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10 Things New Dads Want Their Wives To Know

The transition to motherhood is a huge one, and what it’s like after having a baby is a topic we hear a lot about. But why don’t we see much written about new fathers? New dads also have their lives completely transformed when their first child is born, yet the father’s perspective is rarely the focus.

I reached out to a pool of men to find out what new dads wish their wives understood about becoming a father.

Here is what they had to say.

New dad holding baby over shoulder

We’re scared.

“I was scared out of my mind about being a primary caretaker of another being, especially one so tiny and needy. It took me a while to figure out how to love our new addition. I was grateful my wife was sympathetic to my feelings even though she felt a strong bond with the baby from the beginning.”

-Phillip Thomas, Saving Talents

 
“Having a baby is scary. I sometimes randomly think of the horrendous ways something might happen to him and how terrible and scary it is. It makes me feel really sad, and yes I also check to see if he’s breathing as by some freak chance he may have stopped.”
-Dan

We should have an equal vote.

“I’m just as much the parent as you, so why does the mother always assume control? Yes I’m just winging it and I may make the wrong choice at times, but that doesn’t mean all the decisions should default to the woman.”
-Kanon

Sex is still important to us.

“One thing I really wish my wife understood is that sex- no, FREQUENT sex, is important to maintaining a good relationship. That shouldn’t just stop when a child enters the picture.”

-Anon

(See more on sex after baby and how to make your wife feel sexy!)

New dads get depressed too.

“My world just completely changed overnight. The transition has been difficult and I’ve been struggling with worry and depression. But I have a hard time opening up about it because I feel like I need to be the strong one.”

-Devin

Fact check: This is entirely TRUE. Studies show 1 in 10 men suffer from postpartum depression.

We want to help, but don’t always know how.

“When we brought home our first baby, I desperately wanted to help but I felt so out of my element and didn’t know where to start. It all seemed to come naturally to my wife. I wish she understood that I want to be involved and help, but I don’t always know how to. Be patient with me and explain what needs to be done.”

-John

new dad holding baby

Dad guilt is real.

“Working parent guilt applies to both parents. My wife stays at home and I work. Working parent guilt can be crushing, particularly with a high stress job. Since my daughter was born, I’ve never stopped feeling guilty for:

  • Working too much and missing “family time”
  • Not working enough and bringing more money home
  • Having “me time”
  • Not supporting my wife in every way I can
  • Being tired/grumpy with my daughter on occasion
  • Missing “firsts” because I’m at work

Working parent guilt sucks. Thankfully my wife gets it.”

-Jonathan

Sometimes we miss being your number one.

“Help us out by letting us know how to help you emotionally, as it’s a ton of feelings we are both experiencing. In those moments we need to be able to be honest about how we feel and when we need support, as it’s a change for us as well. As new dads we went from being your number one to number two and it takes some time for us to adjust to that.”  

-David, Dad Life Lessons

We need breaks too.

“My wife acts like going to work is my break, but work is really stressful. Coming home and helping with the kids is stressful too. But if I ask for time to myself, it’s like I’m a jerk because any time I’m not working should be spent with my kids. Seems like there are no breaks after fatherhood.”

-Brian

We miss spending time with you.

“We used to have so much fun together, but now my wife is constantly worried and stressed. She is a great mother but I wish she’d let go a little bit. Leaving our son for a night to reconnect as a couple wouldn’t hurt him. But she doesn’t want to leave him so date nights don’t happen.”

-Omaron

You amaze us.

“I am in awe of my wife and how naturally she turned into a mother. Everything she’s done since the birth of our daughter has blown me away. I hope she understands how wonderful she’s doing at this, even though I probably don’t tell her enough.”

-Peter

You heard it here first Moms- you’re amazing!

New Dads: We Want To Hear From You!

Share what you’d like us women to know about your transition to fatherhood.

17 Things You Need To Know Before Taking Your Newborn Home

Taking your newborn home can be so overwhelming. How are you supposed to tell what this tiny, screaming human wants?

New moms are flooded with worries while simultaneously dealing with their own postpartum experience. “Is he eating enough? Why is he breathing like that? Is his poop supposed to look like that? Why won’t he stop screaming? I’m a terrible mom!” I get it, you’re doing the hardest job of your life without an instruction manual. But you’re doing great, and most of this scary stuff is normal.

