We live in a society where new moms are pressured to lose their baby weight before checking out of the hospital and where supermodels chastise us for turning ourselves “into garbage disposals” when we eat for two. (Thanks, Gisele.)

And it sucks.

So, we’re not about to bully you into slimming down by your bambino’s six-week checkup. But once the post-partum dust has settled and you’re ready to start working out again, there are some relatively simple secrets to help pave the way.

Remember, your target doesn’t have to be as punishing as “fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans.” In fact, it can be as simple as “get moving three times a week for 30 minutes” or “eat less sugar.” Let these mommy-tested tips help you.


Nurse your baby, not your beer :

There’s a reason most Alcoholics Anonymous meetings take place 30 minutes after Mommy and Me group. “Many mothers find a glass of wine or two — or more — at the end of the day to be relaxing,” says Melinda Johnson, MS, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “But what they may not realize is that alcohol gives you extra calories fast, without helping you feel full.” Even worse, those extra calories from alcohol tend to end up around your middle. (Hence the term “beer belly.”) The solution? Stick with water. Not only is it calorie-free, but staying well-hydrated helps beat abdominal bloat.


Take advantage of “tummy time:

” During a baby’s first months of life, her mother will subject her to a special kind of torture known as “tummy time.” That’s when we flip Peanut over onto her belly to help her strengthen her neck and prevent Flat Head Syndrome … and when she proceeds to scream like a howler monkey. To help the time pass when my daughter was younger, I’d do “tummy time” too: I’d get into Plank position and hold it for a minute at a time. It helped me recoup some abdominal strength post-C-section and get my pre-pregnancy abs back a little quicker.


Stop picking :

Before baby, a half-eaten chicken nugget, three soggy tater tots, and some corn niblets were probably not your idea of fine cuisine. So why are you vacuuming up your kid’s leftovers now? Probably out of an irrational fear over “wasting” food. But think of it like this: Inhaling odds and ends left over from Junior’s lunch is just going to waste your efforts in the gym and at your meals. Make like Nancy Reagan and Just Say No. “Make a simple rule at your table to eat off of your own plate only,” Johnson suggests. “Grabbing a nibble or two from your child’s plate can really add up to extra calories that your body is probably not even asking for.”


Drink your veggies:

When you have no time to chew, it can be way too tempting to down a frothy caffeinated beverage from your favorite coffee shop. But those drinks are usually packed with so much sugar and fat, you might as well be ordering a “Super-cal Flabby Abs Latte.” In almost the same amount of time, you could whip up this green smoothie concocted by 9-months-pregnant registered dietitian and fitness expert Rebecca Scritchfield: Blend a frozen banana and two cups of raw spinach with 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup ice cubes, and two scoops of organic whey protein powder. “With less than 300 calories and three servings of fruits and vegetables, you get carbs for fast energy, nutrients to keep you healthy, and protein that will help keep you full for several hours,” she explains.


Make working out a priority :

In Mom World, the pecking order usually goes something like this: Kids, husband, grandparents, dog, neighbors, dry cleaner, Mom. That has to change if you really want to work on your physique. “You’ve got to take time for YOU without feeling bad about it,” insists Madeline Glasser, 25, mom to 12-month-old Emmalyne and a blogger at.