I’m not just a paediatric sleep consultant, I’m a mum too. So, I can easily say I’ve been in your shoes (or should I say slippers and PJs) when it comes to post-baby exercise. The trouble with postpartum fat-loss is that you just don’t have time to be messing around with the wrong type of exercise. Too much to think about: new baby, no sleep, leaky boobs. Then the extra flabby bits you're carrying around literally start to weigh you down.
There is so much conflicting information out there about how to lose baby weight and when is the right time. If you’re not an expert, it’s really difficult to know where to start exercise. Especially when you’re sleep-deprived, overwhelmed, and already running up and down the stairs day and night with bottle and nappies…… So why won’t it just go on its own?? I hear you cry! Well for some lucky Mum’s it does, but for the majority of us some extra effort has to be made.
There is a lot of pressure from the media, so losing the extra baby pounds has to be the right time for you. For me I wasn't able to get straight back into exercise. A complicated labour meant plenty of recovery time first and I felt mentally I needed time before I could focus on exercising. Once you are ready and you have been signed off by a health professional to start exercising again, here are a few tips to get you on your way.
I know that it’s tempting to snooze as late as possible-especially if your baby isn’t sleeping through the night. However, setting your alarm with enough time to get a quick 20-minute exercise workout done before the baby wakes again is a great way to start the day.
What do you do when you are so busy you barely have time to have a cup of tea all day? When I was in new mum mode, “just do something” was my motto. It’s ok if you can’t commit to a full workout today. I get it. With a new baby, sometimes finding even 30 minutes in a row is impossible. That’s ok! I suggest breaking up the time into 10-minute exercise sessions. Then work your way up to 20 or 30-minute on the days you can.
Go for a walk with your baby in a sling or pram. Keep the exercise pace slow and relaxing. Moderate intensity aerobics burns calories, but provides little hormonal advantage, so practice low intensity work outs with high intensity intervals. Ensure you are walking at a pace that allows you to hold a conversation and then gradually add 2 more intense training sessions per week to your leisurely walk. This can be a great way to burn baby fat.
Getting the motivation to exercise is tough. Once you get started, you’ll be amazed at how your energy and mood improves. Beyond helping you burn the baby blubber, it does other positive things too. It lowers stress hormones and stimulates fat burning hormones like HGH, exercise releases endorphins that will help ease the postpartum blues that almost every new mum encounters. Not only does it help with depression,but I also found just 10 minutes of exercise helped me sleep better, and is a huge help in relieving stress.
Even if you don’t have the time or energy to get back into full training, you can still take advantage of those feel good hormones. Just squeezing in short 10 to 20 minute bursts of gentle exercise a day will really help.
Having social support, whether through friends, or an organised mum group is a great motivation booster. Group training allows us not just to get a great workout. It helps develop friendships with other mums going through similar experiences as well.
Some mums prefer to exercise in the evenings when the baby has gone to sleep. This also give you chance to leave the house and have some time to yourself.
Don’t forget exercise is as important as a good diet and sleep. Everyone knows you are at your best when you have all three.
Remember, go easy on yourself. All these things come at different times to mums. Tackling one thing at a time is best. So, if sleep is an issue with your baby and you feel its time you had some support then get in touch for a free consultation.