Postpartum Diet and Exercise

Diet and Exercise After Pregnancy

If you are breastfeeding, the food you eat helps your baby grow strong and healthy, too. Good eating habits and exercise will help you lose the weight you gained.

Healthy Eating Tips

Eat a variety of foods. Try to eat a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, grains, protein foods and diary each day. Visit for more information.

Drink plenty of liquids. Your body needs lot of fluid (about 6-10 glasses a day) especially if you are breastfeeding your baby. Drink mostly water, milk, and fruit juice.

Eat foods that have protein such as milk, cheese, yogurt, meat, fish and beans. Protein rich foods are important to help you recover from childbirth and keep your body strong. If you are under 18, or were underweight prior to pregnancy, you need to eat more protein.

Eat your fruits and vegetables. Try to make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables have vitamins and minerals that keep you healthy. They also have fiber, which helps prevent constipation. Make sure to wash fruits and vegetables under running cold water before eating them.

Lose weight safely. Talk to your doctor about safely losing weight after your baby is born. Losing weight too quickly can affect your breast milk supply. Do not take diet pills. They contain harmful drugs that can be passed to your baby through breast milk.

Take prenatal vitamins. If you are breastfeeding, it is a good idea to continue to take your prenatal vitamins. Your doctor can prescribe these pills so that your health insurance will cover a portion of the cost.

Limit junk foods. Soda pop, cookies, donuts, potato chips and french fries are okay sometimes, but don’t let them take the place of healthy foods!

Avoid these Foods when Breastfeeding

There are some foods and other substances that can be harmful to both you and your baby if you are breastfeeding.

Alcohol: Wine, wine coolers, beer, drinks like hard lemonade and other malt liquor beverages, shots and mixed drinks contain alcohol that passes to your baby through your breastmilk and can harm your baby’s brain and body development.

Caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant that passes through breast milk to the baby and may affect growth. Caffeine is found in tea, coffee, chocolate, many soft drinks and over-the-counter medicines.

Swordfish, Shark, King Mackerel and Tilefish: These fish have high levels of a toxin called mercury. Mercury is harmful to your growing baby’s brain. If you eat tuna, it is okay to eat up to 6 ounces of canned tuna a week but make sure to choose light tuna.

Exercise After Pregnancy

Exercise helps you:

  • Lose the weight you gained during pregnancy
  • Reduce backaches, constipation and bloating
  • Lifts your spirits and improves posture
  • Helps build muscle tone and strength
  • Promotes better sleep

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 and sometimes you can find a class that will include your baby. For example, look for a mom and baby yoga class in your area.

The YMCA is a good place to find exercise classes for moms and babies. Some YMCAs offer financial assistance. They may also offer childcare for your baby while you exercise. Find out if you have a YMCA in your area. If you live in the greater Seattle area go to Seattle YMCA.

The Postpartum Diet Plan That’ll Help You Recover

It might be tempting, but going on an extreme diet in hopes of losing pregnancy weight is not the way to go. (And, it’s worth mentioning that you shouldn’t feel like you need to lose weight right away.) When you’re adjusting to life with a new baby, the last thing you need is to throw off your body with major restrictions. Don’t let food worries add to your stress and sleepless nights as you adjust to your new schedule. Instead, eat these foods to stay fueled, nourished, and encourage recovery. (Related: Everything You Should Know About Postpartum Weight Loss)

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Spread Your Meals Throughout the Day

The key to your energy isn’t just how much (or little) you sleep each night. What’s on your plate also plays a part. “One of the main things a healthy diet can do is give new moms energy,” says Kathy McManus, R.D., director of the department of nutrition at Brigham Women’s Hospital in Boston. “It’s important to spread food throughout the day so that you get an even amount of calories. This will give you lasting power to take care of your baby and yourself.” (Related: Kayla Itsines Shares What Inspired Her to Launch a Post-Pregnancy Workout Program)

Create a Postpartum Diet Plan

When you eat foods rich with nutrients, you’ll notice that your calories go a long way. You’ll feel fuller longer, and will have the get-up-and-go mentality you need for those 3 a.m. feeding calls. McManus suggests fueling up on these healthy foods:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Lean protein, like fish, beef, and soy foods
  • Skim or low-fat milk
  • Leafy greens
  • Iron-rich foods, especially if you suffer from postpartum symptoms. You can get iron from fortified cereals, prune juice, and lean meats.
  • Vitamin C-rich foods, which can help with wound healing for mothers who delivered via C-section. Try oranges, tomatoes, and natural fruit juices.

Add Snacks to Your Postpartum Eating Plan

If you’re in the mood for a snack, McManus suggests picking from the following:

  • Whole-grain crackers with hummus
  • Nuts
  • A cup of whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk
  • A hardboiled egg with some carrots
  • Low-fat cheese with a piece of fruit
  • Peanut butter on an apple
  • Plain Greek yogurt with berries

Eat a Diet That Leaves You Satisfied

You had the baby, and now you should pick up with your favorite weight-loss diet, right? Wrong. McManus says many women make this mistake because they’re focused on trying to lose their pregnancy weight. “Being a new mom means you’re going to experience serious fatigue until you adjust to your new routine, so you need a diet that can help carry you, not one that will leave you constantly hungry and feeling deprived,” she says. (Related: 6 Sneaky Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight)

To keep your spirits up, McManus suggests prioritizing nutrient-dense foods. “Treats here and there are perfectly fine, but tons of refined carbs, white breads, and sugary foods will have little gratification and will just end up spiking your blood sugar, making you more tired than you already are.”

Accept Help from Friends

Whenever a friend asks you how they can help, ask them to pick up a few groceries. “People hate to come empty-handed when visiting you and your baby for the first time,” McManus says. They’ll feel helpful and you’ll have one less obstacle to eating all the nutrient-rich foods you’ve decided to add to your diet. Ask them to pick up some yogurt, a can of nuts, and whatever other food you may need to keep your energy levels high.

“Your eating pattern is important not only for your energy, but also in determining how quickly you’ll feel back to your old self,” McManus says. “The more you stick to a healthy diet, the faster you can recover and get back to your exercise and daily routine.”

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December 19, 2016 • Blackbelt Commerce

Postpartum Diet: Best Foods to Eat After Having a Baby

Postpartum Diet: Best Foods to Eat After Having a Baby

What are the best foods to eat after having a baby? How can you ensure the best physical and mental development for your little one? What foods will help you get back to my ideal weight the fastest? Like a lot of moms, these are all questions that will float through your mind after having a first child.

When planning a postpartum diet, deciding on the best foods to eat can be a tricky task. Losing weight too quickly or unnaturally can take a significant toll on your energy level.

Not only do you need to keep your health in mind but also, your baby’s. The foods you put into your system will ultimately make it back to your baby if you decide to breastfeed. Certain Lactogenic foods that can help keep your body producing enough milk for your infant.

Things to Consider

There are many things to consider when deciding the best foods to eat after having a baby. In this article, we will outline several things that could affect what is best for each individual. No two women are the same and neither should their postpartum diet plan.

Breastfeeding or Not

Breastfeeding is a beautiful bond between mother and child, but it’s not for everyone. If you are not planning to breastfeed or tried without success, you will need to find another way to shed those post-baby pounds.

Experts say an average breastfeeding woman burns an extra 300-500 calories a day than non-breastfeeding mothers. Your body burns more calories due to the extra work it takes the body to produce milk for your little one.

Without this help, mothers who don’t breastfeed, need to look at other options when it comes to dieting tips. Here are a few helpful tricks when it comes to post-baby weight loss.

  • Do: Skip the unhealthy dieting fads. Motherhood, especially in the first several months, is stressful enough without denying yourself your favorite treats.
  • Do: Load up on water throughout the day. Drinking lots of water at meal-time may help you feel fuller, faster.
  • Do: Choose foods that are light in calories and fats, while still heavy in nutrients.
  • Don’t: Get discouraged when the pounds don’t go flying off immediately. Losing weight naturally and in a healthy way takes time.

Foods that Help Increase Lactation

Lactogenic foods are great for both you and your baby. They keep your body producing tons of healthy breast milk for your little one. Producing breast milk is not a standard task for your body and in turn, burns lots of calories.

Mothers who decide to breastfeed should not drop their calorie intake below 1800 a day for this reason. If you don’t get enough calories, it can leave you feeling exhausted and depleted. These are some of the best foods to eat after having a baby to help increase your milk production.

