Weight Loss After Pregnancy

  • Posted by Dr. Jay Gordon

I see a lot of moms in my office who would like to lose weight and get back into shape faster. Most of them are either being too hard on themselves or someone who should be supporting their wonderful mothering is being to hard on them.

Nursing babies “cost” about 1000 calories per day so breastfeeding is one of the most efficient ways to make sure that the extra fat and water added during pregnancy are transferred to the rightful owner.

Nursing moms, and almost everyone else, need about 1800 calories/day to “get by” and much less than that is not healthy. Here are a few tips for getting into shape safely and a little bit faster:

  • Eat healthy foods. (All together now, “duh.”) This really is overlooked, though. Emphasize nutrient-rich foods which are not “calorically dense.” Avoid greasy snack foods and so-called healthy foods like cheese and whole milk. Eat more fruits, grains, pastas and beans and avoid red meat and salads laden with dressing.
  • Try to build some outdoor activity into your day. (“In my spare time and with my spare energy??) Somehow. Walk with your baby every day and try to get a jogging stroller added to your wish list. Slings make carrying your baby more efficient and burn more calories. In my experience, even moms who really didn’t have the time and energy to exercise a little, feel just great when they somehow do it.
  • Drink more water. Avoid soda and juice. These are truly empty calories.
  • Combining 100 to 200 fewer calories per day of higher fat foods (that’s just a couple spoonfuls of dressing or a piece of cheese) with 20 to 40 minutes of a good walk with your baby (200 calories out) will lead to exactly the weight loss and conditioning you want. Add in a little formal or informal yoga and stretching and you’ll get there even sooner.
  • Above all, be nicer to yourself. This is not a contest nor a sprint. You are an extraordinarily important and extraordinarily busy person: a Mother. Get into shape at a pace that suits you, not the rest of the world.


  1. Angela Gallant

    As a doula and a mom of three breastfed children, I have found that if you lose weight too soon, you will also be ending the breastfeeding relationship too soon. With my third child, I was amazed to find that my busy lifestyle dropped my weight to my pre-pregnancy weight (which was a size 8!) within the first 3 months after she was born. I was exhausted!!! Not only did my milk begin to dry up, but she was constantly at the breast, fighting for every drop I could produce. A baby needs at least a year of breastfeeding, if not two years (the preference is past the second birthday) for real health and wellness. I adjusted my caloric intake, slowed down my lifestyle a bit (to not burn off so much and learned to insist on time to relax). I put on an extra size or two, but my milk came back.

    Now, baby is about to turn one, she is breastfeeding about half her "meals." She is strong, active and healthy. I'm slowly coming back to my pre-pregnancy weight again and I have more energy than ever.

    Pregnancy is not a 9 month process. It's a 2-3 year process. Birth doesn't end it…it's just the peak. As careful as you took care of yourself in those 9 months is as careful as you need to take care of yourself for the next 2 years. Be kind, be smart and plan for long term health, not short term.

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