A former marketing consultant, Liz now enjoys an active life as a stay-at-home mother of Cate, 6 months, and Sterling, 4. She enjoys adventuring with her babies and her husband, John. She considers herself a diligent student of motherhood and loves learning and creating new things. Her favorite baby carrier is her Wrapsody Breeze, and she loves to use it while she does The Babywearing Workout DVD.
How do you find the energy and motivation to work out while being a mother?
I do it in small spurts. It helps that wearing my baby means I'm constantly exercising my core -- but using the techniques in The Babywearing Workout video, I take little bits of free time during the day while I'm waiting for water to boil, watching Sterling at the playground, or watching television to do some lunches or tricep dips using whatever equipment is handy. I find the more I do that, the more energy I have overall.
Are you a full time mother (SAHM)? Do you think mothers can find time to exercise with their babies if they work outside of the home?
You know, I'm incredibly lucky to be at home with my kids full time now, but when Sterling, my oldest, was about a year old, I spent time back in the work force. After work, he wanted to reconnect, so I'd wrap him up and dance around the house with him or take a walk, or I'd try to add workouts into the time we spent at the playground. It's never easy to find balance as a working mom, but it's definitely possible.
How long did it take to learn how to wrap comfortably and exercise with your baby?
After Cate was born, I was eager to start working out again, but I definitely started too soon. I found myself in bed with a breast infection -- a sure sign I was doing too much! But when Sterling was little, I was more nervous. I watched all the videos on Wrapsody's website and I worried about supporting his airway, or about whether I had him in the right position. By the time he was a month old, I felt really confident taking long walks, and it wasn't long before we started adding stairs and so forth. I wish I'd had the workout DVD then, but it wasn't hard to think of ways to exercise doing things that protected his neck and kept us both safe.
What is a good starting point for a mother who has just had her baby and wants to begin exercising again?
Walking a little more every day and focusing on rebuilding the core and pelvic floor are really important for a new mom. She can even focus on doing "zippers" or the yogi "fire breath" while she's relaxing with baby -- tightening her belly slowly from pelvic bone up to diaphragm and then releasing it in the opposite direction. But everything starts from the core, and there are so many things you can do even from a sitting position to get that strong again.
Do you use meal replacements such as shakes and bars? Can you talk a little about whole foods and a balanced diet for new moms?
My best friend is doing the Complete Transformation 28-Clean Eating Challenge with Kelli from The Babywearing Workout and is loving it. We’ve been using the Juice Plus Complete Protein Powder by adding it to our morning smoothies and I’ve been thinking about giving the capsules a try since they are actually whole foods (not a supplement) in a capsule and now that Sterling is 4 he can get the Juice Plus Chewies for FREE. Truly, though, I think eating whole foods is important, especially for a breastfeeding mother. I find it's easier, too. I can just grab a carrot or an apple or toss a chicken breast in the toaster oven, and I don't even need a plate or a bowl to eat it. Grabbing wholesome foods saves me time, and I want to set a great example for my kids.
On the other hand, I do find I crave those carbs, and sometimes I need them to feel full. I try to focus on whole grains, even when I'm baking something like cookies, and whenever possible I add some almond meal or seeds to my baked goods -- then I bake just a few cookies at a time in the toaster oven so I'm not tempted to eat the whole batch! Since oatmeal is a galactogogue, I also try to add it to baked goods, along with pureed pumpkin or something with fiber and vitamins and some nutritional yeast. Nutrient dense foods are a new mom's friends.
Also -- every new mama needs to let whoever is planning her shower that having meals in the freezer or coupons for meal deliveries after baby is born (not pizza. I mean friends who deliver food!) would be appreciated. She'll likely find that her community is more than willing to feed her.
What about mothers with a diastasis rectis or c-section injury?
Of course, any mom with severe diastasis rectis would do well to consult a physical therapist. There are definitely core exercises that will help, but there are also some that can make it worse. And a mama who's given birth surgically will need more time to heal and have extra healing to do, since her abdomen has been through significant trauma and the scarring can cause pain and limit mobility.
Both of these moms need to really focus on the "corset" transverse muscles rather than engaging the "6-pack" muscles in the abdomen, and they may like to use a baby wrap or a binding device to help with extra support. The "corset" muscles are absolutely essential in supporting the best recovery possible for these moms.
Thanks so much for inviting me to appear on the Guggie Daly! I always look forward to your posts in my feeds on Twitter and Pinterest; you have so many thoughtful articles that often lead me to dig deeper on new topics.