Many women begin worrying about how to lose baby weight from the moment they learn they are pregnant. You may think you can start dieting as soon as you have your baby in your arms, but you have certain facts to consider. For starters, dieting may not be the fastest way to lose baby weight.
Before you start trying to lose pregnancy weight, talk with your doctor to ensure you are ready. The Fit Pregnancy website recommends waiting for at least six weeks after delivery before you begin serious exercise. If you had a C-section, you may need to wait eight weeks or longer to allow your body to heal.
When your body is sore from delivery, and you are tired, it can be difficult to get up and move. That’s why breastfeeding may be the fastest way to lose weight after delivery. In the 2003 edition of the “Breastfeeding Answer Book” by the La Leche League, the organization reports woman who breastfeed tend to lose more weight within three to six months after delivery than women who eat fewer calories but formula feed. Breastfeeding can also help slim your hips. The Fit Pregnancy website reports you need an additional 500 calories a day when you breastfeed, but breastfeeding burns between 600 and 800 calories each day. To lose 1 lb. per week, you need to burn about 500 calories per day, according to the Natural Physiques website. That means if you eat the correct number of calories, you can sit and enjoy feeding your baby and lose weight. If you notice your weight loss slowing down after the first two months, the Le Leche League recommends talking to your doctor to determine whether you can safely reduce your caloric intake by 100 calories per day while increasing your activity level.
In addition, you can take certain steps to speed up your weight loss. While pregnant, maintain the proper weight. If you started your pregnancy overweight, you can gain less weight during your pregnancy, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM). By following the IOM guidelines, you should lose 19 to 23 lbs. of the recommend 25 to 30 lbs. between delivery and the following two weeks. The American Pregnancy Association distributes the weight loss into an average of 7.5 lbs for your baby, 1.5 lbs for the placenta, 2 lbs. amniotic fluid and 4 lbs. blood and fluid.
Breastfeeding offers other benefits in addition to weight loss. The National Women’s Health Information Center provides a list and includes the natural antibodies found in breast milk as one of the main ones. The antibodies help protect the baby from illness, germs and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). They can also reduce your chance of developing type 2 diabetes, postpartum depression and breast or ovarian cancer. Your baby may digest breast milk more easily than formula, which correlates to fewer tummy aches. Breastfeeding also costs less than formula.
If you want to lose weight faster, add exercise to your daily routine. The Parents website recommends walking. It is a low-impact activity, and you can take your baby with you while you do it.