Getting hot and sweaty pre and post baby!
I was a fit; twenty-five years old when I found out I was expecting the first of the Little Englands. I ran, did a bit of cycling, yoga, walking, swimming and gym stuff. I’d done a couple of half marathons and loved to be outside. It didn’t take long post baby for me to get itchy feet once again and the same happened just a few weeks after the second Little England arrived, 20 months later.
I’m now expecting my third and it’s been a bit different this time around. I’ve had very little time to indulge in long walks, relaxing swims or yoga classes. Any workout I’ve done has been under half an hour and it’s usually accompanied by some small workout buddies.
I fully intend on finding the time to get back to it when number 3 has made his/her appearance so I’ve put together my top tips for starting to exercise post baby/babies:
- Take it slow. If you’re desperate to get back to exercising post baby, at least wait until you’ve stopped bleeding, post birth. This usually takes between 4-6 weeks but varies hugely depending on how you delivered.
- Start with 10 minutes and slowly build back up to 30 minutes. Don’t do any more than that until you’re confident that you feel strong and fit.
- Take it even slower if you’re still breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a workout in itself, burning lots of extra calories per day.
- Breastfeeding requires energy and hydration. If you’re running/exercising and breastfeeding make sure you’re eating really well and getting enough calories. You’ll also need to be drinking 3-4 litres of water a day to stay hydrated. My HydrateM8 really saves me. It tells me exactly what and when to drink. If you’re a Mum, get one. All Mums need lots of water!
- Start your pelvic floor exercises as soon as you find out you’re pregnant and really turn them up a notch 4 weeks post baby.
- Get yourself a really good, sturdy pair of trainers. My recent trainer purchase are the Hoka’s, linked here. They’re great for stability and are super light too.
- If you’re breastfeeding make sure you’ve got an easy access sports bra for gym/run days. I’ve linked my favourite from H&M here.
- Relaxin is both a wonder and a pain. It prepares your body for birth amazingly and without it, I dare say labour would be considerably more uncomfortable, but it can cause serious problems during and after pregnancy. It will make you suppler which is super but it’s really not good if you’re plodding the pavement or lifting heavy weights. It remains in your body for up to 5 months post birth so just make sure you’re aware of how it might impact your exercise regime.
- Plan time for yourself. Always the hardest thing to do when you’ve just had a baby, or have multiple(!) but it’s great for your physical and mental health to get back to exercising. Those endorphins will help you feel less tired too!
- Set yourself a goal. A fun run or something relaxed to start with. Or, get yourself the couch to 5k app – it’s so simple and very effective.
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Babies are not reliable. They’ll have days when they won’t let you put them down. You won’t be able to get out and exercise but that doesn’t mean you can’t do something.
- I walked for hours after I had Little E. I’d put her in the pushchair and pound the pavement or I’d strap her to me in the Ergo 360 and go and find some good hills! We also have the Thule Glide pram for running and it is amazing.
- Finally, I got my diet back on track. With two small children, I found it so difficult to get a healthy meal on the table every night. Mr E and I started using Hello Fresh and it kick started a much healthier diet for us both at the same time as giving us interesting, tasty and NEW recipes to try. They often run discounted boxes so have a gander if you’re keen to try.
Love, M.E. xxx
The simple bare necessities - newborn essentials
With more newborn days approaching oh so fast, I thought I’d jot down my top newborn essentials for other expectant Mamas, looking for some guidance on what to spend your hard earner dollar on…third time round, I’m sure I’ve got it sussed.
There are the obvious bits and bobs but these aren’t just limited to ‘newborn’ essentials. These items will travel with you forevermore… whether you’re popping out for a pint of milk or visiting your long lost relatives, in far away realms.
Pampers are my go to nappies. They might be the more expensive and less ‘environmentally friendly’ options, but they work. I would much rather a nappy that worked, especially when, more often than not, you’re wrestling a small, four limbed, slippery seal who’s had too much fruit. They keep poo explosions to a minimum and soak up pints and pints of the juicy stuff. And, if you didn’t know already, the ++++ signs on Pampers do NOT mean that they are slightly bigger, it means they are more absorbent. Why you wouldn’t want the most absorbent on the market is anyone’s guess (they cost exactly the same).
If your baby has very sensitive skin, I’d always go for Water Wipes. Sadly, they are crazy expensive and if you use these for the entire duration of your babies younger years, you will most likely need to remortgage your house. Supermarkets are continuously hosting a ‘Battle of the Baby Wipes’ competition and will have a big brand on offer most weeks. We always go for the cheapest option. Both my babies have sensitive skin, but nearly all baby wipes have worked just as well as the other.
I discovered Kokoso when Ava was little, as a means of relieving her eczema. It is the dog’s bollocks of nappy rash cream. Here’s the catch, it’s just solidified coconut oil. You might be wondering how it differs from other brands of coconut oil. Surely all coconut oil comes from the same jiggling coconuts? Well, it does. But for reasons that still baffle, this one is a miracle worker. It can soothe and cure nappy rash of the highest order, it can gently banish cradle cap, it can stop itchy eczema and it also moisturizes wonderfully. It is nothing short of a miracle worker. It comes highly recommended in this house and can be used on tiny weenie newborn babies with no side effects (apart from silky soft skin) at all. NB. Buy a pot for yourself too, you won’t regret it.
Most babies develop dry skin when they’re new in to the world. They’ve spent 10 months protected by lots of wonderful vermix and once they’ve been exposed to all the nasties out in their new world, they’re prone to a little bit of flakiness. If your bundle develops very dry skin a little bit later on in life (i.e. 3 months) then I’ve found the best cream out there is Aveeno. Most GPs will prescribe Aveeno if your little one is really struggling. We have Aveeno on tap in our house and it really is the best ‘all over body moisturizer’ I have ever used. It’s oat based and un-perfumed making it the perfect treatment for itchy babies and young children. I usually use a mixture of Kokosa and Aveeno to treat my itchy babies.
