Healthy eating is an integral part to a healthy life. During the months and years following birth nutrition plays an important component of sustaining your energy levels and recovery, your return back to your pre-pregnancy body and the vital nourishment for your baby’s growth and development if you are breastfeeding.
Balancing the demands on your body whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding, with the desire to achieve your pre-pregnancy body can be an added stress during the months and years that follow from the arrival of your baby. ShapeUp Mums understands these demands and can assist you to achieve a balance between the varying demands of motherhood. Our dietitian, Sally can assist you to design a healthy diet eating plan that will assist with your lifestyle goals.
Healthy eating is important when you are breastfeeding. Your body has a greater need for most nutrients. In order to provide adequate energy for your baby you also must consume additional calories to support this additional demand on your body. However, some of the extra energy required for breastfeeding comes from body fat stored during pregnancy. To meet your extra nutrient needs, it is important to eat a variety of nutritious foods. Breastfeeding your baby should help you return to your pre-pregnancy weight, as some of the weight you gain during pregnancy is used as fuel to make breast milk. An added bonus of breastfeeding is that it helps you shape up.
The greatest amount of weight loss generally occurs in the first 3 months after birth and then continues at a slow and steady rate until 6-12 months after birth.
When you are trying to lose your pregnancy weight it is important you do not restrict your food intake too much. You still need to make nutritious breastmilk and stay healthy yourself. Try these helpful hints if you are and are not breastfeeding:
- Do not skip meals
- Limit foods high in fat and sugar such as lollies, chocolate, soft drinks, cakes, sweet biscuits, chips and fatty take-away
- Use healthy cooking methods such as steaming, boiling, microwaving, grilling and stir frying
- Trim fat from meats and avoid chicken skin
- Do some gentle exercise such as taking your baby for a walk, or attend a ShapeUp Mums session in your local area
- Plan your healthy meals and snacks ahead of time
Returning to your pre-pregnancy weight and maintaining a healthy weight are important for a variety of reasons. Maintaining a healthy weight lowers your risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and a number of types of cancers. In addition excess body weight has the potential to make some pelvic floor problems worse, particularly prolapse and incontinence.
The key to losing weight is not just getting your eating right, it is about exercising and eating well. The combination will ensure you achieve your goals before you know it!