You've just birthed a child. A beautiful, perfect, sweet baby. But that doesn't mean that it's not hard to no longer recognize your own body in the mirror. It is. I want you to know that you're not alone—we all struggle with that feeling. As a mom and nutritionist, I know just how eager new moms can be to to “get their body back."

But before you attempt anything drastic, like an intense postpartum diet, a demanding new-mom workout routine or even trying to wiggle into pre-baby jeans that you know will still be too small...

There are a few things I want you to know about losing your baby weight.

1. You should take a nap instead of doing a workout.

Especially in the weeks after you have your baby, sneaking in some quick zzz's while your baby naps may help you lose weight faster than fitting in a workout. It may sound counterintuitive, but your body is under a lot of stress to recover from childbirth, and adding intense workouts on top of that can increase your cortisol levels (your body's primary stress hormone) and actually cause you to store fat rather than burn it.

2. You should eat more (not less) of the foods you crave.

Your body has working overtime to recover and also feed your baby, so your nutrient needs may be even higher after pregnancy than during. Daydreaming about a juicy burger? Eat it.

Your body innately knows what it needs, so listen to your hunger cues and honor your hardworking vessel with more of the wholesome, real foods that it craves.

Ignoring those cues in favor of skimpy salads may feel like the best solution to lose the baby weight, but in reality, the best thing you can do to boost your metabolism is to stay properly nourished. That usually means that you eat more fresh and nourishing food, not less.

3. You should be patient + forgiving with yourself.

I know this is hard, because you've patiently allowed your body to change enormously while pregnant, and it's time to be you again! (Right?) Just remember your body's #1 priority is feeding your sweet babe and keeping up your energy.

Remember your body is deep in survival mode, and those extra pounds can actually help you have the energy to feed your baby. Let your body take care of its priorities first, and in time, as your body recovers and you eat more of the wholesome foods it craves, the pounds will slowly fall off. It may take time! A study found that most women need a year or more to recover from childbirth, so take the pressure off!

And perhaps most importantly, you should know that these feelings of overwhelm, too, will pass. Those cozy baby snuggles, though? They're worth every step of this journey.

Join Motherly