A New Mom’s Guide to Body After Baby

fat-lady-jeansWe've all seen it – a celebrity mom gives birth, and she's back in her bikini in a month, and flaunting it on the cover of a magazine. We all that's not reality for most women, but it's enough to make any woman self-conscious. In 2013, women worldwide applauded Kate Middleton for appearing in public just one day after the birth of Prince George, and not hiding her postpartum tummy. She painted a real picture of what a post baby body looks like, and she wasn't ashamed to show it!

There's an old saying “9 months to gain it all, 9 months to lose it,” which is a pretty accurate statement. It might take up to a year to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight. And, even if you do lose it all – your body is going to look and feel different. Here are some things you can expect with a post-baby body – the good, the bad, and the stretched.

Foot Size – Many women find that their feet grow up to a whole size with pregnancy, due to loosened joints and ligaments. They usually don't shrink back to their pre-pregnancy size. Not the worst problem to have, though, especially if you love shopping for shoes!

Hair Loss – This is a problem that affects many women, usually around the 3-month mark after giving birth. All that extra thick hair you got thanks to pregnancy hormones, well, it will start to thin and fall out due to hormone shifts post childbirth. For some women, this may be temporary, but others find the hair loss is permanent.

Breast Size – In the early days and weeks after birth, particularly if you are nursing, you might find that “the girls” are much bigger than they used to be. You can thank milk production for that increase, but it should settle down as your supply gets regulated. It varies from woman to woman if the increased size will stick around, or if breasts will go back to their normal size. A breastfeeding bonus – it burns up to 500 extra calories a day, which can help shed those pregnancy pounds.

New Wardrobe? Maybe. Many new moms find that even if they have lost all the baby weight, their old clothes may not go on like they used to, and this can cause problems in the wardrobe department. You might find that your hips are just a little bit wider, or your chest is a little bit bigger, which could mean finding a different size clothing to fit your new body.

When it comes to weight loss, slow and steady is the key. Eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, and focusing on getting enough exercise will help you to start feeling like your old self. Put baby in the stroller and head out in the sunshine for a brisk walk several times a week. If you have a gym membership, use it to get a few regular workouts in, either alone or with a friend. There are plenty of home workout videos that you can do in your living room, too, if you can't get to the gym.

You can view your post baby body as a badge of honor – you grew another human being! Those stretch marks and scars might not be pretty – but they are proof that the human body is an amazing thing – capable of creating life. If it doesn't look like it used to before baby, that's okay! It was a sacrifice that was well worth it!