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10 Food Staples Every New Mom Needs

Stay energized and satiated through the newborn phase.

10 Food Staples Every New Mom Needs

As a new mom, eating well and staying hydrated can be very challenging. You’re adjusting to a whole new schedule, the needs of your newborn come first, and all of it can often be hard to navigate when you fit in eating, especially when food prep is involved. Add in breastfeeding and lack of sleep to the mix, and you are probably left starving! To help you get the nutrition and calories you need as a new mom, I’ve outlined some key nutrients, strategies and products to keep on hand -- all of which will help keep you energized and feeling more like your old self. These products were lifesavers for me in those early months, and they still are to this day.

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Here are 10 food staples every new mom in need of a little pick-me-up should have in their pantry.

  1. Wild Salmon. Vital Choice canned salmon + Smoked Salmon.Omega fatty acids, which you can get from vegetable oils, nuts and fish, are important for brain development, and eating canned fish is an easy and quick way to get more in your diet. Simply canned salmon to pre-cooked grains, some spinach, roasted chickpeas with some sea salt and olive oil. Bonus: this version also has the bones, which also makes it an incredible source of calcium.

  1. Oats. Bob’s Red Mill and QiaOats are known for their lactogenic effects, which means it can increase milk supply. Plus, it is a good source of soluble fiber and incredibly easy to prep overnight oats and oat muffins for your breakfast ahead of time.

  1. Eggs. Preferably pasture raised + organic.Protein doesn’t just help keep you energized, it also satisfies a ravenous appetite. You need about 15 to 20 grams of protein per meal, and an egg gives you about 6 grams. For reference: a piece of chicken has 25 grams, 1 cup of beans has 15 grams, and 1 serving of Greek yogurt has roughly 15 grams. Moreover, nursing moms can get a lot of the vitamins they need to recover and heal after giving birth.

  1. Avocado.Increasing fats intake is probably the hardest for moms-to-be and new moms because it seems counter intuitive. But it is really essential for many reasons. First, it’s vital to baby’s organ and brain development. It’s also crucial for your metabolism, your milk supply and the quality of your milk. But it’s not just any fats… Women should focus on healthy sources like avocado, fish oils, eggs, olive/oil, coconut/oil, nuts, fuller fat dairy, etc.

  1. Tahini. Once AgainCalcium, which tahini has a lot of, is a key nutrient for bone health -- along with magnesium, vitamin D and K. During pregnancy and breastfeeding, the body draws from mom’s bones to provide for the baby, so it is key for new moms to keep up her calcium consumption to make sure she’s got enough in store!

  1. Bars. RX bars and RawCrunchWhole food energy bars are key for on-the-go snacks and come particularly handy when you need to eat with one hand. Many bars are filled with preservatives, but these two brands are made with minimal, good-for-you ingredients that are low in added sugar.

  1. Pre-cooked Grains. Lundberg Farms, Seeds of Change, Suzie’s OrganicsWhole grains are an important part of a new mom’s diet. They are rich in fiber, which can keep postpartum constipation at bay. Quinoa is particularly high in fiber and will also give you a healthy dose of protein and iron, which you’ll need after giving birth. Heat-and-eat grains are a perfect pairing to any dish.

  1. Seeds. Eden individual pumpkin seeds pack, Hemp HeartsHemp, chia, pumpkin and flax are all great alternatives. Filled with fiber, omegas and magnesium, these seeds are superstars for pre- and postnatal health. Magnesium helps combat constipation, headaches and insomnia.

  1. Fermented veggies. Bao CulturedThrough the process of fermentation, cultured vegetables are instilled with probiotics, which are also known as good bacteria. Probiotic helps absorb nutrients, aids digestion and are considered essential for gut health. And I believe that a happy gut makes a happy mom. You can consume probiotics through supplements or foods that are rich in it, like Kefir or fermented vegetables.

  1. Soup. Bone broth BrodoNYC.

    Delicious and comforting, soups are known as a bit of a cure-all. They build strong bones, boosts the immune system, improves digestion and supports joints, hair, skin and nails. An excellent source of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus (which make it great for our bones and teeth), it is also rich in chondroitin, glucosamine (good for our joint health and against inflammation), glutamine and other amino acids that are especially healing to the gut and your immune system.

Stephanie Middleberg is a registered dietitian and founder of Middleberg Nutrition, a health and wellness practice in NYC. She is a native New Yorker who earned her Masters in Clinical Science and RD at New York University. Her innate ability to zero in on individuals’ key food triggers has led to ongoing relationships with thousands of clients, editors, and publications such as Harper's Bazaar and Elle. Stephanie has also appeared on major television networks like ABC’s Good Morning America. When she isn't working, you can find Stephanie jogging with her husband and son, traveling, or concocting recipes in the Middleberg Nutrition Test Kitchen.

