New moms everywhere are following the recent trend of celebs like Fergie and Jessica Simpson who have shed post-baby weight by juice cleansing. Women inside and outside of Hollywood to lose weight are under pressure every day but are under special scrutiny to rush back to their pre-baby body. But is this dramatic weight loss safe for mamas and their new babies?
Today Shape Magazine posted about the popularity and potential harms of postpartum juice cleanses. Juice companies now market this new fad and have created specialized cleanse programs for these women. The verdict?
“No!” says Registered Dietitian Mary Hartley. “Don’t even attempt to diet until the baby is at least 8 weeks old.” New moms who breastfeed need at least 1600-1800 calories per day to get the nutrients both baby and mom need. Juice cleanses typically only provide about 1200 calories, and nursing moms need at least an extra 500 calories for breastfeeding alone according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. “After 8 weeks, to make sure the baby is growing well and mom is not excessively hungry, mom shouldn’t attempt to lose more than one pound a week,” cautions Hartley. Juice cleanses would shed pounds much too rapidly for any adult to sustain, let alone a nursing mother and her newborn.
Strictly juice cleansing may not have the professional stamp of approval, but both Hartley and postpartum fitness guru and motivational coach for moms Erin Kreitz Shirey reminds us that adding juice to an already clean and well-balanced diet can be a great way to include more vegetables, fruits, and essential vitamins to help nourish yourself and your baby during this special time. But don’t forget why you’re having a baby. Your body has been growing and changing inside and out for nine months–it wont snap back to its original shape and size right away. “So often the focus is on the weight loss, instead of honoring the time it took for you to grow your child and the time it will take to heal and recover after giving birth,” says Shirey.
For a safer alternative, Hartley recommends using Choose My Plate for Moms, as “the time around pregnancy is a great time to improve the quality of the diet, to learn about nutrition, and to track safe progress.” For safe workouts before and after pregnancy, Shirey suggests combining gentle exercise and healthy eating by taking a brisk walk to the farmer’s market to stock up on veggies.
You not only need the energy to sustain yourself, but now your child too! Take time to be present and bond with your baby. It took 9 months to get to where you are, and it will be a similar, and equally as beautiful, timeline to return to your starting place and nurture a new life in the meantime. You need to be properly fed to do that!