The last thing you think about when you have a new baby is getting your figure back. In the early days, you’re too tired to worry about it, but once you start to get into the stride of coping with the new addition to the family, you’ll realise that being in better shape will help to prevent tiredness from missed sleep, as well as giving a boost to your confidence. There are five important steps to getting your body to feel more like it used to.
Listen to the midwives
Both midwives and health visitors have a wealth of information and experience of helping mums like you, so pay attention to their advice, which will include diet and exercise tips. One of the most important things you can do is to follow their instructions regarding pelvic floor exercises, which you will be able to begin immediately. Those internal muscles are important for bladder control, so you won’t want to neglect them.
Some little cheats
Nobody would blame you for feeling a bit frustrated if you didn’t see an immediate result; getting into shape can be challenging after pregnancy and birth, so it’s important to give yourself a helping hand. Buy some shaping underwear to hold in your tummy until your muscles are strong enough to do it for you and apply some fake tan from St. Tropez. This will give you a healthier look it also has a slimming effect, so you’ll feel happier about showing off your legs.
Don’t expect too much of yourself in the early days. The old advice to sleep when the baby sleeps is invaluable and will help you to find the strength to start working towards a fitter body. Remember that having a healthy lifestyle is the most important thing and the other benefits will follow.
Get plenty of fresh ingredients, including seven items of fruit or vegetables in a day, especially if you’re breast-feeding. Try to avoid processed food, such as takeaways or frozen meals, if you can. Make the most of any offers of help from friends and family, by asking if they wouldn’t mind cooking you something healthy that you can freeze and use later while you still have your hands really full. They’ll be happy to help.
Make moving part of your routine
It’s highly unlikely that you’ll have the time or energy for going to the gym or to exercise classes, so it’s important that you find other ways to get your heart pumping. A brisk walk, pushing your baby’s pram, will exercise your heart, lungs and muscles and may even send the child to sleep, which means you can enjoy a cup of tea in peace when you get back. You’ll have a lot of extra laundry to take care of, so make putting it away a little more challenging by walking more briskly up the stairs or taking two at a time.
Find activities for two
Until you go back to work, if that’s what you’re planning to do, you can find quite a few shared physical activities for mums and babies, such as baby yoga and swimming classes. Baby yoga usually involves very gentle movements for both mother and child, so is more about relaxation that toning, but since being relaxed keeps you healthier and more able to stay active, it’s very useful. Swimming, on the other hand, is a great way to tone up the whole body and new-born babies can do it instinctively; if you start early enough, your child will never need a lesson.
Image credit: BOB.