After the birth of your child, even if you get back to your pre-baby weight quickly, you may notice your core just doesn’t look or feel as toned. You may also have lost some strength in your core, especially if you had to scale down your abdominal work during your last trimester and the first six weeks after the arrival of your baby.
Strengthening your core isn’t only important to look and feel good in your swimsuit, but its essential to the health of your entire body. For instance, a strong core helps to protect your back. And with lifting and carrying a new baby 24/7, you are at a much greater risk of developing back pain and discomfort. To combat this, at least twice a week, work on incorporating exercises that can tone and strengthen your abdominal muscles. Although there’s many you can do alone, working out with your baby is not only more fun, but it’s a great bonding experience as well.
Here’s one of my favorite abdominal exercises for new moms:
Baby Core Twist
To perform. Sit down on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you. You should be sitting upright with your chest up and shoulders back. Gently pull your abdominal muscles in. Now, take your baby and sit him on your thighs, facing away from you (for older babies). Slowly lift him and twist your torso to bring him over your right side (make sure to keep your back straight while doing this) and then repeat again to the left side. As you perform this twist, continue to pull your abdominal muscles in and keep your chest lifted and back straight.
If you have a very young infant without good neck and head control, you can perform this exercise while cradling your baby in your arms. Simply elevate your baby in your arms from your thighs up to chest level, slowly turn to the right, and then come back to center and repeat to the left.
Perform 10 twists to each side, then rest. If your baby is too heavy or is disinterested in “exercising” with you, you can use a dumbbell to replicate this exercise as well. Never force your baby to exercise with you. A fussy baby can cause you to lose form, increasing your injury risk. Only exercise together when it is fun for both of you!