For some new moms, the thought of struggling into something lycra on very little sleep, with leaking breasts, to take part in some form of exercise might fill you with horror. Fair enough! But there are those of you who feel trapped by the fact that you can’t take part in sports and activities that you used to now that you have a baby and consequently feel like you are missing out.
The good news is that things have moved on a great deal in the last 15 years when it comes to mother and baby exercise. My first piece of advice is that it is important to be sure you are taking part in exercise for the right reasons. There is a lot of pressure on mothers to regain their pre baby figure and this is a worrying trend. While it is great to be fit, healthy and to lose any weight gained during pregnancy, you simply shouldn’t feel pressure to do so on top of the demanding job of caring for a new baby.
So assuming you are looking to exercise with your baby to make you feel good, keep up a level of fitness and get out of the house, what is there on offer? There has been an explosion of mother and baby classes that involve meeting in the park with your baby and buggy and getting a sweat on! These classes often involve lunging and strength exercises and fast walking or running. These are great as they give your baby some fresh air and you get a chance to meet other mothers too. What happens in the class is designed to be safe for postnatal mums so you don’t need to worry about doing anything inappropriate.
Another popular mother and baby class is yoga. This can be done together with your baby. No one minds if your baby has a bit of a grizzle and I have memories of having a little nap in one of the classes I attended, unintentional of course!
Water-based classes are another popular choice for mother and baby. Everyone is carrying post baby weight so you are all in it together squeezing your swimsuits on. A word of caution here though, a swimming pool can be a breeding ground for germs so take care when taking a small baby to a public pool. If they are showing any signs of feeling unwell then avoid swimming at all. Chlorine can be harsh on a baby’s skin too so have a think before you make the decision to take your baby swimming if they have sensitive skin.
There are of course things you can do with your baby that cost very little. A brisk walk with your baby in the buggy, a cycle with your baby on the back of your bike, and don’t forget the trusty home workout DVD as there are plenty designed for postnatal mums.
A word of caution, if you have had a C-section, do check with your doctor before taking part in any exercise as you are recovering from major surgery.
Whatever you choose to do, enjoy doing it with your baby!
To share your own exercise tips or to read tips from other moms, visit www.facebook.com/philipsavent
By Kate Nicolle
Parenting Consultant and founder of Kidology
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