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Healthy Tips for Postpartum Weight Loss

5 nutritional tips to shed postpartum pounds the healthy way.

Healthy Tips for Postpartum Weight Loss

Now that baby is here, the reality of postpartum life kicks in: When should you feed baby? What does it mean when he cries? Are you ever going to sleep again? And (let's be real) how do you shed the extra pounds you packed on while baby was cooking? The truth is, there's no magical way to snap back to your pre-pregnancy body: a new mom's body needs certain nutrients to keep her and her child healthy. But with healthy eating habits and regular exercise (if you had a healthy pregnancy and a normal vaginal birth, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology says you can resume light physical activities a few days after birth), you can get back into shape and boost your energy while still caring for your little bundle. Here are 5 nutritional tips for a healthy postpartum slim down.

  1. Hardcore hydration. Water is an essential nutrient for our bodies. What's more, there are so many physiological changes after pregnancy (night sweats, blood loss, constipation, swollen legs, and many more.), and drinking water -- lots of it -- has a therapeutic effect. It may even help you keep your energy up and curb unwanted binging. Drinking to thirst when breastfeeding will ensure that you stay hydrated and may even help increase your milk supply.
  2. Small, Frequent Meals. Waiting until you are "hangry" won't do you any good: it may make it harder to soothe your little one, and you will be more likely to fuel up on unhealthy foods. Consuming 4 to 6 smaller meals throughout the day (and night!) is an excellent way to transition the body through a healthier weight loss process, as well as enable you to eat within portion. So stock your fridge and pantry with good food pairing and mini-meals. Protein-packed and fiber-rich foods, along with low-fat dairy products, are good staples to keep handy in your kitchen. For snacks, think hummus, peanut butter, whole-grain crackers and hardboiled eggs.
  3. Don't drink too much caffeine. The coffee buzz is so much more exciting (and possibly more necessary) now that baby is here. But unlike common belief, caffeine does not suppress appetite, and too much of it can make you jittery, restless and anxious, which may even push you to crave additional calories. It can also cross into your breastmilk and affect baby's sleep. So try and go easy by limiting your java intake to two 8-oz cups per day. Alternatively, you can opt for a cup of green tea, which is also known to fight inflammation.
  4. Incorporate healthy fats. Healthy fats, which you can find in nuts, nut butters, flaxseed fatty fish and avocados, are excellent additions to a well rounded meal. It provides taste and satiety, which will help prevent unwanted noshing. You’ll also see the benefits throughout the body – your skin, nails and even hair may look better! Omega-3 fatty acids are also known to decrease the incidence of postpartum depression and are great to boost a child's brain growth.
  5. Don’t diet. You shouldn't lose weight to the detriment of good nutrition -- especially if you just had a baby. It's not just that dieting may leave you hungry and more prone to cravings. It's that, as a new mom, you have specific nutritional needs. Vitamins A, C and D, along with potassium, iron and protein, are all nutrients to pack in your meals. Plus, if you are breastfeeding, don't forget that most experts agree that you need an extra 500 calories to keep both your energy and milk supply up. The key is to take it slow, allow your body to bounce back from labor and delivery, and balance your meals with a mix of grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits and good fats.

After 4 kids, this is still the best baby gear item I’ve ever purchased

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work.

I have four kids 8 and under, so you might expect that my house is teeming with baby gear and kid toys.

But it turns out that for me, the more kids I have, the more I simplify our stuff. At this point, I'm down to the absolute essentials, the gear that I can't live without and the toys my kids actually play with. And so when a mama-to-be asks me what things are worth registering for, there are only a few must-haves on my list.

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer seat is on the top of my list—totally worth it and an absolute must-have for any new mama.

In fact, since I first splurged on my first BABYBJÖRN bouncer eight years ago (it definitely felt like a splurge at the time, but the five star reviews were really compelling), the bouncer seat has become the most-used product in our house for baby's first year.

We've actually invested in a second one so that we didn't have to keep moving ours from the bedroom to the living room when we change locations.

BABYBJÖRN bouncer bliss

baby bjorn bouncer

The utility of the seat might seem counterintuitive—it has no mechanical parts, so your baby is instead gently bounced by her own movements. In a world where many baby products are touted for their ability to mechanically rock baby to sleep, I get that many moms might not find the "no-motion" bouncer that compelling. But it turns out that the seat is quite reactive to baby's little kicks, and it has helped my kids to learn how to self-soothe.

$200

Lightweight + compact:

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer is super lightweight, and it also folds flat in a second. Because of those features, we've frequently stored it under the couch, in a suitcase or in the back of the car. It folds completely flat, which I love.

Entertainment zone:

Is the toy bar worth it? The toy bar is totally worth it. Not only is the toy bar adorable, but it's one of the first toys that my babies actually play with once they discover the world beyond my boobs. The toys spin and are close to eye level so they have frequently kept my baby entertained while I cook or take a quick shower.

Great style:

This is not a small detail to me–the BABYBJÖRN bouncer is seriously stylish. I am done with baby gear and toys that make my house look like a theme park. The elegant European design honestly just looks good in my living room and I appreciate that parents can enjoy it as much as baby.

It's adjustable:

With three height settings that let you prop baby up to be entertained, or lay back to rest, we get years of use. And the bouncer can actually be adjusted for bigger kids and used from newborn to toddler age. It's that good.

It just works:

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work. But I have used the seat as a safe space to put baby while I've worked (I once rocked my baby in it with my foot while I reported on a breaking news story for the Washington Post), and as a cozy spot for my second child to lay while his big brother played nearby. It's held up for almost a decade with almost-constant use.

So for me, looking back on what I thought was a splurge eight years ago, was actually one of the best investments in baby gear I ever made.

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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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