Monday, August 18, 2008

Looking Ahead to After Pregnancy-Foods to Avoid while Breastfeeding

Should I breastfeed or not? That is a common question for many new moms. If you choose to breastfeed, there are some things you should be aware of that can affect your baby. Not all women though will have these problems, or will need to watch what they eat:

By: Carrie Lauth

Women in our culture are sometimes advised to avoid spicy or "gassy" foods when nursing. Or they are told that chocolate, citrus, carbonated beverages or dairy causes problems in all nursing babies.

As a breastfeeding educator, I often see women warning other Moms that they need to avoid certain foods while breastfeeding. There are also websites that give unproven breastfeeding advice that claim that women must eat a certain kind of diet in order to make quality milk for her baby. So what is the truth?

Does a nursing Mom need to restrict her diet?
Are there foods that a Mom should avoid while breastfeeding?

Generally speaking, a nursing Mom does NOT need to restrict her diet.

Obviously, drinking heavily or excessive caffeine consumption (meaning several cups of coffee a day) is a no-no, but other than that, there is no reason for a breastfeeding Mother to assume that she needs to avoid any foods.

So called "gassy" foods do not affect the nursing infant because the undigested carbs that cause gas in Mom do not pass into breastmilk. It is literally impossible for "gassy" foods to cause gas in babies except in the rare case of an infant being allergic to one of these foods.

Interestingly, according to the La Leche League (considered the world's foremost authority on breastfeeding) website, "In Italy, mothers are often told not to eat garlic, cauliflower, lentils, and red peppers. In India most mothers eat all these things and breastfeed very happily. Actually, in parts of India they believe that garlic helps a mother to breastfeed successfully!"

There are even a couple of studies that showed that babies nursed longer and with more vigor when their Moms ate garlic.

The advice given to a nursing Mom varies according to local culture and the popular "old wive's tales". Women all over the world eating a wide variety of foods produce good quality milk and have thriving babies. There is not a shred of evidence that supports the idea that eating a special diet helps make breastmilk "richer".

Consequently, there is no one food that all breastfeeding Moms should avoid. Breastfeeding women should eat a variety of healthy foods, just as they did while they were pregnant.

The only exception would be if your baby has food allergies/sensitivies, which is rare but not unheard of. If your family has a strong history of allergy to a specific food (such as peanuts), you might consider avoiding that food while nursing and during pregnancy.

Enjoy nursing your baby!

Carrie Lauth is a Mom of 4, breastfeeding educator and the owner of, a free newsletter for Moms who want to breastfeed their babies.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Looking Ahead to After Pregnancy-The Weight Loss

I found this article on a forum I frequent. Since I myself am coming close to having my third child, I felt this article would come in handy to save as a guideline for myself. Of course, if I feel I can use this information, other women would appreciate this info as well!

By: WittyArticles

Weight loss following pregnancy and hanging up the tent sized maternity clothes is something all new mothers look forward to with anticipation. For most women, but for others, the baby fat is a bit more difficult to shed. Each woman is different and there is no "one size fits all" formula for shedding the weight gained during pregnancy. However there are a few weight loss guidelines to follow that will have the new Mom back feeling great and wearing her jeans once she gets her strength back.

How much weight did you gain during pregnancy?

The 25 pounds the average woman gains during a pregnancy are spread out more or less like this:
-Baby-8 pounds
-Placenta-1.5 pounds
-Amniotic fluid-2 pounds
-Breasts-2 pounds
-Uterus-2.5 pounds
-Fat, blood volume and water retention

If you were already a little overweight when you first became pregnant, remember that the numbers on your scale kept going to go up almost every time you stepped on it. Fasting or Weight-loss fasting diets following pregnancy are absolutely not a good idea.

A Latino tradition following pregnancy

One of the best Latino traditions during the time right after childbirth is cuarentena, or the quarantine. The mother will spend forty days resting with the newborn after delivery and only worry about taking care of the baby. The new mother doesn?t even consider weight loss issues during this time. Other members of the family will keep house and watch over the other children. While this may not be practical for most new mothers of today, if you do have relatives who live nearby, it would be a good idea to follow some version of this tradition. You'll feel like a new woman after those forty days of recuperation (or even twenty).

A nutritious diet is more important than weight loss for the first six weeks.

