Diet and Exercise for New Mothers

February 5, 2019

Being a new mother is quite exciting. After going through all those months of pregnancy, which is usually a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences, you meet your child, and this goes down as one of the most memorable moments of your life. You want to give the best to your child and vow to do whatever it takes. However, what many mothers don’t realize is that the first step towards ensuring your child’s well-being is ensuring that you take care of yourself, starting with your diet and exercise.

The postpartum diet is very important for the health of both the mother and the infant. It has been found that the best post-pregnancy diet for a breastfeeding woman should include a lot of fruits, vegetables, low-fat proteins, and a variety of whole grains. You may find that you feel hungry quite often. This is because you are losing a lot of nutrients while breastfeeding, and hence, you must have small meals throughout the day to keep your body replenished. If you have been prescribed to eat any additional vitamins or calcium tablets, continue those as they will improve the quality of your breast milk. Also, make sure you drink plenty of water. While this is important for everyone, it is especially so for a new mother who is breastfeeding as staying hydrated maintains your supply of milk, ensuring that you can breastfeed your child as and when required.

A mother who is breastfeeding does have a few dietary restrictions, which include caffeine and alcohol. However, contrary to popular belief, these items can be consumed in limited amounts and do not have to be avoided completely. On the other hand, consumption of any kind of fish with a high level of mercury should be avoided completely as it could lead to the development of mental disabilities and deficiencies in your child.

Wanting to get back to the shape you were in before pregnancy is not as difficult as one might think. Doctors recommend that new mothers begin with their exercise routine soon after their delivery. However, it is important to consult your doctor before taking up any rigorous kind of exercise routine to avoid any injuries or complications. Even though exercise is good for you, it is important to remember that your body has gone through a major change and is still fragile. Exercise is not only excellent for your physical health but also helps reduce the risk of postpartum depression. In case you experience headaches, soreness in the body or heavy bleeding during or right after exercise, you should stop immediately and pay a visit to your doctor.

Some common exercises for new mothers are:

Walking– It is a basic form of workout, but it will do wonders for you. It is good to start with walking when you begin exercising as a new mother as it is not too strenuous to the body, but yet helps build stamina. Once your body becomes accustomed to walking, you can increase your speed to start power walks, and can eventually also take up running. Try running in zigzag patterns to challenge your muscles. You can make this an interactive routine with your baby but do so only once you are confident and have mastered your balance.

Deep Breathing– This is a very easy exercise and can be performed even as early as an hour after delivering your baby. Deep breathing exercises help in tightening, toning and strengthening your abdominal area. As time passes, you can make this routine more challenging for you by increasing the period and contracting and holding your abs.

Kegels– In this exercise, you have to try to manipulate your bladder muscles, and try to control the leaks you might be experiencing.  This helps your bladder muscles strengthen and tone up. Post-delivery, you may experience loss of bladder control while doing simple things such as sneezing, coughing, picking up your baby or laughing. Kegel exercises can help prevent this.

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