Take Care of Yourself
Written by: Nikai Sullivan
I am the key to my daughter’s happiness! She refuses to take a bottle and therefore needed ME if she was hungry. During those first few postpartum weeks this was blissful and I felt important. However, when you begin to feel that your post birth (or post surgery, in my case) body could use some fitness, this dependence becomes less than perfect. I had reached the point of feeling a bit deflated, like a balloon that has lost the air and everything felt a bit too big and too loose; except my clothes! Because I was worried about leaving my daughter for more than an hour, I faced the challenge of finding a fitness plan that would work from my home. I needed an endless supply of different choices so I wouldn’t get bored: Pilates, yoga, cardio, dance, weights, the more choices the better! I needed these workouts to be quick and efficient so that I could fit them into my baby’s schedule and the times my breasts didn’t hurt too much to move! Another essential component was my need to be able to do these workouts in my pajamas or other less cute fitness clothes. My postpartum body didn’t want to be crammed into a sports bra or spandex leggings that made me envision sausages in the casings! Could such a unicorn exist? Could I find something that would meet all of my fitness needs and the needs of my breastfeeding baby as well?
The unicorn does exist! I found workouts to do from home. I am able to get a great workout in 30 minutes, in my pajamas, and it fits around my daughter’s schedule (or lack there of). So don’t give up mamas, find the thing that you can do to feel fit and healthy while meeting the needs of your breastfeeding baby. Give yourself those 30 minutes of time for yourself because you deserve it and you will be a better mom for showing yourself some love too!
Below are two quick fitness tricks to help strengthen your post baby body. They are simple tricks to give your body some time for you!
1The Triple Bear: A quick exercise that will help strengthen you abdominal muscles and will help to work any kinks out of your back from all that sitting and breastfeeding. If you back is clunking and popping while your doing this, you’re doing it right! Triple Bear Directions: On your hands and knees (shoulder and hip width apart) use your toes to lift your knees about two inches off the ground (knees bent at 90 degrees). Keep your belly button pulled toward your spine to engage your core, and your head in line with your spine (looking 3-5 inches in front of your hands), and keeping your knees 2 inches from the ground, step your feet to the right, back to the center, and to the left. Repeat to move your feet back to center, to the right, and then back to the center. Continue shifting from one side to the other for about 30 seconds.
2 Core Clench: This exercise will help to strengthen your abdominal muscles, lower back muscles, and pelvic muscles. Core Clench Directions: While sitting or standing, pull your belly button into your spine contracting your abdominal muscles. Next, contract your pelvic floor muscles (do a Kegel). Now keep all this contracted for the count of ten seconds, then release. Repeat ten times. I suggest doing these at least once a day.
While on the topic of being kind to yourself, I just have to share the best advice I was ever given: Do you first! If you are about to sit and breastfeed, make sure that you have run to the restroom, gotten a glass of water, small snack, a book, your phone, whatever you might need for the next 15-30 minutes. Your baby will be fine to wait a minute or two more while you do this. Once you have taken care of yourself, you can sit with your sweet baby and let them take their time. You have what you need so you can relax and enjoy this time and so will your baby!