This post probably contains affiliate links, to items I am in love with, and I am confident you will too! For any health advice I give on nutrition and wieghtloss, make sure you check with your doctor, as I am not a health professional. I am just a mama with lots of health and fitness knowledge and experience.
There are many rules when it comes to postpartum fitness and weight loss while breastfeeding. These rules are often overwhelming, and confusing, which leads to paralysis on what to do, when to do it and how to do it. Protecting your abs from the dreaded Diastasis Recti is important, not reducing calories enough to lose breast milk is important, refraining from jumping jacks is a good idea in the beginning…and the list goes on. Well, as a Pre/Post Natal Fitness Specialist, and founder of The Postpartum Cure, I created the 6 new rules for postpartum fitness that will knock your socks off and leave you feeling like you’re ready to tackle all the work outs. Well, it will hopefully leave you feeling less confused and more motivated with a place to start. Let’s get right into the 6 rules, so you can start your journey of healing, weight loss and fitness after baby.
First, know what foundation (your abs) to build:
Your core and pelvic floor are the first order of business. Building back your foundation after pregnancy and birth is essential. In my program, I take mamas through a 3-week ab rehab and pelvic floor restore program. This encourages time and energy spent only on rehabilitating those muscles through full-length, guided videos. Your abs and core need some extra love and attention FIRST! This will prevent further ab-separation, incontinence and other issues that can pop up with a weak core and pelvic floor. You need to practice things like pelvic tilts, bridges and contracting and relaxing your pelvic floor. Many times women assume their pelvic floor is weak, but in actuality, it is permanently contracted with stress and trauma after birth, leaving your hips and pelvic floor in a position that throws your whole posture out of wack. This is why practicing contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor with proper breathing is really important. If you are super eager to start sweating, do an ab and pelvic floor warm up before each workout. Depending on your fitness level, this might be all you need. Every mama is different in this respect, but generally the wider the gap and more babies you’ve had, the more attention your core and pelvic floor need. This can also be done years after baby. Maybe you’ve waited years to get back in shape. You still need to repair and connect with these muscles.
Second, build on that foundation with strength:
It is actually depressing how much muscle can be lost in just the 6-weeks after birth before your postpartum check up and clearance from the doctor. Sitting and healing means your muscles get weaker. I highly recommend walking as much as possible in the healing weeks after birth because it encourages some muscles maintenance as well as healing. From there, building some strength back with body weight workouts, low impact, is very beneficial. My ab rehab program incorporates additional strength and Pilates work, which I highly recommend. Body weight squats, lunges, push ups and floor exercises can be combined with your pelvic floor and ab work, so you can rebuild the foundation, as well as add strength. Low-impact body weight work is an important part of getting back into shape again, and will help you feel so much better as you go into more intense workouts.
Third, nutrition is vital for breastfeeding and weight loss:
Your postpartum workouts are not going to help you lose weight, nor will they decrease your milk supply. It is your diet that is really going to help you maintain your milk supply and lose the weight. That is why The Postpartum Cure is heavily focused on diet and healing, with some fitness. Your diet is the main source of nutrients for your body to function, thrive and nourish another human being. If your body is stressed because there is a lack of nutrients for you and baby, it will store what it can, use what it can and have to make what it can. Our bodies are very smart, and what we put in is so important because we radiate what goes in on the outside. If your body is fully-nourished, it will feel safer to let go of the fat you stored and use that as the fuel-source for making breast milk (which is what it is supposed to do!). In addition, if you are giving your body plenty of nutrients and too much energy, it will continue to store the extra energy because it has no where else to put it. This is why learning to first eat nutrient-dense is key (which naturally usually decreases calories to the perfect amount), then editing your caloric intake to a sweet spot for breastfeeding is key to safe and happy weight loss. This is the kind of weight loss that leaves little hunger, and your body happily using the energy it stored in preparation for breastfeeding. When you eat too much, you are throwing off your bodies plans to use the fat it has ready! So, be sure to watch your diet. First focus on nutrients. Every meal and snack needs to have a fruit or veggie and a protein. This will keep you full. Fight cravings with protein powders, vitamins and minerals. This is exactly why I created Milk Dust!! One of the biggest problems for breastfeeding mamas is sugar cravings. These are cries for nutrients, most-often specific minerals that I’ve added in Milk Dust to combat these sugar cravings. Milk Dust is a protein powder with added lactation-boosting herbs and sugar-craving-crushing minerals and vitamins to help breastfeeding mamas with this. Milk Dust is the only protein powder that pumps up your milk supply with a special lactation blend, while also curbing sugar cravings!! There is no other clean, super nutrient-dense protein powders like this, and I would love for you to sign up for the pre sale lists, where I am offering the first batch at a discount!!
If you need help losing the baby weight and keeping up your milk supply, I have a very popular program, The Postpartum Cure, which comes in an app you can download.