Here are some lifesaving tidbits of information to help you through the first few weeks with your newborn.

Taking Your Newborn Home

Your newborn will lose weight.

It is normal for babies lose up to 10% of their birth weight in their first week. Almost all babies lose some weight in their first week of life.

This does NOT mean you aren’t feeding them correctly! Eating is a skill that takes practice. Everything is new to them. At the first few checkups, the pediatrician will monitor their weight and make sure they get back to birth weight on schedule. Doctors want them to be back to their birth weight by two weeks, and once that happens, you can start letting them sleep longer between feedings.

Newborns scream—a lot.

Sometimes babies cry for a reason. They might be hungry, tired, or have a dirty diaper. There will be many times when you’ve tried everything and they’re still screaming bloody murder.

You’re not doing something wrong and, your newborn doesn’t hate you. You can try these ways to get your baby to stop crying, but there will be times when all you can do is wait until they’re done. They often have a certain time where they scream every day. Many parents refer to this as the “witching hour”. 

Sometimes their breathing sounds weird.

This is one of those terrifying things newborns do that are actually normal! Newborns have irregular breathing patterns. They can sound like they’re gasping or breathing too fast. If your baby returns to normal on their own and seems otherwise fine (not lethargic or feverish), there’s no need for concern.

Newborns don’t need as much as you think they need.

Taking Your Newborn Home

Yes, the parenting trend of the current era is overparenting. But your newborn truly doesn’t need baby gym class, baby Einstein videos or even constant attention.

It’s totally understandable when you bring baby home from the hospital, sit down and look at them and think “what do I do now?” If the baby is content, you don’t do anything.

New babies are easily overstimulated and they need down time, just like all people do. Hold them, feed them, change them, talk to them and sing to them. If you babywear, you can strap him up and go about your household chores. And sometimes, just spread a blanket on the floor and leave them be. Floor time is good for them (look into container baby syndrome in you’re still not convinced!)

Spit happens.

Spitting up, that is. It’s normal if baby spits up frequently. This happens because the sphincter at the top of baby’s stomach isn’t fully functional yet and doesn’t close all the way.

There’s nothing worse than getting a good meal into your little one, only to have him spit up what seems like everything. It’s gross, and you wonder if your baby is getting the nutrition he needs. As long as your baby is gaining weight and doesn’t seem to be in any discomfort, there’s nothing to worry about.

Cradle cap is gross but harmless.

Those greasy, yellowish flakes of skin on your little angel’s head may look horrendous, but they’re temporary and harmless. This is yet another one of the awkward phases that your baby goes through as he gets used to the world outside.

As tempting as it may be, resist the urge to pick at them. This can cause raw spots on your baby’s head that could become infected. Instead, use a baby brush to remove the excess skin after a bath.

Babies get zits.

Things to know before taking your newborn home
It’s just a little baby acne, your baby is still beautiful!

We all want our newborns to look perfect in family photos, but that isn’t always realistic. Your pregnancy hormones will be in your newborn’s system for a couple months. Baby acne isn’t pretty, but it doesn’t cause them discomfort and should go away on its own after 3-6 months. If it bothers you, rubbing a little breast milk on the affected area can help clear it up.

Almost all babies develop a bald spot.

Newborns are really killin’ it in the looks department, aren’t they? The bald spot on the back of the head is like a baby trademark. Babies’ hair rubs off because they lie on their backs so much. It’ll start to grow back when they start spending more time on their tummy and sitting up. You can cover up the offending area with a cute headband or hat for the pictures in the meantime!

Brace yourself for newborn poop.

Forget everything you think you know about how humans poop, because newborns follow their own set of rules when it comes to pooping.

For the first six weeks or so, you can expect your baby to poop roughly once per feeding. (Yes, that means 8 times per day or more!) This frequency is normal for both breastfed and formula fed babies.

If you are concerned about those 8 poops per day being super harsh on baby’s sensitive skin, this cream is what I used for all my babies. It is super thick and creates a barrier between wetness and the skin so you can use it as a preventive measure. If baby already has a rash, pat the skin completely dry with a cloth after wiping and then apply the cream.

Wondering what baby poop looks like?

Breastfed babies’ poop is liquidy, yellowish in color and appears “seedy”, while formula fed babies have darker, thicker stools.

