Meet Bel White. Mum and Holistic Nutritionist from the Gold Coast.
At Bubba Cloud, we are avid fans of supporting the Mumma as much as the Babe, and that is why we *had* to chat with Bel about all things nourishing during pregnancy.
Let's get into it!
1. What essential nutrients do pregnant Women need to focus on for a healthy pregnancy? How can they incorporate these nutrients into their diet?
The biggest macronutrient I find pregnant women need to work on eating enough of is protein. It is essential for the expansion of blood volume growth of the maternal tissues and of course, the growth of the baby and placenta. I like recommending slow-cooked meats as they are already pre-digested and easily absorbed.
As for other essential nutrients I find eating a diet rich in B vitamins like Folate as this essential for the babies development. This is why I love recommending liver.
2. Liver - What's all the hype?
It's pretty incredible it is basically nature's own multivitamin; it is the most nutrient-dense food on the earth. Nothing compares! Including it into the diet, even if it's liver capsules, is a must no matter if pregnant or postpartum. I love that it is high in heme iron and also copper. So many women I meet are low in iron, and it is essential for energy production.
3. What are the best snack options for pregnant women to maintain energy levels and support their nutritional needs?
Anything with Protein included in there! I love to recommend a good quality Goats Whey Protein so they can add this to Smoothies. The brand I love is Mt Capra!
4. Are there any specific tips you have for Women Suffering morning sickness?
Ginger is a great supplement or wholefood to eat or drink - it helps with morning sickness. My other suggestion is to keep eating small meals throughout the day, not letting yourself get too hungry or blood sugar levels drop. Also, make sure you're supplementing with good-quality magnesium.
5. What foods or nutrients are essential for promoting healing and recovery during postpartum?
Warming foods and Slow-cooked meats are the best especially early postpartum when your digestive system is compromised from pregnancy. It is also highly healing being high in collagen!
Some other favourites are:
Bone broth: It is honestly the ultimate when it comes to nourishment. If there is one food to learn to make for yourself or even for a mumma friend postpartum it’s this. Can be had as is on an empty stomach or added stews or soup bases.
Grass-fed liver: rich in all the vitamins. I don’t need to go on about it. If you can’t stomach it try making liver pâté and have it with roasted sweet potato chips.
Ghee: A spoonful of ghee a day postpartum provides you with all the healthy fats needed for nourishment postpartum. Have it as is, or add to your morning oats for extra creaminess.
6. What are some practical tips for managing healthy eating habits during the challenges of postpartum life?
The biggest tip is to prepare before you give birth, and stock your freezer during pregnancy. This way you won't get caught off guard. Also look into further support from family and friends creating a meal train or even investing into a doula to support you! A great book to get you started is The First 40 Days.
7. How can breastfeeding mothers ensure they are consuming enough nutrients to support both their own health and the needs of their baby?
This is sooo important! I see this so much with Mumma's! A breastfeeding mother is actually burning an extra 500-700 calories a day to fuel making milk.
This means we should be eating an extremely nutrient dense high protein, fat and carbohydrate diet with a high consideration of the micronutrients needed to not only support our supply, quality of the breastmilk and the function of other critical systems in the body.
I like to suggest that every meal is nutrient dense by ensuring the mother is eating a whole foods-only diet - this is a really great way to ensure she is getting everything she and her baby need.
8. Are there any specific foods that can help boost milk supply in breastfeeding mothers?
Yes, there are, however, before recommending these I always like to look at if the mother is eating enough protein. This is because if a breastfeeding mother consumed the recommended daily allowance of protein for a non-pregnant/non-lactating woman, she would need to mobilise about 19% of her lean tissue to support 6 months of milk production.
Next I like to address stress levels. I believe this is the biggest reason for low milk supply!
Stress influences milk production by disrupting the oxytocin reflex often referred to as “letdown reflex” or the “milk-ejection reflex.” The reflex operates effectively in mothers who are relaxed, supported and confident in their ability to breastfeed. In tense, stressed or emotionally upset mothers, the oxytocin reflex may become inhibited.
9. What common nutritional deficiencies may new Mums experience postpartum, and how can they address them through diet?
Conceiving, growing, birthing, breastfeeding and motherhood can be extremely taxing on a mother. The placenta passes on the nutrients to the growing baby during the pregnancy, taking some of the mothers own iron, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin B9, iodine, calcium, selenium and omega 3 DHA, draining her stores. This then can be exacerbated with every pregnancy thereafter. With the stresses of everyday modern motherhood and a lack of support in early postpartum, this can lead to depletion.
10. What are your 'go to' quick and nutritious meal ideas for busy Mum's during the postpartum period?
Two of my favourites are:
Buckwheat cakes with grass fed butter and liver pate.
Sheep or goat yogurt with berries, raw honey and bee pollen.
Thank you so much for joining us, Bel! We genuinely appreciate your time and the knowledge you bring to Women!
You can learn more about Bel and her offerings HERE