How to Maintain an Active Lifestyle with a baby for the On-The-Go Mom

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.

How to maintain your active lifestyle with a baby

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.
JJ Cole baby carrier

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.

Zipper picnic blanket/ How to maintain an active lifestyle with a baby

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.

How to maintain an active lifestyle with a baby

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.

Plan ahead.

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?

And

-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.

How to maintain an active lifestyle with a baby

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.

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Dear Postpartum Me: A letter for the struggling postpartum mama

Dear Postpartum me,

First off, Congratulations on the life that you are bringing into this world!

I know the last 40 weeks have been hard… Seemingly endless nausea, losing weight, late night heartburn, exhaustion, then the weight gain and still endless nausea.

Food aversions that leave you living on toast and Costco muffins, if you’re able to even keep anything down.

Slowly watching certain activities slip from your grasp, making you feel like nothing more than a spectator and the “pregnant lady” in the group. Throwing up at work, and having to come out smiling. Hip flexor pain, having a rib out, and difficulty sleeping.

The constant well- meaning questions about how you’re feeling, how far along you are as well as comments about your size. You ask yourself if anyone even cares about you aside from your pregnancy.

Trying to stay hydrated for yourself and your child and feeling like a failure as you wind up with two IV’s over the course of your 40 weeks…

Watching your once athletic body become something else.

The list goes on and on…

As you enter this wonderful, crazy, hard 4th trimester, (aka: Postpartum) there are a few things I want you to know…

Postpartum body image

You are incredibly strong.

9 months of pregnancy is hard, especially in a world that really doesn’t value life

You are beautiful.

There will be times where you stand in front of the mirror and pick your postpartum self apart. You will frown upon your stretch marks, your squishier belly, and wider hips. You’ll miss your smaller bra size.

You will look at pictures from two years ago and want to look like that again.

Please don’t do that.

Society wants us to think that beauty is only found in flawless skin and model-like curves. I’m here to tell you that beauty is found in so many other ways. Your stretch marks are no more ugly than someone else’s freckles, or dimples.

Change does not equal ugly.

You are no less beautiful or desirable to your husband. You will not be loved less by your family, friends, or your child.

Wear your stretch marks proudly. They are a reminder of your strength and what you did to bring life to another. Let your baby girl grow up seeing a mom who isn’t ashamed of them, in a world that will try to teach her otherwise.

Postpartum body image

Be patient.

I know this postpartum period is hard. You’ve been pregnant for what seems like forever, and now you’ve finally given birth.

You will be itching to do all the things you used to do, but you can’t. At least, not yet mama. You will have to be gracious to yourself, and recover. There will be days you feel fine but don’t be fooled by it…you’re only setting yourself up for failure by pushing your limits.

You’ve spent how many years living your life? A year of living a different life for someone else won’t kill you. It’s a sacrifice, yes, but one well worth making.

There will be days where you feel exhausted and overwhelmed. Days where you want to go back to the simple life with just you and your husband. Days where the tears just won’t end as you struggle with pain, stress, and sleep deprivation.

You can do this.

That first month will be hard, but I promise you it gets better. Life with your precious peanut will get easier and you’ll find a new normal. Time goes by so fast and they’re only little once. Enjoy it in all the good moments, and pray harder during the bad one’s.

I know you so badly want to be “normal” again…

You want to run and jump and throw a barbell around.

You want to be intimate with your husband.

You want to not have to think about your every move and whether it’s ok or not.

I promise you, you will get there.

Postpartum body image

There are little victories to be found everyday. Extra chores done around the house, a slightly longer walk, a few extra squats, low-key sports where you basically stand and wait for your teammates to use you, finally using a Kettlebell..

Find those moments and appreciate them. You are getting stronger everyday, and setting yourself up for success by healing well so you can be the best mom, wife, and individual you can be.

Care for your body, love and appreciate it for all the incredible things it can do, and love on your tiny human. Because in the end, life isn’t about our athleticism, beauty, abs, or even ourselves. It’s about the legacy we leave behind.

Let your legacy to your children be your faith, and the knowledge that they are so much more than this world tries to make them into.

Lead by example. Show them they can be proud of “imperfect bodies”.

