10 Tips for Eating Mindfully as a New Mom
We all have a relationship with food. These relationships are as complex and unique as each one of us. We eat to nourish, to connect, to soothe, to heal, to celebrate, and a hundred other varied reasons. The relationship changes over time. The relationship you had with food during preconception is different than the one you had in your first trimester, your second trimester, your third trimester. And it will be different again in your “fourth trimester,” “fifth trimester” (return to work), and for every stage of your life as a mother. Here are 10 tips for eating mindfully as a new mom:
- Intention is everything! Remember the why behind your eating.
- You are healing a body that just grew and birthed a baby.
- You are nourishing that same body as it rides the ups and downs of postpartum life: fatigue, a new sleep schedule, hormonal shifts, stress, adrenaline, isolation, and possibly Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs).
- You are nurturing your baby through this body. Whether you are breastfeeding or not, your body is caring for your baby. And if you are breastfeeding, your body is especially demanding of your attention to food.
- Eat real food. Simplicity is a beautiful thing. Your body will appreciate nutrient dense foods that came from the earth. Shopping tip: stay on the edges of the grocery store for the fresh foods; don’t stray into the aisles. Take a baby-wearing trip to the farmer’s market or join a local CSA.
- Listen to your body when it is hungry. The postpartum body has a lot of work to do. It may need something before the next “standard” meal time. Its internal clock is on a whole new rhythm so eat when you are hungry, before you are ravenous.
- Listen to what your body is craving. Your body may be craving food, or it may be craving something else entirely. Read this blog about What Your Cravings Are Really Telling You. If it is food, revert back to rule 2, which may not be what is easiest at the time or may not be what some well-meaning friend dropped off that afternoon. Trust your body. The body has its reasons for cravings and we can be listening.
- Minimize distractions. Sounds daunting, I know, but no one expects you to perfectly eliminate distractions as a new mom. However, consider that mindfulness is like being aware. Are you aware of your meal if you are distracted? Are you aware of how it tastes, how it feels in your mouth, how it looks, where it came from, why you are eating it? Be engaged with your meal by minimizing the distractions around it. Put down the phone. Turn off the TV. Put the baby down for a nap, for tummy time, or take turns holding her. Don’t do other chores while you eat. Be present to your eating.
- Slow down. Breathe before your bites (1-3 diaphragmatic breaths). Give yourself the space to appreciate the look and aroma of your food. Then take small bites and enjoy each texture and flavor.
- Be compassionate with yourself. Which also means don’t be too strict with yourself. Restricting foods, dieting, cleanses, counting macros, binging and fasting: these habits won’t serve you well postpartum (the exception being restriction of foods that are problematic for you – allergies or sensitivities). Which brings up the next point …
- Food is food. It is neither good nor bad. Discard self-talk of right or wrong, good or bad, and should or shouldn’t. It will not serve you in any way. Eat real food to nourish your body. Eat food you like because it nourishes a part of your soul. This is not about what other moms should be eating, but how you can cultivate your relationship with food to better nourish you in all ways.
- Meditate. Meditating each day, even for just three minutes, will increase your awareness of the world around you and how you interact with it including your food.
- Connect. It is possible that many of your meals involve just you or just you and your baby. Remember that food is a wonderful way to connect and nourish our love relationships with our family and friends. Look for a way to connect with others by accepting meals and visits from others or by preparing meals with your family.
You had a baby! You are a new woman whether this was your first pregnancy or your fourth. Postpartum is a wonderful opportunity to embrace that different person, reflect on your pre-baby habits and observe your approaches to life. Observe without judgement, and then take the brave step of trying something new. Your relationship with food can change with you if you allow the change to happen. Remember your Mindset: to be present in the moment, open to growth, grateful, and to welcome the Motherhood Transition with an open heart.
Love & Light,
Regional DirectorBIRTHFIT BEND @birthfit_bend_or @birdie.in.bend