Do These Exercises With Your Baby to Help Rebuild Your Core
For postpartum mamas, getting to the gym or your favorite workout class can be a challenge. You’re often the only one who can soothe your new baby, and this doubles if you’re breastfeeding on demand. And though the days seem long, there never seems to be enough time in them to do everything you want to do. With the seemingly endless cycle of feeding, soothing, and playing, those precious moments when your child is asleep is time for you to do anything you want, but likely not the time you choose to work out.
These three exercises can be done with your baby, in between their eating and sleeping, so you can bond and snuggle baby while also taking those crucial first steps in rebuilding your core muscles post-delivery.
The Warm Up
First things first: warm up. They’ve been saying it since childhood PE classes, and it’s still true today: getting your body acclimated to bigger movements before working out helps prevent injury, reduces soreness, and sets your mind right for what’s ahead.
Inhale your arms over your head, and exhale circle them back down to your lap. Repeat five times, each inhale searching for a little more length in your side body, and each exhale pulling your bellybutton into your spine to gently engage your core.
Come to your hands and knees, stretch your spine through cat-cow stretches and take a few hip circles to prepare your body for bigger movements.
Most of us are familiar with the power of thought, so it can be nice to invite a mantra or an intention into your workout. My favorite postpartum mantra is “I am enough” and “I am strong.” Use this mantra as a tool to ground you in the present moment and inspire you to honor your body.
Targets glutes, quads, hamstrings, piriformis, abdominals
Stand with your legs out wide and feet turned slightly in. Hold your baby in your arms facing outwards. Inhale to lower into a squat, hold at the bottom. Exhale to stand. As you rise, pull your belly in and squeeze your pelvic floor. Do ten reps. On the tenth, hold at the bottom of your squat and take 10 tiny pulses, contracting your pelvic muscles in rapid succession. Do three sets. Bonus neck nuzzles in between.
Glute Bridge Lifts
Targets glutes, hamstrings, and transverse abdominis
Lay on your back with your feet planted firmly into the mat, hip width distance apart. Place your baby on your hips facing you. With an exhale, lift your hips off the mat. Do ten reps. On the tenth hold at the top and pulse your hips up ten times. Your baby will think this is the funniest thing they’ve ever done, and you’ll get a nice core and booty burn.
Targets abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, piriformis
Start in boat pose with your heels on the mat and feet flexed. Pick up your baby so they’re facing you and lean your body back into a V shape. Squeeze your core tight and your thighs into one another. Lower your baby to your right hip, then back to center, then to your left hip and back to center. Do five on each side and then rest. Do three sets. Baby will love this mama-made roller coaster, and there’s no better motivator than their tiny laugh. You get the best of both worlds: laughter is a great core workout.
Note: this exercise should be avoided for those with diastasis recti. Modification shown with soles of feet on the floor.
Plank Tricep Pushups
Place your baby in front of you. Find plank pose on your knees. Press the tops of your feet into your mat to engage your deep core. Hinge forward a drop, and lower halfway down to chaturanga. Give your baby a kiss, and then press back up into that kneeling plank. Give as many kisses as you can. There’s no limit.
It’s incredible what a daily dose of endorphins can do for a mama’s soul, and with this routine, carving out time for self-care doesn’t always mean sacrificing bonding time with baby. Think of it as just another excuse to sneak in those snuggles and kisses.