How to Keep Working Out After You Have a Baby

A pilates guru dishes about her postpartum routine.

*We’ve partnered with Skip Hop to share some mama fitspiration.

There’s nothing more important than staying fit once you become a mom, but we know how hard it can be to work out when you’ve got a baby in the picture. Rather than try to steal time away from your baby to get fit, why not work out with your baby instead? Not only is it healthy for you, but it’s also a great way to model active, healthy behavior for your baby!

To share some mama “fitspiration,” we’ve partnered with Skip Hop, whose new Skip Hop Explore & More Jumpscape Foldaway Jumper will give you the space you need to get back into the workout saddle. Below, NYC pilates guru Annie Venier of Le Petit Studio, and mom to 7-month-old India Rose, shares her foolproof strategies for squeezing fitness into her day as a working, business-owning, breastfeeding mama entrepreneur.

Pilates with babyCute baby in jumper

What’s your fitness routine been like since halving a baby? How has it evolved?
I don’t dilly-dally any more! I used to occasionally take a break in the middle of working out to send a work email or grab a snack, but now I have total focus when I work out. I am 100% in the zone from the get-go. I also get a surprising amount of spontaneous exercise. There are a lot of places I need to be, and things I need to squeeze into my day, as a full-time working, business-owning, breastfeeding mama entrepreneur. It’s amazing how active you can be when you’re just going about your day.

Why is it so important to you to keep up a fitness routine, both physically and emotionally?
Fitness is my job, and my body is a tool. I not only use it to communicate posture and breathe, but I also have to be prepared to demonstrate exercises and help my clients. I went back to work two weeks after giving birth — just because I gave birth, didn’t mean my clients couldn’t request crazy acrobatic exercises (that I have to spot!).

What are some of the things you do on your own, and some you do together with the baby?
On my own, I go biking and swimming, and do anything dangerous, vigorous or that needs meditative focus (Pilates!). With India, I take beautiful long evening and weekend strolls and have awesome baby dance parties. I can also fit in some light stretching when she’s in her Skip Hop Explore & More Jumpscape Foldaway Jumper at home.

Annie Venier of Le Petit StudioWhy do you think it’s so important to model a healthy lifestyle for her, even at such a young age?
Most habits are learned through osmosis, and what is healthy is learned primarily at home. Taking care of your body is learned from a very young age. Childhood experiences shape how much we enjoy being active and teach us to respect our own limitations — that means resting when we are tired, eating when we are hungry, etc. Being active is a great outlet. But knowing when to rest and pull back is equally meaningful, as it develops a sense of self-respect and boundaries. Teaching young girls to be strong and to have clear boundaries, self-respect and big goals is especially powerful.

How do you manage to fit in working out when you’ve got a baby?
Because I must work out for my job, I put workouts in my schedule — I know who is watching the baby, how long it will take me to get home, etc. But all new moms should have a plan for at least four workouts a week (two strength-building and two cardio workouts is ideal).

What are some ways you get active with her aside from actually working out?
When I come home from work, I throw on the baby carrier and take India out for a walk. It’s our routine. Sometimes we meet friends, and sometimes it’s just the two of us. On weekends, we have baby dance parties. I love music and dancing, and it would appear sweet India does too! I get lots of giggles.

mom playing with baby in bed

How does the right baby gear make all the difference as an active mama?
Get baby gear for the winter so baby can roll with you. For India’s 6 months, I bought her a little Swedish snowsuit with feet and hands so I can still throw her in the baby carrier and take her out. Having India in her snowsuit means we have no worries about losing stuff or freezing, and we are free to go have fun! But in the winter, it gets darker so much earlier, so getting outside is tough. Gear like Skip Hop’s jumper means baby can stay active all year round even when it’s too cold to go out!

What are some of your go-tos when it comes to baby to keep you active?
My baby is so active! She has been crawling since 4.5 months, so the only way I can keep her safe and happy while freeing up my hands is to put her in the jumper! If I put on some music and put her in the jumper she is in heaven (and I can take a shower and get ready for my day). Knowing she’s happy and safe buys me enough time to shave my legs and put on makeup!

If there’s one thing you MUST make time for each week for your selfcare, what is it?
Pilates, Pilates, Pilates. It is my job, and you gotta walk the walk! I am certain that my 20 years of pilates is to thank for my body bouncing back so quickly post baby, and helped me have a very fast (17 minutes from arrival at the hospital!) drug-free birth.

Skip Hop Explore & More Jumpscape Foldaway Jumper

What would you tell a new mom who is trying to get active when she’s got a new baby at home?
1. Rebuild. Put “working out” in your schedule, get someone you can really count on to watch the baby, and go! Your body just did the most amazing thing on the planet and it was hard work. You’ll need the TLC to rebuild and recover. This is a good time to consider deep stability work like physical therapy, pelvic floor training or Pilates… something to give you back your “foundation” and address rebuilding your body and rediscovering your pre-baby posture. It may seem like a splurge, but it will greatly improve the way your body is able to function. Post-natal training is not the same “working out” you may have done in the past, and special consideration should be given to correcting postural changes, re-establishing joint and lumbopelvic stability, re-educating incorrect muscle patterns, rebalancing the body, and ensuring that you are properly recruiting your stabilizing muscles. These thing must be done prior to adding resistance!

2. Enjoy. Get out! Get moving! Enjoy your baby! You don’t have to be in “workout gear” to get out and explore with your baby. If you are smiling and having a good time, your baby will be too!

Photography by Stylish & Hip Kids for Well Rounded.

 

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Jessica Pallay

Jessica Pallay

JESSICA PALLAY is the Co-Founder and Chief Content Officer of Well Rounded NY. She is a Brooklyn mama to Libby and Elsie, and writes about all things pregnancy and new motherhood.

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