With a newborn, taking care of our fitness gets complicated. We want to get our body back, yet we aren’t sure how to exercise with a baby.
Even when we are pressed for time or tired from caring for our little one, there are some practical ways we can squeeze some exercise into our day.
Worried your day should be dedicated to your family and responsibilities? Don’t let any feelings of guilt come in the way. Exercising is not just about losing postpartum weight. It’s important for your mental health, energy, and confidence. Bonus, exercising with a baby is an opportunity for bonding and teaching some healthy habits.
Golden rule: do it out of self-love
Getting back into shape is something you should be doing out of self-love. If you are exercising because you feel pressured to look a certain way, take a minute to shake off self-criticism and external negativity.
You went through something incredible. As beautiful as it is, pregnancy brings about important emotional and physical changes. Your skin has new scars and marks that should be celebrated not hidden in shame.
Your body created a tiny life, which is no small feat.
Take note of what motivates you to work out. If it’s getting back in touch with your mind and body, being healthy, and feeling good while losing the extra weight, then go for it! However, if it’s stemming from fears or negative feelings, start with some extra self-care and self-love to nourish yourself from within.
Exercise with a baby can be fun!
Depending on your delivery and health, you can usually start exercising 6 weeks after giving birth. It’s a good idea to get the all-clear from your health practitioner beforehand, but there are also some low-impact options such as walking.
Don’t be worried about blocking a chunk of time for exercising. The aim is to move as much as possible, even if it’s 5 to 10 minutes here and there throughout your day.
There are tons of activities you can do to get your fitness while spending time with your child.
Below are 5 ways to exercise with a baby that are energizing and straightforward to get you started:
This is one of my favorites! Dancing can give you a light workout while boosting your dopamine. Just put on your favorite playlist and hold your baby or put them in a front carrier to keep them close with their head supported.
Then move your hips and feet to the tunes! It’s as simple as that and can be done at any time of the day.
Want to move your whole body and get even more active? Place your baby in its seat or a swing and dance around, sing, and use your arms. It’s also a great time to be very expressive and interact with your child.
Baby body weight
Curl-ups, overhead press, bench press, squats… There are tons of exercises you can do while holding your baby just like a weight! It might sound funny, but there’s a myriad of ways you can move your body with your baby in your arms.
This can work to add weight to your movements just like with dumbbells, but it also allows you to play with your child, entertain them, and bond.
You can use a baby carrier to hold their weight on your front, like in this workout.
10’000 steps with baby
Walking or hiking are amazing ways to shed off some weight the low-impact way. Use a step counter on your phone or an electronic watch so you can measure your effort and be consistent.
Aim for 5’000 steps at first, then increase that over time. 10’000 steps in a day is an accomplishment. You don’t have to do them in one go. As you move around the house it counts too.
Want more of a challenge? Instead of placing your child in its stroller while walking outside, use a baby carrier either on your front or on your shoulders. While walking, focus on your posture and contracting your abs. This will increase the intensity of your walking and help regain body mindfulness.
Jogging with baby
Running with your baby is a convenient way to get out with your baby and work out all at once. However, there are a few things you need to make it a pleasant experience for your child and yourself.
Get the right equipment. Your baby needs to be comfortable and protected from shocks on the pavement. Invest in a jogging stroller with large tires and adjustable shocks so your baby won’t be shaken during the ride. Most of these sports prams come equipped with a hand brake and a wrist strap for increased safety no matter the terrain. Don’t forget a sunshade to keep your child from overheating or too much sun.
If your newborn is really little, it might be too early to jog with your baby. Your child should already be able to hold its head on its own. Best to be on the safe side and ask your pediatrician before going for a run together.
Join an exercise class with baby
Check what baby & me class options are around you. Pilates, yoga, or water classes are all a great way to get moving and to meet other mums in your area.
Yoga and Pilates can help you increase your flexibility and strength. Some classes also include moves to reinforce your pelvic floor post-pregnancy.
Water classes are fun for both mums and babies. Moving in the water and floating are refreshing sensations that help you feel more present while activating muscles across your body.
Plan your workouts around your baby
If your baby is happy and content, exercising together will be a lot more enjoyable. Plan your exercise around your child’s meals and naps.
For some forms of exercise like dancing or water classes, your baby should be awake and ready for stimulation. So right after feeding or post-sleep is a good idea.
On the other hand, for a long walk or jogging, it will be easier if your baby is relaxed and sleepy, ready to nap in their pram.
Sometimes babies can start a little fussy with a new type of activity. Persist a little, as they might need to get used to it. Still if after 5 to 10 minutes they are still unhappy, hit the breaks and try again another day.
If your child is tired or cranky, don’t force them to exercise with you. In general, right after waking up or when they are hungry isn’t a good time to head out for a class or run. Of course, when they are napping, you have free rein to get your heart pumping!
Adapt your exercise routine to your baby’s developmental stage. If you are doing moves where
your baby needs to be able to hold their head on their own, make sure they can do so easily, usually from 3 to 4 months old onwards.
To be on the safe side, ask your pediatrician and doctor for their green light before you start working out with your baby.
Hope these ideas will inspire you to get your booty shaking! For more, check out my 5 tips to help your body & mind heal postpartum.
Until next time, Tania xx
*This article is provided for informational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.