Maternity maven and birth coach Latham Thomas is quite possibly one of the coolest doulas you'll ever meet.
She spends her days coaching "hip mamas" and mamas-to-be through fertility, pregnancy and motherhood, with an eye toward a glowingly healthy lifestyle. We asked her to break it down for us: How can new mothers stay healthy while pregnant, and long into parenthood?
1. Are there any foods, teas or supplements you recommend for pre-pregnancy, pregnancy and post pregnancy?
Plant-based foods are always best for pregnant and hopeful expectant women because they provide strong building blocks for a healthy baby. Lots of vegetables, nuts, beans, seeds, avocados, leafy green veggies for folate. Pseudo grains like quinoa and amaranth are also really great. I love raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy as a uterine tonic and Innate Response Prenatal Vitamin is our favorite supplement for prenatal health. Nettle tea is great for building up iron stores during pregnancy. Once baby is born, have lots of fresh coconut water to help hydrate the body and build up the blood plasma. There are lots of foods you can have once baby arrives and there are a few that upset baby’s tummy. You should avoid cruciferous veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, kale and cabbage. You can visit mamaglow.com for glow foods for pregnancy and coming soon is our boob foods guide to breastfeeding.
2. Do you have any tips for staying fit during and after pregnancy?
Every little bit counts
When you are walking up the stairs or carrying groceries, make it part of your daily exercise. Do your squats while brushing your teeth.
Breastfeed your baby
Breast milk is full of vital nutrients to support the development of your growing baby and each time you breast feed your little one, you are burning calories — up to 600 calories daily!
Make sure you’re eating high quality foods that boost your milk production: sweet potato, avocado, nuts, beans, >seeds, pseudo grains like quinoa and amaranth. Make sure to boost your superfood intake. One of our faves is maca powder.
Catch up on your z's while baby is asleep. In the beginning, your little one will be breastfeeding around the clock, so make sure you sleep to restore your body.
Even when your baby arrives, you still need to take prenatal vitamins.
3. How can parents impart healthy eating habits to their children?
Be a powerful example. If you want your children to eat well, model good eating habits. Involve your children in the cooking process, and even better, take them with you to pick out produce. Give them age-appropriate activities to focus on in the kitchen. Don’t freak out if they decide not to eat or are reluctant to try something new. Remember to always pair something old (that they are used to) with something new that you are introducing. That will increase the probability that your child will enjoy the new food. Meal time should be about connection, bonding, fun and flavor, not stress.
4. Buying the healthiest foods for your baby can be expensive. What are your money-saving tips for new parents or parents to young children?
Make your own baby food. It sounds daunting, but it is really simple. The good news is that it’s much cheaper and healthier, as you can be certain of what’s in it and know that it is fresh! Start with simple, single ingredient meals, then expand into different flavors and mix two to three at once. For instance, sweet potato as a single first food, then try quinoa, banana and lentil as a complex dish for a healthy eater.
5. What are some time-saving cooking tips for parents you can share with us?
You can make homemade meals without the fuss if you organize your time. Batch cooking is a great way to cook once and eat many times. For example, cook a pot of rice or quinoa at the beginning of the week and each day create another dish. One day have steamed rice, the next day rice with mixed vegetables, the following rice pudding for dessert, and so on. Another thing you can do is prep your veggies in advance. So many people shy away from making plant-robust meals because they don’t want to prep all of the vegetables. It makes cooking take a lot longer. When you are doing your batch cooking, also prep your veggies and store them in sealed containers in the fridge until you're ready to use them.
Illustration by Katherine Prendergast