Since you’re probably tired, pressed for time, and in need of childcare, working out post-baby can be a challenge. You may also be getting used to a postpartum body that is very different from your pre-baby body. For new moms, working out isn’t as simple as heading to the gym.
Fortunately, fitness comes in many forms. Whether you’re incorporating your baby into your workouts or you’re shifting your routine to accommodate your baby’s schedule, there are many ways to take charge of your body and health. Remember, one of the best ways to care for your baby is to care for yourself.
Since we know it can be tough for new moms to get out of the house, we’ve organized these fitness suggestions into two categories: Exercising at Home and Outside the Home. You won’t believe how accomplished you’ll feel if you get out of the house! At the same time, we know that exercising at home might be more sustainable at the moment. We hope these suggestions help you come up with a fitness plan that works for you and your baby.
Exercising at Home with A Baby
Mommy and Baby Fitness at Home
Working out at home with your baby is efficient and a great opportunity for bonding. Plus, babies love movement. We recommend first attending a few Mommy and Baby fitness classes; take classes with highly qualified instructors who will teach you moves that you can safely do at home on your own. Search YouTube and Pinterest for ways to safely incorporate your baby into your at-home fitness routine.
Circuit training strengthens multiple muscle groups in a very short period of time. Search the internet for at-home circuit programs that are about the same length as your baby’s typical nap. Plenty of circuit-based programs have incredibly rigorous workouts that are only 15 minutes long.
Pilates and yoga are two great exercise options you can do during naptime. YouTube and Pinterest have vast resources for learning how to practice at home. In one of our recent blog posts, Pilates expert Amy Jordan outlines some great ways to do Pilates at home… and even with children! For tips on doing yoga at home, check out Gentle Yoga for Prenatal and Postpartum Women.
Invest in Home Equipment
If space permits, consider investing in some fitness equipment for your home. Whether you are a spin enthusiast or an avid rower, having exercise equipment at home means you can use it whenever you want, even if it’s not for as long as you’re used to! While new, top-of-the-line equipment might be doable for some, secondhand fitness equipment can work just as well at a fraction of the cost. A used treadmill could last you years and allow you to get a walk or jog in when your baby’s napping. Even something as simple as a few kettlebells or free weights can make a huge difference.
Exercising Outside the Home with a Baby
Mommy and Baby Fitness Classes
Exercise classes that incorporate your baby have grown increasingly popular over the past few years. And for good reason! Who needs a kettlebell when you have a beautiful baby who smiles as you lift him or her on your way out of a deep squat? Plus, you don’t have to arrange childcare! Since you’re supposed to bring your baby to these classes, nursing, fussiness, and diaper changes are expected and accepted.
Ready to sign up? Finding these classes and meet-ups is easy! First, check out local mom groups on social media. If you’re stumped, reach out to the moms on our Facebook page or in our Facebook group, KindredMamas. Then check out organizations like Fit4Mom, which offer more structured classes. A few other classes that we’ve come across are Baby and Me Yoga, Baby Boot Camp, StrollerFit, and Baby Barre. Search online for what is available in your area. You won’t believe how energized you’ll feel after getting out of the house to work out with other moms. An added benefit? You might make some new mom friends who also value fitness!
All those great new mom friends you just met at your Mommy and Baby fitness class? Team up with one (or several) of them to start a childcare swap. Every mom needs a break. Leave your child in capable hands and decompress with a great workout. Then return the favor! Whether you ask a partner, friend, or another fit mother to assist, childcare trades benefit all involved.
Walking and Jogging
Don’t underestimate the power of walking! Increase the intensity by babywearing or pushing a stroller. Your baby will appreciate all the sensory experiences being outside offers. Plus, many babies fall asleep in a carrier or stroller. Invite a friend or catch up on phone calls – or simply enjoy the silence. As your baby gets older, look for a jogging stroller, and take a run while your baby gets fresh air and a nap!
Prioritize One Class
If you have a particular class that you really loved before having your baby, give yourself permission to start attending it again. If you have a partner, arrange your schedules so you can make it. Ask a mom friend to trade off so each of you can go to your favorite class. If your budget allows it, hire a babysitter. To cut costs, you can ask if your sitter will meet you at your class and take your baby on a stroller walk while you work out. You could also find another mom in your class and split the cost of a babysitter to watch both your children. Pick one class per week or month, solidify childcare, and commit to it.
A Few Postpartum Exercise Reminders
Each of us recovers at a different rate, so be sure to check in with your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen. Ease back into fitness. Remember, your body is different now. Know that your pre-baby workout clothes might not fit right now. For a long time, you might only be comfortable working out in your maternity clothes. You might need to buy some new clothes that aren’t the size you’re used to buying. Embrace your postpartum journey and be gentle with yourself —after all, you just created a human!
If you are breastfeeding, try to nurse or pump (check out our patent-pending hands-free pumping and nursing bra!) before you work out; you will be a lot more comfortable if you’ve emptied your breasts first. Keep in mind that certain movements can stimulate let-down. If leaking is a concern for you, use our bamboo nursing pads and make sure you are wearing a supportive bra. Our Sublime Sports Bra is incredibly soft, supportive, and comfortable; plus, it has super-convenient nursing clips.
Try to make a schedule, as tough as that may be! Mentally carving out time for fitness will help keep you accountable, but remember to be flexible. You might not be able to do your 6 am yoga class; you might not be able to go on three-hour solo hikes. Give yourself grace and leeway. If a nap ends early or a childcare trade falls through, accept it, and if you can, embrace it – it’s all part of your new life as a parent. Any effort you are putting forth to improve your physical and mental health is a step in the right direction.
Have an amazing tip for postpartum exercise? Comment below to share it!