WASHINGTON--()--New moms who returned to work soon after delivery, had childcare help, breastfed, and did not experience postpartum depression were the ones most able to lose the baby weight within 6 months of giving birth, according to a new research study.
“Employment policies today are generally more supportive of breastfeeding. Some areas even have legal protections surrounding this”
The study of 692 women appears in the July/Aug/Sept issue of the journal Topics in Clinical Nutrition.
“Presumably, women that return to work after delivering a child do not have as many eating opportunities throughout the day as moms that are home. Women who are used to working outside of the home may be confronted with new eating situations now that they are at home for many hours during the day. Stay at home moms can use this information to be more vigilant against mindless eating, or eating out of boredom, stress or loneliness,” said Ellen Slotkin, MS, RD, lead study author.
The study also found that those moms who had help caring for their child were more able to lose the baby weight.
“Our subjects were better able to lose baby weight after delivery when they had childcare help. Many women fear being accused of being a bad mother if they seek out assistance in caring for their child. In fact, employing the help of others can only help new moms to better care for their family by allowing them to rest, exercise, or socialize for stress relief,” said Slotkin.
“We recognize that not everyone can afford childcare help or have family available to help out,” said Nancie Herbold, EdD, RD, study co-author. “What some moms can do is increase their physical activity – even a ten minute walk with the baby each way to a neighbor’s house. If physical activity can be incorporated into everyday tasks it becomes more doable,” said Herbold.
Breastfeeding increases a new mom’s calorie requirements by up to 300 to 500 calories per day. New moms do not need to feel that they need to choose between breastfeeding and returning to work. “Employment policies today are generally more supportive of breastfeeding. Some areas even have legal protections surrounding this,” said Slotkin
Summary: How to Shed Post-Baby Pounds
All Moms: If possible, seek out childcare assistance, even if you are a stay-at-home mom.
The study found that 75% of moms regularly “finish their child’s plate.” Don’t eat for two after delivery - the health costs of weight gain outweigh any money saved.
Stay-at-Home Moms: Try to maintain a consistent eating schedule, keep nutrient-dense foods available, and schedule regular activities to keep busy and avoid mindless or boredom eating.
Moms with Postpartum Depression: Seek out professional help if you suspect you have postpartum depression. This can be a very serious condition. Try to exercise regularly, even if it is one fifteen minute walk a day. Avoid having nutrient-poor foods available, so that you won’t be tempted to turn to them when you are feeling low.
“Influences on Weight Status of Female Adults at 6 Months Postpartum” Ellen Slotkin MS, RD; Nancie Herbold EdD, RD. Topics in Clinical Nutrition, July/Sept, 2010, Vol. 25, No. 3. P 256-263