Today’s post about how I lost my baby weight was a requested post from quite a few of my Instagram followers. Now, before we begin, I would like to acknowledge that postpartum weight loss is a very sensitive issue. The majority of women gain weight during pregnancy, and we all know that this is completely normal and completely okay. We know there’s no need to rush to lose baby weight, and no one expects us to look like a supermodel within weeks of giving birth. We all know that after having a baby, there are probably some extra cum parts, and that’s great.
However, many of us want to lose the extra weight we gained during pregnancy. The reason is simple. That’s because you feel so much better when you lose weight!
There’s a lot of information about body positivity online now (which is amazing!), but it often feels a little taboo to admit that you actually want to lose a few pounds!
So this post is in no way meant to be a far-fetched suggestion that all women should or should not want to look like their pre-pregnancy selves right away. During pregnancy, our bodies work in amazing ways. It’s okay to shake your body a little and come back to the other side!
This post is meant to provide you with some gentle support, friendly chat, and reassurance that you can lose the baby weight and don’t have to go on a long and grueling diet!
A lot of people ask me how long it takes to lose the weight I gained during pregnancy, and in my case it was a year after giving birth. She may have actually lost weight sooner, but it wasn’t until 12 months later that she felt her body was back to normal, or at least closest to its original state did!
This was my baby weight loss timeline for all 3 of my babies
First Month – Absolutely anything can happen during the first month. This first month is all about recovery, bonding with your baby, relaxing and hibernating. I ate whatever I wanted, did very little exercise, and spent most of my time on the couch. All three of my babies had C-sections, so I couldn’t drive, couldn’t lift my older kids, and had to be very careful not to overdo it.
Months 2 and 3 – During the second and third months, I still ate whatever I wanted and avoided formal exercise, but I started going for long walks. This was for both my physical and mental health. Having a small baby can often mean being stuck at home, so daily walks were really great for me!
Months 3-6 – I started doing postpartum exercises at 3 months and enrolled in two exercise classes for new moms. One is exercising with the baby and the other she is a sweaty mom. During this time, I made a conscious effort to eat a healthy, balanced diet and not eat too many chocolate hobnobs. I don’t restrict myself from eating other things (I just don’t have the self-control when it comes to chocolate hobnobs!)
Instead, I try to incorporate more vegetables into my diet. This usually means I feel fuller longer and feel more satisfied after a meal, so I tend to snack less and eat less dessert (though I haven’t given up dessert completely!)
After 6 months – After 6 months, I was pretty much back to normal. I went to the gym and did regular cardio for short periods of time, ate a balanced diet, and pretty much let Mother Nature take care of my body as it healed itself.
I didn’t do much to strengthen my core because I was still very aware of my c-section scar and worried I was doing more harm than good, especially after giving birth to my third section . I had some pretty bad muscle separation with each pregnancy and was told that doing too much core training could cause irreversible damage.
The most difficult thing about this time was probably the fatigue. None of my babies slept through the night at 6 months old, so teething and growth spurts caused some weird nights. So I wasn’t hard on myself, but I still tried.
From 12 months – Strength-building exercises
After having my third baby, Alba, who is almost 13 months old, I lost the baby weight after about 9 months, but this time I noticed that I had also lost a lot of strength, muscle tone, and flexibility. Ta. I think I probably felt it more this time because with each birth I was losing a little bit of my strength, and by the third time it was more noticeable. So my plan now is to focus on strength building exercises. I love kettlebell classes so I have a few favorite YouTubes that I follow 2-3 times a week. I am getting back into yoga and am also enjoying doing short HIT workouts with the boys!
Tip #1 for losing weight after pregnancy – Breastfeed
This can also be a difficult and sensitive topic, but if possible, breastfeeding is a great way to help your baby lose weight. We’re always told about the benefits of breastfeeding, but it feels a little taboo to mention that one of the benefits is that you burn an incredible amount of calories. In my case, it wasn’t until around 6 months old that I really noticed the effects of breastfeeding and felt hungry all the time, even though I was losing weight. This makes sense because this is usually the time when your body produces the most milk for your baby. This is the time when most babies are ready to start eating solid foods and their appetites increase.
Live by the 80/20 rule
The 80/20 rule is a simple rule to follow. Basically, 80% of the time I’m trying to be healthy and 20% of the time I’m okay with whatever happens. Some people do this every week and feel really healthy for six days a week, then have a ‘cheat day’.
I do this every day and am pretty healthy until about 8pm. But anything can happen after 8 p.m. Wine, chocolate, ice cream and biscuits. Yes, I’ll take it all! But most of the day I feel very healthy.
