This Baby-Wearing Workout Stopped My Son Fussing, and Helped Me Find 5 Minutes In My Day For Movement

When I go for a walk wearing my son Rowan in a carrier, I joke that I’m going out to do some “rucking,” or the trend of wearing a weighted vest while doing cardio or strength training. And it’s a great workout, but what if you want to get your baby even even more explicitly involved in your fitness routine? Enter The Sculpt Society’s baby-wearing workouts, a new postpartum program with 10 cardio and bodyweight classes designed to be done while wearing your baby in a wrap on your chest.

Megan Roup of The Sculpt Society released her TSS postpartum 2.0 program Monday, for which she re-filmed and reworked the videos from the first iteration of the postpartum program after having her second child, Mercer. New to the program are the baby-wearing workout videos, which include dance and low-impact bodyweight work ranging from 3 to 10 minutes long.

The series came about from user requests for the class type and because Roup herself wanted a way to move while wearing Mercer. A collaboration with Solly Baby, which made a custom Solly Wrap for the program, helped bring it to life.

“The inspiration was just that I organically wanted it as a mom,” Roup says. “Over the last couple months, I’ve gotten more and more messages from my community, from moms being like, ‘Hey, I would love a baby-wearing class.’ So it’s also me listening.”

The idea appeals to me, too, which is why I was eager to try out the 10 bite-sized classes. When I drop it low to grab a burp cloth from the bottom dresser drawer, holding my baby on my hip, I can’t help but think “weighted sumo squat.” I had seen some viral mommy and baby dance class videos, but the idea of getting to and from an IRL class with Rowan in tow just felt so out of reach. From those nursery squatting moments, I’ve wondered if there were virtual classes that would allow me to keep my baby entertained while also moving my body—as long as Rowan would tolerate it.

“The idea of getting to and from an IRL class with Rowan in tow just felt so out of reach…I’ve wondered if there were virtual classes that would keep my baby entertained while also moving my body.”

Photo: Rachel Kraus

“I love that they’re short,” Roup says. “In those crazy days when you’re in the thick of it with your kids, it just feels manageable. And I also just love how it still has a joyful side to it. It’s done to the beat of the music, it’s playful. Your baby can feel that.”

Roup notes that people should always consult their doctor before starting any workout program after giving birth. The program is also designed to accommodate various postpartum stages, from helping to reconnect with your pelvic floor through breathing and deep core work in the early days, to more cardio and strength after getting workout clearance. Breathing intentionally to avoid excess intra-abdominal pressure, which involves exhaling during the working portion of a move, is key, as is keeping your core engaged with your pelvis in a neutral alignment.

And don’t worry: If that sounds like a lot, Roup helps guide you through this. You’ll also want to ensure your baby is wrapped nice and snug (Solly Baby has plenty of tutorials).

I tried to jump into the classes with a standing legs video, but Rowan was having none of it. Getting him into the wrap caused a bit of a fussy moment, and curtsy lunges were not enough to distract him from his troubles. So I switched to a 7-minute dance video, and within the first minute, Rowan calmed down. The gentle bouncing from the step touches, claps, box steps, and grape vines helped soothe him and brought a smile to my face.

There was also something about doing the dance along to a video with Roup—who has an approachable but also no-nonsense, let’s get into it style—that helped me persevere through some initial cries and (literally) find the rhythm. It wasn’t a heart-pounding, music video–style dance class; think more aerobics than hip-hop combinations. But it felt good to center my mind by focusing on the steps and my breath, and get to cuddle my baby while also doing something for me.

“Not only is it physically beneficial, but honestly most importantly, the mental health aspect of just moving your body with your babe is really powerful,” Roup says.

Photo: Rachel Kraus

Once Rowan had gotten used to working out with me in the wrap, I switched to a strength video. Like the connection I made between squatting and getting things out of a drawer, Roup says these classes are designed to focus on functional movements, or things you do in everyday life.

“Making sure I was incorporating day-to-day functional exercises that you were going to be doing throughout your day, whether you were doing it in a workout or not, was really important to me,” Roup says. She hopes that practicing proper breathing and core engagement in the classes might help people do so outside of class, too.

Plus, wearing your baby actually has its own strength-training benefits. Adding any sort of load—whether it’s a hand weight or a tiny human—forces you to engage your core and put an additional strain on your muscles. Handier still: As you get stronger, your baby will just keep getting bigger. Basically, it’s nature’s version of progressive overload.

“As you get stronger, your baby will just keep getting bigger. Basically, it’s nature’s version of progressive overload.”

“You’re continuing to do those movements, but now your baby is starting to get heavier, and it becomes a little bit more challenging,” Roup says. “A lunge with a 10-pound baby versus a lunge with a 20-pound baby just feels a little different. I was so sore after I was incrementally filming these videos.”

My 10-pound baby provided some light resistance training as I squatted and lunged with him on my chest. I also had to make extra certain I was keeping my core engaged, and not swaying or leaning over to compensate for the load on my front. With the necessity to enforce good form, 7 minutes of weighted lower-body work is no joke!

I can see The Sculpt Society’s baby-wearing workout videos as a great toy in the toybox when you need to keep yourself and your baby entertained. The biggest barrier is that putting on the wrap is a bit of a process. So while I appreciate that the classes are short, the production of wrapping Rowan up makes the experience a little more involved. This might improve with time and experience, though.

I also had to think of them more as movement than as “exercise,” because they weren’t as challenging as other super-short classes designed to give you a lot of bang for your buck. But hey, you’re wearing your baby! Good luck getting those 10 minutes to move while your little one isn’t strapped to your body.

You’ll need to approach these short classes as an experience in their own right, and not a means to an end of trying to achieve a fitness goal—beyond doing something that feels good for you. That’s a great mental exercise to undertake when so much postpartum messaging is about getting your body back, which can feel so alienating and unattainable.

“To me, it’s just the constant reframing of ‘I’m here to fill my cup up,’” Roup says. “I’m here to make some self-care time for my mental health. I’m exhausted. You’re exhausted, but we’re here for the next 5 minutes to feel grounded in our bodies.” And if the baby spits up, poops, or just decides he’s not into it anymore and starts crying? “That’s why there’s a pause button,” Roup says.

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