I remember when I had my first son, I was so excited to be cleared for exercise and was looking forward to trying the baby and me classes offered in my neighborhood. I was lucky to be able to try baby-and-me yoga and baby-and-me Pilates classes and as my son grew, I became interested and certified to teach yoga to new mommies and daddies.
What’s interesting is that just as every teacher is different, even when teaching the same discipline, each baby and me class is different too. However, there are a few things I think are important to share in order to encourage more people to try these super fun, fit classes that further strengthen our bonds to our kiddos.
5 Things to Know about Baby-&-Me Exercise Classes
- It’s not just for mommies: Even though statistically, mommies are the primary participants, these classes are great for daddies too. Not only will it give fathers some needed time to focus on getting fit, it also gives them special bonding time with baby.
- It’s for all levels: Unless specified otherwise, baby and me classes are designed to accommodate all fitness levels. So, whether you’re a complete newbie rolling out your mat for the first time or you can rock a handstand in the middle of the room, baby and me classes can be modified for everybody.
- Your baby may cry: I remember with my first baby, I was concerned he would cry too much during class and be a distraction for other people. The truth is, he did cry. They all did at some point, which was a great reminder to me that babies cry, that’s how they communicate. It’s not wrong and in a baby and me class it’s entirely expected. Also, don’t worry if you need to change your baby’s diaper or feed them. Just join back in when you can. And keep in mind, there might be a modification you can do while feeding the baby so you can still participate.
- Your baby may not cooperate: Sometimes your baby and me class isn’t just a fitness class, but is designed to do exercises and activities with your babies. And sometimes, well, your baby may not cooperate (see above). That’s o.k! And if your baby is starting to be mobile and wants to crawl around rather than do yoga or Pilates, that’s o.k. too. Don’t try to force anything. Pay attention to the signals your baby or toddler gives you about their desired participation and you’ll both be a lot happier. Keep in mind though, if your child is a crawler, it is important to keep track of your littles so they don’t get into something they shouldn’t (my little guy loved to find electrical outlets) and so they don’t disturb other mama’s and babies getting some much needed “me” time.
- You will get a workout: While these are baby and me classes, they are still designed to be fitness classes, so while it may not compete with your pre-baby fitness training, you will still get a good workout. But as with all fitness activities, listen to your body and do what feels good to you.
- It’s great stimulation: When your child is young, it can feel like there are many activities that aren’t appropriate any more. Baby-and-me classes are a great chance to get out of the house and do something stimulating for you and the baby (which should also help them sleep better). Getting out and doing something will give you confidence to go out and do more things. It’s also a great chance to meet other moms and for babies to see that they aren’t the only baby in the world!
Baby and me classes are a great way to bond with your baby but also reconnect to your fitness and strength. Additionally, you’re teaching your child at a young age the importance of fitness and wellness which will benefit them their entire lives.
Sara Zuboff is a yoga and meditation instructor at Hummingbird Pilates. She teaches Tuesdays at 8:30, 9:05 and 10:00 a.m. She also enjoys writing about being human in the world. You can catch another of her articles on Elephant Journal here.