The Beauty & Benefits of Exercising with Baby
Written by March 22nd, 2016on
I loved my life as a new mom, but not being able to exercise was depressing. I’ve always been an active person and I worked out during both of my pregnancies until my huge baby bump slowed me down. Then I was sidelined with C-sections and countless sleepless nights and impossibly sore breastfeeding boobs. Yikes! Walking down the stairs was hard enough. Exercising again seemed impossible.
I remember finally emerging from my newborn fog and I was ready to lace up my tennis shoes and hit the pavement. But how? I was at home alone with a baby all day long.
My brain was unsure of exactly how we’d make it happen, but I knew my baby and I would figure out how to exercise together. Enter baby jogger.
Today, some of the happiest memories I have with my son are running with him in his jogger. Our first few adventures didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped, but we didn’t give up. I started regaining my physical strength and he got acquainted with his jogging stroller and then it was wonderful. In fact, I ran my very first 5k race as a mom with my son in his jogger. We crossed the finish line together.
That being said, we must’ve covered hundreds of miles together over the years. We enjoyed beautiful sunny days and cool crisp mornings, interacting along the way. I always packed a snack and planned my jog so we could stop somewhere together and take a break. That time together was exactly what needed because it allowed me to feel like myself again and he loved soaking in his surroundings.
My sister does the same thing with her baby girl, but instead of jogging through the streets of Austin, TX, they hike through the snowy trails of CO. Instead of a jogger, my sister’s daughter loves her baby backpack. Like me, my sister finds her “happy place” enjoying the exercise and the great outdoors with her baby. Plus, her daughter absolutely loved it.
When Mom is Ready to Exercise
During the first few weeks with a newborn, you may not be able to exercise at all. Depending on your delivery, your doctor should’ve given you instructions for how and when you can resume exercise. When you do, be mindful of easing back into a workout routine. Focus on maintaining good posture (shoulders back!) and engaging your abdominal muscles to protect your lower back.
When Baby is Ready to Join You
Until your newborn can hold up her head with ease, which occurs around 3-4 months, she can only join you in certain physical activities. Put baby in her swing and dance around her or put baby in her stroller and take a walk. If nothing else, you can certainly keep her entertained (and safe) while you burn off a few calories.
What else will your baby be doing at 3 months old? Check out this article about development and milestones!
This trend has caught in almost every city where yoga studios exist. If your baby is holding up her head easily, she is old enough for baby yoga. This has become a meaningful time for moms to exercise while soothing and bonding with baby. There are lots of baby yoga videos available too, so you can do the proper stretches and movements in the comfort of your home. It’s a gentle exercise starting-place for mom and baby alike.
Walking & Jogging with Baby
Lots of parents love baby joggers, but you do have to make sure baby is old enough and strong enough for them. Many joggers have a sling-like seat, so your baby should be close to 8 months old to ride along since paths can be bumpy and bouncy. Use your best judgment and stick to paved paths at a walking pace until you feel confident baby is ready to pick up the pace. Taking walks with your regular baby stroller, so baby is safe and comfortable, is wonderful exercise for you and babies tend to love the scenery.
If you’re going on workout adventures together, make sure you pack a few necessities like wipes, diapers, a change of clothes, a snack and water. If the weather is warm, make sure your baby has a hat and/or sunscreen on and pack extra water in case it’s hotter than expected. If you’re in cooler weather, you may pack a blanket in case it colder than expected. Before you head out, check the weather forecast!
Don’t Give Up
No matter what kind of physical activities you enjoy, just remember it may take a few tries until you get it right. Be patient. Whether you need to fully heal from delivery or your baby needs to be older to join you, just give it time. When you do figure out your groove together, you’ll discover it was definitely worth the wait.
Are you prepared for going back to work after maternity leave? Check out this article for pumping plan tips!
How do you exercise with your bundle of joy? Share your idea with us on Facebook.