First things first. We just want to say that you are
beautiful, mama. You are making a baby from
scratch. In a way, you might think of a little baby weight simply as a
reminder of the awe-inspiring work you have put in to create your little
Not a souvenir you are excited to hold on to? We get
Every time you step on the scale at your monthly or
(gasp!) weekly OB visit has you wondering, “How will I ever lose all of this baby weight?”
“Will it ever come off? Will breastfeeding really
help me lose weight after the baby is born? What can I do to lose the baby
weight safely and effectively? Am I doomed to never see my waist again?”
Yes, these are the questions that plague many of us
mamas. Here’s the good news. Your postpartum weight-fate is not written in the
Okay, sure. Research
indicates that 25% of women retain 10 or more pounds one year after giving
birth. That doesn’t mean that you are destined to fall into that group! Armed
with the latest insights into losing postpartum weight, you will have the
knowledge you need to lose that pesky baby weight and start feeling like your
old (young) self again!
These are the 5 things that will really impact your postpartum weight
Gestational weight gain.
Weight gained during pregnancy is probably the most important factor in determining how much baby weight is retained.
Research even shows that weight gain during pregnancy is related to postpartum weight retention more than 15 years after giving birth!
Women who gain more than the recommended gestational
weight gain retain on average 4.72 pounds 3 years later and 10.41 pounds more
than 15 years later.
Frequency of postpartum exercise has been linked to
postpartum weight retention.
It doesn’t need to be as intense as your pre-baby
boot camp or CrossFit—as long as it is consistent. Choose an exercise you
actually enjoy and you will be more likely to keep up with it. Even a few laps
in the pool or a power walk with baby will work wonders for your weight and
Does this one seem a little obvious? Sure, eating less
food is related to less postpartum weight retention. But not all foods are
created equal, mama.
Fats contain more than twice the calorie content of carbohydrates and proteins. Trans fats, especially, have been shown to be related to postpartum weight retention.
In other words, eating fewer baked goods (e.g.,
cakes, cookies, pie), chips, French fries, doughnuts, fried chicken, and margarine
will help you shed excess baby weight even faster. If you are feeling tempted,
look for a tasty (and slightly healthier) alternative, or have a
smaller-portioned treat once in a while. We know, mama. #thestruggleisreal
suggests that the chance of retaining 5kg (around 11 pounds) of postpartum
weight goes up significantly with each hour of television watched per day.
Additionally, physical activity does not appear to alter the detrimental effects of
television viewing (or trans fat intake) on postpartum weight retention.
This research found that women who watched less than 2 hours of TV a day were in a better position to lose their baby weight.
Although we’ve all been told about the beneficial
effects of breastfeeding on weight loss, empirical evidence on the topic is
Overall, research suggests that breastfeeding itself is not enough to lose postpartum weight. However, breastfeeding exclusively for 3-6 months and breastfeeding for at least 12 months is related to significantly less weight retention.
indicates that women who breastfeed intensively and for longer periods of time
(i.e., 12+ months) lose weight more rapidly between 3 and 6 months postpartum
and retain less weight after 12 months.
Although breastfeeding can burn up to an additional
500 calories a day (20 calories per ounce of expressed milk), it probably
shouldn’t be counted on as the primary means of postpartum weight loss.
There may be countless reasons you want to shed
those remaining post baby pounds. Whether it is to feel your best or look your
best, remember that striving for a healthy weight after your pregnancy should
be done for yourself.
If you retain a pound or two a year or so after baby
is born, don’t beat yourself up. The average woman retains around 1.3 pounds,
give or take. When we think about what that weight represents, we can totally
live with that tiny badge, err…bulge of honor.
Wishing you all the health and happiness in your
post-baby world, mama!