Before I became a mom, people would learn about my love of fitness and say things like “just wait until you have kids..”. Has working out become more difficult with a baby? Yes, of course. And we’re still working through the kinks of scheduling. But it hasn’t made things impossible–we’ve just had to get a little creative.
The reality is: if it’s a priority to you, you’ll make it work! And fitness is a priority to me, because it fills my cup and helps me show up better in everything else I do. So, at 7.5 weeks postpartum, here are my tips for getting your workout in with a new baby to take care of.
The first step, prior to using any of the below tips, is to schedule time for your workout. Otherwise, the day can easily pass you by. Since babies notoriously resist adhering to schedules (especially in the early days) you will likely need to be flexible and get a little creative. Here are some ideas to make your scheduled time work:
- Wake up earlier. I currently take the 6AM slot to workout, at which point my daughter and husband are still sleeping for at least 30 minutes. They will wake up during my workout, and she will usually take a bottle at this time (which means I pump on my drive to or from the gym, shout-out to my freemie pump for allowing me to pump on the go!). Getting my day started before the baby can be tough due to waking up for night feedings, but ultimately, it adds an extra window of time to get things done. PS – my husband take the 4PM slot, so it’s not just me who needs to schedule my workouts!
- Ask for help. Since I am on maternity leave, it is “assumed” that I will be on baby duty most of the time. It can feel hard to ask for help (#momguilt) but ultimately, taking an hour for yourself isn’t selfish if it helps put you in a better spot as a caretaker for the rest of the day. I know if I didn’t ask for help, I’d hold resentment, and that doesn’t benefit anyone! Unfortunately, since we are in a pandemic, my options for help are limited, but my husband is here. And it’s nice that he’s able to get quality time in with his daughter by me asking for help.
- Wait until they baby is napping or occupied playing. This is a tough one, because naps are not consistent when babies are young (they can range from 20 minutes to 2 hours!) and they don’t quite “play” yet. But, if help is out of the question, and you had a rough night of sleep, this is definitely an option. I’ve put Stella in the SNOO and brought her monitor into the garage while I worked out, and I’ve put her on her play gym or swing next to me. This is where that flexibility comes into play! There have been times where she starts to lose it mid-workout, and I just take what I can get. In this case, something is better than nothing.
- Invest in a jogging stroller. The nice thing about this option is that you don’t have to ask anyone else for help or wait until the baby is occupied. They’re with you and they can be awake or asleep. If your baby is anything like mine, they’ll find the stroller soothing, so you won’t have to worry about them losing it/crying during your workout. The downsides are: if running isn’t your thing, this option may not be appealing to you, it’s not ideal to use in crappy weather, and they can be pricey. Oh, and pushing a stroller uphill while running is quite the challenge (but that’s not all bad, since it is a workout!). PS- a lot of jogging strollers require the baby being ~6 months old before use, but the one I have allows the infant car seat to click into it, so we were able to use it right away.
Ultimately, it’s about how important fitness is to you (and if it’s not that important to you, there’s nothing wrong with that!). Where there’s a will there’s a way (most of the time).
Do you work out with a baby? How did you fit your workout in?