The joy of having a new baby can be slightly tempered by the media’s insistence that a new mother lose the baby weight as soon as possible. Celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Victoria Beckham are praised for shedding weight quickly and going straight back to lauded Hollywood thinness, and this can have a subtle but extremely negative impact on a woman’s self-esteem.
But in truth, it’s not really healthy to slim down so quickly after having a baby. Those who have the resources for it might go on crash-diets immediately after giving birth – but general consensus among experts has it that this will do more harm in the long run. If you’re eating less food, you won’t be providing good enough milk for your baby (breastfeeding mothers should be eating at least 1800 calories a day) and you need to restore your own body after going through the exhaustive process of pregnancy.
Tips regarding your food intake that don’t involve dangerous dieting include: drink plenty of water – this speeds up your metabolism and keeps you full up with something other than food. Eat things that are rich in nutrients and light in fat. Fish comes highly recommended as it contains fatty acids ideal for both you and your baby. Don’t skip meals, and always eat breakfast, it’s not for nothing that it’s called the most important meal of the day.
As for exercise -exercise is important throughout a person’s whole life, and (though taking care of a baby can be exercise in of itself) it is a good idea post-pregnancy to take some time out for a gentle workout when you can. One thing that comes highly recommended is simply walking as a form of exercise. Taking your new baby out in its stroller for a walk every day not only helps you get fit and healthy, it can help you bond with your new baby as well. This is especially recommended for mothers who may be suffering from the symptoms of post-partum depression.
One thing you shouldn’t do is put too much stress on your joints, as the hormones the body produces during pregnancy make them looser. Too much jumping or running might cause you serious injury, which is the last thing you want with a baby to look after. If you’re ever unsure about when you should go back to more intensive workouts, ask your doctor – and especially inform them if you notice unusual symptoms whilst exercising, such as muscle pain or bleeding.
There are of course shortcuts to get a woman’s body straight back to its pre-pregnancy state – companies offer tummy tucks, liposuction, breast lifts and more. However, it can come at a high price, both financially and emotionally. People often pin a lot of hopes on plastic surgery and are disappointed when it doesn’t meet all their expectations, or change their life completely. It’s also not a suitable option for everybody, as ideal candidates need to have stopped breast-feeding, be keeping their weight stable, and be a non-smoker.
It’s also not recommended for people who want to have more children in the future, so any decision to have a ‘mom makeover’ ought to be discussed with partners and carefully thought about before anything goes ahead. Also, make absolutely certain that any plastic surgeon you might go to is a fully licensed professional.
The main thing that will help you lose baby weight is patience – you won’t lose the baby weight straight away, and anyone expecting you to needs to adjust their expectations. Think about what’s best for both you and your baby before you go ahead with any ‘quick fixes’. And try not to hold yourself up to celebrity standards, because they don’t meet those standards either! After Hilary Duff gave birth, she told US Weekly that shedding the weight, “takes time. It takes nine months for your body to get that way, and it’s putting on that weight on purpose. The second I start to get down like, ‘What happened to my body?’ I look at my beautiful baby—and I’ve never been more appreciative for this body that I have.” Wise words.
About the Author
Mackenzie Fox is the proud mother of two beautiful children. After giving birth, she had to face what all women do and that’s shedding baby weight. Some women go through this ordeal, both psychological and physical, with a lot of stress. So, Mackenzie wanted to share some of her insights with readers of Australian Women Online.