Mother and Baby

'You don't have to punish your body' and 4 other tips for feeling body confident now you're a mum

Section: New mum fitness

You’ve just had a baby – congratulations! Your body has done something amazing and grown a human, so how do we celebrate this and learn to love our new post-baby body instead of feeling like we need to immediately 'snap back' into shape?

Here are five tips to body confidence for new mums, from the only mum host on Channel 4’s Naked Beach, Molly Forbes:

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1) Take your time

It took nine months for your body to grow a baby, so give it time to settle down after the incredible thing it’s just done. Stretchmarks, a wobbly tummy, weight gain, bleeding, sore boobs – these are all completely normal things that many new mums experience.
Taking time to give yourself some love in these early days is important for both your body and your mind. Instead of pulling at your tummy or feeling frustrated that your old jeans don’t fit, try having a bath and taking some time to pamper your amazing body and thank it for what it’s done instead.
Trust your body to know what it needs, both in terms of what you’re eating and the activity and exercise you feel like doing. Time is the biggest gift you can give yourself right now.
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2) Hide your old clothes

Many new mums see being able to fit into their pre-pregnancy clothes as a mark of pride. But the truth is, our bodies aren’t always meant to look the same and the changes in your body are proof of the amazing thing it’s just done!

Put away any of your old clothes that don’t fit so they’re not a constant reminder that your body no longer looks the same. Instead of spending energy trying to force your body into these clothes put some energy into finding some new ones that make you feel good. And when you try these new clothes on, take a moment to close your eyes and feel what they’re like on your body before you assess how you look.
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3) Spend time naked

Do your naked homework! Research shows spending time naked and getting to know your body properly can make you feel better in your skin, so don’t rush to cover up as soon as you’ve got out of the shower.

Even if it’s just taking some time to rub in some creams after a bath or sleeping with fewer layers on at night, these are all great ways to get used to your new body. Plus, they can be a really lovely bonding experience with your baby and opportunity for skin to skin – and looking your gorgeous baby will act as another reminder of the amazing thing your body has done.
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4) Diversify your social media feeds

We all know comparison is the thief of joy, yet we all do it. But often the bodies we’re comparing ourselves to aren’t even real images. They’ve been digitally altered to fit a narrow idea of what is “beautiful”.

To counteract all these messages, spend some time looking up body positive accounts on social media. Instagram can be a brilliant place to see a diverse range of body types that reflect the reality of the huge range of bodies in real life.
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5) Move your body for joy

Often the advice for new mums to find body confidence is to change their body, but if you find activities you enjoy doing rather than activities you feel you should be doing, you’re far more likely to stick to them.
Moving your body for joy is a brilliant way to connect with it and appreciate it for all it does, and it can be a really important factor in keeping mentally healthy too. You don’t have to punish your body with a gruelling HIIT session.
Try some gentle postnatal yoga, or even just go for a walk in the fresh air with your new baby. Once you start appreciating your body for what it can do over what it looks like you’ll be one step closer to feeling good in your skin and, ultimately really loving it.


Molly Forbes is currently starring on C4's Naked Beach Thursday's at 8pm. Check out her podcast Body Cons podcast with Lottie Storey for more inspiring chats about body image @bodyconspodcast

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