30 day shred, Baby, Exercise, Fitness, mum, newborn

Getting back my pre-baby body – the journey so far

My first blog post, which I posted about a month ago, on getting back my pre-baby body explained what I was doing at the time to get back to fitness. This covered the workouts I was doing from 6 weeks post labour until now. I did not do any workouts before my 6 week check with the GP to ensure she was happy with my progress and my abs had come back together. It is important not to start any crunches at all until your abs have come back together (to within 1 finger width) as otherwise you could force your abs further out and apart, which will result in many physio visits to fix. You can get your GP to check your abs at your 6 week check or ask the physio in the local health centre. Most GPs do not do this check automatically, so make sure you have it on the list of things to ask them.

I have been very careful with the workouts I have chosen over the last 10 weeks. So now its time to stop and take stock of where I am and what the next steps in my journey will be. I enjoy documenting any fitness journey as it really reminds me of how far I have come.

My pregnancy journey at 15 weeks post labour
From top left to bottom right: 38 weeks pregnant – 2 days post labour – 8 weeks post labour – 15 weeks post labour

At this point I am feeling fitter, stronger and ready to start kicking things up a notch. Along with a few mums in my local area that I met through the local health centre, we are all doing Jillian Michaels 30 day shred. This is a workout program lasting 25 minutes every day for a period of 30 days, which is ideal for anyone with a young baby to tend to, as they won’t go much longer than 25 minutes entertaining themselves.

The program has 3 levels, 10 days at each level. The only equipment required are dumbbells (you can improvise using small bottles or tin cans) and an exercise mat. I do the workout at home but you could easily do it outside as long as you have access to youtube (see the link to level 1). It is also great to get a group to commit to the challenge together, as a way to keep yourself motivated.

I have not paid much attention to my actual weight, as weight loss right now is not something I am concerned with. I am still breastfeeding and your body naturally carries more weight to ensure you have sufficient stores to meet your baby’s requirements, plus losing weight can mess with your milk supply too. However I am tracking how I look. So the bottom right photo is my current before photo as my journey continues.

I have workout one complete, only 29 more workouts to go. I found the workout a challenge, which is good. I also know I will be sore in the morning, but as they do say – no pain no gain.

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My first workout with baby trying to join in too!

 

Once I am finished the shred, I will do another photo collage to let you all know how I got on and a full review of the three levels involved in the program.

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Baby, Exercise, Fitness, Gentle Birth, GentleBirth, Harmony Yoga, Labour

Labour – why do women fear the big day!

Being pregnant is such a miracle and the most natural thing in the world. Feeling how your body changes and adapts to growing a new life is fascinating. What I don’t understand is why is there this sense of impending doom.

I found that once I was visibly pregnant, people wanted to tell me about their own birth story, which of course had a dramatic and negative climax. Why would you tell me that? Why! Right from the outset I was put in a high risk pregnancy category due to previous medical issues which could affect the labour process. So as you can imagine, I was already on edge.

However I actually found labour to be a very empowering experience and one that I came out of thinking – that was incredible, I would totally do that again. Sadly a lot of the women on the post natal ward didn’t seem to have the same opinion.

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I believe what made my experience different to theirs was positivity and preparation. Some of the things that I did to prepare were as follows:

  • Stay fit and healthy – I want to try and keep a decent level of fitness throughout my pregnancy to help with the labour process. The further into the pregnancy you get, the harder it is to move overall, but I did as much as I could from avoiding lifts to going to aquafit, anything to keep moving.
  • Pregnancy Yoga – This is a great way to stay flexible, stretch out your aching muscles and learn some good breathing techniques. It will also go through positions in which you can labour so you have loads of options available, as you never know how long you will be labouring for and what positions will just feel right on the day.
  • GentleBirth classes – I did a GentleBirth class with Birth to Baby and this was one of the best things I did to prepare. Not only was this good preparation for myself, but it was fantastic for my husband who learnt about the birthing process and knew what to do on the day. I started the class with no birthing preferences and finished the two day course with a list of things that I was hoping for on the day.
  • GentleBirth tracks and affirmations – as part of the Gentle birth class, you get free access to the GentleBirth app. They have positive affirmations, hypnobirthing tracks and the GentleBirth book. The app assigns you daily training tasks which I tried to fit in every day. Capture
  • Stay away from negativity – I decided not to listen to negative stories as much as possible. I also didn’t watch any birthing programs or movies on TV such as Call the Midwife and One Born Every Minute. While these are great shows, I found that they had a negative spin at times that I just wanted to avoid.

