Between the joys (and huge responsibility) of having a baby, taking care of the house, and maybe even juggling your career, it’s easy to forget about your own needs. However, motherhood shouldn’t stop you from keeping your body in tip-top shape. Plus, there’s no better time than now to nurse your body back to optimal health after everything it’s been through.
From floor exercises to watching your diet, here are five ways to keep yourself fit while juggling your new full-time job as a mama.
1. Don’t forget your nutrition.
If your goal is to lose weight, the key isn’t just to eat less. In fact, breastfeeding mums burn an average of 500 calories a day, so it’s never a good idea to skip on the calories. Instead, eat healthy food in bigger servings. For instance, you can have wheat bread and oatmeal for your grains, salmon and eggs for your protein, and then add a generous serving of vegetables after. Remember that what you eat makes its way into your milk when you breastfeed. So you really have to be mindful of what you digest if you want your baby to be as healthy as possible too.
2. Do pelvic floor exercises.
Before you try any type of workout, it’s best to work on your pelvic floor first. The weight of your baby, combined with the stress of labour, caused your muscles to stretch. If you don’t put in the effort to help them heal, you might find yourself suffering through conditions like urine leakage and organ prolapse. Some simple pelvic exercises you can do at home are kegels and contractions. Additionally, it’s best to wait until after your postnatal checkup (six to eight weeks after giving birth) so your doctor can definitively clear you for exercise.
3. Try some light yoga.
Yoga is a great way to build strength, improve posture, and calm the mind. However, some of its moves—particularly crunches and deep twists—are sure to cause a common postnatal condition called diastasis recti (or abdominal separation). As a general rule, stick to poses that hold your core muscles in and avoid the ones that overextend it. For new mums with extra sensitive bodies, you’ll want the proper gear too. EcoYoga’s jute mat comes with extra comfort and support, making it perfect for beginner yogis and those with weak joints. Plus, each one is uniquely designed and handmade, which might just make you look forward to using it a little more.
4. Spend some time outdoors.
There’s nothing like the scent of fresh air to inspire you to get moving. In fact, your baby can even help you in your efforts. Health writer Diane White informs how speed-walking with a buggy with your baby burns around 100 calories in 35 minutes. Of course, it helps to use the right equipment to make your walk as hassle-free and safe as possible, especially if you’ve got more than one child with you. iCandy outlines the numerous benefits of owning a double pushchair, such as being able to transport two children simultaneously, and easy manoeuvrability around various terrains. This way, you won’t have any problems, whether you’re strolling around on concrete or grass. And the best part? It won’t even feel like a workout.
5. Get plenty of rest.
Lack of sleep can upset your metabolism, making it hard to lose weight and function properly on a daily basis. However, mums know how hard it can be to clock in those full eight hours when your baby wakes up crying every hour or so. To get your baby (and yourself) sleeping through the night, an article on Good to Know suggests swaddling your baby in blankets, trying to do one last feed before bedtime, and even going to bed earlier.
Overall, remember to keep your habits consistent and take your exercises slow. No one knows your body better than you do, so make sure to listen when something no longer feels normal. If you’re looking for more tips to manage motherhood, check out our post on ‘5 Tips for the Business and Baby Juggle’ to find out more.