Just because you’ve had a baby doesn’t mean you can’t have a strong, flat tummy. Get rid of your baby belly with some simple effective basics….
Whether you had a baby yesterday or 10 years ago, you may notice a little belly bulge that just won’t shift, no matter what you do. Believe it or not your everyday tasks may be the very thing that is making it worse and your traditional tummy exercises could be pushing you farther from the flat tummy you desire.
That’s because your protruding tummy may be the consequence of a diastasis, a separation of the outermost abdominal muscles that sometimes occurs during pregnancy.
This separation doesn’t always disappear after you have given birth and, left untreated, can leave you suffering from backaches long after your babies have grown up.
Regaining abdominal strength is crucial for tummy & back support helping you deal with the many strenuous daily activities experienced over the years of motherhood.
Basic, functional daily exercises and safety tips will not only protect your back during day-to-day activities, they can also help to flatten your tummy over time.
Functional Moves – movements of daily living.
Taking care of your baby & toddler requires lifting, twisting and bending, all of which can make an abdominal separation bigger, especially as your baby gets heavier and heavier!
Learning how to lift, twist and bend correctly will help protect your back and tummy now and forever.
Move correctly in future with these simple, superb tips:
1) Sit in a supportive chair and practice your pelvic floor and abdominal hug ins while you feed (see below for instructions)
2) Use a breastfeeding pillow to bring the baby close to your breasts so you don’t slouch. (Bottle-feeding mums will benefit from this too.)
3) If you feel stiff afterwards, do a Standing Pelvic Tilt (see below)
Wearing a baby carrier or sling
When using a front baby carrier your baby’s weight can pull your abdominal muscles apart. It is essential you learn to activate and use your tummy muscles correctly to be able to support yourself and the weight of your baby in the carrier. It is also a good idea to wear an abdominal splint if you have one.
Baby Slings allow you to shift the baby’s weight from side to side; if you alternate which side you sit the baby each time you use it, you can avoid any unbalanced postural changes.
Getting out of bed
1) Hold your belly button in to your spine and roll over on your side into a fetal position without lifting your head.
2) Swing both legs over the side of the bed at the same time, and use your arms to help you sit up (your head should be the last thing up).
3) Put both feet on the floor and stand up.
Lifting your baby from the floor
1) To pick your baby or toddler up off the floor, perform a lunging maneuver & get down on one knee, drawing your belly button in as you do so.
2) Pick up your baby and place him/her baby on your front thigh.
3) Lift your baby up to your shoulder. Holding the baby with one hand, place the other hand on your front thigh for support as you stand.
Lifting your baby from their car seat
1) To get your baby out of his/her car seat, sit next to them, draw your belly button in to your spine at the same time as lifting them onto your lap.
2) Swing both feet onto the ground outside of the car and hold your tummy in as you stand up with the baby held close to your chest. DO NOT HOLD YOUR BREATHE AS YOU HOLD YOUR TUMMY IN – use your muscles.
Lifting your baby in and out of their buggy
1) Bend your knees and squat in front of your buggy to slide your baby in or out.
As important as it is to breathe correctly when you exercise – it’s vitally important to breathe correctly by drawing in your abdominal muscles before you perform a regular daily activity, such as picking up your baby.
By correctly, we mean using the transversus abdominis muscle (“the transverse”). This is the innermost muscle that wraps around your abdomen and back like a corset. Strengthening the transverse muscle protects your back and gives your belly a flatter appearance. To get the best results you need to learn, and be able, to isolate this muscle. Here are a few tips to help you learn to do this:
1) The action of the transverse abdominis is front to back.
2) Its main function is to flatten the tummy (and in doing so narrows your waist!)
3) Imagine it as a sideways elevator with six floors.
4) Take a deep breath in and expand your tummy as you fill your lungs with air.
5) Exhale to empty your lungs and as you do so, bring your tummy muscles back toward your spine to the “sixth floor.”
6) Hold this position before you do any lifting exercises or exercise without holding your breath
1) ABDOMINAL HUG INS
Sit cross-legged with your back against the sofa or some soft support. Ensure your shoulders are in line with your hips and place both hands on your tummy.
As you inhale, expand your tummy out to the first floor, then exhale as you bring your belly button back to the fifth floor.
Hold this position, relaxing your jaw and shoulders and then count out loud up to 30.
Finish with 5 little squeezes toward the sixth floor from the fifth and then end with 1 full breath in and out to the first floor.
Repeat this sequence 10 times.
2) BELLY DANCING
In the same position as above, place one hand under your ribs and one below your bully button.
As you inhale, expand your tummy out to the first floor, then exhale & bring your belly button to the third floor (about halfway between first and sixth), keep your shoulders relaxed.
Count out loud as you bring your belly button back to the fifth floor.
Squeeze and hold there, bringing your ribs together.
Bring your belly button back to the third floor and repeat in a forward and back pulsing motion, count your reps out loud.
Work up to 100 reps morning, noon and night.
3) STANDING PELVIC TILTS
Stand with your knees bent, feet hip-width apart & place your hands on your upper thighs, resting your upper-body weight on your arms.
Stick your buttocks out to flatten your back.
Inhale, and exhale as you draw your belly button in to fifth floor and pull your pubic bone toward your navel, pointing your tailbone down.
Hold for a count of 5, then return to the flat-back position.
Do 10 tilts.
4) LOWER BACK STRETCHES
Lie on your back, arms straight, palms down, knees bent, feet flat on the floor and heels close to your buttocks.
Draw your belly button in, keeping your feet on the floor, roll your knees to one side.
Look over the opposite shoulder as you take 10 breaths.
Hold your belly button in and keep your feet on the floor as you bring your knees to the opposite side and repeat.