Making Baby Part of Your New Mom Workout
You have been successful through labor and delivery. Now you can start thinking about how to get back in shape before the baby. Since your baby will be spending much of those first few months by your side, why not make them part of your post-pregnancy fitness routine? Working together will increase your bonding time and give your baby a boost in physical skills.
If you’ve had an uncomplicated vaginal birth, you may be able to start exercising a few days after giving birth. For a cesarean delivery, ask your doctor how long to wait. Either way, take it easy.
“Don’t be a superhero,” warns Sarah Ann Kelly, Denver prenatal and postpartum fitness specialist and owner of MomTrainer.com. She cautions new moms to avoid running or other high-impact exercise for the first 3 months, or until their doctor has cleared them.
“Once you start to feel good, it’s generally good to walk. You can take a stroller ride. Your baby will just go to sleep. Or, place baby in a swing or nearby car seat while you do light squats or bicep curls with exercise bands.
Once you get the go ahead, use your baby as extra weight. “You can cradle his head against you and do deadlifts or hip hinges, squats or lunges,” Kelly says. Or, lay baby on your stomach and build bridges to work your glutes. It will also give your baby time to practice using the muscles in his neck.
When your baby is old enough to hold his head (about 4 months), push up or side slits while lifting him up and down. “I will stand in front of a mirror with my daughter facing out. We’ll be doing squats and lunges while I pull faces at her, ”Kelly says.
If you’re in the mood for adult companionship, sign up for a structured baby and me fitness program. You’ll find a baby boot camp, stroller fitness, yoga, and barre classes across the country. Infants who are too young to participate sit in a stroller or on a blanket next to you while you exercise.
Once your baby becomes a robot, exercising together becomes a bit trickier. “Half the exercise is chasing your child,” Kelly says. For safety reasons, “This is when I recommend starting workouts during the nap.” If you keep baby by your side, create a safe space and watch him.
Babies need a lot of attention, so your time will be limited during the first few months. Kelly recommends getting the most out of your workouts with timed exercises. Rather than doing 20 squats, do as many squats as possible in 30 seconds to increase your heart rate. On days when you are feeling totally exhausted, give yourself a break and skip the workout.
Take advice from Sarah Ann Kelly, a pregnancy and postpartum fitness specialist, to protect yourself and your baby when you exercise together.
Obtain an authorization. Ask your doctor how long you can start exercising, depending on your type of delivery.
Avoid abs. Crunches or twists too soon after giving birth could inflict long-term damage to your abdominal muscles. For the first few weeks, breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth while gently pulling on your belly button. This exercise tones your abdominal wall without putting too much strain on it.
Be united. Babies do not have good neck control during their first few weeks. Use your hand to support your baby’s head when you exercise together.
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