common concern among new mothers is how to get rid of their jelly bellies and regain flatter, more toned stomachs. For some women, re-strengthening their core seems an easy task, but for most it is an uphill battle that takes many months, even years. With proper exercise and diet the process is not as hard as many think. In fact, depending on your delivery method, there are specific exercises you can do to speed up your body’s recovery.
Many people were astounded when Kate Hudson lost 60 pounds in the few short months after having her son. By most people’s standards, this was exceptionally fast. By Hollywood standards, this was normal. If you’ve ever wondered why the Hollywood stars manage to lose their baby weight so quickly, it’s because they exercised before and during their pregnancies. Plus, they’re pretty conscious about what they eat. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that they can afford nannies to watch their children while they exercise and personal trainers to get them to the gym seven days a week for two hours each and every day.
It’s All About Exercise
For us mere regular people who have to deal with families, jobs or the responsibilities of being a stay at home mom and new children, postpartum weight loss may not be so easy. While you might not have enjoyed dragging yourself to the gym throughout your pregnancy, you’ll be happy that you did once you start trying to exercise after the pregnancy.
Stick to a Routine
To make the most of your postnatal fitness, try to set up a routine that you can stick to. Establishing a schedule will help maintain regular workouts that fit into your everyday life. Also, try to workout at least three times a week for at least 30 minutes each time. If you are determined to lose your weight quickly, then exercise more often. However, never exercise to the point of exhaustion. If your body is telling you it’s tired, stop exercising immediately.
When Can I Start Exercising?
So, when should you start working out again? Generally, it is recommended that women wait about six weeks to start exercising after they have given birth; eight weeks if they have had a cesarean. However, some women can start exercising before this. Listen to your body and wait until you feel ready. When you decide to start an exercise program, discuss it with your health care provider first.
Start Stretching Right Away
If you had a normal, uncomplicated birth, though, you can start doing little exercises as early as the day after you give birth. But these should be very simple, non-stressful exercises, like leg stretches. You should also continue with your Kegel exercises to strengthen you pelvic floor muscles. If you’ve had a cesarean, it is best to wait until you’ve stopped bleeding and your health care provider has given you the green light before you start doing any form of postnatal exercises.
Advice For Breastfeeding Moms
If you are breastfeeding, there are a few things you should keep in mind when you’re exercising. First, make sure your breasts are well supported when you exercise. Some women may find that they need to wear two bras just to feel properly supported. Also, try to breastfeed your baby before you exercise. This will help you feel more comfortable since your breasts won’t feel full.
Go For A Walk It is important to get a cardiovascular workout since this will help you burn off the baby fat. One of the best forms of exercise, especially for new moms, is walking. Walking is a great way to get some fresh air, tone your legs and improve your over-all health. In fact, it’s one of the best exercises around – and it doesn’t even require special equipment. All you need is a good pair of shoes, fine weather and your baby, of course!
Here are some exercises that you should be sure to include in your fitness program to help get your stomach flatter, your vaginal muscles tighter and your body back to its old self.
Stomach Exercises Your tummy is probably the area of your body that you are most worried about getting back to its pre-pregnancy shape. Sit-ups are the best exercise for your abdominals to get them into shape quickly. When you are doing sit-ups, make sure you have a mat underneath you. Also, keep the small of your back (the part that arches) in contact with the floor at all times.
To work your upper abdominal muscles, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. You could also put your feet on a chair so that your legs are at a 90-degree angle. Place your hands behind your head. Slowly, inhale and lift your head and shoulders up, off the ground while you contract your abdominal muscles. Lift until you feel your muscles working; you don’t need to go all the way up to a sitting position. Then slowly lower your upper body back down while you exhale.
To work your lower abdominal muscles, you can do a reverse crunch. Again, start by lying on the floor with your legs bent, but this time keep your feet close to your buttocks, slightly above the floor. Inhale while you slowly raise your hips and pelvis up towards you so that your buttocks rise up off the floor. Your knees should curl in towards you. Exhale and lower slowly back down. For both tummy exercises, you should try to do two to three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.
Kegel Exercises If you have been doing these exercises throughout your pregnancy, then keep doing what you’ve been doing. For those women who did not do any Kegel exercises, you will want to start because they help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. It is recommended to do them during pregnancy because it can help make labor easier.