A very important letter for new mamas

Listen, mom-guilt is a dirty liar. Yes, it's your job to fill your little human's needs, but you matter too. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Hang out with friends, take a drive blaring 90's hip hop or shower without interruptions—trust me, you'll be a better person (and mom) because of it.

Dear new mom,

You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

Voila, you are a gift-giving genius. You know what else is a gift? Shaving the inch and a half of skin that is between your skinny jeans and your boots. You're welcome world.

You will not be perfect at parenting.

Boom.

I have yet to meet a perfect mother, but when I do, she's going to be a tiger who is insanely good at making up songs. (Daniel Tiger's mom, we salute you.)

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Life

9 products that will help baby sleep better (and longer!)

For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

How do I get my baby to sleep? This is one of the most commonly asked questions among new parents, and it makes sense, given that babies are born with their days and nights mixed up. For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

And while that might not exist (yet), we have found some of the best products out there that can help baby fall asleep faster and for longer durations. Because when baby is sleeping, so are you!

Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack and swaddle

Designed by a mama, parents swear by this weighted sleep sack. It mimics your hug to give your baby security and comfort that helps them get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. The detachable swaddle wing makes it easy to transition as they grow.

It's also super easy to get on and off, and includes a bottom-up zipper for late night changes, so you don't have to wake your baby in the process.

$79

Yogasleep Hushh portable sound machine

Yogasleep hushh sound machine

With three soothing options, this is a perfect solution to help your baby settle when naps are on the go and during travel! I love how compact this noise machine is and that it can run all night with one charge.

$30

Bebe au Lait muslin crib sheets

Burt's Bees Organic Crib Sheets

With a variety of print options to choose from, these breathable sheets are *so* soft and smooth, even through multiple washes. The luxury fabric keeps little ones warm without overheating—a formula that helps ensure more sleep for everyone.

$32

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

You know what's going to help baby have their best sleep ever? Some quality, super soft pajamas. The timeless (and aptly named!) Perfect Pajama from The Simple Folk are some of our favorites. They last forever and they're made from organic pima cotton that is safe on baby's precious skin. They come in a wide range of sizes so siblings can match and feature fold-over hand covers on sizes up to 12 months.

$37

The Snoo bassinet

Snoo

Designed by expert pediatrician and sleep guru Dr. Harvey Karp, the Snoo bassinet gently rocks your baby to sleep while snuggled up in the built-in swaddle. Not only does it come with sensors that adjust the white noise and movement based on your baby's needs, there is also an app that allows you to adjust the settings directly from your phone.

While this item is a bit on the expensive side, there is now an option to rent for $3.50 a day, which is a total game changer!

$1295

Hatch Baby Rest sound machine + nightlight

best baby sound machine

The Hatch Baby Rest is a dual sound machine and nightlight that will grow with your family. Many parents use this product with their infants as a white-noise machine and then as a "time to rise" solution for toddlers.

The thing I love most about this product is that the light it gives off isn't too bright, and you can even select different color preferences; giving your toddler choices at bedtime.

$59.99

Crane humidifier

Crane Humidifier

The only thing worse than a sick baby is a baby who is sick and not sleeping well. The Crane humidifier helps take care of this by relieving congestion and helping your baby breathe better while sleeping.

Personally, I think the adorable design options alone are enough of a reason to purchase this product, and your child will love watching steam come out of the elephant's trunk!

$46.99

Naturepedic organic crib mattress

Naturpedic Lightweight Organic Mattress

In the first few months of life, babies can spend up to 17 hours a day sleeping, so choosing a mattress that is safe (read: no chemicals!) and comfortable is incredibly important.

Naturepedic uses allergen-friendly and waterproof materials with babies and children in mind, making them easy to clean and giving you peace of mind.

$259.00

Happiest Baby sleepea 5-second swaddle

best baby swaddle

There are baby swaddles and then there is Sleepea. Similar to the brand's swaddle that is built into the Snoo, the Sleepea is magic for multiple reasons. First, it's got mesh panels ensuring baby never overheats. Second, the zipper zips from the top or the bottom, so you can change the baby's diaper in the middle of the night without ever waking them. Third, it's hip safe. Fourth, the patterns are SO cute. And fifth, the interior swaddle wrap that keeps baby's ams down has a "quiet" velcro that won't wake baby if you need to readjust while they're asleep.

$27.95

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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News