After all of the excitement of giving birth and the transition of settling in with a new baby has passed, many new moms begin to focus on losing the weight that they gained during pregnancy. Many mothers hope that this process will not be too difficult, while others who may have struggled with weight issues in the past dread trying to lose the pregnancy pounds. Mothers who breastfeed hope that nursing the baby will help them lose weight, but worry that their caloric needs will hamper their weight loss efforts.
Although carefully choosing healthy, nutritious foods is an important part of losing weight after giving birth, exercise is equally important. However, many mothers are sleep deprived and busier than ever. Sometimes this makes trying to find time for a consistent workout seem impossible.
Mothers of newborns should keep in mind these three things when starting an exercise routine in the first few months of a baby’s life.
1. Don’t start too early.
Moms should always wait for the “all clear” from their care provider before beginning an intensive exercise routine. Your doctor or midwife was likely an educator when it came to learning about delivery choices like pain management available, umbilical cord blood banking and circumcision; continue to learn from from them about the best way to transition back to your old body. During the first two weeks of the baby’s life, mothers should take it easy and spend as much time resting as possible. Between the two-week mark and the six-week post-partum exam mothers still need plenty of rest. However, moms may be able to stretch and do a few short walks each week if they have the energy for it.
Every mom is different. Each woman should listen to her own body. If dizziness occurs or anything hurts, mothers should immediately sit down and take it easy for a while. A mother may not have the energy for any form of exercise in the post-partum period and that is perfectly fine. The body goes through major changes in this time and needs plenty of rest to recover from childbirth.
2. Ease back into your routine.
In the final weeks of pregnancy, most women back off on their exercise routines. The growing abdomen, swollen hands and feet, clumsiness, and lack of energy in the last few weeks can make even the most dedicated athletes take a break.
When mothers finally begin to get some energy back in the first few weeks of the baby’s life, sometimes they forget that they should slowly work back up to their previous levels of fitness. It will take some time to get back the strength, flexibility, and stamina that they may have previously enjoyed. New mamas should be patient with their bodies as they begin to work out.
3. Figure out ways to fit it in.
Sometimes care for tiny infants can seem so intensive that mothers can struggle to stick to a consistent fitness regimen. Energy levels may fluctuate greatly. Making exercise a priority can be very hard during this time. Some moms may have better luck if they include the baby in their exercise. If possible, taking a mommy and baby exercise class at a local health club may be just the thing to help a mother get regular exercise. Other moms begin walking with the baby in a stroller or can wear baby in a carrier. Many infants are soothed by the movement and sleep while mom exercises. Mothers may want to break exercise into a couple 15-minute increments and do it several times throughout the day.
The most important thing to remember in the first few weeks of a baby’s life is to focus on priorities. If a mother is barely making things work with the needs of an infant, adding the pressure of an exercise routine will not be helpful. Moms should realize that this phase of a child’s life will pass quickly. In future months as babies get older, they will have more time and energy to work out and get fit.
This article was written and submitted by Katie Moore. Katie is an active blogger who discusses the topics of motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things Mommy. She enjoys writing, blogging, and meeting new people! To connect with Katie contact her via her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter, @moorekm26.