Newborns are known for having explosive poops, so be on guard while changing or bathing or anytime your babe is naked. That stuff can shoot far and it comes without warning!

After the first six weeks, the digestive system matures and babies poop much less- more like 1-3 times per day or even once every couple days for breastfed babies.

You don’t actually need to bundle your baby up.

The rule of thumb is to dress your newborn in one more layer than you would wear. It’s tempting to bundle your fragile newborn in a million layers, but they don’t need that much. A cotton hat is typically used in the very beginning too as they aren’t great at regulating their body temperature.

Remember, your body is a great way to keep baby warm too. Those snuggles are exactly what newborns need, and skin to skin is even better!

Want a little trick to check if baby is hot or cold? Touch the back of their neck. If the skin there is warm or sweaty, they are too hot. If it feels cool, add a layer. Hands and feet aren’t good places to test baby’s temperature since they often feel cold due to poor circulation.

How can I tell if baby is eating enough?

This is probably the #1 concern (obsession?) of new parents, ESPECIALLY when breastfeeding. It is so easy to worry about this when there is no easy way to tell how much your baby is eating.

These are the signs your baby is getting enough milk:

  • 6+ wet diapers/day
  • several poop diapers per day
  • normal weight gain (back up to birth weight by 2 weeks)
  • baby is content after feedings
  • breasts feel softer and lighter and feeding

Want to set yourself up for breastfeeding success? Don’t miss this post of the 5 must-dos to start breastfeeding off right.

Don’t be concerned when your milk takes a few days to come in after birth. You are making a small amount of ultra-concentrated colostrum, which is enough for a newborn’s tiny, marble-sized tummy for the first few days.

New babies don’t sleep quietly.

Well, they might sleep quietly while they doze in your arms all day. But lay them down at night when you’re trying to sleep, and the noises begin.

Babies do the strangest things when sleeping. They squeak, gasp, grunt, snore, laugh, cry, and smile in their sleep. Some of their mannerisms are concerning, and some are downright adorable.

After a few nights, you’ll probably learn to sleep through all the strange baby noises. If not, a white noise machine might help. Just keep the volume low enough that you’ll still be able to hear the baby crying.

Newborns are stronger than they look.

“What if I break the baby?” Don’t worry. Newborns may look fragile, but they’re quite resilient. You won’t injure your newborn by dressing him or, hurt his itty-bitty arms and legs as you bathe him or rock him to sleep. A firm grip on your slippery baby won’t hurt him and will prevent you from dropping him during bathtime.

Assuming you are supporting their heads and never, ever shaking them, you won’t inadvertently harm your baby.

Their soft spots still have protection.

Newborn soft spot
No one is pushing on the baby’s brain. It’s just a doctor examining the soft spot.

You should still be careful around the soft spot, or fontanelles, of course, but their brain isn’t right underneath the skin. The soft spot has a sturdy membrane protecting it. It won’t hurt your baby to touch it, gently wash it, or go about your normal routine in taking care of him.

Babies don’t hold grudges.

Don’t beat yourself up if you make a mistake. I promise, your baby will still love you.

Maybe you didn’t realize he was sitting in a poop diaper for two hours. Or you didn’t figure out that he was screaming because of an ear infection until the doctor caught it at the next well-child visit. It’s ok. You are still a good mom.

There is so much pressure on new moms to be perfect, but the truth is we are learning how to be parents while on the job. Often times we don’t have much support and it seems like we are muddling through on our own. Give yourself a little credit that you are doing the best you can.

And if it makes you feel any better, I left baby #4 outside in his carseat next to car once. Completely forgot he existed for about 20 minutes. So you’re doing pretty good 😉

You can’t spoil your newborn.

Taking your newborn home

Maybe your grandma told you that you’ll spoil your new baby if you hold him too much, or if you comfort him every time he cries. Sorry Grandma, this is simply not true!

According to science, holding babies actually contributes to their brain development. There is a reason your mama instincts tell you to touch, cuddle, and comfort your little one. Enjoy the guilt-free cuddles with your little angel.

People will judge you, and that’s fine.

You’re a mommy now, and as much as it sucks, mommy-shaming is very real. Remember, you can’t please everyone. Nor should you have to! As long as you are meeting your baby’s needs, you’re doing it right. The only person you need to answer to is your child.