  • Foods naturally rich in water. Staying hydrated is paramount to your breast milk production. As a new mother, drinking water can fall to the wayside. Try adding fruits and vegetables throughout the day.
  • Try experimenting with different foods that may taste better for your baby. The more your child drinks, the more milk your body is signaled to produce. Foods such as onion, garlic and mint as known to flavor your milk.
  • Eat foods that are known to increase lactation. Some of these foods include carrots, fennel seed, whole grains, and leafy greens.

Foods that Will Benefit Both You and Your Baby

Finding the right foods for a balanced diet after your baby is born can be overwhelming. You need foods that are going to keep your energy level up, help you produce the best milk possible, and foods that will help you recover from giving birth.

On top of all that, you want a selection of foods that will help you get back to that ideal pre-baby weight. It takes the average woman upwards of 3 months to successfully shed those unwanted baby pounds safely.

A lot of women think they need to start a harsh diet after their child is born. Immediately starting a diet post-baby is one of the worst things you can do. You need a balanced diet that will keep your energy level up so that you can stay on the move.

Fad diets can lower your energy level and in turn, make you gain weight. A low power level can be frustrating and make you binge on foods that benefit neither you or your baby.

With the help of these super foods, you will be able to build a postpartum diet that boosts your energy level while giving your baby a healthy nutritious milk. Eating from several food groups throughout the day will ensure you get all the vitamins and nutrients you and your baby need.

Foods that are high in nutrients yet low in calories and fats make postpartum diets successful. We are going to examine some of the best foods to gravitate towards in each food group.

Calcium Rich Foods

Foods that provide you will lots of calcium intake are crucial in a postpartum diet. They are also great for your baby as well. Calcium rich foods provide strong bone and teeth, as well as a healthy heart function.

Your breast milk will naturally have calcium in it, even if you don’t consume dairy products. However, experts say you should add a bit more for a balanced diet.

So, what are the best calcium rich foods for a postpartum diet? Below are several food sources that are rich in calcium. (3 servings daily are recommended for breastfeeding mothers).

Vitamin A Rich Foods

Vitamin A is instrumental in a healthy diet for your little one. Almost all children are born with low stores of vitamin A. Breast milk is a major source of vitamin A for young children, especially under the age of 6 months.

Vitamin A is essential for the promotion of optimal health, growth, and development. Try adding several of these super foods loaded with vitamin A, to your daily diet. At least 1 serving a day can be beneficial to both you and your baby.

  • Carrot (1 small)
  • Fresh Apricot (3 small)
  • Sweet Potato or Yams (0.5 cups)
  • Tomatoes (2 medium)
  • Fresh Spinach (0.5 cups)

Vitamin C Rich Foods

Your baby needs vitamin C to help boost his or her immune system. Vitamin C helps promote healthy blood cells and assists in the absorption of iron into the system. This is one of the best foods to eat after having a baby for this reason.

To decrease the risk of infectious deceases in your baby, it is recommended adding one serving into your daily diet. The following are several foods known to be rich in vitamin C.

Iron Rich Foods

Women tend to need a lot of iron post-delivery. There are several reasons for this, but the primary reason is due to blood loss directly after birth. This can leave you feeling weak and tired. To boost your energy level, try adding lots of iron rich foods into your postpartum diet.

These iron-rich foods will leave you feeling healthy so you can take care of your new baby. It is recommended that you add 15mg of iron to your daily diet.

Omega-3 Rich Foods

Omega-3 rich foods are necessary for helping develop a healthy brain function for your child. They are essential in a postpartum diet because they are not naturally produced in the body. Fatty acids such as Omega-3 are vital for healthy brain function and vision.

These fats also help in many other ways. Fatty acids help build cells, regulate the nervous system, build immunity, strengthen the cardiovascular system, and help you baby absorb other important nutrients.

So what foods are loaded with Omega-3? Let’s take a look. Your child cannot get too many omega-3 rich foods in his or her system.

Note: Due to Mercury intake, salmon and other fish should be limited whilst breastfeeding.

Final Thoughts

Every mother wants to provide her child with the healthiest nutrient rich diet possible. Some of the best foods to eat after having a baby will allow you to do that while at the same time, keeping yourself healthy.

Losing weight after a baby can be a struggle. By following the postpartum diet tips outlined in this article, along with exercise, you will be back to your pre-baby weight in no time.

  • Keeping a journal can be extremely helpful in forming the best postpartum diet. Use it to monitor your food intake, your baby’s response to certain foods, and your milk production.
  • Try eating foods that are rich in nutrients if you can throughout the entire day. Vitamins are great for giving you an added nutrient boost. However, those nutrients leave your body much quicker.
  • Mix it up. Eat foods from each of the food groups daily for a well-balanced diet.
  • Add foods into your diet that have more than one health benefit. This will allow you to kill two birds with one stone, while keeping your calorie count down.

Remember, every woman’s body is unique. It may take you longer than you would like to figure out the proper postpartum diet for you and you baby.

(Posted with permission from MaternityGlow

Nutrients You Need

Even though you’re not “eating for two,” your body needs to restore a lot of important nutrients.

At every meal, fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. The other half should include whole grains like brown rice, whole-grain bread, or oatmeal. Try to limit packaged, processed foods and drinks that are high in salt, saturated fat, and extra sugars.

You also need to get enough:

Protein: Foods like beans, seafood, lean meats, eggs, and soy products are rich in protein, which help your body recover from childbirth. Aim for five servings each day, or seven if you’re breastfeeding.

Calcium: You’ll need 1,000 milligrams — about 3 servings of low-fat dairy — each day.

Iron: This nutrient helps your body make new blood cells, which is especially important if you lost a lot of blood during your delivery. Red meat and poultry are high in iron. So are tofu and beans. Whether you eat meat or go vegetarian, the daily requirement for lactating women is 9 mg daily for women ages 19 and older, and 10 mg daily for adolescents.

If you had twins, have a health condition, or are vegan, check with your doctor. You may need a supplement to get the right nutrition.

The lists of the best foods to have after giving birth are a dime a dozen. Every day, we’re bombarded with this guide or that guide on what to eat after giving birth and they are all usually unrealistic.

Scrolling through them, one or two things will usually stand out that you might think to yourself that you might be able to incorporate into your diet and lifestyle, but let’s face it, most of us usually don’t.

Here is a little of the 10 foods that you should be eating as a postpartum mom and 10 that you shouldn’t that is more realistic. Many of these items should already be in your pantry, making it super easy to either incorporate or discard from your daily routine.

Eating afterbirth doesn’t have to be complicated. The best foods for both the recovering mom and the newborn baby are rooted in simplicity and the best part is that they won’t break the bank. Eating healthy has a bad rep for being expensive but truth of the matter is that it doesn’t have to be. By eliminating one “bad” food, there is then more room in your budget for better choices that will leave you feeling more energetic and happier.

20 Lose Weight By Easily Making Your Own Ghee

The consumption of ghee has be around for centuries but it recently exploded in popularity after Kourtney Kardashian claimed that: “a teaspoon a day does you good”.

As much as the Kardashians can be outrageous, this claim at least is very true, especially for postpartum mamas.

Pronounced “gi” with a hard G, ghee is basically the liquid you get after you boil down butter. You can find the exact preparation method online but take note that you need to use the highest quality butter that you can get your hands on (organic, unsalted, etc.)

Drinking ghee after delivery is very beneficial, but the fact that it helps to lubricate your joint and make them strong again is just a myth as this is something your body does on its own.

What is true is that ghee enhances postpartum weight loss, strengthens the immune system and promotes optimal gut health.

19 Skip Burgers, Pizza And Lasagna

As much as ghee is a recommended food, all other fatty foods definitely are on the no-no list. It might be tempting to have a greasy burger and fries after giving birth but you will thank yourself later by skipping it.

The same goes for all other heavy foods like pizza, lasagna, fried chicken, subs, etc. Being bloated is the last feeling you want to be experiencing postpartum. Especially in the first few days following delivery, these kinds of foods can take longer to digest.

Instead of consuming three heavy meals during the day, it’s also best to have more frequent smaller meals. You could for instance focus on having: breakfast, a snack, lunch, a snack, dinner, and another snack before bedtime.

