It takes time to shed pregnancy weight, so be patient with yourself to avoid discouragement.
Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images
Women tend to lose half of their baby weight by six weeks after giving birth, according to MedlinePlus, and return to pre-pregnancy weight by six months after delivery. Losing weight too quickly can make it harder for your body to recover from childbirth, so it's better to take it slow and wait until your six-week checkup before trying to drop pounds. If you're breastfeeding, MedlinePlus recommends waiting until your baby is two months old before trying to lose weight. Exercise and a reduced-calorie diet will help achieve a flat tummy.
Plan ahead to avoid discouragement. To lose weight and achieve a flatter midsection, aim to lose 1.5 pounds per week, according to MedlinePlus. Check with your doctor first, but plan to eventually cut 500 calories per day from your current eating plan. As you eat a little less, try to move a little more with gentle activities -- at least at the beginning -- such as walking around the block with a stroller.
Eat your way to weight loss. Cutting too many calories will disrupt your breastfeeding ability, so don't skip meals. MedlinePlus recommends eating five to six small meals per day, including breakfast. Healthy snacks, like fruits and vegetables, can help you feel nourished in between meals. Drink plenty of liquids, including water and low-fat milk. Avoid high-calorie sodas and juices, and avoid fried, sugary or fatty foods.
Breastfeed and slim down. McLane Children's Hospital states that breastfeeding alone can burn through 500 calories per day, so this is an effective way to provide nourishment for your baby while slimming down. According to ChooseMyPlate.gov, women who breastfeed without supplementing with formula tend to lose more weight after three months compared to women who do not. If you continue to breastfeed past four to six months, you'll also continue to lose weight.
Warm up correctly. When you return to your fitness regimen post-pregnancy, you'll need to take it easy or risk injury. Begin each workout with a warm-up so that you'll be able to continue your new exercise plans consistently. Complete dynamic stretches for seven to 10 minutes, focusing on each muscle group so that your muscles and joints move through different ranges of motion, according to the IDEA Health and Fitness Association. Examples of dynamic stretching include hip circles, arm swings, half squats, lunges and leg swings. Also, low-level cardio work, such as walking, can be an effective warm up.
Strengthen your core. Your midsection could use some extra love after having a baby, so spend some extra time toning this hard-working region and tighten your tummy. The IDEA Health and Fitness Association recommends hip bridges with your baby. To complete, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet pressing into the floor. Rest your baby on your hips and abdominal muscles. Activate your core muscles, and then slowly press your hips toward the ceiling for four seconds before returning to neutral. Complete two to three sets daily, with 10 to 15 repetitions in each set.
Add aerobic activity. Light walking can begin within one week of childbirth, according to the California Pacific Medical Center. As you feel able, you can add other aerobic activities including jogging, running, swimming and yoga to burn extra calories.