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Postpartum: Perception vs. Reality

Perception: I can’t wait to get back into my pre-pregnancy clothes and look cute in small shirts again! I’m packing up my maternity clothes the second I get home from the hospital.

Reality: Hahahaha!!!

So….not only do I weigh more now than I did before pregnancy, but my body is a completely different shape (who would’ve thought, right?). I packed up the maternity clothes after a week or so just out of principle, but I’m not exactly rocking my old stuff either. Shirts no longer fit the same way they used to and I only have 2 pairs of jeans that I can actually button. My post-pregnancy wardrobe looks pretty much the same as my last days of pregnancy wardrobe: running/yoga pants and loose-fitting tops. I am scared for my return to work.

Amelia Lynne 28Even when I manage to get myself into a nice top, I’m still rocking yoga pants on the bottom

Related: I can’t wait to bundle up in all my cozy sweaters!

Reality: Sweaters and multiple layers aren’t exactly the most practical clothing items when a baby needs to eat every two hours. Sure, I’d love to snuggle up in a warm cozy sweater, but I’m more about practicality these days than anything else.

Perception: I’ll have lots of downtime relaxing on the couch with a baby on my chest and a good book in my hands.

Reality: I won’t pretend that I haven’t spent a large part of my maternity leave so far on our couch (it’s my favorite spot in the house), and I’ve definitely gotten my fair share of baby snuggles. But – a lot of that time on the couch is spent feeding her, entertaining her, or trying to coax her to sleep. I suppose I could be better about making myself sit down to read when she is napping, but it always seems like there’s so much else to do.

Perception: Since I’ll be home all day, I’ll have lots of time to blog/exercise/pick up a new hobby.

Reality: True, newborns sleep a lot but it isn’t always in long continuous chunks. During those first two weeks, I had to wake her up to eat and was convinced that I had the easiest baby in the entire world. Now she’s snapped out of that newborn haze and wants to be entertained. I’m not saying she’s a difficult baby by any means, but she is a baby. And she doesn’t care too much about my schedule or plans for the day.

IMG 5242Don’t even think you’re going to get away with putting me down for one second!

Plus, I don’t really have much to blog about anyway. I’m not training for anything (do you want to read about my super exciting walks on the treadmill?) and my life isn’t very interesting at the moment — well, unless you all are interested in learning about Amelia’s developmental milestones (guys – she stuck her tongue out at me the other day! Can you believe it? She’s pretty much a genius!).

IMG 5230Oh don’t mind the exposed gears…it’s the only way to get my super fancy treadmill to work without sounding like it’s going to fall apart

Perception: I ran most of the way through my pregnancy, so I’m sure I’ll bounce back super fast and start running before long. I’ll go crazy if I have to wait a full 6 weeks!!

Reality: Well, things don’t always go quite the way we had planned. I’m 5.5 weeks out and still haven’t run a single step (well, once I ran down the hall – does that count??). More surprisingly — I miss it less than I expected. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a huge part of me that wants to run again. I think about it all the time, and dream about running almost every single night (no lie – I’m either on a run or running to get somewhere in most of my dreams lately). But…there’s also this big part of me that has really enjoyed the downtime. It’s kind of nice to have an excuse not to run, train, or lose that baby weight. Once I start working out, that’s it — the vacation is over. I know I’ll want to get back into some sort of training and will be itching to see results. So for now, I’m soaking up my last few days of having a built in excuse to park my butt on the couch for hours every day.

Perception: I’m going to go running with Amelia the second I’m able to! I can’t wait for stroller runs with my little buddy!

Reality: I’m still excited about running with her (since, technically speaking, I haven’t gone for a run without her in almost a year now). We have the car seat adapter for our BOB stroller so I could take her for runs right away. However, this weather has been awful! It’s not like we don’t take our baby out in the cold — I figure she’s got to get used to it since we live in Vermont and all. But there’s a limit to what I feel comfortable doing. And it’s easier to take her outside when she’s in the K’tan, cuddled up against me than in the stroller. (Is there a baby wrap meant for running?? I kid, I kid).

