postpartum

Back Saving Yoga Tips for New Moms

Take few minutes every day for yourself. Your body and mind will thank you!

Take few minutes every day for yourself. Your body and mind will thank you!

We all know being a new mom is an around the clock job, and between nursing and diaper changing, you don’t even have time to take a shower, let alone find time to sneak in a yoga class. Aching shoulders, wrists and back are the most common complaints among new, breastfeeding mamas, so read on for simple tips on how to sneak in some powerful yoga remedies without having to plan/ find babysitter,  leave the house or your baby and worrying if you’re gonna leak breastmilk in class:-). 

When I was a new mom, just couple of weeks after having my baby, my inner yogi kept bugging me and I really wanted to move, stretch and get back on the mat. My back and shoulders were so tight and achy. But even child’s pose was painful because I suffered a pretty severe perineal tear and had lots of stitches. Not to mention my shoulders and wrists were in so much pain from feeding and holding my new little baby around the clock. I honestly felt like I was hit by a bus, and my pelvic floor so weak, I would leak urine whenever I laughed or sneezed:-). Everywhere I looked said “wait at least 6 weeks before resuming yoga or exercise” so I wasn’t even sure what is OK to do that would make my body feel better.

I now know that this is a feeling common to pretty much all new moms. And I also know that if we don’t create that little bit of time to take care of ourselves, no one else will, and we will eventually burn out, physically and mentally. Yoga always helped me to be a more zen, centered person, as well as physically strong and pain free mama! 

During the postpartum period and many months that follow, yoga does not have to mean “going to a yoga class” or having a full hour for a complete practice. You can start slow, even just couple minutes at a time. That way you can practice yoga every day, even multiple times, and not being dependent on someone watching your baby.  

Here’s few yoga tips that any new mom can follow, even in those first 6 weeks postpartum:

  1. Have your mat easily accessible, maybe you keep in rolled out in the living room, so you have that constant reminder to sneak in few minutes of yummy stretches whenever you can.

  2. Whenever your baby falls asleep, put everything on hold, and get on your mat. We give everything to our new baby, and it’s ok to give a little bit back to ourselves. Doulas and midwifes call it “mothering the mother”. Newborn baby sleeps a lot, so let’s take advantage of that! Keep the dishes piling up and laundry overflowing… Put yourself first, and then you’ll be able to tackle everything else with so much more strength, joy and determination.

  3. Live in yoga leggings and a soft, comfy sports bra that can double as a nursing bra. That way you’re ready for your mini yoga practice any time your baby naps.

  4. Shoulder stretches, gentle cat and cow pose and kegels (pelvic floor activation) is your gold standard, before even worrying to make it back on the mat for a full class. 

  5. Do kegels while breastfeeding or while driving, especially when your are stuck in traffic or sitting at a red light. 

  6. Repeat shoulder stretches after each breastfeeding (no exceptions!) It will make a world of difference to how your body feels, your posture, and your ability to breastfeed comfortably. 

  7. Try to repeat this simple 5 minute routine every day: Start seated comfortably on your mat, maybe on a pillow or cushion, inhale reach your arms up overhead, interlace your hands and flip your palms up. Look up and take few breaths. Release, interlace your hands behind your low back, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and open up your chest. Take few breaths. Release, reach your arms up again, grab your right wrist, and take a side bend to the left. Switch sides. Then get on all fours, tabletop position, and take few cat/ cow spinal extensions. Stretch back into child’s pose and take 10 deep breaths. 

