Let me start by saying that I do enjoy wearing my baby in a carrier. I’m not hatin’ on babywearing mama’s here 😉
Babywearing is essential for many mama’s, especially with multiple kiddos. You need your hands and you need to get things done. Carriers to the rescue!
I mean, who doesn’t love this?!
I do think that you need to be aware of some specific things when you’re baby wearing and ESPECIALLY (x10000) if you add fitness on top of that.
You also need to be honest with yourself about how your body is feeling during and after wearing babies or your bigger kids. We want to avoid issues and discomfort to the core and floor. And, babywearing combined with exercising could be causing your core and floor some stress.
When I see babywearing fitness classes…I get a tad nervous.
BUT, I get that it’s sometimes the only way mum can get a workout in, so it has to be done.
Babywearing fitness classes are often taken by moms who are more recently postpartum (a year and under). That IS early postpartum! So, we need to know if there is any core + floor dysfunction happening and prevent further issues that may arise from wearing + exercise.
If you are taking a baby wearing fitness class, or teaching a babywearing fitness class, there are ESSENTIAL things you need to keep in mind.
To do “baby wearing fitness” well, you have to understand a few things:
1). There’s a hella lot of pressure on the core + floor just from wearing baby. When you add exercise and weights on top of that, we need to be cautious.
Some things to consider:
–> If you are newly postpartum (first few months), there may be enough pressure on your pelvic floor simply by wearing baby and standing, walking, etc.
–> It takes a good amount of mental effort in those first few months postpartum where you are doing your core + floor retraining, and rebuilding strength to focus on just YOU during your workouts. To make sure you’re breathing well, reminding yourself of good form, etc.
–> I recommend many exercises to be done lying down on the back, side-lying or seated in these early months to manage pressure on the core and floor, which could make things tricky for babywearing fitness (more on how to structure workouts below).
–> If you have any degree of pelvic organ prolapse, again, babywearing when walking or standing will likely be more than enough stress on your pelvic floor. Pay close attention to if you feel that heaviness, bulging, or dragging feeling in your pelvic floor while babywearing.
In these scenarios (early postpartum and prolapse), I definitely would not recommend extra exercise, like squats and lunges, while wearing baby.
2). Good alignment is SO. SO. SO important when wearing baby. If you’re going to throw exercise on top of that, you need to watch that alignment in your exercises.
There are a couple points to consider when it comes to good alignment. You want to ensure you have:
- An untucked bum with a gentle arch in the low back
- The ribcage stacked over the hips
Watch this quick 2-minute video to understand what I mean.
In the photo on the left, my bum is tucked UNDER. This is not an optimal position for core and floor function. In the photo on the right, my bum is untucked – a better position for core and floor function.
3). Intermix seated exercises with standing ones (*extremely important*)
If you are doing a babywearing workout that is a considerable length in time (20+ minutes), do make sure that you are doing exercises that are seated, interspersed with the standing exercises that are being done.
When you are standing the pressure on your pelvic floor is high. Take the load off by sitting.
• Examples of Seated Upper Body Exercises
- Seated 1 and 2-arm rows
- Seated 1 and 2-arm chest presses
- Seated lateral raises
• Examples of Lower Body Exercises
- Seated hamstring curls
- Seated leg extensions
- Seated hip abductions
This is a great article from my friend Lorraine Scapens at Pregnancy Exercise that details more about proper babywearing positioning!
I really that helps you in your babywearing fitness endeavors! If you are participating, just be aware of how your body feels during and after. Be honest with yourself. Don’t push through any sensations in your pelvic floor that feel “off”.
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