DSC 0269Sort of hard to push the stroller through all this snow…

PLUS — I’m kinda sorta (okay, really) looking forward to the time alone. I love my baby. So very much. But I’m with her almost every second of every day. The few times I’ve left her with other people have been liberating. It’s amazing how appealing a trip to the grocery store alone is right now. And I think that when I do start running again, I’m going to really love that time I get to spend by myself. Even if it is for only 20 painful minutes.

Speaking of which — how exactly do you manage to run with a newborn when you’re the only one at home?? We have a crappy treadmill that doesn’t really work at higher speeds, but I’m sure I could push it if I really wanted to. But even then…she doesn’t take predictable or long naps yet and we don’t have a baby monitor (our house is small, she still sleeps in our room at night, etc etc). I suppose maybe it’s time to invest in one?

Running mamas who use a baby stroller — how cold is too cold to take your baby out on a run in the stroller? I’m talking for short periods of time. I can’t imagine I’ll be doing long runs anytime soon.

41 Responses to Postpartum: Perception vs. Reality

  1. Her eyes — omg she is just so cute!!

    My perspective on maternity leave was different with each kid. With my oldest I felt like the time alone dragged on FOREVER. With my youngest I felt like we didn’t get enough time. I did enjoy the break from working out though.

    You will get back to your pre-pregnancy self. I swear things will fit again. Things might stay slightly shifted, but the new you is even better!
    Michelle´s last post ..#16

  2. I used to run on the treadmill while my son napped. When they are really little, it’s easier because they take multiple naps a day. I would set up the monitor on the treadmill and run during one nap, and the next time he slept I would shower, and if he napped again I would take care of other things.

    Basically: a lot of treadmill running combined with taking advantage of naps. You may get interrupted if she wakes up, but you’ll have to get used to it. :-) If your husband starts his work day later, once the baby is into a little bit of a routine (maybe in another month) you can go for a run in the morning after you feed her and before he leaves for work.

    It can be done! :-)

    • Yeah…I know flexibility is going to be key. Her naps aren’t really predictable at the moment, but right now I’ve been wearing her and walking on the treadmill for as long as she’ll let me. So if I get a monitor, I hope to be able to do the same when I start running again! Once she gets into more of a routine, I know it’ll be easier (I’m fine with either waking up to run early or doing it in the evenings).

  3. This is one of the reasons we still use the video monitor – so I can see him from the treadmill.
    And I walked w him a fair amt in a carrier at first, then got a zip-up stroller liner that is PLUSH. he still uses it @ 3.5.
    When I worked in daycare, we took the kids out for 20-30 min per day for fresh air & sunshine. Start w 15-20 & see how you both do!

    • We walk with the carrier a lot. I’ve thought about getting a zip-up liner for the car seat/stroller…right now we just bundle with blankets. She’s always seemed fine — I think it’s just me being more nervous than I need to be!

  4. My best friend had here baby in August this past year and she is able to fit in runs in the AM. She started running after 6 weeks (she had a vaginal birth) and since it was nice weather she could run outside. Winter is tough cause its cold, especially in the AM. Speaking again from just her experience, she would take the baby out in the cold for runs sometime (but not the freezing temps we have been having). I think she stuck to about 30F or above and the baby was always bundled up. She worried he would not be warm enough but he was always snug as a bug in a rug lol! So I am sure you will figure out your schedule and hopefully the weather will start to get nicer so you can at least maybe try a stroller run if you dont have another option!
    J´s last post ..This is the end

    • Once her sleep is on more of a schedule (and more predictable!) I’m fine with getting up early in the morning to run. Right now it’s just tough because we never know how long she’s going to sleep at night (and so need to take advantage of the sleep when we can get it!!). But yes – these freezing temperatures make it tough to get outside. I’m looking forward to the weekend when we’re supposed to get a “heatwave” of 30+ degrees. ;)

  5. I actually didn’t start working out again after my first until she was 18 months old. I’m hoping to get back to it sooner with my 2nd! We have a treadmill now that I plan to use during naps with the monitor – or to find a sitter which again is something I didn’t do with my first. Some kids are content to hang out in their car seat with a toy for a bit (mine never was) so there’s always that option if that’s your little one’s personality. One thing about running with the BOB – you’re not supposed to run with it while using the car seat adapter. The higher center of gravity can cause it to tip easily.

