Mama, you just created life – you are so powerful please do not forget that; but I think I know exactly what you’re going through at this very moment. Are you struggling to get back in shape after baby number 2? You’re not alone. I cannot tell you how much pressure I felt after baby number 1 and number 2, all the way until baby number 5 to snap back immediately! Not only did I feel pressure, but it seemed out of all the things I tried, none of it worked! Truth is, it wasn’t until baby number 4, Koehn, that I realized it’s much easier to love my body at every stage.
Sis, we create life! I’ve come to terms that my body will never be what it once was, but that doesn’t mean that I should just give up. No, I love my mombod.
Sidenote: Let’s make that a thing; Dad’s get dadbods, we should get mombods!
I will say my body did snap back best after baby number 1, but number 2? I had tuh-rouble! So, let’s talk about some of the best practices to not only give yourself grace after having a baby but will also help jumpstart your journey to get back in shape after baby number 2!
Why It Is Harder to Lose Weight After a Second Baby
Rest assured, you are not the only one who’s ever asked themselves, “why can’t I lose weight after having a baby? For many moms, it is much harder to lose weight after a second baby. It is in this moment that you begin to realize that losing weight includes more than just working out, it’s about your overall health and wellness.
Mama, with your second baby you may not bounce back as fast, and for some really obvious reasons:
It’s harder to get a workout in.
When you have one child, you’re able to get them in a stroller and head out for a walk or run. It’s much easier to sneak in a workout when they’re asleep or occupied. When you add another one to the mix, you now have to get two of them to get out the door, in the stroller or distracted so you can try to bang out a workout. It certainly is not an easy task.
Your sleeping pattern affects your weight.
With more than one child, you probably are not sleeping much. Sleep has an effect on our metabolism, so when you aren’t getting the rest you need, your cortisol levels spike which doesn’t allow you to metabolize calories as well.
You may not have much time to plan your meals.
Taking care of one child is exhausting. Taking care of two is even more so. It’s more difficult to plan healthy meals for yourself. Let’s face it, sometimes the crust to your kid’s grilled cheese is lunch, and before you know it, it’s dinner time and you eat the entire contents of your pantry because you haven’t taken a moment to eat all day and your hunger catches up to you.
Many women go through the baby weight battle. It’s not in vain either. I get it — seeing your stomach after second baby can be quite frustrating and it is hard to see our bodies change. Just try to remember the journey it has been on, and in the grand scheme of things, extra weight will come and go, but even if it never goes, we aren’t less of a mom over a few unwanted pounds.
Average Time to Lose Baby Weight
The good news is that you can start losing baby weight as early as the first few weeks after giving birth. On average, new moms lose around 13 pounds due to the baby’s weight, the amniotic fluid, and the placenta when giving birth. The week after you deliver, you’ll likely shed several more pounds as you lose other retained fluids, like any extra water you’ve retained or the extra blood your body produced during pregnancy.
Mama, your body needs time to recover after giving birth, so allow your body time and give yourself grace. In general, waiting until your postpartum checkup, which occurs within 12 weeks of giving birth, to begin intentionally losing weight. I get it sis, I know it would be great to begin losing weight as soon as possible after pregnancy. While it is possible to do so and achieve postpartum weight loss. Choosing to do so safely is your best bet for a long term result, try incorporating breastfeeding, eating a healthful diet, and exercising.
Keep in mind, how long it takes for a woman’s body to go back to normal after pregnancy differs from person to person. And with each pregnancy that can still change. So amount of time it takes to get back in shape after baby number 2 may be completely different from the first time around.
Tips to Lose Weight & Get Back in Shape After Baby Number 2
Your body is beautiful, Mama. Depending on how active you were before and during your pregnancy will have a large impact on what comes next for your body. Snapping back after number 1 may have been easy, but baby number 2 is proving to be a little more difficult. Below I’ll provide a list of tips to lose weight and get back in shape. Oh, by the way, these are the same tips I’d use for losing weight after baby number 3!
1.Set Realistic Goals:
Despite what magazines and celebrity stories would have you believe, losing weight after pregnancy takes time. Let’s face it, your body after second baby is different but special nonetheless! Drastic weight loss is unrealistic and can only be achieved through unhealthy methods. It is usually recommended that you wait a couple of months before actively trying to lose weight. If you’re breastfeeding, a calorie deficit that’s too strict might affect the quality and quantity of your milk supply. Keeping this in mind, try a gradual approach to lose those extra pounds. Losing approximately a pound and half each week is a safe and realistic goal.
2.Drink Plenty of Water
Mama, staying hydrated is key! Drinking enough water is vital for anyone trying to lose weight. Choosing water over just one 20-ounce sweetened beverage can save you 240 calories. It is said that drinking water may increase your sense of fullness and stimulate your metabolism, leading to weight loss.
3.Pair Lean Protein with Every Meal
A diet high in protein for post-pregnancy weight loss is super effective. You still need two to three servings of protein daily, but make sure you’re not having more than 3 to 4 ounces per serving, from lean sources like lean meat, fish, and turkey. If you are breastfeeding, your body requires extra nutrients and protein to help sustain milk production.
4. Replace Breakfast with a Green Smoothie and Protein Powder
Aim to get your nutrients in early so you don’t have to think too much about it later! Protein powder is such a realistic, simple way to consume very clean and healthy protein as a busy mom. Realistically you won’t always have the time to cook healthy during the day. Protein shakes are such an easy, one-handed option to really have a healthy snack or meal. Keep in mind, having two children may look different from the first time around. Which could mean finding alternatives to meals that still offer the nutrients you need to get back in shape after baby number 2.
