- Photos and Story SUPPLIED.

It must be the year of the “Bulaliciou­s Bambinos” as we are excited to have another one of our wonderful Ambassador­s welcoming a new bundle of joy this year. The Bulaliciou­s team caught up with Brittany Coates, former Fijiana representa­tive, who is currently living in New Zealand with partner Seta Tamanivalu and their latest edition to their family. We wanted to find out how Brittany is finding life as a new mum and having been active and played internatio­nal sport for so long how she is coping with keeping fit and active with a her new baby.

Congratula­tion on the safe arrival of your baby boy, what is his name? Roderick Ben Naketeni Tamanivalu

How old is he now and how much does he weigh? He is 3 months old and currently weighs 6.6kg

How has your everyday routine changed now that Ricky is here? It has changed a lot. Ricky comes first now and every day and night revolves around him. It’s a big change for me as I’m someone who likes to be productive and get lots of things done in a day, however some days I feel like I have done nothing. On days where I feel frustrated that I didn’t get out of the house or didn’t exercise, I remind myself not to be too hard on myself and that I am doing something... and that’s raising our son. You were a very active and health conscious person before having a baby, are you out and about yet? In the initial weeks post birth I would get out for a walk most days with Ricky, my partner or family or friends. From around 8 weeks postpartum I began doing small body weight workouts at home and with friends maybe twice a week and continued with walks. I am hoping to build the intensity and duration of my workouts as my body gets stronger. I am not rushing though as I understand my body is still recovering.

Was Ricky a natural birth or c-section and how has this affected your body? I had a natural birth with Ricky. I am really pleased with how I am recovering from birth. I am now focussing on strengthen­ing my pelvic floor muscles and core. I am getting treatment on my back from a chiropract­or and massage therapist as it has been giving me grief from pregnancy, birth and now breastfeed­ing.

How do you plan to stay active with a newborn? I try to make it work, whether I do a work out while Ricky is asleep in bed, or if I take him for a walk in the pram or front pack. What is your advice for new mums who are wanting to get back exercising after childbirth but worried? Don’t rush and don’t put pressure on yourself to exercise like crazy straight away. Understand that your body has been through a lot of changes, so don’t expect that once your baby is out that you will go back to how you were pre-pregnancy immediatel­y. It will take time to build strength and fitness again. A fun way to get motivated I have found is to work out with friends or other mums.

How do you feel pregnancy changed you both physically and mentally, if at all? Physically my body has changed a lot. I have lost muscle mass and tone and gained some extra fat from being pregnant, however I try to embrace this as much as I can and have goals to get fit again. I feel physically weaker compared to when I was playing rugby, however mentally stronger from my pregnancy experience and birth. I have gained more mental strength from the challenges of being a mum.

What are you looking forward to adding back into your diet now that Ricky is here? Coffee for sure. However I still have to be mindful of what I am eating and drinking as I am breastfeed­ing Ricky.

Has your overall outlook on life changed now that you are a mum? YES. Ricky is my everything now and I love him so much, I feel so blessed and grateful to be his mother. I have a whole new respect for all mothers and parents, especially mine. I am more grateful for my upbringing and admire those who have more than 1 child!! How do they do it?

How are you ensuring that you are re-charged and well slept now that Ricky is here? I try my best to eat a healthy well balanced diet, drink water and I also take a daily multi-vitamin and probiotic. I drink plenty of smoothies as a quick and easy way to consume my daily intake of fruit and vegetables. Sleep deprivatio­n has been a huge challenge for me since having Ricky. Its hard to describe until you experience it for yourself and mums out there will know what I am talking about. One way to help combat this has been to express milk so that my partner or a family member can feed Ricky the bottle while I catch up on some sleep. Otherwise I just make sure I catch some sleep when Ricky sleeps. Since 11 weeks old Ricky has started to sleep much better through the night which means I am getting more shut eye too.

What healthy lifestyle choices are you hoping to instil into your new baby boy? We hope to encourage him to be active and enjoy adventure and the outdoors.

Do you feel body confident post pregnancy? Yes. This confidence comes from within myself, but also from my family and friends. They make me feel positive and confident about my body. My partner always encourages me to be confident and compliment­s my post-pregnancy body which is always nice to hear.

What is the key to ensuring new mums feel confident? Family is really important. I find my mum is so helpful to talk to as well as other mum friends. I also believe that everyone will give you advice and I just take in what I want to. One piece of advice I use to give me confidence is that “you are the mum and you know your child best”. I have had many times where I have not felt confident breastfeed­ing in public however with time I am getting more confident which means I can enjoy outings much more.

Were there any exercises you did for your core that assisted you during pregnancy? Not particular­ly, I just did pregnancy yoga and really enjoyed it as it helped with my strength and flexibilit­y but also eased my mind of any anxiety’s I had about the birth. I highly recommend pregnancy yoga and massage.

What are you top 5 tips to staying fit and healthy post pregnancy? 1) Eat plenty of fruits & vegetables 2) Drink lots of water 3) Sleep when you can 4) Aim to do some kind of light exercise most days 5) Enjoy motherhood and embrace the precious moments with your baby Everyone’s experience after childbirth is a magical and unique one so whatever stage you are after giving birth be sure to go at your own pace, listen to your body and when you feel like you are ready start with light- moderate exercises such as walking daily to build up your strength. The more energy you have and the fitter you eventually become will allow you to spend more time running around with your little one as they begin to grow and the adventures begin.

Loloma Levu, The Bulaliciou­s Activewear Team

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