December 2018 Drop-in Yoga Classes

Our children’s and family classes are usually offered in multi-class semesters, but occasionally we are able to offer pop-up / drop-in classes so families can try out yoga before committing to a series. Join us for $20 per child at any of the following classes:4 images of kids and family yoga
Family Yoga & Mindfulness (4-10 yrs) 
  • 3 pm Sundays, Nov 18 or Dec 2 @ Realignment Studio
Little Family Yoga (21 mo-4 yrs)
  • 10 am Saturday Dec 15 @ Shenanigans Art Space
Toddler Family Yoga (walking-4 yrs)
  • 10 am Thursdays, Nov 29 or Dec 6 @ Cheverly UMC 
  • 9:45 am Tuesday Dec 11 @ St. Marks Church
Tot Yoga (crawling-2 yrs)
  • 11 am Sunday Dec 9 @ Hill Center
Baby Yoga & Play (pre-crawlers)
  • 12 noon Sun Dec 9 @ Hill Center

Please reserve in advance. Fall 2018 enrolled students may attend any pop up as a makeup class.

Winter 2019 Early Childhood and Baby Classes Enrolling Now

Please join us for Winter 2019 early childhood yoga or infant massage classes on Capitol Hill!

Early Childhood Yoga

Yoga for children supports motor skills, language acquisition, and social-emotional development while having fun. Breathing Space classes incorporate playful, age appropriate yoga poses, breathing exercises, movement games, rhythm, stories and songs for little ones and parents/caregivers to do together.

Classes begin the week of January 5 and run for 10 classes for $180 per child/caregiver pair (sibling discount 50%). No classes Martin Luther King day weekend, Presidents Day weekend, or DCPS mid-winter break (Feb 18-22).

Little Family Yoga

for 21 mo toddlers to 4 yr old preschoolers with parent or caregiver, younger siblings welcome

Toddler Family Yoga

for walking through 3 year old toddlers with parents with parent or caregiver, younger siblings welcome

tot yoga, toes to noseTot Yoga

for crawling babies to 24 mo old toddlers with parent or caregiver

Baby Yoga & Play

baby yoga classis a blend of fun, yoga-inspired movements and activities for pre-crawling babies and postpartum-appropriate yoga for mom/caregiver.

Baby classes are offered in shorter, 6-week, series, for $96 per baby/caregiver. No charge for second baby with single adult (See policies about nanny share registration).

Baby Yoga & Play Pop Up classes

same class as our weekly offering, but single class

Infant Massage

Massage is a great way to connect to your baby. Studies have shown infant massage can help babies sleep better, gain weight, reduce fussiness, improve health and relax.  Classes at Breathing Space teach parents massage techniques in a progressive sequence over several weeks – focusing on different parts of the body each week, which provides opportunity to practice strokes at home between lessons.

infant massage classJan
Feb
March
Registration Notes

Classes for children and families are offered in multi-week series, like semesters, and require preregistration. Drop-ins are not allowed. Read more about our class policies and why commit to a weekly class.

What is Baby Yoga & Play?

Our class is a little different . . . .

baby yoga classThere are a lot of yoga studios advertising parent & baby classes, but it’s sometimes hard to tell from the descriptions what will actually happen in class.

Some instructors focus exclusively on mom. They keep the lights low and the room warm in the hopes that baby will sleep.

Some instructors incorporate infant massage and movements in the first few minutes of class and then shift their attention to adult yoga for the rest of the class.

In a lot of classes, baby’s roll is relegated to being used as a weight, albeit a very cute one.

While there’s nothing wrong with any of these approaches, that’s not what we are doing at Breathing Space.

baby yoga class

Baby Yoga & Play focuses on the interaction between baby and caregiver with lots of baby-centric activities, but we do incorporate postpartum appropriate stretching and strengthening for caregivers.

baby in tummy time poseBabies participate while on their backs, tummies, or held in loving arms. For grownups, this class is a special opportunity to meet other parents and caregivers, get support, and learn about baby’s emerging personality

As a parent and a long time yoga student, I just loved the baby-centric Itsy Bitsy Yoga classes I took with my daughter during maternity leave – way back in the 5th Street Capitol Hill Yoga studio era.

