You’ve spent the past 9 months growing and nurturing a baby in your belly and now that your beautiful baby is here, your thoughts are most likely turning to your post-baby body.  If you’re one of the rare, lucky few who didn’t gain more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy then you can ignore this article completely. But if you’re like the majority of us out there that gained more than a few, read on.After pregnancy,our post-partum belly changes from a round ball full of baby to squishy skin filled with stretch marks.

Like after any major weight loss, there are things you can do to tighten up that post baby belly skin. Diet and exercise will definitely help as will breastfeeding and taking care of your skin. But remember to keep your expectations realistic and take inspiration from other moms around you. You won’t get your pre-baby body back overnight, but with the 9 tips below and a bit of time, rest assured you will get there!

And keep in mind, how fast your skin tightens up depends on:

Body size

How much weight you gained during pregnancy

How active you were throughout your pregnancy

Your genetics and bone structure

Follow these nine tips to help you tighten that post-pregnancy skin!

1. Breastfeed

Breastfeeding is a great source of nutrition for your baby, not to mention the wonderful bonding time you get with your new infant. But did you also know that breastfeeding has just as many benefits for mom too? Women who breastfeed burn extra calories to produce the milk for baby and tend to lose the pregnancy weight more quickly than those who don’t nurse. If you do choose to breastfeed make sure you pick up a good nursing bra – it can make a world of difference! You’ll want a bra that’s not only useful but flattering too, which can be difficult to find. A great option isShefit’s high impact sports bra for big busts. It provides outstanding support and comfort (especially for larger breasts) with patented adjustability and a personalized bust band. While you might not think of a sports bra as a good choice for nursing, the Shefit high impact sports bra has velcro adjustable straps that unhook right above the breast and a zipper in the middle to provide easy access for baby to nurse.

2. Add some Cardio to Your Routine

Exercise should play an important role in your post-pregnancy routine for both your physical and mental health. Make sure that you wait at least six weeks post-partum and check with your doctor before starting any exercise routine. Start slow with daily walks oryoga for beginners. Work your way up to a full cardio workout like running or spinning that focuses on using and building your core. You can also try doing anab workout like the one below to really focus your attention on strengthening your core.

Before you start working out, invest in a good sports bra because your breasts will need the support (especially post-baby)! There are plenty of sports bras out there that look good but it’s important to keep in mind that you need to find one that also supports you the way you need. A good sports bra not only provides the correct amount of support, it can also provide amazing comfort and relieve pain. That’s whereShefit’s Ultimate Sports Bracomes in. Its patented adjustability is designed to support you from all angles, and its two-way wear flexibility ensures that you’re not only comfortable but fully supported too.

3. Eat Plenty of Protein

Protein should be a key component of all your post-partum meals, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Protein can also help to tighten your skin due to an important nutrient called collagen. Most women should consume at least 50 grams of protein per day, although the exact amount depends on your weight and how much physical exercise you do.

4. Drink More Water

Water is your post-pregnancy body’s best friend. It not only hydrates your body and your skin but also makes it more elastic. It can also help your body burn extra calories and help to satiate your hungry appetite.

5. Take Care of Your Skin and Exfoliate

Try using anall-natural exfoliating sugar scrub to help tighten and smooth your post-baby belly. Use it in the shower on a regular basis to help increase blood circulation and increase blood flow to your belly. By exfoliating on a regular basis, it can also help to create new, healthy and more elastic skin.

6. Massage and Moisturize

Lather up daily with a goodbody butter or nourishing oil that contains collagen as well as vitamin E, C, A and K. A great choice isPure Fiji’s Nourishing Exotic Oil.It can reduce stretch marks by helping them fade more quickly while simultaneously nourishing the skin to speed up the healing process. It is made with organic virgin coconut oil, macadamia, dilo and sikeci oils. Its high level of anti-oxidants, vitamins A, B, C, E and Omega 3, 6, 7 and 9 help to promote the production of collagen in the skin. Apply the oil at least twice a week to help tighten the skin after pregnancy.

7. Eat a Low Calorie Diet

A low calorie diet, along with a good exercise routine, can help you lose weight and slim down your post-baby belly. But remember to give yourself some time after baby before changing your diet or workout routine. Wait at least six weeks, (or more if you’re breastfeeding) before you cut back on calories. As tempting as it may be, don’t go on a severe, restrictive diet. Any rapid weight loss can affect your ability to breastfeed as extreme dieting can put your body into starvation mode, reducing the amount of milk that your body can produce.

8. Try Strength Training

Once you’ve gotten back into a fitness routine, add some strength training to your regime (get your doctors permission first before starting). Strength training is a great choice for post-baby belly toning as it builds strength and helps to reduce fat from all over your body.

9. Success Stories: Inspiring Before and After Pictures

Knowing that another woman has been able to achieve what you want can help to inspire your own journey.Below is an image of Sara Moylan, founder of Shefit and proud mom of 4 girls.The images below are from her 4th pregnancy, showing her on the day of her c-section and then post-pregnancy at 6 weeks, 4 months and 6 months. Who wouldn’t be inspired by this woman’s amazing figure? It just goes to show that with a little hard work and dedication, you too can get the same results.

Whether you follow just 1 tip or all 9, the most important thing to remember through all of this is that your body went through a lot. Be realistic – give yourself a break and allow your body the time it needs to get back to its pre-baby shape. Take time to get to know your beautiful new little one and be proud of what your body has done.Weight loss after pregnancy takes time but with some dedication, a new workout routine and a healthy new diet, you can get the tight post-baby body you want. And don’t forget to take inspiration and tips from other new moms around you – they’ve already walked in your shoes and can help you get to where you want to be!