So you’ve had your child and your body is on the road to recovery after the painful labor and birth, you now want to lose the baby weight, the thing is there is a safe way to do this and an unhealthy way which is not good for you.
When Can I Start To Lose Weight?
Because of the recovery time involved it is best to wait for your postnatal check with your doctor before losing weight, this is typically 6 to 8 weeks after childbirth.
If breastfeeding it is also a good idea for you to wait until you and your child have the hang of it first, you need time to adjust after having your baby so starting exercise to early could slow down recovery time and may make you feel even more tired.
How To Lose Weight Safely
Eating healthy with plenty of fruit and vegetables will speed up recovery from childbirth and also help you as a new parent to find the energy needed.
Whether you are breastfeeding or formula feeding, eating healthily will keep your energy levels up and help you to meet the demands of being a new parent.
Tips to maintain a healthy weight:
- Always have breakfast in the mornings.
- Eat at least five portions of fruit and veg every day.
- Have plenty of fiber rich foods like oats, beans, lentils etc.
- Eat lots of starchy foods like bread, rice and pasta.
- Go easy on sugary or fatty foods like takeaways, fast foods, sweets etc.
- Watch your portion sizes at meal times and the snacks you have in between meals.
Mixing healthy eating with exercise will mean fat loss instead of lean tissue loss and will also help your fitness levels too.
What Exercise Can Be Done
Finding time to fit exercise into what will now be a hectic life with your newborn can be tricky but not impossible as long as it made a priority.
When you feel upto it start doing gentle exercises like walking, pelvic floor exercises and stretches, it is best however to wait around 6 weeks so that you can recover before taking up any strenuous exercise.
You could even use your baby to help you exercise, try a pram-based exercise class or take your baby out for walks in the pram. The fresh air will help lift your mood and group classes are a great way to meet other new mums.
How Many Calories Are Needed?
How many calories are needed is dependent on your weight, activity level and whether you are breastfeeding or not.
Losing weight after a baby can be difficult, before trying for another baby, try to lose your existing baby weight first.
This is especially important if you were already overweight or gained a lot during pregnancy, even a weight BMI increase of one or two points can increase complication risks with your next pregnancy, the problems can include high blood pressure and gestational diabetes, it also increases the chances of a big baby.
Does Breast Feeding Affect Weight Loss?
Breastfeeding will require you to take in more calories, you need an extra 330 calories a day to produce the milk required, some of the energy needs will be met with your body’s existing fat stores.
It means that breast feeding with a healthy diet and regular exercise can help you to lose weight, research also suggests that breast feeding may help you to keep the weight off in the long term too.
It is best to lose weight gradually with breast feeding to keep it safe, losing 1 to 2lbs a week will not affect the quality of your milk, also losing the gradually means you are more likely to keep it off.
When Does The Body Return To Normal?
Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get back in shape and don’t lose hope if you don’t lose the weight straight away, forget the rubbish stories of celebrities losing there baby weight mere weeks after childbirth, such fast weight loss is unrealistic so take a more gradual approach.
Be aware that body shape may change after pregnancy and getting back to your exact pre-pregnancy weight or shape may be difficult.
Look at your baby’s first year as the year that your body safely returns to it’s normal weight, a quick guide is to wait until your baby is six months old to start getting back to your pre-pregnancy weight. It can take longer than this.
One study conducted found that 4 in 10 mums lost there pregnancy weight when there babies were six months old.
Putting on a lot of weight during pregnancy will take longer to shift, talk to your doctor or health visitor about post natal health/exercise classes.
Hopefully you will be able to lose that baby weight without too much trouble and healthily too.
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