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Returning To The Gym After Having A Baby… AVOID THE BIKES!!

The creche at the gym is a brilliant invention to get yourself a break and hopefully gets your baby used to you leaving him! It means you can finally have time to yourself and time to work off all of that bad food that motherhood has driven you to eat. In fact, its such a good/ cheap way to get a break, that it did cross my mind to actually drop Arlo off in the creche, dressed in full costume (my gym gear)……then head into town for a coffee/ sleep in the car instead! Then quickly chuck a bottle of water over my head, back comb my hair and go and collect him after my “vigorous” workout!! (don’t worry creche ladies, I don’t do this…..all the time)

Do the creche do sleep overs by the way?!

I counted down the days until Arlo was 12 weeks old and he was old enough to be left in the creche. Pre pregnancy I had been very active, whilst I was still snowboarding in particular. At points, even though I knew it was a wonderful thing, I found it very hard to accept my changing/ fattening body. However, I HAD enjoyed my time sitting on the sofa eating cake immensely, but I was now  itching to get back to some proper exercise. So at 12 weeks to the day, off Arlo went. Happy 12 week Birthday!!!

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I was more concerned for the welfare of the creche ladies than I was for Arlo. At 12 weeks he was very much still in his constant crying phase. But this actually worked out brilliantly. Never had I experienced so much motivation in the gym. With the thought that the creche ladies could come and get me at any second to retrieve my hysterical baby, I had to make EVERY second count. In the early days Arlo fed every hour, so if I fed him in the car park before the gym, I knew I had an hours window before he would start screaming for boob again. Even more motivation to get in, do my workout, GET OUT!!! No messing around!

I did get into this terrible habit of going for cake and coffee immediately after my gym workout. I just couldn’t figure out why each time I went to the gym and weighed myself I was heavier than I was the last time. After telling myself that the scales must surely be broken/ the gain in weight was actually muscle/ it must be the extra milk in my boobs……. I came to terms with the fact that the cake was the culprit. It was a hard habit to break, lots of blood, sweat and tears, but I’ve finally got there! (carrot cake is totally fine though as it has carrots in).

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So don’t even bother going on the scales at the gym (they are broken anyway!??!!!!), just go by how you feel. Exercise gives you that feel good factor and I even find it my saving grace for the sleep deprivation. If you can just muster up enough energy to get to the gym, you WILL feel a million times better after. I also like to make it into a social occasion, hooking up with other gym mums/ friends. Makes the workout go waaaaay quicker, even if I do end up exercising my mouth more than anything else!!

Don’t forget to invest in some new trainers (any excuse) as your feet will probably have expanded through pregnancy. Here are my lovely new pair, pink and turquoise (too old??? But my two favourite colours together so why not!!)

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On returning to the gym I would try and set some realistic targets. Even if you’re still Linford Cristie in your mind, your body will still be like Mr Blobby, so ease yourself into it. Don’t make the mistake of being an eager beaver and testing out all of the new machines and then not being able to walk back to your car afterwards. My first workout only lasted 25 mins (generous)…….obviously not because I was tired (!!!???!) but I wanted to make sure Arlo/ creche ladies were ok!!! Its weird, your body totally changes after having a baby, so the workout I am doing would have been enough to tone/ loose weight before, but now it’s wasn’t even making a dent!! It almost feels like you have to work extra hard to re-gain your shape after having a baby. It doesn’t come easily and can be really disheartening. You have to resign yourself to the fact your body may never be the same again. You seem to just have this little “pouch” that as much as you try, doesn’t shift (is that the cake?). Im pretty confident there is a 6 pack under there??!! Someone once said to me after having a baby…..9 months on 9 months off…….christ I have 2 WEEKS!!!!!! (Before and after photo below…it’s amazing how much your skin can stretch!!)

