How To Start Working Out After Having A Baby When You Get No Sleep
Losing the baby weight postpartum is hard to do especially when you are lacking sleep. These 7 tips will help you get started on a postpartum workout routine even with no sleep as a new mom.
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
It doesn’t seem possible to lose the baby weight because first of all you don’t get any sleep and second of all you don’t have time to workout. It’s like a lose-lose situation. It can be a major struggle for new moms to figure out when and how to lose baby weight after adjusting to this new lifestyle change of being a mom 24/7. So in this article, you’ll get lots of tips on how it can be done. Continue reading to find out how to start working out after having a baby even when you get no sleep.
Losing Sleep With A Newborn
I’m a mom of 4 little girls. I have had my fair share of experience when it comes to postpartum sleep deprivation. I was the kind of wife that didn’t want to wake up my husband in the middle of the night to help when my baby was fussy because it was important to me that my husband could be at his best when going to work. Him getting adequate sleep was important to me.
So when it came time to feed the baby in the middle of the night, I was the one to get the job done! I also breastfed my babies, so I didn’t need my husband’s help for that.
But I sure did lack a lot of sleep. My first born was only 5 pounds 14 oz and was extremely underweight for being delivered at 37.5 weeks. Breastfeeding her every 2 hours throughout the night was my job, and I committed to waking her up no matter what. I was diligent the first few weeks of her life. But that meant I practically didn’t sleep the entire night.
You may be in the same boat as me, or something similar to that. You’re up all night, taking way longer than normal to breastfeed your baby, struggling to change her diaper in the dark, having difficulty walking around the room because your body is still in pain and your baby still won’t stop crying after rocking her for 30 minutes. Where has the time gone?
This night time cycle doesn’t go away quickly. Baby’s crying through the night can last for months. You lacking sleep throughout the night, therefore, also lasts months.
You and your baby’s sleep patterns are completely disrupted, and your day-to-day routine seems so out of whack. The last thing you think you are capable of doing is working out. But you know you need to start, and you definitely need to get that baby weight off sooner rather than later.
How do you even begin?
Here are my secret tips to starting on your postpartum fitness journey the easy way and the right way even when sleep is a constant barrier.
1. Don’t put the pressure on yourself the first 6 weeks
You might be seeing on social media, Instagram and YouTube, “Exercises you can do the first 6 weeks postpartum”.
This will just add too much pressure on yourself early on after just having a baby. There is no need to start exercising the first 6 weeks postpartum.
Actually, your doctor doesn’t even recommend it. So since it’s not a wise decision to go against doctor’s orders, just kick those thoughts out of your head now and just wait until 6 weeks postpartum to start working out.
This is one less thing you need to worry about. Instead, focus on breastfeeding, focus on your baby, your baby’s sleep pattern and your baby’s growth the first 6 weeks. Forget about exercise right now.
2. Make it a priority to teach your baby to fall asleep on her own.
This to me is the key to success for the first year of your baby’s life. If your baby develops great sleep habits early on, I’m talking about 2-3 months old, then your life as your baby’s mom will be significantly better. This right here is the answer to all your worries!
If you can teach your baby day and night early on, if you can teach your baby not to depend on your rocking movements in order to fall asleep, if you can teach your baby to fall asleep with drowsy but awake eyes, then you are going to have such an easier time getting your baby to sleep through the night.
Once your baby learns to sleep through the night, then you will get your beauty sleep and be well rested in the morning to get a workout in.
3. Create a sleep schedule for you and your baby.
Sleep schedules for you and your baby will make everything so much easier in your life as a mom.
You can plan outings at the right time when your baby is most alert, you can predict what your baby needs at the right time based off the time of the day and your baby can get the correct amount of sleep at the right time of the day on a consistent basis.
Knowing what time your baby typically goes to bed and wakes up in the morning will help you to squeeze in a morning workout before your baby typically wakes up.
And if your baby goes to bed early, you should try to go to bed early, too. You also will be able to plan your own naps when your baby naps at the same time each day.
4. Take naps when your baby naps
Since your baby is on a napping schedule and it’s easy to predict when your baby will fall asleep and when he will wake up, you can throw in a quick cat nap during your baby’s nap time.
