The nine month-long journey to motherhood is nothing less than an emotional rollercoaster. Soon-to-be mothers turn around their entire lives to keep up with the needs of their baby. They eat nutritious food and consume vitamins and supplements to fuel the growth and development of their baby. But a healthy diet and regular exercise are as much important after delivering the baby as they are before.
A balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods and dairy each day and exercise are vital for postpartum healing and recovery. Especially for breastfeeding mothers, whose diet directly affects their child, proper nutrition is essential for both the new mother as well as the baby. Nourishing foods that support recovery and milk production and provide the energy to last through the day are of the utmost importance. While the haste to return to old habits like fitting in old jeans or sipping coffee and alcoholic drinks is natural, new mothers must be mindful of their diet and exercise.
Also, Read: Fruits to Avoid During Pregnancy Diet
Follow a Balanced Diet
During the postpartum period, following a balanced diet that includes food from all variety of food groups is essential. At every meal, half of the plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables. One-fourth of the plate should contain whole grains rich in iron and folic acid. The other quarter of the plate should be protein-rich foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt, meat, fish and beans. New mothers should also include fibre-rich carbs, calcium-fortified dairy products and fats like avocados, seeds and nuts in their daily diet. Also continue to take vitamins that was being taken prenatally.
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Stay Hydrated All Day Long
Hydration is critical postpartum especially if breastfeeding. New moms should aim for at least 6-10 glasses of water each day. To keep up their daily fluid intake, new mothers can also drink fruit juice, coconut water, buttermilk and milk. Additionally, drinking water is also helpful in flushing out the excess fat in the body. By choosing water over sugar-sweetened drinks, new moms can reduce their calorie intake, lose excess weight and stay hydrated.
Include Exercise in Daily Routine
Most new moms should start exercising after the first six weeks of giving birth as it helps to lose weight, promote good sleep and reduce backaches and constipation. However, they should avoid strenuous activities like lifting weights or climbing stairs. They should participate in light physical activity for at least 30 minutes every day, this can include walking, yoga or Kegel exercises. Before starting regular exercise, new mothers should consult their doctor to guide them through their workout routine.
Also, Read: Second Trimester Diet Plan for Healthy Pregnancy
Avoid Fish, Caffeine & Alcohol
New mothers who are breastfeeding should avoid high-mercury seafood and fish as mercury is a toxin that affects the brain development of the baby. Similarly, caffeine and alcohol can pass from the mother to the baby through breast milk and harm the baby’s brain and body development. Fish and seafood containing mercury should be avoided at all costs while consumption of caffeine and alcohol can be limited.
Pregnancy and childbirth can take their toll on new mothers physically, emotionally as well as mentally. Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly and moderately can help new moms recover as well as lose weight. It can take a few weeks to find their feet in this new life but new mothers should take this time as an opportunity to bond with their baby and allow their body to heal itself. A balanced diet, mindful eating and mild and regular exercise can help new mothers, as well as their babies, blossom in this new world.
Also, Read: Importance of Vegetarian Diets
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