In a world that mocks and belittles motherhood, show them it is something beautiful and worthy of respect.

This stuff is hard mama, and I am so proud of you for trying to navigate your way through.

You may also like:

20 Self-Care Ideas for Worn Out Mom’s

Postpartum Essentials + What to Expect After a Natural Birth

Lifecolor Diaper Bag Review + What’s in my Diaper Bag

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20 Self-Care Ideas for Worn Out Mom’s

Let me tell you…Self-care as a mom is incredibly important.

If anyone had told me how much I was going to struggle during that first month, I’m not sure I would have believed them.

There were so many times I would be crying on the couch, or in bed, bemoaning how simple tasks were hard, my life was only about pumping and bottle feeding, I was getting no sleep, and I was wanting quality time with my husband so bad.

It felt like everything I once enjoyed doing had been snatched away from me in the blink of an eye, and there were days I wanted to crawl into a dark hole and not come out. Ever. Or at least until my child was about 4 years old.

Self-Care for postpartum moms

Just like everything…it get’s better

Our marriage struggled for a bit in there too, as we learned how to communicate all over again. Along with baby came new needs, and voicing them was hard for both of us. This made life feel pretty lonely at times, but I’m happy to say we’re figuring out a new normal, and our marriage is pretty much back to normal again.

As much as I loved our little peanut, there were times I was so tired of holding her all the time, and with my tear, I couldn’t burn off stress and energy like I normally would have. “Me time” was in short order, and part of me felt guilty for wanting it.

Which brings me to my main point…

Never feel guilty for doing stuff for YOU.

Ever.

A refreshed mom is a good mom, and we were all created with passions and dreams. I truly believe that our lives don’t have to end the moment we have kids. Sure, there is some re-adjusting, and things take a bit longer and get interrupted more, but there is no reason to give up doing things for you.

Your baby can survive without you for a couple hours, so enlist your husband, in-laws, a family member, or a friend you trust to take your peanut for a bit.

Even if they don’t take a bottle…just make sure they have a good feeding and you’re safe for a bit.

You may also like:

Postpartum Essentials + What to Expect After a Natural Birth

Lifecolor Diaper Bag Review + What’s in my Diaper bag

Prenatal Stretches for Hip and Back Tightness

Self-Care Ideas for Mom’s

  • Get a haircut! It had been three years since I had one, and you could tell. I left Amiya with my husband, and while she apparently started screaming, he gave her a bottle and she was fine when I got back. I felt like a new woman and all it took was an hour and a half.
  • Get a massage. Again, only an hour or so, but you will feel amazing afterwards, and ready to take on carrying a baby everywhere again
  • Get your nails done. It’s nice to have cute nails even on sweatpants kind of days.
  • Shower. I’ve been hearing from a lot of moms who say they go days without showering because their baby just cries. I absolutely cannot not shower, so that’s not an option. If you can get someone to come over or have family or a neighbor that would take the baby for a bit, just ask them for help so you can shower. Take your time and enjoy it.

I actually always shower at night which is great because if Amiya isn’t already in bed for the night, my husband can take her, and he’ll put her to bed. This means that every night I get a relaxing shower, and I feel human.

Even if you’re not a night shower kind of person, give it a try if you’re able and just see how it goes.

  • Brush your teeth and put makeup on. This form of self-care might not seem that big, but we all have those mornings where the tiny human demands to be held, and we push everything aside, even breakfast, to bow to their every wish. Sometimes you get lucky and they sleep late and you get up before them, but most of the time that doesn’t happen. What do you do? Change their diaper and feed them, take a few minute to talk to them and give their squishy cheeks some kisses, and put them in their bouncy seat, swing, etc.

They might cry, but they will survive. You’re not a bad mom for getting yourself ready for the day, and a touch of makeup goes a long ways to feel like the woman you were before baby came.

  • Go clothes shopping. Odds are your body is a totally different shape from both your pre-pregnancy and pregnant self now. You might find yourself staring at your closet wanting something flattering, comfy, and that you can also breastfeed in and come up short every time.

Can’t leave the baby? go with a friend and take turns handing him/her off while you browse and try stuff on.

