You love your newborn. There’s no question about that. But the truth is, after nine months of feeling like you had an alien growing inside of you, you were looking forward to having your body back. Instead, you find yourself with a body that’s unfamiliar to you. It hurts in ways it never used to hurt, and bulges in places it never used to bulge. You find yourself googling tips to lose the baby fat and get your body back. Here’s the hard truth: You’re not going to get your pre-baby body back. Your body irrevocably changed to make room for your child and to give birth, and those changes aren’t just going to disappear. But while you can’t get your old body back, you can work towards a new you that is strong and healthy—a new body that you can feel good about. So how do you get your best body after having a baby? Follow these steps to get fit and feel healthy.
Whether you had your baby via C-section or vaginal delivery, your body underwent some serious trauma. If you try to be superwoman, you’re not only going to feel bad about yourself, but you’re likely to hurt yourself. Give your body the time that it needs to recover from the birthing process before you put pressure on yourself to work out or change your diet too drastically.
Also, remember that it took nine months—at least—to get your body to where it is now, and it will take at least that long to get your body as healthy as it was pre-baby. If you started off your pregnancy in a less than ideal place, it will take even longer to work towards your ideal post-baby body. If you try to rush things, you’re going to injure yourself, and you’re going to be disappointed with your results.
Having a baby makes a lot of demands on your body. Constantly hunching over to pick baby up, put baby down, feed baby, etc., can take a serious toll on your back. This will only get worse as your baby grows heavier and makes more demands of you. Do what you can now to support this new change in your lifestyle. Practice bending your knees rather than hunching over to pick your baby up when you can. Take advice from Free Your Spine to reduce back pain. And eat whole, anti-inflammatory foods to increase your energy levels and reduce your chances of chronic pain or repetitive strain injuries.
What do you need to be the best mom you can be? Energy and strength to keep up with your children. So when you look at which exercises to focus on after you give birth, you should be starting with exercises that improve your core strength and give you energy. Yoga can be great for both of these functions. Try implementing a 10-minute yoga routine in the morning to give you energy. Midway through the day during baby’s naptime, work in a 15-minute core workout. At night, do a 5-minute relaxation workout to help you achieve high-quality sleep. If you do all of these workouts, you will have done your 30-minutes of working out by the end of the day in small chunks that are still manageable with a baby.
Fresh air is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child—time outdoors, in nature, away from screens. By taking your child outside, you’re also giving yourself these gifts. And because you don’t want to be bored, you’re likely to get in some activity naturally. Maybe you get that activity in by pushing a stroller as you take your child for a walk, or by chasing after your toddler on the playground.
Around 4-6 months after you give birth, you’ll begin introducing your child to solid foods. As a parent, you want to introduce them to healthy foods that will support their growth. A natural time to work on your own diet is when you’re introducing them to solids. Instead of making one meal for your baby and a different one for you, make one meal that you feel good about your baby eating a portion of. Doing this will naturally improve your diet as well.
Maybe you won’t ever get back to your pre-pregnancy weight—or maybe you’ll get there and more. Either way, the important things is to get as healthy as possible after your child is born, not only for your sake, but for their sake. When you focus on healthiness, the stronger, healthier looking body will naturally follow.