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5 Effective Tips to Workout With a Baby at Home

mom playing airplane with her baby on a grey yoga mat

Having your baby at home doesn’t mean that you can’t sneak in a workout during your day. Intentional movement is an essential part of recovering from birth.

Once your doctor has given you the all-clear to incorporate movement into your postpartum recovery, you can begin easing back into exercise.

But what do you do with your new little sidekick? Is it even possible to work in a workout with a baby at home? One mom shares five tips for prioritizing her physical self-care with her baby in tow.

mom playing airplane with her baby on a grey yoga mat

Working out with a baby at home: one mom’s story

It’s a chilly Thursday afternoon in November. I’m sitting at my desk, the sun is barely streaming in my north-facing apartment window, and my nine-month-old baby is on my lap. I have a Baby Einstein video playing on one side of my screen so that I can work on the other. 

I know you’ve been in this situation before: Maybe the details are different, but the feelings of overwhelm, not enough, and “what self-care?” are pulsing in your veins.

As I look at my daughter and think about all the things on my to-do list and all the things like workouts that have fallen off, resentment grows. This time, before I scream in frustration, it suddenly hits me that I can do something different. 

In a world that hasn’t taught me how to give myself grace, I don’t have to wait for it. I can provide myself with self-compassion right now.

I breathe, close my eyes and remember that it took this baby nine months to grow inside me.

Can’t it take me nine months to sort of get the hang of all the things? I’ve learned since that day that post-birth, it can take up to 18 whole months for a body to heal.

Our culture may define six weeks as the magic springboard into feeling like yourself, but I’m here to tell you: that wasn’t it for me. I decided that day to do what felt good in my body. 

mom doing yoga stretches with her baby at home

5 tips for working out with a baby at home

1. Give yourself grace

Allow yourself to heal on a timeline that feels good for you. No one else knows what it feels like to be you, so no one else gets a say.

I grab my babe and the stroller and head to the car. What feels good is nothing more than a walk in the park, with the sun on my face and cool air allowing the leaves to fall along with my frustration.

As a certified personal trainer, I know the importance of breathing and connecting back to my core, building the muscles back correctly in my pelvic floor.

As a new mom, I know none of that is happening. 

Read next: Pelvic Floor Issues After Birth: Common but Not Normal

In a world that hasn’t taught me how to give myself grace, I don’t have to wait for it. I can provide myself with self-compassion right now.

We step onto the path, and I slowly push the stroller, taking steps with my breath. I inhale to feel my pelvic floor release and relax.

As I exhale, I feel a gentle lift. The stronger you can connect your breath, core, and pelvic floor now, the stronger your body can be in the future.

mom playing airplane with her baby on the floor

2. Connect to your breath and core

Make sure your postpartum ‘workouts’ include connecting your breath and your core. If it’s available, work with a pelvic floor physical therapist to support healing your pelvic floor ad addressing diastasis recti (aka the separation of your abdominal walls).

You deserve all the tools and support possible.

Want help with your diastasis recti?
Every Mother is the only workout program proven to heal diastasis recti. Learn more

That single decision and first walk turn into walks multiple times a week. It’s an excuse to shut my computer at the end of the workday and be present with this tiny human who is changing by the day in front of my eyes.

Pretty quickly, though, life gets back in the way. The shame of being a fitness instructor who doesn’t work out sets in, and the walks start happening less frequently.

Do your best to make the most of every walk and use the time to connect back deeply with your breath and your core.

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mom holding her toddler and newborn baby in a chair

3. Count every movement

Out of necessity to stay sane in a small apartment with a tiny human, I move in small bouts throughout the day. Instantly my mood lifts with my heart rate, and I realize that movement is movement. Whether it’s thirty minutes in one go or five minutes spread out over the day. 

Celebrate and find the ways you can move your body right now. Lunges while you brush your teeth, push-ups while the baby eats lunch.

Let it all count because you count.

4. Bring the baby with you

Wear them in a baby carrier, and lay on the ground to do clam shells, planks, and push-ups. Once they can sit up, use them to add a few extra pounds to your work. Your workout doesn’t have to be separate from mothering (unless you prefer it to, of course).

mom working out with a baby on her yoga mat

5. Remember your worth

Remember, you get to move to care for yourself so you can set an example for your babes. What better way to show them they’re worth it than to model it yourself? Why not have fun doing it?

Our culture says that we should work out as a punishment but what’s possible if we work out for what we can gain? I move for myself, but I also move for them.

When I take care of myself, I take care of them. They’re my why in all the ways, and keeping that in focus helps everything else feel more possible. The more fun I have with them while working out, the more I want to work out in the workout.

Final thoughts on working out with your baby at home

I’m still figuring it out almost six years and three babies later. And, the more I permit myself to roll with it, the easier it’s getting. 

I see you. For all the things you’re trying to be. Trust that you’ll find the schedule and movements that work for you, and in the meantime, where you’re at is perfect. Your workout doesn’t have to be extravagant or gym-worthy.

Doing what you love, with who you love, is an incredible place to start.

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