Thursday, January 22, 2009

How Do I Get My Body Back After Baby?

Ah, good question, if a little flawed. See, your first mistake is thinking of it as "your" body. Nothing is, technicallly, yours any longer. (Watch toddlers at work and know that this is true.)

But here's the good news -- you can have a great body after having a baby! It just might not be the body you had before. Babycenter's survey about how women feel about their postpartum bodies is definitely interesting, but it misses a few key points.
  • Two days postpartum is way different than two months than two years. Of course you feel icky about the gelatinous belly hanging down, all empty after birth. But, expecting your old body back right away is insane. If not understandable. So breastfeed and notice those contractions that are reducing the size of your uterus each time you feed -- yay!
  • My favourite advice is from Vicki Iovine -- 9 months up, 9 months down. So relax. But relax vigilantly. :) Do not, however, own or buy or have a scale. No point.
  • My personal observation (but I live in Southern California, so people here may be genetically different) is that most moms are around the size they were pre-children, but any unwanted weight gets blamed on the kids. That's no fair, to baby or to you. Seriously, age and other factors (hello, menopause!) are all to blame for metabolism and shape shifting, but saddling our kids with it is a little too easy.
  • Most people eventually get back to around their basic pre-baby size (and hey, this is coming from someone who wore her fave maternity jeans for five months after the birth of her second child) for the simple reason that that's where the bulk of their wardrobe is. Which is reason #954 to buy maternity clothes, and not just bigger and bigger regular clothes. Knowing that the pants you're wearing are meant for people whose uterus is the size of a duffle bag will give you pause in a way that size 12s vs. 8s won't.
  • Don't eat kid food. A lot of moms I know put on weight when their babies become toddlers -- Mac n Cheese, Chicken Nuggest, Pizza are great in moderation, but it isn't moderate when you eat your share and then clean their plates. I am blessed with an allergy to wheat. Pretend you have one.
  • If you need to be seen in public with your week-old-baby and you feel flabby, grab a pair of Spanx and/or a Belly Bandit. I happily wore a corset after I had the twins (the Belly Bandit had not yet been invented to pull in postpartum tummies, so I went with what was available.) Note the belly-reducing properties of good posture.

When all else fails, rejoice that the body you have today made a baby, birthed a baby, and fed a baby. In my book, that's one hot body! (And, if you ask your hubby, he would agree.)


Jen said...

I can't tell you how badly I needed this advice this week. I have a 6 week old baby today, and I had one of those hormonal mopey Monday's. I had lost about 20 pounds right after birth, and I can't seem to knock off the last 10 pounds! It was so frustrating, and I am wearing pants that are NOT my pre-pregnancy size and it was so frustrating! Who was I to think I would have it all off in 6 weeks...completely mental!! Thank you for the post. I will just continue to fight on and hope to lose the weight within reasonable time! :)

Roxanne Beckford Hoge said...

Congrats, Jen!! Gotta tell you, you brought tears to my eyes remembering all those times when I felt the same. My favourite/worst memory is going on vacation when the twins were 6 months old. I felt pretty good, so I was sporting a bikini. A waitress at the pool said -- "oh, you're the mother of the twins? I could tell because of your stomach -- it still has the line, too!"

Yeah, that was not so much fun.

Hang in there though -- I've got more sneaky tips to come!