Written by Imane Dodo
Image by @kristennoelcrawley
Bringing a tiny human into this world is no small feat. The process our bodies go through is so transformational and magical, and your body deserves all the slack and love postpartum. So, if you’re a new mom and thinking about snapping back quickly after having a baby, let’s talk about why that’s not the best idea.
First of all, let’s pause and truly acknowledge that pregnancy and childbirth are no joke. They can impact your body in ways that you never thought possible. From swollen feet to morning sickness, it is like your body is doing the most (as it should) to prepare for delivery and motherhood. Let’s not forget the actual act of giving birth, which is another ball game (even when you have a straightforward delivery). I mean just think about how demanding it is to push a human out of a tiny hole in your body, so it’s normal that your body needs time to recover after all the physical endurance and emotional rollercoaster.
Slow and steady
Social media and celebrities make it look like bouncing back to their pre-baby body in a matter of weeks is the obvious thing to strive for and work towards (“duh”). But let’s be real, they have personal trainers, chefs, and all sorts of other (often unhealthy) resources that are not easily accessible. The truth is that even with all of these means, you should let your body properly recover by taking things slow and steady. This will not only release a bit of pressure from you as a new mom, which is valuable as you go through caring for a newborn on sleep deprivation mode while adapting to deep life changes and recovering from childbirth.
Taking the necessary time will make your snap back game more effective when you are ready to hit the ground running. A major reason why snapping back quickly after having a baby is a bad idea is that it can be harmful to you and your baby. For starters, your body needs serious time to heal after childbirth. If you do too much too soon, you run the risk of injuring yourself, which will make your snapback even longer. In addition, as you’re probably sleep-deprived and running on fumes, adding intense workouts or a strict diet to the mix is going to make things harder for you. Plus, if you are breastfeeding, restricting calories can affect your milk supply, in turn harming both the baby and you.
A better way?
So what is the safest path? Well, for starters, really do give yourself a break. You just did the most wonderful act of creating life – which is a very big deal! Take time to rest, recover, adjust to your new life as a new mum.
Once you are feeling ready, start with gentle exercises like walking or yoga; You can go on walks with the baby to get some steps. These activities can help you get moving without straining your body too much. As always, listen to your body and adapt your routine accordingly. Don’t push yourself too hard if it does not feel right. It will at some point.
When it comes to food, focus on nourishing your body with healthy whole foods (think quinoa, black rice, proteins, complex carbs, healthy fats and all the good stuff), which are especially critical when breastfeeding to access the required nutrients for milk production. Balance is key, so you can and should totally indulge once in a while because food is also food for the soul.
Snapping back quickly is not worth the risk. Your body needs time to heal, and your baby needs a happy and healthy mama too. Take it slow, be kind to yourself and remember you are doing an amazing job and work on your own timeline because you are you. Your journey is unique and different to other women so why try to stick to the same timeline and routine as someone else?