Itsy Bitsy Yoga for Tots with Jen Mueller

My zen baby (ha!) upside-down

I was back to working 3/4 time by the time my daughter was 2 months old. Our weekly baby yoga class was a time for me to drop-the to-do lists and rushing around that is a fact of modern life and just enjoy my baby in a community of parents for an hour a week.

Yes, I  always left feeling better in my body than I arrived, but during a time in my life that was sometimes disorientating and not all sunshine and rainbows, I left feeling just plain better.

Baby & Me Yoga Class

We blend baby moves with postures for parents

So, grownups in Baby Yoga & Play will also get to do a bit of postpartum-appropriate yoga themselves, including strength- and flexibility-building postures, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques to address common physical complaints and mental/emotional stressors during the new-parent period.

Breathing Space Baby Yoga & Play series also incorporates developmental topics and time for parent-to-parent support during class. Our hope is that the community built in yoga will carry over into friendships and playdates off the mat.

Yoga class was a special time and both my daughter and I loved it. That’s what we are trying to continue with Baby Yoga & Play at Breathing Space.

__

jen headshot

Jennifer Mueller has been teaching yoga for children and families in Washington DC since 2008. Jen is a Yoga Alliance® Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RTY 200) and Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher (RCTY) as well as a Certified Educator of Infant Massage, and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

Jen teaches Breathing Space Baby Yoga & Play classes, Tot, Toddler and Little Families Yoga, afterschool classes, and directs day-off and summer camps . . . in addition to doing a bunch of behind the scenes stuff to keep it all running.

Effective Nov 1, 2018 – Baby Yoga & Play classes are offered in 3-6-week series. Full registration required, no drop-ins.

moms and babies in yoga classWe know it’s hard to get out of the house with a newborn, that naps are sometimes unpredictable, and life can be complicated . . .  and that’s why we are requiring series registration for this class.  

Committing to the whole series makes it infinitely more likely that you actually attend. It far too easy to say “oh, I’ll go next week” if you are planning on dropping in. If you end up with an unavoidable conflict, illness, or disrupted nap-time, you can take advantage of our generous makeup policy.

Make Up Options for Baby Yoga & Play

baby & me yoga, warriorsBecause it’s hard to convince babies to be born and maternity leaves to be set on our schedule, we offer lots of flexibility:

  • If students must miss a class, they are welcome to
    • attend any other appropriate class as a makeup within the same timeframe, or
    • bring a friend to class as a makeup.
      See makeup class FAQs for details.
  • Any of baby’s favorite grownups are welcome in this class – mom, dad, grandparent, nanny . . .  and the same adult need not attend each time. Registration is for one adult-baby on a weekly basis, but occasional visitors are welcome to attend as well.
  • Partial registration: If there is room in the class once the series begins, late registration will remain open for the first 1/3 of the series. Registration automatically prorates. If you can’t complete a series but can commit to 2/3 of the series in consecutive weeks – say because you are going back to work before our series ends – contact us about partial enrollment.

So what does this mean?

  • If a full series conflicts with work or travel, feel free to attend multiple times a week during the weeks you can attend.
  • If you are going back to work and baby will be home with a nanny or other caregiver, feel free to have them attend in your stead.

Still not sure if Baby Yoga & Play is right for you? That’s why we have a no-risk registration policy. If you attend your first class and decide it’s not a good fit, we make it easy to drop a class series.  Read all of our class policies and FAQs.

