T Nation

Advice for Postpartum Recovery

Hi,

I am extremely new to the weight lifting community and I am looking for a bit of encouragement and advice. I had my daughter 12 weeks ago and am currently breastfeeding and pumping while at work. I am now 5’2 and 150 pounds and feel like I am living in a stranger’s body with big breasts and strange hips.

I haven’t even lost half of my “baby weight” and have even had a co-worker comment on my post-baby pooch. I have always been thick in my thighs and have strong lower body strength. I did some cardio and walked throughout a good portion of my pregnancy and did body weight squats up until my due date.

I really want to feel like a new and better me. I would like to have lean arms and get rid of this flabby belly and extra fat to my upper and lower back. Any advice on how to achieve this would be greatly appreciated.

My diet consist of mostly protein, eggs and chicken with some carbs thrown in- I just started back working night shift in the emergency room so if I get to eat once or twice in a 12/hr shift then I’m lucky. I know I can’t drop too many calories as I want to keep up my milk supply.

As for my workout, I am currently weightlifting 2 days a week.
Day 1 - High back bar squats, bench press, and pushups all for 5 sets of 8 reps and planks
Day 2- Dead lifts, Dumb bell overhead press, bent over rows, and hanging leg raises for 5 sets of 8 reps.
I run around at work and am on my feet for a good portion of the night, but am thinking about adding in a farmer’s walk/sprint during the week sometime. I am not a runner in the least-and would choose a group exercise like barre class, zumba, or yoga (pretty much anything) over running a mile.

Any advice on how to bounce back for this busy new mom?

Congrats on the new baby girl! I’m also 5"2" and have come back from three pregnancies. No fear. You can absolutely get your body back. I remember those days. The first few weeks my belly could only be described as FLUBBER.

Take heart. It took 9 months to go up, and it may take that long to come back down. Every woman is a little different in how they respond to the nursing hormones and fat loss.

About nursing, the main thing is drink lots of water. About calories, as I recall it was about 500 per day to feed the babe, so you generally don’t have to worry about trying to eat more for the baby. My advice is figure out what you are eating down to the approximate calories every day. Use a free online food calculator like fitday, or one of the new apps. Shoot for a gradual deficit of maybe 500 calories a day to see it start coming off. You already make a point of eating lean proteins. It’s hard to give more specific advice about your diet without knowing more. Feel free to post more detail. To be simple, if you know there’s time when you are prone to eating junk or big portions, just cut that out and see what happens. Everybody has a different trouble spot when it comes to getting off track with food.

You don’t need to run. It sounds like you have a demanding job and probably some sleep deprivation mixed in there.

If you can lift weights 3 times a week that would be great. Lift between 3-5 days per week if you have the time and enjoy it. Walk as much as you can. If you enjoy classes, that’s good too for just adding more activity, but for changing your body shape prioritize weight training if you have to choose. I like Pilates, Zumba and ballet myself. Being a new mom can be emotionally isolating and so it’s nice to get out with the girls. I go walking one night a week with my BFF who lives just around the corner, and try to walk nearly every other night with my hubs. I went out walking with the stroller a lot to help me get back in shape, but for my mental health as well.

Don’t let yourself get discouraged.
You have a sweet little baby girl to show for it. Absolutely worth it!! Go to it!

Puff

EDITED

[quote]kfly88 wrote:
… have even had a co-worker comment on my post-baby pooch. [/quote]

Another thought about this. Planks are the best. If when laying on your back and rolling your spine up in a crunch position, you can put your fingers between your abdominus rectus muscles - right in the center of your abs below your belly button and down - and you feel a groove there - then you may have a split in the muscle. It’s super common among postpartum women and can cause a “pooch”. Be careful of doing a bunch of crunches or leg raises if your abdominal muscles are separated and have not yet come back together. Planks are better because they help you corset it all back in while the muscles heal.

Also try lying on your back and pushing your hips up into a bridge position while pulling your belly button back toward your spine. You can also do this on your hands and knees while pulling your abdominal muscles up and in toward the spine and hold. Repeat several times a day.

You might enjoy the Adventures of Postpartum Maya. You have to click a link inside the link to watch the video.

http://www.icechamber.com/blog/2008/05/27/the-adventures-of-postpartum-maya/

[quote]jjackkrash wrote:
You might enjoy the Adventures of Postpartum Maya. You have to click a link inside the link to watch the video.

http://www.icechamber.com/blog/2008/05/27/the-adventures-of-postpartum-maya/[/quote]

Cool. That was very fun to watch. Wow, with the leapfrog with a BB on her back. SuperMama!

A couple of other resources for postpartum fitness.

There’s a nice blog called Mama Lion Strong and also search for Natalie Hodson.
Both women lift weights, and write a lot about fitness after pregnancy.

Best of luck to you!