Popular New Year’s resolutions include weight loss and fitness goals. This is often a goal for new moms as well. As postpartum doulas, we are often asked: “how do I get my pre-baby body back?”
You might be surprised at how much weight you lose through the process of birth itself! Depending on your newborn’s size (most babies are between 5-10 lbs) and the combined weight of your placenta and amniotic fluid, most moms will lose up to twelve pounds during the birth.
There are a number of factors that can affect your weight loss; your diet, your activity level and your natural metabolism…which is determined mostly by genes and somewhat by age (due to metabolism slow down many women experience after 25).
Your body needs time to heal and recover from delivery. You shouldn’t even think about dieting during the first 6-8 weeks. Once you are ready, do so sensibly. It takes a healthy diet to make plenty of breastmilk for your baby and to have enough energy to keep up with parenting an infant. Eat healthy food…lots of veggies and fruits. Remember that eating more protein than carbs and keeping larger meals to earlier in the day allows your body to burn calories more efficiently. You may need to eat healthy snacks throughout the day to keep up your energy.
Exercising does your body good, but take it easy. Check in with your provider to make sure that your body is ready and do not push yourself to the point of exhaustion (lack of sleep will cause enough of that!). Find something active that you enjoy- maybe jogging with a stroller, yoga, biking, swimming, or walking – and plan it into your week. A brisk walk with the baby (maybe in a sling?) is a great way to burn calories.
The most important thing to remember is that it took your body ten months to grow and carry a brand new person. It is important to give yourself the same amount of time to get back in shape. Your baby loves you … mom body and all. So when you find yourself having a hard time with any slow progress – take a peek at your beautiful baby and be kind to yourself.