You are not the first new mother to wonder if you will ever exercise again. Between the exhaustion and the constant baby care, it’s little wonder you don’t have the energy to workout. On the average day, even a shower seems like a major victory. Besides, who will look after baby and what about feedings?
Luckily, you can exercise with your baby, and both have a great time doing it. The benefits are compelling. You’ll lower your risk of postnatal depression, improve your mood and energy, get bonding time with baby and you’ll be setting a great example. Working off the baby weight and perhaps even making some new mommy friends can’t hurt either! Babies often love to be included in the workouts and react with glee. Some of the mom-baby workouts also include exercises for baby.
Exercises that you can do with baby:
There are a number of ways that you can exercise with your baby. You’ve probably already taken baby for walks around your area in a pram or carrier. You can also do more strenuous cardio workouts, strength training, mom and baby yoga or Pilates. Depending on how much your baby weighs, you can use your baby as a weight and to add resistance to simple exercises.
What you need to know:
You’ll need clearance from your doctor before you embark on a postnatal exercise program. Most programs mentioned here are suitable for babies from 6 weeks until 12 months. Some exercises do require that your baby has head control, others don’t. If you are breast feeding it is especially important to stay hydrated. La Leche League offers some more advice for breast-feeding mums who want to exercise on their website.
Let’s look at the different ways that you can exercise with your baby, no matter where in South Africa you live.
1) Exercises you can do together, without leaving home
There are a number of fantastic resources for working out at home with a baby.
– A lovely introduction to mom and baby yoga “Mother and Baby Yoga with Georgie” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mX8F6IieMaE is a gentle stretching, toning yoga class that includes nuzzles, tummy time and a meditation that will leave you and baby glowing.
– Here’s a short, simple abdominal workout: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgwa7HL3IVE the personal trainer that made this video has a few more that offer a challenging workout for mom in short, manageable chunks of time.
– You can also purchase mom and baby exercise DVD’s. Some of the most popular include; ‘The Happy Baby Workout‘ and ‘Shiva Rea: Mama & Baby Yoga‘.
– There are also a few books on the subject. Books can be tricky to use as a workout aid, but are cost effective if you find a good one. ‘PeeWee Pilates’ by Holly Jean Cosner and Stacy Malinis is available as an eBook and comes highly recommended.
– If your baby’s dad is keen to exercise with baby, a sweet book titled, “Dads with barbells” written by Dr Joshua Levitt is a great read and a wonderful resource for dads who want to work out with baby too.
There you have it, working out with your baby made easy. No need to leave the house.
2) Classes you can take together
3) Ideas for starting your own group
If cabin fever is starting to get the better of you, it might be time to join a class. Classes offer valuable interactions with other new moms and babies. Moreover, motivation is contagious. Even if you aren’t feeling up to a hard-core workout, the other mommies in the group might just inspire you. It’s also easier to motivate yourself when you have paid for the classes. As an added bonus, it is far safer to workout in a group than to go solo through South African suburbs.
These are just a few of the available options. For mums in Gauteng, Cape Town and KZN there are a wide variety of choices. Moms in the rest of the country will have to be a little more resourceful (see point #3).
Gauteng baby and mom fitness classes: New moms in Gauteng really are spoilt for choice.
Baby boot camp: If you’re serious about beating the baby blubber then boot camp is for you. Call Tarryn at 082 462 7519 to find a class near you in Gauteng.
Fit Mommy: The Fitbaby classes are a great way to get in shape quickly and bond with other moms. Babies from 6 weeks to 24 months are welcome, the pram is used as a fitness prop so be sure to bring it along. Call 0828952513.
KZN baby and mom fitness classes: Fit4Health: Offers a great pram based workout in Durban. The “Ladies 2×2 stroller training class” is a comprehensive workout program and good value for money too. Call Bronwyn at 0722443669 to arrange a free introductory session. Baby 2 Be mom and baby fitness classes: Also based in Durban, these classes include baby too. Call Latascha at 0731623710.
Western Cape baby and mom fitness classes: Sunshine Colour Academy – Mom and Baby yoga classes: A fantastic Hatha yoga class for moms and babies from 3 weeks to 6 months, baby does yoga too! Call Gail at+27 21 461 6402
Eastern Cape: Port Elizabeth baby and mom fitness classes: Halo Touch offers mom and baby yoga classes in Lorraine. Babies between 4 weeks and 11 months are welcome to join. Call Candace at 0741269027 to arrange your spot.
New moms in the rest of the country are sorely in need of mom and baby exercise groups. It only takes one super mom to start up a group. There are even some mommy fitness franchises that are keen for eager mums to start boot camp style mom and baby groups. You could make a nice income while exercising and bonding with your baby, and helping other moms enjoy the same benefits too.
Try asking on the Calora Facebook page, start a group on Meetup.com or even ask around at any mom and baby groups you have already joined. You can also head on over to the Calora forum and rustle up some moms in your area for a group exercise session. http://www.calorababy.co.za/forum/index.php.