5 Reasons You're Not Losing the Baby Weight

Avoid postnatal weight-loss plateaus with this advice.

Postpartum Weight Loss
Photo: Stanislaw Mikulski/Shutterstock

"Rock-a-bye Baby" may be your little one's theme song, but is yours more like "Bye-Bye Booty?" Some studies show that it can take, at minimum, the length of a full-term pregnancy to get a new mom's body back to its pre-pregnancy size and shape.

So, now is not too soon to take a closer look at your postnatal fitness and nutrition program, in-order to accelerate your fitness and postnatal weight-loss goals. Remember: Always check with your doctor before returning to your exercise routine.

1. Too Much Of a Good Thing

While good nutrition is imperative, especially to support breastfeeding, keep in mind that healthful foods have calories, too. Heart-healthy fats such as nuts, whole grains such as brown rice, and some gluten-free bakery items found in organic markets are examples of beneficial foods that support energy and bodily function for any new mom.

But when you're consuming more calories than your body can burn, even the calories in those so-called superfoods will be stored as fat. Be conscious of portion sizes, take time to read food labels, and, if you're having trouble with emotional eating, get support.

2. Lack of Zs

It comes as no surprise that both the pattern and duration of a mother's restful sleep becomes instantly compromised when a new baby arrives home. As sleep decreases, cortisol levels increase, which results in a mom's inability to metabolize calories efficiently. Unfortunately, this is an unavoidable and honest expectation of new motherhood. To keep cortisol at bay, diminish cortisol spikes from other possible sources—for example caffeine, stress, and overexertion in the gym too soon after giving birth.

3. The Wrong Postnatal Workouts

Any tired, new mom is lucky enough to have the energy, let alone the time, to make it to a workout. Most postnatal women who have had vaginal delivery are urged to wait at least 6 to 10 weeks before beginning any postnatal exercise program—but no matter what, you need to get medical clearance from a doctor prior to starting back into a fitness routine. Doing too much, too fast can lead to any number of complications, including diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal wall) or simply exercise overexertion, which itself can hinder all of your efforts.

Once you're approved for exercise after giving birth, consider consulting with a fitness expert to get educated on what formats and exercises are appropriate for most postnatal moms, and which ones should be avoided.

4. The Company You Keep

Weight-loss success requires support from those around us—but even well-meaning friends and family could hinder your efforts. Some new moms are showered with homemade meals and desserts from friends and family. It's natural to want to enjoy comfort foods and indulge in treats when you're recovering.

Other new moms, especially those who find luck with losing baby weight fairly quickly, can be faced with envy from friends who aren't seeing the same success.

Communicate your wish to be the healthiest you can be to those around you, so they can best support your wellness goals. If that fails, eliminate situations or people in your life who bring you down, create undue stress, or cause you to second guess your abilities to succeed in losing baby weight.

5. Patience

Take a moment, breathe, and focus on what you can do today to move toward your end goal. Studies show the most efficient weight-loss plans are those that aim to create a loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week. This is a sane target for new, busy moms as well.

By setting realistic and attainable goals, such as walking for 30 minutes each day, or eliminating fatty and processed foods from meals, many postnatal moms should be able to safely lose up to a couple of pounds per week. Your positive affirmations to live healthier, will, in time, result in a trimmer physique. Meanwhile, keep up the great work, and know that your healthy lifestyle will benefit both you and your beautiful new baby.

Remember: Always check with your doctor before starting any postnatal fitness program; you'll need to wait at least six weeks after having a Cesarean section.

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