Episode 2. Nutrition for New Mum's with Jenny Douglas

nutrition for new mums

Today I’d like to introduce Jenny Douglas of Jumpstart Nutrition.  A New Zealand based registered dietitian who is here to talk to us about nutrition for Mum’s. She covers pregnancy nutrition, has tips for new Mum’s to get the best start, plus great ideas for fussy eaters.

Jenny is a mother of two very active children and understands the challenges of fussy eating, food intolerance’s,  and generally eating well with a busy lifestyle.   She loves the power of food and how it interacts with our health, our mental state, and our social lives.  Through her work, she helps clients feel confident in making nutrition decisions for their families.

Topics covered in the Interview include:

  • If all else fails, what is the most important thing a new Mum should be focused on when it comes to nutrition?
  • What kind of struggles do you see pregnant and new Mum’s face when it comes to nutrition?
  • Are there any foods you know breastfeeding Mum’s often worry about but you don’t think they should?
  • What foods should new Mum’s avoid?
  • What supplements do you recommend for Mum’s, if any?
  • What struggles do you often see Mum’s face when it comes to feeding their families? 
  • What is your top tip for a happy, healthy Mum?
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Show Notes:

5.50 Go with your cravings.  I’m a true believer in don’t feel guilty for enjoying sweet things.  Rather than feel guilty, ask why?  Sometimes your body wants sweet things when it’s really tired, emotional or low in iron.  

 8.07 Breast feeding Mum’s often try to avoid allergen foods, like milk, nuts, gluten in case it goes through to the breast milk and cause problems.  There is no research to suggest that breast feeding or pregnant mothers need to avoid those foods unless their baby is obviously reacting to them.  And actually by avoiding them, you’re increasing your chances of your baby having allergies in the future.  We know that if you can eat nuts in pregnancy and while breast feeding and introduce nuts between 6-12 months of age you reduce the risk of allergy, so avoiding foods is not something that we want.

11.50  Fussy eating is actually a normal developmental phase.  It’s a normal process.  We often have babies who love food.  They start on solids at 6 months and just love it, and then at that toddler age, around 18 months- 2 years they become particular or worried about trying something new.  And that’s actually a really useful thing for your toddler to do, because you don’t want them now that they’re all independent to be going outside and eating everything in the garden.  So that developmental step is really useful and it’s how we ride it out that helps manage long term fussy eating.

Connect with Jenny Douglas & Jumpstart Nutrition Here

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Episode Transcript

Nutrition for New Mum’s with Jenny Douglas


Jill Lister  00:00

Welcome to the Fit Chick health coach podcast. I’m your host, Jill Lister Martin. Join me as I help women up level their lives through food and fitness, interviewing experts deep diving into my own adventures and finding a balance between motherhood life and a sweet tooth for licorice and wine. Because let’s face it, life is messy and sometimes a little bit overwhelming. Fit chick is about finding that balance and inspiring women by giving them the tools to take control of their own health and feel amazing. Let’s get started. Today I’d like to introduce Jenny Douglas, a New Zealand based Registered Dietitian who’s here to talk to us about nutrition for mums. Jenny is a mother of two active children and understands the challenge of fussy aging, food intolerances, and generally aging well with a busy lifestyle. She loves to pair food and how it interacts with our health, our mental state, and our social lives. Through her work, she helps clients feel confident and making nutrition decisions for their families. There’s so much information out there to read about what mums should be eating, and they should and shouldn’t be doing. If all else fails, what should mums focus on when it comes to nutrition, especially new mums?


Jenny Douglas  01:07

I think one of the big things is just trying to remember to eat regularly. A lot of mums get really busy, and they might be breastfeeding for a really long time and they actually just forget to eat and drink full stop, regardless of what they’re actually eating and so, it’s just trying to make sure that they’ve got nutritious snacks around, fruits and nuts and obviously, muesli bars, those sorts of things on hand so that they can actually feed themselves over the busy times and I think the biggest thing is just not being too hard on yourself, you’re not going to be able to make beautiful gourmet meals, but you can probably scrabble together some scrambled eggs on toast with a carrot and a piece of bread and that’ll also do it.


