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Here is my experience about kayaking or paddling after giving birth. While being pregnant I was trying to get feedback how it would be but didn’t find much, so that is my motivation to write this article.
It can be very different for different mothers, and for each kid, I hope I can give some ideas on what to expect!


I was really wondering how soon I could go kayaking or paddling after giving birth, and how long will it take before I am back to my normal and top shape.
I heard everything from sportswomen who started training again the very next day after birth, and young and healthy women who couldn’t sit for 8 months after giving birth.

A woman of 5 kids told me “don’t listen to all the horrible stories people want to tell you, trust your body and listen to yourself and you will be just fine”, which was good to hear.
Here is my experience :
Birth itself was without problems and baby was born only 4 hours after arriving at the hospital, that is not long for a first birth where an average is 12 hours.
I never pushed myself physically after birth, but always did things that I felt I was confident and willing to do and had some safety margin.
First week I was recovering only: eat, drink and sleep. I noticed that it was absolutely necessary that someone prepare me food and drink and bring it to me.
2nd week I started yoga and light exercise to get contact with perineum, as well as daily trolley walks.
From 6th week I started light core training, and cross country skiing and skateboarding once a week,
From 8th week (2 months) I started again kayaking and freediving, and pull up. With regards to core muscle, first I was really limited but it was really motivating to see how fast it gets better from one week to the next one. I was trying regularly, but without pushing ever before it became naturally possible again.
From 11th week (2,5 month) I started kayaking 5 days a week. Baby also started to sleep full nights around this time, to be able to sleep all night also helped me back to my shape.
I joined a race 5 months after birth and was back to my shape before birth then, with a 3rd place in Voss ekstremsportsveko in Norway.

Kayaking After Giving Birth


The background question is, why at all go kayaking after giving birth? Maybe being a parent is big enough an adventure. Maybe you don’t want to prioritize your limited time for kayaking. Kayaking simply gives me joy and energy the same as before I was a mum. For me it was important to start small but soon, I feel if I was waiting for the perfect time it might have not yet happen. Taking care of my baby is the best thing that happened to me, yet it is also objectively a 24/7 activity and responsibility which is physically and mentally tiring. Kayaking gives me a mental break that brings back new energy : the joy of being on the water, the beauty of the river, the social part of meeting old friends or new fellow kayakers. Breast feeding, carrying the baby, preparing food, doing laundry and grocery, keep the house tidy is physically tiring. Take one hour break to go kayaking is actually less physical than staying home doing housework.
I see it this way: I want to feel good to appreciate the time with my baby, take good care of her and inspire her, and not put pressure on her that I make a sacrifice of my life for her and she has to make what I couldn’t realize.

Kayaking After Giving Birth


  1. Trust myself and have support from partner
    The decision I made to go back on the water, and the support of my partner to make it practically possible was essential.
  2. Move to a house by the river.
    Time is precious. Having to walk 90 m to get into a kayak on a class 2 rapids made us free from logistics. Leaving at a take out of a river is also a simple way to meet any kayaker coming here, and open your horizon kayaking with different people and not only your usual crew.
  3. Ask, or accept proposals from friends to watch the little one for a short while.
    Honestly, I didn’t want to leave our baby to anyone, I was worried I would miss her so much and she would miss me even more! In a lesser amount I had doubts to trust anyone with such a fragile little one. But it is totally worth it in order to keep contact with reality, and not be locked in a bubble of “only I and baby”. It is extremely valuable to have some quality time and do something together with your partner/a good friend, or just alone without having always a risk that baby will need undivided attention right now. Having a healthy social environment is very important. I discuss with my partner what is important for me, and listen to what matter for him. We don’t necessarily agree but we make effort to respect what is important for the other one.
  4. Do sport right after birth and regularly.
    Physical and outdoors activities is so healthy, and it doesn’t need to be long and complicated. Some days my only “training” was to make some breathing exercise lying on my bed, and to relax my body with a shower. Some days I would walk 4 hours to the little mountains nearby with baby in the trolley. It is worth challenging myself to find what I can and want to do each day.
  5. Write on a calendar what I want to do
    I believe that everything is possible as long as you manage your time.
  6. Try what you want
    It is hard to know what is the right thing to do. And even harder if it should be the right thing not only for you but for your family. My vision is that it is necessary to try out, and see what was a great idea, and what is not needed to repeat. Make mistakes to improve. If you aim on being perfect, you will do nothing or do something wrong and feel bad about it an unnecessary long time. Having a baby opens a new world, you can be interested in new things and you will have new schedule. This is an opportunity to learn new things and meet new people.

Kayaking After Giving Birth
Examples of things we tried :

Join the first trip of the year in the upper section of a local river: huge disaster. The 1 m deep snow walk to the river was challenging for my still unstable hips, and the water was too high: it took a lot of time (4 hours in total) and baby was starving which was also stressful for the dad.

Drive 8 hours and camp in a tent one week to join the kayaking race of Ekstremsportsveko festival: full success. Easy logistics of making laps on the race course while being always available for baby if need be.
Walk baby to the river to make her fall asleep: full success.
Start gardening as I will have so much free time: rather a failure. Eating nettle soup from the garden is the result so far. Making a 3rd place on a kayaking race was easier after all.

Thanks for reading! Hope it inspires your life with baby, or to dare to ask someone to borrow a baby for a little while!