How To Lose Baby Weight After Pregnancy Even While Breastfeeding

[ 0 ] October 24, 2012 |

lose baby weight after pregnancySo you’ve just given birth to a brand new baby and are now looking at what you can do to shed the excess baby weight you’ve gained during your pregnancy. You’re feeling a little anxious because you let things slide a little too far and may have a good 30-40 pounds that you have to burn off.

Right now you may be at the heaviest weight you’ve been at all your life and the thought of trying to find a way to lose all that can seem overwhelming.

“What’s worse is that you thought as soon as you had the baby, that the extra fat would simply melt away but as you are quickly finding out . . it doesn’t work like that!”

You may have initially tried to lose the weight, making some changes to your eating and getting a few workouts in, but have been met with mediocre progress at best.

It seems like your body is fighting you and is clinging onto the weight that you’ve gained for dear life and you just don’t have the time or energy to exercise regularly at home let alone go to the gym and meals . . don’t even get me started on preparing and cooking food! You don’t have time to nip for a wee let alone slave over a hot stove so how are you supposed to eat healthy?

Are you destined to be at this weight forever? Are you going to be one of “those” moms who never completely loses the baby weight she’s gained?

Not if you use the right strategy to shed the weight.

Let’s go over the main things that you need to know to lose weight effectively after pregnancy.


Step 1: Setting Your Calorie Intake

“One big mistake that some women make is taking their calories down too far. If you don’t eat enough calories, you might not have sufficient energy to produce breast milk and your baby will suffer”

calories for post pregnancy weight lossFirst things first, you must set your calorie intake.  One big mistake that some women make is taking their calories down too far, thinking this will help them to lose baby weight after pregnancy faster.

The main point to remember here is that if you don’t eat enough calories, you might not have sufficient energy to produce breast milk and your baby will suffer.  Furthermore, your energy levels will plummet and trying to keep up with your baby will feel like mission impossible.

So you want to aim for right around 2000 calories per day.

This is an approximation because the exact amount will depend on if you exercise, how often you breastfeed and your own metabolism. It is however a good starting point so aim for around 2000 calories at first and see what happens then you can adjust things according to your body – but only adjust a little bit at a time so maybe 100-200 calories over or under then monitor the results.

“If you weren’t breastfeeding then this figure would be lower but your body is working overtime to produce breast milk so you need more calories during this time.”

You shouldn’t be losing much more than 1-2 pounds per week as well, as this is a safe rate of weight loss that will ensure you won’t be suffering from any nutritional deficiencies.

You might lose more than that for the first few weeks but 1-2lbs should be the average after the initial phase of the baby weight loss program.

Personally I would also take a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement and possibly a multi omega (good fats) supplement regardless of how good your diet is – but obviously always check with your doctor first!


Step 2: Choosing Your Foods

“Don’t succumb to eating processed snack foods just because they’re easily available. This is one of the biggest challenges faced by new moms”

stop binge eating while breastfeeding

Image courtesy of: Julien Tromeur,

Moving along, you also need to make sure that you’re choosing your foods wisely.  Don’t succumb to eating processed snack foods just because they’re ‘there’. This is one of the biggest challenges faced by new moms.

Instead, focus on whole grains, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products (as long as you aren’t lactose intolerant), and lean protein from meat products.

Try to have a protein, carb and good fat source with every meal followed by a piece of fruit (see food sources chart).

Psst. . veg is a free food – eat as much as you like all day!

This will keep you full for longer, provide nutrients that you and your baby need as well as keeping blood sugars stable to help eliminate food cravings and energy crashes.

Many women are highly concerned that the foods they eat will impact their breast milk

Many women are highly concerned that the foods they eat will impact their breast milk but this isn’t the case.  Generally speaking, there are only concerns about breast milk being affected by diet if you are eating a very low number of calories or if your diet is largely made up of one particular type of food at the expense of other food groups (meaning nutritional deficiencies). . That said, that’s no excuse not to eat right!

If you eat the right mix of food, your hunger levels will be lower, your energy will be more stable, and you’ll find fat loss is much easier overall.

The less processed your diet is, the better your results will be.


Dealing With Food Cravings And Binging – Even When Breastfeeding!

snacking and bingingNow, one thing that many pregnant women do experience to quite some degree is food cravings and sometimes even binge eating.  Breastfeeding can make you quite hungry and when hunger rears its ugly head, you want food and you want it now!

To help combat these binges and cravings, make sure that you are eating regularly throughout the day.  Avoid having just three meals and that’s it – you want to be snacking throughout the day, having between six and eight mini-meals over the 24 hour period.

This will put your mind at ease that you’re never going too long without taking in some food.


Finding The Energy To Exercise Post Pregnancy

post pregnancy exerciseMoving on to the exercise side of things, this is yet another place where many women struggle.  Taking care of your new baby will drain most of your energy and you might really struggle to have time to go to the gym, look after baby and spend some time with hubby too!

First, know that if you start eating better, you’ll naturally have more energy for your workouts so that will help out in that regard.

“Secondly, don’t try and think about a workout as a big long affair lasting 60 minutes or more. . How does 10-15 minutes sound?”

. . as trying to find an hour to yourself is next to impossible and when you do finally have an hour all you want to do is sit down and enjoy the quiet time am I right?


Instead, try and focus on shorter bursts of activity rather than a long workout. How does 10-15 minutes sound? Think you could fit in four x 15 minute activity sessions each day?

