As a new mum, the last thing you need is a lecture on what to do with your body after the whole ordeal of pregnancy, birthing and parenting. However, for 9 months, the food you ate fueled you and your baby. But after you give birth, your diet is just as important. It helps your body recover and gives you the energy you need to care for your little one.
Here are the top tips of Dietitian and Eating Disorder Practitioner Maria Abi Hanna on how to proceed when it comes to your body and your diet after giving birth.
1. Be kind to yourself
Remember that it is normal for bodies to change, and a lot of that is out of your control. Somewhere along the way you might have believed that your body was supposed to look the same forever. The media and all the celebrities in the spotlight don’t help matters. Remind yourself it’s okay if there are things about your body that are different after having a child.
2. Set realistic goals
Bodies don’t miraculously transform back to their pre-baby versions after giving birth — this is a fact we just have to accept. You’ll still look about 6 months (give or take) pregnant. Understand that this is normal and healthy.
3. Don’t crash diet
Stay away from fad diets and calorie counting, and focus more on getting enough of the good stuff and limiting the junk. You need to get plenty of calories, but most of those calories should come from whole foods.
Stock up on healthy foods. If your cabinets and refrigerator are full of healthy foods, you’ll be more likely to eat the way you should be eating. Aim to minimize snack foods and items that are high in added sugar, sodium, and saturated fat, including fried foods, soft drinks, and desserts.
4. Eat well & hydrate
Your own appetite is usually the best guide for how much you should eat. In general, mothers are hungrier during the first several months of breastfeeding, and you should not ignore feelings of hunger when producing milk for your baby. Grab a one-handed snack to eat while breastfeeding, or keep wrapped snacks near your favorite breastfeeding spot. Eat a variety of foods to get the calories, vitamins and minerals you need to remain healthy.
Drink a lot of water to speed recovery and produce enough milk. If you're dehydrated, your milk supply may decrease. Breast milk is about 90% water.
Aim for 16 cups of water each day. If that sounds like a lot of water, it is. One tip is to keep a water bottle with you throughout the day. Another is to drink a glass of water before and after each feeding.
Once your doctor says it is okay to start exercising, there are many ways to be active.
Walking is a great way to exercise because it puts very little stress on your body. Your baby will probably enjoy being walked in a stroller too. Try walking briskly for 20-30 minutes every day or at least 3 times per week. Meet with a friend or other new moms to go walking. It’s good to get out of the house and connect with friends or other new mothers. You will enjoy the chance to talk about your baby or to just be with other adults!
Exercise classes are another fun way to get in shape. For example, look for a yoga or pilates class in your area.
Follow the five tips above and eat in a way that works for your body and your life! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Mint Basil Market team.