I first heard the term “baby weight” as a teenager as I sat on the lifeguard chair above the baby pool. Mom’s, their babies and toddlers splashing around their ankles, would gossip about how much baby weight they gained, how they lost it and how they disguised what remained. As a teenager, I wondered about baby weight. When I became a mom would my shape change into something I didn’t recognize? Would I spend the rest of my life, post-baby, looking longingly at a single pair of skinny jeans I’d never fit into again?Since becoming a mom (twice) and gaining and losing close to 50 pounds each time, and since immersing myself into mommy-culture, I’ve learned a lot about baby weight. I’ve learned some people care a lot about the fact that they’re thicker or thinner or more stretched out than they used to be. I’ve learned that I leave the hospital still looking really pregnant but will lose about 30 pounds in the first month postpartum. I’ve learned that while I don’t mind looking thicker and more stretched than I used to I am one of the women that keeps that pair of skinny jeans in the closet. I’ve also learned that the term baby weight is a little bit of a misnomer. Once you have kids, at least in my experience, you’ll be gaining and losing and gaining and losing weight long after pregnancy ends.So, in the spirit of transparency, for all those future moms and soon-to-be moms wondering about baby weight, and for all the moms that have been there and gained that, check out the list below for a more accurate and comprehensive definition of what baby weight includes.
Baby weight hereby includes:
1 | Any weight gained from food consumed after being awoken in the middle of the night by a colicky baby
Because no one can expect you to rock and bounce and rock and bounce and rock and bounce without diving into that tray of brownies your neighbor brought over to welcome your baby home.
2 | Any weight gained from over-estimating your nursing-calorie bonus
Breastfeeding burns an incredible 500 calories per day. It also has the power to inspire 1000 calories worth of hunger.
3 | Any weight gained from Halloween candy collected by a baby too young to eat itLetting their first Halloween pass without dressing their sweet, chubby little body up as a pumpkin or a strawberry or a little lion would be near criminal. What’s the point of dressing them up if you’re not going to take them door-to-door to show them off? What of the candy you collect? You can’t just throw it away!4 | Any weight gained from wine drunk after “a really long day”Maternity leave is no joke. When the baby is finally bathed, diapered, swaddled and snoozing, you deserve a little something. 5 | Any weight gained from food eaten after a toddler refused it
You bought the grilled cheese sandwich for your two-year-old. Your two year old refused to eat said grilled cheese sandwich. The grilled cheese sandwich should not go to waste
6 | Any weight gained from birthday cake eaten at the third toddler birthday party of the weekend
The best part about having a great group of friends with kids the same age? Getting to watch your babies grow up together and sharing in the joys and challenges of parenthood. The worst part of having a group of friends with kids the same age? Endless toddler birthday parties. At least there’s cake.
7 | Any weight gained from fruit snacks, goldfish, yogurt squeezes or other snacks with a cartoon character or cuddly animal featured on the packaging.How the heck did you get through your 20’s without fruit snacks?! The babe riding in your cart is just a ruse, you know who they’re for. 8 | Any weight gained from food eaten while hiding in the garage, the pantry or the closet so as to avoid sharing it with tiny hands.
For some reason, there is nothing more appealing to a toddler than mama’s plate. When you’ve got something good, like dark-chocolate-you-can-only-get-at-the-fancy-grocery-store good, there’s no shame in enjoying it somewhere… discrete.
9 | Any weight gained from food sent home from preschool, day care or elementary school in a treat bag.Who still thinks it’s okay so send home lollipops with little kids? It’s really your responsibility, as a good parent, to get rid of it. As quickly as possible. Maybe even on the drive home. It’s the responsible thing to do.
I now know there are steps I can take to change how I think, to find the true me again. That is why I am going to take better care of myself this year. In fact, that’s the only resolution I care to make. For both my own health, and as an important example to my kids, this year, I'm resolving to practice a kindness that starts from within.