Eating Healthy and Weight Loss While Breastfeeding

Essay by mimic616University, Bachelor'sA+, July 2009

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Since giving birth 3 months ago, I have been breastfeed and plan to continue for the next year. It is important for me to eat a healthy diet and to lose my extra baby weight.

While preparing to lose the extra weight, I have made some discoveries. I should not greatly reduce my calorie intake too quickly because it could negatively affect my milk supply, and it is important to eat a healthy diet for me and my new baby.

After Having the BabyAfter giving birth, I would have loved to leave the hospital wearing the clothes that I wore before pregnancy. This however was not a reality me, I still had an extra forty pounds on my body. I lost about ten more pounds after returning home but still had a long way to go.

I have learned that a good diet is not only important for me to lose weight but it also helps to produce a better milk supply and give me more energy to take care of my new baby.

"After you give birth, good nutrition is even more important than during your pregnancy. It can make a difference in the quality of your breast milk and affect how quickly your body rebounds from childbirth" (Bouchez, 2004).

DietAccording to The Health Care Center (2009), a woman should wait until her baby is two months old, before beginning a diet; this will give her body enough time to establish a good supply of breast-milk.

A healthy diet is important, being 5 foot 8 inches tall and weighing 160 pounds, I should eat the following in a day's time:•8 ounces of grains (at least 4 ounces from whole grains)•3 cups of vegetables•2 cups of fruit•3 cups of dairy•6 ½ ounces of meat and beans(USDA, 2009)It is important for me to limit the amount of simple carbohydrates (such as sweets) that I eat and consume a variety of complex carbohydrates like: broccoli, bell peppers, squash, plums, melons and whole grains (Bouchez, 2004). By cutting back on sweets and carbonated beverages and eating more complex carbohydrates, my body should start to shed pounds. I also need to eat lean cuts of meat and drink plenty of water.

Weight LossWeight loss should be gradual (The Health Care Center, 2009). Loosing weight too quickly can lead to dehydration and a reduction in milk supply for the newborn baby.

Eating a balanced diet will start me on my track for losing weight but it is also important for me to get plenty of exercise. According to The Health Care Center (2009), moderate exercise like walking will help me to burn fat while keeping my lean muscle mass. The Health Care Center (2009), goes on to explain that resistance or weight training is an excellent way to shed fat and gain muscle which will lead to burning more calories.

GoalsMy first goal, which I have already begun, is to eat a more balanced diet with lean proteins and complex carbohydrates. I have stopped drinking soda and have been drinking plenty of water. This has been especially difficult for me because I enjoy drinking cola and eating sweet snacks. I have had to identify what healthy foods I really enjoy and then incorporate them into my diet while eliminating the not-so-healthy foods I like. In order for me not to revert back to my old habits, I have found a diet soda that I like and a recipe for a healthy but sweet granola snack, which I let myself have once in a while.

I have also started to walk as a means of exercise. Since the weather has gotten nicer, I have had more of a chance to get outside and walk with my mother-in-law. I have only done this a couple of times so far but plan to do it more as the weather improves. I have been able to blame cold temperatures for my lack of walking but soon this will not be a reasonable excuse. Having someone to walk with is a big motivator to get me to follow through with this goal. When the weather gets cold again, this activity will not be as easy to do, so at that time I will need to be more creative. I will most likely continue to walk but have to move the walks in doors to someplace like the mall or the YMCA.

I received some exercise videos to help me work off some of the extra pounds. The videos are centered on dance type moves which I find more engaging than most average exercise videos. By having them be more interesting for me, I am more apt to do them than if I found the workouts to be boring. Time is the biggest challenge for me when it comes to this goal, taking care of a new born is extremely time-consuming. With these videos, I have realized that I can pick up the baby and do some of the moves while holding her which helps me to follow through.

My last goal is to be active with my other children which will not only aid in my weight loss but also help me to keep a strong bond with them. I am coaching one of my daughter's tee ball team. Getting out there with the kids and running around, is a good cardio exercise. I also practice playing ball and just running around with my other kids. The new baby limits the amount of time that I can do these types of activities but with the help from my husband, this is one goal that I will not have a problem in following through with. It is much easier to find activities, with my kids, to help with weight loss, when the weather is nice. When the cooler weather hits, we will play in the leaves, go roller skating, play in the snow and play laser tag. There are plenty of activities out there for good family fun.

Measuring SuccessMeasuring success will of course be loosing weight but also toning my body and gaining energy. Loosing weight and having a more tone body will help me too feel better about how I look and feel about myself. As the weight drops off and my body gets into better shape, I will feel more comfortable in my own skin. Eating a well balanced diet and getting adequate exercise will also lead to me having more energy so that I do not feel so exhausted all of the time. I will have a baby that is well nourished and a body that I will be proud to call my own.

Risks of Not Following the PlanIf I do not follow through with these goals, a domino effect will occur. I will gain weight rather than lose it. Becoming obese can lead to numerous health risks. I will not be giving my baby the nutrients that she needs in order to be properly nourished. I most likely would then need to supplement her with formula that could then have a negative impact on her digestive system. I also would not have enough energy in order to take care of myself properly let alone the rest of my family.

ConclusionThese changes are not just beneficial to me while I am breastfeeding or even just to try to lose weight, they can be carried with me throughout life. The changes can aid me in being a healthier person as I age. If I continue to eat healthier and exercise more, I will have a better chance of fighting disease later in life. Depending on how I age, some of my diet may have to be modified and I may not be able to do the same types of exercise but at least I will have a foundation to work with.

These lifestyle changes will also help the rest of my family by teaching them better eating habits and showing them the benefits of eating healthy and getting exercise. Children learn by example and by instilling in them the importance of a healthy diet and exercise, I will help to contribute to them becoming healthier adults and having decreased chances of becoming overweight. My children will have this knowledge to then instill in their own children.

ReferencesBouchez, C. (2004). Your nutritional needs while breastfeeding: make sure youget enough nutrients - not just more calories - when you're breastfeedingyour baby. WebMD Feature. Retrieved March 10, 2009 from http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/your-nutritional-needs-while-breastfeeding?page=3.

United State Department of Agriculture (USDA). (2009) Nutritional needs whilebreastfeeding. Retrieved March 1, 2009 from http://www.mypyramid.gov/mypyramidmoms/breastfeeding_nutrition_needs.print.html.

The Health Care Center. (2009). How to lose weight while breastfeeding.

Retrieved February 5, 2009 from http://www.thehealthcarecenter.com/lose_weight_while_breastfeeding.html.