My top ten post natal success secrets!
Well 13 days into being a Mum I thought it would be a good day to ease myself back into some work and thought I’d share the top ten things I’ve been doing to ensure I’m happy, healthy and regaining my strength – both mentally and physically since having my daughter!
1. Eat for nourishment not weight loss – Thankfully (as predicted!) my appetite for really healthy things has returned and my sugar and carb cravings have practically disappeared. When my best friend from London came down to visit last week and said ‘What can I bring?’ I asked her to go to Whole Foods and load up on some healthy goodies that I can’t get out here in the sticks… Coyo coconut yogurts, coconut kefir, sauerkraut, a wide variety of organic greens, organic fish etc (and of course some dark chocolate and white wine for balance!).
2. Eat what I fancy when – Whilst many people say to pre-cook meals and get super organized with food after you’ve had a baby, I’ve actually had the opposite approach. I’m so busy with a new born and 7 year old twins that I’ve chosen to have lots of things I can quickly put together and eat easily at all times of the day or night. Muesli with coconut yogurt and oat milk, almond butter on toast, hoummas and crudités, fresh chopped apple and nuts/seeds, veggie soups etc have been my staples. With of course the odd chunk of a chocolate Easter dunked in a hot cup of tea (I said the sugar cravings had practically disappeared, not totally gone!). Some days I eat cereal at 3am after a feed, others I make a wheat free sandwich at 7am. I’m just listening to what my body wants and giving it to it, so I eat when I’m hungry and rest when I’m tired (as opposed to using caffeine and sugar to plough on through!).
3. NOT focusing on my body shape, weight or size right now – My body is in fact getting smaller fairly quickly – in fact I think it will only be a couple of weeks until I’m back in my pre-pregnancy clothes (much longer for body composition to return – 9 months I think) . But that’s because I am extremely active and busy now I’m a single Mum of twins and a new born! I’m certainly NOT trying to lose weight. My calorie expenditure has probably tripled or even quadrupled since I was heavily pregnant and I’m eating healthier food. But this is a natural progression, I am not focusing on weight loss, and my time is not taken up thinking about (or worrying about!) how I’ll get back into shape. I weighed 93.8kg (14st 9) the day I gave birth and had a 47 inch waist. 13 days on (for those interested!), I weigh 82 kg (12 stones 13) – and I’ve only weighed myself for the purpose of blogging! I hear Mums say ‘I’ve still got 2 stones to lose’ and they put their focus on this an awful lot. Right now, I’m in my beautiful baby bubble and this is where I want to stay for as long as possible!
4. All my attention is on how I feel – My energy, mood, happiness, fun, being in love with my tribe (as I now call them!) and how my body itself feels. And I’m NOT talking about the wobbliness either – this is normal and should be embraced I think! But how it’s functioning and how it’s healing. Also, I’m focusing on emotions, for example making sure I’m dealing with everything, getting upset if I feel it rather than bottle it in (post natal hormones help with this, ha!) and keeping stressful things out to enhance my mood and do things that make me feel good. I’m also channeling my energy on to me and what I need, not what others expect of me or want me to do. My house, my children, my body, my life, my choices. As a new Mum this is SO important!
5. Sleep as much as I can – At the moment, the way I’m coping with the immense juggle is to feed Tabitha just before the boys go to bed at 8pm and then we all go to sleep at the same time. This means I’m getting three blocks of two and a half hours of sleep each night, compared to two if I stayed up later. With the twins I went to bed earlier, but as the boys are seven, I’m adjusting my very basic and flexible routine around all of us. So far so good and everyone was right… the pregnancy insomnia certainly has helped with the sleepless nights!
6. Gut health for Tabitha and me – Gut health is linked to mood, nutritional uptake, immunity and of course long term health. So I invested in myself and I saw top gut health expert, Brienan Dolan at the Hale Clinic last Autumn and have been taking some exceptionally good gut health support supplements throughout my pregnancy. I also mix a really good organic baby pro-biotic powder with a little water and put it onto my boobs once a day. This ensures Tabitha gets it from feeding and has a great start as a newborn with good gut health. I’m breast feeding but I’m topping her up a little bit with organic goats milk formula. None of my children have had dairy formula (or much dairy in food) because it is mucous forming, aggravates the gut and is high in estrogen if not organic. I’m also eating so many more gut-friendly foods and less gut-aggravating foods which will build up my gut strength over time too. Gut health is KEY to post natal energy and getting back into shape (without a gruelling fitness regime too!).
