As a new mum, life is hard. You are functioning on limited sleep, pain medication and are now in the midst of the most important and challenging thing you will ever do: fully support a life.
So with all this in mind, how are you supposed to eat? Not only do you want to get back in pre-baby shape but you want that little bundle of joy to get every bit of nutrition they need to be healthy and happy for life.
Read on to find out:
- Do NOT COUNT CALORIES!
I wish this one was self explanatory. Unfortunately I see so many mothers do this and wonder why they feel like crap and why their bubba is always crying. It may have something to do with them trying to limit their food for 1200 calories per day.
This is NOT the time to worry about calories or portion control. The best rule for new mothers to follow is to eat until their hunger is satisfied: to learn their own unique bodies cues and signals just like how they are doing with their little baby. Developing this awareness is also one of the keys to lifelong appetite awareness and long term sustainable weight loss.
2. Eat sufficient protein
This is a rule that not only applies now, but at almost every time in any decent nutrition plan. Protein is the building block of all tissue and you need adequate protein to help your body recover from the biggest workout (childbirth) you ever did. A palm sized portion at every main meal is a great place to start and if you are hungry, eat more.
3. High quality fats
Did you know that breast milk is quite high in fats? And that these fats are essential for the healthy development of your baby’s eyes, brain, nervous system and immune system. In this period of life, we do not need to worry about restricting fats. Remember that while we are breastfeeding we aren’t concerned with calories! Try and get your fats from the healthiest sources and a large variety is beneficial here as well. Some of the best sources include:
- Nuts and nut butters
- Olive Oil
- Coconut oil and milk
- Oily fish – try and consume at least 2-4 times a week, the fatty acids are especially beneficial for infant brain development.
4. Don’t avoid fruit or vegetables trying to be low carb
Some new mothers avoid carbs from fruit and vegetables as part of trying to lose baby weight as fast as possible. This is a bad idea as it limits some of the nutrition you will be receiving. There are many valuable vitamins and minerals in these foods (fruits, potatoes, pumpkin, rice) and you do not need to avoid them at all. In fact it is actually a terrible idea as you will need some carbs for energy with all your late night feeds.
5. Supplement smartly
Now is not the time for fat burners, stimulants or anything else crazy. You should stick to the following and no more:
- Fish oil – good for baby brain development
- Multi-vitamin – cover your nutritional bases
- Probiotics – help with gut health.
- Magnesium – ensure what sleep you get is of a high quality.
If you implement the following strategies not only will weight loss be easy as breastfeeding goes on, you will also have the greatest gift of all: a happy healthy baby!