For each meal, put the emphasis on fresh fruits and veggies. Replace greasy fries with steamed vegetables or at the very least oven-roasted carrots and sweet potatoes.

18 Try Kombucha (It’s Sweetened Tea!)

Dubbed the “Immortal Health Elixir”, kombucha is believed to have been around for more than 2,000 years. It’s basically a sweetened tea that is fermented with scoby, a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. It sounds kind of weird when described but then again, the process for making kombucha isn’t that different from milk, yogurt or kefir.

For centuries, kombucha has been touted for its incredible list of health benefits. Just recently, it has been touted as “treating” cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and even AIDS. However, it’s not so much that kombucha treats diseases but more so that it promotes health by improving digestion, improving pancreas function, detoxifying the liver – all of which can be incredibly beneficial during the postpartum period.

Anyone with a high sensitivity to alcohol might want to keep in mind that kombucha contains less than 1% alcohol. However, this means that you would literally need to down several glasses in a row just to maybe get some kind of a feeling, making it sense for breastfeeding.

17 Cut Out Citrus And Tomatoes

When it comes to avoiding food, everything can be debated. Some will argue that breastfeeding mothers shouldn’t cut any foods out to avoid losing out on the nutrients, but others will claim that such and such foods can cause a slew of negative symptoms in the baby.

At the end of the day, every baby is different and you need to figure out what works best for your child. Some breastfeeding mothers will find themselves able to eat anything they want without adverse effects, but others will search high and low for answers. For the latter mommies, cutting out citrus fruits is often the answer.

Oranges, pineapples… even tomatoes and strawberries can all contribute towards a pretty bad diaper rash. They can also have for effect to irritate the stomach lining and trigger reflux in your baby.

Cutting out acidic foods doesn’t only extend to breastfeeding moms though. Moms who have had a caesarean delivery may want to cut these foods out also as they can cause gas and increase pain during the healing process.

16 Heal Faster With Turmeric

Although this isn’t a ready-to-go food, turmeric is an ingredient that any postpartum mama should consider adding to her meals.

Known as the “Queen of Spices”, turmeric is filled with vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, magnesium and fiber. On top of boosting immunity, it also reduces inflammation, which can be particularly helpful after giving birth.

It may not seem like much to just add a pinch or two of turmeric to your meals, but it can actually help to manage weight as well as prevent the risk of weight gain. Instead of adding it to your meals, you can also choose to have a teaspoon of turmeric powder diluted in a glass of water after a meal.

As it contains fiber, it also promotes digestion. It’s particularly amazing for nursing moms who experience bloating and gas symptoms.

15 Skip The Cocktails But Make One Exception

Speaking of drinks, it goes without saying that alcohol is to be avoided after giving birth. As tempting as it might be to finally have a couple of drinks, it really is better to wait a little while longer.

One or two drinks might be fine but even if you are not breastfeeding, having three or more drinks in one night can reduce the amount of white blood cells, thereby weakening the immune system and producing a nutrition deficiency. During the postpartum period, it’s important to rest as much as possible and give your body the time it needs to heal.

With all this being said, even for a breastfeeding mother, an occasional glass of white or a bottle of beer is totally fine. In fact, many moms swear that having a Guinness beer has for effect to boost their milk supply. It might not work for everyone, but just remember to wait enough time before breastfeeding.

14 Not Hungry? Drink A Protein Shake

All too often, moms will experience a lack of appetite after giving birth and it’s totally normal. Some moms are lucky if they can get in at least five bites at dinner after going all day eating practically nothing. Even despite breastfeeding, which is supposed to increase hunger, some mommies will still find themselves with a complete lack of appetite.

So how do you get those nutrients in when you just don’t feel like eating anything? Incorporating a shake might be a good idea.

All you need is a cup of water, a cup of frozen berries and a scoop of protein powder. During pregnancy and breastfeeding, your body required 20% more protein, so having a quick protein shake is a great way to boost your daily intake without forcing yourself to eat.

Try to choose a quality plant-based protein powder and stay away from additives geared towards body builders and athletes (i.e. extra caffeine, creatine, etc.)

Other great ways to get that protein in there? Try 1 cup low-fat yogurt, 1 cup cottage cheese, 1 cup cooked beans, ½ block tofu or 2oz Swiss cheese.

13 Avoid Coffee A Little While Longer

After avoiding coffee all throughout pregnancy, many moms relish at the idea of giving birth and finally having that cup of black deliciousness. Unfortunately, it’s not always the best drink to have postpartum no matter how tempting the short term boost might seem.

This mostly applies to breastfeeding mamas and the good news is that even then, it highly depends on each person. Some moms will find themselves having to cut all the good stuff from their diets in an effort to appease a colicky baby and others will go on to drink 2-3 cups daily without noticing adverse changes in their baby’s sleep patterns.

So all this to say that it really depends. In the beginning especially though, it might be a good idea to ease back into having coffee and seeing how your baby reacts.

12 Lose Weight Faster With Chocolate

When you’re sleep deprived, your body craves more sugary, high-calorie and unhealthy foods. Just one night of decreased sleep is enough to boost these cravings, so can you imagine night after night of waking up with a newborn?

Losing the baby weight can be hard but managing craving is even harder. Although some might advise that breastfeeding women may want to avoid dark chocolate in the evening, a square or two of dark chocolate is still better than indulging in late night sugar cravings such as ice cream.

Dark chocolate is high in minerals like iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese and zinc, which is a great pick-me-up after giving birth.

11 … But Avoid All Other Sweets

Just like with the fatty foods, you should also be avoiding all baked goods. Cakes, cupcakes, donuts, pastries… no matter what a friend or family friend brings you, try to skip it! It may seem harmless to have some but your body will most certainly not thank you later.

Women who has gestational diabetes need to be particularly careful with their postnatal diet. Gestational diabetes usually resolves very fast but after having it during pregnancy, up to 10% of women will go on to have type 2 diabetes and up to 50% will have a chance of developing it in the next years. Scary percentages, but the importance of watching what you eat even post-delivery can’t be stressed enough.

Eat nutritious foods after giving birth is not only important for the baby if the mom is breastfeeding, but also for the mom’s own recovery.

10 Eliminate Junk Cravings By Snacking On Almonds

A handful of almonds keeps the doctor away… okay, that isn’t exactly the real expression but it may as well be! Loaded with omega 3 essential fatty acids, fiber, magnesium, copper, zinc, calcium, potassium, as well as vitamins B12 and E, almonds are amazing for a postpartum woman’s health.

On top of lowering cholesterol, consuming almonds on a daily basis can help to lessen belly fat, reduce cravings and even lessen gut inflammation! Just the benefit of possibly reducing belly fat should be enough to entice most postpartum mamas.

Some will say to just have 12, while others will recommend up to 23, but don’t worry about diligently counting the amount of almonds that you have. Straight after giving birth, it’s not time to calorie count, so listen to your body instead.

To mix things up, you could also dip veggies into almond butter as a snack.

9 Seriously Consider Giving Up Dairy

A major point of contention is dairy. Giving up dairy has many proven health benefits and it’s no surprise that it would be beneficial for both a postpartum mama and her baby.

On top of clearer skin and better respiratory health, eliminating dairy has for effect to improve digestion and lessen bloating. The last two points especially are important for a woman who has just given birth.

Especially after a C-section, many women will feel gas pain discomfort, causing them to feel quite bloated. This is a major reason for which a light diet is recommended but the reasoning applies no matter if the delivery was a vaginal or a caesarean one. Following delivery, it’s important to focus on easily digestible foods to boost the healing process.

Not every mama chooses to breastfeed but those who do and choose to go dairy-free might also see a beneficial effect on their babies. Symptoms of a dairy allergy in breastfed babies include eczema, irritability, wheezing, congestion, ear infections, and constipation. Another major giveaway is green stools laced with mucus or blood.

8 Prevent Constipation With Oatmeal

As we all know, that first poop after giving birth can be killer. Filled with iron, calcium and fiber, oatmeal can do wonders for the body as it helps to prevent constipation.

But avoid the pre-packaged little pouches of oatmeal as these usually contain unnecessary sugar. Opt instead for steel cut oats or at the very least, the quick cooking oats with no additional flavoring.

Oatmeal is also one of the top ten lactogenic foods, which means that it can help to increase a woman’s milk supply. Another bonus? It’s usually high in iron, which can be even more beneficial for moms who experienced higher than usual blood loss during delivery.

