So, guess what? I’ve started running again! It only took me about nine months post-birth, but I am back! Like many new mums, exercise has taken a back seat to more pressing concerns — sleep, for instance. In the early weeks after Miss I’s birth exercise was the last thing on my mind. I was happy to allow my body time to heal from the birth, and with breastfeeds lasting up to an hour, there was little time left for anything else.
Aside from fining the time to exercise after birth, it can be hard to find the right type of exercise (the type that isn’t going to open your already stretched abdominal muscles or your weakened pelvic floor!) The key is finding an activity that respects what your body has been through, and one that complements your schedule and lifestyle. Here are my exercise tips for new mums.
5 exercise tips for new mums
1. Give yourself time
Your body needs time to recover after having a baby. It’s important not to rush into an exercise program, so give yourself time to heal and start off with gentle movement. Do not worry at all about the weight you’ve gained from growing a human being inside your body! And don’t put any pressure on yourself to get “back into shape.” Instead, wait until you feel physically ready and your energy is back.
This will be different for every person and every delivery– especially if you had a C-section. While it may take six weeks or more to feel you have healed from delivery, with your doctors approval you can begin a light exercise routine once postpartum bleeding lightens. When your physical fatigue from labour subsides and you start to get some sleep, your body will feel ready for exercise.
2. Find the right type of exercise
My advice here is easy does it. Start slowly with a low-impact aerobic activity, such as walking. As you regain strength, you can increase the length or number of walks. Save trampolining for when your pelvic floor returns! Which reminds me, don’t neglect your pelvic floor exercises. These can be done during feeds while you’re sitting and comfortable.
Aim to get out in the fresh air and walk with the pram every day. It will lift your mood, tone muscles and it’s also good for your baby to get outside. For me, exercise is as much for the benefit of my mind and mood as it is for my fitness and body. I just feel better when I exercise. A good dose of Vitamin D is an immediate mood booster. Even though I understand the bone crushing fatigue that comes with having a newborn (especially one that hates sleep) trust me, a walk in the sunshine will make you feel a whole heap better. And it will trick you into feeling like you have had more sleep. Fake it till you make it!
3. Supportive, comfortable exercise gear
You need to wear a supportive sports bra while working out and you don’t need to compromise on style. Mammojo has you covered. Move over activewear, Lactivewear is the cool kid on the block. Mammojo features a collection of post maternity tops and nursing tops that facilitate easy breastfeeding and support mothers to live an active lifestyle. Because style, being active and breastfeeding should not be mutually exclusive. Each Mammojo product has been produced specifically for the new mother using high quality, high performance Italian fabrics. Let me tell you about two of my favourite items.
Emily Breastfeeding Racer Top
The Emily breastfeeding top features strong bust support, and is a great choice for most activities. This breastfeeding activewear tank is specifically designed for the postnatal, postpartum breastfeeding body, with a stylish racer design and contrasting detail. It is extremely versatile and I wear mine for walking, running and yoga. The nursing clips can be opened and closed one-handed for easy breastfeeding.
The Emily racer back features a dual layer design incorporating a supportive feeding friendly crop with removable inner breast inserts and a semi-fitted over layer. Extremely lightweight, comfortable and breathable, this is a great choice for active and everyday wear. Completely wire free for maximum comfort, there is ample bust support via the in built shelf bra.
Mammojo Breastfeeding Hoodie
The Mammojo Breastfeeding Hoodie kept me nice and cosy during many cold morning walks to school. It is SO comfy that I would stay in it most of the day. This breastfeeding hoodie quickly has become a wardrobe staple. The twin invisible zips in this hoodie make feeding a breeze and the hoodie is perfect over any of the Mammojo feeding tops. The Mammojo Breastfeeding Hoodie is made from the highest quality cotton spandex, combining the softness of cotton with the flexibility and durability of spandex. And it’s machine-washable. Tick!
4. Find ways to exercise with your baby
These days there are lots of options for you to take your little one with you while you work out. Try a mum and baby yoga class, or join a gym where there’s a crèche facility available. Swimming is a fabulous, gentle activity and lost of pools have crèche facilities. If you’re a runner, you could also invest in a running pram so you can run with your baby. Alternatively, even a brisk walk around your neighbourhood with your baby strapped to you or in the pram is a great way to get back into exercising. I walk with my baby every day and on the weekends I go for a run. At home, I do some gentle yoga exercises while bubba climbs all over me!
5. Be realistic
My last tip for exercising after baby is to be realistic about your goals. Looking after a tiny human all day and night is incredibly taxing on the body. Not to mention the nine months of pregnancy, plus the birth itself! With this in mind, lower your expectations when it comes to your exercise achievements post-baby. If you used to run half marathons easily, this may not be the case now – and that’s fine. Realise that your energy tank is lower than it was and go easy on yourself.
*This post was brought to you by Mammojo Lactivewear. And Mammojo is offering NASD readers an exclusive 15% discount. Use the code NASD15 at the checkout and the discount will be applied. Happy shopping!
Do you fit in much exercise? How has your exercise regime changed since having kids?