New parents have a rough go at it, no matter what. Add in parents who are used to their fitness routine, and watch that structure quickly crumble. Whether you're an athlete, gym rat or weekend warrior, you probably are used to planning workouts, setting goals and crushing records. Even if you simply count on the freedom to pop into a barre or ballet class at will, you'll miss that stress-relieving, heart-pumping outlet.
When you are sleep deprived, healing from birth, and attending to a newborn baby, those fitness regimes and goals are one of the first things to go. Trust this twin mom of preemie twins; it was hard enough simply coping on a few meager hours of sleep at night in those early months, let alone finding time to break a sweat.
Luckily for new parents, there are a lot of great products that both parents or partners can use to regain their fitness (and for many, as a result, their feelings of normalcy and sanity). When you do something for your body, you feel better, translating into a happier and more present parent. So if you are a new mom or dad, or know a new parent, do them (or you) a favor and get a gift with the intention of keeping you fit and healthy. You, your partner and your children will thank you.
1. My favorite from after birth and beyond, is (and will probably always be) the Apple Watch. I was given this right after I had my twins. I'm still not quite sure if it was a Christmas gift, anniversary gift, or thank-you-for-giving-birth gift, but regardless it served its purpose well. I worked my way from standing several times a day goals, to 30 minutes or exercise goals to calorie goals. Every time I closed a ring I felt a huge surge of productiveness. Keeping my twins alive and closing those little addicting rings on my watch was pretty much all I did for the first few months, friends. It was something to look forward to and to challenge myself to, and I fully contribute my quick return to a workout regime to my watch.
2. Perhaps tied for first place is a good baby carrier. Twin parents have less of a selection, but the Weego Twin Baby Carrier was my lifesaver. There are tons of different styles out there, but I liked the structured yet soft baby carriers that my husband could easily wear. We liked these simple ones as well for "wearing" one baby at a time; I often carried one girl and a friend or my husband carried the other. This is solely how I got my miles in while I kept up my social life. I could count on my twins to doze while baby-wearing, which was a great alternative to a friend seeing the state or my house and experience two babies screaming at once.
3. Stretchy bands seem pretty basic, but these versatile straps can work almost any part of your body, even while laying down. New parents, let me repeat that. Even while laying down. Enough said. If you can spare a few minutes to lay on the floor next to your child, you can wrap the band around your thighs and get it done.
4. Water. Water. Water. When you are nursing, pumping, or just deprived of nutritious meals and sleep, water is essential. Filtered water especially if you are producing milk is a must-have. We installed a reverse osmosis water system (okay, my husband did, I just helpfully made comments). Clean, delicious water is a must. Give yourself or gift a water system, filter jug or even a soothing crystal water bottle (yes, this is actually a thing) to stay hydrated and healthy.
5. New shoes after pregnancy are essential. I'd like to think I'm a bit of an expert on athletic shoes after working at a running store and being a runner myself. Most women's feet change either slightly or very obviously, during pregnancy. Most if not all women walk differently while pregnant, and put extra weight and force on their shoes. Your shoes will wear out faster and you'll likely need a more supportive shoe or even a new size after kids. Plus, if having super comfortable new running shoes that fit you perfectly doesn't want to make you break into a jog, I don't know what will.
Give these gifts or gift yourself one of these! New parents need a boost, and a little exercise and fitness does us all good. If giving gifts aren't your style, join your friend for a gentle yoga class. Or simply get walking with your friend, and strap on that baby carrier, stat!