Congratulations on your new arrival! Now you are probably feeling pretty exhausted so grab a cup of tea and put your feet up for 5 minutes while you have a quick read of my guide. My intention is that the information here will give you a balance of energy to help get you through the day.
I know how tempting it is to live off coffee (well attempt to at least, as 9 times out of 10 it goes cold) and cake, lots of cake. When you are feeling a bit low, or tired or both it’s only natural to reach for the quick fixes and things we think make us feel happy. Meeting for coffee with other new mums is also part of your new social scene too, more cake right! But reaching for caffeine and sugary foods leaves you with unstable blood sugar giving you a short term high, followed by a crash shortly after, leaving you feeling worse than when you started. By eating nutrient dense foods little and often this will keep you on an even keel and ready to cope with whatever your baby throws at you. Skip to the end of this post for a list of quick and easy suggestions.
Hopefully you managed to get a freezer stocked full of homemade food ready before baby arrived for your partner to re-heat for you both, along with some extra veggies. Now nutritional guidelines remain pretty much the same and you should refer to the Eatwell Guide for more information on a balanced diet.
Do not attempt to start losing weight, I know that you see celebrities pinging back into shape but that really isn’t realistic. Just concentrate on eating well to heal your body and keep you strong. If you have chosen to breastfeed you will also be burning off extra calories and providing nutrition for your baby so what you eat is especially important. For more information on nutrition while breastfeeding ‘click here’ Please wait until you have had your 6-8 week postnatal check up before embarking on any exercise or diet changes. It takes time to return to your pre-pregnancy shape with some estimates taking around 1 year, so BE KIND TO YOURSELF.
Once you have been signed off by your GP is a good idea to start on some gentle exercise such as walking with the pram or going to buggy fit classes so your baby can come with you, don’t worry about them crying everyone is in the same situation. It’s better to think of ‘movement’ rather than exercise and this also makes it a means of relaxation – think yoga or Pilates.
I spoke to the very knowledgeable Tanya Jewell (Senior Physiotherapist, specialist in women’s and men’s health) about what you need to consider before returning to exercise and here’s what she had to say:
During pregnancy the change in posture, abdominal lengthening or separation (Diastasis), ligament laxity and then vaginal or caesarean delivery can all have an effect on your body and return to previous levels of strength. The Mummy MOT is designed to pick up these problems and ensure safe return to function and exercise. We are also expert in pelvic pain and SPD during pregnancy.
The Mummy MOT consists of an in depth post natal check especially for the new mummy
- 1 hour post-natal assessment with a specialist
- Pelvic floor strength and tummy gap check
- Assessment of problems arising from your pregnancy and birth
- A bespoke post-natal recovery programme
It is confidential, private and relaxed and can prevent
- Back pain
- Pelvic pain
- Slow post- natal recovery
Tanya is based in Colchester and if you would like to chat to her some more about the services she provides you can get in touch with her via her website Physiotherapyandpilates.com
It’s important that you continue to take 10 mcg vitamin D supplement, particularly if you are breastfeeding. You do not need to take any other supplements as long as you eat a varied and balanced diet. Calcium is important for breastfeeding mums, but you can easily get enough from the right foods – houmous, green leafy vegetables, dairy, tofu and canned fish.
Next up, are suggestions for quick and easy meals and snacks which can be put together quickly, are balanced to help you get the nutrients you need and based on everyday ingredients.
- Invest in a slow cooker – put it on in the morning/during baby’s nap time and leave to cook all day until you need it.
- Buy frozen vegetables and fruit – frozen veg is great for adding to any number of meals for added fibre, vitamins and minerals. It also reduces waste and is cheap. Think stews, with pasta and soup as examples. Frozen fruit can quickly whip a nutritious smoothie when you don’t have time to eat or top some Greek yogurt with nuts for a healthy snack.
- Plan your meals in advance and write a list so anyone can help out and get you some shopping (download my FREE meal planner here)
- When you get visitors, they mean well but may arrive with cakes or other sugary foods thinking it will make you feel better – ask them to bring a cooked meal for the freezer instead.
Scrambled egg on wholemeal toast with smoked salmon
Omelette with mushrooms and spinach
Porridge topped with fruit and nuts/seeds
Baked beans on toast
Leftovers from the night before
Soup with a thick slice of bread
Baked potato – with beans, cheese and salad simple and easy to throw together
Chicken and vegetable stir fry with wholemeal noodles
Pizza made with pitta bread, cheese and veggie toppings – pepper, sweetcorn whatever you fancy
Greek yogurt with frozen fruit, topped with seeds or chopped nuts.
Houmous and wholemeal pitta and/or vegetable sticks
Nut butter on a slice of wholemeal toast and banana
My Peanut Butter & Banana Breakfast Bars When you need a satisfying sweet, energy boost try my Breakfast Bars. Once cooked wrap them separately and keep in the freezer and you can take one out when you need it.
Chocolate & Banana New Mama Smoothie Recipe
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 heaped tablespoon of oats
- 1 level tablespoon of ground flax seeds
- 1 tablespoon cacao powder or to taste
- 1 tablespoon cashew butter or nut butter of your choice
- Your choice of milk (unsweetened soya) to desired consistency
Put it all in a blender and mix until well combined. Makes two portions as a snack or one as a meal replacement if you’ve not had time to stop/baby won’t let you put her down.
Lot’s of information there I know, but I hope this has shown you how to eat well with minimum fuss so you can meet your needs and that of your new baby too. Happy mama = Happy baby.
Remember, being a new mum is hard. If you feel overwhelmed at any point please speak to your GP, Health Visitor or Midwife.
If you would like to know more about healthy eating and achieving a healthy weight you might like to join my brand, spanking new Facebook community Happy. Healthy. Nourished. Alternatively, get in touch via my contact form below for a free, no obligation chat to see if I am the right person to support you.