One of the first things we should do as new Moms once given the all clear from your Doctor is exercise. A rush of endorphins can be a wonderful way to combat the onset of post-partum depression. Assuming you had a straight-forward delivery of the baby, you should be given the green light to start exercising by 6-8 weeks post-birth.
Perhaps the sleepless nights are taking their toll on you, so the last thing you would want to do would be exercise? Exercising may seem like an impossible task, given that you have a beautiful baby as your permanent side-kick.
Even though it may feel impossible to do, it's so important to try to get a few minutes of exercise in a day. Brownie points if you can do some exercise with your baby along for the ride too!
Everyone knows the health and happiness benefits associated with exercise, but it's a whole new challenge if you're trying to exercise while juggling a new baby.
There's No Excuse
Fortunately, or unfortunately (depending on how you look at it!), there's really no excuse for not exercising now you have a baby. Thanks to modern technology, we have a plethora of apps and technology so you can exercise anywhere and anytime. The best thing about living in the time that we do, you can exercise and have baby right there with you!
Walking With Your Baby
I'll be the first to admit that it's a bit of a pain getting baby into a stroller for the first few times. You have to figure out how much clothing to put on baby and then put them into a stroller that's not been used before.
#MommyHack It's a great idea for your partner to open and close the clasps of the stroller harness multiple times before baby arrives. Otherwise, you'll have the baby in one arm and wrestling with a rock-hard harness clasp that doesn't want to open!
Once your baby is in the stroller, take it easy initially. Even a 5-minute walk around the block can be a major endorphin win!
Don't live in a place where you can walk? The easy solution to that is to wear baby in a Moby or other baby-wearing device and do a few laps around your apartment complex or even around your house.
If you've never done yoga before, now (aka right after having a baby!) can be a great time to start. Particularly because you can include your baby in your yoga practice. Use an app at home, find a free video on Youtube or go to a local yoga Mom & Baby class and get started!
If you're worried that you aren't flexible enough to do it, don't! Yoga doesn't have to take a long time or be formal. Just a 2-3 minute Yoga session with baby laying on the floor next to you can be a wonderful way to start your day!
There's no mystery to meditating. It's simply a way of bringing your attention to the present moment. And it CAN be done with your baby. It's true that it's not exactly a form of heart-pumping exercise but it focuses on breathing and relaxation.
If you're concerned about having your eyes closed during meditation, the good news is that you can use a focal object to gaze at while you are meditating. Some people pick a spot on a wall, or a candle to look at throughout their meditation.
You could be holding your baby, or simply meditate next to him/her. Use an app like Insight Timer or Calm to pre-set a small window of time to meditate. If you don't think you can be still for a few minutes on your own, use a guided meditation to help you get present.
Much like yoga, you can attend a Mommy & Baby stretching class locally or create your own routine that you can do in the mornings with your baby. Head rolls, shoulder rolls, and over-the-head arm stretching can be basic by effective ways of stretching out your upper body. Don't forget how tired your body can become with you're cradling your baby in your arms all day!
If you can incorporate some singing or cooing noises while you're stretching, your baby will get a real kick out of that! Total Mommy entertainment at its best!
Again you will need to get pediatrician's approval as to when you can start swimming with your baby, but once you have it, your baby will love exercising in the water with you!
Buy a Swimways flotation device or something that your baby will feel safe and comfortable in and get an exercise regime started in the pool! Leg lifts and lunges are a great way to get in some exercise while you're entertaining your baby in the water!
No matter what kind of exercise you do with your baby, the main thing is to do something! Showing your baby that you are dedicated to a regular health routine implements great habits for them in the future.