Jill Lister  02:02

Yeah, it’s hard enough trying to learn how to be a mum. So, if you did have a new mom who was struggling to remember to eat, what would you suggest for that?


Jenny Douglas  02:10

So, what I usually say is every time you breastfeed, make sure you’re having something to drink at the same time. So, if your baby’s drinking you’re drinking. So, that’s a good prompt and sometimes, depending on how often you’re breastfeeding, sometimes it may be worth having a snack. A lot of times when you sit down and especially if you breastfeed, some newborn babies breastfeed for significant periods of time. So, they might be breastfeeding for like 45 minutes, and sometimes having snacks around at that time. But then you also have babies who are super-efficient, and they’re done and dusted in two minutes. I think using help, we’re possible. So, saying yes, when someone says, Can I give you some help get them to bring around dinner for you and get your partner to maybe set up some things so that before they leave for work in the morning, maybe they’ve cut up a lot of big sticks and some hummus, and so you can have some easy snacks without having to actually chop them up, especially if you’ve got a bit unsettled baby during the day and you can’t do some of those tasks like chopping, using help where you can also make sure that you know you often focus about your baby, but it’s also just important that you’re eating well, so that you can feed your baby well. If you fall apart, everyone’s gonna fall apart.


Jill Lister  03:30

That’s right. What kind of struggles do you see pregnant mums facing when it comes to nutrition?


Jenny Douglas  03:35

Initially, often mums have nausea, or vomiting and that hopefully gets better by the second and third trimesters. But there are a few mums who have an unfortunate pregnancy where that continues on throughout the whole pregnancy and so, when you’re feeling really sick, you suddenly don’t feel like eating salad and so, you want those crunchy, salty, easy snacks. So, it’s just working with that nausea, and often eating little and often it is likely to just keep that under control and also, just think about the foods that are going to work. So, instead of a salad, sometimes liquid meal replacements or soups can be better and you can hold those down rather than a big meal that might be quite heavy and as the pregnancy progresses, often women have problems with constipation, and that can be really uncomfortable.


So, it’s focusing on those foods that are natural laxative foods. So, things like kiwi fruit, stone fruits, and higher fiber foods such as oats or high fiber breads, that type of thing can be really useful to get, kind of going again, and then probably in the later stages of pregnancy feeling incredibly full. Even though you’ve only eaten half a cup of food, you’re like gosh I just actually don’t think I can eat anymore. So, especially for a woman who might only have breakfast and a big dinner, that’s not going to work in the later stages of pregnancy and so, it’s thinking, okay, well, if you’re going to cook dinner, maybe use portion and up it into three little portions so that maybe you have a less more amount at five o’clock small amount of seven and then maybe have a little bit the next day morning teatime. So, you’re still getting it ready nutritious food and to you that are just smaller amounts.


Jill Lister  05:33

What if you only have the taste for something that which is not necessarily good for you? you have no desire for vegetables, notice how you have any fiber in your life. Should we deny some of those cravings? Or what would you tell people?


Jenny Douglas  05:49

I think it’s, go with it. I really am a true believer and don’t feel guilty for enjoying sweet things. Everyone loves chocolate. Everyone loves sweets. Every loved one loves those things. But rather than feel guilty, and worried that it’s not the right thing, maybe ask why and why am I wanting so much of the sweet stuff? Because sometimes your body wants sweet things when it’s really tired, when it’s really emotional when it’s low in iron and so sometimes rather than going No, I feel so bad for having chocolates go actually Why? Why have I had chocolate today? Actually, I forgot to eat. I should have been really shaky and really rundown, maybe I need to see my daughter and check I haven’t got on issues, or I haven’t had a risk today. I’ve been super busy with the toddler and they’ve been having tantrums every five minutes, and I just haven’t had a moment’s rest, and I’m exhausted, and maybe I need to go to bed earlier. Rather than feeling guilt just ask why and then you have a better understanding of what’s happening and if it’s just that you want to have chocolate because it’s yummy, then go with it, it’s fine. But if it’s a crutch that’s holding you up, then it’s something you need to look at.


Jill Lister  07:04

That’s really good and there any foods that breastfeeding mums worried about eating because what you eat, eventually gets through and there any foods that you know that mums often worry about that you don’t think are really that much of a concern?