If you are ready for longer yoga practice, check out my gentle postnatal flow video: 

https://yourbuddhi.com/videos/yoga-for-postpartum-recovery/


Babywearing and the 4th trimester

I want to do babywearing with my newborn - but I am intimidated by the wrap....READ ON, it's easy!!! And so rewarding for you and your baby:)

What in the world is fourth trimester, you may be asking? This theory is based on age-long wisdom combined with latest research: Your pregnancy does not end with your baby's birth, but three months into your baby's life, when your baby is transitioning from the life in the womb to the life out there in this crazy, wild world. During the first three months of life, your baby is happiest and most secure when it feel as if it was still inside of your body. On your chest, skin to skin, feeling your warmth and scent, breastfeeding anf being carried. Did you know that immediately after birth, your nipples exude the scent of amniotic fluid, and baby is drawn to curl up there and breastfeed? You can help your baby to feel this warmth, familiar scent and sense of security by babywearing as much as you can during the first three months of their lives. What can be sweeter than having your newborn baby curled up on your chest, happy, content and peacefully asleep? 

The best way to wear your newborn is using a wrap - it mimics the womb - it's nice and soft, tight, warm, baby curls up into the same fetal position they are used to from the womb, and they hear your voice, heartbeat, and they enjoy the rocking  and swaying as you walk. Studies have shown that babies who enjoyed babywearing in their 4th trimester are calmer and more content. Commercial baby-carriers cannot achieve this sense of comfort for your newborn baby. 

 

 

 

Here's a step-by-step tutorial on (in my opinion) the best way to use the wrap with your newborn. Also please follow video that I posted above:

1. Unfold your wrap completely and find a middle of the fabric.

2. Hold the middle against your belly and wrap the fabric around toward your back, cross the two ends. 

3. Place each end over your shoulder so they hang from your shoulders on the front of your body

4. Tuck both loose ends through the piece that goes across your belly, crossing them again.

5. Pull both ends of fabric around your low back and tie them on your low back.

6. Take your baby, and place them on your chest, toward your left shoulder. 

7. Slide your baby under the right side fabric, pull it over them. Then the left side.

8. Finally, pull the bottom piece of fabric over your baby to secure them in place. 

9. Your baby will find whatever position is most comfortable for them. They will just curl up and be happy. 

10. Make sure that your baby's head is always VISIBLE and KISSABLE (don't carry your baby too low).

11. ENJOY the love and endorphins that babywearing brings!

 

 

Busting the pregnancy yoga and workout myths: Podcast by Mommy Workouts

I loved talking with Magdalena! After a while of shamelessly insta- creeping her account, I knew I just had to finally ask her to be on. Her Instagram, is the cutest! You see her, and her growing belly while practicing yoga with her 2 year old daughter. And it's real. Sometimes her daughter participates and sometimes she runs around. But you know thats life. And I love that Magdalena shows the realness and the acceptance of the fact that it may not be perfect but it is what it is. 

Listen to the podcast HERE

So, for this episode I wanted to talk about some of the myths and benefits of prenatal yoga. I looked into Magdalena, and she is highly educated about prenatal yoga and it's so close to her heart that I knew she could give us really good insight. Especially if we are prego and hesitant to try it. 

She is truly the sweetest and I hope you find this episode informational and helpful if you are wanting to do yoga when you have a little bun in the oven. 

Your body after baby: How I did it.

Workout anytime, anywhere, with your baby! 

We all know being a new Mom can be very hectic. Between diaper changing and nursing, you feel like you don't even have time to take a shower, let alone workout! When my daughter was born, I was dying to get back to working out. I didn’t have anyone to help me watch my baby, so the gym and my favorite yoga studio was out of the question. I tried to workout at home, I can do this, I said to my self. But we all know the story, as soon as I put my workout clothes on and thought that my baby girl is sound asleep, there she goes again crying her lungs out wanting my boobie! At most I could do was few minutes here and there…then I started including her in my workouts, I let her just watch me as I do my Jane Fonda moves on the mat, and then I would grab her and workout with her. She loved it! I realized that it was working, I found the formula to loose the baby weight and to feel great. I didn’t need a nanny, the gym or the standard “hour” for my workout, all I needed was a mini workout using my own body, and my baby (if she wasn’t napping) a few times a day. It really came down to using what I already had - my body, that took me through pregnancy and birth, a woman’s body that is the most incredible and capable machine out there.  

I used my background as a yoga teacher and a personal trainer, and I would create my own short, high intensity workouts. I would combine cardio movements like mountain climbers and jumping jacks with strength exercises like squats, pushups and lunges. From years in the fitness industry I know that’s the perfect formula to burn the most fat and tone up the body. If she was napping, great, I got my workout in. If she woke up, I would simply put her on the mat next to me and grab her for all the strengthening moves, such as squat and press, and walking lunges. I included many yoga moves, especially planks and all it variations, as we know being a new mom is all about rebuilding your core. 

By including my daughter in my workouts, I created a fun activity to do few times a day for both of us, and most importantly, my daughter got used to exercising with me literally from day one. Now, at two and a half, when she sees me roll out my mat, she knows it’s time for yoga or workout, and she respects that, and is so excited to join in. 

I went on to create Mommy Workouts, a workout app that you can follow right from your phone. I wanted to share my experience with all the new mommies out there that may have felt the same, and didn’t know where to start with their postpartum exercise. Each workout is just five minutes long, so you can fit it in anywhere, anytime. If you have more time, simply repeat the same workout or stack multiple workouts together. Videos feature upbeat music and gorgeous backdrop of Pacific ocean. Mommy Workouts celebrates being a new mom, having your baby with you and moving your body. What better prescription for happiness? Bellow I’m sharing my favorite moves that you can do at home with your baby. And always remember, get an OK from your OB-GYN that you are good to exercise, and always listen to your body. Start slow, especially if you are recovering from a C-section. 

My postpartum exercise tips:

         1. DON’T FORGET YOUR PELVIC FLOOR - it really gets weak after pregnancy, your pelvic floor muscles support your growing baby and uterus. During birth, your pelvic floor gets even more stretched out and weak. So do Kegels as often as you can, whenever you are sitting down, driving, or laying down: Quickly squeeze the muscles that stop the flow of urine. Make the contractions progressively longer: squeeze for five, hold for five, and release for five. Repeat 10 times.

         2. BEING A NEW MOM, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CORE - rebuilding and strengthening. Solution: Plank. Plank is a static full body move, looks like a starting position for a pushup, contracting your core muscles (pulling bellybutton toward your spine), and you body in a straight line from shoulders to ankles. You can start with a knee plank, progress to a classic plank, elbow plank, side plank, and all different variations. Start with holding for 10 seconds, gradually increasing to 30 seconds or more. 

         3. FULL BODY MOVES- As new moms, we can’t afford to waste time with isolation exercises - do full body moves such as squats, pushups and lunges for maximum muscle impact and calorie burn.

         4. GET OUTSIDE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN - the fresh air and sun on your skin will sure boost the flow of endorphins.

         5. THROW A YOGA MAT IN YOUR STROLLER - whenever you are on a walk, find a beautiful place and do a quick workout while your baby is catching a nap:)

         6. PUT YOUR WORKOUT CLOTHES ON first thing in the morning, and as soon as you put your baby down, get moving, and then repeat a mini workout as many times as you can during the day. Remember, us new moms don't have time to shower anyway, so we might as well be sticky and sweaty all day in our leggings and sports bra :)

 

My favorite moves with my baby:

 

  1. Squat and press: Start with feet about hip width, hold your baby at your chest. Squat down keeping your weight in your heels, and as you come up, press your baby overhead.
  2. Backward lunges and pulse: Start standing, holding your baby at your chest. Step back into a lunge, stay low and just pulse up and down, until you feel the burn.
  3. Boat pose: Sitting on your mat, your baby at your chest, drown your belly in, lean back and pick up your legs, keeping knees bent, balancing your your tailbone. 
  4. Leg lifts: Lay on your back, hold your baby at your chest, and lift both legs to 90 degrees, while keeping your core engaged and your low back flat. Slowly return your legs down. 

 

You can find all my workouts on my Mommy Workouts app, available on ITunes, or www.mymommyworkouts.com

Follow me on instagram for more inspiration for new mommies! @mommyworkouts_

 

Love,

Magdalena Patterson

Yoga teacher, personal trainer, founder of Mommy Workouts.

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