Here are some babywearing exercise tips and tutorials I've collected for you!
- Wear baby high and tight: just like the booty you hope to tone, babies should be high and tight on our bodies so we can move as one unit together. No matter what carrier or carrying position you use, baby should not be slumping in the carrier and should have a clear airway. You can workout with baby on your front or back; the position you choose should compliment your routine (so maybe don't carry on the front if you plan on planking). Personally, I like a nice high ruck for exercise. It works best with my center of gravity and the single pass over baby, open sides, and no chest pass allow for air flow over both our bodies. For front carries, Kangaroo follows the same single pass/open sides benefits as a ruck. A simpler Front Wrap Cross Carry, either with a base or a short wrap tied at shoulder or under bum, will be quite comfortable for movement as well.
- Posture, posture, posture. Make sure you're not overcompensating for your changed center of gravity. Keep your shoulders and rib cage aligned over your hips and make sure your pelvis isn't tucked under. Stand up straight and pretend there's a string extending up from the crown of your head and that a puppet master is pulling you up: eyes forward with chin slightly down, shoulders back and away from the ears, nicely curved spine, untucked relaxed pelvis.
- Breathe and hydrate. Our bodies love oxygen: it helps our muscles to contract more easily and keeps us from overheating. Take in a deep breath as you start a move and as you release the move, make a long exhale. Break for sips of water often; big gulps of water can sometimes lead to an upset tummy but sips are easier to handle (and let us take more breaks, yay!).
- Pay attention to your body's cues. Especially if you are less than 3 months postpartum, make sure your core muscles and pelvic floor have recovered from pregnancy and birth (not sure? Read up more about Diastasis Recti, check yourself for it, and visit a pelvic floor specialist for a pro check.) Even if you're not working out with your newborn, monitor your body for pelvic pressure, being light-headed, overheating, pain, or any other signs of discomfort. Also, be aware of your balance. Keep a chair or railing nearby for help when you need it.
- Check in with baby. Baby may seem like a passive participant in this activity, but they're still subject to overheating and over-stimulation and they should still be monitored. Make sure baby's head is supported if you're bending over in a front carry and be sure not to lean back if you're back-carrying. Communicate with your baby during your workout as you would while normally wearing: talk about what you're doing, touch your baby, and have fun together!
Before we get to the tutorials, let me also take this space to say that exercise should make us feel good about ourselves being healthy and strong. If you are a postpartum woman reading this, know that I do not suppose pushing yourself too far because you feel like you have to "lose the baby weight." Please focus on being healthy and strong for yourself and your family over feeling like you need to conform to a misaligned societal ideal. With that said, let's get moving!
What kind of exercising do you want to do? There are several different modalities to practice with a baby in tow. Here's what I think are the best babywearing tutorials on YouTube for babywearing yoga, strength training, dance, and cardio.
- How amazing is this breastfeeding yogi?? This video isn't a tutorial BUT it is too amazing not to share here. #goals right? From Ms. Wright's Way on YouTube:
- For a guided practice, try this 20-minute floor routine: wear baby on your chest and get snuggly together.
- 10-minute standing flow, good for front or back wearing:
- Lunges, Squats, the "Superwoman" move, torso twists and more. 8 minutes; pause the video to increase reps. Good for front or back wearing.
- Floor arms and core for back wearing:
- I love this one from TwinMommy101 - fun music and fun moves that combine strength training and cardio. She has a companion upper body workout that is a great stress release!
- The GroovaRoo Dance channel on YouTube is filled with videos of groups doing popular dance moves (the whip/nae nae is in there!). This one is full of dancing dads!
- You don't need a group dance to work out, though. Just find a fun tune and get down with your babies like Tandem Trouble!
- Babywearing Ballet! The vast majority of moves at the barre can be done while wearing on the front or back.
- Kummi dance from India is beautiful:
- The first 4 minutes of this video are filled with babywearing movement ideas. Let Natashia demo a move for you, then pause the video and keep up the move for 50 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds and watch the next move. I've taken Natashia's classes in person and they are simple but suuuuper effective moves! Then skip the crunches and head to the last 2 minutes of this video for cool-down floor stretches, and find the rest of Natashia's babywearing fitness videos on her YouTube channel.
- Need more cardio ideas? For many, no video is required! Go for a walk around the neighborhood or a hike with your baby. If you have older kids too, take them to the park and climb around with them while wearing (safely of course!) or do laps around the equipment while getting in cozy snuggles. What other cardio do you do that you could modify for babywearing? Share your ideas in the comments!
- Let's close out with one more video from Ms. Wright's Way on YouTube for inspiration - pole dancing is certainly good cardio too!
This post was not sponsored by a company or group.