However, there are benefits to having strong pelvic floor muscles even if you’re not pregnant. Kegel exercises can help you with bladder control and can even help make your orgasms better. Plus, Kegel exercises are incredibly simple and can be done anywhere, anytime. To do them, you just need to contract your vaginal muscles as if you were trying to stop the flow of urine. Hold the contraction for a few seconds then slowly release. Aim to hold the contraction for 10 seconds (you might have to work up to this) and try to do about 25 a day.
The Many Benefits of Exercise
Losing your pregnancy weight is not the only benefit to exercising postpartum. Just as in your pregnancy, postnatal fitness can help ease a host of discomforts simply by increasing your circulation. Exercise can also help with any postpartum depression you might be experiencing. Plus, if you maintain your exercise, you will be providing your children with an excellent example of how to stay healthy. To maximize the benefits of your exercise, try to stick to a well-balanced, healthy diet. And remember, whenever you work out, always drink plenty of water, warm-up and cool-down properly – and never exercise to the point of exhaustion.
As a new mom, one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby is to eat a healthy diet.
Even though you may be in a hurry to lose those pregnancy pounds, regularly eating foods that boost energy for new moms will give you the stamina you need to be the best mom you can be. That’s because eating nutrient-rich foods at regular intervals throughout the day can maximize the little energy you probably have as a new mom.you make sure the following foods for new moms are a regular part of your diet.
Low-Fat Dairy Products
Whether you prefer yogurt, milk, or cheese, dairy products are an important part of healthy breastfeeding. In addition to providing protein, B vitamins, and vitamin D, dairy products are one of the best sources of calcium. If you’re breastfeeding, your milk is loaded with calcium to help your baby’s bones develop, so it’s important for you to eat enough calcium to meet your own needs. One way to do that is to include at least three cups of dairy each day as part of your diet.
There’s no such thing as a perfect food. But salmon is pretty close when it comes to a nutritional powerhouse for new moms. One of the best breastfeeding foods out there, salmon, like other fatty fish, is loaded with a type of fat called DHA. DHA is crucial to the development of your baby’s nervous system. All breast milk contains DHA, but levels of this essential nutrient are higher in the milk of women who get more DHA from their diets.
Portable and nutritious, oranges are a great food to boost energy for new moms. Because nursing moms need even more vitamin C than pregnant women, oranges and other citrus fruits are an excellent breastfeeding food, too. Can’t find time to sit down to a snack? Sip on some orange juice as you go about your day — you’ll get the vitamin C benefit and can even opt for calcium-fortified varieties to get even more benefit from your beverage.
The list of benefits you get from eating leafy green vegetables such as spinach, Swiss chard, and broccoli goes on and on. They’re filled with vitamin A, which your baby needs to get from your breast milk. They’re a non-dairy source of dietary calcium. They’ve got vitamin C and iron. On top of that, green veggies are filled with heart-healthy antioxidants, they’re low calorie, and they’re tasty to boot.
Egg yolk is one of the few natural sources of vitamin D — an essential nutrient to keep your bones strong and help your baby’s bones grow. Beyond that, eggs are a versatile way to meet your daily protein needs. Try scrambling up a couple of eggs for breakfast, tossing a hard-boiled egg or two on your lunchtime salad, or having an omelet and salad for dinner. As part of your diet, you might even opt for DHA-fortified eggs to increase the level of this essential fatty acid in your milk.
If you’re attempting to lose the baby weight, you might be tempted to drastically cut back on your carbohydrate consumption. But losing weight too quickly may cause you to produce less milk for the baby and leave you feeling lethargic and sluggish. It’s better to incorporate healthy, whole-grain carbs like brown rice in your diet to keep your energy levels up. And foods like brown rice provide your body the calories it needs to produce the best quality milk for your baby.
Dehydration is one of the biggest energy drains there is. And new moms who are breastfeeding are especially at risk. To keep your energy levels and milk production up, make sure you stay well hydrated. You can vary your options and meet some of your fluid requirements by drinking juice and milk, but be careful when it comes to caffeinated drinks like coffee or tea. Keep your intake to no more than 2-3 cups a day or switch to decaffeinated varieties. That’s because caffeine enters your breast milk and can cause your baby to become irritable and sleep poorly.