I have had to baby wear when working out with my last two babies. I started baby wearing as soon as they were born. The way that I baby wear them and include them in my workouts changes and evolves as they grow.
Here are some things that have helped me baby wear AND get my work outs in WITH my kids over the last few years.
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#1: I baby wear a lot.
As newborns, I put my babies in a Moby wrap and wore them around the house–that was my ‘exercise’ immediately postpartum–and then I later wore them while walking on the treadmill.
I love to baby wear with the Moby for the newborn phase because it keeps them super close and offers good head support for them while I’m in motion.
Babies LOVE to be held and cuddled, so the wrap is fantastic for achieving that.
While on maternity leave, I would actually time out walking on the treadmill with their naps–sometimes they would fall asleep within 30 seconds of starting!!
As my kids got bigger, I transitioned to the Ergo 360 carrier, which is good from 7 to 45 pounds. This one has a bit more structure to it, isn’t as hot to wear and is pretty easy to get on and off.
I still baby wear my 8 month old in this carrier. If she’s fussy, she instantly calms down when she sees me start to put the carrier on.
She is conditioned to it–she knows she’s going to get some mama time straight away.
After the Ergo, I’ll transition her to our Osprey Poco hiking pack. I carried my son in there until after his second birthday.
I would walk outside with him around my neighborhood, on the treadmill on rainy days, or on mountain hikes. He loved this pack because he sat up higher and could see everything from a bird’s eye view.
He still goes in that pack for parts of our hikes, but now at 30 pounds, Dad carries him while I carry Baby!
#2: I include my kids in my workouts.
As newborns, I put my babies right down on the floor next to me when I do my mat exercises.
I fold up a thick blanket and put them on it beside me. That way I can move them around as I change positions, without having to pick them up and put them back down again.
If they’re really fussy, I put them on my chest while doing exercises on my back. If I’m on my side, then they can snuggle close to me.
I had a mom tell me that she would actually nurse and do her floor exercises at the same time! As in side lying nursing. That way baby was occupied-and quiet-and mom got to get some movement in!
I also baby wear them (as in #1 above) either when walking or when doing strength exercises (more on that below), and encouraging participation.
I bought my son his own 1# hand weights and I have an extra mat in our workout area for him.
I let him play with my big exercise ball, the foam roller and even my resistance bands.
The bands usually end up around his waist instead of his legs but, hey, whatever!
His attention span isn’t very long, and he typically ends up playing with toys or requesting a show to watch, but at least he’s showing interest in participating.
Letting him know that he can exercise if he wants is a great way to instill healthy habits early on.
#3: I’m flexible when I have to baby wear.
I start all my workouts on the floor. Baby usually starts in her swing nearby. We have been doing this since the beginning.
(The swing in my workout area is JUST for my workout area. It doesn’t travel anywhere else in my house.)
Some days, I can get all my floor work in and she’s content in her swing. Other days, she wants out in 10 minutes.
And other times, she needs a diaper change after 5!
So I usually take her out and she goes beside me on my mat.
Now that she’s 8 months old, I also have the option of putting her in the playpen, which works maybe 50% of the time for about another 5 minutes!
And still other times, she wants nothing to do with being put down and I have to baby wear her right away.
The lesson here: be flexible.
Be willing to change configurations often throughout a work out, buying yourself 5 minute increments (or more, if you’re lucky!) to squeeze in one or two more exercises.
Your workouts might be full of starts and stops and they certainly won’t look like they did before you had your baby(ies), but it’s better to have a choppy and non-continuous work out than none at all!
#4: I get creative when I baby wear.
Lots of work outs can be adapted to when you need to baby wear. I can do most anything in a standing position while wearing my little one.
I can easily do things like squats and upper body exercises while she’s in a carrier.
Think of it as progressive resistance training: It just gets more challenging as your baby grows and gets bigger!
Other ideas when you baby wear: Challenge your core by standing on one leg or by sitting on the edge of a chair or work bench while you do arm exercises.
#5: I prioritize and make the most of my time.
My time to exercise and work out is very limited but very important. I make sure that I do my exercises in order of importance.
First, I do the exercises that I know I really want to get done. I save for the end those that would be a nice bonus to get done.
And I save anything that I can do standing or sitting in case I need to baby wear!!
I also make sure that I get up early enough to get everyone ready for work out time.
And I allow extra time for things like diaper changes, toddler melt downs and generally things not going to plan!
It’s been so important to me to get back to and maintain fitness postpartum, both for my physical and my mental health.
It’s not always easy and it can be quite challenging corralling one kid, let alone two!
But, it is so worth it. My son imitates my workouts, has learned to count repetitions with me, and generally looks forward to time in our basement together for exercise time.
He even gets disappointed on those rare mornings that I let him sleep and the baby and I sneak downstairs without him.
So follow these tips to baby wear and to make working out with your kids a success and a positive experience.
It’s not only good for you, but it’s also good for them!
How do you get your workouts in with your child(ren)? Do you baby wear? What’s your favorite wrap or carrier? Drop it in the comments. I’d love to know!
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