    • Yeah I’ve heard some concerns about running with the infant adapter + BOB (but also know of many runners who have done it successfully). I think a lot of it has to do with the surface you’re running on. When I do finally go out with her, I plan on going slowly and only on smooth/paved surfaces. And of course won’t attempt it until I have pediatrician approval.

  6. Unfortunately, I have no advice to offer. But I just wanted to put in a vote of encouragement to continue posting even if you feel like they aren’t interesting/exciting. I’m newly pregnant (almost 9 weeks, first-timer) and am so glad to have discovered your blog. I’ve gone back through your earlier pregnancy posts and find them so helpful as I navigate running and exercise with these new changes. Also looking forward to reading everyone’s responses to your questions, since I’ve always wondered how to make running work with a new baby, too. From one public health-er to another, keep it up!

    ps: Amelia is gorgeous! Congrats!

  7. Cardigans.

    As for exercise with a newborn, with my first two kids we did the baby-friendly fitness class at our local Y until they could crawl. With all the others my hip was so bad by then that I just tried to make it through each day. Going up and down the stairs, grocery shopping and walking the older kids into school was my workout.

    I tried a running stroller with my first. After about 1.5 miles my hip was feeling so jacked that I had to stop. This was BEFORE my hip was problematic. Not being able to move my arms and upper body in a natural way led to poor running mechanics. The stroller ended up holding our coats in the front hall.

    Give yourself time and know that when you’re ready, it’s going to be AWESOME!
    MILF Runner´s last post ..Choosing the person who will cut into my body and saw a part off and put in something mechanical…

    • Yes! I live in cardigans (and zip-up hoodies) these days.

      So sorry to hear that running with the stroller messed up your hip. I’ve run a couple of times with my sister’s kid and it definitely felt weird to alter my form, but no real problems. Fingers crossed I’m able to run okay with Amelia.

  8. She is SO cute!

    Alone time is the exact reason I’m not a huge fan of stroller running. When he was an infant, he’d always cry. Now it’s “mommy out, playground, mommy faster, Wy hungry” blah blah. We need that me time so we can be good mommies.

    I’ve always gotten up and run before my husband goes to work. He goes in on the later side – 8am – so it’s pretty easy when your baby is an early riser. If Evan goes in early, can you run after he gets home? It’ll probably be a lot easier once there’s longer daylight hours though. You’ll figure it out. <3
    Jen´s last post ..I’m going to miss today

    • Evan’s work schedule depends on the day. The good part about this is that sometimes he works from home…so running will be easy on those days. But on the flip side, he travels a lot and leaves really early (/often gets home late) when he does. Plus with her not sleeping in any predictable pattern yet, it makes early AM workouts tough!! But…I know I’ll figure it out as I go. Once she’s on more of a schedule, I’m sure it’ll be a bit easier too.

  9. My kids are no longer babies anymore but when my kids are home I do my shorter run’s on the treadmill and my long run’s have to wait until either my hubby is available and home or I can talk some extended family into taking the kids for the better part of a day since the safe place for me to do my long run’s is a 45 minute drive.
    Jamie´s last post ..CVS Week of 1/26/14 – 2/1/14 ($2.92)

    • I think I’ll probably have to do something similar, which is fine. I probably won’t be doing any long runs for awhile anyway. :)

  10. I’ve been using the treadmill during the week while Violet naps. I set up the monitor while I run. I’m lucky that she goes back to sleep after her first feeding of the day so I run then. She’s unpredictable with sleep the rest of the day but I thankfully can count on her morning nap!
    Andrea @ The Fit Scoop´s last post ..10 minutes

    • Amelia is generally the sleepiest in the morning too. She’s still not very predictable during the day, but I think I could probably start taking advantage of that time after her first feeding. Just need to get myself a monitor!

  11. A video monitor is so nice. We’ve had a regular monitor for years but decided to splurge this year and buy an inexpensive video monitor so that I could run while my baby slept. I’m so glad that we ended up buying it!!
    Your little Amelia is beautiful and I love the snow pic of your dog.
    Angie @ A Mother’s Pace´s last post ..Bart Yasso’s Favorite Treadmill Workouts

    • Thank you! I think it’s time for us to splurge on a basic video monitor too. I was resistant at first, but now I keep thinking about how nice it would be to have one.

