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5 Pieces of Wisdom When The Baby Weight Doesn’t Come Off

When the baby weight doesn't come off, consider these five pieces of wisdom including tips to help you get fit and a bit of perspective too.

We were sitting in a friend’s apartment. My husband in a suit, I was about eight months pregnant and in the closest thing to business attire that the maternity store had (I realize now this is one of the last times I would be dressed like this).

We had stopped by on the way home from work to pick up some baby stuff my friend was kind enough to lend us. It was the first time I had seen her since her baby shower. And admittedly, I was a bit taken aback to see that her normally svelte, athletic frame still had a most, if not all of the baby weight still on it.  

As we rode the elevator down from her place, my husband could obviously sense what I was thinking. “You’ll lose the weight easily. You’re so fit and conscientious.” I looked at him so wide-eyed and deflated, “So is she! And she hasn’t.” Still trying to reassure me, he insisted, “You’ll be breastfeeding. The weight will just melt off.” But she was breastfeeding too.

Fast-forward to four months after my daughter’s birth, the weight had been coming off very, very slowly.

We were on a family vacation when I stepped on the scale.

The numbers flashed before me and my stomach sank.

Everything I had lost from my six-week postpartum check-up was back on. I resolved to get on it and get on it fast. In about a month and a half, I was five pounds shy of my goal weight. One week later, I held a positive pregnancy test. At the end of my second pregnancy, I weighed in ten pounds heavier than I did with my first.

I promised myself that this time around, I would be more successful than the time before. It turned out this was a very lofty goal. I had two babies under two, no time for myself, and was nursing them both. Still, the initial ten pounds came off faster than before.

In time, I made it nine pounds from my goal weight.

Then, sleep deprivation, financial stress, and parenting two under two what I was doing. Once the kids were in bed, eating became a nice, soothing way to unwind from my days in the mommy trenches. I thought I may have gained some of it back. But when I saw a recent picture of myself, I was shocked to see how much I had.

I stepped back on the scale only to find out, I had gained every single pound back that I had lost. Even though I got more active, I wallowed in insecurity and shame. I think it was my lack of fervour or fear of even more failure that I didn’t completely commit. The scale did move, plus or minus about two pounds. Nothing more. Nothing less. I avoided pictures, I avoided structured clothes. I would see old pictures of myself pre-kids and feel a combination of hope I might get back to that weight and embarrassment for what I had gained and where I remained. I’m back on it again. Yesterday, I weighed in 6 pounds lighter than I did April 7th. Though that may seem marginal, it is a very affirming of what I’ve been doing. Through my weight gains and losses, here are a few lessons I’ve learned along the way.

When the baby weight doesn't come off, consider these five pieces of wisdom including tips to help you get fit and a bit of perspective too.

5 Pieces of Wisdom For When The Baby Weight Doesn’t Come Off

First and foremost, forgive yourself.

I had visions of the baby weight melting off and being tabloid magazine-worthy in a matter of weeks. The truth is pregnancy, delivery, healing, breastfeeding, sleepless night, teething, and never-ending sleep deprivation take their toll. Don’t measure your success by the measurement of your weight. You’re worth more than that.

Ignorance may be temporary bliss, but that bliss creates a bitch of a reality to face later on.

Having been lean my entire life, I have had the luxury of foregoing the use of a scale. I have never owned one. I didn’t weigh myself unless I was somewhere with a scale. During my postpartum weight fiasco, I erroneously thought I could make healthy choices, eat whenever I wanted, indulge when I wanted and it would all work out just fine. Optimism is great, but optimism doesn’t a slender waistline make!

Yoga pants are your best friend and worst friend.

It goes without saying yoga pants are the unofficial uniform of the Stay-at-Home Mom. They move with you no matter what situation you find yourself in with a toddler. The problem? At my heaviest, though I didn’t look as good, I still fit comfortably into my yoga pants. And because I wore them day in and day out, it wasn’t until I tried to try on my jeans that reality actually set in.

Do not shy away from pictures! 

I may sound crazy to be writing about being the heaviest I’ve ever been and not avoiding photos, but there are a few things I know when it comes to taking pictures and being a mom. More often than not, YOU are the one taking pictures. The vast majority of the time, the only way I get a picture with my kids is if I ask someone.

So if you’re lucky enough to have someone offer to take your pic, don’t decline! Furthermore, my kids are growing up at what seems to be the blink of an eye. I would like proof that despite my sleep-deprived, coffee-infused haze that I was actually there for their childhood years and wasn’t completely lost in a state of delirium. The final reason why not to shy away is that weight fluctuates and a lot of it is about perspective. Your heaviest today may not be your heaviest tomorrow and so your fat pictures may actually not look so fat down the road. Or, even better, the pictures you don’t want to take today may be proof of how much you lose down the line. Either way, proof you didn’t spend the entire course of the toddler years in the fetal position is worth having. Period.

