Your days are full of diaper changes, feedings and hours spent comforting a little one. Baby care certainly takes up much of your time. But it’s easy to work some exercise into your routine if you include your baby. Even if it’s just for 5 minutes at a time, you’ll feel energized and ready to keep up with baby tasks all day long.
Any floor exercise you can do while baby lays on a blanket next to you can easily be integrated into tummy time or even earlier with baby on his back just watching what you’re doing. If you’re going to have your baby in arms while performing some moves, just make sure he’s able to hold his head up on his own (which happens around 3 to 4 months old) and that you’ve got a firm grip on baby’s wiggly body.
Lie on the floor, knees bent, feet flat, and baby on your abs (with your pelvis supporting baby’s weight). Hold baby in place gently. Using your abdominal muscles, slowly raise your head and shoulders from the floor, moving toward baby with a smile or a kiss, and then slowly lower yourself again.
Lie on the floor and lift your feet, bringing your knees toward your head. Hold baby in place on your shins. Using your abdominal muscles, slowly lower baby toward you while lifting your head and shoulders, come in for a kiss or a snuggle, and then slowly return to your starting position.
Baby Bench Press:
Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat, and hold baby securely under his arms against your chest. Slowly raise baby in the air, then slowly lower him to your body again. You can also do this while sitting cross-legged on the floor.
Lie on your belly with your baby in front of you. With your arms outstretched on either side of your body and your legs straight, slowly lift arms, legs and chest off the floor. Hold briefly, and then return to your starting position.
With your arms and legs straight, and hands and feet supporting you, slowly lower yourself toward your baby, and then slowly raise yourself again. Alternatively, you can practice planks with baby lying on his back watching you. Support your weight on your feet and your forearms with your elbows bent, and hold. Sing or talk to baby, then rest.
You can do lunges with your baby in a front carrier for some weight training, or you can do them toward your baby if he’s sitting in an infant seat, high chair or stroller. With one foot at the back and the other foot forward, bend both legs until your one thigh is parallel to the floor, keeping your knee in line with your ankle (don’t over-lunge). Then slowly return to start. Do several repetitions with each leg being the one bending (by switching lunging direction or which leg is forward).
Baby Carrier Squats:
With baby in a front carrier (facing you or facing out), place your feet shoulder width apart (maybe a tiny bit wider). Point your toes out a little then slowly begin to lower your body as if your are going to sit. Keep your pelvis tucked and remember that your center of gravity is pulled forward a little since you’re holding baby. Slowly return to standing, rest, repeat.
You can walk with a stroller or with your baby in carrier. But go briskly enough that you get your heart rate up. If you enjoy running, consider investing in a jogging stroller so you can take baby along on your daily route. Your baby may even sleep better from the fresh air and movement.
Almost any exercise can be adapted to include baby in the fun. Don’t forget the importance of warm up stretches before any exercise. If you’ve recently given birth, be sure you get your doctor’s OK to start an exercise program. If you’ve never had a regular workout routine before, start slowly. Stay hydrated, and don’t overexert yourself.
Exercise doesn’t need to be just another chore on your to-do list. Have fun with your baby – talk, sing, smile, interact. You’re baby will love being with you, even if you’re multitasking!
What are your favorite postpartum exercises?
Written by Michelle, childbirth instructor, lactation consultant, and mother to 4 busy kids
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.