Load More

Baby Yoga & Play series registration:

Nov 28 @ 11:30 am – 12:30 pm Shenanigans Art Space
This class for newborn to precrawling babies and their grownup(s) contains dozens of yoga-inspired movements, postures, songs, rhymes and activities designed to support baby’s development. Each class is filled with calming, nurturing ways to enhance… Continue Reading What is Baby Yoga & Play?
Dec 5 @ 11:30 am – 12:30 pm Shenanigans Art Space
This class for newborn to precrawling babies and their grownup(s) contains dozens of yoga-inspired movements, postures, songs, rhymes and activities designed to support baby’s development. Each class is filled with calming, nurturing ways to enhance… Continue Reading What is Baby Yoga & Play?
Dec 9 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Hill Center
This class for newborn to pre-crawling babies and their grownup(s) contains dozens of yoga-inspired movements, postures, songs, rhymes and activities designed to support baby’s development. Each class is filled with calming, nurturing ways to enhance… Continue Reading What is Baby Yoga & Play?
Jan 6 @ 11:30 am – 12:30 pm Hill Center
This class for newborn to pre-crawling babies and their grownup(s) contains dozens of yoga-inspired movements, postures, songs, rhymes and activities designed to support baby’s development. Each class is filled with calming, nurturing ways to enhance… Continue Reading What is Baby Yoga & Play?
Jan 9 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Shenanigans Art Space
This class for newborn to precrawling babies and their grownup(s) contains dozens of yoga-inspired movements, postures, songs, rhymes and activities designed to support baby’s development. Each class is filled with calming, nurturing ways to enhance… Continue Reading What is Baby Yoga & Play?
Jan 16 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Shenanigans Art Space
This class for newborn to precrawling babies and their grownup(s) contains dozens of yoga-inspired movements, postures, songs, rhymes and activities designed to support baby’s development. Each class is filled with calming, nurturing ways to enhance… Continue Reading What is Baby Yoga & Play?
Jan 23 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Shenanigans Art Space
This class for newborn to precrawling babies and their grownup(s) contains dozens of yoga-inspired movements, postures, songs, rhymes and activities designed to support baby’s development. Each class is filled with calming, nurturing ways to enhance… Continue Reading What is Baby Yoga & Play?
Jan 30 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Shenanigans Art Space
This class for newborn to precrawling babies and their grownup(s) contains dozens of yoga-inspired movements, postures, songs, rhymes and activities designed to support baby’s development. Each class is filled with calming, nurturing ways to enhance… Continue Reading What is Baby Yoga & Play?
Feb 5 @ 10:45 am – 11:45 am St. Marks Church
This class for newborn to precrawling babies and their grownup(s) contains dozens of yoga-inspired movements, postures, songs, rhymes and activities designed to support baby’s development. Each class is filled with calming, nurturing ways to enhance… Continue Reading What is Baby Yoga & Play?
Feb 6 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Shenanigans Art Space
This class for newborn to precrawling babies and their grownup(s) contains dozens of yoga-inspired movements, postures, songs, rhymes and activities designed to support baby’s development. Each class is filled with calming, nurturing ways to enhance… Continue Reading What is Baby Yoga & Play?
Feb 12 @ 10:45 am – 11:45 am St. Marks Church
This class for newborn to precrawling babies and their grownup(s) contains dozens of yoga-inspired movements, postures, songs, rhymes and activities designed to support baby’s development. Each class is filled with calming, nurturing ways to enhance… Continue Reading What is Baby Yoga & Play?
Feb 13 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Shenanigans Art Space
This class for newborn to precrawling babies and their grownup(s) contains dozens of yoga-inspired movements, postures, songs, rhymes and activities designed to support baby’s development. Each class is filled with calming, nurturing ways to enhance… Continue Reading What is Baby Yoga & Play?
Feb 26 @ 10:45 am – 11:45 am St. Marks Church
This class for newborn to precrawling babies and their grownup(s) contains dozens of yoga-inspired movements, postures, songs, rhymes and activities designed to support baby’s development. Each class is filled with calming, nurturing ways to enhance… Continue Reading What is Baby Yoga & Play?
Mar 5 @ 10:45 am – 11:45 am St. Marks Church
This class for newborn to precrawling babies and their grownup(s) contains dozens of yoga-inspired movements, postures, songs, rhymes and activities designed to support baby’s development. Each class is filled with calming, nurturing ways to enhance… Continue Reading What is Baby Yoga & Play?
Mar 10 @ 11:30 am – 12:30 pm Hill Center
This class for newborn to pre-crawling babies and their grownup(s) contains dozens of yoga-inspired movements, postures, songs, rhymes and activities designed to support baby’s development. Each class is filled with calming, nurturing ways to enhance… Continue Reading What is Baby Yoga & Play?
Mar 12 @ 10:45 am – 11:45 am St. Marks Church
This class for newborn to precrawling babies and their grownup(s) contains dozens of yoga-inspired movements, postures, songs, rhymes and activities designed to support baby’s development. Each class is filled with calming, nurturing ways to enhance… Continue Reading What is Baby Yoga & Play?
Mar 19 @ 10:45 am – 11:45 am St. Marks Church
This class for newborn to precrawling babies and their grownup(s) contains dozens of yoga-inspired movements, postures, songs, rhymes and activities designed to support baby’s development. Each class is filled with calming, nurturing ways to enhance… Continue Reading What is Baby Yoga & Play?

Fall Family Yoga – Baby, Toddler, Kids – Classes Start Sept 22

family yoga collageYoga for children supports motor skills, language acquisition, and social-emotional development while having fun. Breathing Space classes incorporate playful, age appropriate yoga poses, breathing exercises, movement games, rhythm, stories and songs for little ones and parents/caregivers to do together.  Most fall classes begin the week of Sept 22 and run through early December. Classes offered on Capitol Hill (DC) and Cheverly (MD).

Capitol Hill (DC) Family Yoga Classes

  • 3 PM Sun  @ Realignment Studio (Eastern Market)
Register Buttonfor 21 mo toddlers to 4 yr old preschoolers with parent or caregiver, younger siblings welcome
  • 10:30 AM Wed @ Shananigans Art Space (Union Station)
  • 9:30 AM Sat  @ Capitol Hill Presbyterian (Eastern Market) **FULL**
  • 10:00 AM Sun @ Hill Center (Eastern Market)
Register Buttonfor walking through 3 year old toddlers with parents with parent or caregiver, younger siblings welcome
  • 9:45 AM Tue @ St Mark’s Church (near Capitol)
for crawling babies to 24 mo old toddlers with parent or caregiver
  • 9:30 AM  Wed @ Shenanigans Art Space  ***FULL***
  • 8:30 AM Sat  @ Capitol Hill Presbyterian
  • 11:00 AM Sun @ Hill Center
is a blend of fun, yoga-inspired movements and activities for pre-crawling babies and postpartum-appropriate yoga for mom/caregiver.
  • 10:45 AM Tue @ St. Marks Church (2nd & A SE, dance studio)
  • 11:30 AM Wed @Shenanigans Art Space (316 F Street NE) – next series begins Nov 7

Baby classes are offered in shorter series – 5 or 6 weeks – to make participation during maternity leave easier and does allow drop-ins if there is space available in the series.Register Button

Cheverly MD Family Yoga Classes

Cheverly classes are offered by Breathing Space thorough a partnership with Wildflower Yoga at Cheverly United Methodist Church, 2801 Cheverly Ave, 4th Floor (yoga room). Fall weekday classes in Cheverly begin Sept 27. Weekend classes begin October 13. Both run through early December.

preschooler yoga classThursdays beginning Sept 27

  • 10:00 AM – Toddler Family Yoga (walking through 3 year old toddlers with parents)
  • 11:00 AM – Baby & Me Yoga (newborn-precrawling) – next series begins Nov 1

Saturdays beginning Oct 13

What to Pack for Summer Camp

Questions about what to bring to camp are common. A full list is below and there are some important considerations and how campers are prepared can make a big difference in ensuring a smooth and fun camp day:

Yes, children can bring a special stuffy for rest time or toys for freeplay time,

but please prepare your camper for the responsibility of keeping track of those things (name labels are awesome!). Also note that no toys from home are permitted during yoga class, except for rest time if they are not distracting. No stuffies or personal toys can go on outings or to the playground either.

