The year following childbirth poses the most challenges on a mothers’ physical well-being, mental health, and social relationships. That is why you should prioritize taking care not only of your baby but your own body as well. The best way to do this is through a good exercise routine.
And true enough, research published on BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth noted that physical activity is an important part of the post-partum transition, helping you strengthen your muscles (especially your abdominal ones), relieve stress, and even promote better sleep.
However, as a new mom, you’re also very busy. If you’re not tending to your baby’s needs, you’re either working or performing chores — making it difficult to set some time for yourself. Fortunately, you don’t have to totally abandon your duties just to exercise! Here are creative ways you can sneak exercise into your baby routine.
Exercising with your baby
As babies, especially newborns, get acclimatized to life outside the womb, they want to be close to you all the time. After all your presence is familiar and helps calm them. As such, there will be many days where you won’t be able to put down the baby for extended periods of time.
Luckily, there are exercises out there where you won’t have to.
You can do gentle knee lifts with your baby in a sling for instance, which are good for helping strengthen your core and balance. Another good exercise is the baby press, where instead of lifting weights, you’ll lift your baby repeatedly. The baby will also see this is an enjoyable game making it a win-win for mother and child. All you need to perform all these is a yoga mat, like these eco-friendly ones featured on The Independent. Not only are they comfortable to sit and lie down, but easy to clean as well.
These exercises will not only strengthen your upper body, but they’ll also allow you to spend more time with your baby.
Outdoor exercise with a buggy
In a previous Bump and Beyond post, it was mentioned that another way you can sneak exercise into your daily routine is by incorporating it into your outdoor ventures. It doesn’t even have to be in a public park, even quick walks around the block or a spacious backyard will do the trick. Besides, the fresh air will do both of you some good.
But babies fuss quickly and sleep a lot, so if you’re taking them with you on a walk or gentle jog (jog only if you do not have any pelvic floor weakness or joint issues and you are at least 4 months postpartum), you have to make sure that they’re comfortable in their buggy. The collection of multi-functional pushchairs on iCandy show how modern designs now come with softer suspensions and optimised tyre treads to ensure that the buggy doesn’t shake even on rough terrain. Investing in a good quality pushchair that you can use from newborn to toddler will allow you to easily go for jogs while raising your child. You can even do a couple of “buggy lunges” while you’re at it to stretch your glutes and legs.
Taking advantage of nap time
Naptime is one of the few moments that you’ll have to yourself without being disturbed, which makes it the perfect opportunity to sneak some exercise in. A lot of them, like stretches and Kegel exercises, can be done at home and while lying or sitting down, so you won’t have to leave your baby in the room.
A study released by the Journal of Women’s Health informs us that Kegel exercises can even help heal your pelvic muscles, which will have been strained during pregnancy and childbirth.
The post-partum period can be an extremely delicate period in your life, both physically and mentally. Exercise can help improve your health in both aspects — and you’ll even get to bond with your bundle of joy while you’re at it.