Can’t stomach a bowl of oatmeal? Make lactation oatmeal cookies instead!

But as much as oatmeal is amazing for mom, it’s not always so great for the baby as it can cause gassiness.

The key word here is “can” because more often than not, something else in mom’s diet is usually the culprit for a baby’s gassiness.

7 … But Avoid Bananas

Pooping after birth is a hot topic and rightfully so… for many, it’s really hard! Especially with stitches and hemorrhoids, that first postpartum poop can see frightfully impossible.

With that being said, bananas are a fruit that brings on a lot of confusion. Do bananas help relieve constipation or are they best avoided? It depends.

Bananas can help prevent constipation as they’re a good source of insoluble fiber, which absorbs water and helps to moves things along in your digestive tract. However, if you are already constipated, then bananas tend to do quite the opposite and are best avoided.

Another major factor with regards to bananas and constipation is ripeness. An unripe banana causes constipation, but a ripe one is supposed to help go to the bathroom. Ideally, bananas shouldn’t be eaten before they get a couple of brown spots on them.

Rather than risking constipation with bananas, eat instead: prunes, yogurt, rye bread and flaxseed.

6 Eat Two Eggs Daily To Keep Fatigue At Bay

If you don’t like salmon or fish, then another great way to get those omega-3’s in there is with some eggs. Gone are the days of eggs being bad for cholesterol. The research is now showing instead that a moderate consumption of two to three eggs per day is actually quite healthy but more importantly, cholesterol levels in relation to heart disease vastly depend on each person.

After giving birth, omega-3 fortified eggs is a very good choice and the best part is that it can help ward off postpartum fatigue – not to mention the fatigue from interrupted sleep at night.

Plus, you don’t even need to have two eggs for breakfast. You could instead boil a few eggs in advance and then eat one as a snack during the day or if you’re on the go with the baby.

5 Exclude Gassy Foods – For Both You And Baby!

The word “diet” gets a bad rep. It used to be that dieting meant not eating, but fortunately the meaning of the word has since been altered to now mean a healthier way of eating. With this being said, if you experience gas after giving birth, then you’re not alone. It’s a common postpartum complaint and one that can be quite bothersome –and embarrassing!– when you’re trying to take care of a baby.

Everything from constipation to pelvic floor damage can be a culprit for bloating but diet plays a huge factor as well. Many foods contribute to bloating but the main offenders are usually: beans, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, asparagus, prunes, peaches and pears.

It’s also worth cutting out these foods if you’re breastfeeding but also if baby is very uncomfortable. If the only symptom is a foul odor, then it’s usually better to keep eating a balanced diet without cutting these out to ensure that baby gets the most nutrients possible.

4 Gravitate Towards Whole Grains And Brown Everything

After giving birth, you might be focused on losing weight as much as possible. Relax mama! The weight will gradually come off on its own and there is no need to stress about. Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, the importance of eating balanced meals during the day can’t be stated enough.

Instead of white rice, the usual white pasta, white potatoes and all the other usual carbs, opt instead for whole wheat and brown-everything as much as you can. This means: whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, whole wheat crackers, brown rice, along with buckwheat and the aforementioned oatmeal.

Whereas the traditional carbs like fries and white pasta can leave you sluggish, eating whole grains can actually give you a much needed boost in energy.

Keep in mind that even wheat products may not sit well with each breastfed baby. Not the same things are right for every mom or child.

3 Go Light On The Spice

As much as you should consider sprinkling turmeric on all your foods, all other spices should be off the table — and we’re not talking about your favorite Italian seasoning. It’s the spicy spices that you should be worrying about… anything that adds heat to your food needs to get the axe for a little while.

It’s always best to err on the safe side in the very beginning and not only for the baby if you’re breastfeeding. The same goes for a mother’s postpartum self-care as unfortunately, spicy food can give rise to heartburn.

It’s unfair to say that every postpartum woman should eliminate all spicy foods from her diet. As with all other foods that are on the countless “do not eat postpartum” lists, it’s one of those that vastly depends on each woman and her baby. With regards to a nursing infant though, it would be best to possibly cut out the food based on the baby’s reaction and re-incorporating it a little while later.

2 Ward Off PPD By Eating Salmon Weekly

If you don’t buy salmon because it’s too expensive, then you might want to rethink your stance. Buying salmon doesn’t have to be outrageous as you can often get it on sale.

Having salmon once a week have shown to be extremely beneficial, especially for any postpartum mama. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to enhance brain function and keep depression at bay.

Postpartum depression is a nasty beast that afflicts up to 15% of women postpartum and luckily, eating the right foods can help. If you find that nothing helps and you also experience insomnia, sadness, a change in appetite, then it’s important to talk to your doctor right away.

If you don’t like salmon or fish in general, then you can consider taking an omega-3 supplement instead.

1 Give Cold Food A Rest

As we already covered, sleep deprivation can increase cravings for sweet foods and many moms find solace by having ice cream frequently… sometimes on a near daily basis – I speak from experience.

Aside from how ice cream should probably be cut out because of the aforementioned dairy element, there is also the matter of it being a cold food. The idea of cutting out cold foods postpartum may sound a little on the outlandish side but bear with me for a second. Postpartum beliefs and practices among non-western cultures vary greatly but most of them are in accordance with foods to avoid postpartum and cold foods are high on the list.

Maintaining a hot-cold balance is believed to restore a mother’s balance more quickly after giving birth, thereby helping her heal faster. After giving birth, a mother is considered to be in a cold state because of the blood she would have lost during the delivery. As such, the aim is to keep the mother as warm as possible.

Only warm foods and drinks are encouraged with the objective of helping the mother recover faster.

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Last Updated on January 28, 2020

It is essential for new moms to pay attention to their diet even after delivery. As you’ll be breastfeeding your baby, adding healthy foods to your plate makes sense. If you’re wondering about the foods you should and shouldn’t eat during the postpartum recovery period, read this article.

Why Is It Important to Eat the Right Foods After Delivery?

The right foods can help your body heal itself and regain strength and energy. Not only that, if you’re breastfeeding, you cannot neglect your diet. That’s because what you eat will be pass to your baby through breast milk.

Foods You Can Eat

After delivery, include foods that belong to these five food categories.

  • Grains

Wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, and other cereal grains come under this category. Khichdi, pulao, parathas, and chapatis are some dishes you can choose from. Whole-wheat bread is rich in folic acid – a nutrient your baby needs in the first few months. In addition, it also has iron which guards against anaemia and fibre which ensures your digestive system remains healthy.

  • Vegetables

Alternate between red, dark green, and orange coloured vegetables as well as legumes such as peas and beans. You can add fenugreek seeds to your vegetable recipes to make them extra nutritious. A food which helps lactation, and also helps in weight-loss, fenugreek seeds also impart a unique flavour to food. Leafy greens like broccoli and spinach contain vitamin A, making them good for both you and your baby. Did you know that they’re also rich in calcium and antioxidants?

  • Fruits

You can opt for fresh, canned, or dried fruits. Try purees and juices to mix things up a bit! As a breastfeeding mom, you should have two or more servings of fruit or juice each day. Blueberries are filled with all the essential vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates, and keep your energy levels high.

  • Meat & Dairy Products

Make dairy products an integral part of your daily postnatal diet. If you’re worried about the calorie consumption, go for fat-free and low-fat products like buttermilk, and yoghurt.

Salmon is a nutritional powerhouse for new moms. It contains DHA – a nutrient that plays an important role in developing your little one’s nervous system. Salmon can also elevate your mood. Studies suggest that it prevents postpartum depression.

Here are some easy ways to add eggs to your plate – scramble them for breakfast, toss a hard-boiled egg on your salad at lunchtime, or have an omelette for dinner.

  • Protein

Fish, nuts, seeds, peas, and beans are rich sources of protein. Include these in your meals. Lean meats and poultry are good choices, too. Legumes like black beans and kidney beans are great for vegetarians. They’re rich in plant protein.

  • Water

It’s also important to consume lots of water to prevent dehydration and keep up your milk supply. You can also go for fruit juices and milk.

  • Ghee

Ghee, when consumed in a moderate amount, can also aid postpartum recovery. Its brings the strength back to your body and repairs the vaginal and pelvic muscles.

