The Do's & Don't for Breastfeeding Mums
Do I eat a high-fat, low-carb diet? Should I limit my fruit intake? Is it better to cook with olive oil or coconut oil? Health advice surrounding our food choices is changing all the time. And with so much information so readily available at the tap of a finger, understanding which direction to follow can be confusing.
New mums don’t have time to try out fads like drinking 2 litres of celery juice every morning; they’re too busy burping babies and changing nappies. New mums want the facts, and they want the tips and tricks to make whatever they should be doing for their health as easy as possible. That’s why we’ve put this article together – The Basic Dos and Don’ts for Weight Loss. We’ll get straight to the point.
Don’t: Follow extreme diets
An extreme diet involves either restricting food groups or calories, which is the last thing a breastfeeding mum wants to do. Everything we consume passes through our breastmilk and on to our little ones. Therefore, we want as many nutrients to be passing through as possible. So, this means eating an abundance of a wide variety of fresh foods.
A general rule to follow is the 90/10 rule. Eat healthy, wholesome foods 90% of the time and allow 10% for treats. You don’t need to restrict calories or cut out food groups when you eat like this. Instead, you can eat mindfully in a way that nourishes your body, and you can know for sure you won’t go overboard on the unhealthy stuff.
Do: Meal Prep
We know new mums have enough on their plate without adding in meal prepping but hear us out! We’re not saying you need to spend five hours in the kitchen on Sundays preparing all the meals for the week, but you can do some small ‘preppy’ things that make a world of difference.
So, if bub is asleep and you’ve got half an hour on your hands, here are some quick and easy things you can do that will make the hectic times much easier.
- Store your smoothie fruits in individual serve in zip lock bags in the freezer
- Chop up your veggies for a couple of dinners, cover and store in the fridge
- Cut up a whole lot of veggie sticks and keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator (an easy one-handed snack to enjoy with hummus as a dip)
- Boil some eggs and store in the fridge
- Make a double batch of savoury muffins and store them individually in the freezer
These little tasks might not seem like much, but they may be enough to stop you from jumping on UberEATS during a witching hour when everything feels too much. Knowing the vegetables for dinner are already chopped and ready to go will help to take the pressure off.
Don’t: Buy Junk Food
We know it’s easier said than done, but if you can resist buying junk food while you’re at the shops, you won’t have the temptation at home. If there’s no ice cream in the freezer and no chocolate in the pantry, you will have no choice but to look for a healthier snack when the late-night cravings hit.
Try to avoid going down the confectionary aisle, out of sight, out of mind. Instead, stick to the perimeter of the shops as this is where you’ll find all the fresh produce. And, most importantly, don’t go to the supermarket on an empty stomach!
Do: Stay Hydrated
Hydration is super important for weight loss as minor dehydration is often confused with hunger. That’s right, you might think you’re hungry, but really you just need a big glass of water.
The only successful way to ensure you’re not mistaking hunger for thirst is to get on the front foot. You can do this by starting the day with a big glass of water, having another before each meal and another each time you breastfeed. Breastfeeding is thirsty work, and you want to be replenishing your fluids consistently throughout the day.
Pro tips: find a water bottle you love and always keep it on you. Add some berries or citrus fruit like lemon or opt for sparkling when you’re getting bored.
Don’t: Choose Fat-Free Over Full Fat
Healthy fats are a mum's best friend. They help keep us feeling full, provide essential nutrients for growth and development, and provide energy to help us, soldier, through sleep deprivation. Whereas "fat-free' products generally have added sugar. And sugar is not a mum's best friend, as it wreaks havoc on our hormones and leaves us feeling sluggish.
Dairy products like yoghurt, milk, and cheese are better consumed in the full-fat version, as long as you watch your portion sizes.
Do: Keep Up Your Exercise
Many women say they stopped exercising after their babies' arrival because they don't have the time. But if you can find just 15 minutes a day, whether it's going for a walk with your bub, when your partner gets home from work or while your little one is busy doing tummy time, it will make all the difference.
Exercise is incredibly important for new mums' physical and mental health, so it needs to be prioritised. The whole family should decide a time for mum to get her workout done. Whether that's a walk by yourself, an online yoga class or maybe even a swim. If you can block out 15 minutes a day for your movement, we're sure you'll start to see the benefits right away. Just be sure to wait until after your six-week medical clearance before partaking in anything too strenuous.
Do: Include an In Shape Mummy Health Shake
An In Shape Mummy Health Shake should be on every new mum's radar. Not only will this lactation shake assist in post-partum weight loss, but it will also support milk production. In Shape Mummy is enhanced with galactagogues, herbs that have been used for centuries to promote milk production. In addition to this, each blend provides over 25 essential vitamins and minerals to support the needs of new mums, plus the protein mums need to lose weight while supporting milk supply.
How much weight can I expect to lose?
Although we all want to get back into those skinny jeans right now, weight loss takes time. It took nine months to grow your beautiful baby, so the weight isn't going just to fall off. A goal of losing 2kg per month will ensure your milk supply isn't affected. For example, 10kgs in 5 months. Once you've stopped breastfeeding, you can aim a little higher at around d 4-6kg per month.
What if I'm healthy 90% of the time and still not losing weight?
If you've been eating healthy for 90% of the time for an extended period but not seeing results, it might be time to start monitoring your calories a little closer.
To lose weight, you need to have a calorie deficit. A calorie deficit occurs when the total number of calories you consume in a day is less than the total number of calories you burn.
Healthy food is typically lower in calories, so most people will lose weight by simply eating healthy food and cutting out junk food.
But if you've been on the healthy wagon for months and still aren't losing weight, we recommend tracking your calorie intake for 1-2 weeks. This will help you to get a feel for how much food your body needs to lose weight. We don't recommend tracking calories forever, but just until you understand what calorie range will allow you to lose weight.
The number of calories needed is different for every individual based on their height, weight, age, activity level and whether you're breastfeeding or not. When you register for the In Shape Mummy 12-Week Support Program, you can find a calorie calculator. All the meals in our 12-Week Program are tailored to your calorie needs in the right portions to make it easy for you.
Join the In Shape Mummy Breastfeeding Support Group on Facebook.
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