For the typical healthy pregnancy, doctors usually recommend that the mother gain between 15 and 30 pounds—but that’s just for singleton pregnancies.
If you’re expecting multiples, expect to put on a lot more weight. Twins should add 35-45 pounds, and every additional baby will likely mean another 10 pounds. Even worse, only one-third of that weight will go to your little ones—the rest of it sticks with poor mom.
Depending on your personality and how much care your babies take, carrying around that extra weight might gnaw at you or be something that you barely notice amidst all the crying, feeding, dirty diapers, and sleepless nights. Eventually, though, it’s something that you’re going to want to deal with, both for your self-esteem and your health.
Before you go crazy with your weight loss routine, here are a few important things that you should know.
Breastfeeding is the best diet. Many women don’t realize this, but every time you breastfeed, you’re burning off calories. And it’s not a small amount, either. Mothers who breastfeed their twins burn off an average of 1,000 calories each day. In fact, some women end up feeling so weak from breastfeeding that they actually need to eat more and take vitamins. Your best bet is to eat foods high in nutrition and drink as much water as possible—two habits that are key to losing weight, too. In fact, you shouldn’t even try to lose weight; instead, concentrate on keeping your energy level up. The weight will come off on its own.
If you diet, do it intelligently. Women trying to lose weight from a multiple pregnancy don’t have to avoid dieting, but they do need to make sure they’re smart in how they do it. Instead of restricting what you eat, choose diet plans that focus on foods with high nutritional value that provide you with plenty of energy. Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables are always good, as are lean proteins and carbohydrates that are high in fiber. When you run across plans that force you to cut lots of foods and even food groups from your diet, turn away quickly and look elsewhere.
Don’t go for the quick fix. When you’re carrying around an extra 20, 30, or even more pounds, the temptation can be to do whatever you need to do to get rid of it as quickly as possible. Resist that urge. Losing weight too quickly is never a good idea because you’re likely sacrificing your health to do it. Now imagine that you’re also trying to recover from giving birth and exhausted from taking care of two newborns at the same time. Does that sound like a good idea to you? Remember, the most important thing to do when you have new babies is to take care of yourself and make sure that you have enough energy to get through the day. Even if you’re only losing a pound a month, you’re still losing it.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. You know that water is important, but it bears repeating. Not only is staying hydrated vital when you’re running around trying to take care of babies and breastfeed them (you need extra water if you want to make enough milk), it’s almost impossible to lose weight without it. Why? Because water helps you to flush out those fat stores that collected while you were pregnant. The best thing you can do is ensure that you always keep a bottle of water with you and drink whenever you have a chance. If your taste buds start to rebel after a while, switch to flavored water every once in a while.
Also remember to check with your doctor before making any big changes to your diet because you’re still eating for three. It used to be that you’re what you eat, but when you’re a breastfeeding mom, your little ones are what you eat, too.