New Zealand Sevens star Kayla McAlister is back training for the Black Ferns this week. But this time there's a special addition - baby daughter, Stella.

"She's a really good baby in terms of sleeping. She sleeps right through for me. I get up, give her her bottle, straight to training," McAlister syas. "Normally she is asleep in the morning session. When she wakes up, she just stays in the pram and watches us."

McAlister, who is married to rugby player Pita Ahki, gave birth to her daughter just five months ago.

Now she's back training full-time with the Black Ferns Sevens, with the hope of representing New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games next year.


"Having the series off last year, and seeing the girls do so well again, getting back on top and winning - it just made me more motivated to get back into the environment.

"Bringing Stella along has never felt like a burden, it's a family environment and everyone has been supportive. It's great to be back!"

Kayla says she's lucky to have the support of her family and teammates - after taking a season off after the Rio Olympics.

"We were gutted that we didn't get the gold medal, which is what every athlete strives for. But I think, when we got back to the village and realised that not everyone gets a medal in the first place, it sunk in that we had achieved - whether it's gold, silver or bronze. It was a massive experience, something we will never forget."

With training camps a regular part of the regime, baby Stella is along for the ride. She's a regular at fitness sessions - watching on from the safety of her stroller.

"I was always a detail, structured person, everything had to be on time. I think having a baby made me realise it's on baby's time, not mine. It's chilled me out as a person. I've realised time is precious so my five-minute shower has become a one-minute shower. My meals are scoffing it down so I can feed her, but ultimately everything is about her."

McAlister says juggling professional sport with motherhood is tough, but completely possible.

"It's definitely achievable. If you put your mind to it, you'll definitely do it, which is what I've done. Ask for help when you need it.

"I love it and I am very lucky to have the support I have around me."

The team are training for a series of matches against the Australian Sevens side.

Coach Allan Bunting told Local Focus he's hugely proud of his team, who pull off consistently good results on the field.

Kayla - who's brother is former All-Black Luke McAlister - is a natural athlete, and it looks like baby Stella may be just as talented.

Made with funding from