Laura Peifer, MSW is a holistic health coach and running coach in the greater NYC area. She has a 4 year old and is expecting her second in July. She shares her healthy living journey, health and running tips and recipes at mommyrunfast.com. Read Laura’s 7 ways to fit in fitness with a new baby.
With my first child, I had a very smooth pregnancy and was able to continue running, swimming and doing strength workouts up until the very end. (I’m now 14 weeks pregnant with my second and hoping for the same experience!)
I knew that I needed to find ways to continue my workout routine after the baby arrived, but had no idea what it would look like. Almost everyone struggles to find time to workout, and moms can have the added guilt of missing out on family time or leaving the kids with someone else.
I’ve struggled to find this balance, but have also found that I am a much better mom when I make the time for myself. My energy level is higher, my patience is greater, and I can better care for my daughter when I’m happy and healthy myself.
Here are some of the things that have helped me fit my workout in:
1) A supportive partner: This is probably the single greatest thing that keeps me active! I can get out the door for early morning or evening runs when my husband is around, and I have no concerns about my daughter’s safety or comfort.
2) Jogging stroller: We use our stroller for everyday walks as well as runs. The downside, of course, is the unpredictability of your running buddy and the extra weight to push, but I find it works great for short, easy runs. *Make sure you check the manufacturer’s safety guidelines. Most models are designed for use after four to six months of age, or when the baby is able to support his or her own head.
3) Gym with childcare: We love our gym! The childcare has all-day hours and divides the kids by age so there are appropriate activities for babies through school-age kids. I rely on the gym when the weather is poor, or use it for cross-training classes such as spinning and weights. There’s always the slight worry of being called out by childcare workers, but most children adjust quickly and it soon becomes a comfortable and familiar environment. Many gyms will take children once they turn six weeks old.
4) Treadmill at home: The luxury of running or walking without leaving the house (in the early morning, during naps, or after bedtime) can be a lifesaver if your partner works long hours!
5) Sitting swaps: Some moms take turns watching each other’s kids in order to get in a workout, or hire a babysitter for long runs.
6) Early mornings: This is not my favorite option (I love my sleep!), but when all else fails, waking up before the rest of the family is an almost guaranteed way to get your workout in. I say “almost guaranteed” because there’s always the chance of an unexpected early wake up, sick child, or too-tired mommy. Some moms will stay up after a 4 or 5am feeding to workout, while the baby goes back to sleep. My baby was one of the wildly unpredictable sleepers, so I couldn’t rely on early morning workouts until she was older.
7) Workout with the baby: If you’re lucky enough to have a very easy going baby, you can workout beside your baby while he/she is awake. There are countless at home strength and HIIT workouts on Pinterest that can be finished in 30 minutes or less.
Flexibility: Be easy on yourself those first few weeks and months: caring for a newborn is hard work! You may not want to get back into a workout routine right away if you’re overwhelmed and sleep-deprived, but even small steps can make a difference in your mood and energy levels. Taking several short walks during the day and using fitness dvd’s can get you started until you’re comfortable venturing out or leaving your baby with someone else.
I’m not exactly sure what it will look like this time around, but I’m determined to find the balance that keeps mama, baby and big sister happy!
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