21 Fun Ways To Exercise With Baby, Post Pregnancy

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Exercise with a baby is a fun way to bond with your little one. It also gets you on the fitness track after a long pregnancy gap. Being healthy and fit is essential at every stage of life. Working out helps you lose the weight you have gained during pregnancy and also improves your cardiovascular fitness.

It also revives your muscle strength and promotes overall wellbeing. We bring you a list of exercises that you can try out with your baby in this post.

Exercises You Can Do With Your Baby

Postnatal exercises increase your stamina, induce good sleep, and promote weight loss. They also tone your body and strengthen your abdominal muscles.

1. Straight curl-up (A):

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  1. Lie on your back with legs and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your baby in the air.
  3. Face your chin towards your chest and look up.

2. Straight curl-up (B):

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  1. Lie on your back and bend your knees at 60° and feet flat.
  2. Place your baby on your lower abdomen.
  3. Pull your abdomen muscles inside.
  4. Lift your head, neck, and shoulder from the floor. Stay in the position for 10 seconds.
  5. Exhale as you curl yourself up while pulling your abs in and out.
  6. Come back to your normal position slowly.
  7. Repeat the exercise 10-15 times.

3. Reverse baby curl (A):

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  1. Lie flat on your back on the floor.
  2. Bend your knees at 90° and keep your legs parallel to the floor.
  3. Place your baby on your legs, holding them him under his arms.

4. Reverse baby curl (B):

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  1. Lie on your back with your baby on your legs.
  2. Lift your head, shoulder, and hips off the floor and bring your baby towards your face.
  3. Hold the position for 10 seconds.
  4. Lower yourself gradually.
  5. Repeat the exercise 15-20 times.

5. Stretching (Butterfly):

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  1. Lie on your back and place your baby on your stomach.
  2. Lift your head along with your shoulders and pull your abdomen in.
  3. Lift your legs up and hold your baby right in the center.
  4. Open your legs wide and stretch as much as you can.
  5. Slowly bring your legs closer and feel the contraction of your muscles.
  6. Inhale while opening and exhale while closing.

6. Plie squats:

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  1. Hold your baby in front of you (his face should be away from you).
  2. Put your legs shoulder-width apart and toes pointing out.
  3. Hug your baby and squat on your knees.
  4. Send your knees over your toes
  5. Push your knees wide and lower your butt while keeping your abdomen tight.
  6. Repeat the exercise ten times.

7. Carrier squats:

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  1. Secure your baby safely in the baby carrier, facing you or away from you.
  2. Put your feet shoulder-width apart.
  3. Lower your body down and place your weight on the heels, with your stomach pulled in. (Bend your knees while lowering down).
  4. Point your tailbone to the floor.
  5. Return to your original position slowly using your legs.
  6. Repeat the exercise ten times.

8. Stoller lunges:

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  1. Place your baby in the stroller facing you.
  2. Put your left foot three feet back, and right foot forward with your knees bent at 90°. Your knees should be in line with your ankle.
  3. Hold the handle of the stroller and smile or make faces at your baby.
  4. Hold the position for 10 seconds and return to your original position.
  5. Repeat the exercise ten times on each side.

9. Tush tightener:

  1. Lie on your stomach and place your baby in front of you.
  2. Bend your legs and rest your chin on the hands.
  3. Place your arms on either side and keep your legs wide apart with toes pointing outwards.
  4. Lift your knees off the floor while keeping your feet tight.
  5. Hold the position for ten seconds.
  6. Gradually return to your original position. Repeat the exercise at least five times.

10. Letter abs:

  1. Lie flat on your back. Let your baby sit near your arms.
  2. Place your arms on your sides with your palms down.
  3. Lift your legs up with feet together and toes pointing towards the sky.
  4. Draw a pattern of each letter of the alphabet with your toes and say it out or make the sound of the letter.
  5. Be slow in your movement and pull your abdomen inside while you do the exercise.

11. Baby crawl:

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  1. Get down on your legs and hands and take the cat position.
  2. Place the baby in front of you.
  3. Put your entire weight on your hands and knees.
  4. Without putting any pressure on your knees, lift one foot and put it on the other.
  5. Try to crawl front and back.
  6. Repeat the movement with the other knee.

12. Kegels:

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  1. Lie on your back with your baby on your pubic bone. Hold him by his hands.
  2. Slowly tighten your pelvic muscles and then relax.
  3. Bend your legs at the knees and place your feet on the floor.
  4. Slowly lift your hips off the floor. Your back should be on the floor.
  5. Tighten your pelvic muscles for 2-3 seconds and then increase the time to 5-10 seconds.
  6. Slowly come back to your original position.
  7. You can repeat the exercise thrice initially and then increase it to five a day.

13. Planking with the baby:

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  1. Place your baby on the floor.
  2. Place your palms on the floor in such a way that your baby is between your hands.
  3. Gently lift yourself on your toes and place your weight on your hands and make sure your body is straight.
  4. Hold the position for ten seconds.
  5. Gradually come back to your normal position.

14. Leg lifts:

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  1. Place your baby on the floor.
  2. Take the cat position (your weight should be on hands and knees).
  3. Put your baby between your hands.
  4. Slowly lift your right leg up and hold the position for 10 seconds.
  5. Come back to your original position.
  6. Repeat the exercise with the other leg and alternate each leg 10-12 times.

