The truth about losing the baby weight after delivery
Do you want to lose the baby weight but are not sure where to begin? Here are some helpful tips on what to expect when trying to get back in shape postpartum
During pregnancy, you can expect to gain about 11.3 - 15.9 kg (or 6.8 - 11.3 kg if you are overweight before your pregnancy).
Although it may prove to be a little difficult for some, it is not impossible to shed the excess weight after giving birth.
However, you should be realistic and set reasonable goals for yourself and understand that losing around one to two kg a month is considered healthy.
Dr Ong Wee Sian, the Head Consultant Sports Physician of the Sports Medicine Service Clinic at KK Women's and Children Hospital (KKH), reminds mothers that, "Most of us don't have the kind of resources of celebrities (such as nannies, chefs, personal trainers and dietitians) that allow us to devote an enormous amount of time to getting back in shape straight after delivery."
So what exactly can you do to help get your body back into shape?
What you've heard is true -- breastfeeding might help you lose some weight as most nursing mums will burn about 500 calories daily.
By breastfeeding, your body will also release the hormone, oxytocin, which will help your uterus shrink back to its pre-pregnancy size.
Mischa C., a stay at home mother of one, shares that she was able to lose up to 20kg within one year of giving birth, just by breastfeeding.
"I lost all the baby weight and I think my body looked even better than it did before I got pregnant! My friends were really amazed and kept asking me what my secret was. I honestly think it was mainly due to breastfeeding on demand."
Watch your diet
After giving birth, it is recommended that you follow a good postpartum diet, but avoid crash diets.
In other words, don't starve or deprive yourself of food thinking that a crash diet is going to help you lose that baby weight.
New mums and especially those who are breastfeeding, require enough essential nutrients to recover and to produce enough breastmilk for your little one.
Ms Nehal Kamdar, Senior Dietitian of the Department of Nutrition & Dietetics at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) says, “Getting the proper nourishment not only speeds up your postnatal recovery, it helps boost your energy and immune system as you take on the job of your life.”
She also recommends that you should only proceed with a weight loss regime six months after giving birth, once your baby has been fully weaned onto solids.
Postpartum diet tips:
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and help flush out fat
- Eat lots of green leafy vegetables and fruits to help regain your health and for added fibre
- Do not skip meals
- Eat five to six small meals per day instead of three larger meals
- Have healthy snacks throughout the day
- Avoid alcohol (especially if you are breastfeeding)
- Limit your sugar and fat intake
- Cut down on fried food (opt for healthier choices such as boiled, steamed, baked or grilled instead)
- Taking low-fat or non-fat dairy products is fine (and will not affect the quality of your breast milk)
What else can you do to help lose that stubborn baby weight? Go to the next page to find out more!
Exercise is required
After pushing out a baby from your body, waking up at all hours of the night to tend to your crying newborn, and just getting the hang of motherhood, the last thing you probably want to do is to squeeze into some workout attire and sweat it out at the gym!
Although exercising is a healthy way to help with your weight loss journey, this doesn't necessarily mean that you'll have to sign up for a gym membership or fork out hundreds of dollars to hire a personal trainer.
There are other ways you can include a few low-impact workouts throughout the day, even with your baby around:
You can burn calories just by wading from one end of the pool to the other with your bub in hand, and it's also a great way for the both of you to relax and bond.
We're sure that once your bub is down for her nap, you do a lot of brisk walking to the toilet or to the kitchen to grab a quick snack!
But another great way to help get rid of the unwanted baby weight is to go for a nice long walk around the neighbourhood or the nearby park with your little one in her pram.
Not only will you get to work your muscles and get your blood pumping, the sunshine and fresh air will also do wonders for you and your baby.
Yoga is believed to help relieve stress, target your entire core, tighten your abs, and improve your stamina and strength.
No fancy exercise equipment is required as all you will need is a soft mat or even a rug to lie on as you practice your breathing and stretching techniques.
You can easily download videos online and follow the instructions as your little one happily watches you from her baby bouncer.
If you want an exercise routine to help lower your blood pressure, boost your mood, increase bone mass and firm up your soft spots, then weight training is perfect for you.
Besides constantly lifting and carrying your little one (which is probably already a workout on its own!), you can forgo the expensive and bulky exercise equipment and just use whatever you already have at home.
Chairs, your bed, the wall, filled water bottles, and steps are all good enough for you to get a a good at-home cardio workout.
Check out Instagram for different fitness mums' tips on how to get back into shape after giving birth.
Pilates exercises is another great way for your to lose the baby weight as they are easy to do at home and don't require any fancy equipment.
The workouts focus on muscle control and the moves are recommended be done at a slow to moderate pace -- which is perfect for new mums!
This relaxing form of exercise also focuses on strengthening the abdominals, the pelvic floor muscles, and the back.
You can swing by the nearest library (or ask your loving spouse to help do it!) and borrow a few Pilates DVDs and have a great workout at the comforts of your own home.
Fitness classes for new mums
Those looking for a fun class to join so you can connect with other mothers should check out the various postpartum fitness classes available in Singapore.
The experienced instructors will guide you through the exercise programmes and help you reach your weight loss goals through many fun tailor-made activities for new mums.
You can even bring your little one along to some of the classes and take part in a low-impact workout together!
Love your new body
Losing weight and getting back into shape takes time, hard work and a lot of patience.
No matter how much you might cringe at the sight of your post-pregnancy body every time you look in the mirror, remember that "mum body" carried a baby inside it for nine months and you should be proud of this great accomplishment!
Don't obsess over how many calories you should consume, or how many hours of exercise you should squeeze in per week, or how much weight you have to lose.
Focus on what your amazing body has gone through to bring the beautiful new addition to your life -- your precious little newborn baby.