Be confident that you know what’s best for your little one.  Don’t feel obligated to do something because someone else told you to do it. Their opinion plus $4 can buy them a cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts.

What other concerns do you have about taking your newborn home?

Or if you’ve already done it, what would you tell a first time mom?

Leave a comment!

And for all things pregnancy and baby, follow me on Pinterest:

 

Let’s Talk About Sex After Baby!

You’re familiar with the changes that go along with sex during pregnancy, but what happens to your sex life after giving birth? I’ve written about what it’s really like for Mom after birth and the many physical and emotional changes you’ll go through. Your sex life is certainly not exempt from these huge changes! Sex after baby can be daunting- and downright terrifying- but it doesn’t need to be.

And remember that most moms think they are the only ones experiencing whatever weird after-affects are happening. You’re not in it alone! So let’s dive in! (OK, bad joke.)  

sex after baby

You can’t have sex for 6 weeks.

You won’t want to, but just in case you have a husband who is pestering you (if that’s so, there is probably an entirely different article you should be reading…), your body is going to need time to heal. The risk of complications after delivery is highest in the first two weeks post-partum, but the body really needs more time to get back to semi-normal. 

Yes, you can get pregnant again, even if you are breastfeeding.

Some women are lucky and don’t get their period for a year or more after giving birth, but it IS possible for your first period to come as early as six weeks after delivery. The problem is you don’t know which camp you’ll fall into, and by the time you see that first period, you have ALREADY ovulated.

Since the return of ovulation is super unpredictable, it’s best to begin contraception to avoid another pregnancy right away. Breastfeeding tends to suppress ovulation, but it’s not a reliable source of birth control. (Side note: Research suggests it’s best to wait 18 months between delivering a baby and conceiving another, due to possible health complications for both mom and baby, but I’ll save that for another blog post.)

Sex might be uncomfortable (but it can also be great).

Hormones can mimic menopause in the first few months after having a baby, meaning a dry vagina, low libido, and hot flashes. If you tore or had an episiotomy, scar tissue could make things painful. Vaginal scar tissue is very common, can happen even after the smallest tear, and is not a sign of a bad surgeon. Unfortunately, it’s also pretty painful to the touch. There are lots of options for treatment, if you find it unbearable.

In most cases, sex can be comfortable again with a few changes to the foreplay routine, including using plenty of lube. 

My best advice for getting back into sex after your six week (or more) hiatus- take it slow. Make sure you’re ready, have a good amount of foreplay, lube at the ready, and girl on top! You want to be in control here, so you set the pace and make sure you’re comfortable.

You might be surprised at how pleasurable even that first re-entry to sex can be if done correctly!

For the same reasons, tampons may no longer be an option.

Sex after baby - Tampons

Of course, you shouldn’t use tampons within the first six weeks of having a baby, but even beyond that, they just might not work for you. You may find that tampons have become uncomfortable, that they slip out, that they are more difficult to insert, or that they leak even when they aren’t full. If any of this is the case, there is nothing wrong with you!

You might be a little looser, but not forever.

Pregnancy widens the pelvic rim, making things roomier below the belt. Pelvic floor muscles lose a bit of muscle tone, but should return to near normal after the first year. Unless you had a very large baby or traumatic incident during delivery, your vagina will pretty much return to the way it was before baby.

Keep in mind though, your vagina will change slightly with each delivery, so if you’ve had four kids, you’re definitely not going to have the same vagina you had before you had any!

Your lady parts change colors.

Your entire vulva will probably be darker after childbirth. (This includes your perineum, labia…the whole kit and caboodle!) This happens because of hormonal changes, but also due to the trauma of birth.

You might be gifted with permanent hemorrhoids.

That’s right. Hemorrhoids that popped up during pregnancy or while pushing during delivery may never go away. This seems to be a topic most moms really shy away from, but statistics show they are really common. They may shrink over time, but it’s entirely possible that they’ll be with you for life. (Of course, you can see a specialist if they really bother you.) Not everyone gets them, but if you do, it might change how comfortable you are in certain positions. 

Your breasts might leak during sex.

The same hormones that are responsible for your orgasm are the same ones that allow for milk let-down. If this is going to stress you out, wear a bra with nursing pads inside, keep a wash cloth handy, or just have sex in the shower.

