Quite often when I teach Mom and Baby classes I’ve been asked for tips or directions on how to most effectively exercise with a baby. As you know babies could be so unpredictable, having their good and bad days, sometimes they need more cuddling and attention. They do communicate loud and that may feel like a distraction in the middle of the class and everyone is turning around at you to see what’s going on there. It’s just the way babies express themselves and being in a group with other moms may not feel that awkward.
There’s no question that exercising with a baby is a big challenge. On the other hand you can think how rewarding it is to be with your baby and do some good for your body at the same time. So, I thought I take this time and share with you some guidance on this topic as it definitely takes some planning, thought and strategizing.
Find good time to exercise that fits your baby routine.
My kids usually had a routine of eat-sleep-play. It was a matter of figuring out if it works better for your baby to exercise during “sleep time” or “play time”. This will be different for every baby. Some of them prefer to play more on their own and that’s when you can squeeze your training or others like to interact with you during their play time and for those types of personality, I would suggest to exercise during their nap time.
Nurse immediately before the exercise.
Nursing is the hardest thing to work around in the beginning. There is nothing worse than attempting to run or exercise especially on your stomach when you are being full of milk. During the early few months baby feeding time is usually every two hours and it feels very tight to find that time gap to workout. But as your baby grows, it will be a bit easier to do. By no means if your baby wants some milk during the class, go ahead and nurse to comfort him/her.
Bring some toys or comfort blanket to pay with.
Most babies (maybe the same as adults :)) are getting fuzzy in unfamiliar environment. To make it more comforting for them you can bring their toys or comfort blanket to play with during the class. This will make them so much happier!
Be prepared for changes and be flexible.
Babies change the most during their first year. So if something that worked for both of you before, suddenly may not work anymore. They will be finding their likes and dislikes, their routine will be changing, their personality will start to shine through. Remember, our Mom’s job is to find an optimal way to make it work for both and enjoy time together.
The good thing about exercising with babies under 12 months is that most of them will be still more or less stationary, non walking. They may crawl in the middle of the class and that’s OK. It means that they are comfortable in their environment, starting to explore it and maybe they will find a friend or two in the class. It will be part of their learning and growing experiences.