To successfully take care of our families we have to take care of ourselves, RIGHT?! There is truth to this statement for sure but also there is balance! A new baby poses challenges that HAVE to be taken care of FIRST! NURTURING your baby SHOULD ALWAYS BE the #1 priority! Some babies fall right into predictable sleep and eating patterns; others don’t (mine didn’t!). Some babies are easy-going others are more demanding (yup that was all my babies!).
Baby ALWAYS comes first in my book. As a matter of fact I never even thought about getting “fit” at least for the first 6 months postpartum. I was busy nursing all day and all night long and an emotional rollercoaster! Its such a short season of life so I tried to do my best to Just EMBRACE and FOCUS on the baby!!!
Actually my babies never took bottles which means I (yes just ME) had to be home and available whenever the baby needed to eat! Little did I know that nursing on demand 24hrs a day was actually helping me to shed baby weight NATURALLY!
My getting fit “secrets” have nothing to do with a gym or workout exercises. They are actually to help you remain and focus on your baby yet still naturally shed weight without even thinking about it! Though eventually I did make it a priority to actually exercise, for a while it just wasn’t on my radar! Forget what all the magazines and social media are telling you about getting your bod back and take your time while incorporating these tips!
1- Get “FIT” and HEALTHY Before you get Pregnant!
Becoming your ultimate healthy self before thinking about getting pregnant is not only GREAT for your health but will offer amazing health benefits to your baby as well. Some women make the mistake of becoming a garbage can while pregnant and while giving into your cravings occasionally is fine (try to make healthier versions) doing it your whole pregnancy has unwanted consequences.
Those include excessive weight gain, health problems during pregnancy, and passing these toxic food by-products unto your unborn baby. Keeping your healthiest self before and during pregnancy makes pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum an easier journey physically and emotionally!
2-Nurse on Demand (DAY AND NIGHT)
We all know the amazing health benefits of breastmilk for baby. But ladies BREASTFEEDIING your little bundle of joy ON DEMAND (No Schedule) has INCREDIBLE benefits for you to! I say on demand because putting your baby on a strict feeding schedule or supplementing with formula is NOT the way nature intended. You or your baby will NOT reap the countless benefits of breastfeeding if you choose this route.
From the moment baby is born putting them to the breast for FEEDS and COMFORT is the way our breasts were created to function! This may mean (especially in the early weeks) you are feeding your baby every 1-2 hrs day and night. THIS IS NORMAL! You are making milk specifically for your babies needs and the perfect amount. TRUST YOUR BODY! The best thing I did was to learn how to breastfeed laying down so you can rest when needed while baby feeds. Remember parenting is a 24 hour job. At nighttime most babies are their neediest and we need to be there for them at all times! NEVER ALLOW YOUR BABY TO CRY IT OUT! NEVER! I repeat parenting is a 24 hour job that means they need you day and NIGHT! Some babies don’t sleep through the night for a while (mine never did), again THIS IS NORMAL!
When you NURSE ON DEMAND the oxytocin secreted helps your uterus contract, reducing post-delivery blood loss. Plus, breastfeeding will help your uterus return to its normal size more quickly than if you don’t breastfeed. The hormones released are also helping you bond to your little one hour by hour, day by day. Each time your baby feeds he/she is telling your body exactly the amount of milk to make. Breastmilk changes day to day specifically to your babies needs. Breastfeeding is also burning calories without any effort! How cool is that!
Unfortunately more and more it seems the Western World favors convenience over health. Its sad when mothers give up so soon on breastfeeding or don’t even try. Even many pediatricians these days fail to offer support or educate enough on the benefits. There are so many sources for help but you just need to ask! If you are having a bad experience Reach out to a support group or La Leche League as well as your doctor. (You can even email me for help SusieR@realfoodrealfitness.com)
If you do need to go back to work then PLAN AHEAD and invest in a great pump so you can still pump often while away from your baby. As soon as you get home you can then put baby to the breast for feeds. I know many mothers who have had ALOT of success with this! It can be done!
In my opinion there is no comparison or debate when it comes to breastmilk vs/ formula. Still to this day there are new things being discovered about breastmilk! Formula remains the same concoction in the can month to month. FOR MOMS HEALTH, BREASTFEEDING IS VERY RELAXING AND HELPS THE BODY NATURALLY GET BACK TO ITS PRE-PREGNANCY STATE. Don’t give into temptation to quit before you even give full time on demand breastfeeding a try. You will never know all it truly has to offer!
Get out and go for leisure walks as much as you can a few weeks after you have baby. This requires little effort! You even can skip the stroller and do what I did and put the baby in a front pouch carrier. Going for a walk gets you outside in nature, vitamin d, and can help with dealing with all those post partum emotions.
Seriously, I think after about 3 weeks I was outside every day taking walks around my block. I couldn’t really get out and do much so this was my outing. I always looked forward to it. If my husband was home I would leave the baby with him and go on my own. This was very therapeutic for me. I was always just a bit more refreshed when I got back!
As the baby got older I continued my walks but for longer periods of time. I still try to go for a walk everyday with my baby girl. Now we look for squirrels and garbage trucks (her favorite!).
4- Wear a Belly Support Band
A belly support band is a long band with a thick pad of velcro on the end so you can strap it on tight around your waist. You can find them marketed in stores as pregnancy support bands though I actually used it after. I wore this for at least half a day starting right after I had the baby. Just strap it tightly (but still comfortable) around your waist.
Wearing the band keeps you from sulking and dumping your belly out (which it naturally wants to do) and holds everything back in tight after baby. It also supports your back and is daily reminder to breathe deep and pull in that belly! These little daily efforts help bring the belly back into place!
Having a baby is serious business but doesn’t have to take a toll on your body! You CAN get back to feeling normal and feeling fit but take your time! Taking these easy steps above can help you along the way! After a while (could be 3 months/could be 9 months) when you are in a good place, feeling good and in a good routine with baby then try to up your exercise efforts to get back into shape!
Another quick tip is to get the RIGHT supportive and REAL reading material in your hands! One of my favorites is titled Primal Mom’s Look Good Naked by Peggy Emch. A few more are…..
Beautiful Babies by Kristen Michaelis
The Holistic Baby Guide by Randall Neustaedter
Gentile Birth, Gentle Mothering by Sarah J. Buckley
and Ina May’s guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Susie R. 🙂