“You have to eat healthy foods mom, its’ important!”
It made me proud to hear my son utter these words this past week as I contemplated my dinner choices at T.G.I. Fridays. I looked up from the menu and he smiled as he said “I want you to be strong and healthy”- the very words I tell him often. With Mother’s Day this week, what better present to hear!
Sitting next to us was two young moms, one with a toddler and one pregnant, and they leaned over and said “how did you do that?”
Well, half of the time I would swear my son doesn’t hear anything I say! But in retrospect, I realize he does, especially at this young age. As moms, we continually plan, strategize, organize and worry! And for pregnant moms, especially first time moms, a lifetime of “worry” is in store. The mom- to -be sitting next to me said she just wanted to know, simply, where to start with her own nutrition. She didn’t want to read one of the thousands of books, or search websites. She wanted simple, concrete numbers of her own. She knew what foods to avoid- deli meats, soft cheese, mercury containing fish, smoked or raw seafood, products with raw eggs or milk and excess, alcohol, and excess caffeine.
She mistakenly was told that she needed to consume 500-700 calories MORE a day, which she said has been hard, given her pregnancy long “morning” sickness. The recommended amount is actually only 200-300 calories a day extra needed. However, given this information, it doesn’t mean to diet either! It is important to increase or insure adequate amounts of protein, calcium, iron and folic acid by consuming a well balanced diet and to drink plenty of fluid. Weight gain recommendations are hard to give, as each mom is starting with a different usual body weight start point, but physicians will usually be able to better pinpoint if your weight gain and how fast (or not) you are gaining is a problem or not.
Taking a multivitamin is also vital. Consuming pregnancy vitamins may be difficult for some due to nausea, but you can get what you need with a chewable child’s vitamin as well. They are better tolerated, and have the added iron you need.
Next time I will talk about nursing moms, because the numbers change yet again. Sit back this Sunday and enjoy all the wonders of motherhood and Happy Mother’s Day!
Laura is a registered dietitian and Montgomery County mom to a 6 year old and wife to a picky eater. Her and her family are avid readers, hikers, and are watching the exciting Phillies work their way to the World Series.