Welcoming home a new little one is an amazing experience, but it's not always easy. As a father of a 3 1/2-year-old and an 11-month-old, balancing a growing family with workouts and other responsibilities is a constant juggling act. And of course, it's even tougher on the mom, whose body has undergone drastic changes during and after pregnancy.
But this doesn't mean you can't get back into shape after delivering. In fact, studies show that moderate exercise can not only help you shed those post-baby pounds, but can boost your mood and improve your fitness level. And if you're breastfeeding, don't stress: Moderate exercise doesn't seem to affect milk production, according to research.
But to get back on track after baby, you have to keep these four things in mind:
You gained your pregnancy weight gradually—over the course of nine months—so don't expect to lose it right away. While it's not uncommon to drop 10 pounds shortly after childbirth, the rest may come off more slowly. Not to mention, many women may not be able to return to their original routine right away, particularly if they have had a C-section. Remember, a C-section is major surgery.
Plus, your hormones are still fluctuating. These things can make getting back on track more challenging, but when you do succeed, what a wonderful triumph it will be. Make sure you check with your doctor before you begin exercising...and aim to build up slowly. For instance, if you used to go for a 30-minute walk twice a week, start with once a week for 10 or 15 minutes, or as long as you can comfortably go. The next week, try to increase the time. Once you get back up to 30 minutes, add another day of walking, and so on. Stay focused and be patient. With hard work, you'll get there!