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Another tip, if you’re still Breast Feeding, you’re boobs will wobble A LOT more than what you are used to! So you don’t look like a porn star in the gym, make sure you get a good sports bra…..oh and some good bra pads. It will be hard to disguise the leaked milk in wet circles around your nipple, even if you do try and pass it off as nipple sweat?! And on the subject of “pads”, don’t forget your Tena Ladies……..must remember to do my pelvic floors.

Most importantly I would highly recommend avoiding the bikes. Just until you know everything is definitely ok down there. Even if it does feel ok down there, its probably not. So maybe stick to those nice granny bikes (my favourite) where you sit down (no pressure on certain areas) and have your legs peddling out in front of you. You could even watch a bit of Loose Women on the TV, just so you’re not going cold turkey!! Hardcore proper bikes will result in you having to alternate between and icepack and a hot water bottle for the rest of the day and digging out “The Doughnut” again. Give it time.

Once you have finished your workout and pick your baby up from the creche, remember to walk him up and down slowly passed the gym door so everyone can see “YOU’VE HAD A BABY”  and thats why your a little spongey round the edges.

I can get totally hooked on exercise and working out, but I’m torn between that and trying to be a good mum! The thing with a creche is you can’t really put your baby in there if he/she’s not very well. So even though you are dying to get to the gym, when they wake up with their eyes glued together with yellow puss and green radioactive slugs coming out of their noes, you have to do the right thing. All these mixture of emotions; feeling really frustrated/ almost resentful towards your baby for not being able to workout….. and then overwhelming guilt/ love for your poorly baby. And with one cold into another during the winter, no wonder it can be hard for mums to keep fit!

Nearly 6 months of going to the creche/ gym and Arlo still LOVES it and only cries when I have to take him home. The creche is wonderful and I’m sure they do a lot more for him there than I can offer him at home. He even has some little mates (hey Frank), and he has learnt to write already! So I can completely justify going to the gym……..its for the development and well- being of my baby!!! Win win!

 

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Running With A Buggy

To follow on from my “Skating with a Baby”, here is my experience of running with a buggy.

Now I use the term “running” very loosely. It was actually more of a fast walk, and with good intentions of going everyday, I only went 4 times. My first time was 8 weeks after having baby Arlo (WTF was I doing???!!), and in hindsight, I should have waited until my pelvic floor muscles were stronger (another story).

Baby loaded, legs shaved and off I set…in all my new running gear (to motivate me of course!)

Feeling good, feeling confident, finally doing something for ME, and actually leaving the house/ wearing something other than a dressing gown. For a moment, I really believed I looked like this (see photo)

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But I caught sight of my reflection in a window, and in actual fact I looked more like this (see photo)

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Dripping in sweat already (good sign, cake coming out) and red/ almost purple in the face, I realised I had only made it 100 metres down the road. Having a baby had obviously taken its toll.

At this point I decided I would no longer run where people could see me. From now on I would WALK out of the estate until I got to a more private country road where the cows would be the only ones I would need to worry about.

But would people look at me pushing the buggy through the estate in all my running gear and think I was a bit full-on/ keen just going for a walk???? So I decided if I just held a bottle of water in my hand it would look like I HAD been running, but was just taking a break!!!

All these things you need  to consider!!

Running with a buggy is hard work. Without the use of your arms I’m sure it makes it a lot harder. You will need to take regular breaks, like every 20 metres or so. The good thing about running down a private country road is that you don’t actually have to run that much, no one can see!!!

The more runs you do, the easier it becomes (apparently), but……you will loose motivation. The novelty wears off. After run 4, I decided that I didn’t like running (kinda knew this already, I’ve never been a runner, but somehow thought having a baby with me would change this??!!).

I also felt that baby Arlo was giving me strange looks as I puffed and panted over him, probably dropping sweat onto him the poor lad.

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So at 12 weeks, I joined the gym instead. Popping the baby in the creche was a way better idea, arms free to perfect my running technique (???)

