Hey there Mama, welcome to the world of breastfeeding. Whether this is brand new territory, or you've done the milk rounds before, there's one thing we all have in common, childbirth. We've all completed the hardest, most energy-sucking marathon of our lives, and we're tired as hell.
Our bodies are feeling a little foreign, there are lumps and bumps, separating tums and all of a sudden, our once unsung breasts have a very important job to do. The milk bar is well and truly open for business, and there's a particularly demanding customer with a 24-hour appetite.
You've spent a long nine months gaining weight, and may be ready to see the number on the scales hit the decline.
Well, the good news is, there are plenty of ways you can safely and effectively lose weight while breastfeeding, without hindering your milk supply and your energy levels.
Now, we know you're busy, so let's get straight to it. Below are our top tips for safely losing weight while breastfeeding.
Prioritise your health
Just like on an aeroplane, where the air hostess demonstrates that you should fasten your oxygen supply before helping with anyone else's; you need to take care of your health first. A healthy, well-nourished Mumma, makes for a healthy well-nourished Bubba.
When you’re breastfeeding you need extra nutrients, as your baby is depending on you. The best thing you can do for your baby is to eat a wide variety of nutrient-rich, colourful, fresh foods.
Maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet will stabilise your blood sugar levels, helping you to stay away from high-energy, sugar-dense quick-fix-snacks. Those snacks are the enemy of weight loss.
When we're not eating enough or not fulfilling our nutrient needs, our blood sugar levels drop, and this often leads to cravings and bad food choices.
Make sure you listen to your cravings and try to curb them with healthy alternatives. For example,
Craving sugar? Have a piece of fruit, Greek yoghurt with a little honey or a smoothie
Thinking about chocolate? Try the Chocolate Brownie In Shape Mummy Health Shake. Or a square of good quality dark chocolate with a teaspoon of peanut butter
Can’t get fast food off your mind – Make some home-made potato wedges with a little salt
Get snack ready
Grazing on healthy snacks between meals like fruit, pre-chopped veggie sticks and hummus, boiled eggs or nuts will help to prevent a drop in blood sugar levels while ensuring you and bub are getting a continuous supply of energy. You're likely busier than ever before, so having ready-to-grab, healthy snacks and meals on hand can be a lifesaver. Some general tips to follow when stocking your pantry and fridge:
When shopping, stick to the perimeter of the supermarket isles. The outside isles tend to house healthier foods like fresh produce, dairy products and whole grains.
Don't shop hungry. If you head to the shops with a full stomach, you'll be less likely to give in to temptation.
Ordering your groceries online and using click and collect is another excellent way to keep you on the right track; keep the temptations out of sight, out of mind.
Make friends with your freezer. Protein balls and healthy muffins are nutritious snacks that can be bulk made and popped in the freezer until you need them. You can make protein balls with your In Shape Mummy Health Shake mix. Click here for the recipe.
And, of course, make sure you never skip a meal as this can rob you of energy and make you too hungry and overeat the wrong foods. Your In Shape Mummy Health Shake is a great quick, easy and healthy meal or snack and can come to the rescue when you don't have time to cook.
It's not surprising that we lose a lot of fluid while breastfeeding, as breastmilk is around 90% water. It's important to be proactive, rather than reactive, especially when it comes to breastfeeding. If you do become dehydrated, it can cause a lag in your milk production.
Dehydration can also lead to feelings of hunger as your body can mistake thirst for hunger. Overeating more than your body needs leads to weight gain.
The best way to stay on top of your hydration game is to set little healthy habits, including:
Drink two glasses of water first thing in the morning. Keep a glass next to your basin to remind yourself
Have a glass of water before you eat a meal or a snack. Not only will this top up your fluids, but it will also signal if it was actually your thirst your body was looking to quench, rather than hunger
Aim for two or more litres of water in total throughout the day. Using a 500ml or 1L water bottle and refilling it is an easy way to keep track
Keep your water bottle next to you while you feed and top yourself up at the same time
If you're finding drinking so much water a challenge the In Shape Mummy Breastfeeding Boost Tea is a great option
Pay Attention To Protein
Meeting your protein requirements is essential. Protein helps you to stay fuller for longer, but it also plays a critical role in your recovery and your baby's development. Hitting your protein target will provide you with a sustained source of energy throughout the day and will assist in producing a healthy milk supply and reducing sugar cravings. Great sources of protein include:
Chicken, lean beef and fish
Greek yoghurt, kefir and cheese
In Shape Mummy Health Shake