Gerber Life Family Times --- News and tips for familes of all ages and stages of life

Be A Fit Mom
  Exercise With Your Baby

Being a mom doesn't mean you have to give up on being in shape! Here are some ideas to help you spend quality bonding time with your baby while you get toned and improve your energy.

Indoor Exercise

Play "airplane" with baby: Lie on your back and lift baby up on your legs or feet. Hold onto baby's arms while she "flies". For additional toning, tighten your abdominal muscles and buttocks while lifting baby.

Kiss Ups: Rest on your tummy, and lift your head up to kiss baby's head. This is great for strengthening your neck and abdominal muscles.

Lay baby next to you while you do stretches on the floor. Your baby will get a kick out of seeing Mom do all those movements and may even try to imitate you.

You may be interested in finding an exercise class that incorporates your baby. Remember, this option is for children 6 months of age and older who won't need the head and neck support that younger infants require.

Outdoor Exercise

A popular way to exercise with baby is the stroller. Whether you walk briskly or jog with a jogging stroller, you'll want to warm up before setting off. One way to stretch and tone buttocks is to stand sideways to the stroller, put your right hand on the stroller handle, turn your right foot perpendicular to the wheel and keep your knee slightly bent. While slowly pushing the stroller away, raise your left leg with your toe pointed down. Return to your starting position and then repeat on the other side.

Be sure to talk to baby as you walk or jog along--she'll like hearing your voice. You can begin to teach her about her environment by pointing out objects, animals and sounds. To keep your baby occupied, you can hang stroller toys or clip teething toys onto the stroller.

For your own health and comfort, you'll want to exercise caution when lifting baby to place him or her into a stroller or jogger. Be sure to avoid bending from the waist--instead, begin in a 3-point squat and use a two-stage lift that consists of pulling baby up to your chest and then lifting straight up with your leg muscles. Stay as close to the stroller or jogger as possible and place baby into it without reaching, stretching or twisting.

Baby Safety

Be aware that your baby needs good neck support when exercising with her. If you are outdoors, be sure to provide shade and use sunscreen for babies 6 months or older. Also, if you're moving you may feel comfortable but be aware that if baby is just sitting in a stroller, it may be too cool for her.

Feeling Good About Exercise

Exercising with your baby doesn't have to be a chore. You can break your workout or routine into small 10-15 minute chunks throughout the day. This allows you to squeeze in time between diaper changes, naps, and feedings.

When deciding to start exercising with your baby, remember that your first priority is to keep healthy to be a really good mom. By getting a little exercise each day, you feel good about yourself, especially knowing that you don't have to stop interacting with your baby to do it. And you feel good, knowing you're building the energy, stamina and strength you need as a mom, while your baby learns, explores and interacts with you.

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