Don't buy into the 'yummy mummy' fallacy

walking group of mums
walking group of mums 

'Yummy mummy'. I don't know how other new mums feel about that phrase that has been created to describe celeb mums with a trainer, nutritionist and nanny, but I personally find it a bit judgmental.

Sure, mummies can be "yummy", but what if you've just had a baby and don't feel particularly delicious just yet?

You're tired, you want to eventually lose that extra baby weight but right now it seems a bit tricky, and every magazine you pick up is plastered with stories about Hollywood celebrities who look super fabulous about 10 seconds after giving birth.

Personal trainer Janelle Ware has children aged 11, eight and six, and knows all about the pressure on mums to get in shape fast.

"It's crazy," she says. "We're yummy but probably not three days after birth!"

She says that, realistically, how long it takes to get back into shape is usually more than six months, although it depends on how much weight you've put on and how fit you were before and during your pregnancy.

However, a healthy eating plan and regular exercise are much more important for new mums than an unrealistic "lose weight fast" regime, says Janelle.

In her personal training class, exercises are adapted to every mum and for those who have injuries - and she recommends other new mums find classes that are similar. 

"It is very one on one and we even incorporate the babies and the prams into workouts. For example, we may do lunges or squats behind the pram.

Advertisement

"We do walking, running, circuits and boxing too, depending on how everyone is feeling.

"And there's plenty of information for new mums on everything from what to eat while you are breastfeeding to how to strengthen your pelvic floor."

Janelle says some mums can be very nervous about going to an exercise class, or worry about how their baby will behave, but she reassures them that chances are there a lot of others feeling exactly the same way.

Research shows that exercise can help with sleep, energy, mood and, of course, weight control. You don't have to go hard - just do some regularly - and when combined with healthy eating, you may start to feel more, well, yummy.

But remember that your health and the speed of your progress is entirely up to you - no matter how much pressure mums may be under from the tabloid media.

Exercise tips post-baby

  • Start slowly and seek professional advice from your GP and/or a personal trainer
  • Get an exercise buddy, preferably another new mum, or join a class
  • Tell your instructor if you have any injuries or if any exercises don't feel right
  • Realise that for most mums, it will take at least six months to get back into pre-pregnancy shape
  • Work out at your own pace - don't be pressured into a drastic regime
  • Exercise at a gym or class that has a creche or offers help with your baby
  • Don't forget to work your pelvic floor and restrengthen the muscles
  • Keep in mind that stretching, relaxation and social connection are important too