The joy of your life has been born. Now, in between sleepless nights and restless days, you’re plotting how you can shed some of the weight gained during your pregnancy. While it might be tempting to create a diet and exercise plan to lose weight quickly, you must remember to respect your body, your health, and your baby’s health with intelligent diet and exercise choices.

Your Diet

Many new mothers actually gain weight following childbirth. This is completely normal. A new mother who is breastfeeding may need to consume up to 500 extra calories a day to supply her newborn with plenty of high-quality mother’s milk. A maximum weight loss of one pound a week is recommended for new mothers. Anything more substantial could lead to health problems. Rather than making weight loss your top priority, think instead of your overall health. Here are some diet factors to consider:

  • As a breastfeeding mother, you need to consume between 2200 and 2400 calories a day.
  • Eating nutrient-rich, non-processed foods helps weight loss and supplies the needed vitamins and minerals for you and your baby.
  • Vegetables, fruits, and fibrous carbohydrates, like beans and quinoa, are your friends. They increase energy levels and aid in weight loss.
  • Protein and high-quality fats, such as omega-3s, are essential to health. Fish oils, avocados, coconuts, and extra virgin olive oils are great sources for these fats. Two to three grams of omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for weight loss, as well as a newborn’s physical and mental development. In addition, they can elevate a new mother’s mood and help relieve stress.
  • Try to avoid sugars and processed grains. Weight loss accelerators are also not recommended, due to possible side effects on a newborn’s health. Safe and smart choices enhance your life and your baby’s well-being.

Daily Exercise and Stress Management

As a new mom, you can start exercising as soon as you feel comfortable and have consulted with your doctor. Don’t feel you need to rush into a regimen. Once you feel ready, some great exercises are available.

  • Take your baby out for a long walk in a stroller. Pushing that stroller up and down steep hills quickly becomes a full-body workout!
  • Do high-intensity resistance exercises with dumbbells. This is a great and quick way to rev your metabolism.
  • Yoga can be a great calorie burner, build lean muscle, and aid in stress management. In addition, a yoga class can serve as a good social outlet and allow you some personal time.

You are beginning (or revisiting) the great adventure known as parenting. While you might be eager to wear your pre-pregnancy clothes tomorrow, remember that your health is your primary concern, rather than shedding pounds quickly. Your health directly affects your newborn’s development.  A nutrient-rich diet, daily exercise, and quality time for you and your baby are the keys to that new adventure. Make both of you a priority.