Moving Your Body After Baby & Other Postpartum Tips
Being a mom is tough, that’s a given, and navigating those first few months postpartum is the ultimate challenge – physically, mentally, and definitely emotionally. You somehow feel very alone, but also find that you NEVER have a moment alone (odd – yet all the moms right now are like…oh my gosh YES!). As the owner of FIT4MOM 618, I get to speak to a LOT of mothers – I mean, it’s kind of my thing! And one thing I hear often is that most postpartum moms are struggling with a balance of everything they have going on. Things like, their changed bodies, new babies, care of other family members, self-care, feelings of isolation and generally feeling overwhelmed (rightfully so).
A great way to combat all these new changes is to add some movement into your routine. Here are some intentional ways to incorporate movement and mindful fullness into your everyday routine!
· Don’t wait! Start some gentle stretching in bed at the hospital. It’s not a time to strain or stress your body, but gentle movement will help you restore and recover. Start walking around as soon as you can. Again, the idea is not to get a workout in but just to create some blood flow.
· Consider visiting a pelvic health physiotherapist after baby. Your pregnancy and labor may have impaired your pelvic floor. A specialist can assess this as well as give recommendations on diastasis recti and additional pelvic health exercises as needed.
· Get out! Get some fresh air and start your stroller walks around the neighborhood. It’s great for you to get outside and get moving. Plus, you’ll get stronger as baby gets bigger. Start small and build up slow, but REMEMBER, any exercise during this time (pre-physician clearance) should only be focused on relaxation, stress management, and emotional well-being. You can increase intensity when you feel ready and have been cleared.
· Hydrate. Water, water, water. This is especially necessary if you are breastfeeding. Keep a water bottle by your nursing station, in your stroller, and around the house. Add some lemon, fresh mint, or cucumber to keep it refreshing.
· Meditate. This is a great time to learn. Use times like nursing or napping to practice breathing exercises using an app like Calm or Expectful to guide you through meditations. This is an important time to get your mind right.
· Work on your posture. Your body went through some major changes during pregnancy. For most moms, they find that their head juts forward, shoulders round and hips tilt forward. It’s very important to get your body back into alignment. Do regular posture checks. Bring your head back, shoulders back, stand or sit tall and bring your hips to a neutral position.
· Ease back into it. Once cleared by your doctor for more exercise, remind yourself to:
Listen to your body
Release the judgment
Return to exercise & intensity SLOWLY
Focus on well-being instead of the waistline
Remember, ALL movement counts
Enjoy this time
· Find your village. While this may not seem like a postpartum tip, it will definitely support you as a new mom. As much fun as your baby is, you will need some adult connection. Find a group of moms to lean on, get support, and share experiences.
· Join a mommy and me class. Classes like Stroller Strides at FIT4MOM 618 will do double duty as you get back in shape, meet other new moms, and have fun connecting with your baby. Certified instructors will help ensure that you are properly restoring your body.
Be sure to give yourself lots of grace and start with realistic goals that are attainable and considerate to your changing body. Whatever your larger goal is -you CAN get there, but be sure to break it into smaller chunks as to not become overwhelmed.
I love everything motherhood and fitness related, and one thing that goes hand-in-hand with that is time management. I know how difficult it is to squeeze in #allthethings in a 24-hour day, especially once you add kiddos into the picture.
Tips to free up some time in your busy life:
· Batch. I love batching! Think about ways you can turn tasks into an assembly line, then map out what you need to do for the week. It is much more efficient to run all errands on one day, for example, than one a day. Batch your time on the computer, doing paperwork, etc. And of course, batch cook your meals or meal prep for the week ONCE a week! SEE BELOW FOR A GREAT BATCH BREAKFAST COOKIE!
· Delegate. Assign tasks to your partner and ask your loved ones for help. If your kids are old enough, give them a to-do list.
· Ask for help. Ask friends, family, neighbors – even hire a babysitter! If you are working and need support, ask your local mamas about a nanny share. Get some help so you can do YOU.
· Go on a TV diet. Ok, you do not have to cut out television altogether. But just cutting out one show per week could give you 4 hours a month! That’s more time you can spend working out, reading or SLEEPING.
· Go on a digital detox. Cut back on email and social media. Turning off notifications and setting screen time limits can be a positive change. Or try designating hours during the day that you are reachable via email and social, but when those hours are up, you sign-off.
· Fill wasted time with purposeful time. You know those cracks of time when you are waiting for your kids after sports practice or waiting in line? Do not go anywhere without bringing something to do in the gap time. You can use this time to make phone calls, answer emails, and catch up on or rewrite to-do lists.
· Lean on your mama village. No one understands the needs of moms like moms themselves. Surround yourself with other mamas who can help you answer the sleep, poop, and feeding questions. Tell your village when you need help, they will take care of you without fail.
· Identify your most productive time. We are all wired to have a most productive time - be aware of that time and BATCH your work time accordingly.
I hope these tips help create a little bit of peace in your daily life. Putting a few of these tips into action can do wonders for your well-being. And, when you carve out an extra 10-15 minutes – give these Breakfast Cookies a try! FIT4MOM’s founding mother, Lisa Druxman, created this amazing recipe (it was even featured on The Today Show) and it’s a favorite in our household, too! They are nutritious, delicious, and easily batched to provide a healthy option all week long.
Codi Jackson, FIT4MOM 618 Owner, is a fitness coach/motherhood enthusiast that empowers women and mothers in all stages of life to move their bodies and live a healthier, happier life. Find out more about Codi’s community of women at www.618.fit4mom.com