This past week, the daughter of my receptionist gave birth to her first son. We are very excited to welcome little Cayden Wayne to our Southeastern Wound Healing Center family.
Since his mama was tiny before he came, she does not have far to go to get back into pre-baby shape. She is the exception, not the rule.
Most moms, myself included, have a little extra work to do post-partum to get back into shape. Having a baby is a wonderful, life-changing experience but can make it tough to get your fitness level back. As a new mom, you don’t have to go nuts and set running a marathon or swimming the English Channel as your get back in shape goal.
It is much simpler than that. You just need to figure out a way to ramp up your fitness activity while still having time and energy for your new baby.
There are many obstacles to jumping right back in where you left off, but these can be overcome with a little creative planning, time management and dedication. Here are a few things that might present challenges and some sure-fire ways to get around them. As always, consult with your physician before starting a new fitness routine.
— Exhaustion and fatigue. These are common after giving birth, especially if you’re breastfeeding, had a difficult pregnancy or have other children to contend with. All of this can deplete your energy stores. Be aware of your energy levels, and only do what you can handle. In addition, make sure you are eating enough high-quality calories to support your activity.
— An erratic schedule. For the first few weeks and months after you give birth, your baby’s feeding and sleeping schedule may change constantly, making it tough to follow any kind of normal routine. Your best bet is to split up your workouts several times a day and work around the baby’s schedule. If you can’t leave the house, pop in a short exercise video, do some yoga poses or walk laps around the inside of the house.
— Mood swings. As your hormones get back to normal, you may have some ups and downs. Exercise is a great way to get those endorphins flowing and keep you on a more even keel. Remember the old adage: “If Mom ain’t happy, no one is happy!”
— Guilt. Many new moms and even seasoned parenting veterans feel guilty when they take time for themselves for anything, even exercise. It’s tough to remind yourself that you’ll actually be a better mom if you focus on getting stronger and healthier. Also, as your child grows, you will be setting a great example for them.
— Time constraints. Caring for a baby leaves little time for you to exercise. Again, try and get several small workouts in per day. If the baby is ready to go portable, get yourself a baby jogger, find a mommy-and-me fitness class or a gym with a daycare and take your little one along.
Focus on what’s important — your family and your new little addition. It’s easy to get stressed out about losing weight, especially after feeling like the Goodyear blimp for nine months. You will get back to normal — even if your body isn’t exactly the same.