You’re going to hear a lot about Kegels.

Kegels are exercises you can do to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. This will especially help with mild urinary incontinence (and perhaps prevent it, if you haven’t yet experienced it). The thing to realize is that you have to do three sets of 10 Kegels a day, using the correct muscles (which don’t include your abdomen, thighs, or butt), and you still might end up with issues. So I don’t blame you if you don’t add it to your list of things to worry about as a mom!

Sex after baby- no sex drive

Your sex drive might have driven off into the sunset.

Breastfeeding means you’ll be high on oxytocin, but low on libido, and sleep deprivation certainly doesn’t help things. It’s completely normal to have virtually no sex drive for a while. Eventually, you will want sex again.

Don’t look at your body or your circumstances and think, this is how things will be for the rest of my life. You will feel more and more like yourself again (in all aspects) after six months, after a year, and so on. Your child will eventually sleep through the night, go off to school, and leave the nest! You will get your sex life back. In the meantime, cultivate other types of physical intimacy with your partner. This leads me to the next point.

You’ll have to get creative in the bedroom.

Lack of physical intimacy in a marriage leads couple to feel like roommates, so sex is still important after kids come along. It will just have to happen a little differently. While lube will become your new best friend and quickies in the afternoon will be the norm (if sex happens at all), you might want to add a few other items and tricks to your arsenal.

Get creative and consider using toys as an alternative to intercourse. Beyond that, just being physically affectionate, taking showers together, and snuggling on the couch can be invaluable to maintain connection during this time. Don’t let kids take the spark out of your marriage– it’s critical to keep that connection going!

Sex after baby- keep the connection

What would you add to this list? How has your body and sex life changed after having kids?

Help! My Baby Has Their Days And Nights Mixed Up

It’s a common complaint from new moms in the days and weeks after coming home with their newborns: “My baby sleeps all day and stays up all night! Help! What do I do?” Read on to find out the simple solution to resetting their internal clock when your baby has days and nights mixed up.

baby has days and nights mixed up

Why do babies frequently have their sleep schedule flipped?

Remember when you were pregnant and the baby would stay still when you went about your day, but when you laid down to go to sleep he would party like it’s 1999 in there?

It’s extremely common for babies to develop the opposite schedule from us when they’re on the inside.

The reason? When you’re walking around all day, your movement gently rocks the baby the to sleep. Just like when they are born, they like being rocked, held, and gently bounced to sleep.

Then when you are ready to go to sleep, the movement stops. The baby goes through a period of alertness right when you are try to settle in for the night.

After birth, baby’s sleep patterns don’t change much. They still sleep about 75% of the day, and maintain their schedule of alertness in the late evening hours.

(Expecting a baby? Don’t miss these popular posts: what it’s REALLY like after birth and how to succeed at breastfeeding your newborn!)

baby has days and nights mixed up
Does this wide-eyed little guy look like your baby when you lay down to sleep?

Baby sleep myths: what not to do

So how do we fix this day and night reversal? First let’s talk about what NOT to do.

Turn baby upside down

I don’t know where this one came from, but it’s a doozy! Some cultures believe that the cure to baby having their days and nights confused is to FLIP THEM UPSIDE DOWN.

Please, don’t do this. I don’t care if Grandma raised 12 kids and swears by it. Just don’t.

Withhold naps during the day

Another well-intentioned but BAD baby sleep myth! Some people will tell you to not let your newborn nap during the day.

Before you go breaking out the pots and pans, let’s think about this.

During the newborn stage, babies are SUPPOSED to be asleep 16-18 hours per day. Not only is it wrong (and cruel) to try to force them to stay awake, it’s also not going to work.

Newborns will pretty much nap wherever, whenever when they are super tiny. Unless you were to pinch them or do some other horrible thing I don’t recommend, they are going to sleep during the day.

Hole up in your house

You shouldn’t force baby to stay awake during the day, but you shouldn’t hole up in your house and laze the day away either.

Get outside so the baby can be exposed to fresh air and sunlight. Go on errands where there will be different stimuli to attract baby’s attention in the colors, lights, and sounds.

Changing the environment can also help a fussy baby stop crying.

Another benefit of getting out of the house each day is to help new moms feel like themselves again. Just the act of getting dressed and leaving the house can reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. Once you have sufficiently healed from birth, get up and go do some errands or visit a friend or two!

