4 Ways to Take Care of Your Postpartum Body

 

Let’s discuss weight, shall we? No, I’m not giving you mine, but I will tell you that at my six week visit to my OB, I lost 30 pounds from my third trimester weigh-in. Don’t get excited. Ben weighed 8, the amniotic fluid weighed at least 10, and the rest I chalk up to swelling alone. Ask anyone who saw me that last month; I was a sausage masquerading as a human.

Now that my body is mine again (kinda), I’m finding it more than a little difficult to ween off of my pregnancy diet of nachos, pizza, and cake (carrot), not to mention I have about eight minutes, tops, to make, plate, and swallow any food I can get my hands on during the day.  So, honestly, those dreams of creating kale and onion quiches or kelp and tofu soup to lose the remaining weight in three days are swirling right down the drain.

Instead, I try my best with what I’ve got.

And also, here’s the thing: I am trained to think I need to look a certain way after carrying life in me for nine months when in reality, this is how I should look. I’ve got extra hips, extra arms, extra legs, a little extra everywhere. Surprisingly, I do not have extra stretch marks, so thanks cocoa butter. I’m not saying I’m a circus act, but I am, of course, not my pre-pregnancy weight.

I find it really hilarious, the things I used to believe I would or could do after pregnancy. I actually had such thoughts as:

When the baby is sleeping, I’ll make a week’s worth of freezer dinners full of rich nutrients and vitamins.

I could even bake our own bread without sugar, preservatives or added nonsense.

I’ll have a garden this summer and we’ll eat fresh vegetables until December!

It’ll be easy, I thought. I’ll have time, I thought.

Here is what I’m actually doing, and what I suggest to every new mother, who is adjusting to motherhood and her new body.

Stop eating salami, and drink water every second of the day

This is for the breastfeeding ladies out there. I’m speaking figuratively about the salami. I can’t eat it, specifically, because it bothers my stomach, and in turn, bothers Ben’s stomach.  I’ve read research that says otherwise about a woman’s diet, but giving up salami in general also just makes sense. So, anything that gives you the rumbles needs to be off your list. It’s annoying at the time, but it’s more annoying to stay up half the night with a gassy baby (and really sad, too).

Also, staying hydrated is a rule of thumb for everybody. Don’t you remember 8th grade health class? If you’re nursing, though, it’s even more important because you’re passing everything on to the baby. Keep hydrated for the two of you.

Take a stroll

Listen, I am not one to cheer for the fitness side of things. I exercise because I have to. BUT, it’s really important to get outside for 15 minutes or so for YOU. Strap that baby into the stroller and get out there, if only to smell, see, and hear things other than what is in your living room, bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen.

I’d love to talk about yoga right now and the benefits it has on the postpartum body, but I’ve been able to practice a total of 12 minutes since Ben was born (no, really, I clocked it). I’m sure it’s great, though!

Get on the smoothie train

Drinking vegetables is infinitely easier than cooking them. And way faster.

Here is my favorite:

  • Two large handfuls of whatever leafy green is in your refrigerator (I like spinach or kale)
  • About half a cup of frozen blueberries. They make the drink cold and masks the taste of the greens
  • A sprinkle of PB2 or a tablespoon of peanut butter
  • Enough almond milk or regular milk for the right consistency. You don’t want to drink sludge
  • Half a banana if your husband hasn’t thrown them out because there is one brown spot on them

Please, be nice to yourself

I have a lifetime of experience being mean to my body. I think bad things about it, I’ve said mean things to it in front of the mirror, and I’ve made fun of it to other people in it’s presence. This is no way to treat the post-baby body, or any body for that matter.

Tell yourself every day that your body created magic. That the extra hip space is for the new baby you produced to rest on and be comfortable. That it’s okay to eat a cookie (or piece of carrot cake) and it is most certainly okay to not feel badly about it afterwards.

Your baby is depending on you for everything. Taking care of yourself just means being a good mom.

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