Once they’ve delivered their sweet little bundles of joy, many moms are eager to get back to their old workout routine in order to tighten up and shed extra pregnancy pounds.
It’s a noble goal, but it’s not always an easy one — after all, newborn babies require a great deal of time and attention, which can make it tough to sneak in time for you-focused activities like working out.
There’s an easy solution to this conundrum, and it is one on which many new mothers have relied. When you wear your baby in a babywearing carrier, there are a number of safe and effective ways you can work out without ever having to put baby down. There’s no need to rely on costly gym day care, find a sitter, or wait till your partner can watch baby, and it’s perfect for those chilly or rainy days when the jogging stroller simply isn’t an option.
Of course, questions are inevitable when you’re beginning your babywearing aerobics journey. If you’re wondering what exercises are best and which safety precautions you should follow while working out with baby, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve created a rundown of the best babywearing workouts as well as a helpful list of tips and safety guidelines that will allow you to get the most out of your efforts.
In this article:
Babywearing workouts: The safety basics
Make sure baby is in a healthy position
This very much relies on the TICKS guidelines for performing a healthy carry while babywearing, and is always important. Your little one’s head should be close enough for you to give a quick smooch, meaning that it should rest on your chest. Their head should be faced to the side, so that you can see their face at all times. This ensures that their airways remain safely open. Their legs should rest in a healthy “M” position, like a little frog, with knees placed higher than their posterior. Carriers that allow your baby’s legs to hang downwards are not healthy for their skeletal development and can lead to long-term hip issues, so they should be avoided.
Adhere to weight and height limits for your carrier, and don’t use it if it’s damaged
Part of using your babywearing carrier safely is adhering to the weight and height limits recommended by the manufacturer. It is not safe to wear baby in a carrier that’s not size-appropriate for them, whether you’re working out or simply performing a carry. It also won’t be comfortable or secure for either of you, which makes working out virtually impossible.
It’s also important that you check your carrier for wear and tear every time you use it. While cosmetic damage like a fabric stain or fraying pocket matter less, a damaged buckle or strap or fabric that’s beginning to tear can seriously affect the integrity of a carrier. If it’s damaged and out of warranty, it’s time to give the carrier a toss.
5 babywearing workouts for new moms
#1 Mommy and me low impact cardio
Skill level: Intermediate
Time required: 20 minutes
Aerobics style: Cardiovascular, but low-impact, includes jogging in place, stretches, gentle lunges, stepping side to side, and curls
Review: If you’re looking for something that engages your body and makes you feel like you’ve had a true workout without feeling totally wiped out, this is a perfect pick. It’s great for rebuilding leg strength after the often sedentary periods immediately pre and post-birth, and it also has the perfect amount of gentle bounce for soothing your little one into a peaceful nap.
#2 Groovaroo babywearing dance class
Review: If you’re not a gym rat, it might take a fun workout to really get you engaged; if so, this fun, quick dance workout session is a great fit for you. It’s very low impact, using basic dance moves and the weight resistance created by baby to help you get in shape with some simple cardio. There’s several effective moves you can practice, and it really only takes the length of a song, so it’s perfect for sneaking a quick workout into your busy schedule.
#3 Restorative post-partum yoga
Skill level: Beginner
Time required: 20 minutes
Gear required: Yoga mat or other comfortable floor mat
Aerobics style: Yoga/stretching
Review: Yoga is a powerful method of strengthening the body and releasing tension and negative energy, and the positions included here are ideal for a low-impact, post-pregnancy workout that stretches the whole body. There’s no jostling, only gentle changes of position, so it’s great for sneaking in a workout that’ll soothe your nerves and calm your mind while your little one has a snooze. It offers a restorative stretch to your arms and shoulders, and is exceptional at relieving lower back pain, a common postpartum affliction.
#4 Total body babywearing workout
Skill level: Intermediate – Advanced
Time required: 20 to 30 minutes
Gear required: A soft-structured carrier is specifically needed for this workout, as well as dumbbells (5 – 12 lbs recommended), a workout bench or durable chair, and optionally, a resistance band
Aerobics style: Full body strength workout, some of which requires that baby be out of their carrier
Review: If you’re looking to seriously kick your workout routine back into gear, this might be the session for you. It tackles your whole body, incorporating weight resistance to tone your arms, legs, and core. You’ll be deadlifting dumbbells, planking, lunging and dipping, so it’s perfect for the moms who take fitness seriously and already know their way around the gym. It’s definitely intense, so make sure you’re medically cleared for weight training before attempting this one.
#5 Carifit post natal foundations workout
Skill level: Intermediate
Time required: 15 minutes
Aerobics style: Full-body cardio aerobics
Review: It’s not hard to tell that this workout was designed by a real postpartum mama. It includes all the aerobics you’ll need to tone up post-pregnancy, like lunges, squats, and hamstring curls, but it also incorporates a warm-up and cool-down that your healing body will benefit from. Short breaks are also interspersed throughout, which allow you to check on your little one or stay hydrated. It’s easy to feel confident about your form and breathing through the workout’s guidance, making it ideal for moms who are new to aerobics.
Safety considerations for mom
Your little one isn’t the only one who needs to stay safe and healthy during your babywearing workout! As your body recovers from your pregnancy and birth, there are a few things you should keep in mind when considering babywearing aerobics.
Wait a reasonable amount of time
Even if you’re eager to get back in shape, it’s essential that you give your body an adequate amount of time to heal before you jump back into serious physical activity. On average, OB-GYNs recommend that women who’ve just given birth wait about six weeks to resume exercise. If you’ve had a Caesarean section, that number jumps to eight.
Listen to your doctor
On that note, it’s important to listen to your doctor’s recommendations about post-pregnancy exercise for the sake of your own well being. Your doctor is the best source of advice on the level and nature of physical activity that’s appropriate for you. For example, if you’re dealing with diastasis recti, a common separation of the abdominal muscles that happens to some moms during pregnancy, your doctor will advise you to stay away from exercises like planking and crunches which can further strain your midsection and maintain or increase the appearance of stomach protrusion.
What are the benefits of babywearing aerobics?
Wondering about the myriad benefits of workout out while wearing your baby? We’ll wrap up by noting some of the big ones:
- Skin-to-skin contact. We already know that skin-to-skin contact is a profoundly important part of infant development, allowing baby to bond with their parents and release hormones that promote better sleep and healthy growth. Wearing baby during a workout is just one more opportunity to facilitate that bond.
- Multi-tasking. It can be a bear to get anything that’s not on baby’s schedule done within the first few months of their life, and going to the gym is likely at the bottom of the priority list. By incorporating babywearing into your workout, you’re staying close to your little one during their down time as needed but also focusing on improving your health through exercise.
- Improved mood. Exercising and bonding closely with your baby both release a flood of healthy endorphins that can improve your mood and keep you feeling positive and joyful; for some mothers, it can help to combat symptoms of postpartum depression.