Here are some ideas:

  • Go for a walk with your baby – you can probably do much more than 15 minutes by doing this activity – carrying your baby (in a backpack/pounch/sling or whatever you prefer) as oppose to using a pram, will burn more calories
  • Go up and down the stairs for 15 minutes
  • Do a fitness or dance DVD for 15 minutes


“You also need to strengthen your core and tighten your tummy and pelvic floor muscles because they will be very weak and stretched from your pregnancy”

Kegal Exercises To Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor – These can be performed sitting or lying and all you do is basically squeeze and hold the muscles that you would use as if you are trying to hold in a wee! Squeeze the muscle (pretend to hold in a wee) for 5 seconds then relax for 5 seconds. Repeat this about 15-20 times.

If you feel yourself squeezing your tummy rather than your pelvic floor then concentrate and really think about only using your pelvic floor (holding in a wee). Many people find squeezing their bum tight allows them to focus more easily on their pelvic floor. Aim to increase the length of time you hold the contraction for as your muscles get stronger.

The rest of the exercises are standard tummy exercises such as:pregnancy stomach exercises

  • Crunches
  • Reverse Crunches
  • Side Crunches
  • Leg Rasises
  • Side Leg Raises
  • Plank

. . and just about any other standard abdominal exercise really. Your abs will be weak post pregnancy so just choose 1 exercise at first, as part of your 15 minute toning routine and aim for 3 sets of 15-20 or as many as you are able.

“In addition to the core strength exercises you should also carry out some basic resistance exercises for the rest of your body”

Stimulating your muscles will help keep your metabolism fast and enable you to burn more calories while toning the muscle – but you must burn off the fat through diet and cardio to reveal the toned muscle underneath. Toning exercises alone are not enough.

Sounds like a lot I know but don’t worry because a toning workout can be done in 15 minutes too and count as 1 of your activity sessions for the day!

A sample 15 minute pregnancy toning routine that you can do at home would be:

  • Bodyweight squats
  • Push ups
  • Dumbbell row
  • Dumbbell shoulder press
  • Dumbbell curls
  • Crunches

You would aim for 3 sets of 15-20 reps to start and you should complete a toning workout three times per week with a day in between where you don’t do any toning exercises (mon, wed, fri for example).


Staying Motivated For Success

Finally, last but not least, we have the motivation factor.

“If you do have a good 40 pounds or more to lose, it may be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel”

lost the baby weightIt is important that you stay committed however, because if you don’t, you’ll never reach your end goal.

  • To help, find a workout buddy. If you can join a women’s group of new mom’s, you’ll have someone to discuss the process with who you will undoubtedly have a lot in common with (being new moms) meaning you can encourage each other along and meet new friends.
  • In addition to that, start taking progress pictures and write in a progress journal. Sometimes it’s hard to see the day to day changes taking place, but when you look at how far you’ve come over time, it becomes very clear that you are in fact making miraculous results.
  • Taking measurements is a wise move as well rather than just going by sheer body weight as often this can be much more inspiring to keep striving toward success.
  • Try and get your husband to help you out as much as possible as well. If he can watch the baby in the evenings a few times a week so you can get to your favorite yoga class for instance, this will go a long way towards keeping you inspired to maintain the healthy lifestyle that you once used to lead.

Oh and check out the success stories section of Urban Health Watch to read about others who have managed to lose the baby weight after their pregnancy.

So there you have some smart strategies for losing baby weight . It really doesn’t have to be a difficult process as long as you stay smart about it and use effective workout and dietary techniques together.  Remember to be patient, but focused and success will be yours.


Summary And Tips:

  • Start at around 2000 calories per day
  • Eat lots of smaller meals to keep you feeling full, fight cravings and keep your energy levels high
  • One way would be to eat 3 main meals with 2 snacks in between each one. The main meals should consist of a protein, wholegrain/wholemeal carb, good fat source and veg followed by a piece of fruit. See the chart for example foods and snacks
  • Prepare tomorrows food the night before so it is all ready for you throughout the day
  • There will nearly always be a time when you reach for a quick, processed micro-meal no matter how many times you are told not to! So keep in the freezer some of the “healthiest” ones available. Try go for the ones that are more protein based rather than carbs as these will fill you up more and keep you full for longer while ensuring your don’t gain any extra weight from the stodgy carbs that many contain
  • Aim for at least 15 minutes of exercise (or at least activity), 4 x per day
  • Monitor your progress
  • If you fall off the wagon . . DON’T DON’T DON’T write the day off and go on a binge or even worse write the whole diet off! Just crack on with your normal, healthy eating straight away. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later!
  • MyFitnessPal is a great app for your smartphone that lets you log your calories and nutrients from your food. This will allow you to see and maintain a balance in your diet. For example, you might see that you have 600 calories left in the day but you have eaten your daily allowance of carbs so you know you need to eat mainly protein foods for the rest of that day. This will help tremendously in your battle to lose baby weight after pregnancy.

I hope you found this guide useful and please, please do let me know if you want anything else included or you want us to research and post about any other topics or anything. We welcome all feedback and will try to deliver whatever it is you ask.

“If you did find it useful . . tell someone about it by sharing! They’ll love you for finding something that helps them out”

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To your health and happiness!

Kate xx

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Category: Post Pregnancy, Pregnancy

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About the Author ()

Kate Robinson is a country girl who never had to worry about her weight until she piled on the pounds in her twenties. After years of depression, self pity, binge eating and yo yo dieting, she finally managed to lose 71 pounds and got back her figure and her life! The experience affected her so much that she vowed to help as many people as possible to do the same. Kate teamed up with some industry experts to provide the right information and support when you need it most.

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