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6 Ways to Achieve a Better Post-Baby Body

From stress, lack of sleep, increased energy needs and hormonal changes- there are many different things that keep you from achieving your goal post- baby body. Follow some of these tips to get there quicker!

For many new mothers (and even fathers!) getting your body back into shape after having a baby can be a really challenge! Often the goal to having a health post-baby body is harder than most expect and just keeping up with your regular exercise routines might no longer be enough. Due to the complex reproductive system that women have and the changes in hormones associated with pregnancy and breastfeeding there are many more challenges women face then men to stay fit. Healthy maternal weight gain during pregnancy is essential to the health of your child and is associated with easier and safer child birth.

Other things to keep in mind during your pregnancy is that many parts of your body work to support a healthy pregnancy. Your blood volume expands by 50%, your breasts increase in size, and your body purposefully stores fat for a baby’s rapid growth and to have energy for the labor, delivery, and breastfeeding. Some moms will lose significant weight immediately after birth, often around 10 lbs and followed quickly by another 5 lb loss within the first month.

Your return to a healthy pre-pregnancy weight should be done slowly and steadily. Keep in mind it took you 9 months to grow a healthy baby and it might take that long or longer to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight.

For those looking get back into the healthy routines and habits or just add some to your current regimen consider some of the following tips;

1. Breastfeeding

Most women who seem to return the quickest to a health post- baby body are women who breastfeed. It takes a lot of energy to feed a child and so while you might still be eating more than you would typically before you were pregnant, you are still burning off fat. The energy for milk production comes from stored body fat you gained during pregnancy and extra calories from food intake. To produce breast milk your body uses 100-150 calories from pregnancy fat storage and another 330 calories from food in the first 6 months and 400 calories 6-12 months.

Maintaining a healthy weight during breastfeeding is essential but you can safely lose 2-4 lbs per month. Small weightloss will probably not affect your milk supply and is healthier and easier to maintain than a rapid weight loss. Losses of more than 4 or 5 lbs after the first month are not recommended.

2. Exercise

Regular exercise does not affect a mother’s ability to breastfeed and can be helpful to weight loss and mental health. After your doctor gives their approval, choose an exercise that you enjoy and find time for yourself to do it. Often it can seem hard after a baby to find ways to stay active but try to schedule in time for yourself and play actively with your child.

Some popular exercises for new moms include:

  • Walking
  • Yoga
  • Running
  • Dancing
  • Stretching
  • Swimming
  • Pushing a stroller or running with a stroller
  • Taking a cardio class
  • Light weight lifting or strength training

3. Sleeping

Sleeping is so important to your health, your weight loss plan and your mental wellbeing. Finding time to sleep between nursing an infant and the rest of your responsibilities can be hard. But it is very important that you find time! Sleeping helps you make healthier choices, reduces stress, and increases ability to lose weight. Sleep when your baby sleeps and work with your family to share caregiving time to help you get enough sleep.

4. Stress Management

Having a new child can be stressful. Make sure that you find time for yourself and do activities that help you reduce your stress.

Try some of the following;

  • Hot showers or bathes
  • Time in a hot tub
  • Reading a good book or a magazine- if even for only a few minutes
  • Drinking coffee or tea and having some quiet time
  • Going outside- being outside can improve your mood and feelings of wellbeing
  • Do some gardening or easy yard tending- although there might be some big yard tasks to be done, focus on the little ones that can help quiet and sooth your mind

5. Snack and Eat Smart

After you have a baby your body is greatly depleted of nutrition and that is why it is not recommended to get pregnant with another baby too soon after a having a baby. Eating nutrient dense legumes, whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables will help you meet your increased energy demands and nutrient needs.

It is especially important to focusing of foods with calcium, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, zinc, vitamin D, and folate.

6. Drink Plenty of Fluids!

Water is really important and helps carry nutrients to all of your body’s cells and carry the wastes away. Drinking water is associated with all sorts of good benefits including good mental health, reduced depression, and increased energy.

Keep in mind while you are breastfeeding you have an increased need for fluids and water! You need around 15 cups of fluid daily. If your urine is concentrated, increase your fluid intake until your urine is pale to colorless.

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