Living in Arizona, I’ve grown to fall in love with the many trails the state has to offer. I was pregnant during the typical “hiking season” here but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to hit the trails postpartum. Turns out, postpartum hiking is not only great for my body but also great for my mind and reevaluating my mindset. Here are a few tips to help you with your first time hiking postpartum before you hit the trails.
Start Small & Easy
As much as you want to dive right in, take your first hike slow and easy. Choose a trail that was easy for you to do before you were pregnant. If you’re going to be hiking with your little one(s), you will need to account for any extra time needed to feed baby, change diapers, and take water breaks. Your body will thank you for not jumping right in on a 5+ mile hike in the end.
For my first postpartum hike, I decided to walk the Riparian Reserve. Though I really wanted to tackle the Hieroglyphic Trail again, I’m glad I opted for something easier. I’ve done this trail many times before and knew my body could handle it with ease. I did babywear for a bit and my hips were definitely feeling the burn. Thankfully, I had my husband there to help out and take turns with little man.
Trust your body. If something feels off, it possibly could be. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself right after having a baby. With my first son, I went too hard after having him and tore open my c-section incision. This put me back weeks before I could try anything physical again. It is so important to take time to heal and prevent injuries.
Dress For Your Postpartum Body
This is probably THE MOST important tip I can give you. After you have a baby your body is not how it was prenatal. You have loose skin, a flabby belly, and your joints and ligaments are super loose and stretched out from birthing. This is hard for many moms, including myself, to accept that your body hasn’t “bounced back” immediately. Check out the tips below to help you feel more comfortable and empowered in your own skin.
You probably won’t be able to squeeze back into those super slim leggings right away and that’s okay. You should be positive and look for something that fits you at the moment. Find a pair of leggings that give you great abdominal support and that aren’t cutting into your midsection. The added support will help keep your loose hips from feeling so wobbly.
Don’t be afraid or ashamed to grab a larger comfy shirt. I personally love my adidas OP Art Tank Top which has a racerback cut and a loose fit. The Climalite fabric is super soft and wicks away sweat which is a must for hiking. Not to mention this particular shirt is made with recycled polyester aka helping the Earth making it a win-win in my book!
It’s no secret that when you breastfeed, your chest grows quite a bit. You don’t want to potentially hurt your milk supply by wearing a sports bra that’s too small. I always make a note to purchase new, larger sports bras after having a baby. Having a large chest like I do, may seem like a difficult task to conquer but adidas has you covered. I snagged this All Me Printed Bra in an XL and it fits like a charm. It’s supportive without being too tight and I can still burse wearing with. Score!
Along with your loose hips come loose feet. Your ankles, toes, joints, and ligaments in your feet are not the most sturdy right now. Make it a point to invest in a good pair of shoes to hike in. I have several different pairs for different trails. For this particular trail, my adidas Edge Lux 2 shoes were my shoe of choice. They’re breathable, have a BOUNCE cushioning insole, and most importantly, support my feet. Oh and be sure to check your shoe size as most women’s feet grow while pregnant!
This may sound silly but as a new breastfeeding mom again, you are always hungry and ALWAYS thirsty. You already need a lot of water for the hike itself so don’t forget to have even more than normal so your supply doesn’t dip. You could even throw in a sports drink in addition to your water if needed. As for snacks, pack something light but nutritious. This can be fruit, a protein bar, crackers, peanut butter etc. The last thing you want is to become weak with a low supply from the lack of calories.
Hiking requires endurance, strength, and a positive mental head space to tackle the journey ahead. My hardest task is accepting the way my body looks in photos postpartum so I usually have to mentally snap myself back into focus. I just had a baby, my body is still recovering. Once, I get that out of the way, I try to fully embrace the hike.
It doesn’t matter if you make it to the end of the trail or not, take the photos and enjoy conquering your first postpartum hike as a new mom.