Breastfeeding can burn up to 800 calories a day for new moms. This is a great jump start to losing pregnancy pounds, but it can also leave you hungry and craving calorie rich, empty carbs—a sure shot of way of gaining more weight than you lose.
The trick for new moms to stay fit is to eat right and exercise. And by following a few simple and effective eating and exercise routines you can obtain and maintain a healthy weight, no matter what your size and shape is.
1. Drink Up
Drinking enough fluids is a must for new moms. Water, milk and juices keep your digestion on track and help with milk production while also keeping you full and less tempted to grab that extra bag of chips.
The body can also confuse thirst and hunger easily, so if you are hungry soon after a healthy meal, try drinking water to see if that satiates you. Since dehydration can wreak havoc on your metabolism and thwart your weight loss efforts, it is important to remain hydrated at all times.
The best way to make sure you drink enough water is to consume it regularly throughout the day. Keep a bottle of water with you and sip from it at regular intervals.
2. Get Complex (Nutrients)
Breastfeeding moms need tons of energy around the clock, and the best foods for quick fuel are complex carbs. Not only are they packed with nutrients, but complex carbs are also slower to be broken down by the body—so they keep you fuller, longer.
Satisfy those carb cravings with healthy choices such as baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, brown rice and whole grains. Milk and yogurt are also great sources of nutrients—to help strengthen bones with all the calcium they contain–which is great for both mom and baby. Lean meats, chicken and lentils, are protein-rich building blocks for both as well.
Another must-have for lactating moms is cold-water fish, such as salmon and tuna. These are great sources of DHA, an Omega 3 fatty acid known for developing baby’s brain and nervous systems. Breastfeeding infants can taste what their moms eat, so this is an ideal time to bring on the nutrient-rich rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Not only will these play a pivotal role in both the mom and baby’s well-being, but the newborn will develop a predisposed taste for these superfoods later on in life.
3. Eat, Eat, Eat
Consuming three meals a day can lead to hunger pains for active new mothers. Eating healthy snacks like oats, dried fruits and nuts every two to three hours keeps hunger at bay and helps maintain stable sugar and energy levels.
This, in turn, will aid in the resistance of unhealthy snacks like cakes, chips, heavy cheeses and donuts.
A sure-fire way to avoid empty calories is to store healthy snacks at home instead of junk food. This ensures that every time you reach for something to eat on-the-go, you can be assured it is packed full of nutrients.
4. Work it, Baby
Though it can be tough for new moms to make time to exercise, working out is still possible with a baby.
When you climb stairs or do squats, carry your baby, either in your arms or a strap-on carrier. The additional weight of your infant will help burn more calories while also serving as bonding time.
In fact, simply lifting your baby up in the air is a smart, effective way to strengthen and tone your muscles too. Pushing your baby in their stroller while walking is a great exercise as well. Pile on the diaper and shopping bags and watch the additional weight burn away even more calories!
5. Let It Go
Taking a little time for yourself every day to breathe deeply and relax your mind can also help you lose weight and stay fit. Staying calm and recharging keeps you stress-free and away from emotional binge eating.