Can we all agree that after having a baby our diet is not necessarily our top priority? Adjusting to a new baby, new schedule, and new responsibilities can feel overwhelming at times. But as nurses, we are here to give you a gentle reminder that your health matters, and that a healthy diet isn’t just important prior to conception but should continue all the way through postpartum recovery and beyond. We know that we all miss the target; that’s just part of being human. But we’ve got you! Once your baby is here and your parenting journey begins, here are a few ways to help stay on target and get rid of the extra baby weight.

Drop the Pregnancy Pounds: Drink More Water

One of the most natural ways to lose weight and body fat is to increase your water intake. Whether you like it at room temperature, hot, or iced, your body need it.Hydration is essential to the function of every cell in your body and it flushes out toxins. Make it a goal to drink a minimum of eight glasses of water a day, and if you’re still thirsty drink more. If you’re breastfeeding, chestfeeding, or pumping breastmilk, you’ve probably felt that intensely parched feeling. The thirst that hits you when your baby latches is your body’s way of telling you to drink more water!

Cut Carbohydrates

Bread, Bread, Bread! Oh, I tell you this can be challenging. Changing habits to decrease carb consumption doesn’t happen overnight. An important step to losing weight is switching to carbs that are good for you and nutrient dense like whole grains, brown rice, sweet potatoes, zucchini, and squash. Refined carbs such as grits, white bread, traditional pasta, and white rice increase insulin production, which can lead to increased weight. Fuel your energy, healing, and lactation by filling up on calories that nourish you – refined carbs simply can’t do that.

Move it, Move it!

Moving your body is the key to feeling strong, flexible, and energized, and it’s an important tool for trimming excess body fat. While recovering from childbirth, it’s important to take a slow and gentle approach to exercise. Start with some gentle stretches to soothe sore muscles, increase strength and flexibility, and brighten your mood. Add a short daily walk with your baby and you’re off to a great start! Walking is a safe, low impact exercise, and even just 20 minutes three times a week can make a big difference. Once you’re given the “all clear” by your pregnancy care provider, you can ramp things up a bit. Set yourself up for sustained success by starting off slow and then increasing the intensity of your workout as you build endurance.

Get Friendly

You know that you are strong and that you can accomplish your goals but staying committed in it can be hard! Find yourself an accountability partner: Someone who cares about you and your journey, like your partner or another parent who’s also trying to kick those pregnancy pounds. Check-ins with friends make the journey more fun and reminds us of our worth along the way. Just like us, they want you to wake up each morning knowing how powerful you are. You got this!

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Lakisa Ballard, MSN, RN, C-EFM, RNC-OB, is a Labor and Delivery Clinical Nurse Educator at Holy Cross Hospital in Maryland. She has worked in many high-risk facilities around the country and has a passion for educating future nurses.

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