Postpartum weight loss is a common concern among pregnant women. What will my body look like after my baby is born? How will I ever lose the extra pounds? Diet and exercise are the key to any healthy weight-loss plan. Unfortunately sleep-deprivation can quickly drain a new mother's energy for a workout, and finding time to do anything outside the house may also be a challenge. Remember to ease back into a routine and have realistic expectations.
The good news is, a few aspects of your life in the first months of motherhood will help you lose weight without actively trying. If you are breastfeeding, you can count on burning a lot of extra calories. Your body will burn about 20 calories for every ounce of milk, which means you may burn up to 500 calories a day if you are feeding your infant on demand. In addition, breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin, which shrinks your uterus back down to size.
Another means of weight loss after pregnancy is lack of sleep! While this side effect of motherhood is not a healthy or appealing way to drop baby weight, it is still a reality for most moms. You may be up multiple times at night, walking around, feeding, diapering, rocking, or going down to the kitchen to warm a bottle. These extra hours of activity may cause you to burn a few more calories without realizing it.
The simple act of caring for your baby as he or she continues to grow and develop will help you begin to get back into shape even if you find regular exercise too difficult at first. You will be moving around and using muscles you may not have used for quite some time. Picking up and carrying your infant can help you rebuild your upper body strength and improve muscle tone. You may find yourself changing positions frequently as well--lying down, standing up, squatting, crawling, and eventually following your child around. If you have stairs in your home, you may be going up and down more often as you get things from your baby's room or bring laundry back and forth. Finally, walking your baby in a stroller is an excellent way to burn calories and get fresh air.
Your baby will keep you far more active than you may have been throughout your pregnancy, or at least the end of the third trimester. So be patient and remember that your body has been through tremendous changes that will take a little time to reverse.