Who needs the gym when you have a baby? It turns out that, aside from the long hours sat feeding while stuffing your face with biscuits and the baby groups where eating cake is compulsory (well if it’s compulsory…), Motherhood is actually like you’re permanently in an aerobics class, just without the Lycra, the annoying skinny, bright-eyed, perky instructor and 90s dance music.
You’re permanently moving, rocking, bouncing – whatever it takes really to keep that baby content – and it does start to take its toll on your legs and arms. I’ve never been one for the gym so I could be going out on a limb here (no pun intended), but with the burn I’m feeling, I’m hoping that by the time my baby hits five months and I have to wear a bikini on holiday, all this hard work will have paid off and I’ll have the body of Beyoncé.
It’s a cruel twist of fate that you aren’t actually working the one area that you need to most of the time, but I’m sure I’m going to have great arms, legs and one hell of an arse even if my belly does still look like something out of My Baggy Body.
Here are my top workout moves for the Baberobics:
The car seat crunch: I’ve talked about this before here and here and I’m sure car seats contain lots of clever stuff that keep the baby safe but they really do seem to be made of iron. Any mum or expectant mother who has already purchased her car seat will know these things are not made for women with spindly arms like mine. To lift it confidently you need to be a contestant on the World’s Strongest contest.
There are three key moves – the rock, the bounce and (not for the faint-hearted) the carry. The rock and bounce are pretty self-explanatory and in my case are great for getting the baby to calm down and/or go to sleep. The carry however is only for the hardcore – you know who I’m talking about – the mums who go to the gym 3-5 times a week without fail, wear proper trainers and don’t consider lifting the crisps from packet to mouth to be a biceps crunch. The carry involves physically carrying the car seat around – maybe in the supermarket so you can use your other hand to push a trolley. I say not for the faint-hearted as I’m pretty sure I would give myself a hernia if I attempted this. It’s lucky that my baby enjoys disjointed motions as I hobble between the hallway and car doing the carry.
The squat: coming in lots of varieties, the squat is a staple pacifying move. There’s the static basic squat (I’ve rediscovered my yoga ball which great for helping you out with this one), the walking squat and the sideways travelling squat (good if you have a long hallway). The moving squats work well to music or chanting (Nelly the Elephant works a treat) and with the baby in a sling as they love the movement and feeling of closeness.
The boob balance: when you have a baby that feeds as frequently as mine, staying sat still just isn’t an option. My arms have therefore had to get physically stronger so that I can balance the baby on the boob with one supporting arm and then use the other for general activities (putting shoes on, making a drink, eating). You really feel the burn in the upper arms but it means you can still manage to get out of the house with the baby fed.
Moves like jagger: dancing is a great one for my baby boy. Here is where you can have some fun and throw some shapes. In particular the side to side classic (think mums at kids’ discos) and anything with a good bounce or lilting action (my baby seems to like samba and waltz).
The winding sit up: I have a very windy baby and we’ve tried everything to get it out of him. A new move I found just a few days ago involves leaning back and then slowly sitting up with the baby up on my shoulder (hand firmly on back) and repeating. Having previously considered a sit up to be what you do to get out of bed in a morning, this one is a stretch for me, but having the focus of winding the baby makes it a little easier and I’m hoping it will help me say goodbye to the wibble that’s clinging on.
What are your Baberobics moves?