Don’t ban certain foods but fill up on fruit and veg
As I said above, I try not to restrict what I eat or eliminate anything from my diet. When you cut out chocolate, all you want to eat is chocolate. You’ll be hooked!
But when you increase your fruit and vegetable intake, you often find yourself feeling too full to eat that much chocolate!
Prep your lunches
Lunchtime can be tough when you’re looking after a small baby. Some days, your baby may be fussy and it may take less than two minutes to prepare a decent meal. There are days when my baby is sleepy and I don’t have much to do so I get bored and snack all the time. There may be days when you’re tired from sleepless nights and don’t feel like cooking. And many days you suddenly find it’s lunch time and end up being so hungry that you end up eating an arm of yourself and scoffing at a packet of biscuits and half a loaf of bread!
So my advice is to prepare your lunch in advance.
I often make something like vegetable stew in the slow cooker on Mondays. Sam doesn’t like vegetable stew so I like to make it myself for when he’s not around. Just throw a bunch of vegetables, stock, and seasonings into the slow cooker and you’ll have a week’s worth of healthy lunches by lunchtime.
Try 10 minute YouTube workouts
It’s hard to find the time and motivation to workout when you’re caring for a young baby, but I think 10 minute workouts on YouTube are perfect. I simply don’t think that 10 minutes of training will burn hundreds of calories, but even 10 minutes a day is better than nothing.
The reason I suggest a 10-minute workout is because most of us can tackle this. Even if you don’t really want to, you can put on your sports bra and jump around your living room for 10 minutes. Knowing it only takes 600 seconds makes it much easier to get started, and once you get past the hurdle of getting started, you’re more likely to keep going.
Sometimes I do one 10-minute workout too much, realize I enjoy it, and do another one. Admittedly, I rarely do his third one, but you see where I’m going with this!
Just a little bit of exercise will give you a boost of energy and endorphins that will help you let go of the biscuit tin without wanting to undo all the hard work you’ve put in!
Go to the gym to relax, not to exercise
This is just a mind game, but it’s something Sam and I did when Joseph and Alba were babies.
We joined a spa gym at a local hotel and took turns going every night. We weren’t really planning on getting a good workout, just relaxing and unwinding. The spa had a nice pool, sauna, steam room, and jacuzzi and we just had to relax for an hour each night.
And in the evening, I sometimes took a leisurely swim or soaked in the jacuzzi. But most nights, I would do a quick run on the treadmill, do some weight training, or stretch before swimming. For me, the biggest challenge is getting over the mental hurdle of actually leaving the house and going to the gym. Once you put on your trainers and get there, you’ll actually want to train, so if you tell yourself you’re just going for a quick swim, you’re more likely to actually go for a swim!
Put the treats out of reach
This is something I actually started doing during lockdown. Because my kids kept eating the biscuits themselves. I ended up putting the biscuits at the top of the cupboard, and I had to stand on a chair to even put them down. I don’t consciously limit myself from eating biscuits, but to be honest I eat a lot less now that I have to make an effort to poop and climb out!
I have a habit of eating biscuits almost every time I drink tea, and I also drink a lot of tea. So while eating fewer biscuits won’t change my life, I’ll probably be consuming about 300 fewer calories per day.
Walk, walk, walk
Walking when you have a young baby has many benefits. Not only will it help you burn calories, but the fresh air and exercise will give you an instant endorphin boost. And don’t forget that long walks in the stroller are a great way to put your baby to sleep. It’s also great to team up with other moms and go for a walk together every day.
It is worth remembering that if you want to burn extra calories while walking, you need to increase your heart rate. A gentle walk has great benefits for your mental health, but it doesn’t burn a lot of calories. You don’t necessarily have to run, but try to walk as quickly as possible and walk uphill. We highly recommend putting your baby in a carrier so you have a little more freedom in choosing walks that are not stroller-friendly. Also, if you don’t use a stroller, you’ll be walking faster, which will increase your heart rate.
I’ve found that setting myself challenges like walking 10,000 steps a day, rather than just a leisurely stroll around the block, is a great way to keep myself motivated.
Check out my baby carrier reviews here:
Izumi Baby Carrier: The perfect baby carrier for traveling
Paopapoose carrier review
LittleLife All Terrain Carrier – For larger babies and toddlers
And the final tip, which I’m sure has helped me stay slim for most of my life, is simply being busy.
I rarely sit and watch TV, and I never watch TV during the day. I always have little projects, things I’m working on, jobs to do, places I want to go or go to.
I know it’s not easy during lockdown and it can be difficult even in winter when it’s rainy and cold. But being busy and active in general should certainly be good for your health, right?
Another thing about being busy is that you’re not sitting in the kitchen eating!