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Exercise After Baby Arrives

During the first few weeks following delivery it is important to understand that your body is slowly recovering from the changes of pregnancy. Do not try to regain your shape overnight, instead focus on resting and spending time with your new baby.

When Can I Start to Exercise?
Only your doctor can answer this question since he or she knows your medical condition. If you did not have any complications during your delivery you can probably start walking or other light exercises immediately. If you had a caesarean birth you might need to wait longer for time to heal. Either way, check with your doctor.

How Does Exercise Affect Breastfeeding?
Some research indicates that exercising moms have a higher volume of breastmilk than sedentary moms so it is fine for breastfeeding moms to exercise. However, since you are expending calories through both exercise and breastfeeding it is crucial that you eat enough to meet those demands. Staying well hydrated will be important, since your fluid needs are increased by both lactation and exercise. To avoid excessive fatigue and maintain a good nutritional intake, it is also important to lose weight slowly while breastfeeding.

Some mothers find their infants are more 'fussy' with breastfeeding following a strenuous workout. Increased lactic acid in breastmilk may be the reason. If this is your experience, it may be helpful to express a little milk before nursing your baby after an exercise session to remove the milk with the highest lactic acid content.

The Big Question: When Will I Lose This Weight?
Weight loss after delivery can be a very challenging and frustrating time for many women. Remember that it took approximately nine months to gain the weight so try not to expect it to disappear overnight. It is a slow process and you should aim to lose no more than one to two pounds per week.

Picking a Good Sports Bra
Wear a sports bra during any kind of vigorous activity. Make sure that you invest in a supportive sports bra that breathes. Some nursing mothers find that wearing two sport bras at the same time offers better support.

Feeling Like a Failure
Don't think of exercise with an all-or-nothing attitude, which can also be called "black and white" thinking. If you don't meet your goal one week do not feel like a failure and give up on your exercise program altogether. Instead, try to think of your exercise program with a "gray" attitude versus black and white. Set realistic exercise goals but understand that some weeks you will meet your goals and other weeks you won't. If you don't reach your goals do what you can and strive to get back on track the next week. Just keep moving and you will feel much better and happier. You don't want to give up on your exercise program since it is such a great way to help relieve stress!

Making Time for Your Exercise Once the Baby Arrives
  • Buy a baby jogger and take your baby with you for a walk or a jog.
  • Join a gym that offers childcare services.
  • Hire a baby-sitter.
  • Exercise before the baby wakes up in the morning or during naps.
  • Arrange exercise swap time with another mom. You watch her baby while she exercises and she watches yours while you exercise.
  • Put your baby in a swing while you do an exercise video or other home exercises.
  • Have your spouse, partner or a family member watch the baby while you make time for yourself to exercise.

Not all exercises or diets are suitable for everyone. Before you begin this program, you should have permission from your doctor to participate in vigorous exercise and change of diet. If you feel discomfort or pain when you exercise, do not continue. The instructions and advice presented are in no way intended as a substitute for medical counseling. The creators, producers, participants and distributors of this site disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the exercise and advice provided here.

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