Many women struggle with losing those dreaded (but well worth it!) pregnancy pounds after having a baby. It can be difficult because caring for a new baby, as wonderful as it is, can be very busy and tiring at the same time. Leaving any time to even think about weight loss may be one of your last priorities. If you are breastfeeding your baby, you probably have even less time to worry about losing weight because you are basically the only one who can feed your newborn. But, losing weight after pregnancy while breastfeeding doesn't have to be a difficult task. Check out these 3 "must do" tips!
1. What to Eat (and what not to eat!). Of course, you want to lose your pregnancy weight, but at the same time, the food/drinks you are consuming should also be healthy for baby's sake. You shouldn't attempt losing weight after pregnancy while breastfeeding until about 6-8 weeks postpartum, or at least don't cut down on calories until then. Get a good milk supply established first and get in a good routine with baby and then focus on calorie intake.
The types of foods you want to stick to in order to lose weight are foods such as lean protein which includes eggs, chicken, legumes, lean beef, etc. You also want to stick to eating fruits and vegetables, giving yourself a variety of these so you get a good mix of vitamins and minerals, all of which will pass through to baby, giving them a good mix as well. If you are eating any kind of pasta, rice, breads and cereals, eating the whole grain kinds are the best option and they are a great source of fiber which will help a hungry breastfeeding mother stay full for longer periods of time! Many fruits and veggies are also excellent sources of fiber, so if you stick to plenty of those, plus the whole grain foods and lean proteins, these will all help keep you full longer and help you lose weight at the same time!
Now, what not to eat? You want to avoid foods that contain high amounts of sugar (you know, those yummy, but oh so unhealthy donuts, cake, cookies, etc.). You also want to avoid foods that are high in unhealthy fats (such as trans and saturated fats). Also, watch your sodium intake; many processed foods contain tons of sodium!
2. Workout When You Can. While caring for a newborn, you may not have too much time left in your day to exercise - between changing diapers, lots of laundry, and of course, napping when baby naps! Losing weight after pregnancy while breastfeeding is going to have to involve some sort of exercise on a regular basis in order for it to be successful. If you can't (or don't want to) go to the gym, you can do things such as taking walks with baby, working out with exercise videos (there are some that even include baby in the workout with you!), or even buy some gym equipment such as a treadmill, elliptical, etc. which you can always buy second hand to make it more inexpensive, or you can also buy a pair of inexpensive hand weights, a skipping rope, roller blades, etc. Try to do things that you enjoy when it comes to working out, you will stick to your exercise routine better that way.
Even if you only have 10 minute breaks to exercise here and there throughout the day...that all counts! There are many shorter versions of workout DVDs now that have 10, 20 and 30 minute workouts on them which work great for a busy mom! Important Note: Please make sure you have the "ok" from your doctor before beginning any type of exercise routine. Usually the wait after a natural birth is approximately 4-6 weeks, and for ceserean section is about 6-8 weeks, but make sure your doctor gives you the go ahead first.
3. Diets. At all costs, avoid those fad "quick fix" type of diets. You know, the ones that promise you that you'll lose weight quickly, and the ones where you have to cut things out of your diet like carbohydrates (the good kinds too!) for example. Losing weight at a gradual pace in a healthy way is the safest option for you (and for baby) and it will also help keep your energy levels up. Eating healthy food and exercising regularly will give you more energy and also help you to sleep better...at least when baby lets you sleep. So, aim to lose 1 to 1 1/2 pounds per week, but no more than that.
Remember also, for some women, breastfeeding itself helps to shed some pounds as it can burn up to 500 calories per day. When thinking about losing weight after pregnancy while breastfeeding, just always keep in mind that what you eat/drink goes into baby's milk and that may help you even more to eat healthy!
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