Mother to two gorgeous girls, aged two and nine months old respectively, Nina knows exactly how hard life can be as a new mother holding down a career and trying to find time to work out.
Routines change, emotions rise and time is no longer on your side. But it doesn’t have to be. You can do these simple, full body core strengthening exercises with your little one in the comfort of your own home. Not only will this workout help you work towards getting your pre-pregnancy body back, it will also help you bond with your baby and overcome any mommy blues you may be experiencing. Adding this workout to your baby’s playtime routine will also help her to sleep better and be less niggly.
These movements are low impact, but they’re still challenging and will definitely work up a sweat. These mom and baby exercises are highly adaptable, and with a few modifications and increased reps you can take it from beginner to advanced level at your own pace.
Before starting any new exercise or workout, however, it’s advisable to speak to your medical practitioner. Once your doctor has given you the go ahead, start lightly and build up your strength from week to week.
Aim for 3 rounds of 8 to 10 reps per exercise. Increase your reps gradually as you regain your strength.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold baby securely vertically against your chest, one hand supporting your underneath the arms of baby and one supporting underneath baby’s bottom.
Lower your body as far as you can, making sure your knees don’t go over your toes. Keep your core engaged at all times. As you return to the start position give your glutes a little squeeze.
Plie squat into front baby press (Advanced move)
Hold baby securely against your chest, stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder distance apart, toes turned out into a 45-degree angle. (Advanced move: Elevate onto toes. Beginners keep feet flat.)
Bend knees and lower your torso, keeping your back straight and abs tight and activated. Once you’ve reached the burn zone, elevate onto toes, hold the position for 3 counts, returning back on to your heels. (Advanced move: Keep elevated onto toes as you drop into a deep wide plie squat.)
Squeeze your glutes as you return to standing position and extend arms out into a baby press. (Advance move: Remain elevated on toes throughout entire exercise.)
Lunges into baby calf raises
Step right foot forward, slightly bending both legs. Place baby securely on right leg holding baby underneath the arms. Keep back straight and activate your core (abdominal muscles in, pelvis slightly tucked in).
Lower left leg into a 90-degree angle. Keep your upper body straight. Make sure your right knee does not extend over your right foot as you lower your body into the lunge.
While in lunge position (B) elevate onto you right foot into a calf raise activating the calf muscle. Hold pose for one count before returning to start position. Complete 8 to 10 reps with the same leg forward.
Repeat exercise with left leg forward.
Arabesque straight leg lifts
Hold baby securely lying face down, arms at 90 degrees, ensure baby’s chest and abdomen is well supported and in a comfortable position. Step your right foot back, keeping your leg straight and your supporting leg (left leg) slightly bent.
Pitch your body slightly forward from the torso. Keep your pelvis square and lift your right foot up and down using the glute muscle to minimise the work in the lower back.
Repeat all the steps in arabesque straight leg lifts exercise above.
For the advanced move: after your reps, keep your leg elevated and create little pulse movements up and down from your glute muscle for extra burn. Lower right leg back to start position and only move arms up and down while keeping your body still and square.
Repeat with opposite leg.
Push up baby kisses
Place baby securely on an exercise mat. Place yourself into a push up position (ladies pushups are advisable to start with). Place your hands shoulder-width apart on either side of baby, making sure your head is in line with baby. Make sure your hands are placed directly under your shoulders, core tight and back straight (no arching in back).
Lower your body, by bending and ensuring your elbows are close to your body. Keep abdominal muscles tight without dipping your back. Lower yourself until your chest touches baby, hold for one count while giving baby a kiss before pushing up back into start position. Repeat.
Baby chest press
Lie flat on your exercise mat. Hold baby securely in your palms facing down (one hand on baby’s chest and the other between baby’s legs supporting her body at all times).
Inhale and on the exhale press your back flat into the mat ensuring there is no gap between your lower back and your mat. Activate your core, and extend arms upwards into a full extension, making sure your palms face upwards and baby is stable at all times. Lower arms directly over chest and repeat the movements. (Babies love this move, and their giggling is contagious.)
Knee in baby crunches
Sit in a slight V-shape position, toes up, heels pushed securely into the mat. Place baby securely on their tummy onto your shins facing you while holding your baby’s hands.
Engage your core muscles, elevate your legs and crunch your knees towards your chest. On every second mini crunch try and add a little kiss on baby’s forehead. Throughout the movement make sure your baby is balanced over both shins at all times.
Double leg baby teaser
Start on your back with your legs in table top position. Hold baby closely to your chest, firmly underneath their arms facing you. Exhale and curl your head, neck and shoulders off the floor. Inhale and elevate baby towards feet in a V-shape position. Keep this stationary position for 5 to 10 counts while keeping your core tight and continuously breathing. Repeat.
Advanced Move: Repeat all steps in pic A, but add in criss-cross movements from the legs as you lift them up and down.
Lie on your back with your knees bent, and feet shoulder-width apart flat on the mat. Place baby securely on your pelvis holding her under her arms comfortably.
Inhale, and on the exhale flatten your back against the mat, engaging your abdominal core muscles and tilting your pelvis up slightly. Keeping your baby stable, slowly lift your hips and pelvis up into a pelvic bridge position ensuring that only your lower back/ hip portion is lifted. Squeeze and activate your glutes as you lift. This exercise is extremely important in strengthening your pelvic floor muscles after birth.
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Our experienced editors work with trained journalists and qualified experts to compile accurate, insightful and helpful information about pregnancy, birth, early childhood development and parenting. Our content is reviewed regularly by our panel of advisors, which include medical doctors and healthcare professionals.