One of the most common questions from mothers with newborns is, “When can I start exercising again?”
While it is the general rule to wait at least 6 weeks, I do believe that we can start as soon as we feel ready, and it can be as soon as a week after delivery even. Here are some of the “exercises” I personally did recently, after delivering my 3rd little one.
- One of the most natural methods of cardio workouts which can be performed immediately after delivering a baby is BREASTFEEDING. I need to stress, however, that the baby will need to be breastfed on demand. You do not need to time the feedings and you do not need to know how much milk the baby has drunk. The wonder of breastfeeding on demand is that it takes the stress out of the timing and volume factor, and the mother merely needs to feed as and when the baby asks for it. As long as baby is peeing and pooping often, producing wet and dirty diapers regularly, you should be fine. Breastfeeding is a wonderful and natural way to incorporate a cardio workout into the busy mother’s routine, and I certainly attest to that. It is a win:win situation where both mother and child gains. What more can we ask for?
- As soon as you can, some light walking will help you heal faster and it will also allow you to take in some fresh air. Taking the trash out daily or on alternate days is a great way to do this whilst getting some important tasks done too.
- Clean the bathroom and sink, especially after washing baby up after a huge poop. Extra calories burnt if cleaning is done in the middle of the night in a semi-asleep state, because you tend to work faster trying to get the place cleaned up, so that you can soothe the crying baby before everyone else wakes up.
- Do laundry every day, and use cloth diapers so that the need to launder them every day (or every other day, at most) intensifies.
Weight and Strength Training
- Carrying the infant/baby seat/carrier around will help to tone those leg and arm muscles. Try to interchange the arm you use to carry it upstairs and downstairs to ensure equal attention is given to both arm muscles. Loading the carrier into and out of the car will also help to tone up the biceps and triceps, and if you use a minivan (or mommy-mobile) like me, it will also work out the leg muscles, as you step into and out of the car. Postpartum exercise should be taken easy: start with lighter weights and increase them gradually as time goes on. Toting the infant carrier around is perfect because you start off with the newborn baby when baby is light and as baby puts on weight, your strength will increase accordingly. As an added bonus, try loading and unloading the stroller by yourself too.
- If you have older kids who are school-going, drive them to school (with baby) and pick them up from school again (with baby in tow). Remember: repetitive exercise will train your body to be fit and toned. 🙂 Do this once or twice a week and gradually increase the frequency.
- Try to keep a good posture while breastfeeding. Prop up your back with pillows and use a nursing pillow to support baby. A good posture helps to ensure your back muscles are strong and perhaps will help tone your abdomen too. Keep this in mind all the time, including the middle-of-the-night feeds, when all you want to do is just plonk your head down on that glorious feather pillow.
In addition to physical exercise, all mothers with newborns should also keep their minds active. I did this by figuring and planning out what to cook every day (Monday through Friday), and then cooking it, rain or shine. This includes planning the grocery shopping list and keeping abreast on the pantry inventory too.
** My hubby suggested “stroller-ing” with my little baby around our apartment compound too. Well…I just might try that soon too! 😀