New baby, new body

Post-pregnancy fitness and diet

Right now popping out for a run or heading to the gym is probably the last thing on your mind. In fact, if you do manage to get some free time, a cup of tea and shower is probably top of the list!

Looking after a new baby is a major change in lifestyle and daily routine so it's very unlikely that in between feeding, nappy changing and comforting you will find the time to pop your feet up, in fact you're probably fairly exhausted! This means you'll naturally be burning a few extra calories keeping up with all the new tasks in your life. The most important thing right now is to establish a routine with your baby, so leave exercise until you feel ready.

Lots of new mums feel under pressure to get back in shape, but when questioned, half of mums with babies aged 0-3 months* said the pressure came from themselves rather than anyone else, so give yourself a break.

* Survey of 793 mums carried out by on behalf of Bio-Oil, June 2013

What can you do now?

Don't forget to eat! It can take time to establish a feeding routine with your baby and even if they are feeding by clock work, trying to find time for you to eat can be a challenge. A good diet is very important right now to help your body recover from pregnancy and cope with the new demands of being a mum. If you are breastfeeding it's also important to maintain good nutrition. Here's a few tips:

Cook twice as much
Then freeze half for a quick meal for those days when it's all a bit much.

Learn to say yes
We're often reluctant to accept help from others but if your mother-in-law, best friend or neighbour offers to pop round with some food, don't say no as now is the time to accept any help offered.

Change your menu
Pre-baby you may have been the queen of the slow cooked lamb but now is not the time to win Masterchef. Find a few quick and easy recipes that you or your partner can cook in between caring for your little one. Try some of Jamie's 15 minute meals

Invest in a slow cooker (or request one as a new baby present!)
You can chuck in some meat and veg in the morning and then forget it about until tea time.

When you are ready to exercise

The biggest barrier you will have is time. Don't put pressure on yourself to try and get back into the same exercise routine you had before your pregnancy. It may be a while until you and the gym become acquainted again. However, this doesn't mean you have to give up entirely as your health and wellbeing is still really important and as well as the physical benefits, doing some exercise is also good for the mind too. The best thing to try and do is incorporate fitness into your routine with your baby so doing small bursts of activity as and when you have time. Before you begin, talk to your health visitor or GP just to check all is well. Everyone's pregnancy and birth is different and you may need more time to recover first.

Here are some links to some helpful advice about post-pregnancy exercise

Buggy walking

This is one of best ways to get yourself out and about and moving again. When you're ready to leave the house, wrap your baby up warm and take them out for a stroll in the buggy. Pushing the buggy is great exercise (take advice first if you had a c-section) as it can actually work your whole body (who needs a gym!). Many mums also find taking their baby out for a brisk walk is a good way to get them off to sleep if they are restless.

" A rollercoaster ride of emotions, with a lot of changes to all areas of my life "