One of the best parts of pregnancy is being able to indulge in cravings with little to no guilt. Then the baby comes and reality sets in that we can no longer eat whatever we want all the time. But with the proper nutrition and exercise, it is possible to get that pre-baby body back.
Notice I write nutrition and not diet.
When breastfeeding, women still need those extra calories. According to the National Institute of Health, women need 450 to 500 more calories per day.
To lose the baby weight, consume the same about of calories before becoming pregnant. There is no need to crash diet and feeling like a zombie when healing from birth and caring for a new baby. You need to fuel your body.
The good news is you will automatically lose 10 to 12 pounds post-delivery. This is from the baby, placenta, extra blood, amniotic fluid. Some of it is also water weight.
Make sure to be cleared by your doctor before exercising. For vaginal delivery, this is usually six weeks and for c-section 8 weeks. In some cases, this might be sooner.
Once you are able cleared for exercise, start slowly. Build up that fitness base again and learn to be patient. Major weight loss and muscle gain won’t happen overnight.
But healthy eating habits combined with exercise will lead to weight loss. However, it might take time to lose that baby weight. Everyone is different on how soon this is.
Here are tips to help get that pre-baby body back.
Breastfeed For The Calorie Burn
Breastfeeding is not only beneficial for baby, but it’s also great for weight loss to get help get that pre-baby body back.
It can burn anywhere between 200 and 500 calories a day. Plus nursing causes the uterus to contract which means it shrinks down back to pre-baby size. This means a flatter stomach.
Build A Fitness Base
Once cleared to workout, remember that this new fitness journey is a marathon, not a sprint. This means taking the time to slowly start.
Build your base fitness level back up gradually. Think low-impact workouts like going for a walk before getting to a jog and then full-on run. This also means not taking that HIIT workout and instead of taking a spin class but only pushing it to the level of comfort.
Lifting weights is a great way to strength train, but CrossFit isn’t a great idea to begin. Work your way up from lighter weights first.
Yoga, barre, and Pilates are all great workout options to start getting that pre-baby body back.
Join A Stroller Fitness Class
A stroller fitness class solves many problems a mama faces when wanting to workout with a baby. For starters, you get to bring baby along.
Secondly, you get to find a support system of other parents who can relate to what you are going through. This includes similar struggles with baby and yourself.
It provides a sense of accountability when motivation is lacking.
And these classes are perfect for all fitness levels because it combines cardio with strength training—all done at your own pace and effort. This makes it ideal for getting back to working out after pregnancy.
Focus On Your Core
Most mamas want to flatten their bellies after having a baby. This can be hard since many women suffer from diathesis recti when the right and left abdominal muscles separate, which results in a stretched out core.
Pelvic tilts while on hands and knees, bridges, toe taps, leg extensions, and side planks are all great exercises for diathesis recti.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Working on your pelvic floor is also important postpartum. Moms often find that they pee a little when coughing, sneezing or laughing postpartum.
Pelvic floor exercises include doing Kegels. Do this by sitting slightly forward and squeezing your muscles like you are stopping the flow of urine. Hold it for a few seconds while breathing than release.
Strengthen the pelvic floor muscles goes hand in hand with a strong core because this is the foundation to have a strong body to do things like run or lift weights.
Set A Long Term Goal
Setting long term goals are a great way to stick to a fitness regimen. And let’s face it, with lack of sleep and our kiddos needing all our caretaking and attention, motivation does fade over time.
Set a realistic, but a challenging goal that gets you excited. This could be your first 5k or next half marathon in a few months. Leave time to heal, to start working out to build that base and then time to train.
Set smaller goals along the way like being able to plank for 1 minute or lift a specific amount of weight to keep fitness motivation alive.
Other Tips To Get Into Pre-Baby Body Shape
To get that body back, the body also needs time to rest. This means getting enough sleep.
Rolling your eyes? Yeah, I totally get that it’s so hard to get sleep with a newborn. But we must find ways to sneak in a snooze here and there like when the baby is sleeping during the day. Or make weekends lazy days for hanging out on the couch.
Sleep is essential for weight loss to continue cortisol, the stress hormone, that leads to weight gain.
Other ways to help shed that baby weight is my drinking lots of water, eating a healthy and well-balanced diet, and wearing a postpartum belly wrap or band. This helps to support the ab muscles, reduces lower back pain and helps bring down swelling. Plus, wearing one under clothes instantly makes a belly slimmer.
Keep in mind that you should aim to loosen more than a pound and a half week, nothing more. Most mamas have their pre-baby body back by the time their little one is six months old.