How Babywearing Can Help You Reclaim Your Body after Birth!

By: Bethany Learn, Founder of Fit2B Studio

Despite being the founder of Fit2B Studio, an online family-friendly fitness portal, I’m no fan of strenuous exercise for new moms. Now, if you define exercise as strenuous, weight-lifting or cardio-style movements that keep your heartrate high for longer than 15-20 minutes at a time… Um, isn’t that motherhood? LOL! We lift the babies, we carry the carseat, we shop for the food, we cook the food, we do the laundry… But seriously, I’m a big fan of letting most of your muscles TAKE IT EASY for 6-12 weeks after you give birth, and I believe babywearing – done right – can help you get your abs back.

Two muscles in particular need to called off vacation as soon as possible: your tranverse abdominus (deepest, biggest core muscle) and your pubococcygeus (PC – pelvic floor muscle) but reclaiming your body doesn’t need to interrupt your babymoon. You need to rest and replenish in a cocoon of support and nurturance for a while, and hopefully you have support from family or friends to make this happen. You just made a baby, delivered a baby, and now you’re feeding and caring for that baby (all on very little sleep) so it’s NOT the time to go back to long, heart-pumping workouts. It’s time to put your body back together first! And here are some mindful ways to ensure that babywearing is helping your body heal.

1.    As soon as you feel able, take a short, slow walk – preferably with your baby in diastasis-safe carrier. Walking is the best. It will flex and stretch your pelvic floor in a natural way. Nothing is more romantic than walking hand-in-hand with your partner, slowly around your neighborhood while smelling your newborn’s head and showing off to the neighbors. {Queue sigh of happy memories}

2.  Choose a carrier that supports your core, rather than stressing it.  Diastasis is caused by pressure and occurs when the connective tissue down the middle of your abs (lina alba) thins and allows the right and left sides of your abdominal wall to move apart. Click here to check and see if you have diastasis.

A diastasis safe carrier will be worn on your side or back (for older babies) or wrap your belly firmly like a splint, not allowing baby’s weight to rest on your recently traumatized tummy. One of the best carriers is a woven or stretchy wrap.  You can put it around your waist a few times before baby is slid inside.   Ring slings are also wonderful, because you can do a nice high upright carry where a newborns weight is mainly held on your chest.  Mei tais can also be used with the waist straps tied high as you would with a newborn, so that the baby rests on your chest, high enough to kiss.  Excess strap can also be tied around the waist to support your core.  With older babies, you can also do a back carry.  If you are using a wrap or mei tai for your back carry, you can wrap excess length around your waist a few times to support your belly.

3    Ask your midwife or OB for a prescription for abdominal rehab, and set up your appointment with a local pelvic floor physiotherapist or diastasis rehab specialist as soon as you can after having baby.You’ll be so grateful you did, because you’ll get your body back without hurting yourself and without loads of hard work. You can also ask them for tips on babywearing while you heal!

4.    Avoid crunches and sit ups like the plague and re-activate your transverse abdominus (TVA) which is the amazing muscle that helps your diastasis heal within 3 days after vaginal birth or 10 days after cesarean birth with this video (CLICK). I suggest doing it sitting down the first few days or weeks. COOL FACT: Since your TVA co-activates with your PC muscle, finding your TVA and reawakening it will also help your pelvic floor without doing a single kegel!

5.    Utilize Fit2B Studio’s pathway of workouts just for pregnant and postpartum mums. I’ve made them so gentle and full of oh-so healing and feel-good moves. Click here to see those! Yes, we have a few short and simple baby-wearing workouts!

Bethany’s BIO: Bethany lives on a 7-acre farm in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two children. She is a hybrid homeschooler who loves to read nerdy information about the human body. She has degree in exercise and sport science and over 18 years of experience in the fitness industry along with an AFAA certification. Her hobbies include crocheting recycled rugs from t-shirt yarn, reading birth blogs, weight-lifting, and avoiding chicken chores. Read more about her HERE.

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