I vividly remember how I felt a few weeks after giving birth with my first born. I was exhausted. Physically and emotionally. Life just took a complete 180, and now I had to figure out how to take care of this tiny little person, while also figuring out how I was going to take care of myself. I just remember feeling overwhelmed. And hormonal.
I knew I was struggling with some baby blues…maybe even a little postpartum depression. But I just remember thinking, the sooner I can start exercising and get back into somewhat of a routine, the quicker I will feel like myself again.
The time frame for exercising after birth will vary person to person. It really depends on a few things:
1. Your labor. Did you have an easy delivery, some complications, or did you have a c-section? According the the Mayo Clinic, “if you had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, it’s generally safe to begin light exercise a few days after giving birth or as soon as you feel ready.”
2. How fit were you when you had your baby? Were you regularly exercising throughout pregnancy? If so, you’ll be able to start exercising sooner after birth.
3. Bleeding or stitches? I personally waited until I was completing done bleeding and my stitches were healed before I began any moderate exercise. And FYI, that can take weeks.
There is a lot to consider when you’re thinking about exercising again. A good rule a thumb, LISTEN to your body. Don’t go too hard too fast. Ease your way back into it with some light walking or gentle cardio. And remember, it’s always best to talk directly with your doctor about how soon you can get back into an exercise regime.
A combination of exercise, balanced nutrition & quality supplementation will give you a great jumpstart to getting your pre-baby body back. Breastfeeding can help too! The Baby Centre suggest it can burn up to 330 calories per day. A perk to letting those ‘little babes’ suck on your ta ta’s.
So, for all you moms who just did the whole labor, contractions, pushing, pooping, cursing, stitches, birth extravaganza, here are my 12 personal tips for getting your body back and feeling like yourself again!
- Exercise at home. Let’s be honest, having a baby is A LOT of freaking work. I had no idea how hard it would be. And, sometimes it’s just too hard to get yourself to the gym. Simple fix, create an at home workout routine. Incorporate air squats, push-ups, lunges, bench dips, planks, sit ups, and maybe a few burpees. Complete 12-15 reps of each movement in a circuit style format. Use your little bambino as a weight *You can also follow me on social media for example workouts you can do at home.
- Chug Water. Staying hydrated is key to keeping that metabolism up. Not to mention, if you’re breastfeeding, you’re probably incredibly thirsty. Make sure to always have a water bottle on hand and literally have mini chugging sessions throughout the day. CHUG CHUG CHUG! Ha! But water isn’t just great for weight loss; it’s great for energy, digestion, hair, skin & nails.
- Add lemon to that H20. Lemon is a natural energizer. It hydrates, detoxifies, and oxygenates the body, leaving you feeling revitalized and refreshed.
- Take baby for a walk. Walking burns calories and is a great way to work back into your regular workouts. Not to mention, the fresh air will help cure some of those baby blues. As a new mom, it’s easy not to get those steps in. A daily walk will allow you to reach the recommended 10,000 steps per day, will help baby sleep, and will give you the extra energy you need to get through the day. We live in Montana where it’s usually snowing nine months out of the year. So, no excuses. Bundle up and get movin’.
- Take probiotic ultra. I cannot begin to tell you how many benefits there are by taking a daily probiotic. So much of your immunity, metabolism, and digestion is effected by your gut flora. A good probiotic is an absolute must and it will help you reach your pre-baby body faster. Choose a supplement that contains at least 5-10 billion active organisms and includes lactobacillus and bifidobacterium culture. Take one in the morning and one before bedtime for flawless regularity. I personally use AdvoCare’s Probiotic Restore.
- Have a glass of red wine! YES, you read that right! With all the great health benefits, and all the dirty diapers you are changing, you deserve to unwind and relax in the evening with a glass of wine sister! I have tried the no alcohol thing, and cutting out anything else that is fun, just to fit in my skinny jeans…But I found when I do this I just want it more. Which results in binging. So go ahead, have a glass a few times per week. If wine is not your thing, maybe a couple squares of dark chocolate will curb your fix.
- Enroll in a gym that has a daycare. This has been a life saver for me! It is so important for your sanity to have a few minutes to yourself and to get your sweat on. I must admit though, the first few times dropping off my sweet baby girl had me all nervous. I didn’t like cry or anything, but it was really uncomfortable for me as a first-time mom. I knew it would get easier if I just kept doing it, and it has! Now I go to the gym whenever I just need a break from the constant holding, feeding, burping, rocking, and entertaining. Lol.
- Have your husband help with nighttime feedings. Your sleep is critical in regulating hormones that will in turn help you burn fat and reduce your appetite. And as a new mom, I know how hard it can be to get those much needed zzz’s. I mean some nights you’re just trying to savor a short hour or two. I get it. Don’t be afraid to ask your husband for an occasional night off or maybe you guys can agree to alternate nights. Of course, if you're not solely breastfeeding. Every situation is different, but make sure to ask for help and catch up on your sleep when you can. It is soooo important in dropping the lbs.
- Don’t try to diet. Instead focus on making healthy choices. Make sure you eat frequently and focus on good nutrients. I started a cleanse about six weeks after I gave birth. However, this cleanse was all about EATING! I did not just drink juice for three days. I ate super clean. Focused on fruits, veggies, lean protein, good fats, and complex carbs and ate every 3 hours. It was only 10 days and helped me get the jumpstart I needed to get rid of the extra fluff around my midsection.
- Be patient. You carried a child for 10 months! That is a long time. Everybody is different, so make sure to have some grace with yourself. Don’t focus on the things you can’t control. Instead, focus on the process, the daily disciplines of fueling your body correctly. The weight will eventually come off, but you’re going to have to give it more than a few months.
- Focus on your core. Umm, you probably already know this, but your abdominal muscles got torn apart during pregnancy. Literally. Oh, and really stretched out. Lovely. Just another perk! Once you get cleared by your doctor, start to incorporate some exercises like planks, side planks, bicycle crunches, bird dog, and full sit ups. If your abdominals have already recovered fully, bump it up a notch by adding weight to these movements. If you’d like to actually see those abs, you’ll need to dial in your diet too.
- Get a massage. Treat yourself and splurge on a massage a few times post pregnancy. Your body has been through a lot and it’s wise to make the investment because massage can help with circulation, anxiety, soft tissue strains, and injuries. Plus, it’s a complete hour to yourself! Call the babysitter and book it! You are worth it.