img_7257The first weeks at home after a baby is born are so sweet…and scary…and exhausting. It’s a virtual reality game with no instructions, no manual and no one blueprint matches everyone. You are just literally taking everything-every question and concern day by day or even moment to moment! And this is not just for first-time moms, it’s for second, third, fourth, etc! Postpartum days are just another way that I marvel at motherhood and the instincts God gave us to nuture. 

Along with all of the new challenges and life changes, come changes in the body. The changes in our body can be totally overwhelming. Trust me, you are not alone. Often we look down and see a stomach that isn’t recognizable anymore-one day it is huge and stretched to the max and literally the next it is a heap of mush! Everything looks AND feels out of whack and I don’t think any amount of preparation reading or advice really prepares you until you are living it. Because of all of these changes, it’s so tempting to want to jump back into a drastic and punishing regimen to get your body back to what it was pre-baby. Honestly, sometimes I think people want their body back in order to gain some semblance of control back in their life- your sleep, daily schedule, work, marriage, relationships, and many other areas of life are unrecognizable. Your body often becomes an object of control {how’d ya like that piece of psychology?}.

While it is tempting to “jump back in”, let me caution you to pump the brakes. It is very true that you can begin your journey back to normalcy too soon. Postpartum is a time of re-centering and re-adjustment. Often times, in certain cases, it takes many months to find your footing. You really need to listen to your body on how it needs to be fueled, recharged and tended to in these tender months.

Here are some mistakes for you to avoid in the early postpartum months:

1.  Too Much Exercise Too Soon.

The postpartum body is a precious and fragile thing. Your body has been through the proverbial “ringer” for nearly a year. There is no reason to expect it to perform to your standards. Even with the 6-week check-up go ahead, your body STILL may need some time. Things to consider: Do you have diastasis recti? Do you still feel a lot of pelvic pressure? Are you totally sleep deprived? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may not be ready for traditional exercises even after the OK from your doc. This is one of those things you have to feel out for yourself. If you have diastasis recti, you cannot do any traditional abs or planks or push-ups, all of which force even more pressure on your separated abdomen. I see so many women years later who could have avoided a bulging tummy if they would have been properly educated!

Suggestions: Take is SLOW. Go on daily walks with the baby in a stroller when you feel your pelvic floor is strong enough. Ease back into your normal routine after 3 months if you can wait that long. Mostly, get sleep. Your body will be producing cortisol and other hormones at a rapid pace, so try to get in ZZZ’s whenever and wherever possible! Sleep trumps exercise in my opinion for AT LEAST 6 months! And always, always, always check yourself for diastasis recti!


2. Restrict Your Diet.

Notice I didn’t say eat a pint of ice cream every night at dinner either, but especially if you are breastfeeding, this is not the time to go into a caloric deficit. EVEN IF you don’t lose weight {I never did} while nursing. It will be so tempting to eat less, but you really shouldn’t. Your body needs the calories for milk production and hormone regulation.

Suggestion: Eat as you normally would, but add lots of veggies and protein. Experts would say, 500 additional calories. I’m not into the numbers game, but that’s probably a good measure. I like to thing of it as a large protein with EVERY meal, a carb and a lot of vegetables. Have high protein snacks available to you as breastfeeding causes drops in blood sugar levels! img_8892

3. Over-Scrolling On Social Media.

Nothing brings a sleep-deprived, new-bodied, hormonally charged mama more grief than social media. All the women who are in a bikini after leaving the hospital, all the moms who do all the things while you are sitting in yesterday’s jammies eating yesterday’s dinner for breakfast. We are too hard on ourselves. And we don’t want to admit it. The worst is the middle of the night breastfeeding scrolls on Instagram! You are not in your right mind to be comparing yourself to these filtered people!

Suggestion: If comparison and self-doubt is an issue for you-avoid social media for a while while you figure out what works for you. Post your pics of your adorable baby and log-out. This is more of a self-control thing than anything else. Don’t mistake your “likes” for human interaction, which leads me into my last point…

n-194. Staying Home With The Baby 24/7.

Being home caring for others round the clock is a lot of work. It’s also a lot of time to think and dwell. Don’t get me wrong-staying home with littles is one of the gifts of life–FULL of joyful and fun times! I am simply observing that we can loose a little perspective on other areas of our life when we are in constant diaper, tantrum or mini-meal mode. It’s pretty important to find some time that allows you to fill your cup so you are able to continue to pour out all of your might!

Suggestion: This is not to say leave your baby in someone else’s care round the clock-who wants that? I am saying for an hour a few times a week, get out of the house ALONE. Ask your husband, mom, friend or neighbor to keep an eye on your littles for an hour. Spend time in silence with Jesus, exercise, lunch with a friend or your husband, talk on the phone in your car {I do this all the time as a treat!}, go on a walk and listen to something other than Praise Baby…SOMETHING! Your well-being is essential for you to do you. And all though it often feels scary or un-allowed-you have to! I believe a healthy mind leads to healthy habits.

Remember, take your time to get things in order! You will find your groove soon enough-motherhood is a marathon, not a sprint!