If you’re wondering what to expect at a postnatal mom & baby yoga class, this post is for you.
Before anything else, you’ll need to get the a-okay to exercise from your OB or midwife at either your 6 weeks or 8 weeks postpartum appointment, depending on the delivery. This is to make sure everything healed up ok and that you don’t have any excessive bleeding. Then, make sure you feel completely ready to get back on your mat. If you’re still not getting enough sleep to have energy, then, hold off. Yoga will always be there.
Look for a postnatal class especially for babies (0 to crawling). For these mom & baby yoga classes, you want to make sure your kiddo is about the same age/motor development stage as everyone else’s kids. The attention span of a crawler is completely different from a 2-month-old lump of non-rolling/non-crawling cuteness.
When you come to class, bring the diaper bag in addition to your usual yoga gear. Then, go grab a blanket, fold it into a square, and place it next to your mat. I like to spread a swaddle blanket on top of the communal yoga blanket – ya know, so it’s less likely that your baby’s face will be directly where someone’s butt sat in meditation or possibly sweated profusely.
While every class is different, you can expect to go through a mini yoga practice while baby lies next to you. The postures aren’t anything too strenuous. But make sure to modify like crazy for whatever state your body is in. You gave birth recently, so don’t feel like you should be able to use your core like you did before pregnancy! (Believe me, that weird gap between your ab muscles doesn’t really seem to get closer even 9 months postpartum.) Take it easy.
Having a couple of your baby’s favorite toys or a pacifier will keep him or her occupied. Or if your baby was as curious as mine was at 2 months, he’ll want to look around at everyone else and try to find the teacher’s voice. There will also be a part of class where the baby gets to participate – maybe some tummy time, leg stretches or baby might sit on your lap as you work on boat pose and other modified postures.
The practice aside, don’t be afraid to tend to your baby in whatever way he or she needs. The best part of these mom & baby yoga classes is you’re surrounded by other moms who understand. If baby is fussy, get up and walk around. If baby is hungry, feed him – breast or bottle, it doesn’t matter. If baby is tired, swaddle and rock her. No one will mind that you aren’t on your mat doing Warrior II as the teacher instructed.
In the end, as you both lie down for savasana, you can feel happy that you got out of the house, got on your mat and gave your baby a nice little start to a lifelong yoga practice.