7. Let the non-important things go – For me, my home needs to be filled with love, fun, laughter, happiness, cuddles and patience! Keeping my house immaculate and super tidy is at the bottom of my list, as are non-urgent emails, texts and phone calls (sorry if I owe you one!). My days are crazy and whilst I could get the hoover out or tidy up the toys a bit more, I’d rather have a cuddle with my child or a 10 minute relaxing bath. We all have individual needs for our home environments as we become new Mums and these are different for everyone. But the reason I’m so chilled as a Mum and why I find new borns and twins not that stressful to deal with, is because I let go of so many other things and don’t beat myself up about the many things I haven’t done (all the mindset stuff I teach on BEST!). I coach a lot of new Mums and the reason they find it so hard is because they worry about the state of their house, what others think and fight the chaos. If I did this I know I wouldn’t be the Mum that I am. But I must stress, these are my choices, made from my values, I’m not saying this is right for everyone!
8. Posture and core strength are key from the outset – Breastfeeding, pelvic structure changing when pregnant and having a c-section have all taken it’s toll on my posture and core strength. So everyday (since about day 4), I’ve been focusing as much as I can on pulling my abs in all the time, sitting up straight, doing pelvic floor exercises (whilst I’m making dinner or feeding). Plus, watching my shoulders and neck and adding a few upper body stretches throughout the day (typically after feeding). My abs feel so much stronger already and whilst I won’t be doing any major ab work for quite some time (3-6 months probably and only if I feel up for it), ab pull ins are SO effective and can be done all day long!
9. My biggest focus is bonding – With my little girl by myself, ensuring my twins’ emotional needs are supported at this time of big transition and of course us bonding together. This is the priority over everything at the moment, it’s where the magic is at and you never get this time back. I’m embracing it and it feels wonderful 🙂
10. Design your own life – Today I did my first full-ish day back in the office. My PA (who also happens to be a very good friend and Mum of three) is coming to work at mine two days a week for 5-6 hours and we’ll work together around the baby. It works for me because I love my work so much and need some balance around Tabitha, I’d go mad if I didn’t have some work around a baby, even a newborn. I’m in control over my workload, I don’t need to commute or hand her over to anyone and it felt GREAT today. To balance this out, tomorrow is a lazy / chilled day and I may not even get out my PJs ;o)
Here I am today, breast-feeding and brainstorming some summer plans…!
So when WILL I start my post natal training?!?!
Interestingly I had a couple of clients email me this week, to see if I was going to be doing the online bootcamps (Sugar HIIT, Tummy ATTACK, Best Body) with everyone on 11th April. I’ll only be 4 weeks post natal then, so the answer is no! (Although I will be managing the forum of course). But what I am doing from 11th April is getting outside and walking a few times a week. My plan is to work Tuesdays and Thursdays from home and on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays, I’m going to take Tabitha to some really lovely parts of Kent for a little activity and adventure (I live near Whistable, Broadstairs, Leeds Castle, Canterbury etc). I’ll be doing some lovely walking in the spring sunshine which I’ll build up distance wise over the summer months and embracing my local environment. I passionately want to exercise outside, I’ll do a few FFAP classes in Sittingbourne as a client (for social reasons rather than results) and I want any exercise I do to be a choice not a chore.
Being a strong, happy, confident Mum and woman, who is at ease with her life, is where I want to be at right now. The body can take a back seat for the time being. Although by doing all the above, the body results are likely to follow effortlessly – a much nicer post natal approach don’t you think?
Don’t get me wrong, my days are challenging from start to end (and throughout the night!) and the work load and juggle as a single Mum of three is really full on (even with the fantastic support of my parents). This week I discovered that I can cook the twins dinner and make packed lunches whilst breast-feeding standing up, he heee! But I’m doing it with a smile on my face and loving every minute.
Hope you found this useful (whether you’ve just had a baby or not!) and any feedback or questions, please comment or email the office – firstname.lastname@example.org