Tangible, digestible (pardon the pun) goals are key.

And accountability. Maybe you have iron-clad willpower. Clearly, I don’t. It’s been almost two years since my last baby and I’m still working at losing the weight. I tried working out and eating healthier with no distinct goals. I set some workout goals and went at it independently. My most recent success is only aiming for 30 minutes of exercise using exercise videos, treating my exercise time as a cannot-be-missed appointment (Thank you, Vera for this suggestion), tracking my food on an app, checking my days off that I do either or both on a calendar I can see, and talking it out with a friend and blogger, Mama by Fire the whole way through. It may sound overly regimented to some, but this is where I’ve had my quickest success. I don’t and won’t ever diet. So, this methodology seems to work.

The same number on the scale that once winded you as you gained becomes a reason to rejoice on the way down.

When I weighed myself on the family vacation after having my first, I was angered and resolved to lose. When I weighed myself yesterday, I saw that same number and was thrilled!!! Oh perspective, it is a wonderful thing.


I’m sure I’ll learn more along the way! Do you have any insights to share or stories? Please share!


  1. It can be so difficult when the body changes after pregnancy. I felt so liberated when I decided not to focus on the weight and focused on being healthy instead. You have such great advice here for people who are still struggling with this issue.

  2. I always have found it hard to not want to stress eat when my kids entered the 2-4 age group. It is hard to look at pictures of myself before kids and remember what I was but I try to stay realistic and healthy. I try to exercise most days.

  3. Pregnancy can definitely change your body, but having a toddler can change it even more! I lost my baby weight fairly easily since I was able to bounce back to exercising and I had to eat very healthy since my son had an initial allergic reaction to diary and soy (soy is in most all processed foods, so that’ll definitely helped). I also had time to sneak in plenty of exercises while the baby slept or I could walk/run with him in the stroller. I definitely recommend staying active as much as you can. I wear one of those step counters and I try to make sure I get at least 10,000 steps a day. It really motivates me to constantly stay active. I also focus on feeding my son really healthy foods and I eat whatever he eats. I try to fill up on fruit and veggies, so I am too full for all the other stuff. Good luck with your goals!

  4. I too have really struggled to lose the baby weight. Breastfeeding did not help me at all. In fact, I was so starving all the time, I think it helped me gain more weight. After the twins, I lost the weight at first, but then with the stress of the NICU, I gained it all plus more. I’m finally on track eating better and exercising, and it’s starting to come off. It’s a very hard journey, and good to know I’m not alone.

  5. First I have to say that the title of this blog post is AWESOME.
    As for the baby weight, I’ve just surrendered. Maybe I’ll feel differently one day, but today…eh.

    🙂 Brooke

  6. I can totally relate! I lost all the weight from baby 2 but lately it has been creeping back up. I am just ALWAYS tired and I have been buying foods that I cut out. (Ice cream, drinking during the week) I just have to get myself motivated again! Its so hard!

    1. It’s hard when the weather gets hotter not to indulge here and there. And of course at Christmas too. Who am I kidding? It isn’t as easy as it was to stay lean. Either way, you look great, Lauren!

  7. Great post! I shared this on google+ – I wrote a post along the same vein in my blog as well. It’s called Pregnancies and Weight Gain (under the May tab on the right side)

  8. I’ve lost the Scale weight but the fat has been distributed differently. Sometimes I’m motivated to and work out for a month or so then I stop and stay a few weeks without.. But my biggest issue is really portion control. We’re in this together.

    Young Love Mommy

  9. It really is so hard to get the baby weight off. I also ended up 10 more than I had the first time.

  10. I recently joined the craze and got myself a FitBit…. I honestly has helped. I can look down at noon and realize I need to get up and move!! I is easy to be sitting on the floor with the kids, at the table blogging, or any other motionless activity when you are home during the day. It gives me that quick reminder to do something that gets me moving around. My baby is almost 2 and it is still a struggle to find the right balance.

  11. Awesome post Alana!!! Women everywhere are saying yes and amen! Fluctuating weight is so frustrating and it’s hard as a mom to keep ourselves on the priority list. I’m a stress eater and that has always caused me major problems in my life. This is all great perspective and lessons for us all. Tha,ks for sharing your journey because you’re certainly not alone!!

  12. Great list! I think, one of the key tricks is to start exercising, eating healthy and taking care of your body as soon as you feel well enough, after the delivery. It helped me to remind myself that I am doing this for ME and not for anyone else.

  13. Yoga pants belong in the Yoga Studio until the weight comes off. I struggled after my 2nd child and it took a commitment of 4 times per week in the studio to shed those pounds.

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