How to feel confident in your post baby body

How to feel confident in your post baby body

As a new mum, you will find that the six weeks (at least) of motherhood flash by in a blur. You have just undergone a major physical and life-changing process and your world has been turned upside down (for the better, of course). You are feeling your way into a brand new life role, essentially, with invisible blindfolds on, and the very idea of an unbroken night’s sleep is but a distant memory. To top it all off, you are still carrying excess baby weight (unless you have access to a cosmetic surgeon, or you are blessed with a fast metabolism and superelastic skin.) It is, of course, normal that your body may have changed and it is also common to feel different now than before pregnancy. So, how, on top of all of these changes, do you feel confident again in your post-baby body?

Given the above, it is hardly surprising that most new mums, especially first time mums, think that they will never feel confident in their post-baby body again. But, fear not, they do and you will. How do you think so many mums end up having more than one child? Apart from the fact that nature slyly makes you forget about the pain of labour and birth, one day, in the not so very distant future, you will want to get that spark back – and you will find it. But how? Below are some tips (that I have used myself after having two boys in quick succession (they are now 6 and 7)) that will help you feel confident again after birth.

Accept that your body has changed and embrace the new you!

Mother and baby outside

The first thing you should do is accept that your body has changed. You have saggier skin and stretch marks for good reason – you gave birth to a miracle baby and that makes you a miracle life creator and giver. So, automatically, you rock! You may intend to lose weight right now, straight after birth. But, ‘right now’ is not realistic because you are spending your time looking after a brand new little person, on little sleep. So, heavy exercise will probably run you down further and possibly make you ill. 

The truth is, your body is probably looking a whole lot better to other people than you think. You may label your post-baby body as ‘fat’ or your tummy as ‘flabby’. But to your partner, who has seen you grow and nurture a child, your body shooting out a baby is far more significant and admirable than a little bit of saggy skin. In fact, many men (possibly the majority, despite what beauty magazines tell you) love a woman with real curves. So, accept that you did something truly amazing and embrace the fact that you may have a little extra weight now, but it’s not going to last if you work on it in good time. This brings me to the next point.

Start incorporating some gentle exercises every day until you get your energy back

Mother and father walking with baby

You’re probably feeling the effects of cabin fever due to being restricted to feeding, changing and sleeping duties. Once you start to lift up over the haze, then you can start to think about exercising. When I mean exercising, I don’t mean trying out one of Shaun T’s Insanity workouts. If the weather is good (and even if it isn’t) take the buggy out for a quick walk down the road, or to the park. Walking is so good for your mental health as well as your physical health because it clears the cobwebs in your brain and provides your lungs with a breath of fresh air. Some studies say that walking is actually effective at reducing depression, especially in women who suffer from postnatal depression because walking gets the blood pumping and it gives you a chance to gather your thoughts. There’s nothing like exercising in fresh air to wake you up from your sleep-deprived funk!

Think about what you’re putting in your body

Whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding, you forget that you need to feed yourself as well as your baby and the lack of nutrition will mean that you may become malnourished and more susceptible to getting sick. Yes, it’s hard to cook a small meal from scratch when you don’t even have time to go to the loo. So, it is recommended that you either batch cook your meals and freeze them for later or think about quick and simple meals like these five-ingredient meals from Five for a Fiver, which only cost £5 a pop. Have some protein bars to hand, which are so easy to make if you can’t afford to stock up and lots of healthy fruits that you can pick up and snack on between meals. You may not be able to feed yourself properly all the time, so make sure you are supplementing your diet with multivitamins. If you are not sure which supplements to go for, reports on the healthy supplements in store to enable you to make an informed decision about which product is right for you. 

Get out of those slacks and baggy T-shirts

Mother and baby playing on the beach

It’s quite easy to stay in those comfy maternity leggings and baggy t-shirts, especially when you are still packing a little extra weight. But, now is the time to review your wardrobe and start thinking about wearing clothing that makes you feel good. You don’t have to buy super sexy lingerie to feel good, although there is a great selection of lingerie for plus sizes out there. It may be that your pre-pregnancy clothes do not fit, so maybe it’s time to visit what’s out there and re-define your style. Just because you are a mum now, does not mean that you have to wear mum jeans or stick with your maternity clothes. You have a whole new role, so think about the image you want to project with that role. Have you always loved bright colours? Do you want to wear bold prints or slightly more sassy styles? Use this time to re-launch yourself into a whole new style and enjoy it, because you deserve it.

Be confident in your decisions and in life

A wise person once said, “People on the street don’t care how you look.” It’s true. Once you are past the earliest stages of motherhood, things start to settle down and you will begin to feel better. In turn, your confidence in your post-baby body will grow. You’ve done a bit of walking outside and you are eating well. You’ve even bought yourself a whole new wardrobe. So, now, you need to act the part. It’s easy to think that people are staring at you, judging you, and laughing at you, when your self-esteem is low. But remember that these are all just thoughts. Where is the evidence that people will laugh at you if you walk outside in your post-baby body? What will happen to you if you do walk outside? Ask yourself these questions every time you start to panic and remember that these fierce thoughts will impact on your chance to ever progress, whether that be with your diet, your exercise and, most importantly, your wellbeing. Lead by example, and be confident in the decisions that you make, even if you are feigning confidence at the beginning. Find it in yourself to just think “Who cares?” Then take yourself outside. Show people that you are confident by lifting your chin up and looking into their eyes when you talk. You will find that people don’t actually care, and some may even experience a little bit of envy because they see a new mother strutting her stuff on the street without a care in the world! Little do they know how hard it was to get to that stage, right?

Whatever you are feeling, chances are most of us mums are feeling it too. I did, and I still do after 7 years of being a mother. But I fight it every single day. I fight it by exercising, eating right, doing the things that I enjoy and laughing at myself before anyone else does, even if they’re not laughing at all. Your actions will impact your children’s actions, so show them how to be confident, even when you don’t feel it. Your life may have changed but you are still an individual. When you make decisions, make them for you and for no one else because, believe me, we all experience opinions from people who think they know better. But, nothing makes you feel more invincible than confidence. So remember that when you step out into the world with your baby. You know who you are and you know what you’re doing – and, boy, don’t you look good doing it!

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Leyla Preston (599 Posts)

Leyla Preston is the owner and Editor of Motherhood Diaries global magazine for parents. Leyla is a busy mother of two even busier boys; Aron, 8, and Aidan, 7. When Leyla isn’t feeding, managing a gazillion tasks or cleaning the infinite mess at home, she is busy working on this magazine and a new cooking channel coming very soon – no rest for the wicked! You can follow Leyla on Twitter (@M_Diaries) or join the busy Motherhood Diaries Facebook group where all mums get together and share stories and solutions with one another: