I know the feeling. You want to get back to working out but you have a baby to care for and it feels like the days fly by. At the end of the day you’re so exhausted and you feel there is no way you could find enough energy to do a workout.
So, like me, you figured out the solution. A babywearing workout. Genius!
But the first thing that pops into your mind is the ever-important question that every parent asks themselves more times than they can count; Is it safe?
The answer to this question comes back to you, the parent. Working out while babywearing is only as safe as you make it! The solution is to make safety your number one priority and there will be no issues.
With this in mind – yes, it is safe to workout while babywearing.
But, there are many important aspects of working out with your baby to consider before you start going at it.
I worked out while babywearing my son multiple times per week for many, many months. I’m also a certified trainer and absolutely love working out in my home gym, so I know what you should look for when it comes to proper technique and safety while working out.
Let’s take a look at some important safety precautions you can take to make workout time the best time of your day!
When should you start working out with your baby in the carrier?
This is NOT medical advice, so please consult your doctor if you have any medical concerns or questions.
If you are thinking about exercising while babywearing, it probably means that you’ve brought your baby to your home gym, basement, living room or workout area and tried to exercise while watching him. Let me tell you something, that only works for a little while.
There comes a point in your baby’s development when lying down will no longer be that much fun and he will need real entertainment.
When my son was about 6 weeks old, I started bringing his bassinet to my garage gym so I could workout and give mom a break at the same time. Win-win.
When he was about 3 or 4 months old this setup stopped working so well. He was now bored just sitting there in his bassinet and wanted to be entertained.
Enter the baby carrier.
At this point I decided to give the baby carrier a try and explore which types of exercises I was able do safely while babywearing. My son hated the baby carrier for the first few months, when he was too young to be faced forward and needed head support.
As soon as he was old enough to hold his head up and we tried the carrier with him facing forward, he loved it!
So, at about 4 months, knowing that he liked the baby carrier and he was sturdy enough to hold himself up I decided to experiment working out with him.
Here are some important points to keep in mind to know if it’s time to start working out while babywearing:
- Is your baby getting restless if you just place them down with some toys or in a pack n play or bassinet?
When I started trying to workout while watching my son, he was pretty young (under 2 months old) and still didn’t need much entertaining to be happy. A bassinet with some hanging toys or a playmat were enough to keep him happy for an hour or so.
Once he hit around 4 months everything changed. Now he needed real entertainment. At 6-7 months he wanted to either move, be entertained the entire time or be held. Having him lying on the ground during a workout was impossible at this point.
Once strapped in the baby carrier his mood just changed. He was happy, smiling and relaxed. Sometimes he would even end up falling asleep.
Watch your baby carefully and try different things. There will be a point where having him in the carrier will be the best thing for both the parent and the baby
- Can he support his own head up or is the head well supported in the carrier?
Some parents are comfortable exercising with their baby from a very young age, even before they can support their own head up. I wasn’t one of those parents. Even though I already had a great baby carrier (Ergobaby Omni 360) before he was born, I wasn’t personally ready to start squatting and lunging with my 2 months old strapped to me.
I know many parents that workout with a young newborn in a baby carrier very safely. It can be done but I personally just didn’t feel ready.
If baby can’t support his own head yet, make sure the carrier supports it very well and it’s not bouncing around. This usually means having the baby facing you and not out. If he can not be worn facing out and is supporting his own head, it’s a good sign that it is now safe to start exercising with baby in the carrier.
- Does your baby like being in the carrier?
Most babies eventually start liking the carrier, especially when they can face out and see the world.
If you baby is not yet a lover of the carrier, I urge you to keep trying. Increase the time in the carrier by 5 minutes each day, and make sure you are moving around so baby can be distracted by all the things he sees. Dance around in front of the mirror or even tickle him. Do whatever it takes to get a smile. Believe me, he will start loving the carrier and so will you.
Once he is comfortable in the carrier, it’s time to start trying to exercise.
Is it safe to workout while babywearing?
Yes, it is safe to workout while babywearing, but the responsibility lies solely on you! Let me explain.
As the parent, you must plan ahead and make sure you are making each workout safe for you and the baby. Your baby has to be comfy in the carrier, the environment must be safe and whatever exercise you decide to do should pose no danger whatsoever to your precious cargo.
Let’s look at some of these in more detail.
Ensure baby is comfortable and the carrier is properly installed
There are different types of carriers and positions to carry your baby. When babywearing for a workout, I suggest that you always carry your baby in the front. This is mainly because you can always check in and see how he is doing and because you will have much more control of how your baby moves around.
For the purpose of this article, I will assume that the baby is old enough to be facing out.
Make sure the carrier is properly strapped and attached to your body. Firm but not too tight. Remember that you will be moving around and you may find yourself in a position where the carrier tightens up slightly.
You don’t want baby to be loose in the carrier but the most important thing is to ensure his airways are always clear and not trapped in any material.
Check your environment
Map out the area where you will be working out to ensure it’s safe. With a baby strapped to your chest, you will lose some of your field of view towards the floor in front of you. If you will be moving around, make sure there are no trip hazard at or in between the places you plan to move to and from.
Make sure nothing around can fall towards you or the baby and there are no objects sticking out that could accidentally hit your baby as you move around.
Finally, just walk around the area slowly before starting your workout. Do a slow warm up to test out the space and once again ensure it’s safe.
Test out each exercise before doing the workout
Don’t jump into the workout too fast. Before you start your babywearing workout session, make sure to test out each exercise in a safe and controlled way.
As part of the warm up, I like to try out each movement for a few reps while I pay special attention to how everything feels. My balance, flexibility, the effect of the added weight, etc…
At the same time, I like to make sure that the baby is happy and not being squished or pinched by the carrier.
Finally, it’s always a good idea to keep in mind the baby’s arms and legs. As you move around you may feel your baby’s foot or arm pressing against a certain part of your body.
One of the tricks I use is to do the warm up exercises in front of the mirror and watch how everything looks. This helps me build confidence that baby is happy and safe before starting the main part of the workout.
Keep the intensity low
The title says it all; just take it easy. If you’re working out with your baby, it is not time to race against the clock or try to lift challenging weights. The goal should be to get your hear rate up while still being able to remain in control.
Avoid going so hard that you may get light headed or have trouble breathing.
Move through each exercise slowly and consciously. Think about each movement as you do it in order to perform the workout as safely as possible
As a father and trainer, I can tell you with confidence that it is entirely possible to safely workout while babywearing. The thing is, the burden is on you to maintain a safe workout environment.
It’s not only a great way to stay active and entertain your baby but it’s also a really nice opportunity to bond and spend some quality time together. In my experience, the combination of the baby carrier and the repetitive workout movements put your baby in a very relaxed state.
Workout time with my son soon became my favorite time of the day!
If you’re not sure what kind of babywearing workouts to do, we have a bunch of samples for you to try in the Upside Dad YouTube channel as well as our detailed post showing the best babywearing exercises for parents.
Keep baby comfortable, make sure your surroundings are safe, move slowly and have fun!
Paul is a passionate dad who founded Upside Dad to share his parenting journey with other new parents. He graduated from Concordia University and worked as a test engineer for over a decade. Paul loves dad jokes and craft beer.
Learn more about Paul and Upside Dad here.