5. Limit High Sugar and Refined Foods
This is one of the quickest ways to lose weight after having a baby. Though they may be tempting, sugar and refined carbs are high in calories and usually low in nutrients. And there are healthy and delicious alternatives. It’s easy to reduce your sugar intake by avoiding processed foods and sticking to whole foods such as vegetables, legumes, fruits, meats, fish, eggs, nuts, and yogurt.
6. Breastfeed if Possible
It is said there are many “weight loss benefits of breastfeeding”. Our body burns between 400 and 500 calories per day making breast milk, which come from your diet as well as the fat you stored during pregnancy. That calorie-burning boost is enough to help some moms get back to their pre-pregnancy weight without doing much else. Breastfeeding also stimulates the release of hormones that help shrink your uterus and your post-baby belly.
7. Go for Walks (and Push a Stroller!)
Exercise alone won’t make you lose weight, but it will keep your metabolism up and tone your muscles. Aerobic activities, such as walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming can help you lose weight and improve your overall health. Getting in shape after baby doesn’t have to be boring or exhausting. You can even do it with your children and new baby with you. Walking is one of the easiest post baby exercises, and it can help you ease into a more intense routine. Remember to check with your doctor to make sure your body has rested enough and is ready to start exercising after giving birth.
8. Remember Exercises After Childbirth Look a Little Different
If you were active before and during pregnancy, your doctor might recommend waiting a month before doing more intensive workouts, such as crossfit, cycling, running, and high intensity interval training (HIIT). You can also try modified exercises that include holding your baby for a great post pregnancy ab workout to reduce your stomach after second baby. When you do begin, take it slow, start with just 30 minutes a day, be mindful of diastasis recti if you have it. How quickly you can exercise after your second baby depends on your individual circumstance. So be sure to check with your healthcare provider to know if it is safe for you to begin working out after baby.
9. Pair Small Bursts of Cardio with Simple Crunches
In addition to moderate cardio, a postpartum workout should focus on building up the muscles of your torso (which took a beating when you were pregnant). Every mom can benefit from core strengthening. Some women also experience a separation of the abdominal wall muscles, which is called rectus abdominis diastasis. Exercises that target this condition can bring the muscles back together again.
10. Wear Some Sort of Postpartum Support
Light compression from abdominal wraps can support your natural transverse abdominal when you can’t contract it yet. Belly wraps support your body after second baby by acting as a “splint” for the muscles that have separated during pregnancy (something that happens in all pregnancies, BTW, to make room for a growing uterus)This could help you be more conscious of using your abs.
11. Supplement as Needed (Fish Oil Is Especially Important)
You just gave birth to a living being, Mama. Your new bundle literally sucked the life out of you, so you may need to consider incorporating a multivitamin of some sort for any deficiencies you may have especially when trying to getting back in shape after baby number 2. I recommend heavy consideration on fish oil. There is some preliminary evidence to suggest that the omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish and fish oil, have an antidepressant effect. It has been discovered that mothers transfer DHA (a primary structural component of the human brain health) to their baby during pregnancy and through the breast milk to support neurological development in the developing child. Thus, child-bearing women may become depleted of DHA. Having a DHA deficiency may make mothers more vulnerable to depression during the postpartum period.
12. Do Kegel Exercises to Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor
After delivery, it’s relatively common to have some bladder leakage caused by prolonged pushing or a forceps- or vacuum-assisted childbirth. This is usually temporary. I recommend performing Kegel exercises can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles so you can regain bladder control more quickly. If leakage is really bothering you, ask your gynecologist if seeing a pelvic health therapist would be of benefit.
13. Don’t Neglect Your Mental Health
Getting to a healthy weight is important, but take care not to let your weight become a cause of stress or anxiety. Getting your body back after baby is so much more than just weight loss. If you feel you aren’t coping well, ask for help from your family, friends, or medical practitioner.
14. Schedule Care for Your Toddler While the Baby Sleeps So You Can Rest Too
You already know this is a tough one. Your little one wants you around the clock. But doing whatever you can to get adequate sleep will benefit you. A lack of sleep can negatively affect your weight. I know, getting enough sleep can be a challenge. Strategies that may help include asking for help from family and friends and limiting your caffeine intake. Don’t forget: Your health is just as important as baby’s health, so ask for help to get the sleep you need.
15. Get Outside and Soak Up Some Sun for Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a hormone that influences metabolism and immune function. Your body acquires vitamin D through sun exposure. Now is the time to develop an active lifestyle for sustainable weight loss. It is often confused with exercise; however, both are different. Staying active does not mean exercising, but it means reducing the overall time that you spend sitting or laying. And the more you get outside, the more vitamin D you will get. Which can help boost your metabolism making getting back into shape after baby number 2 a tad easier.
Learn to Love Your Body After a Second Baby
All women are different, and getting fit after pregnancy might be easier for some moms. As long as you eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly after birth, odds are that you’ll lose the extra pounds sooner rather than later.
Don’t be discouraged by magazines that show celebrities getting back in shape only weeks after delivery; do what is best for your body and your baby, and the weight loss will follow. It is absolutely possible to get back to your pre-pregnancy shape, but I encourage you to love your body as it is. Real postpartum bodies take time to “snap back”, and that’s okay as long as you’re healthy. Even if you find that you can’t lose baby weight 2 years later, keep going Mama, you got this!
So…Here’s the Truth to Getting Back in Shape After Your Second Child
Carrying some extra weight after pregnancy is very common and nothing to get down on yourself about. Your body did an amazing thing. But getting back in after baby and within a healthy weight range is beneficial for your health and any future pregnancies so it’s definitely worth working at. Being healthy will allow you to enjoy time with your baby and get the most out of being a parent. The best and most achievable way to lose weight is through a healthy diet, breastfeeding, and exercise. Talk to your healthcare team for tips, advice, and support.