4 Post-Baby Belly Workouts

As a new mom, you know how difficult it is to get back into the shape you were before your baby. You’ve gone through the pregnancy and delivery and are now wondering how you can get rid of the paunch you have leftover from those long months of carrying your child. It’s likely you’re incredibly busy, exhausted, and feeling discouraged about accomplishing the goal of improving your abdominal muscles, but it’s certainly possible! There are hundreds, probably thousands, of resources online. I’ll give you a list of simple exercises that are proven to help you improve your core strength, which is the vital first step to dropping the weight and toning your body!

 

  • Pelvic Tilt

This exercise is fairly basic and referenced on various lists about getting back into shape after a pregnancy. Just lay flat on the floor with your feet hip-width apart and straighten your arms out at your sides. Align your spine with the floor and make sure it’s straight, then inhale and exhale as you raise your hips up off the ground. Tilt your pelvis and squeeze your abs, then hold for a couple breaths before lowering back to the ground. Do 10 reps.

 

  • Plank

There are nearly endless variations on the plank, but the two classic ones you should use are the ball plank and a side plank. For the ball plank, assume a typical plank position, but rest your arms on top of an exercise ball. Hold the position for at least 30 seconds, repeat 5 times. For the side plank, lay on your side and place your forearm underneath your shoulder to support your body. Straighten the rest of your body, stack your feet, and stabilize your core. Hold for at least 30 seconds and then switch to the other side. You can add leg lifts if you feel comfortable.

 

  • Plank Vinyasa

 

This exercise is a yoga pose which puts an interesting twist on the typical plank. Get into the normal plank position, lowering onto your forearms if necessary. Once your body is straight, inhale, then exhale as you pull a leg into your chest area while contracting your abdominal muscles. Return to typical plank position and then switch legs. Alternate for 10 to 20 reps, whatever you feel most comfortable doing.

 

  • Alternating Twist

To do this exercise, lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor. Interlace your fingers behind your head, but make sure not to strain your neck. Inhale, and as you exhale contract your abs and lift your head off of the floor. Move your right elbow toward your left knee as you pull your knee toward you. Hold for a couple of breaths, then return to your starting position. Do the same on the opposite side and continue alternating knees until you reach a rep of 10.

Postpartum Workouts for You & Your Baby

A great way for mothers and their babies to bond is through light workouts. Before you begin, make sure both you and your baby will be comfortable and safe with your selected workout.
A great way for mothers and their babies to bond is through light workouts. Before you begin, make sure both you and your baby will be comfortable and safe with your selected workout.

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.
  • Taking the stairs is a great means of exercise. Try holding your baby in front of you and walking up and down the steps for 10 minutes.
    Taking the stairs is a great means of exercise. Try holding your baby in front of you and walking up and down the steps for 10 minutes.

    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.

Going Back to Work After Having a Baby

Lori Cornmesser

America has one of the worst and shortest maternity leave policies in the world. Companies are mandated to give mothers of newborn or newly adopted children 12 weeks of unpaid leave annually. Other countries, like in Europe, for comparison, give new mothers paid leave for months after bringing their baby home. In America, while every company has to allow new mothers to take the minimum amount of time off, some companies give more time and even give paid leave. Regardless of how long you get off work and whether you get paid leave or not, many mothers find it incredibly difficult to return to work with a newborn at home. Some mothers, on the other hand, are excited to get back to work and be able to socialize with adults. For those mothers who are dreading this transition back to work, here are some tips to help make the process a little easier.

Practice your new routine before returning to work
You have to take care of a newborn, now have to return to work, continue to run the house, and find time to enjoy yourself. Trying to figure out how to balance all of these things can be extremely overwhelming. Before you go back to work make sure that you get yourself organized. Do a couple of practice runs a week or two before you’re set to start working again. If possible, arrange for you child to be in childcare for the days that you are practicing your new routine. Get used to parting with your child. Even though you may have practiced your new routine, things can come up. When the time does come for you to actually go back to work set you alarm extra early to give you extra time to work out any kinks in your schedule. The only way that your new routine will get easier is with time.

Set aside time for yourself, time with your friends, and time with your partner
If you are only spending time at the office and taking care of your child then you will likely go crazy. While it may seem like you have no extra time in your days, it’s important to schedule time into your week to spend time alone, with your friends and with your partner. You don’t want your relationships to slip through the cracks just because you have a child. It’s important to maintain your relationships with your friends and your partner. Additionally, make sure that you plan in “me time.” Work out a night when your partner will take care of your child so that you can take a long bath or read a book. No matter what you choose to do with your down time, make sure you get the time!

Plan a meeting with your boss
Going back to work after being away for a few weeks may seem daunting. You might be behind on projects or have completely missed out on something new. Schedule a meeting with your boss for your first day back to go over everything important.
Questions that you may want to ask:
Have there been any changes you need to be made aware of? These changes can be anywhere- from leadership to a shift in priorities for the department.
What are the things you need to be working on now that you’re back? Hearing this directly from your boss will give you focus and direction and help you dive right back into things.
Is there any flexibility in your schedule? Maybe you need to work from home for a day if your child is sick or you might want to switch to a part time schedule. Any questions you may have or things you want to bring up with your boss, now is your chance.

Ease into your new schedule
Going back to work may seem extremely overwhelming. One way to make this transition easier is by easing your way back into work. If your boss allows it, start in the middle of the week instead of on Monday. Working a half week instead of a full 40+ hour week will make the transition seem less intense both you and your baby. Another way that you can ease back into working is by working half days on the Thursday and Friday before you are scheduled to start working.

For those mothers who are scared and overwhelmed by the transition back to work remember that you are not alone. Many mothers feel this way and every mother who goes back to work gets through it. There are tips and tricks that you can utilize along the way to help you get through the process and make you and your baby feel more comfortable with your new schedule.