Shedding those post-pregnancy pounds and returning to a normal weight is a common goal for new moms. Getting regular exercise after birth not only helps mothers achieve their weight-loss goals, research shows it may reduce the risk of postpartum depression. Before beginning any fitness regiment, be sure to get the doctor’s approval. After a vaginal delivery, you can begin exercising as early as six weeks after giving birth. For a C-section, it could be longer. The important thing to remember is to ease into a routine.
Here are some exercises that will help you get back into shape and bond with baby. In the beginning, baby will need to rest beside you as your fitness audience as he won’t be old enough to hold his head up on his own.
Baby Core Move
Focusing on your core is ideal for a post-pregnancy tummy. While you do all the work, your baby can relax safely in the Tummy Time Prop. Lie flat on your stomach, with baby in the lounger in front of you. Have your arms out to each side and there should be some space in between your legs as they lay straight back. This will be your resting position. Lift your arms, legs and chest up off the ground. Be sure not to lock elbows or knees as you’re lifting them straight. Lift for 10 seconds at a time before returning to the resting position. While performing each lift, give yourself some distraction while giving your baby a little interaction. You could even sing to baby while working on your core.
Tone your glutes as you interact with baby in the lounger right in front of you. Lie flat on your stomach, resting your head on your arms as you look at baby. Have your legs straight back, then create a 90 degree angle with your knees. Keep your feet flexed and slowly lift your knees off the floor. Squeeze your legs together as you push your feet up toward the ceiling. Hold this position for 20 seconds. This is also a great movement where you can interact with baby to pass the time as you lift and and squeeze those glutes. Do three to five reps.
Side Leg Lifts
These leg movements will help you fit back into your favorite jeans again. Baby will need to remain in the lounger watching you do this one. You’ll need some space for this one so make sure the lounger is distanced. Stand up straight, have legs a hip-width apart with your hands on your waist. Putting your weight on your left foot, lift your right leg out to the side, keeping it straight and parallel to the left leg. Slowly return the leg to its starting position. Do 10 reps on each side, take a break to play with baby, do one more set each side.
Getting Baby More Involved
Here are some more interactive exercises to get baby more involved with your fitness routine. He must be able to hold his head up for these. This usually happens around three to four months old. They can also be performed mother-only as baby watches from his Tummy Time Prop.
Lie on the floor with your back flat and your knees bent. Hold baby securely up under his arms and have him sitting or reclining on your pelvic area. Lift your head, neck and shoulder blades off the floor while pulling in your abdomen. Lift for two counts and lower for three. Do 15-20 reps, take a break to play with baby, do one more set.
Reverse Baby Curl
This exercise will have your baby feeling like a flying superhero as he’s positioned flat in the air looking down at you. Lie flat on your back and raise your knees towards your chest, keeping your shins flat and parallel to the ceiling. Holding baby securely up under his arms, place him on top of your legs, tummy-down and lining up with your knees. Pull your stomach in towards your spine and gently tilt your hips up off the floor as you lift your head and shoulders at the same time. Lower and repeat. As you do this it gently rocks baby back and forth. Do 15-20 reps, take a break to play with baby, do one more set.
Baby Arm Press
Don’t forget about toning those arm muscles. This exercise is good for your back, shoulders, triceps and biceps. Sit on the floor with your legs criss-crossed and back up straight. Holding baby securely under his arms, place him in front of your chest with your elbows bent. Straighten your arms upward, but be careful not to lock your elbows, then bring baby back down to the starting position. Do 10 reps, take a break to play with baby, do two more sets.