on both sides.
For Chila/ thin pancake:
Add water to the mix to make a runny batter (ensure the mix has wheat/rice flour for chila to come out well). Grease a flat pan with little oil, pour a ladle of batter and spread it in cicular motion. Cook well on both sides.
4. Dry fruits
Start your day with overnight soaked raisins & almonds, few dates and a walnut. Dry fruits are great as late night or in-between meal snacks.
Melt ghee over low heat, add ragi poweder/sooji & stir until soft and aromatic; add milk and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add sugar as per taste. Garnish with dry/grated coconut and dry fruits.
Note: You can roast a big batch of ragi powder or sooji in ghee and store it in the fridge (easily for 8-15 days). For making kheer, take 2-3 spoons of the roasted item, add milk and follow rest of the recipe.
Useful tips to include postpartum foods in daily meals:
- Refrigerate a batch of grated dry coconut. Use it for garnishing hot meals/halwa/kheer or add to laddoos.
- Refrigerate dry roasted khuskhus. Add it to subji preparation or laddoos.
- Soak methi seeds overnight, drain away the water. You can keep it in a cool place for 6-10 hours for sprouting. Use soaked/sprouted meethi seeds in tadka for daal or subji preparation.
- Dry roast almonds, walnut, dry dates, pistachio, cashews (in the ratio 5:1:2:2:2) & grind them. Add to porridge, halwa, milkshakes, or laddoos.
- Add ajwain, jeera, til when making parathas/chilas.
- Drink ajwain water daily in the initial 2-3 months when breastfeeding.
A new mother requires nutritious & easy to digest meals for recovery & lactation. Traditionally recommended postpartum foods provide the right nutrients for postpartum recovery, aiding digestion & boosting lactation. You can include the traditional Indian postpartum food items in your daily meals in simple and easy ways.