You may have found the whole “eating for two” scenario was true of you during your pregnancy, but did you know that it can continue even after the baby you carried begins taking their first wobbly steps?
As it turns out, having a baby in the house tends to cause parents to pack on the weight, and here we identify the four main reasons why. Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways in which young children can be responsible for you taking in a lot more calories than you need.
It’s Hard to Diet While Breastfeeding
You’ve probably seen hundreds of articles claiming that breastfeeding will make your baby weight seemingly “fall right off.” For a few lucky moms out there, this may be the case, however the majority will find it extremely difficult to diet while breastfeeding.
For one thing, being woken in the middle of the night to nurse for 40 minutes at a time can leave you far too exhausted to think about working out, or chopping vegetables.
Beyond that though there is the fact that many women find breastfeeding increases their appetite. While you are breastfeeding your body is producing a food source for another human being, and that kind of work requires a generous calorie intake. Many moms report feeling just as hungry as they did during pregnancy.
The best bet here if you are concerned about weight gain or stalled weight loss is to speak with your doctor. Going on a crash diet while breastfeeding is not advisable. Not only could you be overworking your already exhausted system, you could also jeopardize the baby’s milk supply. Your doctor can offer the kind of personalized advice that you may need as a new mom.
You’re Less Mobile with a Baby in Tow
We could say something here about new moms being unable to get out to the gym. And it would be true. However, it would be more accurate to say that new moms have a tremendous amount of difficulty getting anywhere.
Think of all the exercise you got in an average day before you had a baby. Things as simple as walking along the halls at work, or going up and down stairs gave you opportunities to move. When you have a baby with you, simple tasks suddenly seem daunting or even impossible, so many moms just stay put.
Sitting around the house all day definitely has its drawbacks in terms of physical fitness, but it can also lead to some pretty profound bouts of boredom. And boredom can lead to snacking. Whenever possible, try to check in with yourself and determine if you are eating out of hunger, or out of boredom. If it’s the latter, begin looking for ways to combat that.
Which brings us to our next point…
Your Mom Meetups Often Involve Food
One way for new moms to get out of the house is to meet up with other moms. Because other parents implicitly understand things like naptime schedules and boisterous noise levels in public places, it just seems easier to get together with them rather than with friends who do not have children.
Of course, some of the most convenient places for you to meet up are at coffee shops, kid-friendly restaurants, or other establishments where food is a prominent feature. Meeting up three times a week can mean that you are purchasing extra sweets or fast food each time you go.
Socializing is very important for your mental health, so don’t stop doing it. However, a good idea might be to try meeting up at a park, a library, or even a children’s museum instead. Any place where the emphasis is on fun and not food.
You’ll Taste Test and Finish Off a Lot of Baby or Toddler Meals
As your children begin to move on to solid foods, you will be doing a lot of taste testing, both of prepackaged foods, and foods that you’ve prepared at home. Of course, babies and toddlers are not always members of the “clean plate club,” so very often moms wind up finishing their children’s food so as not to waste anything they’ve made.
All of those bread crusts, crackers, yogurts, noodles, and other leftovers end up as extra and unnecessary calories.
One way to avoid this is to try to ensure that there will not be too many leftovers when preparing your own food. If you are making an entire sandwich for your child knowing that they will only eat one quarter of it, then make a smaller one. If you make too much of something, try putting it in a container in the refrigerator so that it can be used later. This way, not only do you skip the extra calories, you also get to skip the extra prep time.
The bottom line is this: new parents are very distracted and very busy. It can sometimes be difficult to watch what you are eating when all of your attention is turned towards your new baby. Wherever possible, try to take a few minutes to focus on just you. There is nothing selfish about self-care, and everyone benefits from a healthy parent.