Whenever you go out with your baby for a walk, you pass by coffee shops, pubs and restaurants; you look at the people inside -couples having lunch and friends having a laugh. You go to the park and look at young group of people sitting on a grass, having a picnic and sipping wine from plastic cups.
They all look so happy, carefree, just enjoying the moment.
And then you experience this weird feeling- flashback of your own memories with a mix of sadness and maybe even jealousy. You’re guessing you’ll never going to feel like they do, like you used to feel yourself before you had your baby.
You love your baby like nothing else in this world but…
You think of all the boring staff you have to do when you get back home- cook dinner, feed your baby, do the laundry and clean the house. By the end of the day you start to feel overwhelmed, tired of your routine, sick of the fact that tomorrow you have to wake up and be the prefect housewife and mother all over again.
Some call it baby blues, I like to call it postpartum hardships. And it doesn’t have to last only for a couple of weeks, it can actually lasts for months.
Postpartum period is a definitely a vast and complicated topic to discuss. Everyone says having kids changes your life but they don’t really warn you how difficult it is to get used to this new lifestyle or how to cope with it (and the crazy hormones don’t help, do they).
You’re asking yourself: how long it’s going to take before I start to feel like the ‘old’ me? Am I ever gonna feel like the old me?
That’s why it is not uncommon to fall into postpartum depression if you don’t find answers to these questions.
In this post I’ll try to give you some perspective on how to feel like yourself after having a baby.
Be kind to yourself
May sounds like a cliche but it’s real. You have to realize your body went through massive changes while you were pregnant and did something miraculous: gave birth to a tiny human! And now you have to do something even more heroic- look after that tiny human, keep him safe and healthy (ultimately alive).
I mean, we did not even have a break after bringing a child into this world (and that was a hard, almost 40 hour job for me!).
So give yourself some slack and be kind to yourself, lower your expectations- you can’t clean and cook as much, you won’t look like a top model until you get some more sleep, you may not be willing to have sex right now because you’re simply tired. And it’s all okay, it’s all normal so don’t push yourself to do anything you don’t feel like.
Accept the new you
You’re looking on Instagram or a glossy magazine and see women (probably personal trainers for a living) with a perfect body few weeks after giving birth. And you feel jealous, maybe bad about the way you look.
Yes, you can lose weight after pregnancy but you need to be aware that all women are different and some changes are irreversible. The wider hips are here to stay and the skin on your belly might stay wobbly.
Your old self went to the Neverland! (ever watched Peter Pan?:P) So look in the mirror, smile to your reflection and accept what you see. It’s a new version of you and it’s beautiful!
Your personality is also in process of transformation- from a carefree spirit you’re becoming a responsible, worried mother.
Embrace this change and see it as a new chapter in your life.
Buy something new
There’s nothing to improve your mood like small shopping, am I right? Although obviously, it’s not a long-term solution, you can lift your spirits when buying something nice that fits your new figure.
Even if you’re going for a walk to the nearby park, instead of wearing the old pair of joggers, wear those new jeans !
For me, it was buying a new perfume that did the trick as I have a kind of incentive to take a shower, get dressed and smell nice, do you know what I mean?
No matter how ridiculous it sounds, buy whatever makes you want to get up in the morning, from a piece of jewellery to sexy lingerie.
Go out (by yourself)
What I mean by yourself is without your baby:) Going to a pub with your friends will help you to feel like yourself again; you will forget about your problems for a moment and listen to others! Just make sure you talk about anything else but your baby routine.
If it’s your first time leaving your little one with daddy, you might be worried and end up texting every 20 min to check up on them- it’s normal and understandable (maybe not so much for daddy).
Even if your mind is partially somewhere else, going out once in a while will only bring you benefits- you’ll come back home more relaxed, missing your family, feeling especially grateful there’s a tiny person waiting for you (plus your partner will appreciate you more, guaranteed!)
In fact, going out anywhere by yourself will benefit you, even if it means only going for a short walk or to a grocery shop. Having to spend all day long with a screaming baby takes a toll on our mental health so try to get some time for yourself at least every second day.
That means little ‘me’ time- just because you became a mother doesn’t mean you stopped being a woman. Book yourself a hairdresser or a beautician, get a relaxing massage or get your nails done- whatever you’ve been doing before you gave birth. You probably won’t have time to do it as often as before but at least try to pamper yourself like that once a month.
If you want to save money, you can arrange your own ‘home spa’- take a warm bath with candles (just don’t fall asleep!), put your face mask on and voila:)
Of course, choose the time when your baby’s already asleep. Or even better, tell your partner to take the baby out to a playground so you can have some peace and quiet.
Get a childcare
It’s often out of a question, but if you can afford and want a nanny, do it. If someone else can help you during the day, let’s say your mother or a friend, even better.
You can get some sleep when she’s taking your baby for a walk, eat lunch in peace or read a book. Whatever gives you some extra energy. As somebody said, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Don’t forget about your partner
As you’ve probably noticed, having a baby also changes your married/couple life. You need to make sure your partner knows what you’re going through and ask for his support.
