Life with a newborn is exhausting. It’s usually impossible to get enough rest and exercise in those first few demanding months, and it’s difficult to eat well.
But as all-consuming as caring for an infant can be, it’s important to take care of yourself too. Choosing healthy foods – and following a few simple eating strategies – will help keep you energized through your busy days and nights.
Begin with a better breakfast
Proteins (such as eggs and yogurt), and complex carbohydrates (like whole grain bread and cereals) are better breakfast choices than simple carbohydrates or sugar. So instead of reaching for a plain bagel, a bowl of sugary cereal, or a piece of white toast – all simple carbs – try a smoothie made with fruit and yogurt, a bowl of oatmeal or whole grain cereal, or scrambled eggs on whole wheat toast.
Eat small meals throughout the day
Rather than eating three large meals, aim to eat five smaller meals to keep your energy up because it keeps your energy level on an even keel the whole day long, rather than seesawing between hunger and fullness. Try whole wheat bagels or toast with peanut butter, edamame, hummus on pita bread, cheese and crackers, trail mix with nuts and dried fruit, and yogurt with fruit.
Resist the urge to diet
Nobody likes to wear their maternity clothes after the baby has arrived. But even if you’re frustrated with the pace of your postpartum weight loss, now is not a good time to skip meals or drastically cut back your caloric intake. Wait until your milk supply is well established, you’ve fully recovered from pregnancy and childbirth, and your healthcare provider has given you the green light before you slowly work on shedding extra pounds.
Drink, drink, drink
In the first few weeks after you have your baby, dehydration will make any fatigue or sleepiness you’re experiencing worse. So it’s important to guzzle water like it’s going out of style. Keep a water bottle handy around the house, in your diaper bag, and in the car or stroller, so you can stay hydrated no matter where you are.
Food can only do so much
Finally, know that even the most energy-packed food can’t counteract sleep deprivation. If possible, take a quick nap the next time you’re feeling weary, rather than turning to food.