7 month postbaby progress report Part I
Me and The Ape
Yep - it's been seven months now since I delivered a new life into this world.
And, to my delight, these seven months have been awesome.
So awesome in fact, that I started two new businesses (one a local fitness bootcamp and two an online women's group which is still in progress).
I've really been blessed. April (my daughter) has turned out to be an incredible baby. Sure, she has her moments of fussiness, crabiness, and just general baby-ness, but those times are much less than her usual demeanor of smiles, happiness (see picture above) and an amazing ability to entertain herself while I'm working.
You see, before conceiving April, I had just finished 12 long years in school which included a PhD, a dietetic internship and a RD exam, a MS, and writing two books. After I was done all that, I just wasn't sure what I was going to do with myself.
At first, I thought I'd go the traditional PhD route and do a post-doc, but that just didn't seem right. And, due to the fact that I was newly pregnant, I wasn't sure the stress of a post-doc was what I really wanted.
So, I started teaching fitness classes at a gym, a town rec department, and a local corporation, writing online and print articles and taking more online clients. I also worked at an alternative health clinic part-time (and still do today). I did this all while I was pregnant and loved it.
After having April I was still contemplating doing the post doc thing, but just couldn't bear to work away from home so much and have someone else raise my child.
Thus, I decided to open my own bootcamp business which I teach very early morning (5am) and in the evenings. This way I stay home with April (she's actually on my lap right now as I type this) during the day and work on articles and other projects. Her Dad is home in the morning and my neighbor watches her in the evening before Dad gets home. Unfortunately I don't have any family near me to help out with April, but my neighbor across the street (who also has two girls and stays home) has been very helpful.
I also still work outside of the home some days at the clinic, but it gives April a day away from mommy and my tap-tap-tapping of the computer keys.
I'll admit, I don't get nearly as much done with April at home with me that I would if she was with someone else (for example,while writing this, I had to dance with her a few times and sing a few songs). But, I love it and wouldn't have it any other way. And, I've been really successful thus far.
Compared to other countries, like my home country of Canada, new moms are expected to return to work full time after just 6 weeks in some cases. In the rest of the world, women are given at least a year away from work paid by their governments to raise their own children. This was another reason I just couldn't be away from my kid so soon.
However, on to the post-baby progress report.
Since this post is getting a bit a long right now, I'm going to split it into two parts. I'll continue with the second part tomorrow.
Today I'm going to talk breastfeeding, exercise and body compostion.
1. Breast Feeding
It's been 7 months, and I've luckily been able to breast feed the entire time. I owe this to the fact that I haven't had to be away from her during the day for work or other commitments as much as most American mothers have to be.
Right from the beginning breast feeding went great, but for some of my other mommy friends this wasn't the case. For my friends, many of them worried they wouldn't be able to breast feed, and as such, that stress made it hard for them to produce enough milk. In their case they had to supplement with formula or turn completely to formula to meet their child's needs.
Not that formula is horrible though. I was a formula fed baby because I was adopted, and I think I turned out ok :) But, there are benefits to breast milk that formula doesn't offer, so I'm glad April is getting that instead.
I must say, breastfeeding has been challenging in it's own way. For example, in order for me to teach my fitness classes, I used to always have to pump right before I left to teach otherwise I feared the whole "wet t-shirt" fear and "explosion" fear that some breast feeding moms have to contend with.
Now though that April is moving onto solids, she feeds less from mom and more from foods like fruits, veggies, eggs, and of course, Cheerios :) (who doesn't love Cheerios?). (and, yes, I do feed my kid eggs and she loves them)
If I had to go back to work full time I'm sure that I wouldn't be saying the same thing about breastfeeding as on some of the days I did have to work away from home all day, I'd forget to pump or just didn't have time to do so. My other friends back at work have the same issues and some have turned to formula because they can't keep up.
Overall, if you can breasfeed, do it. It's hard sometimes when you feel like you have a kid tied to your boob all day long, but in the end it's worth it. A good bonding experience and a nice way to feel good about what your body was made to do.
I got so much crap from people because of how much and how hard I exercised while I was pregnant, but I'd like to point out that my kid is amazing and has no issues whatsoever. She's in fact very lean and strong and quite smart. She's also calm, thoughtful and sleeps great at night. So, apparently working out while pregnant didn't harm her at all, and in fact, it probably made her more content and healthy (never really been sick and is usually always happy).
Now, I still exercise as much as I can, but there are times that it's just not possible because she needs her nap or she's not being co-operative. So, I tell all newly pregnant women this: Exercise as much as you can now because there are going to be plently of moments when you just can't because you have a baby to take care of.
As far as energy and recovery from exercise, I have two things going on: I do have a lot of energy to exercise and be motivating to my clients in my fitness classes, but... my recovery from exercise is awful. I'm SO sore sometimes after a workout that I just can't exercise hard the next day or two sometimes. I try, but it just doesn't happen.
It's not that I'm undereating, because I definitely eat a ton of food, and it's not that I'm not practicing proper post-workout nutrition. I just think most of my recovery proteins, hormones, etc are going out my boobs (sorry to put it so bluntly, but I think it's true).
And, my hormonal profile is just different now that I'm breastfeeding, so that's gotta play into this whole recovery process. I know my testosterone levels are much, much lower and my estradiol and progesterone are just weird.
One of my good friends who also exercises like a maniac like me, and has had two children told me that it takes a year to feel normal again after having a baby if you're breastfeeding. So... I'm counting down these next 5 months to feel normal again. Being so sore after exercising is just not fun.
Overall though, my strength and stamina is all back on track. Just waiting for the recovery to pick back up again.
3. Body Composition
Well, as far as body weight goes, I'm actually weighing less now than I did before I got pregnant last year.
But, as far as body comp goes, I did get a DEXA done and I'm carrying around another % body fat compared to last year. Not too bad, but I really want to cut out some more body fat and get leaner.
And, there is that tummy fat. Many women told me that your body hangs onto some extra tummy fat while breastfeeding, and I'd have to agree with them. My tummy is not quite as flat as it used to be. It's not bad, but it's not flat.
But, I'm happy with my body the way it is and considering that I don't always get to exercise because I'm with baby, and that I have an appetite like an elephant... I'm feeling pretty good about myself and how I look.
In fact, whenever I tell other women that I have a 7 month old daughter they say to me: "You just had a baby 7 months ago??? You look amazing!"
So, I guess it's not that bad.
Alright, part two is coming tomorrow where I'll talk about food, post-pregnancy food cravings, mommy brain and more.
Comments appreciated :)