Now that your baby’s here, get back your flat tummy with these tips... and it’s not all about exercising.
WORDS LOW LAI CHOW
Every woman’s body is different and while there is no way of telling exactly how long your body will take to fully heal and recover after childbirth, you can definitely help to optimise your tummy-tucking process, naturally. Try out these top tips to get your body back in tip-top shape.
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1. Get Moving
Exercise doesn’t all have to be about sweaty, high-impact workouts. There’s no need to push yourself to gruelling perfection, especially since your pelvic floor and joints are a little delicate right now. Think less huffing and puffing; instead, focus on a kinder, gentler fitness routine that energises you rather than tire you out. Work on activating your pelvic floor muscles with kegels and pelvic tilts instead. Here’s a tip: walking with good posture can work wonders to engage your abdominals and strengthen your core. Of course, there is a multitude of exercise options out there.
Always listen to your body and don’t forget to check in with your obstetrician
to see if you’re all okay before starting physical activity.
2. Get a Jamu boost
Traditional Jamu massages are an open secret in Singapore. The pampering postnatal aftercare treatment is especially good for addressing tummy concerns. Using a therapeutic blend of medicinal herbs and oils, as well as special massage techniques, blood clots are expelled and the bloated belly is relieved as ‘wind’ is removed from it. Plus, what’s not to love about the other perks that come with it, such as improved circulation, reduced water retention, alleviation of body aches, as well as relief from (ouch!) breast engorgement and blocked milk ducts? Jamu massages are usually combined with snuggly binding the abdomen afterwards, a method believed to aid the womb to contract back to its original pre-pregnancy state.
3. Don’t Forget to Feed the Baby
Everybody knows that ‘breast is best’ for baby. But it’s a lesser-known fact that breastfeeding is also good for getting mummy back in shape, particularly in the first few months after childbirth. Not only does breastfeeding cue the body to bring about contractions to shrink the uterus, it is also physically demanding, which means mothers actually do burn calories to make milk.
Experts estimate that every 3O ml of breast milk require
almost 2O calories to produce, which means the average lactating
mother uses about 6OO calories a day to feed a baby with an intake
of 9OO ml. If you exclusively breastfeed a baby with a big
appetite, consider yourself on fire!
4. Wear Your Baby Proudly
These days, hands-free baby carriers are all the rage; proponents of attachment parenting say the practice is an enormous aid for baby’s neurological development and comes with a host of benefits, such as meeting baby’s need to be held in close physical contact with his or her parent. But our favourite benefit has to be with how babywearing makes it a breeze to weightlift on the go and work your core without having to drag yourself to the gym: simply strap the bub into the carrier and zip off for a rejuvenating brisk walk! If you choose to go about your usual activities while wearing your baby, you’d also be getting a proper workout in the meantime!
5. Eat to Nourish
Did you know there’s such a thing as a belly fat-busting diet? Studies have shown that consuming certain foods — such as avocados, olives and nuts — can actually help shake off these stubborn love handles. Thanks to the high monounsaturated fatty acids content present in these foods, the mitochondria in your body’s cells work to burn off more energy in the form of heat. At the same time, eating balanced meals with protein, vegetables, whole grains, while abstaining from sugar, processed food and fried food, will also go a long way towards containing the belly bulge.
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6. Have a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep, yes, sleep, is a hugely underrated — but precious — commodity for health, especially in the baby’s early months when night feeds make it extra challenging for exhausted mummies to get any form of sleep at all. Not getting enough sleep leads to fatigue, which can lead to irritability and stress. That’s bad news if you’re looking to shed the flab from your tummy; over a prolonged period, increased levels of cortisol (or the ‘fight or flight’ hormone) has been linked to piling on the pounds, as well as increased abdominal fat. Furthermore, it is during the stage of deep sleep when your body goes into recovery mode and builds muscle mass; higher levels of muscle tissue, in turn, means you will simply end up burning more calories, even when your body is at rest. So go on and catch these ‘Z’s!