You see your local barre studio has a Mommy and Me babywearing workout class and you think, “Great! I can get a workout in while snuggling with my munchkin. Win-win.”
And yes, it is awesome to have the option to get a workout in while you’re getting some skin-to-skin love with your little.
But is it safe for your body?
It could be. Or it may not be.
Don’t get me wrong – I love babywearing.
My Munchie was (and still is) such a little snug so her wrap and carrier is well loved.
The thing is though, when you’re working on strengthening your body after having a baby, adding 10+lbs of baby weight right out front – especially early on in your postnatal recovery – may not be the best idea for your body.
(To be clear, up to 1 year is what I consider “early on” in your postnatal recovery. It takes months for your body to grow a baby. It takes months for your body to heal after birth – regardless how that birth went down).
Does that mean babywearing workouts aren’t right for every body? Not necessarily. Just like everything postnatal fitness and health, there’s no one best strategy for every body.
Some women will have no issues babywearing for hours – even during a workout.
Other women will start to get back or pelvic pain, a heavy feeling in their vagina, an increase in incontinence symptoms and other not so fun stuff almost immediately.
The key is to pay attention to your body and know when it’s telling you its had enough.
Remember that athletes use weighted vests to make their workouts more challenging. Strapping a baby to you is like wearing a weight vested (an adorable weighted vest).
So we need to be clear on whether adding that poop machine vest to your body is the best idea for you. Especially if you have any pre-existing issues going on. If that’s the case, babywearing is going to be extra stressful for your body.
Are Babywearing Workouts Right For Your Body?
If you’re dealing with things like…
Pelvic floor dysfunction (like incontinence or prolapsed pelvic organs)
Significant perineal tearing that still needs to heal
…Babywearing for a 30+ minute workout class where you’re on your feet the whole time may not be the best option for your body.
Your body is still working on rehabbing itself. So adding that extra weight will make it tougher for you to stay in proper alignment when your tissues are weaker from the get-go.
It’s like when you’re sick, the last thing you want to do is go for a workout, right?
This is similar. Your body is working on healing itself and putting any extra, unnecessary stress on it is not super helpful.
A core and pelvic floor rehab style workout with the right kinds of exercises – like the ones in my free 21 day StrongCore program – without a munchkin strapped to you will be enough of a challenge for your body for right now.
But I get it. You want to at least try it out to see if your body can handle it well.
If you do decide that babywearing workouts are something you want to try, there are some key things to keep in mind. Like your alignment and whether you’re pushing yourself too much.
Get Your Proper Stack On
With babywearing – whether you’re exercising or not – it’s so easy to get out of alignment and put too much pressure on your ligaments, joints and tissues.
While you have baby on board, keep in mind the 3 Golden Rules of Alignment:
1. Untuck your booty. Make sure you’re not tucking your pelvis under to try to counterbalance the load you’ve got going out front.
2. Drop your ribs. It’s easy to let your ribs thrust out while babywearing. Drop your ribs so that they’re stacked over your hips, not flared out. Another way to think about this is to avoid aggressively sticking your chest out so your back arches a lot.
3. Weight into your heels. Don’t let the weight of your chunky monkey pull you forward onto your toes. Lean back, mama.
Signs That Your Body is Telling You It’s Had Enough
If you’re at the barre in the middle of a plie squat set with baby snuggled in the Ergo and you start to get any of these symptoms, take a break.
Your body is saying “Woah!” if you…
Feel heaviness or pain in your pelvis, vagina, or anus.
Have any kind of bulging or pressure in your pelvis, vagina, or anus.
Get back, neck, shoulder, hip, or knee pain while you’re working out or after your workout.
Have a hard time breathing properly during the workout. We want you to be able to use the BED Mantra – Breathe out while Engaging your core and Doing the hardest part of the exercise. We want you to be able to follow the BED Mantra and breathe throughout your whole core – belly, ribs and chest.
If you’ve realized your body needs a break, you have a few options. You can…
Keep baby strapped to you and sit down to give your body a rest for a few minutes then hop back into the workout – as long as you’re not still getting signs telling you to stop. You can even choose to do some of the exercises sitting down instead of standing up. That may be enough of a break for your body.
Plop baby down on a blanket with some deliciously chewy toys and keep going without that extra load – again, this is an option only if you aren’t still getting symptoms suggesting you should stop.
Just call it a day and rest and play with your baby while the class finishes up.
It’s your body. You’re going to be the best judge of whether things are off and you should stop, or you’re good to keep going. Listen to that internal voice. It’s smart.
You should also pay attention to your body hours and even a day+ after a workout class. You could get some of these signs – or others – after the class is over that suggest you’re pushing yourself too much.
So What Now?
If you’ve realized it’s not the best idea to babywear + exercise for your body, that doesn’t mean you can’t sign-up for a babywearing workout class with your mama friends. It’s still absolutely an option.
Just tell the instructor about your specific needs and bring a blanket for your little much to lay on and enjoy some chew-worthy toys while you workout instead of babywearing. You can still enjoy the community of a group exercise class without putting your body in danger of injury or making it harder for it to heal properly post-baby.
Babywearing is such a necessity – especially when you have more than one kiddo – so don’t be afraid to give it a try. Just focus on great alignment, look out for any signs your body has had enough, and be cautious of hints that wearing baby during exercise is not your best bet.
P.S. Did you like this? Share it with your babywearing mama friends – especially if they’re complaining about any pain they get from babywearing.