by Theresa Scully of Arch Pilates
When that first little one enters your life, it is truly a gift, and your primary focus is providing, snuggling, protecting, and bonding with your new baby. That foggy, sleepy brain you wear for 3 months is a happy ailment, because you know that it affords precious moments with this little human who needs you in the middle of the night, around the clock, 24/7, always and forever. But, you wouldn͛t have it any other way! As weeks pass by, though and you start falling into a groove, there is a sneaky, foreboding realization that your body needs attention. No longer are you the same shape and size as you were before baby, and you tell yourself, I have to get back in the gym. Looking at that sweet cherub in the crib, makes you put it off for another day, though. Tomorrow, youl go to the gym, you promise yourself.
Two months later, working out becomes a thing of the past, finding the time, a babysitter, a child watch at the gym doesn͛t seem like a use of good quality time with your child. Sitting on the floor and watching your baby play on her mat, hold her head up in tummy time, and rock in a crawling position seems more fun! Well, did you know that all that work your baby does in sitting, crawling, and pulling to stand is her way of exercising!? Why not follow along and work out together! Mommy and me exercising is becoming more popular. Just think a baby who weighs 10 lbs is a good weight. Your child is in sponge stage, absorbing everything in her environment. Movement, exercising, sounds, and sensations shape a baby͛s brain. Exercising with baby and showing baby how to exercise starts a healthy routine of wellness at a very young age.
When exercising with your child take a few things into caution.
1. Get clearance from your doctor. Especially those with cesarians. It may take 3 months before
the cesarian is clear.
2. Watch for baby͛s head control. You and your baby can work out as early as 6 weeks postnatal. However, the child͛s head will be wobbly at this age, so always support her head and move slow when using her as a weight
Some of the movements can require repetitive movement of the baby which stimulates your baby's vestibular system. So if your baby is sensitive she will complain. It is a good place to train her brain however go slowly and give her breaks.
Place baby on mat underneath you so you can lock eyes. Hold a rattle in your hand, spine neutral, don't sag your back. Bring opposite elbow to knee curl your abdominals, close your eyes and as you reach opposite arm and leg away, open and look at your baby say, "peek-a-boo" and/or shake the rattle. 5-10 reps on each side would work well!
Baby Carrier combo squat and arms (photo at top)
Put baby in carrier. Stand in front of a mirror for visual stimulation. Hold onto a stretchy exercise band, legs wide with toes and knee pointed out, comfortably. Reach arms overhead and as you squat do a side crunch and pull the band down with elbows bending to 90 degrees. Just lightly touch the top of your head with the band and slide the shoulder blades down into back pockets. 10 reps with breaks is great!
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