After three pregnancies and natural births, I’ve developed a postpartum recovery routine (no dieting or over exercising necessary) to get back to a confident and fit body that focuses on the natural rhythm of calorie burning and ignores the pressure of losing the ‘baby weight’ gain.
Each birth has been unique for me—summer, fall, and spring babies have led to different recovery routines related to seasons, holidays and exercise accessibility—each time I’ve learned more about my personal postpartum experience. This third time however, I mixed up the routine yet still achieved the same results without feeling any urge to bounce back to my pre-pregnancy self too quickly.
Here’s a quick rundown of what worked and what didn’t work for me. Keep in mind everyone’s journey is uniquely different. Below are general facts & suggestions for all postpartum mamas:
- Breastfeeding burns anywhere from 500-800 calories per day
- Eat as CLEAN as possible for every snack and meal (see below for examples)
- Walk as much as possible, baby loves long walks, too!
- Don’t eat unless you are hungry (intermittent fasting is effective and beneficial to your health)
- Eat milk supply boosting foods to protect milk supply (see the list below)
- Drink lots of water (Start with 100+ ounces/day)
- Sleep can be more beneficial to postpartum recovery than working out
- Focus on fueling your body with nutrient dense foods (dark leafy greens, plant based proteins: chia, hemp, flax seeds, nut butters, avacados, get your carbs from sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, protein from eggs, grass-finished beef, chicken & salmon)
Postpartum Transformation: Starts with a mind shift.
Ask yourself, how can you fuel & move your body to feel your best, instead of how do you lose the baby weight. I like to think of postpartum as a marathon. You carry your baby for nine months, so realistically it will take (at least) nine months for your body to recover, regain strength, and maybe go back to its pre-pregnancy state.
Our bodies were designed to grow a human, and for some women multiple humans at one time! Other women are able to repeat this growth and birth process several times. Many bodies might not completely revert to a pre-pregnancy state, especially after multiple babies, but why would you want it to? Those scars and stretch marks are symbols to remind you that you carried your own child!
Give yourself the grace and permission to own your postpartum recovery and try not to compare your experience with anyone else. Bottom line, every woman’s postpartum journey is going to be different.
I don’t own a scale! You don’t need one either!
During my third pregnancy, I didn’t want to focus on how many pounds I gained (I only knew my weight from doctor visits). Instead I was guided by my energy levels, how I felt throughout the day and established healthy eating snacks and schedules. Having this mindset helped me not focus on numbers & sizes (as much as our culture tends to focus on), which led to more enjoyment, less stress, an easy, unmedicated delivery, and a very healthy baby girl. I wanted to continue this way of thinking through my postpartum journey. Focusing on healing my body after delivery, giving myself the time to rest, adjust, breastfeed my baby girl, and produce a nourishing milk supply. I have been more aware of my changing hormones and have given myself the space to enjoy the season of watching my baby grow, learn & flourish, something I can’t confidently say I did with my other babies.
**Sidenote, it’s fair to say I was in survival mode for three years with my first and middle baby (who are eighteen months apart) I was fully drowning in chaos for a season without the same time and resources to focus on my postpartum journey. Over the (almost 7 years!) of parenting, I’ve recognized that little changes in habits can make a huge difference over time—getting enough sleep, establishing self care routines, drinking plenty of water—are minor daily habits you can tweak for an effective postpartum transformation.
Losing the baby weight without dieting
Focusing on fueling my body with whole, nutrient-dense foods made a huge difference in my recovery. It helped me sleep better, gave me more energy, it made the weight naturally come off without much exercise or effort.
- Every meal or snack involves one protein + one healthy fat + one carb. This combination helps maintain milk supply, while keeping you fuller for a longer duration. It makes meal planning and snacking more simple.
- During pregnancy and postpartum, clean eating equals clean healing. I feel my best when I’m consuming healthy carbs like sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, sprouted breads, and beans.
- My favorite grab-and- go snacks/small meals (I usually share with my kids)
apple + nut butter
veggies w/ hummus + nuts (almonds or cashews are my fav)
whole grain toast + avocado + hemp seeds
green smoothie + chia seeds + nut butter
- Eliminate sugars & processed foods. This one is hard, but once you get into a good rhythm you won’t miss any of it. I have been intuitively eating for a few years and now when I eat junk, I feel like junk! After cutting out processed sugars and foods I immediately felt less bloated, fatigued & irritable. Plus eating well for myself & baby ensures we are getting the vitamins & nutrients we need. Eating tons of veggies, fruits, lean proteins, beans, nuts, sweet potatoes, quinoa & oatmeal allowed me to eat more nutrients for less calories.
- Water. I drink 100 + ounces of water everyday. This helps with milk supply, energy levels, aids in gut health, clear, smooth skin, and weight loss. I love adding cucumber, lemon & mint to my water for. Buy yourself a cute water bottle & carry it with you at all times, in the car, at the store, on the couch and keep it next to your nightstand.
Move your body
It is so important to move your body everyday to feel your best. After my third baby delivery, my other kids loved going on neighborhood evening walks with bikes and scooters in tow. I definitely did not put the same pressure on myself this third time around. My exercise routine from 2 weeks postpartum until 11 weeks consisted of daily walks, some light yoga & stretching, and running around after two toddlers while carrying my newborn. I focused more on my nutrition rather than fitting in a workout those first few months. At 11 weeks I eased my way back into a mellow workout routine incorporating light jogging on my treadmill followed by a 20-minute gentle weight training session at home.
Here are at-home workouts I love:
Peloton app for cardio
Fitness blender for HITT & strength training workouts.
Get Some New Cute Workout Wear
A cute new outfit is always a great workout motivator for me. Buy a few quality workout staples that fit your current body. You will feel so much more confident and excited to get back to a workout routine, I promise!
Having a good sports bra, that is supportive & nursing friendly is key. I love this one.
Need some tips for postpartum outfit ideas & what to wear the first month?
Here are some helpful tips for 4th trimester care