Weight Loss After Baby

If you’re new here, you may want to catch up on the Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me? series.

I’m no weight-loss expert. In fact, my 4th baby postpartum body at 36 isn’t snapping back quite like my 1st baby postpartum body did at 28.  Humph.

I do have a few weight-loss tricks up my sleeve, however. Provided you’ve maintained a healthy pregnancy weight, losing that weight doesn’t have to be torture.  Before you set your sights on your pre-pregnant body, though, remember a couple of things:

  • It took 9 months to put it on; it’s not going to come off overnight.
  • Your body sustained and nourished a life!  What a beautiful miracle; take it easy on yourself.

The following methods won’t get you perfectly toned, but implementing these tips (note to self:  take your own advice!) should put you well on your way to less postpartum pudge without costing time, money, or discomfort (as in lots of sweat and sore muscles).

Breastfeed.

I know this doesn’t work for everyone, but breastfeeding baby does more than nourish your child with the perfect food.  It’s a natural way to shrink the uterus back to its pre-baby size (yes, you’ll feel it, and yes, it gets more uncomfortable with each baby).  It’s also an amazing calorie burner.  Eat a sensible diet while breastfeeding and the pounds will likely melt off rather quickly.

Get moving.

Give yourself a break from P90X and 30 Day Shred for a few weeks, but don’t just sit there until your 6 week postpartum check.  Go for a walk as early and as often as possible.  Nothing fancy, nothing fast.  Just move. It will be great for your body and your spirit.  Daddy can handle all things baby for 30 minutes a day.

Brush your teeth.

To lose weight?  Yes.  When I keep my mouth fresh and clean I am less likely to randomly stuff it with a treat here and there.  Brushing my teeth takes about the same amount of time as eating a not-so-good-for-me snack, too.  And in those early weeks?  Let’s face it.  A shower isn’t always happening.  A clean mouth goes a long way to feeling a bit more human during the day.

Drink water.

Lots of water.  Those postpartum hormones are wild, and drinking lots of water helps flush them out.  It also keeps you moving since your bladder will fill quicker, and you need the extra water for breastfeeding anyway.  Water truly is my “miracle drug of choice.”

Eat mindlessly.

I know this one flies in the face of conventional weight loss wisdom.  Here’s the thing.  We all know that when we eat in front of the tv or computer or while reading or whatever, we eat more, right?  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, if what we’re eating more of is a healthy food. If you struggle to fill up on the fresh fruits and veggies, eat them while your mind is occupied with something else.  It works!  Save the treats for when you can savor them.

How did you purge the post-baby pounds?

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Comments

  1. First of all, this has been a fantastic series and I’ve enjoyed it, even as I’m getting ready to have my fourth baby. I do want to point out, if weight isn’t coming off while you’re nursing, please don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about it. And don’t hesitate to ask for a second opinion! My original doctors just kept telling me to eat more salad and less of everything else. I explained to my current midwife that the only way I was able to lose weight was to cut out ALL sugar except fruit for a month, and she’s now watching me to see if it happens with this baby. THIS midwife is willing to run the tests that I need to check my hormones and make sure my body is balanced. Also, my weight loss tip of choice is sugar free pudding cups. I allowed myself one per day to feel like I had a treat, but they’re less than 100 calories. I couldn’t make the pudding myself because then I’d go overboard, so it’s not the cheapest way to do it, but it worked for me. If I wanted something just to chew on, I’d choose a fruit or vegetable or sugar free gum (the kind that 4 out of 5 dentists recommend, not just any random gum!) Hopefully I’ll be able to lose more weight this time around since I’ve been fighting with gestational diabetes this pregnancy and I want to lower my chances of having Type 2 diabetes later. Just remember, losing the weight isn’t just about looking good, it’s about feeling good and being around as long as humanly possible for your new little one!

    • “Just remember, losing the weight isn’t just about looking good, it’s about feeling good and being around as long as humanly possible for your new little one!” So true! My clothes fit, but I’m so tired and sluggish. I know that exercise would help those symptoms.

