A lot of new mums throw all of their effort into their baby, especially if it’s their first. It’s completely understandable of course, and to a large degree an inbuilt instinct. Having your first days of being entirely responsible for another human being is a daunting experience. Previously, few mums have had more than (at best) a few hours at a time babysitting for friends or relatives.
It’s hugely important to remember that it’s not just the baby that has needs, and we’re not talking about dad either, that big lump might be a bit useless at times but he can look after himself. As mums, we’re genetically programmed to look after others, but it’s also essential to remember your own needs in the whirlwind of motherhood.
Your body has done something pretty amazing over the last three quarters of a year – way beyond the visible changes in your midriff. That’s obviously not going to go back to normal overnight, and the ‘new normal’ isn’t likely to be the same as the ‘old normal’ either! That doesn’t mean you have to settle for nature taking its course though, getting a bit of mum time at the gym or going for a jog is something you should make time for, if that’s your thing. For example, the benefits of elliptical training are well known to help shed those post pregnancy pounds, so don’t be afraid to head down to the gym and see what the instructors recommend – you might be surprised how knowledgable they are on the subject!
The benefits of exercise aren’t limited to weight loss though, there’s numerous direct and indirect ways it can improve your well being. Directly, a fitter mum tends to be a happier mum, often with more energy to play and get through those inevitable long months of broken nights ahead. Indirectly, the house can fast become a lonely place when dad goes back to work, even if you do take advantage of local groups for new mums. It can be a long day, so just getting out and about for as little as half an hour for a bit of exercise can do wonders for the state of mind. Finally, don’t forget that even though dad’s probably terrified of not having you around in case he doesn’t know what to do – he needs bonding time with baby too, so why not throw him in at the deep end?
We all know exercise is good for us, and while there are some cases where you need to be careful (not least after a caesarian section), if you’re worried, have a chat with the midwifery team or the clinic staff when you take baby to be weighed. They’ll be able to give you the advice you need to stay safe.