Year in, year out, we all make our resolutions and start off with the best intentions. Then it all goes awry. You may think having a baby will stop you sticking to your guns, but actually, this could be the perfect time to focus your efforts.
Lack of sleep and the demands of a new baby will almost certainly dull the desire to get your running shoes on! But certain exercises will do you the world of good – emotionally and physically. As a new mum, it’s important to start off with gentle exercises – make sure you wait until after your six-week postnatal check-up before embarking on any exercise regime though. Then find an exercise programme that fits in with you and your baby, and that you’ll actually enjoy…
Squeeze if you please
Whatever kind of birth you’ve had, pelvic floor exercises are important for strengthening the ‘hammock’ of muscle that supports your pelvic organs – keep them strong and you’re less likely to have continence problems later in life. Do them by releasing your muscles as if you are about to do a wee, then immediately contracting them up and in again. Hold for five seconds, breathe normally, then release. At first, it may feel as if there’s ‘nothing there’, but persevere. It will take a few weeks, and you will need to do these for life, to get results. See your GP or practice nurse if you are concerned you’re not making progress.
Walk the walk
Getting outdoors with your baby should eventually be an easy form of exercise to incorporate into everyday life as a parent. Wrap your baby up if it’s chilly, and pop her in the pram, then get out into that fresh air and walk as briskly as you can, holding your stomach muscles in while you push. Hook up with friends or include your partner in your walk, then ‘power push’ to a nice destination like a coffee shop or the park (just resist the temptation to order a huge slice of cake when you get there!).
In the swim
The supportive nature of water can help relieve aches, pains, stresses and strains. You may not fancy the idea of getting into your cossie just yet, but the benefits will outweigh any awkwardness. It’s a gentle way to get moving again and can help you feel calmer. Again, this one needs to wait until you’ve passed your six week check and you will need a second ‘pair of hands’ to watch the baby.
Sadly, we don’t have a magic spell that will make parenthood financially easy! But there are ways to make savings that will add up nicely.
- Babies are at their most comfy, and easy to dress and change, in stretchy vests and soft all-in-ones, so unless dressing to impress for a special outing, stick to cheap essentials like vests and sleepsuits. Clothing at Tesco has a gorgeous range of kit, all at very nice prices.
- Think long term. Your baby will soon grow out of that Moses basket or cradle, so when it comes to buying a cot, think long term. There are some great cot beds at Tesco Direct that will serve your baby from the early days, until the toddler years when they convert into a junior bed. You’ll find cot beds at fantastic prices here
- Keep an eye on offers. Remember two-for-one offers, especially on essentials like baby wipes, nappies and baby toiletries, change on a regular basis. Watch out for new offers at Tesco and check for end dates on your coupons. You can find some really good deals in our Baby Club Offers section, so keep checking for updates here.
Revamp your diet
Now’s the very best time to be eating healthily, especially if you’re a breastfeeding mum. Try to include…
- Plenty of fruit and vegetables. They’re packed with vitamins, nutrients and fibre, which will benefit both you and your baby if you’re breastfeeding. Make soups and casseroles, which you can freeze, so supper’s taken care of for a few evenings down the line. Try one of our recipes.
- Fibre-rich foods. These will help ‘keep you regular’ – very important after birth when you won’t want to put any strain on your ‘bits’! Foods that are rich in fibre include fruit and veg, multigrain cereals, beans, lentils, jacket potatoes, wholewheat pasta, nuts, fruit and wholegrain bread.
- Drink plenty of water. It’s really important to stay hydrated, especially if you’re breastfeeding. But drinking lots of water should also help you avoid constipation, and may even keep your skin looking dewy.
- Eat regularly. You may find you’re tempted to cut down on food to lose your baby weight faster, but this is never a good idea, especially if you’re breastfeeding. It will only mean you lack energy and vital nutrients both you and your baby need. Try to eat little and often, sensibly, instead, and stay away from those naughty snacks. Even good old baked beans on toast is better than skipping a meal (or living on biscuits!). And always say ‘yes’ if someone (anyone!) offers to cook!
When all’s said and done, however, just getting through the day can feel like a monumental achievement when you’re a new mum. So maybe this is the year to say: “My resolution is to be nicer to myself, and to make sure I get a few little treats now and then.” Now that’s a New Year’s resolution we can definitely stick to…