As women preparing to have a baby, there are plenty of sites that share what we need to buy, bring to the hospital, and make for our upcoming lives with a newborn. As a pregnancy and postpartum exercise specialist, I’m here to tell you there are a few things missing in our list that we should be doing to prepare for our newborn’s arrival. What those lists don’t share is how to properly prepare your body for life with a newborn.
1) Gallon water carries. Simply carry around a gallon of water.
All. Day. Long.
A gallon of water equals roughly 8.5 pounds, the average size of a newborn baby. Chances are you are going to be doing a lot of carrying, baby-wearing, burping, and feeding with your newborn, so may as well start to prepare your core, arms, and shoulders now!
*Pay attention to your posture and hip alignment while carrying the water. Your body will be readjusting after labor and proper alignment is a crucial component to living pain-free as a new mom.
2) Google ways to alleviate your sore arms.
And why your baby won’t stop crying.
And how to know if your baby’s poop is normal.
Don’t feel bad. Google becomes your best friend as a mom. Embrace it and don’t feel embarrassed.
*Ice and heat with a few minutes of stretching can do wonders for sore arms and shoulders.
3) Tub hurdles. A tub hurdle is a form of exercise I have, as a mom, become skilled at. Most likely you will have to choose between showering and keeping your baby happy, so new moms are often in and out of the shower multiple times to either check the monitor, crib, or take care of their baby sitting in a rocker right in the bathroom.
*Steam is great for colds and stuffy noses, so next time your kid is sick, enjoy a 10 minute shower and steam session.
4) Eat all the food all the time. A healthy mixture is crucial to helping your body repair postpartum as well as keeping up your supply if you decide to breastfeed.
5) And do so one handed, including prep work.
6) With your other hand holding your gallon of water.
7) Practice quarter squat pulses while slightly bouncing your gallon of water in your arms. Does this motion sound familiar? I got the most exercise immediately postpartum by trying to get my tiny humans to sleep!
*Make sure to brace your core and keep your shoulders back to fully support your body.
8) Throw a bunch of toys on the ground. Pick them up practicing your perfect squat form. Repeat.
*Perfect squat form includes using your legs rather than your back to move up and down.
9) Cry. Just cry. Try not to feel bad about it. Postpartum hormones are no joke.
10) Complete a set of the following every three hours:
*5 Deadlifts into a crib
*20 quarter squats
*20 speedy calf raises
*40 core body bounces
11) Side twists with your gallon of water. This is also a great time to get your lullabies down.
*A side note about the twists:
You will have a diastasis recti of some degree by the end of your pregnancy. It is usually recommended to avoid significant twisting motions as to not make it any worse.
However, I recommend coupling the twist with a connection breath and core bracing (on the exhale and bracing of your core, complete the twist). This will not only teach muscle memory, but it will give you the stability necessary to do a normal motion (twists) in the postpartum period.
All jokes aside, if you are looking to prepare for labor and to recover with a strong body postpartum, we offer individualized programs that will help you prepare your body as much as humanly possible for your baby’s arrival. We work with a wide variety of women to prevent and minimize diastasis recti, pelvic pain, hip pain, and also back pain. You can check out all of our programs for moms and moms-to-be here: Pregnancy & Beyond.