As I am writing this (frantically, might I add- you never know when baby will wake up!!) my baby is napping. After about six to eight weeks, you and your baby will get into a nice routine (on most days, anyways) and you might feel that you can actually try and do stuff while your baby naps.
Like try and get your pre-pregnancy body back, 30-60 minute increments at a time.
If you’re one of the lucky mamas who doesn’t need to work out, and breast feeding basically gave you back your pre-pregnancy body, then this post isn’t for you.
But if you are wanting to work out (and aren’t a rich celebrity who has a ‘helper’ to take care of the baby while you work out 7 days a week at the gym) then read on, mama!
My doctor recommended that I don’t start working out until six weeks (I had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery), which allows for the body to heal after the trauma of child birth. If you had a C-section, you would have to wait much longer (you don’t want those sutures to pop open!), and check with your OB/family doctor/ midwife. I started right at the six week mark.
Although I was lucky enough to weigh the same as before pregnancy after about six weeks (when all the fluid and swelling leaves the body)- though I think this is mainly due to muscle atrophy rather than fat loss. My butt disappeared. I also have an obvious ‘pooch’ or a ‘muffin top’ (along with that linea nigra which seems to accentuate my pooch) and loose clothes are more comfortable. Now, I didn’t have six pack abs or anything before getting pregnant, and I don’t intend to get six pack abs as a new mom, but it would be nice to fit in working out and staying healthy (for mind and body).
To work out and stay healthy, I could go to a baby yoga class, but when I am half awake from sleep deprivation in the mornings (being woken up at 2:47 am, 5:43 am, 6:43 am, 7:54 am often to feed your baby and soothe him or her can be exhausting to say the least), I don’t have the energy to drag my butt out for baby yoga class. I learned that monthly yoga classes weren’t for me.
I would rather workout on my own time. I am able to squeeze in exercise a few days a week…I work out about 3-4 times a week and anywhere from about 20-30 minutes at a time. I learned that the best time to work out is when your baby is taking a daytime nap, or when my husband is home and he’s able to be with baby while I go for a quick 30 minute run or bike ride.
Here are some workouts you can do while your baby naps, or is awake (and they are free!).
how to workout (with baby)
So, the secret is to get your baby to nap.
I put my baby in his baby swing and roll out my yoga mat and work out beside him. I get him all comfortable in the baby swing first preferably he falls asleep then I turn on my Youtube video of choice. Of course, if you’re one of the lucky moms who has a baby who can sleep in their bassinet or crib during the day, then you can skip to the next part. We got our baby swing loaned from a friend, initially our baby didn’t like it and cried despite putting it to MAX SWING but he seems to like it now. Thank goodness we didn’t get rid of it to make more room because we are in 450 square feet with a baby.
Another way to workout with baby is to utilize your baby carrier. For us, our baby couldn’t fall asleep during the day AT ALL in the first few weeks unless he was in a baby carrier, the Baby Bjorn. We would have to rock/ jiggle/ or squat with the carrier strapped on and then he would fall asleep blissfully for his nap.
If you want to work out in the 30 minutes or so after feeding and while he’s awake, I’ve rolled out my yoga mat beside his play gym and we both work out. He does his tummy time while I do my workout beside him. There will be interruptions (especially if your baby hates tummy time like mine) as you turn the baby on back and stomach depending on how baby tolerates tummy time. This is better for a shorter workout, like 15-20 minutes. Some days I can’t finish a workout at all and just have to wait until my husband comes home to watch the baby while I finish my workout.
free home workouts you can do post-partum to get your pre-pregnancy body back
CARiFiT with Vern Hill
This Whole Body Burn Workout really really gives you a whole body burn. I was sore for two days after this workout and it’s only 25 minutes. The best thing is this is a BABY CARRIER WORKOUT, meaning while I was working out, I had my baby in the Baby Bjorn and he fell asleep while I was working out. You just have to make sure the carrier is safe for working out with the baby. The only downside was that I couldn’t shower until he woke up and I fed him since he was in the Baby Bjorn. Who knew that doing lunges with 12 lbs strapped to your chest can give you such a post-workout burn!
BabyFit by Amy
I followed Amy’s videos for prenatal when I could only do low-impact exercises, and exercised up until delivery. She has great videos and she’s not annoying (you know how some exercise videos can be annoying when they talk to much? Or sound like they are really pushing you?). She herself was pregnant in the videos so it was great.
For post natal workout videos, she had a C-section and has a great post-natal exercise (which was low impact, and the first exercise video I followed after delivery). BabyFit by Amy has a video on working out with baby in the carrier as well. She also has a a video on exercises to do with your baby of any age (her baby is ridiculously cute).
I’m a HUGE fan of Fitness Blender and regularly used Fitness Blender before I got pregnant, even. They have lots of inspirational before and after pictures on their Instagram account. There are lots of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts that are under 30 minutes like this one: Ultimate HIIT Workout for People Who Get Bored Easily – Fat Burning HIIT Cardio Workout. Fitness Blender don’t have any postpartum or prenatal exercise videos per se, but I find their HIIT workouts great, and you see results quickly with less time (don’t need to be working out for 90 minutes at a time). I just worked out to this video today while my baby was in his swing falling asleep.
other things you can do to get your pre-pregnancy body back
Of course, there are other things you can do the get your pre-pregnancy body back, in addition to working out, like eating healthy. This is easier said than done, and I don’t have enough will power to stop eating cupcakes and pound cakes, and nutella on toast for breakfast because breastfeeding makes me hungry and craving sugar.
If you are breast feeding, you will need to consume more calories than when you are pregnant (about 500kcal more). I didn’t realize this until I started feeling ravenous and HANGRY, more so than when I was pregnant. I am still craving ice cream (though not as much) postpartum.
Another thing you can do to get your pre-pregnancy body back is to go for walks, lots of walks with your stroller or with your baby carrier. This is good for the mind, body, soul, AND baby. Win, win, win.
Jogging is good too if you have a jogging stroller and if your baby is old enough. However, given that we were too frugal to purchase a baby stroller, since we spent only $500 preparing for this baby, I will just have to make do without one.
Mamas, do you have any other Youtube videos that you would recommend for postpartum workouts?