Jenny Douglas  07:19

Yeah, I think obviously the chocolate and the lollies and the chips and things like that, obviously, can be something that breastfeeding moms might be worried about, because it’s not hugely nutrient dense, and you need to make sure that your diet has got good whole grains, it’s got proteins, it’s got fruit and veggie, and milk and milk products and those sorts of things. There isn’t really anything that a breastfeeding mother needs to not have in her diet apart from alcohol. So obviously alcohol can pass through and to the breast milk. So, you do need to be careful with alcohol content, you don’t have not drink. But you need to be careful about the timing of alcohol and how much you’re having breastfeeding mums often try and avoid allergen foods. So, they’re kind of thing, I do not have milk in my diet, if I have nuts in my diet, I will not have gluten in my diet.


Because these things could go through to the breast milk and cause problems. There is no research to suggest that breastfeeding or pregnant mothers need to avoid those foods unless the baby’s obviously reacting to them and actually, by avoiding them, you’re actually increasing the chances of your baby having most allergen allergies in the future. So, we know that if you can eat nuts in pregnancy, while breastfeeding and introduce nuts, from six months of age of your baby, and before 12 months, we actually reduce the risk of allergy. So, actually avoiding foods is not something that we want. Those are really important stages of getting that good nutrition and to mums and babies.


Jill Lister  09:00

That’s really good to know. Are there any supplements you recommend for new moms?


Jenny Douglas  09:05

In pregnancy, there are a few that they need to have. So, before trying to have a baby and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, they should be on folic acid and they should also want the pregnant to be on iodine and iodine should continue while breastfeeding and then stop once they’ve finished breastfeeding. These six can be useful for moms who are really nauseated so in those first initial stages of pregnancy, it can be useful so you can talk to your midwife about that. Vitamin D can be useful as a supplement over the winter months. The Ministry of Health have guidelines around that and say that woman at risk should have vitamin D over the winter months. So, at risk means you have darker skin that you spend a lot of time indoors and this is where I’m living in the southern regions of New Zealand.


So, if you’re actually south of Kokota, it’s likely you probably don’t get enough sunlight over those winter months to get the vitamin D that you need and so, supplements may be needed. We are seeing some increase in rickets in children born to mothers who we wouldn’t have thought were high risk, especially in the southern regions, something to discuss with your midwife or GP and as a new Mum, if you’ve had a postpartum hemorrhage, it’s possible that you might need to continue, you might need to start on some iron supplements, or if you’ve had low iron through pregnancy, you would need to have iron in pregnancy and you may need to continue that once you’ve had your baby and just to get your iron back, but again, you need to check with your midwife or GP about that.


Jill Lister  10:52

So, that sounds like a whole lot of things. With just a normal pregnancy multivitamin, would that be enough to cover you unless you didn’t feel okay, or should we be adding to that?


Jenny Douglas  11:06

So, there’s such a range of multivitamins out there? Your big ones, like elevit and things like that, they’re probably going to have the iodine and the folic acid that you need. So, iodine and folic acid are the most likely that you’ll need and the other ones are things that you need to discuss with the midwife. But you don’t have to go and buy fancy multivitamins, you can just get them scripted from your midwife.


Jill Lister  11:32

Once you have got a bit older child, what struggles do you see? Because I know that you deal with families and kids who are fussy at eating. Should you push your kids to eat foods like vegetables? What would you suggest?


Jenny Douglas  11:47

Fussy eating is actually a normal developmental phase and it’s a normal process. So, we often have babies that love food, so start on solid at six months, and they just love it and I think that’s the best thing and then at that toddler age, 18 months to two years, they become particular or worried about trying something new and that’s actually a really useful thing for your toddler to do because you actually don’t want them now that they’re all independent, to be going outside and going and eating everything in the garden. So, that developmental step is actually really useful and it’s about how we ride that out that helps manage long term fussy eating. So, one of the big things is making sure that your baby in that first year of life, you’ve used that opportunity to get as many different flavors and textures and different foods into your baby, so that they love all foods, by the time that fussy eating phase hits, and it will happen and it’s also just going with it and giving your child opportunities to eat. So, don’t give an alternative.


