After having a baby, moms are usually left with some pregnancy scars and frantically, a fat belly. More than that, seeing celebrity icons appears to have their pre-pregnancy body back quickly and effortlessly give rise to societal pressure among moms.  But the question really is, should diet be restricted during the post-partum period?
1. Returning to pre-pregnancy weight has been a common interest among women. With a healthy diet and exercise, the excess weight can be shed off naturally. The goal should always be gradual weight loss with consideration to some factors like breastfeeding or formula-feeding and weaning.

2. The safe weight loss per month shouldn’t be more than 4.5 pounds while the daily total calories shouldn’t fall below 1,800 calories. The daily caloric requirement usually needs to be revised upward on the basis of considerations of breastfeeding, nutritional status and overall level of activity.

3. Inadequate caloric intake results in pregnancy fatigue and negative effect on mood, especially for lactating mothers. Post-pregnancy dieting may be accompanied by a significant decrease in bone mineral density because the diet may be lacking som vitamins and minerals. Talk with your doctor first before taking any supplements like if you need calcium supplements, iron supplements, etc.

4. For lactating women, an additional of 300-400 calories should be added to your daily calories, as you have to keep in mind that you are  still eating for two even after pregnancy. In fact, nutritional foods and exercise, and eating to satisfy hunger will generally result in the desired slow pattern of weight loss.

5. Exercise during post-partum will promote healing and support emotional well-being. According to research, exercise also increases lactic acid levels in breast milk without any effect on infant’s acceptance on breastmilk one hour after exercise thus reducing the discomfort of engorged breasts. The appropriate exercise level will depend on postpartum recovery. Moms may be able to engage in fitness exercises within days of delivery while others may need to wait four to six weeks.

Key Recommendations for Food Pattern and Plan among Lactating Women

( Based on 2,400 Calories Daily Target)

Fruits: 2 cups

1 cup of fruit counts as

  • 1 cup raw or cooked fruit;
  • ½ cup dried fruit;
  • 1 cup 100% fruit juice.

Vegetables: 3 cups

1 cup vegetable counts as

  • 1 cup raw or cooked vegetables;
  • 2 cups leafy salad greens;
  • 1 cup 100% vegetable juice

Grains: 9 ounces

1 ounce of grain counts as:

  • 1 slice bread;
  • 1-ounce ready-to-eat cereal;
  • ½ cup cooked rice, pasta, or cereal.
  • 1/3 cup quinoa

Protein: 8 ounces

1 ounce of protein counts as:

  • 1-ounce lean meat, poultry, or seafood;
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter;
  • ¼ cup cooked beans or peas;
  • ½ ounce nuts or seeds.
  • 4 oz tofu or ½ cup of it;
  • 1 whole egg or 3 egg whites
  • ½ oz dry textured vegetable protein (TVP) or ½ oz vegetarian burger
  • 1/3 cup hummus

Dairy: 3 cups

1 cup of dairy counts as

  • 1 cup milk;
  • 1 cup yogurt;
  • 1 cup fortified soy beverage;
  • 1 1/2 ounces natural    cheese    or 2 ounces processed cheese

To top it all, don’t engage to crash or any fad diets, where you lose weight quickly, either during pregnancy or breastfeeding. These diets don’t have a good balance of important nutrients needed for both you and your baby.

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