Understandably, as a new mom, you have lots to do. More to that, you feel quite like there is an alien inside of you. After all, your body has been through a traumatic experience. For these reasons, you may be wondering how you could ever begin an exercise regime, and where you will ever find the time. Well, do not despair because there are various exercises you can do with your baby at home. With these exercises, you don’t even have to try to fit in a workout during your baby’s naps. Here are some exercises you can do together with your baby at home.
There are a few points to note, though, before you begin to work out:
- Before your baby is 4 months old, their neck is not strong enough for them to hold their heads up. They will need your support. So, ensure that your baby is old enough before embarking on a workout where they will need to hold their heads up.
- Always hold your abs in. Make sure your chest is out, never hunched, by rolling your shoulders back. Open your mouth slightly when exhaling so that you are breathing out through your mouth.
- Take at least 3 minutes to warm up by stretching before you begin exercising.
- Watch out for any issues you may have by simply listening to your body. Stop at once if you feel pain or are uncomfortable. Preferably, check with a postnatal specialist before you begin exercising. Do not compare yourself with anyone else and feel you have to exercise as much as they are exercising.
For most of these workouts, you will need a front carrier to enable you to “wear your baby.”. What is great about using a carrier is that your arms get to be free. It is important that you take the time to choose a carrier that is suitable for you—one that fits well. You will do yourself even better by seeing a specialist’s help you select one best suited for you. Buy one with a set of straps over the shoulders and another set of straps around the waist. This will enable you to hold your baby close. It will also ensure your baby’s head is supported and so they are comfortable.
Just remember that while you exercise, you should be seeing your baby’s face, and they should be close to you such that you are able to kiss them.
With that out of the way, let us now look at some workouts you can do with your baby.
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When you dance, all the main muscles in your body get involved. Also, regardless of how stressed or how tired you feel, you will find that it lifts your spirits.
To dance with your baby, use a carrier or just hold them. Alternatively, just place your baby on a seat and dance for them.
As you dance, do not forget to hold in your abs. Make your movements deliberate and animated and dance while looking at them in their eyes. Just to be sure you do not get carried away, sing out loud as you dance. Your baby will be fascinated by your movements and this helps you bond with them.
You can also try out “babies at the barre” workout by Brittany Bendall. This is a dance-inspired workout that will get you sweating. You will require hand weights for each hand and a chair. Consider splitting the session into 10 or 15-minute sessions in case your baby cannot go through the entire 30 minutes.
Walking is the easiest exercise you can do with your baby. What’s great about walking is that you can start off immediately after delivery. So, simply slip into your sneakers, put your baby in the carrier, and go for it. If it is cold or rainy, go to a large place that is indoors, such as a mall, and walk there. And if you find that walking is not challenging enough, you can go hiking.
Presses strengthen your shoulders, biceps, triceps, as well as your back—upper and middle.
Sit with your legs crossed. Hold your baby securely close to your chest with your elbows bent. Then, lift your baby up slowly, pause, and then bring them back down to your chest. Do this at least 10 times, rest, and then repeat the process 2 more times.
Lie on the floor with your face up and bend your knees. Hold in your abs and squeeze the blades of your shoulders so that they are together. Hold your baby firmly. Slowly draw them close to your chest, pause, then lift them back up. Do this 10 times, rest, and then repeat the process 2 more times.
Yoga Ball Bounce
You may be familiar with this ball after having used it while you were pregnant to ease back pain. Now, New Age Hippy Mama has a nap-time yoga ball bounce workout. Do this work out with your baby in a carrier. They may even fall asleep while you are doing this exercise. Simply sit with your knees open in a V and start bouncing on the yoga ball. While you bounce, do some twists.
For this exercise, you will need 2-pound weights. You can also improvise by using water bottles. With your baby in a carrier, have each hand holding a weight and stand with your legs apart—a distance of the size of your hips. Remember to hold in your lower abs and stand with your chest out.
Reach both arms out while your elbows are bent and your arms are in front of you. Do small circles backward and then forward, 20 of each. Repeat the entire set twice.
Next, with your elbows bent by your side, hold the weights. Put both your arms on your sides so your arms are stretched out. Twist back and pull the elbows in again with your palms up. Do this 20 times, all the while ensuring your shoulders are straight as you reach out your arms.
This workout will make your core muscles strong. Core muscles help us support our lower back.
Lie on the floor with your face up. Bend your knees and let your feet be flat on the floor. Hold your baby firmly under their arms. Your fingers should be around their torso. Seat them or recline them on your pubic bone. Remember to hold in your abs. Lift your head up in 2 counts. Your neck should also be off the floor and so should your shoulders. Repeat 15 times. Rest and play a little before doing another set.
Lie on the floor with your face up. Bend your knees so there is a 90-degrees angle between your legs and thighs. Place your baby on your shin and hold them securely under their arms. Bend your knees and bring them near your chest while raising your head and shoulders. You will be rocking your baby gently forward and back. Do 15 repetitions, rest, and then do another set.
Walking Lunges and Plies
The way to do walking lunges is to stand straight with your baby in the carrier or just held firmly against your chest. Then, with your right leg, take one huge step. Bend both knees. Your right leg and thigh should be about 90 degrees. Your left heel should be lifted slightly above the floor. Now push and put your feet together. Step forward again but this time with your left leg.
For plies, hold your baby firmly against your chest or put them in the carrier. Stand with your feet wide apart—a little farther than the width of your hips. Turn your feet a little. Lower your hips by bending your knees. Your weight should be on your heels. Then slowly straighten your legs and go back to standing position.
So, for this workout, do 1 minute of the walking lunges and 1 minute of plies. Repeat this combination 4 times doing each for 4 minutes. Do 2 minutes of walking to cool off. Take your baby off the carrier and do 2 minutes of stretching.
BeFIT has an exercise session, the CARiFIT Post-Natal Foundations, designed for you and your baby. It comprises of different exercises such as lunges and squats, as well as a warmup and stretches to cool down. We know you will be happy to note that it is only 15 minutes long.
So go on and start exercising. Busy as you may be, make time for yourself too. Remember, besides losing your baby fat, there are other benefits of exercising. Exercising will lift your spirit. You will feel you have more energy and are less anxious. More to that, you will feel strengthened enough to face the numerous responsibilities and demands that come with motherhood. Besides, working out with your baby provides a bonding experience. And do not worry if you are struggling too hard to work out. Your strength will keep increasing. As little as a 10-minute workout session now and then will go a long way.