I should make it clear before I commence this post, that I am not an anti-royalist but, like many people, I am a bit bored of all this royal baby hype now that it’s a full week after his arrival.
Of course the fact that I have even alluded to tiny Prince George therefore makes me something of a hypocrite, but bear with me!
My “Royal Farce” comment is referring to the rather ridiculous media attention surrounding Kate’s alleged “baby bump”. I mean seriously?! Poor old Kate is in the public eye a mere 26 hours after giving birth and the next day the gossip mags are full of chatter about whether she’ll get back to her pre-baby weight quickly, interviews with her trainer and images of her belly.
What on earthy do people expect? She gave birth the day before! Of course she is still going to have a tummy. Jeez!
As a pre- and post-natal health specialist, you might be surprised at my reaction but, believe it or not, I am not on a mission to completely beast and starve all new Mums! Far from it. I appreciate that this post might not be relevant to all of my followers, but if you or anyone you know is expecting a baby or has recently had one then congratulations (!) and do read on…
Of course many women are very keen to get their bodies back after having a baby, and it’s no wonder given all the media attention given to celeb moms fitting back into their size zero jeans mere days after delivering. So what is the RIGHT way to tackle getting back into shape after giving birth? If I were working with Kate Middleton, then here are the Lovefit Top Tips I’d be sharing with her:
1) Don’t put pressure on yourself!
It’s easy to feel the pressure that society places on new Mums, but on the other hand it can be too easy to slip into really bad habits when life descends into the chaos that is life with a newborn! Whichever camp you fall into, it’s important not to pressurise yourself. Your body has been through a lot over the past 9 months and the most important thing is to look after yourself and your new baby. If you get on with being a great Mum and embracing the new challenges that life as a mother brings, your body will take care of itself. Well, to a certain extent!
2) Sleep and relax as best you can!
“Pull the other one!” I hear you cry! Obviously a lack of sleep is one of the expected side effects of having a baby. But with stress levels through the roof and a lot of physical and mental demands, trying to rest and recuperate is key to feeling good and shedding the baby weight. Your sleep patterns will be largely affected by those of your baby: If you are blessed with a good sleeper, then you might be feeling OK, but if you have a child who refuses to sleep for more than 20 minutes at time, then you won’t be at your finest. The trick here is to grab sleep wherever you can, so when baby naps – you should nap too! Normally I don’t advise napping during the day, for fear of disrupting natural cortisol levels, but needs must in the early postpartum period.
It is also crucial that you make time to do things that you find relaxing, whether it’s going for a stroll with the baby, reading a book (you can multi-task while breast-feeding), or listening to music. Anything that relaxes you will help to reduce stress.
3) Fuel your body!
Many a new Mum – and especially those who are breastfeeding – will say how exhausting it is and how much they need sugary snacks to cope with the demands of a new baby. However, this just creates a vicious circle. Now is not the time to have an “anything goes” attitude to diet. On the contrary, fuelling your body with quality nutrition is key to ensuring you are fit to fulfil your role as a mother and especially if you are breastfeeding. Your breast milk will reflect your diet, and nobody wants to feed their baby Diet Coke and biscuits, do they?
I know that time is of the essence and no new Mum has time to slave away for hours in the kitchen, so quick batch cooking is the way forward (think soups, curries, smoothies etc that can be frozen). Better still, ask for help! I’m sure that your local friends and neighbours would be happy to help and provide a few meals.
Most importantly, keep hydrated! Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeinated and sugary drinks.
4) Exercise…. but not too much!
It’s important to accept that exercise is not your number one priority after having a baby. Getting out for a walk every day can be hugely beneficial (fresh air, settles the baby, gives you a change of scene and stretches the legs), but going hell for leather on a hardcore workout will not help you, especially in the early postnatal period!
You see, exercise is essentially a stressor on the body. Your body cannot tell the difference between different types of stress (crying baby / evil boss / savage predator / mega workout), and seeing as inevitable sleep deprivation will mean already high stress levels, adding to that stress with long, arduous workouts will ironically more likely lead to weight GAIN rather than LOSS.
So gentle walks are probably the way to go for the first few weeks. After 3 weeks, if you have access to a Hypopresives instructor (sadly not many of us around yet) then you can begin Hypopresives from 3 weeks postpartum. This will be a fantastic way to start repairing the core musculature, especially the pelvic floor.
Other exercise can be resumed from 6 weeks postpartum (10-12 weeks if you had a c-section), but the intensity and variety of exercises will vary from person to person depending on your previous fitness, any abdominal separation, pelvic floor damage etc. My advice is to seek professional advice from an experienced postnatal instructor, rather than throwing yourself back into classes at your local gym or making up your own random workouts!
Once you know what you’re doing, short workouts at home will be your best option given that you’ll most likely be trying to fit things in around the new addition to the family!
If I can be of any help then please contact me on email@example.com and I will be happy to answer your questions.
Congratulations on the birth of your new baby and good luck!