GET YOUR PRE BABY BODY BACK
LOSE THE BABY WEIGHT
I’m about to get feministy for a moment: I’m so over this messaging that targets women who just gave birth (aka JUST GREW AN ENTIRE HUMAN *AND* A WHOLE NEW ORGAN). The not-so-subtle message: Go back to being small. Fit back in to the itty-bitty-lady-box that society has constructed for you. And you better bring lollipops for the other passengers if you dare bring that baby on a plane.
Ok, stepping down! (I read this and got a little fired up……. Well meaning advice, but not exactly what most new moms need.)
But really, that time of getting to know the mini that you’ve been growing inside for 75% of the past year deserves honor and respect. I suggest you think of it as an exquisite time to immerse yourself in grace, gratitude, and wonder, rather than counting calories and stressing about how your jeans fit. (BOOTYLICIOUS. Bootylicious is always the right answer to that question!)
So here are MY Top Ten Secrets To Unleashing Your Post Pregnancy Wonder Woman:
1 Enjoy this sacred time, and really use it to rest and recover. A new little person just entered the world and your life. Both of you have a lot to get used to!
2 Breastfeed IF YOU CAN, if you can’t just focus on feeding and loving on your babe.
The battlefield where breast milk and formula face off is unnecessary. Are there a lot of incredible benefits to breastfeeding? Of course!
-Food tailor-made for baby
-Oxytocin to help promote bonding
-Antibodies that adjust to the environment and baby’s needs (as communicated by backwash)
-Yes, requires calories to create (20 calories per ounce in the milk itself, plus 5 calories of energy used to make that ounce, meaning Mama uses 25 calories to make one ounce of breast milk).
-Cool party tricks (ok, maybe not, but you’ll at least impress yourself when you see how far you can squirt, especially when unintentional! Or maybe that’s just me……..)
But here’s a major benefit of formula:
Feeding a baby that would otherwise lack food or be unable to eat.
If you are really struggling with breastfeeding, there are SO MANY supportive resources:
Your local IBCLCs (International Board Certified Lactation Consultants)
La Leche League
Facebook groups and pages like The Badass Breastfeeder
And many other local classes and groups (if you’re looking for some in the Boulder/Denver area, holler at me!)
Whether baby’s milk comes from your boobs or a bottle (or both!), you can still snuggle as baby eats. Which is just as important as getting fed.
3 Love on yourself! “Ain’t Momma happy, ain’t nobody happy.” No, but seriously. If you neglect self care, you’re not able to be fully present and give the best of yourself. Maybe you take a bath with Epsom salts and tea leaves. Or you go with your girls to the spa for a manicure or a massage. (Note: both of these can be enhanced with sushi. And wine.)
#bathtubporn A fireplace, chocolates, and two glasses of bubbly all to myself? 😉
On a more serious note: be on the lookout for signs of postpartum depression and anxiety, especially if you experienced any during pregnancy. There are a variety of methods that can help with this. I personally see a counselor and encapsulated my placenta. Find what works for you, and if you can’t, then reach out to someone.
4 EAT. Of course the majority of what you eat should be nourishing in order to help you feel your best and help recover. But for your mental health allow a treat each day!
Especially if you are breastfeeding, you need to eat A LOT. There is a commonly quoted number of 500 extra calories consumed by the making of milk. However, some women may need 700, 800, or even 1,000 extra calories per day! This article shares how to figure that number out! Hint: if you are breastfeeding and not pumping, you can still approximate by weighing baby before and after feeding for a day to measure how many ounces baby eats in a day.
My tips for keeping a nourishing diet:
Multitasking food prep. I’ll cook up some ground turkey with onion, and I can: top it with taco sauce, put it atop pasta and sauce, add it to a soup, put it on a salad, put it in a bell pepper and throw it in the oven, and more!
Avoid New Mom Hanger/Hanxiety. They are real (and not pretty).
5 MOVE NOT Mommy Boot Camps. My girl Bri Battles eloquently shared her thoughts here (Same page, same page!)
Sooooo what to do? Start with walking!
I have a series of quickie videos of yoga and exercises that are safe to do postpartum while helping you get strong again:
PLEASE please please please keep healing and recovery first and foremost in your mind. If you had a Caesarean, that was MAJOR ABDOMINAL SURGERY. And regardless of your birth, your pelvic floor was under a LOT of pressure that increased over nine months. Those muscles, and your ab muscles, need to recover (find some hints in the videos above!)
6 Find something that is JUST FOR YOU. You are still you, you’ve just added a new role. Taking on that new role doesn’t mean that all of your other roles have vanished, they need nourishment too, especially those that help you relieve stress (because having a tiny human is not exactly the most easy breezy/low stress thing in the world!) So,
-You’re caring for a tiny human
-You’re probably not getting as much sleep as you used to
-Your hormones are still all sorts of all over the place
Yeah, that can be stressful. Which can lead to increased cortisol. Which can lead to adrenal fatigue, weight gain around the belly and other such delights!
Do what you can to minimize stress. Even if it’s 3-5 minutes of deep belly breathing. Ask your partner or friends or that sweet little couple a few doors down to help out. If working out is your stress release, do it gently in a postpartum friendly way (Protip: if lifting weights is a major stress reliever, try some resistance band workouts. They are no joke!)
7 Don’t compare yourself to social media, celebrities, or even friends (or the other moms in town) Or even your pre-pregnancy body. Your body is where it is now, but you can eventually get even stronger than before. My core is definitely stronger now, at 20 months postpartum than it was pre pregnancy, because I am now more knowledgeable about how my core muscles function AND I applied that knowledge to build strength back up!
And just like every body carries a baby differently, our bodies all handle postpartum differently. Case in point. Do what you can while being kind to yourself and your body to get to feeling authentic in your body.
8 HYDRATE Water, coconut water, aminos/BCAAs, infused water…….. IT IS ALL DELICIOUS YES PLEASE AND THANK YOU. And there are some really cute (and sparkly and sassy!) water bottles out there. Oh, and there’s plenty of science detailing why proper hydration is essential. Science or you can just consult Dr. Google on this one.
9 Supplements are your friend (not just Vitamin Wine!) First, a disclaimer: I am simply sharing what supplements have worked for me. I am not specifically endorsing or prescribing any supplements, because what works for me may not work for you. Again, know your body and what has worked for you in the past or discuss with your practitioner.
Immediately postpartum, I continued taking the same supps I took while pregnant: Multi, Omegas (good for baby’s brain!), B’s, D3, whey and vegan protein powders (as long as there were no herbs contraindicated for pregnancy), rhodiola rosea, and 5-HTP (a serotonin precursor). Especially if you are breastfeeding, you need to replenish your own nutritional stores!
10 Don’t do belly wraps. Just don’t. Perhaps you read my previous post on postpartum belly support The FitMom’s Gym Bag ONLY EXCEPTION: the wraps administered by doulas because they are wrapped from bottom up, supporting organs and do not contribute to intrabdominal pressure and pelvic organ prolapse. If you learn how to engage the transverse abdominal muscles (through belly breathing and the exercises in the videos), you will create your own corset anyway!
You just did an amazing thing, and are doing more amazing things (even when your hair’s a mess and baby just had a blowout)! Be kind to yourself, and just focus on the little bits of progress. They add up over time.