We put our babies first but don’t forget to spend some time with your man as well. If you can get a nanny, choose one evening per week (or realistically speaking: one per month) to go out for dinner, just the two of you. It would give you the desired time off and improve your relationship. And it would definitely make you feel like yourself again; preparing for a date and being on one is a whole process of flowing endorphins and other happy hormones!
Find a playgroup or sign up for a class
Since your life has changed you will have to change your environment too! If your friends don’t have babies yet, the best way for you to find new friends is to attend local play sessions or sign up for, let’s say, activity class for mums and babies. Over there you’re going to meet like-minded women who know exactly what you’re feeling and they can give you the mental support you need.
These things helped me tremendously to feel like myself again. It took me some time to understand that, since I have a new body and a new mind, I will never really feel like my ‘old’ self; that person is gone and I needed to redefine the person I became: a strong, confident woman with a heart bigger than ever before.
Acceptance of the new life I’ve been given followed with a great appreciation.
When shall I be worried about having a postpartum depression?
Although the baby blues is said to last about 6 weeks it doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to feel a bit confused and out-of- place for longer period of time.
For some women becoming a mother is effortless and comes to them naturally, for some it may take months before they get used to the new lifestyle.
Nevertheless, if you’re feeling down and angry very often since your baby has been born, you cry for most of the days of the week, you don’t have appetite and feel distant towards your partner, friends and family- it should be a red light for you. It can be a postpartum depression so don’t ignore those signs and call your GP as soon as possible (it’s also useful to know that in some cases, symptoms of PPD may appear months after giving birth).
So guys, remember, being a mother is a beautiful journey and it’s only just began. Of course, it is hard at the beginning but trust me when I say: it gets easier with time. With every month s/he grows and every milestone your baby reaches, you can be proud and say: I’m so lucky, I’m so blessed. And we all truly are.
Are you still in a transition period or you’re already beginning to feel like yourself again? What are your tricks that helped you out in this difficult process? Let us know in the comments:)
Take care of yourself mamas!
This is often the first concern of a mum-to-be: am I ever going to look fit again?
After over 9 months of growing a baby, you want to get your body back (I’m with you sister). Although some lucky women lose their belly and most of the ‘baby fat’ fairly quickly during the postpartum period, majority of fresh mums struggle to lose those rest extra kilos they gained during pregnancy. And unfortunately, once the baby arrives, you don’t even have time (or strength) to think of exercising or taking on a new diet.
Please be aware that you are NOT allowed to be on a diet or doing any overtiring sports/exercises for the first 6 weeks after delivery. This is the time your body starts to ‘heal’ and recover after the huge changes that happened to you so it’s super important to keep it easy.
In this post I will give you some tips on my best ways of losing weight after pregnancy.
1. Breastfeed on demand
There’s a reason breastfeeding mothers should eat extra 500kcl daily than the average woman.
By breastfeeding your body burns loads of calories which in turn helps you to lose weight. In fact, the more often you breastfeed your baby the faster your will lose those unwanted pounds. And let’s not forget about the glorious benefits for your baby! So you have a win-win.
2. Choose foods rich in fiber and protein
Consuming foods with fiber helps with weight loss while adding proteins improves metabolism and decreases appetite by making you feel full for longer. Here you can find a list of particular foods you should be eating (basically the same rule applies here as when you were pregnant).
3. Keep only healthy snacks at home
That would include things like fruits, veggies, nuts. Throw away all the sweets and unhealthy food so they don’t tempt you. Stock up on healthy snacks and within couple of weeks you should forget about all the junk food you’ve been craving before.
4. Avoid sugar and processed foods
Sugar is not only bad for your teeth, skin and overall health but also contains lots of calories and has no nutritional value. Processed foods are also high in sugar, fats, calories and salt- all of which will only make you look fatter!
Choose whole foods instead such as vegetables, legumes, fruits, meats, fish, eggs, nuts and yogurt.
5. Ditch alcohol
Having a glass of wine comes with certain health benefits (for your liver and digestion process). But when it comes to getting slimmer it’s unfortunately a non-beneficial matter- it’s high in calories and has no nutritional value.
However, if you’re breastfeeding you can’t really drink anyway so it shouldn’t be such a big deal for you.
6. Start moving
You don’t need to exercise per se to get rid of the ‘baby fat’. You can start from taking walks every day. Only 30 min of steady walk can make your body burn up to 200kcal!
Once you start moving you can easily go for weight lifting, exercising with your baby and running.
If you’ve been active before the baby or you’re up for a challenge, you may want to buy a proper jogging stroller.
Unlike traditional strollers, joggers have three large wheels made to slide through surfaces (without the bigger effort of pushing) and a suspension system which reduces the feeling of a bumpy ride for your baby.
7. Drink lots of water
At least 2 litres a day is a must! If you’re breastfeeding staying hydrated is even more important for your health and for the uninterrupted milk production.
Drinking water will make you feel less hungry, improve your metabolism and reduce calories intake.
