Feeling fit and healthy after having a baby can sometimes seem like an unsurmountable task. I've had a lot of Mums ask me what my secret is but the truth is there's no one thing that magically makes you feel like your pre-baby self, it's really a handful of small, yet important actions that I work into my days in order to help me stay motivated, energised and feeling good.
I've shared these steps with you below. Perhaps start with one and work it into your life for a few days and then choose another and so on. Please share and add your own tips in the comments - I'd love to hear what all the healthy mummas out there are doing to keep active and I'm sure all our readers would too.
1, Look after yourself
Don’t be in a rush to start working out. Take care of your body from the inside out first with good food and water (see below).
Don’t feel pressured to work out until you feel you are ready. For some women, this can be 2 weeks and for some, it may be 3 months. There is NO rush!! Exercise will always be there and it is more important to get your body healed first. Trying to do too much too soon can have lasting effects (negative) so take your time.
Water is essential for life. It's the one thing we need to consume on a daily basis in order to keep our body functioning. This becomes even more important when you're breastfeeding.
A great tip is to keep a decent sized water bottle (1ltr) by your side when feeding and while out and about. Make sure you get a drink bottle that's a funky colour or something you really like so you'll be more motivated to keep it with you. The bigger the better.
3, Eat well
The food you eat is so important when you're a new mum. Forget feeling guilty about not pounding the pavements, the best thing you can do for your body after having a baby is to fuel it with nutritious food.
Food that's high in nutrients will not only help to produce better breastmilk for your baby but it will also make you feel better, give you more energy, aid in your recovery and help fight fatigue from sleep deprivation.
4, Breastfeed before you exercise
This will help in more ways than one. By feeding your baby first your boobs won’t feel so heavy and therefore it will be more comfortable if you are doing high impact activity.
Secondly, your baby is less likely to need feeding mid-workout, meaning less chance of being disturbed. But if they do need your boobs every 5 seconds (like my 3 babies did) you should find yourself a comfortable yet supportive nursing sports bra like the Cadenshae Nursing Sports Bras so it won’t matter too much anyway.
5, Don’t be afraid to ask for help or accept help when it’s offered
Too many times, as new mums, we feel as though we should be able to do everything. There's nothing wrong with asking for help. If you're in a position where you have family or amazing friends around you offering help, then don’t be afraid of saying yes.
Whether it be so you can squeeze in a 10min nap, or to simply have a shower and wash your hair (ahhh, that first hair wash post-baby), taking time for yourself in those first few months is crucial for you, your baby and your family.
6, Just do a little bit
Have a goal of doing just 2 minutes of movement. It can be dancing for 2 min, a few squats or even lunging in the back yard with the pram. Just anything!
So often we think that unless we get a sweat up and bust our arse for 30min or an hour, then it wasn’t worth doing. This is so far from the truth. Every little bit is doing good. You might find that you can do 10 squats in the morning while waiting for the washing to finish, 10 lunges holding baby while watching TV, and another 10 squats later in the day, it doesn’t have to be ALL at once. Don’t be too hard on yourself. JUST MOVE, that’s all there is to it.
Once you do start exercising, my best tip for fitting in exercise around breastfeeding, nappy changes, washing, eating, drinking, nappy changes, washing, breastfeeding (you get it), is to wear clothes that are conducive to exercise. Put on clothes for the day that you're able to exercise in.
When you happen to have 5 mins spare during the day while baby is napping, wearing a dress isn’t exactly going to entice you to do some quick exercise. But, if you are wearing leggings or shorts, a good nursing sports bra and comfy nursing tank you are MUCH more likely to bust out a few squats, take baby for a walk or do some stretches. It’s hard enough to get off the couch some days, or even get out of the house, but if you are geared up for it from the get go you'll be off to a great start.
Written by Nikki Clarke.