After a pregnancy, not only do we want to be healthy and fit again, but also, and above all, if you decide to breastfeed your baby, you should eat a healthy and balanced diet to provide all the nutrients it needs through the milk. Below, we explain everything you need to take into account in your postpartum diet.
Many mothers wonder if it is possible to follow a postpartum diet immediately after the birth of the baby to get back in shape, but one question arises almost immediately: is it possible to follow a postpartum diet during breastfeeding? What foods should we eat and what foods should we avoid? In this article, we’ll try to answer any questions you may have and help you get back in shape after a pregnancy.
the perfect combo: a healthy diet and a little exercise
If, after pregnancy, you want to get rid of the weight you have gained and the liquids you have retained, and you want to strengthen your muscles again (for all those months in which you may not have been able to exercise as much as you would have liked), what you need is to combine a healthy and balanced diet with physical exercise. But you will have to return to activity gradually, starting with low-intensity activities that you can increase as you get back in shape.
You can start, for example, by walking or riding a bike. These are two low-impact activities in which you can gradually increase the intensity, always listening to your body and don’t force any activity too harshly. We also advise you to spend time outdoors, your body will thank you for it!
the postpartum diet and breastfeeding
There is no need for a strict postpartum diet, even if you decide to breastfeed your baby. If this is the case, the only thing you need to consider is that you should include all the nutrients your baby needs in your diet and, of course, avoid foods that can be harmful to your baby and can cause colic, for example. This is the case with broccoli, asparagus, artichokes, chocolate, raw garlic and onion, spices with strong flavors (turmeric, chili…), seafood or bitter vegetables. This does not mean that you should eliminate them completely from your diet, but it is recommended that you restrict consumption to avoid risks. It goes without saying that you should avoid using tobacco and alcohol during breastfeeding.
Neither should you follow any special diet that promises to lose weight in a few months. Don’t do anything crazy! Not only will this type of diet not provide you with all the energy you need, but it will only negatively affect your metabolism, and it will most likely have a rebound effect: the pounds you have lost in that short time will come back.
A long-term diet is always the best solution in these cases: combined with physical activity, you’ll be back in shape before you know it. On the other hand, if you are breastfeeding you should know that a complete and balanced diet will be enough since the amount of milk you produce depends on your hormones and not on your diet. In any case, it is necessary to follow a rich and varied diet, and the Mediterranean diet is undoubtedly the most appropriate.
postpartum diet: what to eat after delivery
A Mediterranean diet as a postpartum diet is the best option to regain shape, muscle and skin tone without losing energy – you’ll be in top shape to take care of your baby! The foods that are essential for you postpartum diet are legumes and whole-grain cereals, lots of fruits and vegetables, fish and healthy fats, such as extra virgin olive oil, avocado or nuts. In addition, you should drink a lot of water, at least two liters a day, because after delivery you will have to drain excess fluids and reduce swelling (especially in your legs and feet).
foods to avoid
It is recommended that you avoid some foods during the postpartum diet to reduce the risk of suffering from some imbalances that could dehydrate you and thus compromise the quality of your breast milk. In addition to avoiding alcohol and tobacco, you should reduce your intake of caffeine, salt (which also promotes fluid retention), red meat and foods that are too fatty, such as aged cheeses, cold cuts, and fried meats. We remind you that, as we have said, you should avoid, at least during the first few months, eating raw seafood and crustaceans which, apart from causing colic, can trigger allergies in your child.
the postpartum diet to follow
Here’s a sample diet that can help you get ideas for planning your postpartum diet. In addition to following the guidelines we have mentioned, you should eat five meals a day, three of them complete (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and two snacks (one in the mid-morning and one in the mid-afternoon).
Natural sugar-free yogurt with fruits and cereals or whole-wheat toast with extra virgin olive oil and squeezed tomato.
A fruit, yogurt or a few cereal bars with hummus (preferably homemade)
Some ideas: whole grain pasta with vegetables, white meat with raw or steamed vegetables, brown rice with peas, chickpea or lentil salad.
A cup of tea and a handful of dried fruits without salt.
Grilled or baked fish garnished with raw or boiled fresh vegetables, or white meat with vegetable stew.
We recommend that you always use extra virgin olive oil for cooking. In addition, you can accompany these dishes with a slice of bread, preferably whole or whole grain.
tips to make the most of your postpartum diet
In order not to get tired of following a postpartum diet, you must listen to your body and spoil yourself from time to time. If one day you feel like eating something that isn’t strictly part of your diet, such as pizza, an elaborate dessert or some seafood, treat yourself and have it. Remember that you can always use a breast pump and reserve a few bottles until your body eliminates substances that can harm the baby through milk. Even so, we remind you that you should refrain from drinking alcohol and tobacco, at least continuously, since the body takes considerable time to eliminate toxins.
Finally, try to sleep as many hours as you can. We know that with a newborn baby it is complicated, but try to take advantage of your naps to recover a little sleep. Sleeping well reduces stress, allows you to be fit during the day and helps our cells to regenerate.