  2. Gosh, breastfeeding for me had to be the trick. After a year of breastfeeding, I was down more than ten pounds than my pre-pregnancy weight. And after I was done breastfeeding, that 10 pounds sneaked right back on. ;)

  3. I’ve never been more than two pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight a month after giving birth… but no one ever really *likes* how I did it: I don’t put on too much weight to start. I truly believe that’s the key. Now… I would be remiss in not pointing out that being back at a lower weight and smaller sizes does NOT mean I’m back in shape. Losing the weight? Never been a problem. Actually getting motivated to start exercising and toning up again. *Ahem*… ;)

    • Back in shape? What’s that?! I was in the best shape OF MY LIFE when we moved to Tiny Town 4 1/2 years ago, which was a year after our second was born. I had been exercising at Curves 4 days a week for two years, all through my pregnancy. I snapped back FAST and felt SO GOOD. Well… no Curves in Tiny Town. :( I need to motivate and get back to The Shred or something. {sigh}

  4. Thanks so much for the encouragement and advice! My baby just turned 3 weeks old and my other 2 babies are sick (and have been for a week) so I really needed this motivation this morning. Case in point: I just ate a healthy breakfast of powdered donuts, m&m’s, and coke… Nice. I really like the idea about mindlessly eating healthy foods. I’ve never thought about doing that before!

  5. Yeah, baby #4 was my downfall. I have never – 6 years late – gotten back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I am up 3-4 lbs from pre-baby days still. No matter what I do it won’t budge. I am working on accepting it at this point, because it seems silly to get so obsessed over 3 or 4 lbs. Sheesh, I had 4 kids right? 1 lb per kid seems worth it to me. (trying to convince myself still!)

    • I think I was doing alright until the holidays hit, lol. I *know* I would be fine if I could motivate myself to exercise again. He’s 4 months old now… it’s time! ;)

  6. Good post, Amy! I would just also add not to beat yourself up about it. Every woman’s body is different. Some women will be back in their skinny jeans a few weeks after baby comes. Others will take two years to lose that weight. Also, you may lose that weight, but you will never get your old body back. You get a somewhat changed body back. :)

    • Absolutely! Your body is a miracle. And yes… getting your shape back? Um, not so easy. I will say, though, that I was in the best shape of my LIFE after my second baby was born. It was the first time ever that I exercised with any regularity… exercise works!

  7. “eat {healthy foods} mindlessly” is one of my favorite techniques for sneaking in daily fruits & veggies. i’m more likely to eat an apple if i can do it while checking email or sitting in the carpool lane. and i truly make an effort to only eat “treats” when i can sit in peace and quiet and ENJOY it. which is a rare occasion, so my treats really are treats! thanks for these helpful tips and this awesome series :)

  8. Stocking your ideas away until the end of summer. But I definitely agree with brushing your teeth. I find if I brush my teeth directly after dinner I snack less in the evenings.

  9. With my first two I gained pretty much the minimum thanks to prolonged morning sickness, so I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight within a few weeks (although weight and shape are two very different things!). But with my third I gained more weight than the other two and was quite a bit larger afterwards. I had a really hard time with this and so I put myself on a really strict diet, thinking diet teamed up with breastfeeding would do the work quickly. I assumed that as long as my milk supply didn’t decrease, things we were fine. And I did start dropping the weight very quickly. After about six weeks of this baby had a check-up, and had gained less than half a pound in almost two months time! What I didn’t know: even if you have enough milk, your milk can be low in fat & calories. I felt horribly guilty after realizing I’d basically put my newborn on a diet!
    So, of course, lesson learned. Moderation and patience are best. I quit the diet and started eating LOTS of healthy fats and baby plumped right up :)

    • Thank you for sharing your story! That is the precise reason you will NOT see me encouraging any new mom to “diet” or “cut calories”. Not a good idea.

