Staying Healthy Inside and Out: after having a baby. Written by: Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CDN, CEO of the NY Nutrition Group
“I want my body back” is what I hear all the time from new moms. Although pregnancy and getting to know your baby in the earlier stages of life is very exciting, it can also be a very challenging and scary time. A lot is changing at a rapid pace, including changes on the inside AND outside of your body. Regardless, what’s most important is that you do what you can to stay healthy, both mentally and physically. The first 12 weeks of your child’s life is also the fourth trimester for you. This is a vulnerable period and not the time to try to “snap back” to your pre-baby body.
Here are some ways you can stay as healthy as possible from the inside out:
Make sure you’re eating ENOUGH
Demanding schedules and sleepless nights can make it hard to remember what day it is, let alone when it’s time for you to eat. But as you prioritize your baby’s feedings, you must also pay attention to your own. Additionally, if you’re trying to deliberately cut calories or carbs, make sure to wait until you’re out of the 4th trimester. It’s okay to want to lose weight, but restricting calories or carbs too soon is not advised and could negatively impact mood, sleep, energy and especially, lactation. Give yourself some time before you attempt a weight loss diet.
You may not be able to have 3 solid square meals per day, but you can focus on getting enough of the top three key nutrients: fiber, protein, and fat. In my book, The Core 3 Healthy Eating Plan, I dive into why these 3 groups are vital and which foods fall under each category.
Fiber is found in fruit, veggies and whole grains and will help combat any lingering constipation while promoting stable blood sugar for optimal energy. Protein-rich foods such as eggs, fish, Greek yogurt and chicken, will keep you satiated and provide essential amino acids necessary for recovery and repair. Fats like avocado, nuts, olive oil and cheese offer staying power and nutrients that fight inflammation and support a healthy immune system.
Life is going to be a little hectic for some time and that can make it hectic to stay on top of eating regular, nutritious meals. Instead of leaving it to chance, try meal prepping, stocking up on nutritious bars or snacks, or subscribing to a meal delivery service so you have ready-to-eat meals in minutes.
Recommended bars: Raw Rev Glo, One Plant, Rx Bar, Go Macro bars, Aloha Bars, Garden of Life Bars
Recommended meal delivery services: Cook Unity, Freshly, Hungry Root, Sakara Life, Splendid Spoon, Daily Harvest
Stay on your supplement
Don’t stop your prenatal vitamin just yet. You should continue to take it during the entire duration of breastfeeding and after that, a regular multivitamin can help fill in potential nutritional gaps.
Other nutrient supplements that deserve a spotlight include vitamin D, omega-3, magnesium, and probiotics. While my motto is food first, these four nutrients are harder to obtain through diet alone and therefore, supplementation can be beneficial. Always confirm and consult with your doctor and/or a dietitian before taking anything new.
Oh Grape by Groove is a high quality multivitamin that offers most of the essential nutrients required for optimal energy levels, mood management, digestion regulation and immune support.
Ease into activity
You will likely be getting plenty of physical activity with an infant. However, light mindful movement can help manage stress in a healthy way and give you time for yourself to decompress and unwind. If you have the option, and when you’re cleared by your OBGYN, carve out 15-30 minutes per day to do some walking, yoga, stretching, or light weights. It can make a world of a difference for energy, mental health and body image.
No matter what, rest always comes first, and exercise should never interfere with adequate sleep.
Whatever happens, you’re doing the best you can and it’s important to remind yourself of that as often as possible. There is so much pressure on new moms and most of those expectations are unrealistic, even dangerous. Ask for help when you need it, don’t be afraid to say no when necessary and always put you and your newborn’s health above anything else.
For more tips, you can follow me on Instagram at @lisamnutrition, visit my practice website https://www.nynutritiongroup.com and check out my new book The Core 3 Healthy Eating Plan available for online purchase here: Use code: CORE20 for 20% off a signed copy of the book.