Postpartum Diet and Exercise
After you have your baby, it is important to take care of yourself and eat nutritious foods.
Diet and Exercise After Pregnancy
If you are breastfeeding, the food you eat helps your baby grow strong and healthy, too. Good eating habits and exercise will help you lose the weight you gained.
Healthy Eating Tips
Eat a variety of foods. Try to eat a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, grains, protein foods and diary each day. Visit ChooseMyPlate.gov for more information.
Drink plenty of liquids. Your body needs lot of fluid (about 6-10 glasses a day) especially if you are breastfeeding your baby. Drink mostly water, milk, and fruit juice.
Eat foods that have protein such as milk, cheese, yogurt, meat, fish and beans. Protein rich foods are important to help you recover from childbirth and keep your body strong. If you are under 18, or were underweight prior to pregnancy, you need to eat more protein.
Eat your fruits and vegetables. Try to make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables have vitamins and minerals that keep you healthy. They also have fiber, which helps prevent constipation. Make sure to wash fruits and vegetables under running cold water before eating them.
Lose weight safely. Talk to your doctor about safely losing weight after your baby is born. Losing weight too quickly can affect your breast milk supply. Do not take diet pills. They contain harmful drugs that can be passed to your baby through breast milk.
Take prenatal vitamins. If you are breastfeeding, it is a good idea to continue to take your prenatal vitamins. Your doctor can prescribe these pills so that your health insurance will cover a portion of the cost.
Limit junk foods. Soda pop, cookies, donuts, potato chips and french fries are okay sometimes, but don’t let them take the place of healthy foods!
Avoid these Foods when Breastfeeding
There are some foods and other substances that can be harmful to both you and your baby if you are breastfeeding.
Alcohol: Wine, wine coolers, beer, drinks like hard lemonade and other malt liquor beverages, shots and mixed drinks contain alcohol that passes to your baby through your breastmilk and can harm your baby’s brain and body development.
Caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant that passes through breast milk to the baby and may affect growth. Caffeine is found in tea, coffee, chocolate, many soft drinks and over-the-counter medicines.
Swordfish, Shark, King Mackerel and Tilefish: These fish have high levels of a toxin called mercury. Mercury is harmful to your growing baby’s brain. If you eat tuna, it is okay to eat up to 6 ounces of canned tuna a week but make sure to choose light tuna.
Exercise After Pregnancy
Exercise helps you:
- Lose the weight you gained during pregnancy
- Reduce backaches, constipation and bloating
- Lifts your spirits and improves posture
- Helps build muscle tone and strength
- Promotes better sleep
Once your doctor says it is okay to start exercising, there are many ways to be active.
Walking is a great way to exercise because it puts very little stress on your body. Your baby will probably enjoy being walked in a stroller too. Try walking briskly for 20-30 minutes every day or at least 3 times per week. Meet with a friend or other new moms to go walking. It’s good to get out of the house and connect with friends or other new mothers. You will enjoy the chance to talk about your baby or to just be with other adults!
Exercise classes are another fun way to get in shape and sometimes you can find a class that will include your baby. For example, look for a mom and baby yoga class in your area.
The YMCA is a good place to find exercise classes for moms and babies. Some YMCAs offer financial assistance. They may also offer childcare for your baby while you exercise. Find out if you have a YMCA in your area. If you live in the greater Seattle area go to Seattle YMCA.