For many women, attempting to lose the post-pregnancy weight is a struggle. Sleep deprivation, inconsistent eating schedules and tending to an infant’s every need leaves moms with little to no time for workouts or anything closely related to fitness.
Getting the body back in shape doesn’t have to mean trying to schedule a time for a sitter or carving time away from baby. On-demand moms can integrate a fitness routine that incorporates motherhood and their littlest treasure. Babywearing fitness classes or workout routines allows mom to keep their baby near at all times while getting in shape.
The baby’s weight helps many moms shed … the baby weight. Carrying around a growing infant adds muscle tone and—whether moms know it or not—is a workout all its own. Babywearing is, of course, carrying or holding the baby securely to the chest with a carrier or sling. And the hands-free convenience of babywearing has inspired a whole new fitness craze focused on classes and at-home workouts that cater to moms who want to hold their infants near and dear at all times.
Whether mom is using a sling or a baby wrap, babywearing allows freedom for fitness. However, like all fitness routines, safety is the top priority. And moms who plan to workout with baby should be sure that exercise has been cleared by the doctor and that baby is secured safely–and properly–within a wrap or sling.
In her article “Exercising with your Baby: The Babywearing Workout,” writer Nicole Crawford explains that working out while babywearing “can also be a great solution for the baby who refuses to nap.” Crawford suggests simple workouts for moms who are trying to get their bodies back in shape. “The Babywearing Workout” includes several workout sets that feature lunges, a Farmer’s Walk, squats, hanging (on monkey bars) and planking. Crawford’s workout focuses on building strength in the upper and lower body.
Moms looking for new faces and to network with other parents also should try out in-studio professional babywearing workout classes. However, new moms should research all classes to ensure instructors are a good fit—many hospitals also may be great resources for finding babywearing friendly (and safe!) classes.
Babywearing yoga also is a great option for moms wanting a more relaxed workout or who need to de-stress and find a calm meditative balance in their day. Kristi Martel created three 10-minute workouts for babywearers. One of them can even be done while sitting in bed!
The Yoga Mama has also created a special yoga sequence specifically for babywearing mamas. As with every new workout, however, be sure to check with your doctor to make sure you’re cleared for exercise. The Yoga Mama advises that–depending on baby’s age–you may need to support baby’s head…and also to make sure baby is feeling well, has been fed and changed and isn’t fussing!
When practicing babywearing yoga, aim for comfort. Wear clothes that don’t tug or pull on the body, keep feet bare (no slipping!) and always use a mat. Again, always be sure baby is secured properly within the sling or wrap.
When babywearing during a workout, use caution…and common sense. Always err on the side of safety and talk to your pediatrician about any questions or concerns related to babywearing workouts.
While no single workout will magically melt off the baby pounds, keeping a consistent workout routine and eating well-balanced meals all help the body to look and feel great. Of course, wearing the baby during workouts keeps fussiness at bay and can even help lull a cranky baby to sleep. With baby swaddled close, mom can enjoy a little freedom to get out and move to build strength, boost energy and feel great.