Getting back your pre-baby body takes work, but it?s not impossible. Whether you?re breastfeeding and how far postpartum you are will determine what steps you take. Start with the goal of making healthy choices, use these tips, and get your body back.
The first year after having a baby is probably the toughest for our bodies. It?s hard to stick to a workout schedule with a small infant who needs you constantly. Baby?s sleep habits change every few weeks or months, leaving you unable to keep your own schedule the same. Additionally, experts warn new moms against doing too much to lose weight too soon. If you?ve only recently given birth, try these tips to help you get your body back.
- Belly wrapping. Also called belly binding, wearing a band around your belly provides abdominal support, helps proper posture, and may help you get active sooner.
- Don?t diet. Especially if you?re breast feeding, you still need to get 1,800 to 2,000 calories per day. Even if you?re not, restricting calories significantly can worsen postpartum fatigue. Choose healthy, natural foods without severe caloric limitation.
- Do exercise. After your doctor clears you to begin exercising again, usually at six to eight weeks postpartum. One of the gentlest and most popular is walking. You can wear your baby or use a stroller, too. Avoid strenuous exercise because your body still contains relaxin, the hormone that lets your joints stretch to accommodate pregnancy changes. It also makes those joints prone to injury for as many as five months postpartum.
Take your vitamins. Nursing moms should still be taking a prenatal vitamin, everyone else should be at least taking a good multi-vitamin.
Ready to Workout
Before long you?ll start feeling ready to ramp up your efforts at weight loss and strength building. A multitude of products exist aimed at moms who want to get back into shape. Make sure that no matter what you choose, it?s right for your body at this stage. In addition to eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise, try these tips to help you get back into shape.
- Get sleep. Easier said than done, but get sleep when you can. It?s harder for your body to lose weight or have the energy to workout when you?re constantly completely exhausted.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking enough water every day is essential to our health, but it?s so easy to forget when you?re tending to your little one?s needs 24/7. Keep reusable water bottles filled up in the fridge so they?re easy to grab and sip throughout the day.
- Include baby. Even if it?s as simple as going for a walk with the stroller, find workouts you can do with your baby. Counting on the baby to sleep long enough for you to get in a workout (and hopefully shower afterwards) could hinder your ability to workout daily.
- Exercise all day. As your body gets stronger, squeeze in little mini-workouts to help strengthen your muscles throughout the day. It?s very easy to do a few sets of squats while holding your baby or some lunges while baby is in her high chair.
- Eat well. Choose foods that are ?nutrient dense? to give you everything you need without overloading on calories. Some examples are fish, yogurt, and chicken.
It?s especially tough to make healthy choices for yourself after you become a mom, but it?s also the most important time to do so. Be sure to prioritize your own wellness right up there with the rest of the family and before long, your body will feel like its old self again.