Losing weight when you've just had a baby can feel like a chore, especially when you are still sore all over and in dire need of more sleep. But losing postpartum fat is more than just vanity; it's actually healthier for the new mom to shed pounds, otherwise she will be prone to accumulating fat when she hits middle-age. It's also easy to get into shape once the body has had time to recover and get adjusted to the new routine. Here's how.
1. Choose breast over bottle. As long as nothing hinders you from breastfeeding the baby, choose breast over bottle. Milk is not only good for the newborn; it is also good for the one making it. Breastfeeding burns calories, albeit slowly, even if you don't do anything else. This is why you should never hurry in losing postpartum weight because doing so would reduce your milk-producing capability. If your newborn can't keep pace, enlist the aid of breast pumps so you can store excess milk. It should keep for 24 hours (although some say it keeps for up to three days as long as it is not refrozen).
2. Start when you feel ready. A combination of interrupted sleep, baby chores, work demands and conjugal needs may leave you craving for more bedtime instead of grudgingly hitting the gym. It turns out that the new mother's body needs at least six weeks to fully recover from the ordeal of delivery before it can be taxed yet again for strenuous activity. For breastfeeding mothers, your baby must at least be two months old before you begin any weight loss regimen.
3. Limit your calorie intake. Once you have become comfortable with your new mom routine, try to cut back 500 calories a day from your diet. Consult with your doctor how many calories you need a day before attempting to eat less (because dropping below your calorie requirement will affect your milk supply). As a rule of thumb, losing up to a pound a week should not affect your milk production or your health.
4. Drink plenty of liquids. It bears repeating that keeping hydrated throughout the day is crucial for a lactating mother. Nine cups of liquid a day (no caffeinated drinks or the like) should suffice to facilitate flushing out of toxins and fat.
5. Eat smaller meals rather than three larger ones. Keeping in mind the calories you need, split your daily meal into five or six portions. Do not skip breakfast no matter how harried you are, as this sets the level of energy for the rest of your day.
6. Mind the quality of your food. Substitute rice and pasta with quinoa, and replace some of your red meat with fish. Load up on fibrous vegetables and fruits. Organic may be expensive but since you are eating for two (if you are breastfeeding), it is worth the extra cost.
6. Take the baby outdoors. What better way to get the newborn its dose of sunshine and you a dose of physical exertion? You do not even have to limit physical exercise with the baby in the stroller, you can also rearrange its nursery so you will have to do some walking or climbing the stairs to get the baby bottle or burp cloth.
7. Reward yourself with little indulgences. Understandably, some cravings will sure to creep up, and there's no reason why you can't oblige them, albeit in controlled portions. If you hanker for pizza or thick chocolate cake, you can have it as a once-a-week incentive.