When my baby was brand new, the only way she would nap was on me, so babywearing was a lifesaver! We went on so many walks and hikes when I was restless and she needed to sleep. It’s also the only way I got anything done. Turning boring, daily chores into exercise seems to help some how. “We aren’t cleaning out the dishwasher, we are doing squats and lifts!” When I was pregnant, I loved my prenatal yoga class, so finding a way to keep my baby as a part of my practice was a good way to get back on my mat in those post-partum days. I vividly remember breastfeeding in warrior pose at one point thinking, “if this isn’t symbolic of motherhood, I don’t know what is!”
Be patient with yourself! Not only do you have a different body than you did before baby, you are adding another human into your exercise routine. Start slowly. Think simply. Just move!
First, a few safety tips:
- Before starting an exercise routine, be sure to consult with your doctor to make sure your body is ready. Use caution with new movements and make sure you're stable.
- Always insure that baby is secure in the carrier and close enough to kiss.
- It is best to stick with low impact exercise (no running, kickboxing, etc.)
- Support baby’s head, especially if you have a newborn. Using a carrier with head support is a great hands-free option.
- If using free weights, avoid exercises where you'd be holding them over baby's head.
What kind of exercises can you do?
Babywearing is a great option for walking, hiking, and aerobics. You can also do ballet and modified yoga while babywearing. Squats, lunges, and upper body work (arm hangs, weights, etc,) are also great options for exercise with baby. Whatever you choose, keep in mind that you are getting extra core work just by wearing baby. Baby is also getting lots of sensory stimulation. Be creative. Get outside and just move! The benefits for both of you are amazing.
For your safety, and for babies, keep your form and posture in mind as you are working out.
Bend from your knees (squatting) not from your back. This will protect you from injury and keep baby secure in the carrier.
If you are doing ballet or yoga, keep a hand on baby’s head or back if you bend forward or backward.
Keep in mind that you will have to modify some ballet positions or yoga asanas to accommodate for safety.
Here are a few links to exercise routines designed with babywearing in mind:
- This is a circuit workout you can do in your own home. No special equipment needed
- Here is babywearing aerobics on YouTube. This is one of MANY examples
- Here are a few moves you can do outside as you walk or hike with baby
- The link below is for a quick 10 minute babywearing yoga practice
Have fun & happy babywearing!
Rebecca Yeager, Volunteer