Small budget? Hit some different Goodwill’s…you can easily get an outfit for $15 or less.

  • Dress up a bit! Wear something cute, complete with makeup and jewelry. It might not seem like that big of a deal, but to me it always makes a big difference.
  • Take yourself out for a coffee/Meet up with a friend. Enjoy some girl time, talk about life, encourage one another and come back energized.
  • Go on a date with your spouse. This is my favorite form of self-care. My love language is quality time, plus I tend to be more of an introvert and my husband is my favorite person to be with. We are fortunate to live next to my in-laws, and they are always more than happy to take Amiya.

You don’t need a ton of time for a great date… We went out for lunch, and bowled two games +drive time in two hours and had a blast. Peanut slept the whole time, and I was so excited to see her when we got back.

  • Give your spouse a massage. I see you over there…you’re like, “WHAAAAA??? I thought this was for me???”

Don’t forget your partner is all of this… life has been so much about you, and they need some love too! I actually did this for my husband about 4 weeks postpartum and it was wonderful! Again, my in-laws took Amiya and my man got a massage while we enjoyed just talking, and we even got some snuggle time afterwards.

They will feel refreshed too, and in turn will usually be more supportive so it’s a win-win situation.

  • Exercise. Depending on where you’re at after having a baby, this is a great form of self care. Even if you’re not cleared for exercise completely, just go for a walk! Go alone and listen to music, a podcast, sermon…whatever floats your boat. Go with your partner or a friend. Or, if you don’t have anyone to watch the baby, put them in the stroller or front pack during their nap-time. You can still listen to something, or just enjoy the sights and sounds. Self care doesn’t always have to exclude your baby, especially if that means you won’t do something that makes you feel better.

You can also try some yoga or Pilates videos while the tiny human naps. If they wake up and you’re not finished yet, remember it’s ok to let them cry for a few minutes. Or if you know they just want to eat and then will be happy, feed them and then finish what you were doing.

  • Start a blog. Sound crazy? It kind of is, but if you enjoy writing and feel like you have experiences that will help others or just want an outlet, it’s a fun way to do something you enjoy from home.

Once I’m done with house stuff and Amiya is napping I make a run for my computer and crank out as much as I can. It keeps me busy and is something I really enjoy.

  • Cook or bake something. For those that love being in the kitchen this is a great option! Pass the baby off and make something you’ve been wanting to for a while and get creative! For me personally, this is not something that was appealing even though I enjoy baking…
  • DIY something. Had a project you’ve been itching to do? Let life slow down, ignore the dishes and start on it.
  • Meet up with a friend who also has a little person. This one has been huge for me. I’ve made a friend who has two little’s, one of which is only 10 days older than Amiya. I always feel so refreshed after talking with her, and we don’t have to find a sitter. We chat amidst breastfeeding, and diaper changes…
  • NAP! Just like they say…sleep when your baby sleeps. I took so many naps with Amiya on the couch in those first few weeks. It’s hard to stay down while recovering, but enjoy the fact that no one expects anything from you and just sleep.
  • Pick a movie you’ve been wanting to watch. Lounge at home with a good movie or tv series and enjoy baby snuggles.
  • Read a book.
  • Take a bath. I’m not a bath person, but if you are, go for it! Enjoy soaking in a warm tub with some music and maybe even a book.

Self-care doesn’t have to be anything huge.

Often times it’s the little things we give up when a baby comes, and those little things add up over time.

Sometimes it’s things like:

  • Making the bed. I don’t know about you, but if the bed is made and our bedroom is decently clean, I feel so much better. When it’s cluttered I feel like I can’t function.

The same goes for the rest of the house.

Sometimes I pass the baby off to family and clean the house with windows open and music going, and feel energized as I crank stuff out.

Other days it’s a mad dash to get stuff done while she’s napping, but I feel good because I got stuff accomplished and my husband gets to come home to a clean home.

Self-care for the worn out mom

Learn how to “do you” with a baby.

This takes some figuring out, but you’ll get there! You can still have a life after baby without always passing them off. Start making small goals to do one thing for yourself each day. Remember, small things repeated over time make a huge difference

MAKE time for your hobbies. You love on your family, so love on yourself too.

What does self-care look like for you?

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