Resetting baby’s internal clock

baby has days and nights mixed up
With a little effort, you can get your baby sleeping like this at night instead of during the day!

Here is what you CAN do to reset baby’s sleep schedule.

Differentiate day from night

So we established already that we aren’t going to stop baby from napping during the day. What we can do is make their daytime environment less conducive to the deep, restorative sleep we want them to get at night.

How do we do this? We keep daytime light, bright, and loud.

Take baby out with you for errands. Wear him while you do your household chores (with the lights all on, and TV or music playing for noise). Let the older kids make kid noises all around the baby. Don’t tiptoe around the sleeping baby and don’t put them in their own dark room. It is daytime and it should feel like daytime.

I personally don’t tend to swaddle baby during the day, but this one is personal choice. Instead I would wear the baby, put him in a baby seat, in the swing, or on the floor. I saved the swaddle for night time as another way to promote night time sleep.

When night time comes, make the transition obvious with a bedtime routine.

It doesn’t need to be a full-on bath, pajamas, book, and song bedtime routine like you’d do with a toddler. Just maybe a diaper change, PJs, swaddle, and last feeding in a dark environment bedtime routine.

I’ve found few babies can resist the combination of being swaddled, fed, and laid down to sleep in a dark room with white noise playing (here is the sound machine we own four of because all of my kids like their white noise!)

Keep night time dark, quiet and unstimulating

When baby wakes up in the night to feed, you can confuse them by turning all the lights on and making it look like day time. I used a small bedside lamp so that I could see what I was doing for night time diaper changes and feedings, while keeping the room fairly dark.

I don’t talk to the baby during night feedings and actually try to avoid eye contact. The less stimulation the better!

Then when morning time came (for us a 6:00 waking was the morning one), I’d make a big production about turning all the lights on and cheerfully saying good morning. The chatter, brightness, and walking around gives a pretty obvious cue that it’s not sleep time anymore.

How long does this sleep reset take?

Every baby is different, so your mileage may vary. Most parents see improvement in a matter of days. It isn’t going to be an instant cure, but a gradual readjustment.

Around 6-8 weeks of age, you can expect your baby to start sleeping in longer stretches at night. And by 4-6 months, many babies are sleeping through the night or waking just once to eat.

Setting sleep patterns and getting baby used to a night time routine is the first step in gentle sleep training. Putting in the effort and being consistent will yield positive results and more sleep for everyone in the family.

Considering sleep training and want to learn more?

As your baby gets older, you might solve the day/night mixup issue but find you have frequent night wakings or other sleep problems.

If you’re desperate to find a way to get your little one to sleep through the night and don’t know where to start, you might want to consider Baby Sleep Made Simple. To be honest, if I had known about it when we were sleep training our first, I would have jumped at the opportunity (and would have ended up doing things a bit differently). Baby Sleep Made Simple offers step by step guides on how to get your baby to sleep through the night in a way that’s safe and aligns with your parenting style. You can learn more about the program and sign up for the free Exhausted Moms Survival Kit here!

Did your baby start out with their days and nights confused? What did you do that helped?

Let me know in the comments!

And don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest:

 

How to Lose Weight After Baby When You Have No Time or Energy

how to lose weight after baby

Wondering how to lose weight after baby when you have approximately 0 time to yourself and are running on fumes? You’re in the right place!

The postpartum experience can be so jarring. For 9 months your sole focus has been taking care of yourself, and then suddenly you are given a helpless tiny being that sucks up 100% of your attention. Each time I gave birth, I found myself wishing for my old body back. Somehow I was supposed to accomplish this goal with no alone time, no gym membership, no sleep and no energy.

Despite these overwhelming obstacles, I managed to lose all the baby weight each time.

And since I love myself and don’t practice things like fat-shaming or self-loathing, I did it in a relatively painless way.

Here are my best tips for those who want to know the easy way to lose weight after baby.

How to lose weight after baby

The First Six Weeks Postpartum

Ladies, listen to your doctors or midwives. For the first six weeks after having a baby, you should be doing nothing.

When I say “nothing”, you’re doing tons of things (getting to know your new baby, figuring out breastfeeding or bottle feeding, keeping up with their health and appointments, recovering from birth both physically and emotionally, fighting to get sleep whenever you can, keeping a household running, possibly caring for older children, trying to remember you have a spouse, and more!)

