I cannot believe Luca’s 1st birthday is creeping up so much faster than I can handle it and with that it’s been almost a year for my body to recover from carrying an 8lbs 2oz baby plus placenta, extra water etc etc… I had gained a total 34 lbs. before giving birth and even though I’m still young I knew it would take some work to get back to where I was pre-pregnancy. First and foremost, I have to say I am blessed with my momma’s great genes and basically didn’t get any stretchmarks during pregnancy. I also rubbed a lot of oil all over my belly trying to trick my skin into thinking massaging it will help. Additionally, I tried to stay active throughout even if it was just walks with my dog, anything that got my heart going. SO, with all that said here are a few of my tips on how to get back where you can feel like yourself again no matter if it’s your old self or a new and improved self, anything where you are comfortable AND confident!
- “The weight takes 9 months to go on, it’s OK if it takes 9 months to lose it” this amazing advice was of course given by my mother and when she told me that, I was thinking oh mother I will be back in shape in a hot second… right. You get really excited in the first week losing about half of your weight because, duh the baby is out, together with all the blood and water weight but then there’s still the uterus trying to go back to its original size and you remember the weekly ice cream runs to your neighborhood super market. And after a while I was coming around thinking it might be a while longer to get to where I wanted to be. So, give yourself TIME!
- Supportive partner: I am one of the lucky individuals that married a guy who continually told me that I looked great even when I really felt otherwise. It helped me so much knowing my spouse loves me no matter what and appreciates my body for hosting and growing a tiny human. Even though no partner would hopefully body shame you, but not hearing anything positive can hurt just the same. So, to all the baby daddies out there show your spouse/ baby mama how much you respect and love her for giving you the best gift in life.
- Fashion: fake it ‘til you make it! Wearing the right clothes for your postpartum body will do wonders! Everyone knows there are different styles for different bodies when it comes to fashion but you may not know it when you’re left with what feels like a stranger’s body after birth. My usual somewhat smaller self didn’t know how to dress a 20 lbs. heavier body and it took quite some trial and error to figure out what looked flattering and what didn’t. I felt really stressed out when I couldn’t fit back into my old clothes anymore. But until you do choose some loose fitted tops, re-wear some of your maternity items in the beginning and above all be patient with yourself.
- Active lifestyle: Just the way it helps to stay active during pregnancy, it obviously helps when you’re trying to lose your baby weight. And I’m not saying go run 5 miles and spent an hour a day in the gym, because who has the time and the energy? But for me it helped tremendously to go on walks. Even just 30 minutes every day made me feel refreshed and brightened up my mood and my spirits. I was never much of a jogger but incorporating some light jogging and ab training at home (YouTube to the rescue) worked wonders. Having a fellow mom-friend or girlfriend is a bonus (dogs count too 😉)
- Breastfeeding: I can’t stress this last and most important point enough. I hear about so many women who either are unaware of all the amazing benefits, not just for baby but also for you, or choose not to breastfeed because of aesthetic reasons (according to Dallas Child magazine only 6% of Texas moms report to breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months). But let’s be honest: I too would like for my boobs to be small and perky again but that is just a small sacrifice for me to give the best nature can offer for my baby. I know it is a hot topic but which mother wouldn’t want the best for her child? And I am not talking about women who can’t produce enough milk. And I know there have been so many times in particular in the beginning where it felt incredibly weird and stressful, after all it’s something you’ve never done before. But despite a clogged duct, and returning to work part-time after 8 weeks, there was never a moment where I didn’t think it wasn’t worth it (I am still nursing now at 10 ½ months and working three times a week). Besides the advantages for the baby, it’s been the most helpful to losing those last stubborn pounds. I even have to be careful now to eat enough to not go under my original weight. And again, it is not all about the weight but about how you feel, but the closeness, the special bond to my son and my body confidence wouldn’t be the same without breastfeeding.
I hope after reading this some soon-to be moms and new moms will at least inform themselves about the incredibly positive things nursing does and I hope no matter what size you are post baby you are able to love the body that has brought new life to this world!