From my experience there are just two things you need to do to loose the bump: breastfeed and an hour walk at least 3 times a week. Within 2 weeks I was down to 3 kilos over what I was pre baby. With a bit more work by three months I was back to pre baby weight. It is possible. Walking helps you increase your metabolism and get fit again while the breastfeeding stimulates the shrinking of your fundus (womb) and burns a lot of calories making all that milk!
I found the combination of these two things to really helped me loose the weight. However, there is more than just weight to think about – the health and functioning of your body are very important. Your body has gone through a tough 9 month overhaul and now you need to slowly change it back.
Not everyone can breastfeed, mixed feeding helps, but even if you exclusively bottle feed there are other ways to burn calories and reduce the bump. Here are some tips on getting back your body, as wonderful as it was sharing it for 9 months!
Increasing the amount of exercise you do slowly helps you keep motivated. At first just start with a short walk. Its hard enough getting you and baby out of the house the first time, although it is very fun once you get out there. The next week go for two walks ant the next week three. I try to aim for five walks a week, with three as the minimum. This way your goal is more flexible and if you have a bad night (or week) don’t stress and try again when you are not exhausted.
Many gyms have a creche. You will probably have to book baby in a week in advance, but this is actually a great motivator as you then have a reason not to skip the session. If there is a pool at your local gym you can then have some quality mummy-baby time after, getting her used to the water from an early age.
Or you may have a different exercise you prefer, mine is Bikram Yoga (or Hot Yoga). Booking in a babysitter (my mom) for a few sessions a week is the motivation I needed to get back into in – when baby was three months old and I was comfortable leaving her for a few hours.
There are two exercises you can do anywhere, anytime: pelvic floor exercises and abdominal compressions.
Do your pelvic floor exercises every day, they are essential for so many reasons:
preventing incontinence (piddling yourself when you laugh or sneeze) now and later in life
getting your tummy back into shape from the inside out
strengthening muscles that are essential if you want to have another baby
Abdominal compressions are a similar exercise to pelvic floor exercises, but help strengthen your stomach. They shorten and strengthen the transverse muscles which stabilise the spine and flatten your abs. Do them standing up, by pulling in your tummy – imagine you are pulling your navel to your spine. Hold for five seconds, making sure you breath normally and keep the rest of your body relaxed. Repeat four times. Work towards increasing to 10 seconds at a time.
Good nutrition is essential, not only if you are breastfeeding and making what feels like litres of milk. Just being a mom and looking after baby all day requires some serious energy. Make sure you are actually eating enough. Rather than worrying about counting calories to loose weight, just make sure what you eat is healthy. Online shopping was my saviour. We eat organic and it is hard enough getting out to shop without having to go to specialist grocers that are out of the way. Both organic and conventional groceries can be delivered to your door weekly, or as often as you like. Setting up a weekly delivery of fresh fruit and vege on a convenient day means you just don’t have to think as hard about eating healthy.
Avoid excess salt, sugar and refined foods (white bread, white rice, white pasta etc.) as these will cause water retention (and weight gain). Cranberry juice helps both with water retention and preventing urinary tract infections. However, not if the cranberry juice is mostly sugar and a small amount of concentrate! Lakewood cranberry juice is pure cranberry, and is very nice as just a tablespoonful in a glass of sparkling water or as a hot drink with boiling water and a little Manuka honey. Pure cranberry is as tart as lemon juice, so you only need a little. Available from health food shops.
Make sure you get enough iron, as a lack can make you very tired and lethargic which means walks are much harder to get motivated for. I use a liquid iron supplement, as it does not have the side effect of making you constipated. Other vitamins and minerals are also essential, even more so if breastfeeding as you are giving a lot to baby. Not getting enough vitamin C (citrus fruit), vitamin D (from sunlight), vitamin A (carotene from orange coloured vegetables), the B vitamins (particularly thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid and riboflavin), magnesium, chromium and zinc have all been found to cause lethargy if lacking in your diet. Taking supplements might work for you, or just getting a balanced diet. I take vital greens with over 70 minerals, vitamins and nutrients.
Hope I have helped and motivated you, even if just a little. It is your body and you are in control, so just take it easy, don’t stress and enjoy motherhood most of all.