You have a beautiful new baby and life is perfect – except for that jelly belly you just can’t seem to get rid of. Here are 10 steps to help you ditch that mushy middle and get your pre-baby body back.
Wait it out
Nothing will motivate you to exercise like your first look at your post-baby belly. As tempting as it may be, you can’t start exercising as soon as you leave the hospital. Some women can start exercising safely a week or two after birth, while most are advised to wait until their postpartum checkups at six weeks. Listen to your doctor. Having a baby is a big deal, and your body needs time to heal. Doing too much too soon can set you back even further.
We all know that breastfeeding is good for your baby. It provides her with a ton of important health benefits including a boost to her immune system. Another benefit to breastfeeding isn’t as widely known, and it’s all for you: Breastfeeding will help you reduce the size of your belly even faster. Not only does breastfeeding allow you to eat about 300 more calories each day, but it also causes the uterus to contract and return to its normal size faster than it would without breastfeeding.
The key to getting rid of that baby weight is burning calories, and you’ll need some cardio to do that. Go for a walk, push a stroller, jump on an elliptical, take an exercise class or dance around the house with your baby in your arms. What you do is your choice. Just make sure you get your heart rate up and keep moving.
You’re going to have to do some serious crunches to get your tummy back to its former glory. Start out small, with about 10 crunches. That may not sound like much, but you’ll be surprised at the sorry state of your stomach muscles when you give it a try. Once you can do one set of 10, work your way up to three sets of 20, and do that each day.
Find your routine
The same thing doesn’t work for everyone. You may need to find a workout routine that lets you fit small 10-minute exercises in between feedings and changings. If your baby sleeps in, you might find that morning hours work best for you. Some women enjoy the fresh air that a long walk offers, while others would rather exercise in the comfort of their own homes. Find what works for you, and stick to it.
Ask for help
Being a supermom isn’t easy. If you want to get that pre-baby body back, you’re probably going to have to ask for help. Ask your husband to watch the baby so you have time to cook a healthy dinner instead of eating a microwave burrito with one hand while you feed her with the other. Ask a nearby friend or relative to babysit for an hour a few nights a week so you can fit in some good workouts.
The last thing new moms should be doing is dieting. You need nutritious food to help you heal and to keep your energy up while the baby runs you ragged. Breastfeeding moms need those calories even more. One thing you can do, no matter what your dietary requirements are, is eat healthy. Go for lean meats, whole grains, fruits and veggies and avoid fats.
It’s important to stay hydrated. Drink lots of water throughout the day to keep you hydrated and speed up your metabolism. It’ll also keep your belly full, so you’ll eat less. A good rule of thumb is to keep a bottle of water with you at all times. If it’s there, you’ll probably drink it without even thinking.
One thing almost all new mommies are lacking is sleep. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the biggest components to getting that pre-baby body back. When you’re tired your metabolism slows and you feel less like exercising. You’re also much more likely to grab for unhealthy foods. Sleep when your baby sleeps and ask your husband to help at night, at least on the weekends, so you can catch up on sleep.
Remember how long it took you to look like this? It’ll probably take you that long, if not longer, to get back to normal. Try not to get down on yourself if you aren’t seeing the progress you want – it will happen. Stay as positive and motivated as you can because it’ll make the whole process easier.