Figuring out how to be a parent for the first time or diving into caring for a baby again while also parenting older children can feel overwhelming. The changes to your body can be uncomfortable and even a little scary. Accepting and honoring your after-baby body takes grace and patience, but it’s so important.
Give your body and yourself a little break by getting a helping hand from the bökee. It’s hard to prep your baby’s bottle when they’re crying and just want to be held.
With the bökee, you can get a bottle ready AND hold your child to comfort them, removing some stress for both of you. Feeding time is easier with our unique product designed by busy parents to support busy parents.
Enough with the Shame and Blame Already!
Social media and celebrities show us a narrow view of postpartum mom bodies. Of course, those people likely have the benefit of professional cooks, nannies, and trainers. And filters may come into play, too.
Needing to “bounce back” physically after having a baby shouldn’t be the narrative we give ourselves. Body shame in the United States is real and difficult to navigate, especially with everything else a new mom has going on.
The pressure to maintain a pre-pregnancy body can be dangerous. One study found that one out of fourteen pregnant women develop an eating disorder in their first trimester. Society’s expectations contribute to after-baby body issues while women are still pregnant!
If you find yourself worrying about how your body looks and feels after having your baby, here are some things you can try.
Focus on Your Body’s Capabilities
Pregnancy is a time when your body goes through drastic changes and hormone shifts. You sheltered, cared for, and grew another human. For goodness sake, your body also grew a brand new organ - the placenta.
Your after-baby body deserves time for healing. You have the right to care for yourself as much as you care for your new baby. Whether you delivered vaginally or via C-section, your body has accomplished something that at least half of the world’s population can’t do. Celebrate this! Even reminding yourself once a day that your body created life can help reframe the narrative.
Give yourself the grace to rest and recuperate without thinking about what your body looked or felt like before you got pregnant. It’s ok for things to be different and stay different.
Neutral Feelings are OK
It can be challenging to feel good about your body after having a baby. There is a lot of talk about body positivity and loving your body, and these are fabulous ideas. But not everyone is ready to claim unconditional love for their body.
Try aiming for a neutral view instead. If you’re not yet feeling positive about your after-baby body, don’t force it. You have the right to feel how you feel, and claiming neutral feelings can be the first step in honoring your body.
Spending time and energy wondering why you can’t feel better about your size or shape can create guilt and frustration. Parenting is hard enough without adding these layers to your day.
Reframe Negative Thoughts
Your body is different now because it just did an incredible thing. Try to keep your observations of those differences as basic as possible without always ascribing value to them. Notice negative body thoughts as they occur and do your best to reframe them in neutral or positive language.
For example, do you find yourself thinking anything like these statements?
Try reframing those thoughts to be more neutral:
Appreciating what your body accomplished and feeling thankful for how it brought you your child doesn’t mean you have to love everything about it. But a little gratitude once in a while can go a long way to helping you see your post-baby body in a new light.
Get Support If You Want It
If you’re feeling frustration, despair, confusion, awkwardness, discomfort, or anything else about your body, you’re not alone. These are common feelings for new mothers in the US because there isn’t much support in place. Hormones, lack of sleep, and your body’s need to heal all contribute to these feelings.
Connecting with a new mom’s group in your area or reaching out to a friend can help you feel less overwhelmed by all these changes. If you feel up to it, try getting out for a walk with your baby and some fellow moms. You don’t need to have a heavy weightlifting session to feel better about your body.
As tricky as social media can be in navigating body image concerns, it can be helpful, too. There are a lot of online conversations surrounding the fourth trimester to help encourage moms in this journey. Hearing from others who are going through the same thing can help shift your perspective.
Trust Your Body
Your body will tell you what it needs - movement, rest, a drink of water, a snack. But paying attention to what it’s saying can be challenging when there are so many demands on your time and body. Sometimes we don’t even take the time to go to the bathroom when we need to go!
Try to listen to these cues and messages from your body and follow them rather than pushing them aside. Tuning into what your body tells you will help you recover from your delivery and feel a better connection with your body.
When deciding what type of exercise you want to do, be sure to move in a way that makes you feel good. This could be as simple as a short walk outside on a sunny day or a brief yoga session following an online video.
You may feel like you’re supposed to do intense workouts to get back to your pre-baby body. If you’re still in the very early postpartum period, this intensity might not be helpful. Be sure to check with your doctor before resuming or starting any rigorous exercise program.
Try selecting exercises that leave you feeling more energized, stronger, and satisfied. Doing things that you enjoy, rather than something that you think will “burn away” weight, is more sustainable long-term.
Whenever possible, try getting outside for some movement. Taking a walk with your baby can boost your mood, make your child feel calmer, and help you regain some of your strength. And if it’s a sunny day, you can get some much-needed vitamin D, too!
Focus on Nourishment
Give yourself permission to eat foods that make your body feel nourished without worrying about how they may impact your shape. Instead of restricting food choices, listen carefully to your body. Let it tell you what you need.
Caring for a baby while healing, and on little sleep no less, requires a lot of energy. And if you’re breastfeeding or pumping, your calorie needs will be significant. Your appetite may be bigger than you expect, possibly even greater than during pregnancy.
Follow your body’s cues rather than the clock to determine when you are hungry, and enjoy all foods in moderation. Listening to your body helps you avoid eating based on feelings or “food rules.”
In addition to choosing foods that nourish you, don’t forget to stay hydrated. Whether you are nursing or not, your postpartum body needs plenty of water.
Grace Is the Key to Honoring Your After-Baby Body
No matter how you feel about your body at this moment, you absolutely have the right to feel it. But you also have the right to give yourself grace and to move through the postpartum period gently.
It’s also important to note that “postpartum” simply means “following childbirth.” So, technically, it is the rest of your life after having a baby. The arbitrary six-week or twelve-week period that people talk about is just a fraction of the true postpartum period.
Be patient with yourself. Be kind to your body, and hear what she’s telling you. You got this, Mama!
Care for both yourself and your child by making feedings a bit easier with our signature product, the bökee. You can prep bottles, fill sippy cups, and open medicine bottles one-handed as you hold and snuggle your child.
You have a lot to navigate after having a baby, but feeding time can be calmer for you and your little one with the help of the bökee. Your after-baby self will thank you!