Pregnancy is a magical and mysterious time of life and many women worry about how to achieve weight loss after they give birth. During the first six weeks of postpartum, a healthy diet is much more important than a weight-loss diet. Continue to eat a balance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein, calcium, and iron. Whether or not you're breastfeeding, your body is still recovering from the pregnancy and birth, and a nutritionally balanced diet will help you heal and feel better much faster.

Your care provider or doctor may recommend that you take an iron supplement for the first six weeks postpartum, while your body recovers. If you're breastfeeding, it's even more important to eat a well-balanced diet, since you're still sharing all the calories you're consuming. If you count calories, a breastfeeding woman should consume the same amount as she did before pregnancy to maintain her weight plus about 500 calories. For many, this means about 2,500 to 2,700 calories a day, which will support milk production and allow for moderate weight loss of half a pound per week.

Continue to avoid fish that are high in methyl mercury in your weight loss plan. Other foods, such as sushi, raw milk products, and deli meats, are less risky these days, but you should still take reasonable precautions to avoid food-borne illnesses. Precautions include cooking meat and poultry all the way through, washing all cooking utensils thoroughly, washing all fruits and vegetables thoroughly, and only eating raw foods like sushi from a dependable source.

Healthy weight loss

Other than feeling good and having more energy, there are many motivators for systematically striving for weight loss following pregnancy. If you carry extra pounds, you have an increased risk of diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Losing weight will improve your health not only now but it can also influence your weight in future years to come. Studies have shown that women who breastfed beyond 12 weeks and participated in postpartum aerobic exercise had lower weight gain 15 years later. Excess pregnancy weight gain and failure to lose weight in an appreciable time are indicators of obesity in midlife. Weight loss following pregnancy involves three things: Nutrition, exercise and scores of patience. It?s generally difficult to lose weight without exercise being part of your weight loss program.

If you're breastfeeding, a good bit of the pregnancy weight will come off fairly quickly. But this isn't a time to try to lose weight. Whether or not you're breastfeeding, your body won't recover as well or as quickly if you cut back drastically on your portions or calorie intake. If you ate a lot of sweets or treats during your pregnancy, you can start to cut back on those. But otherwise, there's no need to add the extra pressure of dieting to an already stressful period pf taking care of a newborn baby.

Cautions of exercise

The six-week postpartum visit is a simple check-in with your caregiver or doctor. You'll be weighed, have your blood pressure taken, and you'll be asked about any problems. You will probably be given the green light on exercise.

Most caregivers recommend waiting until the six-week postpartum checkup before starting vigorous exercise, but that's a somewhat arbitrary time frame, based on the typical model of obstetric care. If you?re stitches seem to be have healed, and if you want to be more active. Moderate exercise before the six week postpartum visit shouldn?t be a problem

Listen to your body. Don?t push yourself hard. Start out slowly, and if you find you?re tired or uncomfortable, take your activity level down a notch. There is no reason to rush the healing process. There will always be time to exercise and address weight loss.

If you suffer from obesity, your doctor will tell you what kind of diet and exercise you should follow following the childbirth for weight loss.

Eating for one

When you were pregnant, you may have eaten more than usual to support your baby's growth and development. Proper nutrition is still important after the baby is born - especially if you're breast-feeding - but your needs and goals are different now. Making wise choices can promote healthy weight loss after pregnancy. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Foods high in fiber - such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These foods provide you with many important nutrients while helping you feel full longer. Other nutrient-rich choices include low-fat dairy products, such as skim milk, yogurt and low-fat cheeses. White meat poultry, most fish, beans, and lean cuts of beef and pork are good sources of protein, as well as zinc, iron and B vitamins. These foods will help in your weight loss program.

1. Avoid Temptation- Buy healthy foods at the grocery store and don?t keep junk food in the house.
2. Eat smaller portions - Don?t try starving yourself or skipping meals. Just cut back on the portions.
3. Eat only when you are hungry - Distract yourself with an activity if you are constantly hungry.
4. Drink water before meals.

Beginning exercise

It's a good idea to start taking short, easy walks as soon as it feels comfortable for you. If weather permits, simply load up the baby in the stroller and take brisk walks to the park, library, neighborhood coffee shop or anywhere that makes the exercise walk enjoyable. If you have a reliable baby sitter, joining a local gym would be an excellent idea.

The most important factors in weight loss after pregnancy will be patience and consistency, along with a sensible, healthy diet and an exercise plan. It generally takes about 6-12 months to achieve the total weight loss following pregnancy.

The Weight Loss Research Center is where you can read Independent Information and see consumer ratings on weight loss pills, diets, exercise programs and trainers.