15. Glute lifts:

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  1. Lie on your back and let your baby sit on your tummy.
  2. Bend your knees and place your feet firmly on the floor.
  3. Slowly lift your buttocks while contracting your glute muscles (a group of muscles that make the buttocks).
  4. Lower your hip and come back to your original position.
  5. Repeat the exercise five times.

16. Shoulder press:

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  1. Squat on the floor and hold your baby.
  2. Lift your baby in the air and raise yourself.
  3. Tighten your abdominal muscles when you lift.
  4. Bring your baby down.
  5. Repeat the exercise 5-10 times.

17. Snake stretch:

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  1. Place your baby on the floor, between your hands.
  2. Lie on the ground with your upper part away from the ground, supported by your arms.
  3. Your toes should touch the floor.
  4. Slowly lift your upper body and stretch your abdominal muscles.
  5. Lower yourself to reach your baby and raise yourself again.
  6. Repeat the exercise 10-12 times.

18. Cardio stroller:

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  1. Secure your baby in the stroller.
  2. Jog for a while and walk a while.
  3. Apply stroller brakes and jog or jump at one place.
  4. Resume jogging again and switch to lunges and stretches in the next break.

19. Baby dancing:

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  1. Hold your baby, facing you and supporting his head and body with your hands, or secure him in a carrier.
  2. Groove to the music while pulling your abdomen inside.
  3. Start with slow movements and slowly increase the pace of your dance.
  4. You can also place your baby in a high-chair and dance in front of him.
  5. Reach out to your baby by stretching your arms and do some animated movements.

20. Cat stretch:

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  1. Take the cat position (come on your hands and legs). Your head and back should be straight.
  2. Place your baby between your hands.
  3. Curve your back up to make an arch.
  4. Pull your abdomen in and out and look straight. Hold for five seconds.
  5. Look up and curve your back down this time. Hold for five seconds.
  6. Repeat ten times.

21. Flying with baby:

Image: iStock

  1. Let your baby lie down on his back on the mat.
  2. Take the cat position.
  3. Slowly raise the right leg and ensure your leg is parallel to the floor.
  4. Now lift the left hand slowly up. Your hand should be parallel to the floor.
  5. Hold for six seconds and return to the original position.
  6. Repeat the exercise five times with the opposite hand and leg.

Things To Note

Being fit after pregnancy is good but you need to make a note of certain things before you begin working out with your baby:

  • Give your body some time to heal naturally after the delivery. Don’t be in a rush to lose weight.
  • Begin with simple exercises and gradually move to the difficult ones. Listen to your body and do it at your pace.
  • Support your head and shoulders with a pillow if required.
  • Ensure you place your baby on a cushioned mat.
  • Don’t pressurize your baby to work out when they are not in the mood or cranky. Attend to your baby first and then resume your exercises.
  • Relax and breathe deeply while you exercise. Don’t hold your breath.
  • If you feel uncomfortable or sense something unusual such as bleeding, stop exercising and see your doctor.
  • Your lower back and abdominal muscles are not as strong as they were earlier. Hence, you need to avoid vigorous exercises that might affect your body parts.
  • If you think you are fit enough to exercise and want to work out vigorously, consult your doctor before you begin.
  • Do not do any workout with your baby for at least 1 hour, post feeding.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When can I exercise with my baby?

If you had a regular delivery without complications, you could begin with gentle exercises with your baby as soon as you feel ready for it. However, waiting until your checkup at six weeks is recommended before you begin intense exercises (1).

2. Can I jog while wearing my baby in a carrier?

Avoid jogging while wearing your baby in a carrier since the sharp movements may hurt your baby’s neck or spine. Instead, carry your baby in a stroller so you can jog as you push them along.

3. Why is exercising with my baby important?

Regular exercise can help a new mother recover faster from her delivery and relieve postpartum pains. Further, exercising with your baby can be an excellent way to spend quality time with them and bond in a fun and productive way.

The initial years can be overwhelming for new mothers, and fitness may take a back seat. However, a healthy lifestyle is essential for the body to recover naturally and completely. Taking out separate time for exercise may be difficult, but you can easily convert your bonding time to a fitness regime if you exercise with baby. You can practice squats, stretching, curl-ups, lunges, and many more, holding your baby to regain your pre-pregnancy fitness. Be gentle with yourself and seek a doctor’s advice to know about suitable exercises for you.

References:

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Kalpana M

Kalpana Nadimpalli graduated in English Literature and Psychology. Her fascination for the corporate world made her do a Masters in Business Administration from Andhra University. Being a mother of two boys, she could naturally fit into the shoes of a writer at MomJunction. She wrote articles on new parenting and relationships. Previously, Kalpana worked as a product information specialist and... more

Dr. Elna Gibson

(MBChB, MMed, Paeds)
Dr. Elna Gibson is a general pediatrician. She did her MBChB and specialization as a pediatrician in South Africa at the University of Pretoria. She obtained MMed Pediatrics (masters) with distinction in 1993. As a young specialist, Dr. Gibson spent some time in the Netherlands, and then settled in the Vaal Triangle where she has practiced for 25 years. She... more