The first weeks with a new baby is a beautiful and wild ride. I don’t think another time of life rivals the emotional ups and downs of those first weeks.
Depending on the birth experience you may feel excited or impatient to get moving or you may wonder how on earth you will ever manage exercise again.
No one woman, body or baby is the same so everyone’s experience will be different.
Regardless, when it comes to movement in the first 8 weeks, less is more.
Start by just walking
When you are feeling ready and your doctor or midwife gives you the thumbs up, start with some walking. Starting with simply walking to the end of the street, then take it around the block, then to the local coffee shop. If you are pushing the pram it gives a little support while also providing a bit of gentle resistance so your core and arms are working more than you might think. Be sure to listen to your body for when to rest.
Core and Pelvic Floor
Book into a women’s health physio at around 6 weeks to talk about core and pelvic floor activation. I know it is easier NOT to do this but it will make such a difference to your recovery long term if you have great allied health professionals in your corner – It takes a village after all!
When feeding (bottle or breast cause #fedisbest!) take an extra minute to sit up straight, grab a ton of pillows or lay down and get into a comfortable position to feed.
It’s estimated a woman can spend up to 30 hours a week feeding a newborn (mind blown right!?) so a little bit of propping up will save your back and help slowly encourage those abdominal muscles to wake back up.
There are some gentle leg extensions you can do to help slowly activate the core. These are super gentle simple laying on the ground on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Inhale to prepare and as you exhale, drag one heel out in front of you along the floor. Slowly bring it back in and alternate sides. Using the breath and core to stabilise you through this movement is a really gentle and effective exercise to start building core awareness and generally start getting to know this new body of yours.
Outside of movement I believe that some self nurturing is really important in this time too. This may not be for everyone but massaging some beautiful body oil into your skin after a shower and taking a minute to really look at your body with love and awe can create a “bond” with your postnatal body. Thanking it, nurturing it and admiring what a miraculous feat has occurred.
Basically, I am encouraging you to take it slow. You have the rest of your life to get and be fit!
For now you are fit for the purpose of looking after that sweet baby and this can be an amazing time to slow down and really tune into nurturing not only the baby but YOURSELF.
To follow on with Bridie’s post natal recommendations in real time: