Safe weight loss when breastfeeding
As well, there are great physical and emotional advantages for mums! Research suggests that women who have breastfed may have a lower risk of breast cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis. But breastfeeding also places enormous demands on you, both physically and mentally, so it's key that you get plenty of rest, eat a balanced, healthy diet and make sure you keep your fluid intake up.
What should I eat when I'm breastfeeding?
At this time, it's particularly important to eat well so you and your baby get all the nutrients you both require. The best way to do this is to choose a wide variety of foods; because the flavour of your breast milk varies depending on what you've been eating, variety can help your baby develop a more adventurous palate too!
As a general rule, you should try to eat:
- plenty of fruit and vegetables
- calcium-rich foods, like low-fat milk, cheese and yoghurt
- high-fibre foods, such as wholegrain cereals
- protein, found in lean meat and chicken, fish, eggs and legumes (such as beans and lentils)
Also, drink plenty of water - it's vital to keep your fluid intake up. And remember, when you're breastfeeding, small amounts of whatever you're eating and drinking may pass to your baby through your breast milk and these may affect the baby in a similar way they affect you. So think carefully about drinking alcohol and caffeine!
But can I lose baby weight at the same time?
Yes! You're best to try to lose weight at a steady pace though - if you're losing too much, it will affect your milk production, which could affect your baby's health. "An average loss of around half a kilogram a week after the first three weeks can successfully achieve weight loss without affecting the quality of the milk," explains Karen Miller-Kovach, Weight Watchers International's Chief Scientific Officer.
Our expert's tips
Emma Stirling, accredited practicing dietician, Weight Watchers Nutrition Advisor and mother, also suggests new mums have plenty of healthy snacks within easy reach to resist the lure of junk food. "Being a new mum and getting the hang of breastfeeding can quickly deplete your energy stores," she says.
"Some women become ravenous while breastfeeding, but you must make sure that the extra food you eat is nutritious, not fatty or sugary, otherwise you'll find it hard to lose that extra weight and that will set you on a vicious cycle."
Emma also recommends that breastfeeding mums avoid falling into the trap of night-time snacking while you're up feeding the baby.
Chicken breasts stuffed with roasted pine nuts
:: POINTS® Value: 6
:: Servings: 4
:: Preparation Time: 25 min
:: Cooking Time: 35 min
:: Level of Difficulty: Moderate
This dish is easy to prepare in advance, and above all healthy and very tasty.
600 g skinless chicken breast, (4 x 150g fillets)
150 g reduced fat ricotta cheese
1 tbs fresh dill
60 g fresh spinach, (3 cups), lightly steamed
4 whole capsicum, (2 red, 2 yellow), deseeded, cut into chunks
2 medium onion, (red), cut into wedges
3 whole zucchini, thickly sliced
1 three second spray Always Fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil Spray
200 g tomato, (cherry)
40 g pine nuts
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Lay the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap and beat with a meat mallet or rolling pin until 1cm thick. Combine the ricotta, dill and spinach together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the mixture evenly over the breast fillets, then roll them up to enclose the filling. Use toothpicks to secure the fillets. Wrap each breast in a seperate piece of foil.
Put the capsicum, onions and zucchini into a large non-stick roasting pan and spray with oil. Arrange the chicken parcels on top. Roast uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken parcels from the oven and allow them to rest for 5 minutes.
Roast the vegetables uncovered for a further 30 minutes.
Add the cherry tomatoes to the vegetables and sprinkle the pine nuts over the top. Roast for a further 5 minutes. Unwrap the chicken breasts, slice them, then serve with the vegetables.
Any leftover chicken can be served cold with a simple green salad. Or sliced and made into a sandwich or wrap.