Google "losing baby weight" and you may be alarmed at what you find.
It's not all celebrities showing of their perfect bikini bodies, (in fact I think I would be less shocked if that is all I found). No, it's something far more dangerous to a woman's mindset and self-esteem. Page after page after page of "helpful" tips and programs and shakes and wraps and pills and exercise routines. It's really enough to make me lose my lunch (which is probably what a few of them recommend). One article starts off with:
"It’s every woman’s dream to lose all the extra pregnancy pounds the moment baby finally arrives."
Wow. Apparently we are all so vain and vacuous that our dreams only extend so far as to being pretty and skinny.
Ok so maybe that's a little harsh.
But this kind of advice is not only unhelpful, but downright dangerous.
Here's a fact ladies, you're body will change after growing a human. And that actually is ok. It's important to look after yourself after having a baby and NOT focus on weight loss or how you think you look in a bikini.
Here are my top tips for keeping yourself healthy post baby:
Eat well. Now is not the time to start a block a day Cadbury habit. Make sure you are eating plenty of vegetables and getting in lots of good fats from coconut oil, nuts and seeds and avocados. Adding in things like fermented vegetables, bone broths and gelatin will help your body heal from birth and enrich your breast milk (if you are feeding). Even a bit of chicken liver wouldn't go astray.
Remember that you are still growing a person. They may be outside of you now, but that little person still needs you very much. If you are feeding, your body will tend to hold on to your baby weight for a bit because those fat stores may still be needed to feed your child. If you are not feeding, then you won't be using the extra 2000 odd kilo-joules that breast feeding takes up. Either way, breastfeeding or not, your new baby still needs cuddles and love and close time with you, all of which help them to grow and develop, and you are needed for that.
Move in a way you enjoy. Whether it's a long walk or dancing around the kitchen, movement is what is important, not exercise. Worry about dead lifting your own body weight later. For now, just keep active and moving.
Carry and wear you baby. Adding that extra weight can help you get back into shape. But more than that it will help you bond with your baby and keep them calmer as they are close to you. It's also great for their development. Baby wearing also allows you to get more done as your hands are free.
Stand naked in front of the mirror. Not really my most favourite thing to do, but you need to look at your new body, it's shape, it's lumps, everything and love and accept it. It grew and nourished and brought a tiny human into this world and that is amazing. For that, you should be at least grateful if not it totally awe of your body. So next time you are standing in front of the mirror, unhappy with what you see, remember that. Remember what your body is capable of. And love and appreciate that. Focus on that and not the extra love handles (which I may add are there to feed your child).
And I know all of this, because my second daughter is now 4 months old. And although I have already done this before, (my first is now three and a half), the self loathing when I look in the mirror, the tears over beautiful clothes I don't fit into at the moment, the tantrums when I can't find anything to wear, they have not changed this time around.
So I guess I am writing this article for myself too. To remind myself that healthy is the goal, not skinny. That these things take time, just like they did last time (the rules of physiology have not changed). That one day I will be able to wear my entire wardrobe again. But with losing that baby weight I will also lose my youngest daughter's baby phase as my body will shed the excess it no longer needs to hold on to to feed her.
Having a baby will bring up a whole gamut of emotions that you will have to navigate, don't make "getting back you pre-baby body" even feature on your list. Being caught up in such superficial things may lead to you missing some of the best part of your child's life. And if being a mum has taught me anything, it is that time is too short. So this post baby body? Like so many things around raising children, this too shall pass.