Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dad tip #5: You, too, can exercise while getting your baby to sleep

There's an interesting dichotomy to babies when it comes to sleep. On the one hand, as a parent, you should do everything you can to set expectations for your child by way of routines and establishing a general sense of calm before bedtime. On the other hand, you stick a baby in a car seat and drive half a block, they're out like a light regardless of how many people are honking at you and flipping you off. These two sleep methods are not realistically compatible.

However, the thing I've found is that even with the best of routines, you still need to endure some sort of personal triathalon consisting of some variations of rocking, pacing, and bouncing to get your baby to surrender to sleep.

Now, let's digress for a quick moment and consider the fact that in the first few months of being a parent the most exercise you've gotten is lifting your baby out of the bassinet and oh-crap-the-baby-woke-up-again "crunches" when getting out of bed in the middle of the night. If you need to simulate some sort of motion to help ease your baby to sleep AND you're in desperate need of exercise, you might as well try to kill two birds with one Born Free bottle.

Early on, I liked doing some kind of SAFE side lunge. But now, I like to mix it up a little more by doing an extremely sloppy (but SAFE) version of a Capoeira sequence known as the "ginga". Obviously you can't really do the accompanying arm movements, but I think it's more interesting than just doing the same single movement over and over again.

For the record, I have about ten years of Kung Fu training under my belt and all of one Capoeira class. I know that makes this bit of advice a little preposterous. So, the real lesson here is that there are other options than having to endure a 26.2 minute marathon of sitting in a rocking chair to get your baby to go to sleep. There's almost certainly something you can do that can help you burn off at least a couple of calories. (But don't forget the routine!)

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Blogger Jean S said...

I used to get a workout by doing squats as I rocked my baby to sleep. My arms were also firmed up by swinging the baby in the infant carrier for an ad hoc nap.

April 25, 2008 9:15 AM  

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