Having a baby is a huge life event, in countless ways, including in terms of fitness. Even though you may have been practicing a very successful fitness program before your pregnancy, it all gets pushed necessarily aside, until the arrival of your new family member and the return of the time and inclination to resume training.
Your diet and activities were changed, out of deference to the needs of the baby. The average mother gains from 20 to 30 pounds during pregnancy and becomes progressively less able to undertake aggressive workouts. So after the baby arrives, regaining your previous state of conditioning will present some special considerations.
If you’re breastfeeding
Moms that are breastfeeding have to be conscious of their diet, of course, as the infant is still dependent upon them for nutrition. Extreme diets are out of the question during this period, as are weight-loss supplements or under-eating. Plenty of protein intake is important, as well.
7 fitness tips for new moms
- Drink plenty of water – your body always needs lots of water, but it’s even more vital when breastfeeding. Keep some water on-hand night and day, and drink at least 8-12 cups daily. It will keep you hydrated, help flush the toxins from your body, keep your skin healthier and help you feel more energetic. If you keep track of how much you drink, you may be amazed to find that you’re actually drinking a lot less than you think.
- Eat small meals, several times per day – this will not only help you maintain a higher energy level, it will keep your metabolism stimulated, which can help prevent new fat. If you tie your feeding schedule to the baby’s, you’re much less likely to skip a meal. After baby is fed, it’s Mommy’s turn.
- Get lots of protein – aside from giving your own body the nutrition it needs to rebuild after the demands of a pregnancy, your breast-fed baby is also taking a fair share of that nutrition. A high-protein diet will help you satisfy those requirements, while feeling more satisfied, without high calorie foods (which might otherwise end up expanding your waistline).
- Walking – as soon as your doctor gives you a green light to begin a walking program, it’s time to take advantage of this great way to spend time with your baby, let him begin to see some of the world and relieve the natural stress of prolonged inaction. Then, when the baby is old enough (consult your pediatrician), you can make use of a jogging stroller, and work your way into some HIIT outside.
- Get sufficient sleep – while getting enough sleep is always important, it’s even more crucial for you at this stage. Babies usually cause enough nighttime interruptions to seriously disrupt Mom’s sleep pattern, and if you don’t make up for that lost rest, it will quickly catch up with you. If you begin each day half-exhausted, you’re not likely to have the energy for any sort of workout, and stress will be amplified. If you need to get help so you can rest, do it!
- Eat fresh and natural – load up on fresh fruits and vegetables, not packaged snacks! Cut some up and keep them in the fridge, and snack on them throughout the day. It’ll keep your metabolism stimulated, provide you with energy and help you (and the baby, once toddler age is reached) form healthy habits.
- Take your vitamins – during your pregnancy, you were undoubtedly taking prenatal vitamins to compensate for the additional drain on your system. Your system still isn’t back to normal, so keep taking them. This is true whether you’re breastfeeding or not.
Bonus: Here’s a great recipe for protein pancakes you should try: http://www.flaviliciousfitness.com/blog/2011/06/03/chololate-protein-pancakes/
Your entire life changes with the birth of a child, and there are many adjustments you’ll be making as your child grows. For now, you need to get your nutritional needs under control and begin to address your fitness program. These 7 tips should help you form the necessary habits to get you back on track to achieving your fitness goals when you’re ready. Take small steps – your system has been through a lot!
About the Author
I am a Registered Nurse, Certified Physical Trainer, Certified Nutritionist and the creator of Full-Body-Licious and Curvalicious. You can read more about my training programs, nutrition advice and general fitness on my female fitness blog.