Today I want to talk about a topic near and dear to my heart… how to maintain an active lifestyle with a baby.
So you’re pregnant, and so excited to meet your tiny human.
Your due date get’s closer and closer and then you suddenly wonder…”Wait… is my active lifestyle over? Am I doomed to a life inside the walls of my house??? How will I manage to ever go anywhere with a baby???? HELP!!!!!”
If this is you, take a deep breath, relax, and let’s talk about this rationally.
My husband and I are on the go a lot. Weekend ultimate frisbee, trips to my family down in OR about once a month, mid week game nights, movie nights, dates, workouts, etc.
It was incredibly important to me that we pretty much be able to continue our lifestyle for the most part, because I get MAJOR cabin fever. Sometimes I want us to slow down a lot, but I’m also grateful to be able to go places at the same time.
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So how do you maintain an active lifestyle with a baby?
Step one is realizing that babies (one’s without special needs), have only a few basic needs…
They need to eat, burp, sleep, poop, be snuggled and be changed. They will do these things whenever, wherever. Doesn’t matter if you’re home or at a friend’s house.
Step two is reminding yourself that babies cry. They will also do this wherever, whenever. This is not a reason to seclude yourself, and think you can’t go anywhere. That only results in a cranky, depressed mom, and we don’t want that to happen.
Don’t let going places with a baby overwhelm you. For breastfeeding mamas, as long as you have diapers, wipes, and an extra pair of clothes you really are set. Anything else is just a bonus.
I don’t have a ton of experience in pumping while out and about, but they do make breast pumps much more travel friendly these days. Either pack a cooler with ice for breast milk until you get home, or feed it directly to your baby. It’s more of a hassle but you gotta do what you gotta do!
Your active lifestyle might look a bit different.
Life with a little one is going to look different than before, obviously, but there is no reason you have to say goodbye to it. Here are some ways we’ve been able to maintain an active lifestyle with a baby, and hopefully you will be encouraged and find something that works for you!
- Get a baby sitter. By far the easiest option, but not one we all have access to. In fact, I save this for dates, and have never left Amiya with anyone for anything sports or fitness related.
- Use a front carrier. This one has been a HUGE life saver. I use the JJ Cole carrier EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
It’s been great for morning/evening walks, hikes, traipsing over hills while taking pictures at a Spartan race, game nights, dinner with friends, etc. I pop Amiya in there and she’s usually asleep in a matter of minutes.
This frees up my hands, and has been a game changer for getting out of the house. Find one your baby likes because you will NOT regret it, and there are so many options out there.
I haven’t personally tried it, but I’ve also heard great things about the Boppy Comfyfit baby carrier, and want to try that one out.
- Do things with a group. This pretty much ensures that there are willing hands that can take your little one. During Ultimate Frisbee or Spikeball I’ll sub out with my husband, or a friend so we all get to play, and Amiya is kept happy.
- Don’t underestimate the power of the picnic blanket. There are so many baby gadgets out there for keeping them contained outdoors, but when they’re little, just use a blanket! Put them on there and talk/play with them while you wait for your turn.
It’s also great for if you’re working out. Pop out blanket, calm them real quick if they cry, and move on.
We love these zipper picnic blankets for park trips, and always keep it in the car.
There are also cool items like this travel bassinet that would be a great option! Again, I don’t have one, but would like to try one out.
Try to have a rough idea of your baby’s schedule.
And by schedule I mean, how long are they usually awake in-between naps? If your baby is on a sleeping schedule, great. For me personally, I didn’t want Amiya to be set on sleeping only at certain times and places, because really, who wants their life to be dictated by a snoozing infant?
Amiya is usually awake for 1-2 hour stretches, sometimes shorter depending on the day. I feed her when she shows signs of being hungry, and bounce her or put her in her carrier when she starts to act tired. This way no matter where I am life is pretty much normal for her.
Doing this with your baby can take a lot of stress away from being out, and you can still have a pretty normal life.
If they have a normal nap time, work that to your advantage.
Lower your expectations
Figuring out how to maintain an active lifestyle with a baby is completely doable, BUT, it’s a good idea to lower your expectations for what it will look like for a while.
Are you used to working out for an hour or more at a time, but your baby will only let you squeeze in 15 minutes? Make the most of that 15 minutes. You don’t have to sacrifice your workout completely, just adjust for your new life.
I love what Miranda and Julian Alcaraz from Street Parking say… Do more than nothing.
Consistency is key, even if it’s only for 15 minutes.
We recently went Bouldering with a group and my sister and I traded off holding Amiya and climbing. Sure, I had to take more breaks to meet the tiny human’s needs, but I still got some routes in and had fun. I sat on the floor and nursed her, and laid her down on her changing pad when she was happy to just look around.
Your baby is joining your family… You are not joining theirs.
A friend just said that recently as we discussed this topic, and I really liked it.
Although remember…you are a parent now. As such, there WILL be sacrifices, and sometimes you do need to say no because of your little one, but you will have to find that balance as a family.
For the first two months, Amiya got over-stimulated very easily. If too many people were in her face, or if there was too much noise she would lose it and often be cranky the next day. The only way to calm her down was to take her into a quiet room and stand in front of a blank wall. Because of that I tried to limit our social life during the week to only two things.
She has grown out of that almost completely and I only notice it when we stay with my family where there are lots of people for more than a day.
Work around your baby’s needs and make sure yours/ your partners get met.
Yeah, kind of a no-brainer, but this is crucial. Think about all your options for what you can do with your baby. Whether it’s carrying them the whole time, using a front carrier, other people, a blanket/ bassinet…think everything through. Hope for the best, plan for the worst. Sure it’s great if your baby is super happy the entire time, but realistically that’s not going to happen, and it’s best if you have a plan B…and C…and possibly D.
Talk with your partner about your expectations. Ladies, even the sweetest of husbands can disappear in the blink of an eye at events. Talk over a loose plan before you go for them to take a turn with your peanut, so you can relax and enjoy your time too.
What I tell my husband is..
-Don’t ask if I want him to take Amiya. Just take her. Odds are I’ve had her all day and am ready for some me time.
-Put yourself in my shoes…would you want to take her the whole time and not get to participate?
-I’m happy to have her most of the time as long as I get some little breaks.
Most of the time I’m fine with letting him have some play time, I just want to know that he’s willing, and thinking of my needs.
Maintaining an active lifestyle with a baby is a juggling act, but enjoy it.
Now that Amiya is three months it’s so much easier to do things as she’s far more content to look around at her surroundings.
Don’t let being active with a baby scare you. Start small, don’t let their crying stress you out, make sure their needs are met, and enjoy easing back into your lifestyle.
And remember…they’re not little for long, so enjoy this phase with your tiny human.