No time to exercise? No problem. You can squeeze fitness into your baby-and-me routine.
Pushing that baby stroller makes walking a workout. “Start slow and build up gradually by adding more hills for more intensity,” says Lisa Druxman, certified fitness professional, co-author of Lean Mommy, and founder of Fit4Mom.
She recommends doing stroller lunges to help tone your lower body: Take long strides and lower your body down until your front thigh is almost parallel to the ground. Slowly squeeze your thighs and glutes as you come up.
2. Sleep when baby sleeps.
“Sleep deprivation slows post-pregnancy weight loss,” says Elizabeth Ward, RD, author of Expect the Best: Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, and After Pregnancy. “Exhaustion can drive you to overeat comfort foods, such as sweets and chips, and make you feel too tired to exercise.” Pumping milk also lets your partner handle those 2 a.m. feedings.
3. Strengthen your mommy muscles.
Your belly, back, and hips are the body parts most affected by pregnancy and childbirth, exercise physiologist Richard Weil says.
He suggests three moves to target these areas:
Crunches for your abs.
Superman lifts for your back: Lie on your belly and lift your right arm and left leg. Lower them back down, and then raise your left arm and right leg.
Side leg raises for your hips: Lie on one side and raise your top leg up and then back down. For extra resistance, use an exercise band around your ankles when you do this move.
4. Know the benefits of breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding burns 300 or more calories per day. It's great for your baby, both for the nutrition and for mother-baby bonding, says Carolyn Brown, RD, a nutritionist at Foodtrainers in New York.
For extra calcium, especially if you breastfeed for more than 5 months, Ward recommends eating one or two calcium-rich snacks a day. Cottage cheese and kale chips are great sources of calcium.
5. Stock up on snacks.
Stock up on prepackaged healthy snacks that you can grab and eat in little time, Ward says.
She recommends planning meals and snacks around proteins to stay full longer. Try part-skim cheese sticks, individual servings of Greek yogurt, and tuna and salmon (in a can or pouch) to add to salads and prewashed greens.
6. Use a red plate.
Control your portion size by using a red plate. Your brain will be fooled because it will automatically think, “Stop!" says Susan Albers, psychologist and author of Eat Q.