We’re women; it’s natural. Almost immediately after the nurses put our new baby in our arms, somewhere in the back of our minds, we’re thinking, “Now, I just need to lose the baby weight.” And the media doesn’t help with stories of celebrity moms and how they gained 64 pounds and three months later, were photographed in the Greek Islands wearing a string bikini.
So, before you start a crash diet or the latest fad, hold the phone. Admittedly, no woman likes the post-pregnancy unwanted pounds. Remember how during the pregnancy, you were “eating for two?” Well, now you’re “living for two,” and that means your health is top priority. Your body just went through an amazing – and exhausting – feat during delivery, and it needs time to recover. You’ve got a newborn at home depending on you, even though sleep deprivation is your new normal. And for breastfeeding moms, your baby is dependent upon you for her nutrition. As everyone tells you, once you become a parent, it’s no longer about you. But, it IS important that you stay at your top your, so we’ve compiled some post-partum tips to help you with your weight, your body, and your overall well-being.
- Patience is the key: It took you nine months to put on the weight; don’t expect it to shed it in nine weeks. After the initial weight loss you experienced in the hospital, you should lose a few more pounds of water weight. But it’s not going to happen overnight, if you want to do it the right way. Give yourself some time and space to manage the pregnancy pounds.
- Bodies in motion: Regardless of your personal goals, you need to listen to your doctor on exercise. Make sure your OB knows what your pre-baby exercise routine was, and ask how and when you can get back to that. If you’re a Cross Fit fanatic, don’t expect to be at full capacity in six weeks. If you are a marathon runner, it may take some time to get back to 26.2. You may feel fine on the outside, but you need to give all those interior muscles, tissues and scars time to properly heal. Consult with your doctor and make a plan – and as soon as you have the green light to start exercising, do it! It’s not only great for your body, but it’s a stress reliever and great for your mind.
- Water, water, everywhere: No matter what your health goals are, water is always key. It was important when you were pregnant; it’s just as important now. If you’re breast-feeding, you definitely need to drink more, as it’s easy to get dehydrated, and that drains your energy as well as your milk production. As a post-partum mom, water helps keep your GI system moving well, and water is important in any weight loss program. Follow the 8×8 rule of thumb – at least eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day.
- Just say No – to fad diets: Fad diets tend to wreak havoc on our metabolism and are usually about drastic cutbacks – all proteins, no proteins, no carbs, no dairy, only soup, no meat. You name it, there’s a fad diet that does it. You need healthy carbs for energy and whole grains for iron, fiber and folic acid. Dairy products are a great source of calcium and create healthy bones for baby and Mom. Lean proteins are great for vitamins and are filling, so they help with weight loss, too. What you want and need is balance in your diet, so that you get the food groups and nutrients that you need.
- Surround yourself with health: One comment you tend to hear from new moms, especially stay at home moms, is that they’re always snacking. “I’m at home all day long, so I just go to the pantry for Ritz crackers or Oreos.” One post-partum snack tip is to snack when your baby snacks, but surround yourself with healthy options. Fruit, yogurt, almonds, or a hard-boiled egg are great choices, and you can easily pre-package these. Have them on hand in the diaper bag or by your glider when you feed your baby; keep a bowl of eggs or some yogurt in the fridge so you see this each time you open it. We tend to go with what’s easiest, so make healthy snacking a simple choice.
- Super foods for a Super Mom: A new buzzword in health and nutrition is “Super Food:” those items that pack a punch in multiple ways. For new moms, it’s no different. So, as you’re looking to stay healthy and lose weight, these are just a few items you may want to consider:
- Salmon – quite possibly one of the most perfect foods, salmon is full of omega-3s and DHA, and is a great source of protein. For nursing moms, it’s great for baby’s development and one of the best breast-feeding foods out there (note: do ask your doctor about portion control and how much salmon a nursing mother should eat each week).
- Eggs – these are a great source of protein and fill you up, so you won’t feel the need to eat as often. Plus, they’re versatile – omelets, scrambled, hardboiled, on salads, so you won’t go crazy eating the same old thing.
- High-fiber grains– As we’ve mentioned before, new moms sometimes have a challenge getting their systems back in order, so high fiber foods, such as brown rice or fiber rich cereals, help with this. They also fill you up so you don’t have the urge to eat as often.
- Lean proteins – proteins, like flank steak or other lean beef, pack a punch with iron and other vitamins. Plus, they fill you up so you can worry about your baby and less about yourself. If beef’s not your thing, think pork or poultry.
- Low fat dairy products – dairy is a great source of calcium, protein and needed vitamins like B and D. Not to mention, a slice of cheese, glass of milk or cup of yogurt is a great, easy snack for a busy mom to grab!
It’s not just about fitting into your pre-pregnancy clothes again. Keep your focus on your health and nutrition, not just your weight and your waistline. Make the right choices for you and your baby, and you’ll feel like a celebrity mom – with or without the string bikini!
~ The Baby Pibu™ Team
- Heyworth, Kelly. Fitnessmagazine.com. “Super Foods for New Moms.” http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/health/lose-baby-weight/diet/foods-for-new-moms/
- Lucia, Carole Anderson. .” Fitpregnancy.com. “The Best Weight Loss Tips for New Moms http://www.fitpregnancy.com/nutrition/postnatal-nutrition/best-weight-loss-tips-new-moms
- WebMD.com “12 Super-Foods for Moms.” http://www.webmd.com/parenting/breast-feeding-diet
- What to Expect. “Nutrition After Pregnancy” Too Busy with the Baby to Eat?” http://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/week-4/too-busy-to-eat.aspx
- Womens’ Health First. “11 ‘Super Foods’ for New Breastfeeding Moms.” December 27, 2011. http://www.womenfirst.net/blog/pregnancy/11-super-foods-for-new-breastfeeding-moms