Milk it. Breastfeeding’s benefits for baby are well known, along with the nice little bonus for mom: You’ll burn about 500 extra calories a day by nursing. Since you’ll need to keep up the healthy pregnancy habits—eating a good diet and holding off on alcohol—while your breastaurant is in business, it’ll also help you shed poundage.
Make healthy eating a no-brainer. “I whip up a basic salad on Sunday, keep it in the fridge in an airtight container for a few days, and add in nuts, meat or leftover chicken,” says Erin Ruddy, a Long Island, New York, mom of two. “When you eat a lot of salad, you eat less of everything else. Win-win!”
Walk it off. The fresh air is good for you and baby and besides, couldn’t you both use a change of scenery? Go with a friend, do some window-shopping, or just power walk around the park.
Find a workout that works for you. “Before I got pregnant, I went to the gym every other day,” says Rachel Davis, a mom of one in Edina, Minnesota. “After my son was born, even finding the time to return a phone call was a challenge, and it just wasn’t happening. Now I’m into yoga videos, and I hold my son in my arms while doing lunges. He thinks it’s a game! He’s 8 months old, and I just fit back into my pre-baby jeans.”
Do what you enjoy. “I’ve played soccer most of my life, and joining a team once my baby was nine months old was a great way to make a commitment to exercise,” says Nicole Basham, an Austin, Texas mom of one. “It helped that my team happened to have a lot of new moms, so many of us were in the same boat. I lost the weight and it gave me more energy, too.”
Never stop eating! “I ate small meals all day long, just like when I was pregnant. That way, I wasn’t so hungry that I’d gorge at the end of the day,” says Pamela Yonkin, a Portsmouth, New Hampshire, mom of two. “It took nine months to put that weight on, and it took nine months to get it off. But it did come off, and I didn’t have to get crazy about it. Have patience and cut yourselves some slack, moms!”