A workout with baby isn’t just about achieving your fitness goals. Workouts can be bonding time, too!
Getting back into shape after pregnancy is important to many new moms. However, it is critical not to overdo exercising after pregnancy and to move at a slow, healthy pace.
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YOUR BODY AFTER BABY
A woman’s body changes with pregnancy and is not the same after the beauty of creating life. It is a real difference, and one to be proud of. But we know that, at times, it can be hard to accept yourself with all of the physical and emotional changes.
Physical recovery can take a long time, emotional recovery even longer. One researcher, Dr. Julie Wray, found that it can take up to a year to recover from childbirth – as opposed to the official view of six weeks. (source)
It is important to focus on bonding with baby and healing at this stage. Postnatal workouts should not be a primary focus for the new mommy during the physical healing process. Not pushing too hard too soon may have a positive impact on the emotional adjustment of the new mom after baby.
WHEN TO START A WORKOUT WITH BABY
In today’s society, women seem to be pressured to hurry and shed the weight. In reality, it is more important to be of healthy mind and body. A big priority for new moms is bonding with baby. Pushing oneself to do strenuous exercises before your body is ready could lead to many negative issues.
Always clear any physical activity with your healthcare provider before you begin. It is imperative to listen to your body and not push past safe limits. For those who have had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, it is usually ok to begin simple exercises like walking a few days after childbirth.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
Women with uncomplicated pregnancies should be encouraged to engage in aerobic and strength-conditioning exercises before, during, and after pregnancy.
Those who have had complications or cesarean sections should wait to exercise until cleared by their physician.
Post-pregnancy workouts should be done when your body is ready.
DO SIMPLE POSTPARTUM EXERCISES
When you decide that it is time (and are cleared by your healthcare professional), there are many small impact postnatal workouts you can try. There are so many bonding opportunities when moms workout with their babies.
Walking is an excellent way to get moving AND to get baby outside. As long as you follow your physician’s orders, this can be a safe, low impact activity. You have to begin somewhere, and this seems to be the easiest avenue for a new mom to start with.
Walking is great because baby can stay with you while you’re getting your workout.
Yoga is a wonderful postpartum exercise for new moms. It allows for a low-impact workout that helps with flexibility and relaxation. It is also a great stress reliever. But, you should avoid more advanced poses during this time. If you have any questions, be sure to ask yoga instructor if a pose is considered advanced.
Yoga can be a fun and relaxing experience for mom and baby to do together. There are stretches and basic poses that you can include baby in.
Once clear and able (lochia has stopped), swimming can provide a little impact postnatal workout that is soothing and comfortable for most new moms. This is great for baby too! It allows for close physical contact between mom and baby which promotes bonding. Just remember not to overdo it!
Remember it took over nine months to create your bundle of joy and it will take at least nine months to get back to feeling healthy.
A new mom’s overall wellness comes from many aspects, not just getting physically in shape. This is a new and exciting time that can be a roller coaster of emotion. On the one hand, you have this perfect baby that you want to bond with regularly. On the contrary, you may be emotionally drained and physically insecure in your own body.
Most all moms have been there and felt these things. Try to not focus so much on just the physical side. Instead, use postpartum exercise to gain mental wellness too. When a person exercises, endorphins are released, this creates a feeling of euphoria. This attitude should be used as an advantage by new moms.
If mom feels good and is happy then usually baby feels good and is happy too.
Many studies show that people who exercise regularly benefit with a positive boost in mood and lower rates of depression.
HOW Workouts WITH BABY PROMOTE BONDING
Exercising with baby promotes bonding and physical fitness at the same time. This allows a fun and close interaction between mom and baby. By involving baby in the routine, it becomes easier for mom to spend time with baby and take care of herself by diminishing some stress and promoting mental clarity.
Resuming exercise activities or incorporating new exercise routines after delivery is important in supporting overall health.
Exercising with baby will allow the mother to be at ease and spend time close to her baby. This is a great form of bonding.
MOMMY AND ME WORKOUTS
After being cleared by your healthcare professional for more strenuous workouts, there are many other exercises in which mom can include her baby. It is vital to remember when you workout with baby that safety is essential! Here are a few examples:
Try the Curl Up:
- Lie face up on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Sit baby on your pubic bone facing you.
- Hold her under her arms with your fingers around her torso.
- Lift as in doing a crunch.
- Lift, head, neck, and shoulder blades in two counts and lower in three counts.
- Exhale through your mouth as you curl up.
Do 15-20 reps.
Squats are perfect for legs.
- Stand with baby held against your chest facing outwards.
- Bend at knees and squat as low as you safely can.
- Remember to bend with knees, not your back! Then return to standing position.
Repeat 10 times.
Try the Baby Overhead Press:
- Sitting cross-legged while holding baby in front of your chest.
- Straighten your arms up but do not lock your elbows.
- Pause and then lower baby to starting position.
Do 10 reps.
While yoga is a great low impact exercise, there are several moves that moms can try when they get the “all clear” from their healthcare provider. Try the Kitty Stretch:
- Start on your hands and knees with head and back in a straight line.
- Lay baby on her back beneath you looking up.
- Arch your back and contract your ab muscles in towards ribs while lowering your chin to make eye contact with baby.
Hold for a count of 5.
There are so many different resources to examine when creating a mom and baby fitness plan. The essential thing to remember is to choose a plan that is safe for both baby and mom. Go slow and have fun with baby because she is only this young once.
MOM AND BABY FITNESS
Fitness is defined as “The condition of being physically fit and healthy.”It is important to be as accepting of your post-pregnancy body as possible. It took the time to create life, and it takes the time to return to “normal.”
This phase right after giving birth is known as the fourth trimester. During this period new moms should focus on bonding with baby and not rush to get back to “pre-baby shape.” The fourth trimester is such a beautiful short period of time, and new moms should be able to revel in this blissful bonding period.
Babies are only newborns once and time really does fly by quickly. To be fit, a new mom should first be comfortable with herself no matter what. She should also be able to focus on bonding with her sweet child.
Trying to be physically fit is at the top of most new mom’s agendas. To want to better yourself is a great ambition and if you include your baby with your workouts, it will allow for more time to bond. It is important to remember that baby is brand new and this is a vital time in her life.
Incorporating her into your routine and learning to workout with baby could be a great bonding tool.
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