Both our children have fallen head over heals for muslin swaddles. It's why we started this little business, after all. They both snuggle a mussy at nighttime, at nap time, on car journeys, watching TV time, at nursery or at the park. What started out as a practical addition to the baby bag soon became an emotional necessity. Mussies helped me comfortably feed breastfeeding babies out and about and saved many a top from milk mayhem. Our muslin of choice is of course, our own. They are large, absorbent, soft and beautiful. They are THE most versatile newborn essential I have ever used.
The Baby Bag is one of the best bits of Mummyhood. It’s the one item that can shout out your style. Whether you’re a Breton Bitch, a Leather Lover or a Print Patricia, it’s your chance to show some personality. Tiba and Marl do the best Baby Bags out there. They’re brilliantly stylish and seriously practical. They come with a padded changing mat, bottle insulators, laptop pockets and a smart phone holder too, making it THE most relevant changing bag out there. Their most popular range comes as a backpack but they do have holdall styles as well. This is my must have Baby Bag!
The Ergo 360 isn’t just a newborn essential. It’s the best carrier I’ve owned (I’ve owned 4). Multiple carrying positions and a range of colours, make it the most Mummy friendly carrier out there. With Ava, I used it all the time. I used it whilst I cleaned, walked, washed, cooked and worked. She loved it. With Henry, I used it for all the same things. The wide belt means that your back is very well supported too.
Always go for Medela. Invest in the best. It’ll save your life. The Medela Swing Breast Pump isn’t cheap but it’s so worth the money. It’s efficient and comfortable to use. It saves tears, time and tits.
If you choose to breastfeed, your nipples will never look or feel the same ever again…FACT. But, you can help them if you choose a really good nipple cream. A lot of people recommend Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Cream. I can’t recommend it because I am allergic to Lanolin. Lanolin is a fatty substance found naturally on sheeps wool. It took me a long time to figure this out and subsequently went through hell and back when I first tried to breastfeed. Second time round, I tried MotherLove Nipple Cream. This stuff is 100% natural and totally lovely. It’ll be on my hospital bag list come October time.
MAM bottles are my fave. We only discovered these babies second time round, and they’ve saved a lot of time and stress. They’re self sterilizing and the teats are designed to mimic breasts, making them the perfect choice for transition or combination feeding. They’re not expensive and most good baby shops stock them.
The Tommee Tippee Bottle Maker, changed my life. With Ava, we’d spend hours making up bottles in advance to ensure we didn’t have a screaming baby waiting for milk, every single time she wanted a feed. If we all listened to Health Visitors and medical professionals, there would be a surge in depressed Mothers who were at their wits end. Making bottles is hard work. Do not be fooled.
Traditionally, bottle making requires you to think about the next feed about an hour before it’s due. Now, this isn’t too bad when your feeding a 6 month old for example, but try predicting when your two-week-old baby will want their next feed. It’s impossible. Newborn babies could want a feed 10 minutes after their last feed or 4 hours after their last feed. It’s anyone’s guess with these f******. The Tommee Tippee Bottle Maker will help you to prepare and make a feed in just over two minutes, with no prior arranging or palavering. It saves time, prevents unnecessary distress and is more hygienic than making up feeds in advance. Get one.
The baby monitor is paramount to saving your sanity as a new Mum, or even a second, third or fourth time Mum. Second time round, we invested in the Motorola Video Monitor. I was always dubious about a video monitor, thinking I’d be constantly staring at the screen. Low and behold, I did do that for the first few weeks of Henry’s life, but not anymore. It saved me a millionth dash up the stairs, as I can see from the comfort of the sofa that he’s just trying to find a better position and doesn’t really need me. It’s also allowed me to see that he’s actually wrapped his mussy round and round his head in some sort of turban-esque style and he can’t get it off. It works both ways…
If you’re looking for a cracking bedside cot, look no further than the SnuzPod. This little crib is seriously pretty and it was one of my best buys. It’s sturdy, stylish and safe. The side zips up or down so you can have it as a freestanding cot or as a bedside co-sleeping crib. Its rocking capabilities make it perfect for soothing baby to sleep and it fits my next best buy, perfectly.
Not so essential buys...
This joyous product has been with us since day dot with Henry. It’s only just been demoted now he’s moved in to a big bed. It was the first place he rested his sleepy little newborn head and it remained one of his favourite places to be, until recently (he’s 2.5). The Sleepyhead Deluxe is basically a glorified mattress with a pillow built in, the entire way round. In short, it’s a snuggle pod. It makes newborn babies feel warm and cosy, and more importantly, it prevents the ‘startle reflex’ from causing havoc. The Sleepyhead Grande is the next size up and is even pricier than the Deluxe. It’s designed for 8 months + and can fit a 3 year old in, at a squeeze.
The cheapest of the ‘must haves’, this app has saved my sanity. Babies love noise. They love muffled, constant noise. It lulls them in to a deep, deep dose. It’s available on the App store and it plays sounds such as ‘Mountain River’ and ‘Hairdryer’. Both my children still sleep with it on constantly! It’s also great for muffling out other noises that might wake up your soundly sleeping baby. Sadly, you will also become an addict. I recently spent an entire night away from both my children, and had to have Mountain River (our family favourite), on all night long.
All products are clickable. I’d love to hear about your best buys and newborn essentials!
Love, M.E. x