Bench Press Your Baby


Finding time to exercise can be so elusive when you’re the mom or dad of a new baby. And yet, the parent of young children is exercising all the time. You don’t need to rush off to a gym or pool or spa to get your workout; it’s available right at home.

The calories I’ve listed are for a weight of 150 pounds. You will burn more calories if you are heavier or less if you are lighter than 150. Follow the link to put in your own weight.

Baby Bench Pressing

British dad and naturopath, Joshua Levitt, developed the Baby Bench Press one day when he came home from work and his wife handed him the baby. He eventually created a workout for new fathers and babies that includes the Baby Bench Press, Tot Squats, Lullaby Lunges and Peek-a Boo Pop-Ups. His book is Baby Barbells, the Dad’s Guide to Fitness and Fathering. 

Calories Burned: 150 in 15 minutes; 600 in an hour.

Wrestling with Your Kids

My kids wrestled a lot with their dad while they were growing up and one of them grew up to be a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor. You can start wrestling when your kids are at any age as long as you are receptive to their skill level. Wrestling is a great way to teach non-verbal communication and cooperation. Family wrestling is not about winning, but about playing. And, it burns mad calories.

Calories Burned: 133 in 15 minutes; 531 in an hour.


We all worry about getting our pre-pregnancy weight back and think that we should exercise, but with a new baby that’s easier said than done? Breastfeeding burns a whopping 500 calories a day. Even if you do nothing but breastfeed and continue to eat as you did during pregnancy, you will return to your pre-pregnancy weight when your baby is about 9 or 10 months old. Producing just one ounce of breastmilk burns 20 calories.

Calories burned: 500 a day.


The amount of calories you burn wearing your baby depends on the size of your baby. Carrying small children burns 34 calories in 15 minutes. Backpacking, on the other hand, burns 89 calories in 15 minutes. I’m going to extrapolate that babywearing burns about 50 calories in 15 minutes.

Calories burned: 50 in 15 minutes; 200 in an hour.

Walking, Running or Playing with Children (vigorous): 68 calories in 15 minutes; 272 an hour.

Walking, Running or Playing with Children (moderate): 51 calories in 15 minutes; 204 an hour.

Caring for your Child: 34 calories in 15 minutes; 136  an hour.

Reclining with your Baby: 9 calories in 15 minutes; 34 an hour.

Peggy O’Mara  (101 Posts)

Peggy O’Mara founded in 1995 and is currently its editor-in chief. She was the editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine from 1980 to 2011. The author of Having a Baby Naturally; Natural Family Living; The Way Back Home; and A Quiet Place, Peggy has lectured and conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League International, and Bioneers. She is the mother of four.

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4 thoughts on “Bench Press Your Baby”

  1. I lost 40 lbs breastfeeding my son and am back to my high school weight. 20 lbs of that was gained during my first pregnancy when I was not able to breast feed. I took care to eat anytime I was hungry when I was pregnant and I believe those extra calories were stored for breastfeeding that unfortunately didn’t happen. I actually had to purposefully increase my calories when my 2nd son was 6/7 months old because I was losing too much weight. I know this in not the case for everyone, but it was definitely an added perk of a wonderful experience for me.

  2. The same happened for me….lost all the weight (approx. 25 lbs), sooner the 2nd time around than the 1st. Of course, the body is not the same shape but not complaining. I can still fit into most of my pre-pregnancy clothes.

  3. I think this is great info to share but I would like to share that not all women experience this. I exclusively breastfed my first until 7 months, wore her probably six hours a day, and took daily walks. I gained forty pounds in the first year of her life. With my second I did not exclusively breastfeed for as long (more like 6 months) but am extremely active caring for a toddler and a baby and I have gained 20 pounds since she was born a year ago. With both children I did extended breastfeeding and plan to continue nursing my youngest for as long as she is interested. There is so much discussion about losing weight while breastfeeding but very little about the women who gain or struggle with weight. My midwives suspected that my metabolism dramatically slowed down because of a combination of factors including that breastfeeding was burning so many calories that my body slowed down to conserve fearing it would not have enough (likely the result of many years of dieting). In addition I suffered extreme sleep deprivation which impacts hormones that regulate satiation and hunger. I completely understand why we want to advertise the many benefits of breastfeeding (including possible weight loss) but I wish that we could also allow for the possibility that not everyone experiences all these benefits. I would like to say that I love breastfeeding and even with the weight gain and struggles I have had I would do it again in a minute.

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