It can be a challenge to get back into the swing of working out when you have a new baby in the house. Not to mention your pre baby routine and sleep schedule no longer exist! This can take some getting used to, and for most first time parents it’s pretty hard to comprehend what your new normal will be like before baby arrives.
When there is so much vying for your attention and the care of your baby is paramount, your fitness can quickly drop down your list of priorities. If you weren’t active during pregnancy it can feel even more daunting to start anew.
Here are some strategies I have found helpful in adjusting to my new life as a parent:
Set Manageable Goals Try not to make firm schedules for yourself, but instead set some small goals for the week or a few days at as time. Here’s an example of one of my lists for two to three days at a time:
Workout, Take a shower, Give my son a bath, 1 load of laundry, Empty dishwasher, Go for a walk, Tummy time This averages to only 2-3 tasks per day and if you get them done sooner we than expected, awesome! Prioritizing one or two household tasks at a time will make you feel successful when they are accomplished, rather than defeated if your long list isn't completed. Having a few priority household tasks can also help others help you. When my son was born, we had a lot of visitors who wanted to help (thank you so much!). Sleep deprivation leads to brain fog, so a list can help remind you of what you wanted to work on or can easily make it known to your helpers what you need a hand with.
Multitask when possible (and safe)
Taking a walk to get some fresh air, or to walk the dog can also count as a workout. Depending on how you feel go a little farther or pick up the pace from a stroll to a brisk walk. (Remember, it is not recommended to use jogging strollers for running or jogging until children are at least 8 months of age! Please check with your pediatrician first as children develop at different rates.)
Join your baby for a workout
Your baby needs practice on his or her tummy to build strength through the arms, chest, neck, back, shoulders, legs and abs. Get down on the floor with them and practice some yoga or body weight exercises.
Here are several 10 minute yoga sequences you can do alongside your little one:
Prioritize ‘me time’.
We all need time for ourselves and when we feel relaxed and clear headed we can be better parents, friends, spouses and care givers. Both you and your partner need some time to recharge. Take turns giving each other a little break each day where you can do something fun, or restorative. Mentally and physically you'll feel better for it!
Capitalize on Nap time
Use your baby’s nap time to catch up on sleep, housework or time for yourself. Don't plan too much, as your time may vary day to day. Above all, treat yourself the way you would treat other new parents, with respect and understanding. Your beautiful new baby is your priority. Enjoy all the snuggles!