This will help you to catch up on your rest after losing a lot of sleep the night before and this will help you to feel energized for the second half of the day if you still need to get your workout in at night.
I don’t think I would have ever had the energy to work out if it wasn’t for my daily naps. Even just a 20 minute nap can boost your energy levels.
5. Start Easy
Start with a slow, short and easy exercise for your first exercise postpartum. It should not be any longer than 5 minutes.
Try this simple workout routine – it’s a great beginner postpartum core workout that I have created based off my physical therapy expertise.
When starting out really easy and basic, you are less likely to give up.
Just imagine doing a 30 minute insanity workout as your first postpartum workout. You would probably be in so much pain you wouldn’t want to do it again.
But if you start off with something really simple that only took 5 minutes, you are more likely to find 5 minutes the next day to do it again. And then again and again.
If you keep committing to short interval workouts, you are eventually going to make that important lifestyle change of committing to working out regularly without quitting. Trust me, start slow and simple.
6. Pick a time of the day that is less chaotic and is a good time for your baby
I like to workout alongside my baby for the first few months postpartum. This is the time when your baby is doing tummy time, rolling, not crawling or sitting yet and needs a little less supervision.
Once your baby is sitting, crawling and standing, your little one will need you by his side more. Since your baby is still small, put a yoga mat beside his play mat and do a basic floor workout routine along side your baby. If your baby only lasts 8 minutes on the floor doing tummy time, then make your workout 8 minutes. The whole point is to just get a simple workout in.
Postpartum Workout Goals
I think many new moms put a lot of pressure on themselves to work out for long periods of time, 5-6 days a week postpartum, but the reality is new moms have a lot on their plate and they just can’t do it all. I want to encourage you to set realistic goals for yourself. Goals that are realistic for a new mom are:
- Start working out the first week after my 6 week postpartum check-up
- Commit to 3 days a week for 10 minutes a day of exercise
- Workout my core on day 1, my arms on day 2 and my legs on day 3
- Get a 20 minute nap in 4 days a week
- By 4 months postpartum, I am working out 4 days a week consistently
- By 5 months postpartum, I am working out for at least 30 minutes at a time
It can be done. You can be a new mom who just had a baby and work out consistently enough to lose the baby weight.
It takes a determined woman but also a woman who knows her priorities.
If you set your priority list and you put exercise at the top of the list then you need to make it happen.
You need to teach your baby how to sleep on his own and get him on a sleep schedule sooner rather than later.
You also need to get sleep yourself. Don’t get distracted by other things, but take the time to rest when your baby is resting. Go to bed early and take naps during the day.
Finding the perfect time to work out can be when your baby is doing tummy time. But never exercise when your baby is in distress and needing mommy’s attention. You want your workouts to be enjoyable for you and your baby.
Also, make your workout simple so that you will want to come back again next time. Overdoing your workouts may deter you from doing it again the next time.
And lastly, never put too much pressure on yourself! Try your best, and in time you’ll be able to accomplish more than you thought you ever could.
If you are not sure where to start, I encourage you to take the 30-Day Postpartum Ab Challenge that is a perfectly designed for new moms who want to slowly get their abs back into shape. It’s really great for beginners and only takes 3 minutes a day to start. Read more about the 30-Day Postpartum Ab Challenge for more details on how it works.
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
**It is important to always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program and get medical clearance. Always warm up thoroughly and stretch after all workouts. Jena Bradley LLC, LiveCoreStrong.com and Jena Bradley will be not be responsible or liable for any injury sustained while exercising at home, gym or elsewhere. Perform exercises at your own risk.
About Dr. Jena Bradley
Jena is a mom of 4 darling little girls, a physical therapist and founder of Live Core Strong, a blog focusing on motivating moms to live a life that incorporates fitness and fun throughout their motherhood journey. She aims to be the friend you always wanted to have who could guide you through the “fog” when faced with an “I don’t know what to do” mommy moment. At the most inconvenient time of her life, she embarked on a journey of sharing her story and expertise to inspire the next generation of healthy moms. You can learn more about Jena by visitng her ABOUT page.