So you’ve recently (and I use the term lightly) brought a precious little person into your family and you are fortunate enough to be able to breastfeed, this isn’t always as easy as it sounds so I think it’s a wonderful achievement if you can do it. I am thrilled to be feeding my little man.
A new baby brings huge disruptions to not only your sleep but also your daytime routines which makes for a massive drain on your energy. We all know that breastfeeding requires extra energy and extra resources.
I have always heard that breastfeeding can help you lose that baby weight but I think that also has a lot to do with how you are getting your extra energy. In my case, not so much as a lot of my extra energy comes from empty calories in the form of chocolate.
If, like me, you are after some advice and tips on diet and weight loss while breastfeeding then read on because that’s exactly what I bring to you today. A piece I will be reading carefully and trying to follow a little better than I am at the moment.
Rhian Allen, founder of www.healthymummy.com – a health and fitness website for mums, has been good enough to share some of her top tips with us.
Mum and baby both benefit from a good diet, especially while breastfeeding for energy and nutrients. Breastfeeding requires extra nutrients to ensure the milk supply is strong and it can take around 600 calories to make enough milk for a newborn each day.
The suggestion for breastfeeding women is to source the additional calories through vegetables and complex carbohydrates like wholegrain cereals and grains, partly because breastfeeding women need the extra fibre to aid with digestion.
Some good sources of wholegrain cereals and grains include foods like:
- Wholegrain breads
- Brown rice
- Wild rice
- Bulgar (such as tabouli)
The below meal suggestions are a simple way to fit these foods into your day:
- Quinoa salad with chickpeas and prawns
- A yummy nut butter and banana wholegrain sandwich
- Brown rice substituted in a risotto dish
- A wild rice stir fry
- Bulgar in some tabouli with some grilled chicken
- A yummy veggie soup with some barley to boost
As important as what foods to include in the breastfeeding diet are the foods that are best avoided. These foods could cause issues for both mum and bub which include sickness, colic, eczema, irritability and/or trouble sleeping.
Some of these foods (and my downfall) are:
- Milk, dairy, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and spicy foods have been linked to colic
- Too much caffeine, which can make your bub restless
- Eggs and peanuts, which have been linked to allergies in babies
Rhian’s Top Eight Weight-Loss Tips can help you start seeing results and they are all based around healthy eating and exercise.
- Switch To Wholegrain Everything – At first, this might seem difficult and you might meet with some resistance from family members but you will all get used to it. That means no more white flour, white bread, white pasta, white rice, all of these are available in wholemeal or wholegrain options. You could also try switching out things like pasta and rice for other options like cous cous or quinoa (you can even get wholemeal cous cous).
- Reduce Your Added Sugar Intake – Added sugar is a sneaky one and you will find that it’s in so many foods. Instead of trying to cut it out completely it’s a good idea just to reduce it as much as possible. For example, you could switch a low fat strawberry yoghurt for some natural or Greek yoghurt with fresh berries added. Also, avoid keeping sugary foods in your house or make healthy alternatives with The Healthy Mummy’s low fat baking recipes at http://www.losebabyweight.com.au/recipes/low-fat-baking-recipes
- Watch Out For Bad Fats – While it’s important to consume good fats from sources such as fish, olive oil, avocado and nuts, it’s also key to reduce or avoid bad fats. Bad fats found in deep fried foods, commercial cakes, chips, chocolate bars, donuts, pastries etc. These are the fats that can hinder your weight loss, make you feel lethargic, and make it hard to keep your skin looking fresh.
- Get Moving Everyday – If you really want to crank up your results, add some exercise along with your good nutrition – you will see a big difference in your body and fitness levels. You could try a daily walk, a couple of segments from The Healthy Mummy Exercise DVD, a regular swimming session or fitness class, cycling, yoga or pilates. Basically anything that gets your heart pumping and helps you break a sweat is a good thing.
- Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption – Alcohol gives you additional calories in your day with no nutritional benefit whatsoever, so it’s an easy one to reduce your consumption to quickly reduce your total calorie intake. Keep alcohol for the weekends or special occasions.
- Don’t Skip Meals and Snacks – Your metabolism is responsible for helping you to lose weight, and it’s important that it’s fired up and kept busy throughout the day with healthy meals and snacks at regular intervals. We recommend 3 main meals and 2-3 healthy snacks per day in order to lose weight.
- Cut Down On Bread – If you find that you are having two slices of toast at breakfast and a sandwich for lunch, you could end up eating almost 30 slices of bread per week. While we don’t suggest cutting bread out entirely, it’s a good idea to reduce your consumption if you are trying to lose pregnancy weight. Or replace traditional bread with wholegrain!
- Keep Healthy Convenient Foods On Hand – Make life easy by keeping healthy convenient foods on hand so that you can easily pull a meal together. For instance eggs, tinned tomatoes, cous cous, bags of salad leaves, tinned chickpeas or kidney beans, tinned tuna, portions of frozen cooked brown rice that you can defrost in the microwave. See healthy snack ideas at http://www.losebabyweight.com.au/category/snacking-suggestions
Thank you to Rhian at HealthyMummy for this great advice. I will certainly be incorporating at least some of these tips into my life to help me get back to the shape I worked so hard for before my surprise bundle graced me with his presence.
For those of you with a KILLER sweet tooth, like mine, Healthy Mummy has recently released the Guilt-Free Chocolate Treats & Baking Cookbook which we will be reviewing in the near future.
The Healthy Mummy is a great source of inspiration, ideas and support for mums on their weight-loss journey. They also have an online 28 Day Winter Weight Loss Program which gives members access to shopping lists, daily recipes and meal plans, a daily exercise schedule that’s easy to do at home, a timer and a support network which includes Rhian. The best bit about this is that signing up online from June 1 is just $25, which works out to less than a dollar a day, for the whole 28 days at www.healthymummy.com.