You've survived the pregnancy and are now working through the constant feedings and lack of sleep. But in the process of dealing with all that, how worried should you be about getting rid of your body’s extra baggage from having a baby?
Peg Moline, editor in chief of
Getting Your Body Back After Having a Baby
Bouncing Back after Baby – how does she do it?
Women who have just had babies are faced with so many exhausting challenges: Learning how to take care of the baby, sleep deprivation, breastfeeding, keeping a marriage strong, even taking a shower is an ordeal.
And when you add the pressure of trying to snap back into shape, lose the baby weight, fit back into pre-pregnancy jeans, it’s daunting. “Regular” women also see highly visible celebrities snapping back into shape with seeming ease.
It just doesn’t seem fair — if she can do it, why can’t I?
First stepsDon’t compare yourself to anyone else, especially a celebrity
Highly-paid, highly visible super stars have a lot of pressure on them to look beautiful very quickly after having a baby, especially if they have a project to promote. Sarah Jessica Parker, for instance, had her baby and then had to start promoting the new season of “Sex in the City” within weeks. Even if they don’t have something immediately in the works, their looks are their bread and butter so they have a lot of motivation.
Also, a well-paid star probably has lots of in-house support, a nanny, a trainer, a chef, which makes it much easier to get in a workout and eat well. They also may have support for their choice to bring the baby on set, including an on-set nanny who can take care of the baby not only during shooting, but also during workouts.
Keep working out while you’re still pregnant
Studies show that if you continue to exercise during and after pregnancy, you have 50% more chance of bouncing back in term of your body and your emotions. And while you need to gain weight while you’re pregnant for a healthy baby, make it a moderate gain; some experts are even questioning the 25 pounds suggested in this country. If you gain too much – like Kate Hudson, for example – it could be really hard to lose.
The Eight Secrets to losing the baby fatGet up and move
Even though most new mothers are too exhausted to think about exercise. That’s OK — just getting out for a walk, or dancing around the house with your baby, will help you feel better and get going with more regular exercise. That and stretching really is all you should do until 6 weeks post, anyway.
Breastfeed: Breastfeeding burns about 500 to 700 extra calories a day, so you’ll be burning that fat off without doing much more. But be careful to not overeat, and also that when your baby starts eating solid foods, you go back to work, whatever causes you to taper down somewhat you have to adjust your food intake.
Watch calories: Say no to empty calorie foods like soda and chips and fad diets that eliminate a whole food group. Instead go for a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains and low fat dairy.
Eat healthful snacks: Carrots and celery dipped in low-fat ranch dressing; Egg or chicken sandwiches on whole grain bread; apples dipped in peanut butter; hard-boiled eggs; sardines. Eat small, frequent meals and you won’t be so tempted to over eat.
Get together with other new moms: It’s really the best way to make exercise a habit – start by walking with your strollers or babies in front carriers together, then step it up to jogging with a racing stroller,. Or Mommy and me yoga classes - -anytime you make a commitment to someone in addition to yourself, you will be more successful sticking to it. Plus, the social interaction is golden.
Take naps: Getting plenty of sleep has been lined to successful weight loss because you don’t feel so much like binging, and strange sleep cycles can upset your metabolism and stress levels and make it harder to lose weight. Sleep when the baby does, housework be damned.
Go easy on yourself: It can take up to a year to lose all the weight. And you’ll have to seriously step up the cardio around 6 – 8 months to do it. But you can, just one step at a time.
Sneak in exercise whenever you can: You can do moves with the baby, like kiss the baby crunches and push ups. Front leg lifts while you’re nursing, which are great for the abs -- or side lifts while you’re folding laundry. Pop in a DVD while the baby is sleeping – we have a very good one called, “Get Your Body Back After Baby.” Another secret? Go back to work, and you can use your lunch hour to exercise.
Fit Pregnancy’s new mom workout
For this, we can do a workout that includes the baby, or show one that does not, and is for a little later postpartum, or both. For example:
Four moves with baby:
1. Hold the baby squats2. Kiss the baby pushups3. Peekaboo crunches4. Baby bench presses (airplane)
Four moves without baby
1. Walking Lunge2. One-arm dumbbell extensions (your biceps are getting enough of a workout)3. Ab Crunches – start with a Bridge first, then progress to a crunches4. Pushups, on your knees, then with straight legs.
Celebrities who did it right
Heidi Klum: Heidi was quite amazing and famous for appearing on the runway – in lingerie – weeks after giving birth.
Mariska Hargitay: She came back to Law & Order looking softer than before she had her baby, and completely without apology. She’s losing the weight, but slowly.
Brooke Shields: She’s looking better than eve, and she also gave herself plenty of time to get used to being a mother – which was tough on her the first time, she suffered with post-partum depression – and didn’t take on a bunch of projects right away - -a good tip for regular moms.
Madonna: She took her time, stayed out of the limelight
Gwyneth Paltrow: She was very smart, staying in London so she wouldn’t be dogged by so many paparazzi, and took care of her kids, both of them. She is a very good eater and seems to have good control over her diet.
Ones we wonder about
Sarah Jessica Parker: She swears by breastfeeding, and swears that it was the secret to her weight loss. But she also has a brother who is a trainer and she was looking really skinny really fast. I’m just saying, we wonder about that pressure.
Kate Hudson: She gained so much weight and really dropped it quickly, we are not sure it was healthy for her.
Denise Richards: We actually heard a rumor that she scheduled a C-section three weeks before her due date so she wouldn’t gain as much weight.
Britney Spears: ‘Nuf said? She is the example of what can happen between pregnancies, especially if you have never had to really watch your weight before. Many of our readers are women in their late thirties or early forties, and while it’s one thing to bounce back when you’re 28 (or not), it is tougher when you are an older mom.
For more information and tips, visit