Congratulations, new mommy! You’ve got a bouncing baby now, and you’re probably glad to be back home with the bundle of joy, rather than in the hospital. Now that it’s all over, and things have settled down, you might find that looking in the mirror isn’t exactly making your day brighter. You might have gained a few pounds while pregnant, or you’ve got a bit of a pouch just from having the child. Learn how to get back into shape after pregnancy, even while at home with the baby!
First off, don’t start cutting calories just because you’ve had your baby. In order to produce good breast milk, you should be eating 1800-2000 calories a day. Focus on eating healthy foods, and if you can’t find yourself eating the quantity of healthy foods necessary to reach that dietary limit, consider more calorie dense meals, like a protein drink! Beans, rice, fruit and veggies are all great things to eat that can be very filling. Be kind to yourself, and don’t risk cutting down on your calories until your doctor allows it.
The Best Exercise
After nine months of hard work, your body doesn’t exactly want to head back to the gym for an hour and a half of heavy lifting and running on the treadmill. However, if you’re determined to lose the weight, the absolute best exercise to do after a pregnancy is to simply walk! Start on short walks around the house first, to get your body used to being up and about again after such a traumatic event.
Once you feel ready for it, it’s time to head out of the house. You can bring the baby along, too, in a stroller or a baby sling! The stroller can be used like a piece of fitness equipment at the gym, and can help you with other small exercises on your stroll. Start with just short walks to the mailbox and back, or around the block before heading out on half hour walks. Just remember to remain upright, and to listen to your body when it says to stop.
If you don’t mind looking a little silly, going on a walk is the best time to do some small exercising to start burning off a few extra calories. Doing lunches, calf lifts, or even just tightening up a certain muscle group can all help. Lengthen your strides and bend down with each one, making your bent knees at right angles before coming up and taking another large step forward, lunging back down to another right angle for a good workout all up and down your legs.
Try walking on your tiptoes to really exercise your calves, or just squeeze and tighten your butt while you walk in order to force the muscles to exercise. It’s starting slow, but it’s a start. The biggest thing to remember is that you’re not exercising to lose five pounds a week, or to fit into your skinny jeans right away. It’s a slow weight loss, and it will take some time. Once you’re ready for more, and your baby is alright to be without you for a little time, ask your doctor about an approved post-natal workout plan at the gym!