Weight, as it pertains to pregnancy and motherhood, is a delicate subject. There's a lot of pressure for pregnant mothers not to gain too much or too little during pregnancy. When our babies are born, the pressure continues for us to boomerang back like a spring.
It's important to remember several factors affect weight gain and loss, such as diet, exercise, metabolism, and how much weight was gained during pregnancy.
Mommy Weight Shaming
I felt a sense of shame when I wasn't losing my baby weight fast enough. I wondered why other moms could do it but not me. When I could exercise, I overdid it at least once a week. It resulted in acute pelvic discomfort for several months. When I took a few weeks off, the pain went away. Instead of focusing entirely on exercise, I incorporated better eating and working on my emotions. Emotional weight is very real!
I now feel a slight sense of shame sharing my weight loss journey. It feels like I'm putting down moms who haven't been able to. Sharing our struggles and achievements should lead to upliftment, not degradation. The shaming of moms and their weight will probably never stop, at least not until we normalize being open. I start here today with this article.
Before pregnancy, I was about 135 pounds. At about eight months pregnant, I weighed myself and was shocked to see I was 160-something pounds. I didn't understand how I could have gained so much weight, but I wasn't worried about how I'd lose it either. My baby and I were healthy. I just wanted to focus on a complication-free birth, which we managed successfully!
Fourteen months later, I was just as surprised when I weighed in at 114 pounds! I didn't think you could weigh less than your pre-pregnancy weight. In fact, I didn't even want my pre-pregnancy body back. I'm here to share what has worked real life wonders for me, but remember, we're all different.
Weight Loss & Babywearing
Babywearing is the act of wearing your baby in a carrier. I started with a baby wrap, but my son didn't like it, so I switched to a vest carrier.
My goal in babywearing wasn't to lose weight. I just wanted to bond with my baby through skin to skin contact. I didn't consider carrying my baby was like wearing a weight vest that helped me burn more calories and fat.
Regular activities like groceries or cooking became a workout without me realizing it. It saved me time because I was doing both, but I still took 30-60 minutes walks most days of the week. This is where I could have taken things a little easier on my body.
PR News Wire stated an average woman loses 110 calories with 30 minutes of walking. Carrying a 26-pound toddler brings that number up to 230 calories, for example.
By his first birthday, my son was about 20 pounds. I carried him around while I did just about everything. That's more than 30 minutes a day and far more calories than 110. You will get stronger as your baby gets heavier. It's a gradual process for both of you.
Babywearing also keeps you from sitting around too much. You naturally always have to be in some kind of motion if you practice carrying your child.
Weight Loss & Breastfeeding
At 14 months, my son is still primarily breastfed. I feel breastfeeding this long contributed to my weight loss as well.
There are factors at play here, too. Health Line's study concluded breastfeeding mothers tend to be more conscious of what they eat because of the heightened awareness that whatever we consume goes straight into our breast milk. This knowledge continually inspired me to consume healthier foods.
On the other side, some moms experience increased hunger from breastfeeding. At times, I did, too. I didn't consume less per se, but I ate more nutritionally dense foods in smaller portions. Eating 4-5 small meals daily that were optimal for my body and milk assisted my eating and weight.
Research supports breastfeeding burns 500 or more calories daily. That's about 1 pound weekly or 4 pounds monthly. That may not sound like much, but in a year, that's up to 48 possible pounds. When the math is laid out like this, I can see now why I lost so much.
Babywearing & Breastfeeding for Weight Loss
Some moms can breastfeed while babywearing. Honestly, I never figured out how to. The combo, regardless of being done separately or together, can dramatically help you lose weight as it did in my situation.
If you’re trying to lose your baby weight, consider avoiding empty-calorie foods with flour, oil, and sugar as their first few ingredients.
- Exercise a few days a week. Challenge yourself, but don't overdo it, especially if you feel discomfort or pain. For example:
- 30 minutes of walking on Tuesdays and Thursday
- 45-60 minutes of walking Sundays and Wednesdays
- Stretches or yoga Wednesdays and Fridays
- Rest on Mondays
- Eat frequent small meals. Each meal can target a recommended daily intake or one food group at a time. For me, for example, as a mostly breastfeeding vegan momma:
- Breakfast at 8 am: fruit and greens 12-16oz smoothie. If I'm famished, a bagel with tomato, onions, and cream cheese.
- Snack at 10:30 am: avocado toast or a small salad.
- Lunch between 12-1 pm: large leafy salad or quinoa/rice/potatoes with a protein (tofu/chickpeas/lentils) or a decked out sandwich.
- Snack at 3:30 pm: fruits (berries and melons are so good!)
- Dinner between 5-6 pm: pick from lunch options
- Snack if I'm still hungry: fruits (usually banana and peanut butter as a dessert).
- Stay hydrated with water. Avoid empty-calorie drinks.
- Rest! It's not always easy, but take that nap with your little one. Go to sleep when they do, even if that's at 7 pm. I fell asleep at 7 pm often.
The most valuable thing I learned was not to try to get everything perfect every day. Strive to get a great week overall. Most of the time, I eat great one week but slacked on exercise or vice-versa. Be gentle because you know yourself best!
Parenting is awesome. Sleep is overrated. Every day is an adventure.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Nadia Rumbolt
Nadia Rumbolt is a mom of many trades, including creative writing, blogging, van life, minimalism, veganism, the beach, nature, and the occult.