Foods You Should Avoid After Delivery

Here’s a list of foods you should steer clear of, especially while breastfeeding:

  • Garlic

The smell and taste of garlic may get transferred to breast milk. Some babies don’t like how garlic smells and tastes and so, may refuse to feed.

  • Coffee

Caffeine can make your baby irritable and lead to sleeplessness. However, it is not harmful when consumed in moderation.

  • Alcohol

A lot of contrasting opinions exist about alcohol consumption during breastfeeding. However, it has been proven that drinking alcohol can lead to drowsiness, weakness, and unusual weight gain in the baby. Alcohol can adversely affect the supply of breast milk.

  • Peanuts

Some babies are allergic to peanuts. It’s best to avoid peanuts during breastfeeding.

  • Oily & Gassy Foods

As a new mom, you should stay away from oily foods that are high in calories. The same goes for gassy foods like cereals that are ‘heavy to digest’.

  • Carbonated Drinks

Stay away from fizzy drinks for a while after delivery.

  • Fish With High Mercury Content

Certain types of fish like swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tilefish contain mercury that can hamper your baby’s brain development.

Postnatal Diet Tips

It is a fact that the quality of breast milk does not change irrespective of what you eat. But if you are not eating nutritious foods, then your body will draw on your reserves of these nutrients to make up for the deficit.

Here are a few tips to eat healthily after delivery:

  • Consume omega-3 fatty acids. These are found in fish and can help baby’s brain and eye development. But restrict yourself to two servings of fish per week.
  • Increase the amount of protein in your diet. Protein makes you feel full for many hours and also regulates blood sugar.
  • Snack regularly on healthy options like nuts and fruit to prevent binge eating.
  • Prepare large portions of healthy food and freeze. When you’re too tired to cook, just heat it and have it!
  • When your stomach is rumbling, you may think it’s hunger. But it may be thirst. Drink a glass of water. If it’s thirst, you won’t feel hungry after gulping down a glass of water.
  • Don’t do crash dieting in order to lose weight after delivery. Losing weight too quickly can affect the supply of breast milk.
  • Cookies, chips and doughnuts are okay once in a while, but they shouldn’t replace healthy foods!
  • If you don’t consume meat or dairy products, you may have to take a vitamin B12 supplement. Ask your nutritionist regarding the same.

Besides eating a healthy and nutritious diet, it is important to come up with an exercise regimen that suits your pace. This will also ensure that even if you do not lose all your pregnancy weight in a jiffy, you will certainly not gain any excess weight.

When you are trying to lose weight after giving birth, stay away from rigorous crash diets. You need to have a balanced diet. Not only does this keep you healthy but it also ensures that you provide your young one with high-quality breast milk. There are some foodstuffs that need to be included in your best diet after pregnancy to boost both the baby’s and your health:

  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Whole grain cereals
  • Fruits
  • Leafy greens
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Water.

Low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt provide both you and the baby with much-needed vitamins B and D as well as calcium. The low-fat nature of these foodstuffs also provides the added advantage of not packing on the pounds.

Bear in mind that dairy products can have a negative impact on the baby’s condition. So be careful and don’t misuse them.

Whole-grain foods are perfect if you are thinking about how to lose weight in a month. They provide plenty of fiber which adds bulk to food. Not only does this improve your digestive health but it also prevents you from adding extra weight.

You should eat fruits very often, especially if you need a snack. They are a good source of vitamins and minerals that are important to your health. Leafy greens also provide you with minerals and vitamins.

You should improve your diet by adding spinach, broccoli, kale or Swiss chard. Greens have very few calories so you should not worry about gaining more weight when you eat them.

Eggs are almost the perfect food. They – alongside fish like salmon – contain protein that is the building blocks of the body. The skin and underlying muscle of your stomach after delivery are stretched out and loose. The body uses protein in the repair of this belly skin and muscles, returning you to your pre-pregnancy figure. Fish and eggs also contain omega 3 fatty acids like DHA that are important for the fetus development.

As you lose weight through metabolism, you need to drink enough water to flush out the wastes. Plying your body with plenty of water also helps it to burn more calories.

Eager to get back into shape now that you’re no longer pregnant? For long-term success – and to keep yourself feeling good along the way – keep these tips in mind.

Don’t start dieting too soon

Your body needs time to recover from labor and delivery. Give yourself until your six-week postpartum checkup before you start watching your calorie intake and actively trying to slim down. And if you’re breastfeeding, experts recommend that you wait until your baby is at least 2 months old before you try to lose weight. (If you’re a nursing mom, you may also want to read our article on a healthy breastfeeding diet.)

Starting a diet too soon after giving birth can delay your recovery and make you feel more tired – and you need all the energy you can muster to adjust to life with your newborn. In addition, if you’re nursing, dieting can affect your milk supply. If you’re patient and give your body a chance to do its work, you may be surprised at how much weight you lose naturally, especially if you’re breastfeeding.

Be realistic about weight loss

Keep in mind that you may not be able to return to your exact pre-pregnancy weight or shape. For many women, pregnancy causes permanent changes such as a softer belly, slightly wider hips, and a larger waistline. With this in mind, you might want to adjust your goals a bit. For a reality check, see our photo gallery of real post-baby bellies.

Embrace exercise

There’s no magic pill to help you lose weight: A healthy diet combined with regular exercise is the best way to shed the pounds – and to keep them off. And it’s important to exercise while trying to lose weight to ensure you’re losing fat instead of muscle.

Once you’re ready to begin losing weight, start by eating a little less and being more active – even if you’re just taking a quick walk around the block with your baby in the stroller.

Find out whether your body is ready for exercise and visit our postpartum fitness area for information on getting back into shape.

Lose weight slowly

Don’t go on a strict, restrictive diet. Women need a minimum of 1,200 calories a day to stay healthy, and most women need more than that – between 1,500 and 2,200 calories a day – to keep up their energy and prevent mood swings. And if you’re nursing, you need a bare minimum of 1,800 calories a day (most nursing moms need more like 2,000 to 2,700 calories) to nourish both yourself and your baby.

If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll want to make sure to take it slow – losing weight too quickly can cause a decrease in your milk supply.

Too-rapid weight loss can also release toxins that are stored in your body fat into the bloodstream – and into your milk supply. (Toxins that can make it into your bloodstream include environmental contaminants like the heavy metals lead and mercury, persistent organic pollutants like PCBs and dioxins, and solvents.)

Weight loss of about a pound and a half a week is safe and won’t affect your milk supply if you’re nursing. To achieve this, cut out 500 calories a day from your current diet (without dipping below the safe minimum) by either decreasing your food intake or increasing your activity level.

Eat up – and take your time!

With a new baby and schedule, it can be hard to find the time to eat. But skipping meals can make energy levels lag – and it won’t help you lose weight. Many moms find that eating five to six small meals a day with healthy snacks in between (rather than three larger meals) fits their appetite and schedule better. (A small meal might be half a sandwich, some carrot sticks, fruit, and a glass of milk.)

Don’t skip meals in an attempt to lose weight – it won’t help, because you’ll be more likely to eat more at other meals. And you’ll also probably feel tired and grouchy.

Even if you’ve never been much of a breakfast person, keep in mind that eating breakfast can help keep you from feeling famished – and tired – later in the morning, and it can give you the energy to be more active.

In addition, numerous studies show that skipping breakfast can sabotage your weight loss efforts. According to the National Weight Control Registry, which has tallied the successful strategies of dieters who have lost an average of 66 pounds and kept it off for 5.5 years, 78 percent of the dieters eat breakfast daily. Slow your eating down, too, if possible. When you take your time eating, you’ll notice that it’s easier to tell when you feel full – and you’re less likely to overeat.

Be choosy about foods and drinks

Research shows that consuming low-fat milk and dairy products and choosing whole grain products like whole wheat bread and whole grain cereal can help you lose weight. Other good choices include low-fat, high-fiber foods such as fruits (like apples, oranges, and berries) and raw vegetables (like carrots, jicama, and red pepper strips) for healthy snacks.

Other ways to squeeze in more fruits and veggies: Make fruit (or veggie) smoothies, use fruit or vegetable salsas or vegetable reduction sauces (sauces made from puréed vegetables) over fish or chicken, add shredded carrots to your sandwich, try grilled vegetables, and try puréed vegetable soups. (Puréeing your soup makes it creamy without having to add cream, which is high in calories and saturated fat. It’s also a great way to eat veggies you might not ordinarily eat on their own.)

