Lets be honest, finding time to workout with a baby at home is challenging! Between feedings, naps, diaper changes, playtime, work, and attending to other duties, there isn’t much time left!
Do you have a baby or child who enjoys babywearing? Do you have 30 minutes in your day in which you find yourself having to entertain your child or carry them around to keep them happy? Why not use that time to try some babywearing workouts!
Benefits of Exercise
Getting fit with Fit Mama in a grey with silver LÍLLÉbaby Airflow
The benefit of exercise has been well documented. Exercise contributes to decreased incidence of depression, increased self-confidence, decreased risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity, and improved body composition and quality of life.
If you are reading this you probably know that pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum recovery is difficult. It takes a major toll on one’s body, and often leaves women with compromised core strength, which is a major contributor to joint and muscle pain, urinary incontinence, diastasis recti (abdominal separation), and low back problems.
Babywearing workouts can be effective to help increase core strength, decrease risk of injury and pain and lead to better quality functional movements allowing you to return to the activities that you need to do, or want to do postpartum. Babywearing workouts require minimal equipment, can be done anywhere, and allow you to spend quality time bonding with your child while doing something positive for your own health!
Things to Consider before Exercising while Babywearing
- Take into account the age and developmental level of your child. Are they able to support their head independently? Do they have good trunk control? Are they able to sit up unassisted? Are they mobile? How much do they weigh? This will help determine what carrying position and exercises are best for you and your baby.
- Do you have a proper baby carrier that is comfortable and supportive? Is the baby supported ergonomically? Are you able to support their head if necessary? Are you able to ensure your child maintains an open airway?
- What is the climate like? Are you exercising indoors or outside? Are you able to stay relatively cool, have access to water, and ensure baby is comfortable? This will help determine what clothing to wear and if environmental modifications need to be made before starting!
Fit Mama Santa Barbara looks great in grey and silver Airflow.
If baby is under 6 months…
- Child should be worn on your front, facing in. Legs should be in an ergonomic and comfortable M position, and head and neck should be supported with a headrest or hood.
- Wear baby high on your body, ensure baby can maintain an open airway by keeping their chin off their chest.
- Young babies sometimes have difficulty regulating their temperature, therefore as you start to get warmer it is important to take breaks, use a breathable carrier, such as the LILLEbaby airflow, and monitor the child for signs of overheating.
- Talk with your doctor to ensure that you are cleared to start an exercise regime. It is important to allow your body to heal after childbirth to avoid complications that could lead to longer recovery times or problems in the future.
If baby is over 6 months and can sit unsupported…
Baby can be worn on your front facing in, or on your back if that is comfortable for you and baby. I personally don’t recommend facing baby out or doing a hip carry while exercising simply because it isn’t as comfortable and can be difficult to complete some of the movements.
As baby gets heavier it is important to pay even more attention to your form and technique! Excessive bending, twisting or other awkward movements are not recommended to avoid injury. Always stand up tall, maintain a neutral spine (not overextending or hunching over), and always engage your core by flattening your belly (think of pulling your bellybutton to your spine) before starting an exercise.
Movements that challenge your balance, allow baby to ‘hang’ (such as standard pushups or planks), involve excessive bouncing, jumping, running, or quick movements are not recommended.
Avoid lifting weights overhead, or engaging in any activity that could cause harm to your child if you were to fall or drop an object.
Know your baby, the most important thing is that you are both having fun!
Importance of Using a Good Baby Carrier
Having a high quality, ergonomic baby carrier makes the world of a difference when exercising with your child, and can prevent injuries to both you and baby. I highly recommend the LILLEbaby airflow or the LILLEbaby all seasons to all my clients for the following reasons:
1.Unique breathable fabric prevents overheating for you and baby
2.Ergonomic design is comfortable for both you and baby
3.Extremely comfortable shoulder straps and waistband. This is very important, especially as baby gets bigger.
4.Unique flip up headrest provides support and comfort for child.
5.Unique lumbar support allows you to wear your child for longer periods of time without low back pain, and prevents the carrier from sliding up or down on your torso.
Closeup of grey and silver LILLEbaby Airflow.
6.Amazing online community willing to help with any issues regarding fit or discomfort.
Ok…I’m ready…So what exercises should I do?!
Some great body weight exercises to start with include; brisk walking, squats, lunges, tricep dips on a chair, wall pushups, and calf raises. I also recommend purchasing a simple resistance band to add resistive exercises such as bicep curls.
Try this bodyweight circuit at home…
40 second brisk walk
20 wall pushups
15 tricep dips on chair or bench
10 lunges on each leg
--Repeat 3 times--
To learn more about how to properly do these exercises and to find other babywearing workouts check out my blog or find me on instagram for demonstration videos and other tips!
Please remember that a blog is never a substitute for medical advice. Always check with your doctor and pediatrician before following any of these recommendations. I encourage all people who are new to exercise to seek out professional help before attempting these movements on your own. These recommendations are based on my own experience and education and may need to be modified to meet your own specific needs.
About the Author
Natasha is the owner of Fit Mama Santa Barbara. She is a self-proclaimed semi-crunchy mama who loves babywearing, breastfeeding and cloth diapering. She is a licensed Occupational Therapist and wellness coach and provides in home and online training services for women of all ages. With her background in Kinesiology and Rehabilitation she has been able to help her clients rehabilitate after injury, and remain strong and healthy during pregnancy and postpartum. She loves long walks on the beach, travelling with her family, and afternoon playtime with her baby girl. Natasha lives in California with her husband and writes an information packed blog on fitness, postpartum health and life as a new mom. Check it out at fitmamasb.com and follow her on Instagram @fitmamasb for her latest workouts, recipes, and advice.