Your beautiful bundle of joy has finally graced this Earth. You are full of joy and falling in love every second spent in those waking hours with him. Then the moment comes when you see yourself in the mirror and think, “I thought that extra weight would have been gone by now.” Sorry to say, but that weight was put on over a period of time and will not come off overnight.
So what is a mom to do about the dilemma of wanting to lose the baby weight yet still has the instinctual desire to breastfeed her baby? Although a breastfeeding mother should not be following a restrictive diet from a book written by an “expert” wanna-be or drinking the latest miracle tea, she can however, follow a healthy diet while breastfeeding that encompasses essential nutrition for both herself, and her baby.
Clean Eating Diet:
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It is really an easy concept but so many people make this style of eating into one that is only practiced by such populations as body builders or cover models. Clean eating is, well, eating foods that are going to do good things for your physical and mental wellbeing. Following a plan with the minimalist of processed foods, no added sugars, foods providing good fats such as avocado and nuts, locally grown produce, lean cuts of meats, poultry and pork, quality seafood, and whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa.
Example of a Clean Eating day of food:
Breakfast: Egg white omelet with mushrooms, spinach and red peppers served with watermelon.
Lunch: Brown rice with turkey breast meat, steamed green beans and a large salad of a variety of greens tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Snack: Homemade energy bites
Dinner: Grilled chicken breast with baked sweet potato sprinkled with cinnamon, with steamed broccoli and carrot medley.
Calorie Balanced Diet:
Reducing calories is not something a lactating woman should be focusing on. Following fad diets while breastfeeding and restricting calories can cause milk supply to lower, which in turn causes the baby to eat less, resulting in a plethora of medical problems. A good way to be sure there is an ample supply of calories is to spread them out throughout the day.
Being busy as a mother to an infant, is a large understatement and many mothers will tend to only eat once per day due to being too busy with all things considered, mom-life. Try pre-planning your meals ahead of time, while someone is helping with the baby. Seal off each of your meals in containers for the next 2-3 days and include three meals and 2 snacks. Remember that calories are your energy and nutrients to stay healthy for yourself as well as your baby.
Example a Calorie Balanced day of food:
Breakfast: Premade quinoa with cranberries and walnuts.
Snack: Homemade trail mix of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds and raisins.
Lunch: A sandwich made with whole grain bread, high quality sliced turkey, hummus for spread, slice of tomato and spinach leaves with cubed mango and organic yogurt.
Snack: Apple slices with almond butter.
Dinner: Homemade crockpot soup.
Plant Based Diet:
This is not a vegetarian, nor vegan style of eating. Plant based is still eating foods from the animal kingdom but meal planning revolves around plants being the centerpiece, as opposed to such foods like a pork roast or chicken breast. Please don’t read me wrong here, you will get plenty of protein following a plant based meal plan.
With plant based diets, there is a strong emphasis on eating more vegetables, fruits, legumes and a variety of grains such as quinoa and millet, while the animal product is more of a garnish. As a lactating mother, plants offer essential phytonutrients needed to produce a consistent supply of milk while keeping the mother healthy. Its also essential for the mom to get ample fruits and veggies because those nutrients are shared with the baby via the mother’s milk.
Example of a Plant Based day of food:
Breakfast: Oatmeal prepared with water topped with granola, fresh berries and yogurt.
Lunch: Sprouted bread smeared with almond butter and topped with chia seeds and a drizzle of honey; served with a large spinach and cherry tomato salad.
Snack: Celery sticks and pepper slices with hummus for dipping.
Dinner: Large salad bowl of baby greens, cherry tomatoes, grated carrot, avocado slices, sunflower seeds, chopped apples, topped off with grilled salmon.
More food for thought: In addition to better food choices, get out and be active. It is great for the baby as well as helping you lose the baby weight in a healthy non-restrictive way. Also, consider having levels of vitamin D checked and eat a regular intake of foods containing omega-3 fats. Not only are these nutrients essential for the mother, but when a baby is getting these nutrients via breast milk, the baby is beginning off on the right foot.