Also, If you do run with a buggy, you need to remember to take a photo of yourself as proof that you went running, and then Instagram it so everybody is impressed that you’ve gone running (they don’t have to know the truth)……

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Rainy Days

Sometimes you don’t feel like going outside at all, least of all having adventures. So some days are good to just stay at home, binge on chocolate (me, not the baby….although might have slipped him a little bit) and watch Loose Women.
Then, if the baby ACTUALLY sleeps for nap time, it gives you a chance to do something for yourself………or tidy up the trail of devastation left behind before people begin to think you are a complete hobo.

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So, with my “nap time” a couple days ago I decided to get creative with all of the lovely baby cards we received. Been meaning to do this for aaaaages!

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I chopped them up and made some collages, 2 rockets and one mountain scene to be precise. One day maybe I’ll get round to putting them up on his wall…….

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Skating With A Baby

This is a really fun family outing to do, fresh air, exercise and a bit of an adrenaline fix!! However, an activity not for the faint hearted! It will take a lot of concentration and co-ordination to skate with your baby.

I haven’t skated with our baby since he was a new born last summer. We are waiting for the better weather to take him out again. Now he’s older I  feel he would fully appreciate the breeze in his ginger locks!!!

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First of all you will need a long STRAIGHT path. Corners with a buggy are difficult to negotiate. Try to avoid hills, steps, trees, small children and crocodiles…..these can be dangerous too. You need to be prepared that half the people you meet on your route will give you disapproving looks……but then the other half will give you high fives (don’t take your hand off the buggy to do this). But you have to believe that you are doing this for the welfare of the baby ie: the motion is very soothing for them!!

I would recommend NOT to skate next to a river/sheer drop. I had a close call (well not that close but too close for my liking), at which point I handed over the responsibility to a waaaaay better skater (my husband). I was mainly doing it for the photo anyway (see below)!!!

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Be careful not to lean on the handle of the buggy if you are feeling wobbly, this may well catapult the baby. Which brings me onto the next point……remember to strap your baby in!!! Depending on how shakey you are, maybe even pop a helmet on the babes head?!

The hardest bit I found was keeping the skateboard level between the wheels of the buggy. Concentrating too hard on this could also mean you miss that small dog you’ve just run over. To solve this problem you could just buy one of these (see image below), as opposed to the DIY “skating with baby” approach.

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Now you are ready to go!!!! Leave any attempts/ hope for “style” at home, its all about survival at first, style will come later (still waiting for mine). The boys on scooters WILL stop and stare, but thats just because they are impressed?!!

When you have built up your confidence, you could even visit your local skate park? Maybe….hmmmmm

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To The Mountains of Austria


It was to be my first time back on my snowboard since becoming a mum. I was curious to see how I would feel. Would I still have the same passion for it? Would I be more careful now that I have a baby? And would I actually still be able to do it? I struggle to sit on a bike these days!

Off I went to the gym to get rid of some wobbly bits and the excessive amount of cake I had been eating (it was christmas). I was pretty sure the mince pies were going to snap my snowboard in half if I wasn’t careful!!

After a pretty stressful flight (this is a whole other blog post, “Flying With An Active Baby”), we arrived in Austria. The first thing that hit me was the mountain air. Wow I had missed that, instantly makes you feel fresh and healthy! It was dark when we arrived so introducing Arlo to the sight of the mountains/snow would have to wait until the morning. It was weird, I was so much more excited to see his face than I was about anything else!


Morning came and wait…..Arlo had only woken twice in the night as opposed to 6+ times???!! The mountain air must agree with him OR he must have exhausted himself and his lungs on the flight!!?? I needn’t have freaked out about his “nighttime routine” being different then. I pulled back the curtains and there they were, the mountains! Pretty green but still mountains all the same. Showing Arlo was an emotional moment, I cried (such a loser) but sure Arlo was just looking at his own reflection in the window. But we will pretend that it was an emotional moment for him too. He knew at that moment that he was going to be a snowboarder (I’m sure he did?). We took him outside and showed him the snow in the flesh. He just wanted to eat it. At that point I did explain to him that must never eat yellow snow…….

