Exercise is the last thing on your mind once you have just had your baby, whether it be natural birth or cesarean. You are sleep deprived, your body is not the same as what it was before, you have a little human that needs you for absolutely everything, your muscles have lost their strength and you are suffering from baby brain (or baby amnesia which has been happening to me lately).
But once you feel like you are ready to get moving again, it feels so good!
You do need to be careful and take it easy as you begin to exercise again. You still have relaxin coursing through your body which makes your ligaments a lot more stretchy than normal and your pelvic floor may be not what it used to be (hands up for me here).
So I want to give you some handy tips for getting back into exercise when you are ready and the best bit, you can involve your baby in some moves which is super simple.
TIP ONE - Take it slow
Remember your body has just created a human which you carried around in your belly for 9 months, so please be kind to yourself. You may not be ready for exercise until your bub is 6 months old or maybe you are ready when bubs is 2 or 3 months old. Listen to your body and start slow. Go for a short walk with bubs in the pram or begin by doing bits and pieces while you are around the house, such as squats while you are waiting for the bottle to heat up.
Another thing to remember is your pelvic floor, it won't be what it was before whether you gave birth naturally or not. The weight of a baby for 9 months puts pressure on it, so steer clear of vigorous weight bearing exercises at the beginning. Instead do your pelvic floor exercises to get that baby strong again.
** If you had a cesarean, you will have a longer healing time so please check with your doctor before beginning any exercise. You had a major operation!
TIP TWO - Begin light & slowly work your way up
If you feel you are ready to get back into a more intense workout, know that you aren't as strong as you were before, so with weights start lighter and work your way up. It isn't a race, you need to be slow and steady. Be kind to your amazing body!
For me, I used to use 3 or 4kg dumbbells, but when I started exercising again I went right back to the beginning and used 1 or 2kg dumbbells. I have now worked my way back up to 3 or 4kg which feels great but it was a steady increase.
Also don't get straight back into jumping around and going for marathon length runs. Work your way up to this. I know it can be frustrating especially for those of you that are gym junkies or had your routine, it can be hard coming to terms with this, but your body will thank you for it in the long run.
TIP THREE - Shorter and more frequent
I have found shorter more frequent workouts is what works for me. I had all these great intentions to try to do what I did before, but nope that didn't work and I just ended up getting annoyed with myself. I would put my exercise gear on in the morning thinking I would do a workout while Baby A slept, but it would be 3pm, I'm still in my exercise gear and no exercise done.
I know get up with my hubby at around 6am, usually before my bubba wakes, and we do a short but effective workout together. It is nice to exercise together and it is out of the way before my day as a mumma begins.
Sleep is precious when you are a mum so forgive yourself if you miss a workout if your bubba had a rough night or if you just can't get out of bed. This happened to me the other morning, my hubby was trying to wake me up but I literally couldn't open my eyes. So I stayed in bed and went back to sleep. I obviously needed it and that is okay.
TIP FOUR - No guilt attached, you are a mummy!
You have a beautiful little human that needs you for absolutely everything so don't put extra pressure and guilt on yourself if you can't exercise 3-4 times per week. Do what you can, when you can! Below I have put together a little workout you can do with your bub, fun!
Trying to be a mum, a partner/wife, run a household and if you work as well, that is all a lot of things on your plate. You don't need the added stress of beating yourself up if you can't always do your planned workouts. Babies have other plans sometimes.
Once you work on not feeling guilty, you will make up the exercise in your day somewhere, I know that is what happens for me. I'll still be motivated to do something even if it is a belly workout in my PJ's (yep I did this the other day).
Mummy & Baby Workout
+ Squats (hold baby facing your chest)
+ Push ups (baby on the floor)
+ Crunches or sit ups (baby on the floor and pull faces or make noises each time you come up)
+ Alternating lunges (hold baby facing your chest)
+ Plank hold (baby on the floor)
+ Fast feet (baby on the floor and pull faces or make noises each time you come up)
+ Mountain climbers (baby on the floor)
Reps & Sets:
Beginners (10 of each exercise x 2 rounds)
Intermediate (15 of each exercise x 2-3 rounds)
Advanced (20 of each exercise x 3 rounds)
What are your tips for getting back into exercise after having a baby? Share with us in the comments below...
Be happy & healthy,
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This website and all the information it contains is based on my personal experience and journey which I am sharing for educational and informational purposes only. Please consult your own doctor or healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment for you and before starting any new program.