I can’t believe my baby is almost three months old. How did that happen? The first few weeks of every baby’s life are truly a blur. I feel like I’m still trying to catch my breath and find my stride, but day by day we are getting better.
Since starting my post-baby bounce back and fitness program I’ve gotten a lot of questions and have helped many new moms start on their own journey and I feel like the biggest obstacle to women sticking with their fitness and nutrition plan is unrealistic timeline of progress in their bodies.
I struggle with it too, I mean, after MONTHS of ballooning and feeling not like yourself, it’s totally understandable to want get back to pre-baby body ASAP!
Weeks 1-4 –
GOALS: Rest, get to know the baby, establish a good milk supply.
The first month I take it REALY easy. Napping whenever I possibly can. Eating clean foods (and lots of them!). Drinking tons of water and doing no exercise what-so-ever. It’s just so important to give my body time to heal and reserve as much energy as I can for producing milk and soaking in every precious moment of this first month.
Weeks 4-7 –
GOALS: Establish a habit of regular exercise and clean up my diet a little more.
The next three weeks I am not looking to push myself hard with my workouts, but I do want to start moving and sweating and feeling good. I modify (a lot) – substituting planks for any type of crunch or isolated ab exercise. This helps to bring the ab muscles back together after being stretched apart. I also focus on cleaning up my diet a little more, keeping as much sugar out as I can and letting fruits and veggies be my snack instead of crackers or cookies.
My main goal really is to establish the habit back again. Even if I only last 15 minutes, even if I had to modify every move, I’m simply letting my body get used to regular exercise again.
Weeks 8-12 –
GOALS: Start pushing myself a little more and build back some muscle.
These are the weeks when I’m able to start lifting again. Before eight weeks I don’t lift more than 3lbs (maybe 5). Now I am starting to up my weights and truly feeling sore again. Also making sure I keep my nutrition strong – eating a LOT and keeping it 80% clean.
Throughout the entire first 12 weeks I am not looking to see any dramatic weight loss – if it happens, great! But I’m mostly focusing on establishing good habits and building a strong milk supply (and enjoying my baby).
Tomorrow she will be 3 months old and I will be entering the 12 week to 16 week phase. In this phase I am going to dial in my nutrition a bit more, and increase my endurance along with upping my weights. To be quite honest, in these first 12 weeks I have not been able to stick it out for a full 30 minute workout session without additional breaks. I’ve been totally fine with that, but now I’m making it my goals to push my endurance and work my way up so that by the end of the 16th week I am able to only take the breaks that are prescribed by the trainer in my workout videos.
I may not be able to even do that at 16 weeks, but that’s my focus in this next month – endurance and continually increasing my weights.
I hope this helps as you are planning your post-pregnancy workout routine. Give yourself time to establish routines and habits, trust in the process and let it be slow if it needs to be. In these first few months my #1 reason for working out has been more for the endorphins and stress-reduction than to feel super sore or get cut or push myself until I want to throw up. It’s been a gradual working up to more intense workouts and more dialed in nutrition.
I know I’ll get there! I actually have a cruise in April that I am really working to be in good shape for.
Whatever your goal, wherever you are at, don’t let impatience get the best of you – do your best, whatever that looks like, and trust that over time, the baby will sleep more, need you less and you will find that the habits you worked so hard to forge in these first few weeks will pay off later when you are able to push harder and longer and build back up your muscle and endurance.
If you would be interested in receiving coaching from me, I’d love to hear from you! I read each and every message: firstname.lastname@example.org .