Written by Sarah Mansell Published on 25th May 2021

You’re nursing a little one, trying to get enough sleep, and also look after your own sanity while you’re at it. So you’d be forgiven if exercise isn’t at the top of your list of priorities in the first few months of motherhood. While we’re not suggesting you start training for a marathon or take up some nutty spinning/boxing hybrid class that you’ve heard Gwenyth is doing, some gentle exercise can be a great way to look after your physical and mental health while you’re breastfeeding. It doesn’t have to take up a lot of time and it also doesn’t have to be difficult, so read on for some tips on exercising and breastfeeding, including some mom and baby workout ideas. 

Finding the time to exercise

You barely have time to brush your teeth, so finding the time to exercise might seem like a bit of a stretch. But like anything, once it’s part of your routine, you’ll find it easier to keep to. No need to drag yourself to the gym though – there are lots of exercises you can do at home that will take no time at all. 

Mama and baby exercises

Including your little one in your workouts can be fun and also strengthen the bond between the two of you. After all, the early days are all about spending as much time together as possible. 

Baby dancing

Turn up the radio and have a boogie with your baby. They’ll love the feeling of being in motion and close to your chest and you’ll get a light cardio workout. Abba soundtrack strongly recommended. 

Baby curl-ups

This is basically a crunch with your baby on your tummy. Place them facing you and then do some stomach crunches and pulses. It’ll burn but they’ll love the close interaction with mom. 

Baby bench press

Yes, you can bench press your baby. And yes, we’re laughing at the concept, too. Simply lie faceup on the floor with your knees bent. Contract your abs and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold your baby securely and bring them close to your chest. Repeat as many times as you like. This is a great ab workout and also good for building muscle in your shoulders. 

Pliés and walking lunges

Stand with your feet over hip-width apart and hold your little one facing forward. Then squat down. A good workout for the thighs and what gym-goers might call a weighted squat. Lunges are similar. Simply stand with one foot in front of the other and lunge forward while holding your baby. 

Pelvic floor exercises

You don’t even have to get off the sofa for this one. And you can do it while you’re actually breastfeeding. A pelvic floor trainer like Elvie Trainer can give real-time feedback and make sure you’re doing your Kegels correctly and the benefits are amazing – a stronger core, improvements in urinary incontinence, and even, better orgasms. 

The benefits: 

More energy

Despite exercising using energy, it can also give you extra energy. It will help build up your energy stores which will come in handy when you’re up in the night breastfeeding. And in the day when you’re just generally exhausted. 

Better mood

Postpartum depression affects 1 in 9 mothers according to the CDC, and although exercise may not be a complete solution, it can really boost your mood. Your body releases chemicals that help reduce stress and also boost your sense of wellbeing.

Mother and baby bonding

Doing mother and baby exercises will allow you to spend more time with your child and strengthen your bond. But it also helps improve your mood which can help with the bonding between yourself and your child. Plus, it sounds pretty badass to say you benchpress your baby. 

Weight loss

All bodies are beautiful, and you should never feel pressure to ‘bounce back’ after birth (this is not 1992, people) but if you’re keen to lose some weight, exercise will help you get on the right track. Weight loss should never be the goal, but you might end up burning some extra calories alongside all the other great benefits above.

Let’s get physical

Even if it’s just a walk to the end of the road, getting moving will have benefits way beyond weight loss. But remember, always listen to your body and do what’s right for you. 

The medical information in this article is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please consult your doctor for guidance about a specific medical condition.