The joy, anticipation, and emotions new mothers experience during pregnancy can be stark in comparison to the post-partum period.
Those extra pounds that added up while you were preparing for your new bundle of joy now sit on your hips, hang from your underarms, and sag on your belly. You might wonder: Will my body ever look the same after this baby?
There are little things moms can do every day to help them lose weight, and these things don’t involve counting calories or expensive weight loss programs.
How can new moms lose weight?
For most new moms, that post-pregnancy body will not look the same, as things shift and change during pregnancy. There are those few women with genetically fortunate bodies who look no different 3 months after pregnancy as they did before pregnancy.
However, for the rest of us in the average world, those extra pounds we add during pregnancy take their toll on our scales and self-esteem.
After my first child I was just 7 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight. My jeans were a little tighter, but I was just thrilled to feel denim again that didn’t include an elastic waistband. But those 7 pounds never completely went away before I was pregnant with my second.
I was breastfeeding and busy with the role of new mom to a colicky baby. I didn’t sleep alone (when I did sleep) or have time for more than a 30 second shower, much less time to head to the gym.
Then after baby #2 I found myself 19 pounds heavier than I was before motherhood. What I have learned 3 kids later is that new moms can lose the weight after pregnancy, but it takes more energy and time than before – 2 things in short supply.
Moms need to make the most of these two commodities in order to feel good again.
Weight loss tips for new moms
- Realize that it is about more than counting calories. A healthy lifestyle doesn’t begin and end with the size dress you wear.
- Get healthy for your baby. Your focus is all on that new precious baby, and one of the best gifts you give your child is a healthy mom, both in physical and emotional forms.
- Start the day with one healthy activity. By the end of the day (or even afternoon) you might be too exhausted to consider exercising or preparing healthy foods. Before your partner leaves for work or your baby is awake, make a healthy choice.
- Exercise for 15-30 minutes. If your partner is still at home, head out for a walk. If you’re at home, do some simple exercises without investing in expensive gym equipment. Hand weights and ankle weights help tone muscles and don’t take up any more space than a box of doughnuts.
- Take 10-15 minutes to prepare healthy foods. Chop fruit and veggies to have ready to go for when that baby just wants you to pace and rock during lunch. Make a salad you can pull out for dinner when you are just ready to wipe the baby drool from your shoulders and head to bed.
- Spend 15-20 minutes on you. Meditate, pray, or just soak in a bathtub filled with bubbles and grab a good book. Quickly hopping in the shower and only shaving one leg as your baby cries in the baby bouncer on the bathroom floor doesn’t count – I know from experience!
- Make a commitment to move every day with your baby. As I struggled to lose the weight after my second child one of the best decisions I made for all of us was to spend at least one to two hours moving with my kids in the morning.
I would strap on the baby carrier or load up the stroller and we would walk through town, play at the park, visit friends, or even grab some groceries, then walk home.
They were exhausted from the fresh air and would nap peacefully, I felt better physically and emotionally, and we have many wonderful memories of strolls through the old neighborhood.
- Make sure you ask for help when needed. When my first child was born my dad even came over on his lunch break as a teacher to rock her so I could shower because she was so colicky.
More importantly, though, is to ask for help from your partner. That can be by putting him in charge of the morning routine so you can have your 15 minutes to start the day in a healthy way, or by encouraging him to go for walks with you and your baby each day after dinner.
Small changes for your new family can lead to healthier, happier moms – something we all want to be.