How To Stay Fit With a Baby
It may seem impossible for you to start exercising again after having a baby. Between cluster feeding, 20-minute naps, and lack of sleep, I know it can feel like an uphill battle to accomplish your goals. However, it is absolutely possible to prioritize your health and fitness while also caring for your new little one. With proper planning and flexibility, it can be fun and effective to get your exercise in each day.
Here’s the deal, workouts do not need to be complex, full of a ton of movements, and take an hour to complete so if you’re trying to get a workout in with a newborn, I promise you, it’s doable. A postpartum workout can look very different from your previous workouts, and that’s okay.
One thing that stopped my success was not believing a 30-minute walk or pelvic floor exercises were a “workout”. I was stuck in this definition of a workout being me at the gym, pushing heavy weight, and dripping sweat. When I focused on stretching or a walk, I felt like it wasn’t good enough or I wasn’t trying hard enough. But truthfully, those things were meeting my body right where it was at and preparing me to be able to get back to those heavy leg days.
How Can I Fit in a Workout With a Newborn?
If you’re struggling with trying to prioritize working out and thinking:
- Every time I try to go work out my baby wakes up and I can’t focus when they’re with me.
- I just want this alone time so I can work out, I deserve this time to myself.
- I hate having to start and stop while I’m working out to tend to them, so it never gets done.
- I’m too tired at night to get my workout in so I just push it until the next day and this cycle repeats itself.
- I’m exhausted when I wake up at the same time as my kids. I can’t even imagine trying to get up before them and working out.
I’ll be the first one to sit here and say that every single one of those excuses was my own.
I hung onto all of these thoughts and made them feel like facts in my head but they all led to one thing: me not getting a workout in and not losing the weight I claimed I so badly wanted to lose.
So then how do all of these other women get a workout in and lose the postpartum weight?
I realized it wasn’t my kids holding me back from getting a workout in, it was 100% on me. I was speaking negativity and lies into my life that prevented me from ever getting the workout done.
So let’s change our mindset to help it create alternatives and accomplish our goals.
So your baby wakes up right in the middle of your workout.
What do you do?
- Cut the workout short and be done for the day.
- Grab your baby, set up a blanket, and have them sit with you until you’re done.
- Use your baby as a weight and hold them through your workout to finish as planned.
- Take a break to feed and change your baby and then go back to your workout.
These are all technically options, you just have to accept them as such and adjust your expectations. Is stopping mid-workout to feed your baby ideal? No, but is it a compromise that gets your baby’s needs met AND your own? Absolutely!
Do you deserve alone time for a workout? Sure. But do you deserve all the effects of not getting a workout in waiting for the perfect circumstance?
No, you don’t deserve that at all!
You don’t deserve to miss another workout. You deserve the sense of accomplishment you feel after completing what you said you were going to do.
You don’t deserve to feel stuck because you can never find someone to watch the baby while you get time for a workout.
It’s time to switch your mindset and make it work for you, not against you.
So with that being said, let’s talk about ways you can get a workout in with a newborn.
How to Find Time to Exercise With an Infant
Before Wake Up/After Bedtime
I know, this sounds like the worst idea ever, but hear me out. I want you to think about your sleep schedule, when your baby wakes up, and how important getting a workout is to you.
If you are getting 6 hours of sleep in 2-hour chunks, please do not get up early to work out; it’s pointless. If this is you, I recommend you weave in more movement throughout the day instead of trying to wake up early or staying up too late to exercise.
But if you are getting at least 6-hour stretches of sleep and are generally feeling rested, I want to challenge you to get up 30 minutes before your baby typically gets up.
Have your clothes laid out the night before, get up, get dressed, drink some water, and go. Yes, some days your baby will wake up in the middle of your workout, but now you have to tools to navigate that.
If your baby goes down at 6 or 7 pm, get your workout in as soon as they go to sleep. Dedicate 20 minutes to yourself and then you can go lay in bed, watch tv, read a book, etc. You will never regret taking 20 minutes of your day to get in some movement.
Join A Walking Mom Group
Yes, walking can be your workout! We don’t need to be completing HIIT workouts right after giving birth. In fact, walking is probably the most effective exercise you could possibly do postpartum.
You’re getting movement in to keep up your metabolism but not overstressing your body to the point of it holding onto unwanted weight. Joining a group of moms that go walking gives you socialization, accountability, and you can bring your baby in the stroller during a nap.
Babywear During Your Workout
If you have a baby that just loves being held at all times like my daughter, then getting yourself a wearable baby carrier will be your best friend. Wearing your baby gives you the freedom to use your hands and gives you extra weight for your workouts.
During Nap Time
I know, this sounds pretty obvious, but I have some tips for success. My kids slept about 25-30 minutes for the first 4-5 months so I needed to be ready to go with my workouts.
Before you put your baby to sleep, make sure you’re dressed, your water bottle is full, and you have a workout plan. As soon as your little one is down, get right to it!
Workouts that are just bodyweight and keep you moving the whole time will be very beneficial if you’re tight on time. You can get a good workout in 20 minutes.
During Tummy Time
Tummy time is the perfect time for some postpartum stretching. Don’t forget as a new mom, it’s important to work on your posture and stretch your muscles in between workouts. I had some crippling breastfeeding back pain and getting on the floor to stretch for 15-20 minutes each day made a huge difference.
If you are still looking to get some kind of workout, you can do something as simple as 100 squats and 100 pushups. Take as much time as you need and if you need to hold your baby during the squats you can, and they’ll probably love watching you come up and down during pushups.
You Can Do This, Mama!
When we allow ourselves to get in a workout at a level that matches our current circumstances, we can move closer to our goals every day. Being flexible with what our workouts look like gives us the freedom to get intentional movement in without the negative feelings of failure.
I hope you are now feeling confident and prepared to perform a workout with your baby no matter the circumstance. And maybe you have a new exercise style to try too! Don’t forget to show another mama some love and share this post!