Many women enjoy flipping through the pages of the various celebrity filled magazines to keep up on the latest Hollywood gossip. Unfortunately after giving birth, this once enjoyable, even relaxing activity evokes much stronger emotions.
It seems like everywhere you look now magazine covers are plastered with photos of the stars in bikinis and form fitting gowns just a few months or weeks post-delivery. A poll conducted by the popular website Babycenter.com reports that 31 percent of moms feel angry and 20 percent feel depressed about what the survey describes as “teeny and toned new celebrity moms” and the extra pressure the media puts on regular moms to look that way.
The truth of the matter is, that this trend in rapid postpartum weight loss is not only damaging to those real women who don’t have personal chefs, personal trainers, housekeepers, and nannies, it can be physically and emotionally unhealthy to moms and babies regardless of whether they are famous or not.
Most physicians do not recommend dieting or exercise for the purpose of weight-loss immediately after giving birth. The La Leche League concurs and advises that mothers do not intentionally try to lose weight the first two months after having a baby in order to establish ample milk supply and allow bodies to recover from the effects of childbirth.
MayoClinic.com offers the following helpful tips on healthy post-baby weight-loss:
- Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Avoid temptation. Keep your cupboards and refrigerator stocked with foods that are healthy and good for you.
- Eat smaller portions. Don’t skip meals or restrict your intake of fruits and vegetables, cut back on high calorie foods and try smaller, frequent meals.
- Eat only when you are hungry.
- Get comfortable. If you’re still breastfeeding, nurse your baby right before exercise, and wear a supportive bra and loose comfortable clothing.
- Start slowly.
- Break it up. Exercise in short sessions throughout the day. Increase the length and intensity of workouts gradually.
- Include your baby. Take your baby for walks in stroller or baby carrier, utilize jogging strollers, dance with baby in your arms and lay baby next to you during stretching on the floor.
It is imperative to be realistic and keep perspective when thinking about postpartum weight-loss. Women need to keep in mind that it takes 9 months to put on the weight; it is going to take time to take it off! So, instead focus on your new little one and enjoy that time together.
—Kelly C. Ryan, MSW, Postpartum Adjustment Coordinator