I am by no means one of those women who has a baby and a month later bounces right back into my skinny jeans. For most women, having a baby is traumatic and hard (and of course rewarding) on many levels. But one of the most challenging things about having a baby, is how you feel physically after giving birth. Among the hormonal meltdowns, multiple nighttime feedings, and minimal hours of sleep, the whole issue of not being capable of as much activity as you are accustomed to, is daunting. Yes, some women float through pregnancy still running six or more miles a day with no problem, but the majority of women do not, and nothing can make you feel more out of shape than trying to hike Mt. Sanitas postpartum while being lapped by a pregnant lady. Good grief Boulder, gimme a break!
In a town that is one of the most active in the country, it’s crucial to remember a few things when striving for your post-baby goals: be kind to yourself, ease into it, and be consistent. Those tips along with the following gear will make your transition back to an active lifestyle, easy, fun, and totally doable.
I reluctantly inherited a FitBit from my husband (who has the metabolism of a 15 year old boy and has no need of such a thing), and although I wasn’t thrilled at first, I can say without a doubt that it was the most effective weight loss tool for me after the babe arrived. This little piece of brilliant gadgetry is a game changer folks. Just by walking, the pounds begin to shed. For those of you who don’t already know, the FitBit is an accelerometer, basically a really sophisticated pedometer, that syncs with the app on your smart phone. It keeps track of your steps throughout the day; calculating your miles walked, calories burned, and active minutes (you can also track water and caloric intake if you really want to geek out). I set a moderate goal of 10,000 steps, 5 miles, and 30 active minutes per day and just by walking I began to see results. Instead of driving to the grocery store or Target, I walked. Instead of driving to the west end of Pearl or to the Farmers Market, I walked. Just by walking I began to see significant results. On days that I added hiking, yoga, or dance classes, I slaughtered my goal, and the competitor in me was thrilled to see my 17,000-steps smiling at me at the end of the day. $100; fitbit.com
What’s better than walking to shed away the pounds? Walking with a ten pound baby strapped to you! Another perk of having a little one is that they get heavier as you get stronger, so take them with you and watch your muscle start to tone. A good carrier is crucial to safely bringing your babe along for the adventure and the Baby Carrier One, by Baby Bjorn, is a versatile, comfortable, and compact option as you tote your tot around town. We loved the original Bjorn so decided to give the One a shot and have been impressed with its many features. The carrier can be worn with babe facing in or out in the front position, has a built in zipper system that makes it compatible for infants without needing to purchase and infant insert, can be used until your little one is up to three years old or 33 lbs, and can be folded into a tight little package and thrown into a diaper bag. You can also transition your tot from the front position to the back position without removing the carrier. My only complaint about this carrier is it presents challenges for the nursing mom if she is flying solo. It is tricky to remove without putting your babe down, which is not always a safe or clean option. $200; babybjorn.com
For more adventurous outings, I highly recommend the Osprey Poco Premium Pack. Osprey is known for their suspension technology that allows for maximum weight and maximum comfort and this pack is no exception. This baby carrier is comfortable, flexible, and versatile and will surely meet the many combinations of outdoor needs that come with introducing your babe to the wilderness. One of the challenges in having a little one is how fast they grow (and thus grow out of everything), so finding a piece of gear that can last a few seasons is a huge plus and the Poco Premium is the kind of pack that can grow with your child. The pack is adjustable for both the child and adult and can hold roughly 50 lbs of gear and child combined. It has a day pack included which is a huge plus for overnight backpacking adventures and also has a changing pad and sun shade, along with with some other features that are attractive to parents of mini adventurers. $300; ospreypacks.com
What to Wear
Maybe I’m being a little vain, but feeling good and looking good are one and the same for a post baby lady. Investing in some solid pieces of workout gear that fit your new body is essential to staying motivated. Do not try and use your old workout gear, as it will only make you feel depressed and frustrated. Invest in some pieces that will help make you feel confident and beautiful as you get going.
Stonewear Designs is a brand for women of all shapes and sizes and a few staples from this line will help you look and feel great as you tackle your goals. My favorites are the Liberty Capri ($76) or Liberty Pant ($80) and the Cross Back Top ($30). The pants are made with a substantial fabric in a simply yet flirty design that is perfect for a mom on the go. Because much of your workout routine consists of running errands, you need a pant that will support you athletically while being stylish enough to be seen around town; this is that pant. The Cross Back Top is surprisingly supportive for being such a delicate fit. It eliminates the bulk of many sports bras while still providing enough support and ease for the nursing mama. stoneweardesigns.com
Cooler weather is just around the corner and Icebreaker has a great selection of base layers to keep you warm while still feeling stylish. My favorite is the Oasis Long Sleeve Striped Henley. Made of 100% merino wool, this henley provides exceptional breathability and warmth. The cut of this base layer is more feminine than most and the stripe gives it a little wink, adding an appropriate amount of fun to your outdoor wardrobe. $100; icebreaker.com
For an outer layer, try the Woman’s Euphorbia Anorak by Scott Sports. Made with Cordura fabric, this piece is tough, yet its 4-way-stretch allows it to move with you and its moisture wicking properties keep you dry and comfortable in a variety of climates. The fabric is surprisingly thin which makes it perfect for shoulder seasons and the cut of the anorak loosely hugs the body making it feel less bulky and awkward than some other technical third layers. $130; scott-sports.com
After a summer of playing outside and finally feeling good about my workout routine, I am now faced with cozy fall weather; my garden begins to decompose and out comes the Kitchen Aid and Crock Pot slamming me with dreams of cookies and pasta. This year, as the days shorten and the air cools, I am determined to continue my progress towards post-baby health and this awesome gear is going to help me stay fit and active all winter long.