8. Try to get enough sleep
With a strong emphasis on the word try! We all know how challenging it becomes to get those recommended 7-8 hours sleep after you have a child. But if you can involve your partner/ nanny/ grandma to do some night shifts for you (or maybe at least give you some time off during the day so you could take a proper nap) it will be very beneficial for your weight. There are studies out there showing connection between sleep deprivation and weight gain.
9. Exercise in a group
It’s always easier to motivate yourself for exercising or doing any kind of sport if you have at least one buddy to work out with. You may not have time/money for a gym or a personal trainer but what you could easily do is find an online course on YouTube or buy a DVD box set with each one specifically designed to train different parts of your body.
You will most likely get quicker results if you work out in a group rather than if you did it by yourself.
There are also many free online videos on YouTube where they show you how you can involve your little one for your exercise routine, It will actually be fun for you both!
10. Be realistic
Loosing weight after pregnancy may take some time so don’t get fooled by reading glossy magazines where celebrities show off their postnatal body.
With a proper diet and exercise you should be able to get your body back into shape. But you need to set yourself a realistic goal and work towards it. Some parts of your body will stay different than before you got pregnant (such as wider hips or a bit flabby belly). But the most important thing is that you return to a healthy weight level.
Do you have any other magic tricks that can help us lose weight?
Let me know in comments:)
You can do it mamas!
All the best,
Whether you are going back to work, you want to go out for longer or your nipples are sore, pumping will be beneficial to you and your baby. However, at times it might be stressful. Looking after and breastfeeding your baby is already challenging (especially in those early weeks) so the idea of squeezing time for expressing can sound impossible. Don’t worry, if all of it seems overwhelming; most of the women feel the same way so you are not alone.
To give you some comfort and peace of mind, I prepared a list of tips on how to balance breastfeeding and pumping.
1. Always pump in the mornings
Many midwives and other mums recommend pumping in the morning as your milk supply will be at its highest- you can tell by the feeling of fuller breasts. Since on that time of a day you are well rested (or should be), your body has more energy to produce milk than in the evenings.
2. Make sure you are not stressed out
It’s important to stay relaxed during pumping, otherwise your milk supply will drop. It usually takes a little while for your milk to start flowing. So if you feel like your child is not letting you relax, ask your partner to take over and go to the other room for the ‘expressing session’ (any excuse to get 20 min for yourself is great).
If you find yourself stressed out for any other reason (and there might be thousands of them for a fresh mother) you can simply listen to music or meditate.
3. Pump after breastfeeding your baby
Experts recommend delaying first pumping until about two weeks after birth, or when your milk supply is established.
When you decide its time to use the pump you should nurse your baby first and pump afterwards.
Waiting about 30 minutes after you’re done with breastfeeding can help as well as that’s roughly the amount of time your body needs to start producing ‘new’ milk.
4. Create a schedule but keep breastfeeding on demand
It’s always a good idea to pump according to a schedule however you should not forget to breastfeed on demand, meaning whenever (and wherever) your baby needs to. What you could do, for example, is to nurse your baby from one breast while pumping from the other.
If you want to be economic you could buy these breast shells that collect the milk when your breasts are leaking during feeding and the rest of the day. They also protect sore nipples and help with relieving engorgement.
5. Choose the right pump
Having the right gear is essential if you want your pumping routine to be a success. I strongly suggest going for an electric pump rather than the manual- even though the price of electric ones are much higher. In this case, there’s no reason to save money as using manual pump can make you go mad (unless you are a very patient person). It’s twice as slower and your hands will be sore before you even finish.
Medela swing is so far one of the bests on the market. You can ask other mums around or just read different forums where Medela wins over Avent Phillips or Tommy Tippee. You will also see Medela brand being promoted in many series and movies (especially American) that involve mums and newborns. It’s fairly easy to set up, washes well (both in hands and in the dishwasher), has different levels of suction and its portable if you use the batteries. And yes, you will pay the higher price but you can be sure that, if you will use it frequently, it is worth the investment.
Don’t try to save money and go for a single pump- double will express much more milk in a shorter time (and time IS money, you can probably feel it now more than ever). What is also invaluable when pumping from both breasts is having hands-free pumping/ nursing bra. It will allow you to express the milk with less hassle, without the need of holding the bottles for 15 min (making it a little less boring as you can enjoy your coffee or see what you’ve been missing out on Facebook).
6. Stock up your freezer
Remember the expressed milk you give to your baby should always be fresh and its best to use within 48 hours. According to NHS website, if you keep in on the back of the fridge in the temperature of 4 degrees (or lower), it can stay there for up to 5 days. The excess of milk you are not planning to use should be kept in a freezer in special bags (for maximum of 6 months), just remember to label and date it first. This way in the future you will know which bag you should defrost first.
7. Don’t be too hard on yourself
The amount you express will vary, some women will have it more consistent, some less and it often changes over time.
You should not be upset with yourself if the amount you pump is not what you expected; try not compare yourself with other mums and stay positive.
A tip for mummies who happen to be physically away from their baby: looking at the pictures of your little one often helps to express more milk.
Now sit down, relax and pump some of that precious milk!
Take care mamas:)