Shortly after giving birth, around the time the pregnancy hormones wear off, many women start to consider losing the weight gained during pregnancy. If you’ve gained upwards of 20 pounds or more during your pregnancy, don’t fret. Most women lose half of that by the six-week mark without even trying. And if you follow a healthy lifestyle, the rest will come off as well.
If you have decided to breastfeed, you may not need to do much. Many women report that breastfeeding allowed them to shed their pregnancy weight faster than when they bottle-fed their babies. But this is really up to you, and not necessary to lose weight postpartum. Keep in mind if you do breastfeed, you can have a couple hundred more calories a day.
Eat Healthier, Don’t "Diet"
There is an important distinction to make when focusing on your postpartum eating habits. Do not follow a strict diet in limiting what you eat or how much you eat, especially if you are breastfeeding. You need strength and energy that a healthy diet can provide, and your baby needs these nutrients as well. Instead of restricting yourself, focus more on your eating habits. Eat more fruits and vegetables, add whole grains, eat smaller meals throughout the day and reduce the processed foods you consume. Most important of all, drink plenty of water.
Increase Your Physical Activity
Starting about six weeks postpartum, and when your doctor gives the okay, increase your physical activity. Start slow at first and make sure you feel comfortable with the fitness routine you have chosen. A good way to add physical activity into your daily routine is by walking with the stroller every day. If you are breastfeeding, you will feel most comfortable by feeding before you attempt more strenuous physical activity. Gentle strength training, yoga, swimming, jogging and aerobic exercise are all good choices.
Get Enough Rest
You may not be getting eight hours of sleep every night when your baby is up half the night, but you should still be getting rest whenever possible. Try not to overdo it and have unrealistic expectations about postpartum weight loss. When your baby is sleeping, take advantage of the time to rest while they do.
When you feel it is ready to start losing weight after having your baby, remember to be realistic about your goals and don’t try to rush it. It took nine months to put on that weight, so it’s not going to be gone in a week. Living a healthy and active lifestyle will work wonders for your body, mind, and soul.