When you’re breastfeeding, you need an extra 500 calories a day, or about 2,700 total. But since breastfeeding burns 600 to 800 calories a day, even if all you do is sit comfortably and feed your baby, you could still be losing weight.
Some lucky women can drop all their baby fat, and then some, through breastfeeding alone. But be aware that as soon as you stop or taper off breastfeeding, or begin supplementing your baby’s diet with solids, your calorie needs will plummet. You could really pack on the weight if you don’t adjust your diet.
2. Watch your calories
Say no to empty-calorie foods like sodas and chips, as well as fad diets that eliminate entire food groups. Instead, fill your diet with a variety of nutrient-rich meals containing lean protein, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and plenty of low-fat dairy products, say dietitians.
Experts advise against going on a diet right after giving birth – to get your body back, you have to think health first, as your body is working to repair itself.
And watch the juices. All the vitamin C you need for one day is in a small glass of orange juice. Any more than that and you’ll be drinking unnecessary calories.
3. Eat smaller portions
Eating small, frequent meals throughout the day will keep your blood- sugar levels steady and help prevent you from overeating. Keep in mind that if your calories are distributed throughout the day, they’re metabolised more efficiently and are less likely to be stored as fat. Don’t skip meals or limit the amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet, though — you’ll miss vital nutrients.
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4. Pile up on protein
High-protein foods contain a hunger-fighting hormone and will fill you up more than carbs. And many sources of protein—fish, beef, and eggs—are also rich in iron and vitamin B12, both of which have been shown to increase energy levels. (What new mom doesn’t need that?) Just be careful to choose lean cuts of meat and watch your fat intake, as excess saturated fat won’t help your diet or your cardiovascular health.
5. Take naps when baby sleeps
Getting plenty of sleep has been shown to help with weight loss because you’re not compelled to binge on high-calorie, high-sugar foods for energy, explain experts.
Strange sleep cycles like those forced on you by a newborn can upset your metabolism and make it harder for you to lose your pregnancy weight, so take a nap anytime the baby does. Forget about the housework. That way, you won’t end up with a long-term sleep deficit, and you’ll keep your energy levels and your potentially naughty cravings in check.
READ MORE: Is It Safe To Sleep With Baby In Your Bed?
6. Keep to healthy snacks
Eating too much sugar can send your blood-sugar levels on a roller-coaster ride. And when your blood sugar drops, you’re more likely to eat the first thing you can get your hands on. So skip the sugary treats. To avoid temptation, keep only nutritious foods at your fingertips. And stock up on low-fat milk and yogurt for snacks, as studies have shown that calcium from milk and yogurt actually can aid weight loss by blocking a hormone that allows the body to store fat.
Also, eat high-fibre snacks like figs and raisins or whole-wheat crackers with veggie. They can fill you up and help with digestion and regularity.
READ MORE: 10 Healthy Snacks To Keep In Your Office
7. Get moving
One other thing to keep in mind: Exercise does a body good. And even though you’re super busy, you can always find ways to start exercising with baby — it can be as simple as taking out the stroller or using a baby carrier. Just make sure you’ve gotten the green light from your practitioner before starting your exercise routine, and never exercise to the point of exhaustion. Find an activity you enjoy — yoga, swimming, walking — and plan it into your week. Besides helping you with your weight loss after delivery, a brisk walk with the baby in a nearby park or playground is a great way to meet other mothers who are no doubt on the same weight loss mission as you are.
READ MORE: 10 Fast, Easy Ways To Get Slimmer Legs By Walking
8. Consider a belly wrap
Postpartum abdominal wraps have been used around the world for centuries. Some obstetricians still recommend mums wear one to help with posture and abdominal support for the first six to eight weeks after birth.
There’s also the theory that the gentle compression on your abs helps the uterus return to its normal size more quickly and flattens your stomach faster, too – helping with diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles, which happens during pregnancy).
9. Get help
If it’s been months of doing all the right things, working out regularly and eating correctly and you still can’t shed any weight or are actually gaining more, talk to your doctor. He or she can run tests for certain conditions (such as insulin resistance, diabetes or hypothyroidism) that can make it more difficult to lose weight. Once you know what you’re dealing with, you can then take steps to remedy the problem and get your weight loss back on track.