The model and actress dishes on how she got in shape after giving birth to 6-month-old daughter Chanel

Nicole “Coco” Austin gave birth to her first child, Chanel Nicole, in November, and has been looking amazingly fit in recent photos she has posted (and no, she didn’t use a surrogate).

So what’s her secret to looking so great only a few months after becoming a new mom? The answer is actually a lot simpler than most might think.

“I’m breastfeeding,” the reality star, 37, says on PEOPLE’s Mom Talk. “And I’ve noticed that breastfeeding in general burns so [many] more calories.”

Mom Talk Coco

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Austin — who also opened up about how difficult and painful breastfeeding can be — adds that she didn’t really want to hit the gym in the first couple of months after Chanel was born. She wanted to spend as much time with her daughter as possible, so diet was key.

“Since the gym was nonexistent for me, I ate really, really [healthy],” says the former fitness model, who has been married to Chanel’s father, Ice-T, 58, since 2002.

“I have to be honest: I felt the pressure,” PEOPLE editor Janine Rubenstein confesses. “I do a lot of celebrity interviews, and you see these amazing women snap back, and I was like, ‘I want to be like that body-after-baby spread we just did in the magazine!’ ”

“They say it takes 10 months to put it on and another 10 to really get back,” says ESPN anchor Hannah Storm, 53, who has three daughters.

Continues Rubenstein, “I gained 40 lbs. [while pregnant with son Reece, now 14 months], and breastfeeding really did help.”

Jen Juneau