Fat has twice as many calories as carbohydrates or proteins, so trimming the extra fat from your diet is probably the easiest way to cut calories. Look for low-fat or fat-free dairy products (you don’t need to drink whole milk in order to make quality breast milk!), choose broiled or baked rather than fried foods, and limit your intake of sweets, which have extra calories from sugar and fat.

Keep in mind, though, that fat is an important nutrient, so your goal isn’t to eliminate it from your diet. In fact, including some fat at each meal will help you stay full and keep you from overeating carbohydrates. (Too many calories from any source – fat, protein, or carbs – can lead to weight gain or keep you from accomplishing weight loss.)

The trick is to choose “good” fats rather than “bad” fats. The best fats are mono- and polyunsaturated fats, like those in canola oil, olive oil, avocado, olives, nuts and seeds, and fatty fish like salmon. The oils to avoid are saturated and trans fats, which can contribute to heart disease and perhaps diabetes, and can be transferred to breast milk, too.

Saturated fats are found in meats and dairy products, and trans fats are typically found in many fried foods, snack foods, and baked goods. (Food labels specify which kinds of fats the products contain.)

Finally, although you should be drinking about 8 or 9 cups of fluids each day, watch what you drink – a surprising number of calories can be hidden in juice, soda, and coffee drinks.

Daily food plan for healthy post-baby weight loss

The food plan below adds up to 2,200 calories a day for breastfeeding moms. For non-breastfeeding moms, it totals 1,800 calories a day. Use this as a rough guide – your individual calorie needs will vary depending on your weight, metabolism, and activity level, and also on how much you’re breastfeeding.

View and print daily food plan.

Losing the Baby Weight: The Truth About Shedding Pounds After Birth

While many of us wish we could magically lose all those extra pregnancy pounds the moment baby finally arrives, the fact is no one — not even celebs! — snaps right back to her pre-baby body so quickly.

Wondering how much weight you can expect to lose right after labor and delivery? Depending on the size of your newborn, which is usually between five and 10 pounds, and the precise weight of your amniotic fluid and placenta, which you deliver at birth, most pregnant women can lose up to 12 pounds during delivery. Considering that women of average weight should gain between 25 and 35 pounds in pregnancy, that’s a healthy start!

So where do the rest of those pounds come from? Your breast tissue, blood supply, fat stores and enlarged uterus. In fact, giving birth might not shrink your baby belly very much at all — at least for the first six weeks, until your uterus shrinks back to around its pre-pregnancy size.

There are lots of things you can do to get into shape again. But it’s really important to give yourself a break: Your body just birthed another being. Things moved around, stretched and grew to make that happen. Don’t focus on “getting your body back” (it actually didn’t go anywhere!) but on creating a healthy, happy, and — possibly slightly differently shaped — you.

Setting realistic weight-loss goals after baby

After you deliver, you will slowly lose weight. You may want to speed things along by working with your doctor to set a safe, reasonable goal. A good rule of thumb is to lose no more than one and a half pounds per week, which would be a calorie deficit of 3,500 to 5,250 calories per week, or 500 to 750 a day.

While many new mothers ditch the bulk of their pregnancy pounds by baby’s 6-month birthday, everyone sheds weight at their own pace. Many factors have been proven to affect your weight loss journey. The first one is your age: Your metabolism slows down by about 2 percent every decade after age 25, so you burn fewer calories at rest as you get older. Another is your diet — when you eat more protein than carbs and eat larger meals earlier in the day, your body burns more calories and works more efficiently. And lastly, other factors include your activity level — the more you move, the more calories you burn — and your natural metabolism, which is determined by your genes.

More About Postpartum Weight Loss

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Keep in mind, too, that especially if you gained more than 35 pounds during your pregnancy, it could take extra time — from 10 months to two years — to bounce back.

Breastfeeding and weight loss

Although shedding 10, 20 or more pounds post-baby might seem insurmountable, it may take less “work” — or at least fewer hours pounding it out on the treadmill — than you might think. That’s because, as many new moms will attest, breastfeeding helps melt off the pounds in record time.

In fact, depending on how much milk you produce, breastfeeding can burn upwards of 500 calories per day. What’s more, it stimulates the release of hormones that help shrink your uterus and your post-baby belly. Unfortunately, contrary to what you might have heard, you don’t need to hold on to an extra five pounds of weight as a reserve while you breastfeed — so those last few stubborn pounds might actually require some extra sweat sessions at the gym.

After you stop breastfeeding, your body has less work to do, which means it burns fewer calories than it did when you were nursing. At the same time you may notice that weaning naturally decreases your appetite — your body’s natural way of putting you on the right kind of diet (so listen to it!).

You’ll likely feel more free to increase your activity level, too. So when you stop nursing, don’t worry too much about packing on the pounds you lost. Lifestyle changes can help keep your metabolism churning — and while you’ll need to scale back on calories a bit, you can prevent those numbers on your bathroom scale from creeping back up.

Breastfeeding in 3 Words

Your post-baby diet

Since your body needs ample rest and nutrition to recover from delivery, fend off infection and feed your baby, you shouldn’t even think about dieting until your baby is at least 6 weeks old or older — no matter how anxious you are to squeeze back into your pre-pregnancy clothes.

Once you feel ready to start a post-baby diet and you’ve gotten the OK from your doctor, make sure you’re still eating enough calories. Crash dieting isn’t just risky for you: If you’re breastfeeding and don’t eat enough calories, your body ends up producing less milk — which means your hungry, growing baby goes on a diet with you. What’s more, burning fat too quickly can trigger the release of toxins that end up in breast milk. Even if you’re not nursing, eating too few calories can make your body think you’re starving. This confusion can actually slow down your metabolism, making it harder to shed those extra pounds in the long run.

Remember, if you’re nursing, your calorie needs are even greater during the first six months after delivery than they were during the last trimester of pregnancy. Your doctor can help determine exactly how many calories you should be eating, since the number will vary depending on your BMI before pregnancy and your activity level.

To put things in perspective, the average woman needs about 2,000 calories a day, and breastfeeding women should tack on an extra 500 calories to maintain their current weight. To lose one pound, though, you need to create a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories per week, or 500 calories less per day, by eating less or exercising more — which means the average breastfeeding woman would be back at 2,000 calories per day to lose about a pound a week.

Make sure the foods you do eat are packed with the proper nutrients. Also remember that the less you weigh, the fewer calories your body needs — so you may need to adjust your calorie intake as you slim down.

Exercise after baby

One other thing to keep in mind: Exercise does a body good. And even though you’re super busy, you can always find ways to start exercising with baby, which can be as simple as taking out the stroller or using a baby carrier. Just make sure you’ve gotten the green light from your practitioner before starting back on your exercise routine, and never exercise to the point of exhaustion (you’re probably exhausted enough from the lack of sleep!).

Find an activity you enjoy — jogging, yoga, cycling, swimming, walking — and plan it into your week. Besides helping you with your weight loss after delivery, a brisk walk with the baby in a nearby park or playground is a great way to meet other moms who may be on the same weight loss mission as you are.

Beating a weight-loss plateau

You might have heard that many new mothers reach a weight loss plateau. And while it’s hard to say exactly if and when weight loss slows, research shows that many women do retain 10 pounds for good. That said, it likely has nothing to do with being pregnant but is more related to changes in your diet and activity levels after baby is in the picture: Caring for a new baby leaves a lot less time to take care of yourself — especially as you struggle to cope with a lot more work and a lot less sleep! But while losing the last few pounds might be tough, nutritious eating and exercise can help ensure that your body is healthy and fit.

Tips to shed those final pounds

No matter where you are on your post-baby weight loss journey, patience is the key. Sticking to a diet can be tricky with a baby, but these tips can help you stay on track:

  • Team up. You need all the support you can get — so get your partner on board. Take a walk instead of watching TV after dinner, and make a commitment to sticking to a post-baby diet together. Start by ridding your fridge and pantry of high-fat and processed foods, then stock up on fruits, veggies, whole grains, dairy products, lean meats, poultry and fish — and keep an eye on each others’ eating habits too.
  • Don’t discount the small stuff. Squeeze even a little extra activity into your daily routine. Every step counts, so don’t discount the little things: You’d be amazed by how many calories you’ll burn from a number of everyday mommy activities.
  • Stay positive. Focus on what you’ve accomplished so far and the weight you’ve already lost, and remember that fitness is about more than the number you see on the scale.

