Giving birth and being a mother is the most rewarding experience for most women. However, pregnancy changes the body in many ways and a lot of times, these changes affect a woman’s self-esteem. For breastfeeding moms, dieting is a complete no-no, at least in the meantime. To ensure your baby’s health while nursing, you have to stick to a normal diet. That said, there are ways to shed unwanted weight and continue breastfeeding. Below are our recommendations:
Stick to Mini Meals
Instead of sticking to the traditional 3 square meals, try breaking down your meals into six mini meals. Spreading your meals into mini meals will make it easier to stave off hunger and reduce caloric consumption without affecting your milk supply.
When breastfeeding, the body pulls its own energy reserves into nursing. When energy is low, the thyroid hormones are affected. When the thyroid hormone levels are low, the amount of milk you produce will decrease too. When the body is nourished and satiated, the organs are working at their peak. Mini meals also minimize the craving for fattening foods.
Watch Your Caloric Intake
To achieve normal weight and shed more pounds, you have to keep an eye on your caloric intake. This does not mean starving yourself to restore your pre-baby body! We recommend limiting your caloric intake to 1,800 and never going beyond this mark. Make sure you get your daily serving of fruits, vegetables, unrefined grains, and lean meats. These foods are low in calories, high in fiber and nutrients.
Another great trick to limit your caloric intake is to replace unhealthy snacks with nuts and fruits. Nuts and fruits pack a lot of nutritional punch without the unwanted calories! We love snacking on dried fruits, crunchy veggies, as well as nuts high in omega 3 fatty acids.
Regular exercise should remain a vital part of your everyday routine. If you are always pressed for time, there are ways to ensure constant movement without spending hours working out. A 20 to 40-minute walk is a great start to shedding the pregnancy weight. Low impact cardio, resistance training, yoga and tai chi are perfect for busy breastfeeding moms. We recommend working out every time your baby is asleep. This way, you can squeeze in a few minutes of your time working out without messing up the feeding schedule.
Go for Superfoods
Superfoods are a special class of foods that are incredibly rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals. These foods include berries, citrus fruits, and yellow, purple, red, and dark green vegetables! Loading up on antioxidant-rich foods ensure a healthy supply of milk and healthy weight loss.
We also recommend loading up on foods high in omega 3 fatty acids. These foods include oily fish (tuna, wild salmon, herring) and nuts. Omega 3 fatty acid is essential for proper development, especially among infants.
We also love dairy products – such as milk, cheese, and yogurt – because these items are high in calcium. Dairy products promote stronger, healthier bones. Get them low or non-fat!
Proper hydration helps the baby and you in many ways. It ensures a healthy supply of milk, speeds up the metabolic rate, and flushes out toxins in the system. When the body is sufficiently hydrated, you produce enough milk to keep your baby healthy! In addition, breast milk is 50% water so it is essential to stay hydrated when you are nursing.