If you’ve just had a baby, you are probably staring into the mirror and screaming “What the **** has happened to my body?”. It’s not easy to get your preferred shape back when you have been growing life inside you for nine months. While breastfeeding helps reclaim some normality, there are other things you can do to help you get back into shape.
First things first. You need to realise that your body has changed forever. Hips and pelvis are never going to be in exactly the same position again. Your posture has taken a serious hit, and you may have noticed your ribs aren’t where the used to be at all. Posture can be improved, and your ribs (along with your internal organs) will come back down in a few weeks. Your uterus has been stretched out of shape, and this may show along with a saggy belly for a while yet. So go easy on yourself – you’re meant to look like this right now.
To improve your strength, flexibility, health and general fitness, exercise would be a good idea. Don’t undertake drastic diets and excessive exercise to change your post body shape. You have a baby to care for now, so take things easy. If it has been less than six weeks since the birth, or you are still bleeding, speak to your doctor before undertaking any physical exertion.
Start with walking. Make the most of the baby being in a pram. This means you can go at your pace in the direction of your choosing. If you don’t know what I’m on about, just you wait till they’re toddlers! Get the raincovers out, and off you go. Whatever the weather, commit to a good walk around the block every day. Or to the supermarket and back, or round to a friend’s house. Walking every day will quickly build your stamina and improve your emotional well-being. It is also important for the baby to get natural light and fresh air each day too. You may notice a dramatic improvement in both of you regarding sleeping habits.
Next, think about your diet. You are not eating for two, and you do not need two portions of everything to maintain a good flow of breast milk. Eat your five a day to ensure all the natural nutrients are there, and treat yourself once a day. You are working hard, so you will need a small amount of extra calories. Breastfeeding makes you hungry and thirsty, but try drinking water before you succumb to snacking. It is difficult when you are up several times in the night as well. You could try grazing to keep your energy constant, rather than eating heavy meals.
Small hand weights are great for improving the muscle tone lost when we were big and pregnant. You can use them while you have your feet up resting! Spend a little time ensuring muscles are strong in the neck, shoulders, back and arm, or you may be more susceptible to injury picking the baby up, especially when you are tired.