Health advice for new mums

Being a mum is incredibly hard work and each stage of motherhood presents its own unique challenges. Now I am not a mother yet (hopefully one day) but I have worked with ladies who have become pregnant and post pregnancy, and personally learnt a lot from them on how they are honestly feeling about their bodies, general health, mental health and adapting to a whole new lifestyle.

It's a lot, from waking up in the middle of the night to feed your baby (many times a night), dropping your older kids to school, while trying to keep the house in order, food on the table, and everything in between.

As a result, many mothers tend to put their own health / fitness journey aside, which might seem like the easiest thing to free up some time. But it's when you start running low on energy or feel like you're struggling to keep up when running after the kids that you realise the importance of prioritising your own health too. Its not until we ‘break’ when we are looking to make a change.

If you're wanting to start your fitness journey for the first time as a mum, or get back into it after some time off, it can feel overwhelming to try and find the time and energy for it on top of everything else. This is in addition to the comparison to other women (most of who have not been pregnant and workout all the time - or just genetically blessed) – I know it’s hard to not compare yourself, but it is completely pointless so try not to do it!

I have heard and been learning about your struggles and want to let you know that it's still possible to have the best of both worlds.

Which is why I wanted to put together some practical tips to help you try integrating to your health and fitness rituals through motherhood. 

1.    Reach out for support

You never have to go through this journey alone.

Reach out to a relative, neighbours or work colleague who you trust to help with kids a couple of hours, days or nights per month, research a training group with creche, or lean on your friends shoulders for emotional support - please know that there’s nothing wrong with getting help.

If you’re feeling like your emotional health is affected and you're going through a rough patch, I encourage you to contact your healthcare provider for support. When you’re feeling supported, it becomes much easier to work towards your goals - and in-turn, sticking to your health and fitness regime makes you feel even better.

2.    Exercise when kids are asleep

One of the easiest times to schedule your workout is when the little ones are asleep and not demanding your attention. This could be first thing in the morning if you can wake up before they do, during the day when it’s nap time, or in the evening if their bedtime is early.

You may be tired and have other priorities to do at that time, which is totally understandable, so don’t put tight expectations on yourself - go with the flow. If you need rest, listen to your body and rest - but if you still have that bit of energy left, putting it towards a workout can help you feel refreshed and accomplished. Even if it is as simple as getting some fresh air (whatever the weather) get yourself outside – wrap up your little one and get outside.

3.    Meal prep

Being a busy mum, cooking time is something you might prefer to minimise - which is why it’s so important to try and cook your meals in bulk where you can. If you can set aside some time to meal prep for the week ahead, you'll be much more organized and more likely to stay on track with your nutrition. 

If you are really struggling, it may also be worth to reach out to other friends to help. One of my clients had a group of friends who prepped some meals for her that could be frozen then re-heated when she was ready (isn’t that a great idea and thoughtful!).

Keep the meals simple, but whole sum. You don’t need to make big fancy meals, so long as they are as fresh as you can get – that is the aim.

4.    Get your children involved in your workout

If your children refuse to nap, or they’re a bit older and want to be a part of everything you do, then you can encourage them to get moving alongside you.

Naturally, kids love running around, trying out different movement patterns and staying active so you can use it to your advantage and have fun with them. Feel like a cardio session? Spend that time playing football with the little ones. Doing Interval training (fast & slow paces).

Do your kids love copying you? Give them a light weighted object or empty water bottles, and let them play “monkey see, monkey do” while you’re going through your exercises (basically they just copy what you do). This will also educate them on different movement patterns and strength work for themselves.

While you may not be able to focus on the workout as much as if you were doing it alone, and may have some unexpected interruptions, remember that any movement beats none and you're doing your best. Put on some upbeat music and just have fun with them, this is also a great connection lesson for them to see what you enjoy doing. It is always fun to get up and be silly dancing around.

5.    Don’t compare yourself to others

If you've watched someone “bounce back” from their postpartum physique in no time while you're taking a bit longer to reach your goals, please don't belittle yourself, compare your progress or feel guilty. Keep on walking your own path.

We all experience progress differently, and we don’t always know what others are going through. Focus on yourself, celebrate all achievements - big and small - and remember that we can only rise by lifting others. Even if it is you got outside and did a 10–15-minute workout – it’s an achievement!

You are beautiful, loved, and you’ve got this.

6.    Be kind to yourself

Self-love and self-compassion are some of the most important aspects of your overall wellbeing, so be kind to yourself.

We all have our moments of being dissatisfied with ourselves, being those changes in physique or feeling like we aren’t accomplishing as much as we could have been. These feelings of guilt can be especially true for new mums who haven’t quite worked it out yet. There is no right or wrong way to be a mother, you are always going to be figuring stuff out.

Don’t forget that kids are always listening and picking up on your energy. They notice how you talk to yourself and how you describe your body, and by nurturing positive body image and self-love you are setting them up for a better relationship with themselves.

So, here is a gentle reminder:

Your body may have changed, but it’s because it’s made beautiful little human.

Just because your body might look slightly different doesn’t mean you’re any less beautiful. You are glowing, embrace and celebrate yourself. You have done and amazing thing and your body has completely changed. Embrace it.

You may not have as much time to focus on work or some hobbies anymore, but you are currently working on the biggest project of all - raising a happy, well-rounded little person. This is hard and requires so much dedication, and i applaud you for being a mother.

Your house may not look super tidy, but your heart and home is full of love, which is exactly what really matters. You are allowed to focus on yourself. You can’t pour love and compassion from an exhausted, empty cup. So, claim as much me-time as you can, even if only 15 minutes at the end of the day.

Thank you for all that you do, beautiful mommas.


1 comment:

  1. This is lovely and really uplifting to read. I'm a mum if a 1 and 3 year old and fitting everything in then having the energy for yourself is really tough. Reading these tips and comments about self belief and self respect is great to read as this is often the last priority as a mum. It is so important to remember how importance your fitness is and as soon as you start to see results it all starts to feel worth it. I got into a good routine then returned to work 2 months ago and completely fell off track with fitness again. I'm trying to exercise of a weekend or alternate some evenings with my husband so he can take care of tea time while I exercise. Your posts have really boosted my confidence in my fitness journey so thank you for all you do :)