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It’s that time of year again: the cold sets in and we become less active. And a certain underwear company holds a big fashion show in which women wear very little. While many of us choose not to watch, we are all exposed to it through social media, regardless of whether we want to or not.

One recurring theme of the past years has been the impressive weight loss that women achieve leading up to the show -- especially the models that are new moms. Their routines have been praised by the media.

Journalists love to highlight these supermodels’ postpartum weight loss and make comparisons to other women. Once 12 weeks postpartum seemed like a fantastic comeback...then 10 weeks...and now it can be as little as 8 weeks from delivering a baby to baring it all on the catwalk in front of cameras and the world.

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As a personal trainer and coach, I commend my peers who coach these women through the rigorous routines which they must surely endure to achieve these results. But as a woman and somebody who has worked with hundreds of expecting and new mothers, I shudder at what message the media is sending and how this adds to the already full plate of a (first time) new mom.

Most women don’t get the green light from their doctors to work out until 6 weeks postpartum. This depends on their level of fitness before and during pregnancy and whether the pregnancy was high or low risk. The shortest I have witnessed has been 3 weeks, and even then, I advise new moms to get back to working out at their own pace before I restart my work with them.

What we must all keep in mind, is that women in the public eye make their living off of their appearances and, as such, treat nutrition and fitness as a full time job. They work out up to 5 hours a day, 7 days a week and have nutritionists watching their diet and assisting them in their healthy lifestyle. During those first weeks postpartum, many can focus almost solely on their goal event with the help of assistants, nannies and others.

While we all know this on some level, it’s hard not to get sucked in to wanting to look the same -- and as quickly -- postpartum. So here are a few pointers to keep in mind while you’re losing your pregnancy weight.

  1. Find other new moms to get active with. Whether you go for a walk or do a mommy and me yoga class, the accountability, camaraderie and motivation that comes from doing it with others, will get you out the door even in the winter.
  2. Acknowledge the changes in your body. Forty weeks of pregnancy will wreak havoc on even the fittest of women. It creates tension and loose joints, and you will feel more winded doing cardio. The immediate postpartum period can be overwhelming with nursing, insomnia and learning many new things as you adjust to keeping a newborn alive.
  3. The best foundation is building strength and balance in the body. It’s not about bulking up or building muscle, but rather about strengthening your core form the inside out. This will help you combat conditions such as diastasis recti, ensure a strong pelvic floor to avoid problems like incontinence, and create stability and strength in your upper body and limbs to avoid mommy thumb, shoulder and back pain. That new-found strength has a positive effect on your mental attitude too.
  4. Remember that some women lose weight because they breastfeed and others (the lesser known camp) lose weight when they wean. Accept that if you fall into the latter category, you may hold on to a few pounds around the hips that are there to ensure your baby has enough resources. It’s nature, and it’s unfair, but don’t be tempted to interpret this is a good reason to quit breastfeeding. Rather, think of it as a nice amount of weight loss to look forward to without much effort once you stop nursing!
  5. Take every opportunity that someone offers to watch the baby to get off the computer and get out and get active. The internet can suck you in -- and make you compare yourself to others. Especially when you’re feeling depleted and low and isolated at home, in your pajamas (because it’s just you and the baby after all). Part of the reason why celebrities “bounce back” quickly is because they are being watched 24/7. So don’t be shy. Go out! Make it a priority to leave the house and face the world.

Image source.

 

Back when my husband and I were creating our wedding registry, it was a fun, low-pressure opportunity to select some new dishes and linens. After all, I knew a thing or two about stocking my home and making the "wrong decision" with thread count was the only thing that posed any risk to my sleep at night.

Fast-forward a few years to when I created a baby registry before the birth of my first child—and I found the experience to have a much steeper learning curve. Unlike those sheets, it felt like a bad swaddle or bassinet selection would be catastrophic. Unsure of what to expect from motherhood or my baby, I leaned heavily on advice from friends who already ventured into parenthood. (Starting with their reminders to take deep breaths!)

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Now a mom of three little ones under the age of four, I'm happy to be in a position to pass along some baby registry wisdom.

Go shopping with a veteran parent

As first-time parents, my husband and I barely knew the difference between a bouncer and a swing, let alone what specific features we would want. So when a mom friend recommended we head to Walmart to build my registry together—because she found them to carry the trendy brands she loved AND make registering a breeze during her pregnancy—I leapt at the chance.

By walking through the aisles together and actually getting to see the products, I was much more confident in my registry selections. Thanks to that quick, in-store tutorial from my friend, I understood exactly how to match a perfect infant car seat with an extra base and stroller—which is something I would have been clueless about on my own.

Include items at a variety of price points

When it comes down to it, a registry is really a wish list. So, while I had a personal budget for a stroller if it had to come out of my own pocket, this was an opportunity for me to ask for the stroller of my dreams. And, wouldn't you know it? A few family members went in on it together, which made a bigger price tag much more manageable.

At the same time, it's nice to include some of the smaller ticket items that are absolutely essential. I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I was to skip buying my own diapers for those first few weeks. (With super cute patterns, these are also surprisingly fun to give, too!)

Think about the gifts you would like to give

The first time I bought a mom-to-be a gift after my own child was born, I knew immediately what to look for on her registry: a diaper bag backpack, which I had come to have very strong opinions about after battling falling straps with my first diaper bag. This allowed me to feel like I had a personal touch in my gift, even if I brought one pre-selected by her.

I also appreciate it when my friends clearly incorporate their style into their registry choices, like with adorable baby outfits or nursery decor—and there's no sweeter "thank you" than a picture from a friend showing your gift in use.

Ask for things to grow with your child

Even though it's called a baby registry, there's no need to limit yourself to gifts to use before their first birthday. (To this day, I still have people who attended my baby shower to thank for the convertible bed that my oldest child sleeps in!) Knowing that, I would have included more options with long lifespans into my registry—namely, a baby carrier that can be used during the newborn months, baby months and well into the toddler years. A well-designed baby carrier would have saved my back from serious pain because it would have allowed me to comfortably and ergonomically carry my toddler as she made her way into the 25lb+ club. One brand that's designed to grow with your baby and accommodates 7-45 pounds (up to about four years old) and offers both inward and forward-facing positions is Ergobaby. With several different design and style options, you can easily find one that caters to your parenting needs. From an all-in-one carrier, like the Omni 360, that grows with baby from the newborn stages into the toddler years or a newborn-specific carrier, like the Embrace (and don't worry you can later upgrade to a carrier for an older baby, I recommend the 360 Carrier). The best part? All ergonomic designs are supportive and comfortable for both baby and parent, offering extra lumbar support with breathable, lightweight mesh styles. Everyone (even grandparents!) can get a kick out of babywearing, which is a nice and welcomed break for parents. Having one of these on my registry would have certainly made those first few years so much easier.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

This article was sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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Whether I live next to you or across the country, social media makes it easy for us to stay updated on each other's lives and that's a wonderful thing. I love seeing pictures of your kids and I think it's great that you choose to share videos of your child singing, giggling and taking his or her first steps.

I simply choose not to share pregnant pictures, or even a family photo from the hospital once our daughter arrived because my pregnancy, birth and growing family are parts of my life I wanted to protect from the outside world.

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