The bottom line

Even mothers are bound to the standard rules of weight loss: fewer calories in than out. Remember that it took you nine months to gain the weight, and slimming down will likely be as challenging as it was before pregnancy. Even when you do achieve your goal weight, be prepared that you may find your body’s shape somewhat different than it was before birth. That’s OK! Remember that you have created a fabulous human being who adores you — all of you. So instead of staring at your tummy, take a peek at your beautiful baby and cut yourself some slack.

Post-Baby Weight Loss Tips from a Celebrity Trainer

You’ve seen the sleek, enviable bodies of the A-list new moms. Tracy Anderson trains (Gwyneth Paltrow for starters), but you may not have known that Anderson has been pregnant, too—twice! The fitness icon is mom to Sam and Penelope, and she gets it.

“I’ve felt those cravings when I’d go to any lengths for pizza,” she says. “And the hardest moments can come later, when you’re recovering and can’t believe this is your body. But if you put in the work, you can look as good or even better than you did before pregnancy.” In fact, she filmed her Post-Pregnancy 2 Workout Series 11 weeks after Penelope was born.

Here, she shares her friendly-yet-firm rules for making it happen.

RELATED: 5 Exercises for Your Post-Baby Belly

Control what you can; roll with the rest

“When I was pregnant with my son, I was 22 years old and gained 60 pounds. I had the attitude that absolutely everything was for the baby—I’d eat The Edge pizza from Pizza Hut every day, and get this massive Dairy Queen Blizzard. I felt like it was what my body wanted and I was entitled to give into it.

Of course, I learned that that wasn’t ideal for the baby or me. With my second pregnancy, I knew so much more about the importance of prenatal fitness and nutrition—I gained 38 pounds, stayed active and listened to my body, and had an incredibly easy road back after delivery. That said, there’s your plan and then there’s the baby’s plan: I got gestational diabetes with Penny, and the pregnancy turned high risk. I realized there are certain things you can’t control.”

RELATED: 4 Safe and Easy Workouts for Pregnancy

Don’t try to prove anything

“Pregnancy for me was not about showing the world that I could have the cutest pregnant body ever! It also wasn’t about gaining a ton of weight and showing people how successful I could be at losing it. The goal is to be your best self for the baby. You can’t be in some ridiculous vanity race to lose the weight. It’s not about anybody else.”

RELATED: Celebrity Moms With Inspiring Body-After-Baby Attitudes

The first workouts back may suck

“When my doctor released me to work out at six weeks, I felt disconnected from my body, like I couldn’t make certain things fire. You might feel like you have low endurance, you’re tired, you’re uncoordinated. Even me! And when I started back, it was the one time in my life where I was like, ‘I need a water break, I’m going to check on the baby’—I never took breaks before.

Those first few workouts back are uncomfortable, but you have to know that getting through them will let you get to the next level and the next.”

RELATED: Postpartum Exercise: Easing Into a Fitness Routine After Birth

Nursing can help you rebound

“Both of my children took to nursing immediately. That was an important part of helping my body return to its natural state after expanding for the baby: Breastfeeding triggers the uterus to contract and expends calories. If you’re able to nurse, it can make a huge difference. But you have to balance your fitness goals with your milk quality—if you work out too hard, you may notice your breast milk declining, and that’s not good.”

RELATED: The Benefits of Breastfeeding

Set a fitness example

“People ask me all the time: How am I supposed to dedicate this time to working out for myself? But it’s not just for yourself. One of the most important things we teach our kids is that they have to take care of their bodies, and that it takes time. If you show your kids that you dedicate an hour a day to taking care of your body, they learn that health is something worth investing in.

Plus, there’s such an incredibly long list of benefits besides your health—your mental state, your ability to perform, your clarity throughout the day—that the time you put into exercise truly pays off in helping you be a more present parent.”

RELATED: 17 Habits of Very Happy Moms

Don’t say the word “diet”

Anderson cringes when new moms say they’re on a diet—getting plenty of nutrients (and calories!) is crucial as you nurse, recover from birth and rebuild strength. But that doesn’t mean she wants you to go hog-wild. Here, five tips she gives her post-preg clients.

  1. Start with a shake A breakfast smoothie packed with whole foods helps you start the day on the right foot. Try a concoction such as whole milk, a scoop of protein powder, fruit (e.g., a banana, some berries) and a bunch of greens. Also, grab a half-piece of whole-grain toast so you get the crucial crunch-factor: Food you can chew makes you feel more satisfied, experts say.
  2. Snack often To keep from getting ravenous, aim for three meals and two or three snacks daily. Try ½ cup guacamole with baby carrots; 4 ounces of Greek yogurt with 1 tablespoon honey; an apple with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter; or a hard-boiled egg.
  3. Get protein at lunch Step aside, sad little salad—if you don’t include protein, you’ll be dragging in no time. Try a healthy burrito: a corn tortilla with ½ cup grilled veggies and 3 to 4 ounces of chicken, fish or lean steak.
  4. Enjoy your dinner The evening—after a full day of diaper duty—is no time to feel deprived. Make sure dinner includes a healthy balance of protein, veggies and carbs. Try a cornmeal crusted tilapia fillet with braised Brussels sprouts and sweet potato cubes; or turkey meatloaf with parsley mashed potatoes.
  5. Drink lots of fluids It’s crucial for breastfeeding and for staying hydrated during and after workouts. Keep a water bottle handy throughout the day (feel free to flavor it with fresh fruit or mint), and swig often!
  • By Anna Maltby

Time for a Postpartum Diet?

Nobody likes being asked “When are you due?” when you’ve already delivered. But for most new moms, looking pregnant doesn’t end with giving birth — and many find their post-baby bodies a little too close for comfort to their expectant ones. Is it time for a postpartum diet? You may be feeling fed up with your saggy stomach and still-wide waistline, discouraged by your wobbly thighs and extra-round hips, so sick of your maternity jeans and sweats that you’re seriously thinking of starting a bonfire with them (but then what would you wear?), and eager to start your diet after baby, but look before you leap into the pages of the latest crash diet bestseller.
Remember that your body is still in recovery — and recovering bodies need all the nutritional help they can get (especially if they’re also keeping up with the demands of making milk for breastfeeding). A sensible diet and exercise after pregnancy routine can help you shed pounds gradually while giving you enough nutrients to keep your energy up (and you’re going to need it with a new baby). Read on for easy postpartum diet ideas.

Postpartum Diet Tip 1: Forgo Fad Diets

In other words, a good diet after baby is a slow-and-steady one (though it won’t necessarily get you into your prepregnancy pants overnight). Crash diets (which live up to their name when it comes to how they affect your energy level, as well as your mood) are definitely not the way to go — though you may see results faster, you’re not likely to sustain them (or the restrictive eating style they require). Skip any eating plan that leaves out healthy carbs, limits choices to one basic food type (all fruit, all protein, or all liquids, to name a few), or severely curbs your calorie intake.

More In This Series

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Postpartum Diet Tip 2: Pack in the Protein

So how do you give yourself the extreme makeover you’re looking for, without the extreme diet after baby? Choose foods that are big in bulk but lower in calories (so they fill you up without filling you out), such as whole-grain breads and cereals, fruits, and raw veggies. Get your protein fix from healthy sources: fish, skinless chicken and turkey breasts, extra-lean beef, and eggs. Count on calcium, too (and what better way than a delicious smoothie) — since recent research links a higher calcium intake with better weight control (but choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products).

Postpartum Diet Tip 3: Burn Calories By Breastfeeding

If you’re nursing, you’ll need to work in calories and nutrition to keep up milk production. Since you can’t really diet after baby, how will you lose weight? Breastfeeding moms burn about 500 calories a day more than those who don’t (without lifting a finger…or a celery stick). But keep in mind when you poke your head into the pantry that breastfeeding can crank up your appetite big time. Which means that if you’re not careful, you can easily out-eat those 500 calories and end up gaining weight instead of losing it. So stay full by drinking nature’s finest no-calorie beverage: water. And limit high-fat snacks and sugary sweets that pack on pounds without offering any nutritional return, such as chips, candy, and soda. Also, see the breastfeeding diet for ideas on what to eat.

