Every woman wants to feel like she could walk a runway even those who have just given birth! So who better to offer up the gold rules for dressing the postpartum figure than Project Runway's Tim Gunn. I had the chance to chat with the cohost and Chief Executive Officer for Liz Claiborne after he hosted a Weight Watchers fashion show. Check out his pointers for selecting flattering and appropriate outfits!
Couples who really rang in 2010, may find themselves carting around a new bundle of joy this year! While there are lots of perks to having an Autumn baby, mom might have a hard time squeezing back into her party clothes to celebrate the holidays. Here are five fashion tips to help a postpartum mama feel festive!
A baby is an incredible gift so mothers don't usually mind the physical price they have to pay for getting the adorable bundle of joy. But, the postpartum bodily changes can still be a bit shocking so here's a peek at what a mama-to-be can expect and how she can cope with the aftermath of pregnancy and birth.
10 Postpartum Body Surprises
Body Changes a Woman Doesn't Expect
The Shape of a Mother
Budget-Friendly and Flattering Postpartum Tops
The Mom Body Wardrobe
Shirts to Camouflage Muffin Top
Bring It Up! Instant Breast Lifts ($24) are disposable adhesive strips that are applied to the top of the breast to provide up to six inches of lift for A through D cup sizes. Worn on their own, or under a bra, the strips give the girls the perfect heave-ho. Would you add them to your post-baby arsenal?
It's cuter on a cupcake, but sometimes it also comes with being a mom — muffin top! In their pre-baby days, many women don't have to worry about the flesh that spills over the waistbands of their pants or skirts, but it can be an issue after. We rounded up some chic options for camouflaging the motherly midsection, but now we've got budget-friendly finds for flattering the belly!
It's cuter on a cupcake, but sometimes it also comes with being a mom — muffin top! In their pre-baby days, many women don't have to worry about the flesh that spills over the waistbands of their pants or skirts, but it can be an issue after. Camouflage the motherly mid-section will one of these five fabulous (and stylish) finds.
Bodies change especially after giving birth! From excess skin to ample cushion, post-delivery bodies continue to evolve. Here are a couple more surprises that moms might see.
- Broken blood vessels: Mamas who had particularly hard labors may find their eyes bloodshot and their faces scattered with broken blood vessels after their lil one arrives. Extended periods of pushing can cause tiny capillaries in the eyes, face, and chest to burst with visible results. In most cases, the red marks subside within a few days.
- Dry skin: There's a reason experienced moms tell expectant ladies to pack lip balm. Between deep breathing and pushing, a laboring mama's lips may dry out. After delivery, nursing moms often find their skin particularly dry as the body uses excess moisture for milk production.
- Hair loss: Remember that beautiful flowing mane of hair you tossed around throughout your pregnancy? Be prepared to say goodbye to those extra strands and then some. The roller coaster of postpartum hormones can cause hair to fall out, leaving many mamas with hairline wisps.
- Bigger feet: The swelling you experienced during pregnancy may have subsided, but your four-inch stilettos may not fit again. Many women find their feet grow up to half a size during their pregnancies, with no signs of shrinking afterward.
- Better body: Some postpartum bodies shrink back to their pre-pregnancy form or end up being stronger and fitter than they were before.
Moms spend a lot of time in the car shuttling their kids around. Instead of sinking into the driver's seat, throw in a workout and improve your posture in the carpool lane! Our friends over at Equinox set me up with Amy Fiske, an NSCA-certified personal trainer, who is helping me get back in shape. Here is the routine she recommends:
When your car is parked, take a minute to do this workout. It may help relieve some tension in your spine!
Steering Wheel Shoulder Retraction (12 repetitions)
This exercise can relieve tension in the shoulders. Place your hands on the steering wheel and pull back through the shoulders as if you are cracking an egg between your shoulder blades. Hold for 10 seconds.
Seated Rotation (4 repetitions, right and left)
This exercise can release tension in the middle of the back. Sit up tall with your feet on the floor, directly below your knees. Place your left hand on the outside of your right thigh and reach back with your right hand. Sit tall as you turn (imagine a string pulling you up through the crown of your head). You can use your hands as levers to increase the stretch. Stretch to a comfortable position, hold for 10-15 seconds, and repeat on the other side.
Inner Thigh Squeeze (16 repetitions)
This exercise can encourage correct knee positioning and engage inner thigh muscles (abductors). Sit tall and place a tennis ball between your thighs and squeeze to engage the inner thighs. Hold for 10 seconds.
Hip Hike (8 repetitions, right and left)
This exercise can help strengthen the oblique abdominals and help stabilize the pelvis. Sit tall, draw the navel in, and extend through the spine. Focus on lifting one hip up toward the ribs, hold for 10 seconds and release. Repeat on the other side.
The morning school run is a mad dash for mama! Throwing a workout in the mix helps her burn calories and the kids get to class on time. Our friends over at Equinox set me up with Amy Fiske, an NSCA-certified personal trainer, who is helping me get back in shape. Here is the routine she recommends for the walk to school.
Warm up: Start with a slow walk and work into a brisk walk for a light workout (5 to 10 minutes).
Main: Walk briskly or jog for 1 to 2 minutes, 1 to 2 blocks (or judge by landmarks like 3 light posts). Then slow down for 1 to 2 minutes or 1 to 2 blocks. Then repeat the rotation. This part of the workout should be physically challenging and make it hard to hold a conversation.
Cool down: Wind down your jog or brisk walk into a slow walk for a light workout (5 to 10 minutes).
Once you feel comfortable, try increasing the workout's intensity by:
- Adding a sprint finish in the last leg to make it to school before the bell
- Wear your child’s backpack to add more weight and increase resistance
- On the way home, add in some hill work. Pick a challenging hill and walk briskly up it and then slowly walk down it. Then, repeat. You can start with one repetition and build up depending on your fitness level.
If you are postpartum get your doctor's clearance before exercising. If you are "out of shape", take things at your own pace and build up your endurance slowly. Rest when necessary so you don't feel winded. Make sure to warm up for at least 5 to 10 minutes before you physically challenge yourself. Your cardio session can be 15 to 30 minutes depending on your commute to school! If you are pushing a stroller, keep good posture by lifting the chest and not rounding the shoulders. Make sure you spend time stretching at the end of your workout to prevent muscle soreness and injury.
Motherhood is a balancing act so a BOSU balance trainer ($130) is an appropriate device for moms to use when they are fighting the postpartum pounds! Our friends over at Equinox set me up with Amy Fiske, an NSCA-certified personal trainer, who is helping me get back in shape. Here are some of the BOSU exercises she recommends.
BOSU Hip Raise
(Targets the glutes and hamstrings)
Lie face up with your knees bent and feet flat on the BOSU. Raise your hips up toward the ceiling by squeezing your glutes and pressing down through your heels. Try to imagine a straight line going from the top of your knees to your shoulders. Hold for a few seconds and then return to your starting position.
(This targets the core)
Lay flat on your stomach, position your elbows under the shoulders on top of the BOSU, then curl your toes under and push your body up by resting your weight on your elbows and tightening your torso. This can be done by pulling your navel in toward your spine so your hips don’t sag. Your body should be in a straight line from head to heels. The neck should be kept in-line with the rest of the spine. Keep breathing naturally throughout the exercise. Hold for about 30 seconds. Make the exercise less challenging by holding this position on your knees or by placing your forearms on an elevated surface. Make it more of a challenge by adding in a leg lift.