But you should be doing nothing when it comes to weight loss.

You are healing. You shouldn’t be exercising, and you don’t have time to focus on meal planning. If people bring you casseroles, eat them. If you need to order pizza, do it.

After you get your six week clearance, start making slow and gradual changes.

Slow and steady progress is the way to be here. Remember it took 9 months to put the weight on, so give yourself 9 months for it to come off. Be kind to yourself and don’t compare yourself to others.

People who go around talking about how they fit back in their skinny jeans when they left the hospital are either lying or they are unicorns!

Easing Back Into Exercise

When it comes to exercise, ease back in gradually. Build it into your daily routine, and take it slow.

Being home with a baby can be boring so it helps in general to make a daily routine. In addition at scheduling naps and feedings, your routine can include daily walks. It soothes babies to be outside, so outdoor walks with the baby in a stroller or baby wrap is ideal. If it’s bad weather, the mall is a good backup plan.

A brisk walk is an effective form of exercise (try to get yourself breathing a little harder than normal, you don’t want it to be a stroll unless it’s in the very beginning!) Once baby is old enough and you’re ready to kick it up a notch, try jogging with a jogging stroller.

In addition to cardio, you’ll want to incorporate some strength training into your routine. This is relatively easy to squeeze into your day when baby is still immobile. While baby plays on floor or in a bouncy chair, do some body weight exercises or hand weights. You can even do lunges, squats, and calf raises while holding the baby. Bonus: fussy babies tend to love that up and down motion!

When exercise starts to feel lonely or boring, I like to mix in some YouTube workouts. Two of my favorites are Jessica Smith TV and Body Fit By Amy.

I’ve also heard some AMAZING things about this course called the Postpartum Cure. It has everything from workouts to recipes and grocery lists specifically to heal the body postpartum and help you lose the weight without affecting milk supply. My friend Kristin told me about it, saying: 

I purchased her Postpartum Cure program two weeks ago and it is awesome! She has an course on teachable and even an app to go with it! She does awesome workout videos and there is TONS included in her course for just $47. So much value!

Definitely something to check out if you’re looking for someone to really walk you through the best exercises and foods for the postpartum Mom.

The Right Mindset for Food

Know what never works? Writing a list of “banned” foods you are not going to allow yourself to eat and taping it to the fridge.

Just like toddlers and teens (and just about all humans), when we are told we can’t do something, our immediate response is to want to do it.

A more positive approach is to make a list of foods you want to eat more of, like water, protein, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. The way I explain it to my children is: these are your GO foods.

White carbs like bread, pasta, rice, pizza, muffins, and high sugar foods like cookies, cakes and packaged snacks are WHOA foods. We aren’t going to ban them, we are just going to proceed with caution around them.

Limiting the portion size and only having them once in a while helps to not feel deprived, but still see the number on the scale go down.

how to lose weight after baby

Make Healthy Food Convenient

One of the biggest obstacles to weight loss for new moms is not having time to cook 3 decent meals each day. When we are short on time, we grab whatever is quick and easy which tends to be junk food.

This is where we need work smarter, not harder.

Here are some ways to get more healthy meals made in less time:

  • When you are making something healthy, make enough for it to last several meals (soups, stir fry, etc).
  • Make use of your slow cooker or Instant Pot! There are tons of healthy recipes on Pinterest, and these make it easy to throw food in when you have time earlier in the day instead of having to cook during your baby’s dreaded “witching hour”.
  • Prepare some healthy food to keep in the fridge and grab when you need it. Hard boiled eggs, cut up veggies, grilled chicken, and cottage cheese are easy things to keep on hand.
  • Try batch cooking on the weekends when your spouse is home to help with the baby. Make 2 or 3 dishes that will keep in the fridge or freeze well for later in the week.

A goal of mine is to include a protein and a fruit or vegetable in every meal I eat. It takes 5 minutes to make scrambled eggs in the morning and pair it with avocado on toast, or just plain with a piece of fruit.

For lunch I like to throw together a wrap with grilled chicken, hot sauce, a sprinkle of shredded Mexican cheese and some lettuce.

By dinner time I usually have some help from my husband, who loves to make salmon or another fish- just throw it on some foil and bake it! Or we just eat something from my slow cooker (chicken tortilla soup is a favorite.)

