Postpartum is a time for nurturing yourself and connecting with your baby. A yoga class specific for moms and babies understands the physical and emotional changes occurring during this special time and creates a grounding, nurturing and safe space and practice for mom and baby to connect. There are an abundance of benefits for you and your baby in these classes including:
- connecting back into your body,
- connecting with your breath,
- connecting with your baby, and
- connecting with your community.
Connecting Back into your Body
Mom and Baby Yoga sequences are designed with specific considerations for this unique recovery time in your body. We welcome gentle and intentional movement and breath to allow a safe and comfortable return to activity.
This practice includes poses to help stretch and lengthen muscles that often become tight as a result of postural changes during pregnancy and during new baby care tasks such as nursing and bottle feeding. With specific cueing, this class will also help you gently and safely build the strength necessary to support the new physically demanding tasks of baby care such as lifting baby in and out of the crib and car seat.
During this class, you will gain general awareness of your deep abdominal muscles and pelvic floor and learn how to engage as well as relax these muscle groups during daily activities to support a mindful transition back to exercise and reduce risk of injury.
Connecting with your Breath
While caring for your new baby, it can often be difficult just to remember to breathe throughout the day. This gentle yoga practice can help serve as a much needed reminder of how taking a few moments to become aware of your breath can reduce anxiety and improve your energy during times that can feel overwhelming and exhausting. It is a wonderful reminder of how important even small moments of self care is during this new and often vulnerable time.
Connecting You with your Baby
Mom and Baby Yoga provides an opportunity where you and baby can be in the moment and play. This can be a special time out of the house without distractions of household chores and responsibilities. You both can just breathe and move together. Mom and baby yoga postures and sequences are designed so that you and your baby can do many of the poses together! Playful interaction as well as little baby yoga poses and gentle baby massage are incorporated to keep you both connected throughout the class.
Connecting with your Community
New motherhood is a perfect time join a community of other moms just like you. Many are likely having similar excitements and challenges. It is so powerful to come together during this new phase of life to move, play and breathe together. New motherhood is such a wonderful and unique time to make new friends.
Not just for Mom, There are Many Benefits also for your Baby including:
- Baby yoga poses, stretches and gentle massage aid in digestion, constipation and gas,
- An increase of feelings of connection with mom,
- Physical touch, movement, sights and sounds all provide sensory input that help your baby with development (vision-eye tracking, proprioception/body position awareness),
- Age appropriate movement for baby including poses that encourage, eye tracking, tummy time, reaching, rolling and sitting and standing as appropriate.,
- It can be fun for baby to be out of the house and around other babies the same age!
Tips for keeping your baby engaged during class:
- Keep baby close to you so he or she can see you. 2-3 month olds can only see up to 15-18 inches so this is the most important time to consider this. Bring a favorite blanket and lay your baby next to or right on your mat. When doing a pose that may require you to move out of this range of sight, make sure to return to your baby frequently to offer some kisses and touch. These times are built into yoga sequences so that your baby can stay connected.
- Babies that are between 3-6 months can see and recognize their mothers up to 15 feet away but they still like to stay involved, connected and close to mom during class.
- Maintain eye contact with your baby as much as you can. Laugh, sing, smile, make silly faces, play “peek-a-boo” during twisting and flowing poses when you may be looking away briefly. Creating play time will ensure that they will have as much fun as you!
- Bring a small rattle or toy your baby enjoys to hold during some of the movement postures. This can encourage vision/tracking objects during yoga flows.
- Touch and gently massage your baby to keep them connected and feeling loved!
- Bounce, sway and keep moving during the poses as much as needed when holding baby. Lots of poses can be done while holding your baby and they will enjoy the gentle rhythm and movement.
- Bring familiar toys, pacifiers, snugglies or even a small portable bouncy seat to help your baby feel at home.
Mom & Baby Yoga at Jade is always on “baby time”. We want you to know you and your baby are welcome just as you are. If you are running a little late, you are still welcome to join us. During the class, feel free to nurse, bottle feed, change diapers, walk around, bounce and calm baby on the exercise balls. There is plenty of time for relaxing in the studio with some tea after class as well.
Written by Jenn Gelfand, DPT, CYT. Jenn is a yoga instructor and physical therapist at Jade who specializes in peripartum and pelvic floor rehabilitation and is passionate about helping new moms return to exercise safely and achieve their optimal pelvic floor health. See more about Jenn on our website: www.jadeintegratedhealth.com