“How do I lose weight after the baby?” It’s a question I googled and I know millions of mothers like me googled. I remember how exhausted I was but I still exercised, hoping to get my body back.
We see pictures of women online and in newspapers who appear to be back to their old weight within days of birth. This isn’t necessary. Spending time with your baby, and relaxing, is the most important thing. Your body, and mind, have been through 9 months of huge changes, followed by childbirth itself. Don’t put pressure on yourself; instead, find ways to look after yourself, stay healthy and happy, then the rest will follow naturally.
Don’t set crazy targets. Be realistic with yourself. You might not feel great emotionally, many new mums experience depression, or just the baby blues. There aren’t many that feel great all the time. Your fitness levels have dropped, and your body has changed. In some ways, it might never be the same. Your hips may be slightly wider, and your rib cage may stay expanded. This is ok. Instead of trying to be what you were, be the best your new body can be.
As a new mom, you need lots of energy. So, consider eating small, energy boosting meals, at regular intervals, instead of 3 larger meals a day. If you are nursing, try foods that increase your supply, and remember to have some snacks by your bed or chair, for all those night feeds.
Water will also help keep your milk supply up, and make you feel more alert. It will also help your skin and hair return to their pre-pregnancy self.
To start with, concentrate on your Kegels, and some light tensing of your stomach muscles. If you feel up to it, take your baby out for a gentle walk. Then build up slowly from there. Even if you exercised throughout pregnancy, those last few weeks, and the birth itself, put your body under an awful lot of pressure, so take it easy. If you had a caesarean section, you will need to wait longer before returning to exercise, so speak to your doctor or midwife.
Look After Your Body
Your vagina needs a little bit of attention after childbirth, and it deserves it. Doing your Kegels and drinking lots of water will help get it back into shape. But also, be especially careful with hygiene, especially if you have had stitches. Don’t douche, but keep the area clean and dry to avoid infection. Most women find they snap back to normal in no time, but if you are worried, vaginal rejuvenation is always an option.
Having a baby can be a very lonely time. Speak to your friends and family about how you are feeling. Ask your partner for more help if you need it. Don’t try to be brave, or bottle things up, let people know how you are feeling and what you are finding hard.
In time, you’ll be ready to take on more exercise and activity. But, for the first few weeks, just do what you feel you can. Don’t rush yourself, this could be one of the most magical times of your life, so don’t let stress and pressure ruin it.