  12. joining the chorus- we love the video monitor. Mostly I just wanted to comment to say how cute Amelia is!

  13. My first was born last winter and I put her swaddled in the swing next to the treadmill when she was ready for a nap. The noise helped her fall asleep and I was right there to pop a soother back in. I did this often after 6 weeks until her naps were predictable enough that I knew I could run a minimum of 5 km before she would wake up.

    • Sounds like a great system! I’ve thought about doing something like that. Our treadmill is in the basement, but I may bring the bouncer down there and test it out.

  14. Amelia is SO CUTE! Those cheeks and eyes are just too much! Those early days are tough but before you know it, you’ll see her schedule patterns start to emerge and you with both get more consistent rest. It’s crazy to think that just a few months ago I was feeding Declan 8-12 times a day and only sleeping a few hours at a time. Now he sleeps through the night and feeds on pretty consistent 3 hour schedule during the day. Babies change SO fast!

    I have to say I still haven’t totally found my motivation to run as much as I did before. I think my whole world just shifted; I find myself just wanting to hang out with him during his awake hours. I’ve just recently (in the past month) starting running on my basement treadmill while he is napping in the afternoon (he’s 5 months). We invested in a nice treadmill (Precor 9.23) after he was born – we consider it our Christmas and birthday presents to each other for like the next two years! We’ve already gotten so much use out of it – my husband runs on it every morning before work. We moved our second TV down there – it’s a smart TV so we watch Netflix streaming while we run.

    Declan didn’t really starting consistently napping on somewhat of a schedule until he was about 3.5 months old. My husband is gone a lot for work, so I don’t have anyone to watch him either. When he was younger, I would wait until my husband came home at night and then go workout immediately after a feeding (he’s EBF). I still find I can’t run in the mornings because it’s too uncomfortable to wear a sports bra then! I have to wait until later in the day when my suppl drops a little.

    We don’t have a conventional baby monitor – we bought a $70 Foscam IP camera on Amazon and have wired to our modem. I have an app on my iPhone called Baby Monitor for IP Cameras and use it as the parent unit. It works out really well! I put my phone on the treadmill while I run so I can make sure he’s okay upstairs. Our basement is unfinished so it’s too cold down there in the winter for him to hang out and play.

    I also have a BOB with the carseat attachment but I’m too nervous to run with him in it (I am a rule follower to a fault!). I live on top of a giant hill so I can only walk with him when it’s not snowing or icy (which has been like, never since December). We are moving to Hawaii in March, so I am just waiting until then to run – he will be old enough and have enough head/core control to sit up in the stroller!

    (Sorry for the novel, I clearly don’t get to talk to many adults during the day so I save it all for blog comments, clearly!)

  15. She is adorable. I don’t know lots about babies, but I do know it’s been too cold here in VT for her to be outside for long. I don’t want to be outside, hopefully it warms up (20′s, 30′s) soon!
    christa´s last post ..A little bit of this and that

  16. So I have just been in your shoes…basically, my boys are 4 and 5 months old, but are adopted, so I wasn’t recovering. However, when I read this, it’s a complete flashback to when the boys were that old! I hardly ran at all at first and it was hard initially, then I just accepted it and knew it would come back to me. And it did :) As far as naps go, there was a time when I was at a complete lost for as to when or how the boys would get a regular nap time…and the likelihood that it would be synced….but it just happened and now it’s not perfect, but it gets better and better. As for monitors, I didn’t think I would want a video monitor, but friends talked me into it and I now love it. I have this one – http://www.amazon.com/Infant-Optics-Digital-Monitor-Vision/dp/B0052QYLUM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391047094&sr=8-1&keywords=infant+optics+baby+monitor. I chose it based on the price and reviews and figured it was the best buy and I love it. I can get on the treadmill, put my headphones on to watch something, and prop the monitor up so I can see if they wake up. I also have a play mat by our treadmill and bring them in there with me and they love it….they seem to just get mesmerized by the sound or motion or something. As for running with them, I started running with them and I love it. You sound like you might be a little more like my husband though, he wants his runs to be his time and has NO desire to run with them….whereas I love it and wish all my runs could be stroller runs :) I am struggling with the same thing with regard to the weather and it being too cold. They do sell a weather shield and I want to get it, but haven’t yet. So far, they seem okay in the 40s and I’m careful when it’s upper 30s and use sun and wind as my deciding factors. The boys love it though! Okay, sorry for the novel, but hope it was helpful :)

    I also have the K’tan and I love it, it’s one of my top recommendations for friends!
    Beth @ RUNNING around my kitchen´s last post ..Weekly recap & my first video

    • Thanks for the monitor recommendation!!