Postpartum Diet Tip 4: Get Physical

If you can squeeze a little activity into your busy new-mother day, you’ll slim down faster. Get your practitioner’s approval and take it slow with moves made for postpartum exercise — you won’t have the strength or stamina you may have had this time last year. (And if you’re recovering from a C-section, you’ll need to be especially careful, so always check with your practitioner about what you can and can’t do, and when.) Brisk walks with the stroller or baby carrier can be just the ticket for a healthier mind and body (and now you’ve got an automatic workout buddy — your baby! Get ideas for exercising with baby). Also consider joining a postpartum exercise class, either one that involves your child or one that provides on-site care.

Postpartum Diet Tip 5: Be Patient

Eat well, exercise enough, and you can expect (depending on how much weight you gained in the first place) to return to your prepregnancy size soon — though it might not seem soon enough. As you practice patience (something you’re going to need a lot of anyway, now that you’re a parent), it may help to remind yourself: It took nine months to gain the weight in the first place — it may take upwards of that long to lose it. So cut yourself some slack (just don’t cut yourself another piece of cake). Before you know it you’ll be back in that favorite pair of jeans.

The Basic Postpartum Diet

Omega-3 fatty acids

The Basic Postpartum Diet

The basic postpartum diet is a simple but healthy and wholesome one. It can best be summed up by the following guidelines:

  • Eat foods that supply your body with essential fatty acids, like fresh salmon, nuts, and seeds.
  • Eat whole, preferably organic, foods – whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits, unprocessed meats, nuts, and seeds, for example.
  • Avoid refined sugars and flour, during pregnancy and postpartum.
  • Eat foods that supply your body with antioxidants (mainly fresh fruits and vegetables).
  • Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly.
  • Eat a source of nutrient-laden fiber, such as ground flaxseeds.

Eat Foods that Supply Your Body with Essential Fatty Acids
Fatty acids are the final breakdown product of fats in the diet – the part of the fats you eat that is either stored or used in the cells for energy. Fatty acids were once viewed as nothing more than a source of stored calories, but modern research has shown that the quality of fatty acids in the body has profound effects on human health. Diseases related to inflammation, hormone imbalances, the immune system, behavioral problems, and the heart can often be partially or completely resolved if essential fatty acid levels are balanced through dietary changes or supplementation.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
When you are pregnant, the developing fetus requires large amounts of two specific fatty acids, arachidonic acid (AA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), to build brain and nerve cell membranes. Once a baby reaches about six months of age, his or her body will be able to make DHA and AA from other fatty acids, but while still in utero and in the first six months of life, these fats must be supplied in exact form by the mother’s body – first through the placenta, then through breast milk. More than half of the nerve connections in baby’s brain form during the first year of life, and the integrity of these connections is dependent upon the fatty acid supply from the mother. Ideally, mother’s milk supplies DHA and AA to her baby through nursing for at least a year.

The fats you eat are transformed into hormonelike messenger molecules called prostaglandins, and how the balance of essential fats in your diet dictates the balance of prostaglandins in your body. These fats are also needed for proper brain and nervous system function in people of all ages, but are needed more than ever during gestation and in your baby’s infancy, when those systems are undergoing their fastest period of growth.

The omega-3 fat docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, is the most important structural and cognitive (brain-function-related) fat for your brain and for your baby’s brain. The placenta draws DHA from the mother’s body like a vacuum cleaner, and the milk ducts continue to drain her stores for as long as her baby nurses. If you do not keep replenishing your supply, your emotional and physical well-being will most likely be compromised in the postpartum period and beyond.

The research of Dr. Joseph Hibbeln, a psychiatrist, lipid biologist, and senior clinical investigator with the Section of Nutritional Neuroscience at the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse’s Laboratory of Membrane Biochemistry and Biophysics, beautifully illustrates the connection between omega-3 lack and postpartum depression. Dr. Hibbeln examined fish consumption and the incidence of postpartum depression (PPD) in several countries, and found that the more fish women ate, the less likely they were to develop PPD.

Other research has shown that with each successive pregnancy, blood levels of DHA fall further, and that this dramatically increases a woman’s risk of pregnancy complications. This is why it is especially important to build up your reserves of these good oils if you are thinking of having another child. Pregnant mothers with the lowest levels of DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), another important fatty acid, in their red blood cells are nearly eight times more likely to develop preeclampsia, a complication of pregnancy characterized by elevated blood pressure, than are women with the highest levels of DHA and EPA.

The Importance of Postpartum Nutrition

The addition of a new baby is an exciting time, but adjusting to such a significant change can take a toll, particularly on mom’s health and wellbeing. It can be difficult for a mother to pay attention to her own eating habits when focused on her baby’s needs. Registered nurse Cindy Zizek explains that eating right post-delivery is just as important as it is during pregnancy and enables moms to keep their energy levels up during such a significant period of transition.

What is the postpartum period?

Zizek tells her patients that the postpartum period begins after baby has been delivered and ends when a mother’s body has returned – or nearly completely returned – to its pre-pregnancy state. This period, on average, lasts approximately six to eight weeks.

Postpartum nutrition

A woman, pregnant or not, requires the six basic nutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals (mainly calcium and iron), and water1. “Once baby arrives, the nutrient and caloric needs of a mother who is not breastfeeding will be the same as they were before pregnancy. Breastfeeding moms (or those who are anemic or are recovering from a cesarean section delivery) need to be particularly conscious of what they are consuming,” says Zizek.
In order to ensure good health and proper nutrition, Zizek encourages new moms to follow these food guidelines when eating during the postpartum period:

Iron-enriched foods promote strength

Zizek explains that many women experience iron deficiency anemia, a condition where there are fewer red blood cells than is ideal to supply the body with oxygen. This most often occurs in the third trimester of pregnancy. “Sometimes mothers who have lost blood during childbirth or have given birth to more than one baby at once can also find themselves anemic in the postpartum period,” says Zizek. “Low iron can cause a mother to feel weak, irritable and more susceptible to headaches”. Doctors may recommend that anemic mothers begin taking iron supplements to combat low iron levels, but consuming iron-enriched foods is another way to improve overall energy. These foods include:

  • Lean cuts of red meat
  • Organ meats, such as liver
  • Spinach
  • Egg yolks (limited to three or four a week)
  • Pumpkin seed kernels
  • Legumes, which include beans, lentils and chickpeas

Great grains energize and nourish the body

Zizek advocates for new moms to eat starchy carbohydrates in the form of whole grains because they keep the body fueled with healthy calories and extra energy. “This is particularly important for breastfeeding mothers, who burn approximately 500 more calories a day than mothers who bottle feed,” she explains. Energizing grains include:

  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Whole grain cereal
  • Whole wheat breads
  • Oatmeal
  • Brown rice or wild rice
  • Grains including quinoa, barley, kasha and millet

Healthy fats produce healthy breast milk

Zizek explains that unhealthy fats like saturated and trans fats – found in products including fatty cuts of meats, higher fat milk, butter, processed and fast food – have been known to alter the composition of breast milk. “It is important for breastfeeding mothers to avoid these culprits and ingest healthy fats like mono- and polyunsaturated fats instead,” says Zizek. The following foods are rich in these key fats:

  • Tree nuts such as almonds and walnuts
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado
  • Seeds
  • Fatty fish, such as salmon

Fresh fruits and vegetables keep mom feeling great

“Mothers who are particularly conscious of caloric intake should turn to fresh fruits and vegetables, as fresh produce is nutrient-dense but low in calories,” suggests Zizek. “Fruits and vegetables also serve as an excellent source of iron, calcium and vitamins, aiding in immunity and keeping mom feeling healthy after giving birth,” says Zizek. Super fruits and vegetables include:

  • Citrus fruits (very high in vitamin C)
  • Tomatoes (high in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, plus vitamins C and A)
  • Blueberries (among the highest fruits in antioxidants)
  • Sweet potatoes (high in beta carotene, vitamin C and vitamin A)
  • Broccoli (a good source of protein, calcium and iron)
  • Spinach, kale and other dark leafy greens (high in dietary fibre plus iron, calcium and vitamins)

Don’t forget:
While a good-quality diet will help mom feel energetic and well, it is not a substitute for proper sleep. that will help keep mom and baby well-rested.

1 William Sears and Martha Sears, The Pregnancy Book: Month-by-Month, Everything You Need to Know (New York: Little, Brown and Company 1997) 208-09

What should I eat after giving birth?

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