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And Now To Get Back That Pre-pregnancy Body!

 

Diet and Exercise. There is really no way around it but good ol' diet and exercise.

 

I exercised while I was pregnant so as not to shock my body by being idle.  That would quickly fatten anybody up! It is not ok to overindulge while you're pregnant. YOU ARE NOT EATING FOR TWO!  Whoever said that can eat my shorts!  The baby's stomach is so puny, there's no way you can fit another Royale with Cheese in there!  A woman's body is perfectly designed to provide for the unborn baby's nutritional needs, so chill.  Eat to nourish your body, eat right, eat healthy.

 

 

My rule of thumb was (I do not remember the source):  It took 9 months to gain all that pregnancy weight (which, as I have mentioned before, essential in milk production), I should give myself a year to lose it... or maybe a little bit more.   I didn't want to be too strict with myself, I wanted to enjoy motherhood and everything else that came with it including losing my momma fat so I went easy on myself.

 

The game plan:  I will give my body time to recover.  I will not jump into some fancy Hollywood Dr. Zhivago diet crap, it never works anyway.  When my body has recovered (maybe 2 weeks), I will slowly put it in a healthy caloric deficit by cutting down on my food intake until I have reached a healthy range of about 1800-2000 calories a day, broken into 5 small meals throughout the day.  I will educate myself and choose my food wisely.  I will breastfeed as this burns quite a chunk of calories.  Finally, I will exercise (gently) as soon as feel that I can and as soon as my Doctor gives me the thumbs up (about 8 weeks after giving birth).

 

Of that lot, monitoring my calorie intake was the hardest!  Keeping a notebook of all things that went inside my mouth and figuring out the amount of calories per serving was just obsessive.  I had to ask for help from a nutritionist because the amount of calories in a serving of Adobong Batangas is not common knowledge!  But after a while, I got the hang of things and would just jot down a ballpark number for my meals.

 

 

Find the right exercise that suits you.  Oh my gulay!  I hate going to the gym, it's such a chore!!!  I don't think I release endorphins or popularly know as runners high.  I tried so many programs, doing free trials everywhere until I found one that inspired me and made me feel good.  Have a REALISTIC number of pounds to lose each week, slowly work your way to that number.  I think, 1.5 pounds each week is a good number.  I don't like being boot camped when I work out (although some people prefer this), I like to work at my own pace, but you have to push yourself to do it.  Nothing is going to happen if we are tatamad-tamad. Lastly, we should never compare ourselves to others.  Some lucky chick may not have to work as hard as the others while some may have to double up on the cardio, what matters is the quality of the journey towards the goal.

 

Remember, diet and exercise.  This is the only combination that works.

Breastfeeding

The most beautiful moment in my life was about to happen. I would finally cradle my firstborn in my arms.  But February 1986 looked bleak. There were rumors of an impending civil war.  I turned to my husband  “what now?” He hugged my worries away and laid out a plan. We will head off to Benguet, safe and sound from any gunfire. The thought of being far from civilization frightened me. Will we survive? Without a doubt, I wanted to breastfeed my baby but I only had breastfeeding books to read. I had no mentor because my mom died when I was a teen. No breastfeeding clinics either. Pediatricians prescribed formula milk right after delivery.

 

Though the civil war never happened, I was still determined to breastfeed. To motivate myself, I pictured this scenario: “Imagine yourself, isolated in the mountains without any access to stores. Just you and your baby. How will you feed your baby? ” I imagined I could feed myself but my baby would be dependent on me.

 

 

It was not easy at first because my nipple hurt a lot but I persevered and thought about the health benefits.  My baby enjoyed the benefits of "Colostrum (or better known as liquid gold)," the first liquid that comes out for the first few days.  Imagine, my baby receiving this very rich source of protein and, most of all, immune bodies – to fight off infections.

 

Breastfeeding provided me opportunity to sleep with my baby as I nursed her. I never had sleepless nights. The skin-to-skin contact also helps in transferring good bacteria from my skin to my baby.

 

I also reaped benefits from breastfeeding. Studies show that breastfeeding increases the release of oxytocin, a hormone that causes the uterus to contract and help it regain its normal size faster, and eventually leads to faster weight loss for me. I was back to my slender figure when my baby was four months old.

 

Mothers are also assured of good protection against pregnancy at least for the first six months, if they are exclusively breastfeeding, which means the baby is fed only breast milk (not even water). After the sixth month, when other foods are introduced, breastfeeding times may become lesser, so the protection no longer holds true.

 

Breastfeeding is now an advocacy in my blog since 2007. The breastfeeding advocacy includes protection, promotion, and support. “Protection means you fight those people who are fooling us. Promotion, that you make mothers want to breastfeed. And support, because even mothers who want to breastfeed need to be supported. They don’t have models to guide them; their own mothers didn’t do it anymore. And people around them are using bottles. So even if mothers decide to breastfeed, if there is nobody to help them, they end up succumbing to social pressure.”

 

That beautiful moment in your life will soon happen. Let me know if you need any breastfeeding support and information.

First Period After Pregnancy

 

Nine months have come and gone and your beautiful bundle of joy is finally in your arms. While you may have cherished those nine months without your monthly visitor, good old Aunt Flo, it won’t be too long until she comes a-knocking.

 

However dreaded your monthly time may be, your period returning is a sign your body is healthy and resuming pre-baby functions. And while it may not be a cause for celebration, it shouldn’t be met with trepidation.

 

All women are different, and there’s no exact week or day when you should expect your period back. On average, if you’re not breastfeeding, it will take anywhere from three to ten weeks after you’ve given birth for your period to return. However, if you are breastfeeding, it will take longer, and you may not menstruate for as long as 20 weeks after birth.

 

This doesn’t mean you won’t ovulate, so using the absence of your period as a go sign to have unprotected sex should be approached with caution. Ovulation precedes menstruation, after all, so to be sure, it’s best to start using a form of birth control once you’re sexually active again.

 

If you were using a diaphragm or a cervical cap as your birth control method, you’ll want to get them refitted as giving birth will have altered your cervix’s size. If you’re breastfeeding, remember that birth control pills that contain estrogen are a no-no, so stick to progestin-only pills instead.

 

 

Often times, when your period does come back you can be sure it will do so with a vengeance. Expect a heavier and longer flow, which may last anywhere from 10 days to up to 2 weeks. Your first period will typically be more painful as well, but rest assured, this is temporary. Your period should return to normal after a few months. If you’re changing your sanitary napkin more than once every four hours, you should see a doctor or consult with your midwife. It may be a sign of something more serious.

 

 

Don’t be surprised if your baby reacts differently to your milk once you’ve resumed your period. Hormonal changes can affect your milk supply, as well as its taste, so expect your baby to be a bit fussier than usual. But don’t worry, after your period has run its course, your milk should normalize, too.

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