Postpartum Nutrition + Fitness Tips
This one is for my new moms — my top tips for postpartum nutrition and fitness to get you back to feeling your best!
Not feeling like yourself postpartum? You’re not alone! It takes a while for new moms to get to a place where they start feeling like themselves again — mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Between a lack of sleep and a multitude of potential complications (for me it was mastitis and plugged ducts 24/7), postpartum life is quite the rollercoaster.
But it gets better!
For me, it was right around the four-month mark that I began to feel a bit more normal. I’m now at about seven months postpartum and feeling pretty great — every day it gets easier!
For all my moms out there who are still in the trenches, I got your back. I recorded this video at four months postpartum sharing my tips and tricks for staying healthy physically and mentally. Check it out! >>
POSTPARTUM NUTRITION AND FITNESS TIPS
1. Walk daily.
Even if it’s just for 5-10 minutes, getting outside, breathing fresh air, and moving is so beneficial for your body and mind. I started taking Caleb on walks in the stroller the first week we were home and it really helped me clear my mind. Now, we go for long walks with our dog Mr. Chow and with him in a baby carrier. It’s a good way for me to get exercise when I can’t get away for a full studio workout.
I’ve even come up with a few baby carrier workouts that I do with him. If you’re interested, I’ve shared them on my Instagram account.
2. Keep healthy snacks on hand.
Most days, I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off. From my son’s appointments to work obligations, I often don’t have time to stop and make a complete meal for lunch, so I try to always have healthy snacks stored in my car and in his diaper bag.
Veggie Pops from Made in Nature are a favorite of mine. They’re made with real vegetables, seeds, chickpeas, and spices. They’re so tasty and convenient and they have 7 grams of protein per serving — a great balanced snack.
3. Stay hydrated.
Breastfeeding moms need 13-16 cups of water a day to support their supply. I keep a water bottle on me at all times to make sure I’m drinking enough. This one from Takeya is great because it’s made from stainless steel (meaning no toxic chemicals will leach into your water) and the lid stays attached – since you can’t say the same for your brain at this stage ;)
You can actually meet your fluid needs with other beverages too. Surprisingly, both coffee and tea count toward your daily total fluid intake. Check out my video on Hydration Myths if you’re interested in learning more.
I know, I know – easier said than done right? When I recorded this video, Caleb was still waking up 3-4 times a night. Believe me, I get it.
I used to get so annoyed when people would tell me, “sleep when the baby sleeps.” I usually have a million things to do when the baby is sleeping! But I will tell you that if you’re concerned with achieving some normalcy in your body and mind post-partum, sleep is just as important as proper nutrition and exercise. So sleep whenever you can – whether that’s with the baby on your chest (and another adult supervising) or when he sleeps in his crib. It’s amazing what just 30 minutes of shut-eye during the day can do for your sanity.
Let the people in your life know that you need this to be able to do your best job as a mom and tell them how they can support you. If you’re unable to nap during the day because you’re too alert – consider cutting out caffeine and try using an eye mask, sound machine, and earplugs to help facilitate napping.
5. Have healthy meals and meal ideas on hand.
Your brain is so fried postpartum that it’s hard to find time to make healthy meals or to even think of what to make at the last minute. I recommend making a list of super easy dinners that take 10-15 minutes to make and keeping it on your refrigerator. And keep all of the ingredients you need for them stocked at all times.
On nights when I am just zapped, I’ll either have someone watch Caleb for 10 minutes while I whip one of these up or I’ll strap him to me in a carrier and make one.
6. Be kind to yourself!
It’s so easy to get down on yourself about all the things you think you’re doing wrong as a new parent or all the things you think you should be doing for yourself but you don’t have the time or energy to do. Take a second to stop and give yourself a break. You’re doing an awesome job. You gave birth to a human. That’s huge. It took you nine months to grow that human and it’s totally normal for it to take just as long for you to start feeling like yourself again.
One thing that can be helpful is to make a daily list – written or just mentally – about all the things you did accomplish for the day, no matter how small.
Did you keep a tiny human alive? Check!
Did you change more diapers than you can remember? Check!
Did you get pooped on and manage not to pull your hair out? Check!
As I say this, I’m speaking to myself as well. Like I said at the beginning of this post – it has been an emotional rollercoaster for me, but I just keep reminding myself that I’m doing my best.
The things on this list have helped me feel better and I hope they are helpful to you as well!
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Weigh in: What are your postpartum nutrition and fitness tips?
*This post is sponsored by Made in Nature but all opinions are my own. I thank you for your support of Whitney E. RD-approved partnerships that make this website possible.