Top 5 Reasons to Do Yoga with Your Infant: Baby Yoga FAQ

baby & me yoga, warriors

5. Yoga is good for babies.

  • The poses we do in baby yoga classes are developmentally supportive, may improve digestion, ease gas pain and colic, and boost the immune system.[1]
  • Yoga play stimulates the vestibular system, proprioceptive development,  and motor control.[2]
  • Baby Yoga rhymes, songs, interaction, and movement stimulates language development.[3]
  • Dedicated face time interaction in baby yoga class stimulates baby’s neurological development and empathy skills.[4]

4. Baby yoga class is good for parents.

mom and baby centeringEven though more than half the poses we do in class are for baby, the benefits for mom and dad can be dramatic. Practicing yoga with your infant can help you feel more relaxed and gentle stretching and conditioning exercises can provide relief from some of the stresses and physical symptoms of early parenting.

3. Yoga practice helps babies sleep better and longer. 

Moving and engaging with caregivers for 45+ minutes is a lot of work for babies. Many parents report that their best naps of the week are on baby yoga days.

2. It’s is a way to get to know your baby better.

moms and babies in yoga classYour baby will engage with you and the yoga poses, games and songs in a way that will reveal his or her unique personality. Does she like vigorous movement or gentle activities? Is he outgoing or reserved with new people and experiences? Your baby will communicate their preferences in class and participating is another opportunity to connect with your baby and meet that fundamental need of your child.

1. Baby yoga is fun.baby yoga

Hands down, this is the best reason to do yoga with your baby. Babies have fun. Parents have fun. You both learn games, songs and poses to use at home and to teach other people in baby’s life.

Baby Yoga Frequently Asked Questions

How are Breathing Space Baby & Me Yoga classes different from postnatal yoga or classes offered elsewhere?

Baby & Me Yoga is a blend of baby-focused poses, activities, songs and rhymes with some gentle stretching and conditioning for caregivers. Breathing Space Baby & Me Yoga classes are baby-centric, with the primary emphasis on baby-caregiver bonding and baby activities. While caregivers still get a some exercise, it’s very different from classes where baby is invited, but hopefully sleeps or remains quiet during class so moms can get a workout. Ironically, Baby & Me Yoga classes are often quieter and calmer than a lot of postnatal exercise classes because baby is engaged throughout.

Will I get a workout? Do I need workout clothing?

Baby & Me Yoga ClassBaby & Me Yoga is not designed as a workout for caregivers, but you do need to be prepared to move. We spend a good portion of the class sitting criss-cross or in other positions on the floor and we get up and down several times. Almost every class incorporates lunges or squats while holding baby as well as some shoulder or low-back exercises for caregivers. We sometimes do basic standing poses and, if babies are cooperative, Jen especially likes to end her classes with 10-15 minutes of postpartum-appropriate ab work. Comfortable, stretchy clothing is important and jeans are not recommended.

If you are looking add a mom-centric postpartum workouts to your routine, we recommend watching for Prenatal/Postnatal series classes at Capitol Hill Yoga or checking out Fit 4 Mom.

My baby is only 3 or 4 weeks old when the class starts, do I need to wait for the 6-week appointment to attend?

Generally, class is most appropriate after 6 weeks. We strongly recommend that you be cleared for exercise, especially if you had a surgical birth or complications. Baby too tends to be more ready to participate after about 6 weeks. A 45-minute class is a long time for a newborn. Very young babies often sleep, eat, or fuss their way through class.

That said, you are still welcome to come. We’ve had moms happily start class as soon as they are ready to be out and about, modifying exercises that are too strenuous (such as skipping the abs) and addressing baby’s needs as they arise. Sometimes, just being at class is what mom needs. If that’s you, please come.

If you would like to wait until the six week mark but class is already starting, don’t fret. Late registration is welcome for several weeks into the series as long as there is room in the class. Happy to reserve your child’s spot in advance if you contact us.

My maternity leave ends before your series ends but I still want to come, what do I do?

Please come. We have never been able to talk babies into being born on our series schedule so offer two options for families who can’t commit to the whole series:

  1. If you are able to attend at least half the classes, sign up for our partial registration option. (No makeup carry overs into subsequent sessions. See makeup policies.).
  2. If you truly can only attend occasionally, then drop-ins are welcome.
  3. Finally, if your child will be home with a nanny, you are welcome to have them just join the class with your baby when your leave ends.

What should I bring to class? Do I need a yoga mat?

playing in baby yogaPlease bring a baby blanket and small, quiet toy to all our class locations. Capitol Hill Yoga has lots of yoga props for comfort, but St. Monica and St. James will have only yoga mats to lend. If sitting on the floor is not comfortable for you, bringing an extra mat or cushion to SMSJ is a good idea. Additionally, you may prefer your own mat for hygiene or comfort. If so, please bring one.

What happens if my baby cries?

Your baby will cry. Let’s just get that out in the open. That’s how babies communicate; it’s totally fine. Even the fussiest babies are welcome in Baby & Me Yoga. Your instructor will not be distressed and is happy to have you there and, I promise, the other moms/caregivers have been there and will be far less upset about your baby fussing than you will be. Please join us.

What happens if baby needs to eat or be changed or falls asleep during class?

That’s fine too. We are not running baby boot-camp.

Can my mother, husband, or nanny bring baby to class?

Of course.  Baby is welcome to bring any grown up they would like to class.

Can I bring my toddler / older child?

preschooler yoga class, relaxationThat’s harder. There isn’t a lot to entertain big kids at baby yoga, but we have occasionally had parents bring older children, mostly when other plans for them have fallen through or school is closed. We recommend bringing quiet toys for your older child in that case and please check in with the instructor ahead of time. If we hold class on a day that school is closed, we’ll be very flexible in our planning. If there were ever enough demand for childcare during one of our series, we would definitely consider that. If you want to take class with a toddler and infant regularly, consider attending Preschooler Family Yoga instead.

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Sources:

  1. Garabedian, Helen. (2004). Itsy Bitsy Yoga: Poses to Help Your Baby Sleep Longer, Digest Better, and Grow Stronger. New York, NY: Touchtone/Simon and Schuster.
  2. Kopp, Claire. (2003). Baby Steps, Second Edition: A Guide to Your Child’s Social, Physical, Mental and Emotional Development in the First Two Years. New York, NY: Holt Paperbacks.
  3. McEllroy, M. (2014, July 14). Months before their first words, babies’ brains rehearse speech mechanics. UW Today.
  4. Medina, John. (2011). Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five. Seattle, WA: Pear Press.
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