  10. I love the idea of eating The Really Good Food (that you don’t feel like eating) when you’re not thinking about it.

    This will be helpful in the weeks to come, since my new doctor just put me on quite the regimen, which includes 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week! So it’s exercise and a whole lot of other things, just to get pregnant! Waaahhh! I like being sedentary!

  11. Even after getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight within about 6 weeks (breastfeeding is amazing!) I found that the weight distribution is NOT the same as it was before. I now have a belly but my legs and arms look a lot trimmer from lugging the little tyke around. And the boobies…lets just say I have a few shirts that don’t fit. I also try to snack on good things while I sit on the floor while my three month old plays but I save my can of caffeine free Pepsi for those nights after the baby has gone to bed and I can relax with hubby after an especially hard day. And chocolate? I learned the hard way that too much chocolate makes for a cranky kid so it’s a lot easier to say NO to the 42 oz. bag of M&Ms.

  12. It has taken me a good eight months to get back to mostly-normal. With breastfeeding, I can’t eat dairy b/c my LO’s have a sensitivity…well that limits me, b/c I LOVE me some dairy! Pounds come peeling off without dairy! Of course I have to sub with healthy things that provide calcium, so I end up eating a lot better! End of story. We’ll see how it goes with number four.

  13. T-tapp only takes me 15 minutes a day 3 times a week! I did it all through my last pregnancy at 42 and was back to it 11 days after birth.

    My 7th full term pregnancy was my best ever and I got my weight off in record (for me) time and my inches are off, too!

    http://http.t-tapp.com/

    Read Charlotte’s amazing story of loosing weight after her 12th (?) baby; she went from a 22 to a size 6!

  14. I tried all kinds of things to get rid of the weight after baby number 3. A year of grief and stress didn’t help. Last year baby turned 4 and I decided it was TIME. I used the Flat Belly Diet guidelines (from a 6 dollar Flat Belly Diet Pocket Guide) and lost 32 pounds. I ate chocolate truffles every day, and other healthy yummy things like hummus and pesto and olives. It was a fabulous experience and I love looking like me again.

  15. I must be the only woman in the world that breastfeeding does not work for. =) With baby 1 I gained about 50 pounds and lost 30 in the two weeks after she was born (it must have been water weight because I swear I peed every 20 minutes for those two weeks). Baby 2 started just 6 months after baby 1 was born, so I was still holding some weight from her. I only gained about 30 pounds, and have lost about 25 (he is 8 months old now). But I breastfed for 4 months and 7 months and didn’t lose a significant amount of weight with either. I didn’t stop losing after I quit nursing or anything. Now my hubby and I are trying our hardest to lose weight together by eating a lot better and watching our portions. So far, so good. (5 pounds in about 2 weeks.) I’m hoping to get back to my pre-baby weight, even if I am a different shape. I would just like to fit in some of the pants I haven’t been able to wear in almost 2 years.

  16. Because I had my kids so young (I am 23 and have 2 boys), I truly believe that has helped me bounce back to my “origianl” weight so much. I weighed 125 pre first baby, I’m at 106 right now. BUT. I’ve lost all my boobs! :( I know it doesn’t matter all that much. I have my boys and I wouldn’t trade my boobs for them (lol). Maybe that would make a good “why didn’t anyone tell me?” post. Breastfeeding = you lose your boobs. ;) PLEASE tell me I’m not the only one!?

    On anther note, my tummy is bigger than it used to be.

  17. I didn’t lose the last of the baby weight until the baby was 2 1/2! And then I really worked at it. To be fair, my weight went back to normal after each of my pregnancies but I started out each time higher than I wanted to be…so, not sure if that is technically baby weight or not, but either way it takes work to get (and keep!) it off. And sometimes keeping it off is harder:(

    • I agree! I drop mine quickly, but then MY weight creeps up if I’m not careful. Can’t blame that one on the babies. ;) Must blame it on the unnecessary snacks. HA!

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