      In terms of stroller runs, I think I’ll want a mix. Maybe it didn’t come across in my post, but I’m super excited to run with her. I’ve been looking forward to stroller runs since I found out I was pregnant! :) However, I do appreciate the alone time too. I’ve missed the head-clearing a good run can give you.

  17. I would put my baby In his bouncy seat Or swing next to the treadmill and run, the noise I think even helped him sleep. He’s always liked white noise! Now that he’s older I put him in the exersaucer or jumperoo next to the treadmill. Don’t know what the next step is when he starts walking lol :-)
    Karen´s last post ..Months 1 through 5

  18. yes to all of these! especially about the baby not caring about your schedule or plans. when fiona actually takes a “long” nap i run around like a maniac trying to get things done. whoever said “sleep when they sleep” was an idiot. that’s the worst advice i ever heard!

    i do have a treadmill in my basement and whenever i can *predict* that fiona will sleep more than a half hour i put her in her bouncer while i run/walk. my eyes are constantly on her…waiting for the slightest peep. so not the zoned out, zen run i’m used to!

    i have the car seat adapter for the BOB too but it’s too cold and snowy here to head out outside. and, i agree with you, taking her running with me will only be out of necessity…i need that alone time!
    kristy´s last post ..Finally Here!

  19. I was the same way about running with the stroller. I did give it a try, but felt it extremely awkward to run without my arms. I also really liked the time to myself to just check out and run. It was the only time I had to myself some days! :-)
    Jessica Morrison´s last post ..27 Week Bumpdate (I Can’t Believe How Big I’m Getting!)

  20. Do you have access to a gym with daycare? That might be a good option. I am going to switch to a gym that has 2 hour per day daycare starting at 8 weeks old. You can run outside, too, not just at the gym.
    I am also debating getting a treadmill because I think in the initial months it will be easier to use that while the baby sleeps rather than take her out in the stroller.
    I love reading these posts because I am due in June and am learning a lot!

    • Not in my town but once I go back to work it’ll be easier. We have a gym at work and she’ll be in daycare, so I’ll be able to go in early or fit in a workout during lunch/after the workday. It’s just right now when I’m home alone with her that it’s a bit of a challenge!

      Congrats on your pregnancy. Hope things are going well!

  21. I set the swing up next to our basement treadmill. I waited until we weren’t using it much upstairs anymore, but he would still sleep in it during an evening nap. I’d say this worked from about 4-7 months but I’m actually not sure on those dates.
    Carlee´s last post ..A Long Overdue Update

  22. Life with a newborn = cluster f***

    I’ll have my 4th in April, and I’m not expecting anything that resembles “normal” for months. I remember once my other kids started sleeping through the night, I would do early morning workouts – it’s how I got hooked on exercise DVD’s – and then as they got older and more predictable, went for walks and runs outside.
    Jen@PregnantDiabetic´s last post ..Five Things Friday {9}

  23. I have a 2.5 year old and an 8 month old. I do a fair amount of treadmill running, but usually only after my husband gets home from work. Too hard to supervise what two kids are doing activity/ nap wise while down in the cellar running! Maybe when they start napping at the same time it will be easier.

    However I much prefer going out with my BOB, I started both kids in the stroller (without the car seat adapter) at 4 months. Slow runs of 2-4 miles. I also live in New England and go out in temps as low as 20 ( as long as the wind chill isn’t too bad). I just put them in their snow gear, zip them in a stroller blanket, and I always use my weather shields. The shield is key, it keeps them super toasty!

    Coming back from running was different with both kids, enjoy your little one!

    • Yeah I know that weather shield is going to be key! Unfortunately it’ll be a few more months before I can use it, since it doesn’t work with the car seat.

  24. i have no answers to any baby questions, but must say, I love your honesty. enjoy the time and running will always be there waiting for you!
    elizabeth´s last post ..King Cake Taste Testers Extraordinaire

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