Post-Baby Workouts: Let's Get Started!
Ready to start losing your pregnancy weight? Take it from a mom who's been there twice: The key is to not only find the time to exercise, but to also use your creativity when you work out with your baby, choosing safe exercises that are fun for both of you. Incorporating your baby into workouts means you won't miss time away. Bonus — as your baby grows, you'll get stronger with the added weight! Remember to always check in with your OB so you know when it's safe to begin working out — typically six weeks after birth.
Walk the Walk. The best and safest way to burn some calories and get your heart pumping is to simply walk. Use a stroller or a front carrier as that extra weight gives your workout an added boost.
Here are exercises for moms to build upper and lower body strength. There are options for holding or wearing your baby. If you are wearing your baby, research and find the wrap that works best for you. Not only are wraps affordable, but they also keep baby close and, with proper tying, offer excellent support. Avoid carriers that place an excess load on the spine, and always keep baby's legs tucked into the wrap (not dangling) for optimal infant support.
Lower Body – Holding Baby
3 to 5 rounds, 30 seconds to 1-minute rest between rounds
Leg lifts x 15: Lie on your back and place baby on your shins with knees bent at 90 degrees. Holding the baby's hands, drop your heels down toward your glutes and back up again. Your baby will have fun on the ride!
Leg extensions x 15: Sit on a park bench with baby sitting on one leg. Holding her hands, lift your leg straight up to work the thigh. Bounce! Always make sure your baby is safe and secure.
Lower Body – Wearing Baby or Holding Baby
Body-weight squat x 15: Stand with your baby in a front carrier, feet just past your shoulders, toes turned out slightly. Inhale and lower your body down to sit in an imaginary chair, weight over heels, belly button pulled in, tail bone pointed to the floor.
Lunges x 15: With your left foot back about three feet, bend both legs until your right thigh is parallel to the ceiling, making sure your right knee stays in line with your ankle. Then switch with your right foot back. For added strength conditioning you can hold your baby in your hands with your arms straight out and turn your waist in the opposite direction of each knee that is forward.
Plie squat x 15: With your legs a little wider than shoulder-width apart and your feet pointing out at 45-degree angles, squat slowly down as far as you can comfortably go. Keep your back straight and make sure that your knees don't extend beyond your toes. Exhale as you rise back up, engaging the muscles in your inner thighs and keeping knees gently bent.
Upper Body – Holding Baby – best after baby is able to support her neck
Shoulder press x 15: Stand up and hold your baby in your hands. Lift up and down and give your baby a smooch on the down motion. Hold your abdominals firm to support your back.
Push up x 15: Lie your baby on her back and get into the push-up position. Each time you lower down, give her a little nuzzle or tickle with your nose. Plus all the fun you're having with your baby will keep your mind off the hard work!
Upper Body – Wearing Baby
Tricep push x 15: Sit on the floor with your knees bent, place your hands just behind your hips, fingers facing forward, arms straight and your behind lifted a few inches off the ground. Keep your shoulders back and bend your elbows, lowering your upper body down to the floor (your bottom should just graze the floor) in a "reverse push-up."
Abdominals – Holding Baby
Sit-ups x 15: Lie on your back and put your knees at 90 degrees. Sit your baby on your belly and hold on to her hands. Keep your abdominals firm as you perform a sit-up and blow out on the upward motion.
Abdominal plank, hold 30-plus seconds: Lie your baby on the floor and plank over her. Hold a position on your forearms and toes in a straight line, squeezing your glutes.
Keep Baby Safe
Not only do you need to be sure your own form is correct, but you also need to ensure your baby is being worn properly. When wearing your baby, here are some tips.
- Age-appropriate exercises: When performing exercises in which your baby must hold her head up on her own, be sure he can do so without discomfort (usually starting at 3 to 4 months old).
- Wear your baby high on your torso. Close enough to kiss is a good rule.
- Make sure baby's face is always visible. Keep two fingers of space between baby's chin and chest, particularly if she cannot yet lift her head.
- Keep baby tight. If your baby falls out of the wrap when you lean forward, you need to tighten it up.
Workout While Baby Naps
Another option is to do a quick workout while your baby naps. You can do a combination of all of the above exercises on your own. OR here is another quick and effective workout that you can get done in 10 to 15 minutes flat while the baby is napping and still have time to get all your other chores done!
50 sit-ups, 50 push-ups, 50 squats
30 sit-ups, 30 push-ups 30 squats
20 sit-ups, 20 push-ups, 20 squats
Laura Thornquist, North Texas mother to Nicholas and Ava, shares ways to save and live in the Metroplex — scattered with straightforward, honest and down-to-earth advice on being a mommy and wife while still taking the time to treat yourself — on her blog, MyDFWMommy.