Labour is a marathon. Getting yourself into a positive mind frame is the best way to prepare, and remember you will have a little bundle of joy waiting for you at the end of the run.

 

Baby, baby wearing, fourth trimester, hands free, sling, stretchy wrap

How do I do anything with a newborn?

How can you get anything done with a newborn! If your baby is anything like mine, the minute you put them down to sleep they seem to wake up. My little one didn’t really sleep well unless he was in my arms or my husbands arms for the first 3 months. That made getting anything done during the day an absolute nightmare!

I was so lucky that my husband had a good amount of paternity leave. It was invaluable time that we all spent together getting to know each other. He was the best support I could have had in those first few weeks of minding our little bundle of joy. Whenever I needed a cup of tea, it was beside me before I knew it. And whenever I needed to get up to do something, I could pass the baby over to the hubby to mind. So as you can imagine, the closer it got to the end of his leave, the more I started to worry about doing everything alone!

Having met some baby wearing advocates, I looked into the theory behind slings a bit further. There is a new school of thought known as the “fourth trimester”, which is the period right after a baby is born. They are trying to adapt to their new surroundings and their development continues. So for the first 3 months what they essentially need is to be as close to mum and dad as possible. This advocates carrying your baby as much as you can and not being pressured to put them down to sleep.

For premature babies, Kangaroo care is advocated as being a great way for your baby to thrive. It is essentially where the mum “wears” the baby as if they are in a kangaroo pouch. The closeness of the baby to their mums heart helps them regulate their own heart beat, body temperature and breathing.

The best way to give your baby the benefits of kangaroo care even in the 4th trimester and beyond is to “wear” your baby in a sling or baby carrier. With these benefits and my desire to be able to make myself a cup of tea when at home alone, I decided to invest in a stretchy wrap sling. It was one of our best buys!

I found that when my little one was hysterical for no reason, a bit of skin to skin in our sling was the best way to calm him. I also found that when we couldn’t get him to sleep that walking around the house with him in the sling would have him out like a light. He loved how cosy the sling was and how close he was to mum or dad.

Baby wearing is not just great for the baby but fab for mum too, who can have the baby close but you can still do things. I called it my hands free set! For anyone contemplating buying a sling, I would highly recommend one, they are worth every cent!

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Baby, Harmony Yoga, massage, mum, new-born

The benefits of Baby Massage

“Parents massage their babies? Really?” I thought to myself when I first heard of baby massage. Straight away I assumed I would be useless at it and might just give it a miss…. which lasted all of 1 week after Baby was born.

WIND! Baby is what I like to call a “windy” baby. No matter how long I winded him for, he would still suffer from trapped wind. Like all new-borns, he struggled to understand how to relieve the windy pains and at times would get quite upset. My heart went out to him and I immediately turned to the almighty GOOGLE to see if I could find any way to help relieve the pains. And I was reminded of the amazing art of BABY MASSAGE.

I did a course of 5 baby massage classes with the amazing Gail from Harmony Yoga. It was the first course myself and Baby did and it was the best decision I made. Not just for the amazing tea, biscuits and chats you have at the end of the class, but also for the following benefits we experienced:

  • Relief from colic (or as I like to say: windy pains) – There is a set sequence of movements to help move along trapped wind. This was my number one reason for trying baby massage and I must say it works a treat.
  • Helps babies to sleep – I try to get Baby into a night time sleep routine where we do a massage, put on pjs, have a feed and go to bed. The massage really relaxes him to settle him for the night.
  • Great way for parents to bond with their babies – Everyone thinks that bonding with your baby is the easiest thing in the world, but with all of our second guessing we do, it can be hard to just relax, trust your instincts and let that bond grow. Baby massage is a activity to do together.
  • Helps baby understand how their body is all connected – the last move of every section shows baby how their body is interconnected.
  • Keeps skin soft and moisturised – By using natural oils in the massage, it helps to keep babies skin moisturised, which is great if they have any dry skin.

Baby massage can be started straight from birth, so it is a great first class to sign up to. An added bonus is that you might be able to reclaim a lot of the cost through your health insurance! And you might even meet some nice mums along the way too! 🙂 20170331_085830