If you’re a recent mother, it’s no secret to you that time can be a bit tight. Between changing diapers, cooking, cleaning and working, it’s hard to even imagine there being time for exercise much less actually putting aside the time to do it. If only there were ways to overlap some of duties that didn’t involve cooking while changing diapers or breastfeeding at the gym. Fortunately, there is a solution: you can work out while bonding with your baby. There are some safe and effective workouts that you can do with your baby that will not only help you strengthen your muscles, they’ll help you strengthen your bond with your child. Take a look at some of the workouts you can do while keeping in mind your baby’s limitations as well as your own.
- Wall Sits: Stand with your back against the wall with your heels about a foot from the wall, holding your baby’s face out wit his back and head against your stomach and chest for support. Bend your knees as if you were sitting – without extending your knees past your toes – and hold for 10 seconds before slowly standing back up. Try to work up to ten reps.
- Chest Press: Lying on your back with your feet on the ground, hold your baby against your chest and slowly raise your arms to lift your baby in the air above you. Hold for ten seconds, then slowly bring your baby back down. Try to repeat this 10 times.
- Planks: This move will work out your entire body, targeting the triceps, upper back, core abdominals, and buttocks. Start out on your hands and knees with your baby on his back under you. Lower your forearms until they’re flat on the floor with your shoulders directly above them. Then slide your knees back about a foot while keeping your back level and your abs tight. Hold for 30 seconds, eventually working up to 2 minutes. Bonus: sing your baby’s favorite nursery rhyme while you hold the pose.
- Lunges: Stand straight up while holding your baby to your chest. Take a big step forward with your left leg and bend until both knees are at a 90 degree angle. Make sure you don’t extend the front knee beyond your toes. Push off with your back leg and bring your feet together, then repeat with your right leg.
- Roll-Back Crunches: Sit with your knees bent and your feet under a piece of heavy furniture for support. Have your baby sitting on your lap with his back and head supported by your thighs. Make sure to hold him securely before rocking back a few inches until you can feel your abs tighten. Hold this pose for 10 seconds, slowly bring yourself up into the starting position, and repeat 10 times.
Stairs: If you live in a residence that has a staircase, try taking the steps with your baby. Hold him in front of you and walk up and down the stairs for 10 minutes. You’ll really be able to feel the burn from this one.
- Dance: This workout is great if you’re feeling tired or stressed. Hold your baby close to you – use a carrier as needed – and put on some music that you love and start dancing, all while keeping your abs tight. Be careful not to bounce or turn too quickly while holding your baby. You can also put your baby in a bouncy seat or swing and dance around him using big movements and maintaining eye contact.
If your baby is still too young to participate in any of these mommy-and-me exercises but you want to break a sweat, try bringing your baby with you on a walk or a hike. Put your baby in his stroller and take him out for a walk. When your baby reaches 6 months, you can also put him in a jogging stroller and take him for a light run. If you’re hiking, bring your baby in a front carrier, making sure he’s well supported. You can also use a sling or a backpack if your baby can support himself, but make sure whatever your choose doesn’t strain your neck, shoulders, or back.