Expert Q&A: Losing the Baby Weight

Weight gain is essential during pregnancy. Once the baby arrives, it will take some time — possibly a year or more — to return to your pre-pregnancy weight.

Having a baby changes everything — including losing weight. Postpartum is different from other times, especially if you are breastfeeding your baby.

If you are ready to lose baby weight, how can you do it in a healthy way while taking care of yourself and your little one? Here’s advice from Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, an expert in pregnancy, breastfeeding, and infant nutrition, and author of Expect the best.

How much weight is OK to gain during pregnancy?

Lots of calories and proper nutrition are needed to support the growth and development of a new life, so it is very important that you eat a healthy diet when you are pregnant. But you also have to be careful not to gain too much or too little.

Most doctors base their weight gain recommendation on the mother’s pre-pregnancy weight. Women with a normal BMI (body mass index) should gain between 25 and 35 pounds, and up to 45 for twins. Overweight women can safely gain between 15 and 25 kilos, but they should not using pregnancy as a time to diet or lose the pre-pregnancy weight.

Talk to your doctor to determine if it’s safe for you to get less or more than the recommended range. Pregnancy is a very personal journey and the most important thing is to take care of yourself, eat a healthy diet and make sure you take your prenatal vitamins to ensure you get all the nutrients you need for you and your baby.

Does too much weight lead to a bigger baby?

That’s a myth. Gaining too much weight doesn’t necessarily mean the baby is getting bigger. Just because you “eat for two” doesn’t mean you should eat twice as much. Gaining more than 25-35 pounds for a single birth only makes it harder to lose after the baby is born.

How long should it take to lose the baby weight?

Forget dieting for at least 6 weeks postpartum and focus on eating a healthy diet. Most women are sleep deprived, tired and have no energy to exercise, prepare healthy meals and do whatever it takes to lose weight during this stressful time.

Losing the baby weight can take more than a year. Ideally, you should reduce the weight gradually, aiming for 1-2 pounds per week.

Celebrities seem to be losing baby weight fast. What is wrong with that?

I’m not sure how they lose the weight so quickly, and it may not be the safest way. More than likely, the celebrities’ financial resources allow them to hire baby help and personal trainers to get them back in shape quickly because looking good is their business.

Restricting calories and following a crash diet… won’t help. Good nutrition is essential, as is sleep and exercise — but those issues are harder to manage than diet when you have a newborn. A healthy diet can help you overcome some of the fatigue that comes with caring for newborns.

Eating a low-calorie diet can help you lose weight quickly, but it can lead to a loss of lean muscle tissue and lower your energy levels. Losing muscle mass lowers your calorie needs and can make it even harder to lose weight. New mothers need diets that give them energy to meet the demands of a newborn and other children at home.

And if you’re a nursing mom, you can’t restrict calories—otherwise it will affect the quality of your breast milk.

What is the best diet plan to lose the baby weight if you are not breastfeeding?

Calories count throughout pregnancy until the fourth trimester (or 3 months after delivery), as your body needs proper nutrition for the baby’s growth. Six weeks after the baby is born, you can start cutting a few hundred calories a day. Consult [the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website] to determine the right number of calories for you and shave up to 500 calories, making sure you consume a minimum of 1,600 calories per day. Keep in mind: When cutting calories, it’s important to make sure every calorie counts by following a nutrient-dense diet.

For your stamina and energy you need balanced meals at least 3-4 times a day. Fill your kitchen with healthy foods so that junk foods, sweet temptations, and your trigger foods won’t derail your healthy diet. Cut down on extra fats and oils, where calories can add up. Snack on fruits, veggies, lean protein, and high-fiber foods that will help fill you up without filling you up. Drink plenty of water and nutritious drinks.

What is the best diet plan to lose the baby weight while breastfeeding?

Nursing mothers should not follow weight loss diets as they require a lot of calories to breastfeed and be the sole source of nutrition for their babies. Even if the weight doesn’t go away as quickly as it would if you weren’t breastfeeding, you should rest assured knowing you’re doing the best for the baby. breast milk [gives]your baby everything he needs for growth and development in the first few months of life.

Good nutrition is necessary. Your diet affects the quality of breast milk, while the quantity is based on how much you breastfeed.

Does Breastfeeding Promote Weight Loss?

Breastfeeding should not be used as a weight loss method because you can actually gain weight while breastfeeding if you don’t watch your diet. It’s a myth that breastfeeding burns a lot of calories making milk. You burn some stored body fat, but your body protects some fat from breastfeeding. Many women don’t lose all the baby weight until they stop breastfeeding completely.

Do you recommend exercising to help the baby lose weight?

When it comes to exercise, think “slowly and gradually” to work yourself back to your pre-pregnancy fitness. Physical activity is a big part of safe and healthy weight loss, and most mothers can return to exercise within weeks of a normal vaginal delivery. C-section deliveries require extra rest and wound healing before regular physical activity. Consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

By 6 weeks, most mothers are ready to walk. Taking two 15-minute walks with your baby every day and gradually increasing your activity level is a great way to build stamina and burn calories. If walking doesn’t work, use the baby’s nap to plug in a video or sign up for a fitness program designed for moms and babies.

Does Sleep Deprivation Affect Weight Loss?

Studies show that mothers who slept less than six hours a night had more trouble losing weight six months after giving birth than mothers who slept more than six hours. There are many adjustments when you bring a baby home, and even more so when there are other little people who need you.

Resting is important to focus on healthy eating and to find time to be physically active. Do everything you can to get enough sleep. And don’t try to be a superwoman until you have your energy back, because weight management takes a lot of energy.

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