 

The next few days consisted of lazy mornings (ever tried to get first lifts with a baby??? We didn’t manage it), long hikes, hot chocolates, a vomiting bug (only me, and it was a blessing really as I could start a fresh with my cake eating and not feel guilty)…… and of course SNOWBOARDING!!

It was such a juggle trying to actually make it out of the apartment to go riding: us dressed and fed, baby fed, cleaned, fed again…..new outfit, what more feeding???….nap time (NOW you choose to sleep???), instructions (4 pages) left for grandparents, milk expressed, food made up, baby bag packed, activities suggested, changes of clothes co-ordinated (very important), fed again. Then FINALLY we made it out to the chair lift, kinda exhausted already!!

The fist chair lift ride back up the mountain was amazing. You end up taking it for granted when snowboard everyday, but the mountains really are beautiful and the air SOOOO fresh. Kept sniffing the air like a dog, just taking it all in. And pretty much crying on every chair lift (again, loser, obvs having a baby has made me soft), but I was just so happy to be back.

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The first few runs I was terrible, so rusty! But loving it all the same. We apparently weren’t bothered about going to The Park, but after an hour, somehow we found ourselves there!!!! 50/50s and Tail Grabs all the way, but it was enough to get my fix. And sounds awful, but didn’t cross my mind to be careful, was just having way too much fun! Although I did feel that I had lost some of my balls through child birth!!!!? My biggest concern however was about my boobs…..would they explode and squirt milkshake everywhere if I landed on them!!!??!

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My parents bought Arlo to the bottom of the slope so he could watch us coming down on the last run. I was trying my very hardest, even trying some little tricks as for some reason I felt like I needed to impress him (a baby!) Got down to the bottom of the run and he was fast asleep anyway, clearly ultra impressed!

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On christmas day we decided to take Arlo to the top of the mountain. We considered the chair lift but I was almost certain that Arlo would try bungee to jump off. So we opted for the safe Gondola instead. I totally forgot that babies suffer with their ears going up in altitude. I wondered why he was screaming and not loving the fact he was going up the mountain. So back to the boobs again. Very hard to access them through layers of snowboard clothing and thermals BTW!! Then the little limpet would not detach himself from me. So I had to depart the Gondola with him still suckling away. This is extreme breast feeding!!!

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Worked out quite well with Arlo up the mountain as I could do laps, then feed, do some more laps, feed (he feeds a lot)

Apres started kicking off in the mountain top restaurant and I almost felt young and cool again!!!! But then Arlo decided to have a poo explosion. I sorted it out but then had to battle the apres crowds to try and find a suitable bin to dispose of the deadly nappy. I had hidden it in the pocket of my hoody, but the smell was harder to disguise. I turned a few heads walking through the crowds but all for the wrong reason. I didn’t feel so cool anymore!

It was honestly such an amazing week. We only made it snowboarding 3 times but that really didn’t seem to matter. I just really appreciated it a lot more when I did get to do it.  Arlo LOVED being in the mountains, I could tell! He throughly enjoyed being outside and taking in all the action. He loved the snow, and was fascinated by snowboarders and their goggles. Again, probably just because he could see his reflection in them!

It was very VERY different going snowboarding with a baby, but in a way a lot better. It was more exciting, like you’re seeing things for the first time again but through their eyes. Although I’m looking forward to him being old enough so we can all ride together……in matching outfits???!!!(can we do this Rich?).

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Now we are back in the UK:( Having that little taster of snowboarding has given me the bug for it again. Cant stop thinking about it and I’ve got extremely itchy feet. Sure Arlo feels the same! So for Arlos sake (of course) we need to plan the next snowboard trip ASAP.

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Winter Hats!

Obviously for all of these outdoors wintery adventures we needed some matching bobble hats! We got lots of looks, not sure if its because we looked silly or people were impressed!?! Thank you to “Funi”for knitting them up for us:) Very kind of you! This style is called The Forbes, so many cute designs on their website http://www.funiwear.com

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