So, stick with your family meal, you’ve made an amazing meal and I’m sure that as a mum, you’ve done your best to make sure that what’s offered on the table is nutritious and wholesome and you’re giving your child the opportunity to eat and if they don’t want to eat, then just let it ride and they’ll get another opportunity to eat and another two or three hours, so don’t worry about it and that’s the biggest trap that can you fall in is that, as a mom, your natural instinct is to feed your baby or feed your child and that if they’ve refused something that you like, oh my gosh, I’ve got to make up for this and maybe I should give them something that they will eat instead. So, they’ll actually eat something, and they’ll sleep through the night or whatever. But that’s kind of in starting a process of they’ll hold out for that extra if they refuse their dinner. So, it’s giving a child an opportunity and keeping it pretty relaxed and also, how you talk about food is really important.


So, if you say if you eat your vegetables, you can have dessert, you’ve already made dessert way more interesting than vegetables. But if we talk about vegetables in a really positive light and we say oh wow this broccoli looks so cool, look at the green color and then you look at carrots and go I love carrot today. I’ve done grated carrot, but you know sometimes we make crunchy carrot, and you talk about it in ways of exploring the food and I like to call children food explorers, so a child needs to see a food, they need to touch your food, they need to smell food, they need to look at food before they finally eat it and so, you need to let them have the opportunities to do all those things before they’ll trust the food and understand that fussy eating often comes from a worry that possibly that food is not something they should have. So, they just need to explore it. So, just allow them to do that and you can ride it out.


Jill Lister  15:07

You make it sound so fun; I should do more things with my carrots.


Jenny Douglas  15:12

Food is fun, there’s heaps of stuff that you could do, and I often do messy play and so, it’s not just playdough and sand play, it’s also playing with food and that’s something that in the home environment you can do. So, dyeing plaster in red and blue and then you can play with plaster and bring it out and do all those sorts of things outside of the eating environment as a good way to also expose them to food.


Jill Lister  15:40

That’s really good. Love it.


Jenny Douglas  15:42

My top tip, be kind to yourself, it took nine months to make a baby and so, it’s gonna take about nine months to get your body back and I certainly remember having a baby and assuming that I’d get back into my skinny jeans after six weeks or less, that is not the case for most women. But making sure that you’re focusing on just losing that weight slowly so that you’re not affecting your breast milk production and so, you’re eating really well and then exercising and then it will come off in its own time and make sure that you’re eating well so that you can feed your baby well and don’t be unkind to yourself.


Jill Lister  16:24

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us before we go?


Jenny Douglas  16:27

I guess it’s overall just making sure that you’re eating a variety of foods as a new mum trying to focus on those unprocessed foods as much as you can, fresh fruit and veggies and lean meats or plant-based proteins of that choice that you’ve made and milk and milk products are really important for getting your calcium and those sorts of things. So, trying to get a balance of things over nutrition and kind of eating regularly over the day.


Jill Lister  16:54

Where can we make contact with you if you’d like to learn more?


Jenny Douglas  16:56

So, I have a company called jumpstart nutrition. So, I’ve got a website and on there, there’s heaps of information on my blogs about feeding your family well and managing triggered things like fussy eaters and kids with allergies and that type of thing and I’ve also got a Facebook page and an Instagram page. So, both of those you can follow and get a bit of information. I try to update them regularly on tips of managing, eating well with little ones in your house and I also have on my website, a series of starting solids, seminars and also nutrition seminars that you can watch online and I do one of the starting solids seminars with a colleague who’s done a PhD in baby-led weaning, so we do a combined approach looking at baby-led weaning puree, allergies and listening to your baby. Baby’s cues and feeding cues and that chocolate.


Jill Lister  17:57

That sounds really good. Thank you very much for today. Hey, if you enjoyed listening to this podcast, you have to come and check out reboot, reset raw, reboot your systems reset where you see yourself in 12 months’ time and roll out with the confidence in the new you. It’s my 90-day coaching program where we will take all this material and find the best way to make it work for your life. Plus, a little bit of accountability and support along the way. Join me over at the FitChickhealthcoach.com/join. If you’d like to hear more, please let me know by sharing and leaving a review. I will talk to you soon.

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