By Helene Cohen Bludman of Books Is Wonderful
Congratulations on your new baby! Cherish these newborn days because they go by oh so fast. And remember to take care of yourself. Regular exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight, reduces the risk of heart disease, and promotes good health. Just because your baby apparently requires zero sleep and you resemble a walking zombie does not mean you can’t squeeze in some quality workouts for the two of you to do since neither one of you is sleeping anyway.
Bambino Boosts. Stand next to crib. Facing that little cherub who refuses to sleep, bend slightly at the waist while avoiding falling in the crib. With feet about six inches apart, ignite those core muscles and lift wide awake Annabella so she is even with your shoulders. Raise the baby approximately six inches, hold for 30 seconds, then lower. Feel the burn? Do two sets of 10.
Tot Triathlon. While in deep REM sleep, you hear sweet Annabella stirring. Just then, the dog wakes up and starts to bark. Your spouse is snoring. Leap out of bed. Try to stretch your calf muscles for 20 seconds each. Sprint to the back door to let the dog out, make a dash to the bathroom so you can pee, hightail it to Annabella’s room where she is now fully hysterical, scoop up baby and rush to the back door to let the dog in, agonize as the dog tracks mud into the living room, sink into a chair to feed the baby while stressing that your in-laws are coming for a visit today. Repeat at 2 am, 3:30 am, 5 am and 5:20 am.
Wall Workout. Annabella only wants to be held. You are so tired that you have to lean against a wall. Great opportunity to do a few wall squats! With back against the wall, slowly descend into a squatting position while holding baby firmly. Then, engage your quadriceps to rise into a standing position. Stand as long as you can without swaying or becoming delirious. Resist urge to bang head against the wall when you realize you never did stop at CVS to buy more diapers and you’re down to the last one.
Roll Call. You finally get the baby to go to sleep and you crawl into bed, out like a light before your head hits the pillow. Wait, is this a bad dream or is that baby making noises? Shit, she’s up again. Take a few cleansing breaths. Remind yourself that you couldn’t wait to be a mother. Roll out of bed and lie on the floor in the fetal position. Making sure to tighten your abs and squeeze your glutes, roll back and forth while moaning softly. Repeat until moaning wakes up your spouse. If spouse does not wake up, roll across the floor until you have arrived at the baby’s room.
Poop Protractions. After her midnight feeding, little Annabella poops all over the changing table, her clothes, your clothes, and the pastel wallpaper. Work in some stretches by holding baby down with one hand and reaching for the baby wipes that your spouse left on top of the dresser with your other hand. Curse softly. Fire up those quads when you squat to grab the dog who is running out of the room with the poopy diaper, leaving a trail of poop down the hall that you’re sure your mother-in-law will step in as she makes a snide comment about the awful smell in your house.
Diaper Dash. It’s 6 am and Annabella is wailing. Work on your upper body strength by throwing her into the car seat and driving to CVS which unbelievably is out of stock in diapers in size Newborn. Exercise your frown muscles by glaring at the man behind the counter and vowing you will never set foot in this store again. Repeat at Rite Aid. Finally find the goddamn diapers at Walgreen’s. Drive home. Lie on your back, knees bent, with baby placed on belly. Do three reps of 10 abdominal crunches.
Down Dog. Even the dog is getting cranky, what with the utter impossibility of getting any sleep in this house. For this exercise, get in the down dog position and hold for 30 seconds. Extend one leg straight behind you, hold for a minute, then reverse and do the other leg. Let the dog lie underneath you; if he insists on getting in the way, his problem if you fall on him. Just make sure the baby … the baby! What did you do with the baby?
Plank Plops. Annabella is in her crib, thank God. You are ready to collapse, but make this time of utter exhaustion count by lying beneath the crib and doing planks. Make sure your tummy is tucked and your back is flat. Push up on your arms and hold the position until Annabella cries, then plop down. Roll out from underneath crib to soothe the baby. Put her back in the crib. Repeat exercise until baby falls asleep. Don’t forget to hydrate!
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