PARENTS

Why Dieting And Newborn Babies Don't Mix!

27/02/2015 10:47 | Updated 20 May 2015

Mother resting with her baby

Sitting up in bed at 5am, breastfeeding my seven-week-old baby, there are certain things I don't want to have to think about.

The washing-up, the fact that my three-year-old could wake for the day before I get any more sleep...and weight loss.

But, scrolling through Facebook on my phone as my baby boy guzzled away, I was confronted with an image that made me gasp out loud

Because there, in my newsfeed, was a photo of Gone Girl actress Rosamund Pike wearing a white cut-out gown at the Golden Globes the night before.

Just five weeks after having a baby boy.

So like me, she'd just given birth to her second child. Unlike me, there was no squashy sign of new motherhood on her very exposed body.

You could see her slim back, curvy waist and pert cleavage. I honestly didn't know where to look first.

If I'd put on that dress, it'd be all muffin tops and milk stains. Which is normal, right? It's healthy.

But Rosamund looked like, well, a movie star.

Rosamund Pike

Worse, the photo caption commented on how amazing she was for losing her baby weight so quickly.

I actually blinked my sleep-deprived eyes and looked again in case I'd misread it.

But I'd been right. A quick Google showed a whole array of news posts applauding Rosamund for how quickly she 'snapped back'.

Just the phrase makes me shudder. Because that's not the mum I am, nor the one I want to be.

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As a new mum, there are a lot of things I need to do. Feed the baby, change his nappy, find time to eat...and maybe even shower once in a while. Losing weight doesn't even make it into my top 10.

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But it can be hard for the average mum not to compare herself to celebs who invariably have help achieving a level of weight loss that's unrealistic for the rest of us. Lots of women look up to celebs and want to emulate them.

"I had to work hard to lose my baby weight," says mum of two Natalie. "After having my youngest I have to admit I'd Google pictures of celebrity mums who'd lost weight and torture myself wondering how they'd done it."

Personally, I don't want to know how she did it. The first six weeks after having a baby is an unpredictable period of recovery. It's a wonderful, but exhausting, time when you've got a tiny person relying on you 24/7. A time to be kind to yourself – and your body.

With all those demands, plus the joys of stitches, sore nipples and Caesarean scars to deal with, you've simply got to eat. After pregnancy and childbirth it's important to get enough protein, carbohydrates and iron for your mood and energy levels. That matters more to me than counting calories.

Rebecca, mum of three, agrees: "'Real life' new mums rarely have the money to pay for the nannies, beauty products or fitness regimes that must be used by these women," she says. "Besides which, surely the most important thing to be doing in the first few weeks of your baby's life is to be looking after their needs and bonding with them. It is a tough but magical time."

If I were to follow in the footsteps of any A-lister, it would be someone like Kate Winslet, who refused to bow to the pressure of being a skinny new mum.

"There's a big part of me-now, more than ever before-that feels a sense of responsibility for how other women view themselves," she recently told Harper's Bazaar. "Take having the baby, for instance. Have I actively been on a diet to lose my baby weight? No, I haven't. I genuinely bloody haven't. I so didn't want to be one of those, 'Oh, wow, she's back in shape after 12 weeks' women. When I read things like that I just think, oh, for f--k's sake, that's actually impossible."

I couldn't agree more. In fact, just a few days ago I turned down an invite to an important work do to stay home and look after my baby.

Sure, it wasn't the Golden Globes but that isn't the point. Motherhood is a great equaliser. Whoever you are, your newborn baby needs you and your body to be healthy, first and foremost.

So I'm going to continue to eat when I'm hungry.

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Instead of looking at the scales to see if I've shrunk, I'll watch my baby grow. After all, seeing him smile makes me happier than any skimpy dress ever could.

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