Another really easy dinner that is full of superfoods is this version of a Cobb salad:

  • raw spinach
  • cucumber
  • tomato
  • bell pepper
  • black olives
  • hard boiled eggs
  • avocado

Throw it together with a little balsamic vinigraitte. I could eat it every day! And I don’t feel bad at all if I need a piece of chocolate or something sweet after to top it off.

Breastfeeding Benefits and Pitfalls

Breastfeeding tends to help women lose weight, but it can be a bit of a double-edged sword.

The most obvious benefit is that it burns up to 500 calories per day, which is the equivalent of a good workout you can do without even moving!

However, many people find themselves ravenous when they’re breastfeeding and they find it difficult to control their eating.

This is compounded by the way Moms tend to get busy and lose track of time. If you are breastfeeding and go several hours without eating, you’re looking at a total rage feast coming your way.

To combat this, be proactive about keeping your food and water intake evenly spaced throughout the day. Some people say to “sleep when the baby sleeps”, but I think better advice is to eat when the baby eats!

Let’s say you are nursing every 3 hours. Every time you feed, make a point to drink a big glass of water (this is necessary for your milk supply too) and when baby is done eating, eat a snack or small meal.

Keeping your blood sugar up will stop you from binge eating later and it will help keep your energy level stable.

Another note about breastfeeding and weight loss

I largely credit breastfeeding for helping me get back to my pre-baby weight, and many women do too. However, it’s also normal for some people to hold on to a little extra weight while they’re still breastfeeding.

The body is smart: it knows how much energy goes into making breastmilk. It’s a natural reaction to keep some fat reserves as a safeguard for mother and baby.

If you are doing everything right and find your weight loss after baby has plateaued, it might be due to breastfeeding. Have patience and see if you can shed those last pounds after you’ve weaned.

Don’t Drink Your Calories

Raise your hand if you are guilty of the Mom stereotype of drinking coffee all morning, then switching to wine at night.

via GIPHY

Believe me, I do it too.

I want life to be worth living so I’d never make myself quit coffee or wine, and I won’t ask you to do it either.

Instead, just try to make a deal with yourself. If you have 3 sugary coffees per day, try to cut down to 1 or 2.

I tried to cut down one, but never could quite make it, so I compromised with myself to 1.5. To this day, I drink 1 and a half cups of coffee everyday.

Same goes for wine (or beer or mojitos or whatever floats your boat). If you settle down at night with a drink or two five nights per week, try to cut down to only 2 or 3 nights per week. You might find you’re just doing it out of habit and are totally fine without it.

On the nights I’m not drinking, an iced seltzer water with a spritz of lime helps me to not feel like something is missing.

Moms Share What Helped Them Lose the Baby Weight

Suchot shares: I lost the baby weight by babywearing, going for lots of walks, and being patient. I put no time limits on myself to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. It wasn’t a fast or dramatic process but felt natural.

Brittni says: My biggest tip is to actually eat MORE rather than less. Specifically, eat more often. Especially if you are breastfeeding! This keeps your metabolism working throughout the day and prevents your body from holding onto the fat as a precaution from not consuming enough calories on a regular basis.

Melinda‘s best advice is: Make meals and freeze them before you have the baby so you’re less tempted to choose fast food when you don’t feel like cooking. Incorporate your baby into your workouts! You can do this when they’re awake: it keeps them entertained, and then later you have time nap while they nap instead of trying to exercise. Check out Youtube for mommy and me workouts, or just go for a brisk stroll around the block!

Beth shares her secret: The BEST thing I did was join Stroller Strides, an exercise group where you could bring your kiddos with you. The exercises are designed to keep the older babies entertained (like peek a boo pop-ups) and it was also a great way to meet some local moms and get out of the house.

Lindsey says, Using your baby as a weight! If they can hold their head up by themselves, it’s a great way to get yourself in shape while still bonding with you baby! My almost 10 month old loveeesss to be squat with. She thinks it’s the funniest thing ever!

Stay positive and be gentle with yourself!

Everyone gets back to their new normal after having a baby in their own time and in their own way. Focus on being healthy and active and not only will you get back in shape, you’ll be happier and feel better too!

What other questions do you have about how to lose weight after baby?

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