Keeping fit and healthy after giving birth

Being a new mom comes with its share of challenges, but feeling pressured to 'bounce back' shouldn't have to be one of them.

Be easy on yourself post pregnancy! In fact, you should think of pregnancy as 18 months long, 9 months of pregnancy and at least 9 months of postpartum. Weight loss won’t come immediately, so being healthy and feeling happy during this memorable time of your life is what’s most important.

Here are some healthy habits to practice that will help you feel fit and boost your energy, so you can focus the overall wellbeing of yourself and your little one.

Make your health a priority

Focus on getting all the vitamins and nutrients you need through a well-balanced diet post-pregnancy. In other words, don’t go on a crash diet right after pregnancy! Your energy levels will likely be low when your new baby arrives due to sleepless nights and your body healing. Instead, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats such as chicken and fish. Avoid sugary drinks, chips and fast food where possible, but don't feel pressured to stick to hard and fast rules while you're adjusting to life as new parents.

Set realistic goals and live actively

Keep in mind that the first six weeks (at least) after pregnancy should be your time to rest, recover and get into the swing of being a mom. That said, having an achievable fitness goal can motivate you to keep up with healthy daily activities during the first six weeks, if you feel up to it. Start by adding activities to your routine that will build strength and boost your mood. For example, dancing while listening to music every morning or going for daily 30 minute walks in the park with your baby. When your stamina starts improving, gradually increase the challenge; turn your walks into jogs, join a fitness class at the gym or start doing 10-15 minute strength training workouts at home, two-three times per week.

Drink lots of water

Staying hydrated is vital for breastfeeding mothers, as well as new moms who aren't breastfeeding but need to keep their energy levels up! Be sure to drink enough and eat plenty of water based foods such as watermelons, strawberries, cucumbers, yoghurt, and lettuce. You can also carry a full water bottle with you wherever you go and drink little sips throughout the day. A good way to be sure you’re hydrated is by checking your urine - if it is light yellow or almost clear in color, you’re hydrated. If your urine is dark yellow, you probably aren’t drinking enough.

Decide what works for you

If you find that breastfeeding works for you, it can be a great way to bond with your #baby while nourishing them with all the nutrients that they need to grow healthy and strong. Not only this, but breastfeeding can be great for you too as it helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size.

That being said, breastfeeding isn't the be-all and end-all of motherhood and feeding your baby with a bottle can give you more freedom, allow your partner to bond while feeding your baby and might just be more comfortable for all involved.

Extra hint: while social media might make it look easy, most women need a little helping hand at the beginning! Don't be afraid to reach out to a fellow mom, doctor or midwife if you need a helping hand.

Don't forget to eat

In the blur of parenthood, it can be easy for the hours to fly by without time for a snack. Couple this with sleepless nights and you have a recipe for some pretty serious hanger! Try cooking a large batch of meals and storing them in the freezer for when you need a quick meal in a pinch. It's also good to stock up on healthy snack foods like bananas, almonds and yoghurt for an on-the-go energy boost.

Sleep when your baby sleeps

Being a new mom can result in feeling sleep deprived due to your baby’s new sleep schedule and a good night’s sleep is known to help you manage your weight. To hack this, try to sleep whenever your baby sleeps, if she takes a nap in the morning and afternoon, take a nap with her! This way, you’ll feel more rested and have more energy for your day.