Your camper needs a backpack

campers crossing the streetthat can hold their lunch, water bottle, and, if they wish, towel on water days. This is not optional and shoulder or grocery bags are not acceptable alternatives. Campers need their hands free during outing transit – they will be holding hands with partners, using hand-railings, or holding rope lines. Loose lunch boxes and water bottles are often dropped and have been left behind on buses and metro trains. Shoulder bags are not as secure as backpacks, short campers tend to drag them along the ground, and things fall out of them, especially when children lean over or swing their bags around (which poses a safety hazard as well).

We strongly recommend a regular backpack with comfortable straps, but older (1st+) campers may prefer those drawstring bags. That’s fine. They are old enough to make their own comfort choices. Younger campers (PK/K) tend to have trouble with the drawstring backs and they end up dragging on the ground a lot.

Your camper’s bag should be as light as possible.

campers walkingCampers carrying too much stuff tire quickly . . . and whine a lot, which is contagious and brings the mood of the whole group down. When we go on outings, we take only essentials, leaving extra changes of clothes and unnecessary personal items in the camp cubbies.

We routinely empty extra toys, books, and miscellany – even rocks – from camper backpacks before outings (for campers 1st+, we ask them to do it and decide what’s worth carrying). We’ll keep doing this, so no sweat if your kid packs stuff, but for small campers especially, please consider what you can do to lighten their load. Stainless steel lunch containers and water bottles, for example, are heavy. Consider investing in very small cold packs. Several small lunch containers in a soft bag might be easier to manage and to pack into a backpack than a bulky lunch box. Consider a small towel rather than a beach towel on water days (towels must fit in backpacks. It is not safe to have campers dragging towels on and off busses).

Your camper needs good walking shoes, always.
shoes

A few appropriate shoes.

We go out every day – to a playground, water feature, or field trip. We do not allow campers to wear shoes that might fall off: no flip flops, open-healed or loose crocs or clogs, wedges, or ballet flats please. We didn’t need the confirmation, but there are apparently scientific studies proving that people walk more slowly in flip-flops than more secure shoes. Sandals are fine, if they are secure.

If your camper wants to wear their flops at the spray park or Yards Park, they are welcome to pack them, but see previous paragraph. (We generally find they don’t wear them, by the way, so if you want them worn, make that clear to your child.)

Consider also your child’s ability to manage their own shoes: tie-up high tops, for example, or sandals with complicated straps?

Consider purchasing extra camp t-shirts. 

Campers are required to wear either a camp t-shirt or bandana on all outings. No exceptions. Each camper will get one t-shirt, but we do outings almost every day and the shirt may not stay clean all week. We always have bandanas on hand, but not all campers love those which is why we are adding the shirt option this year.  If your camper would like to have an extra shirt (or shirts), please indicate that in the camper questionnaire and we’ll charge the credit card on file. If your camper would like an extra shirt, email us. We’ve placed the order based on enrollment and extra shirt requests submitted. We will fill additional requests if we have available shirts.

We use the shirts and bandanas to help us quickly identify our campers among a crowd of kids – so awesome for spotting a child wandering from our group or doing our interval head counts during water play or playground time – and if a child is ever separated from the group, they are wearing the camp phone number.

Your camper should be prepared for sun.

Please pre-apply sunscreen. We try to eat in the shade (as much for heat as sun), but playgrounds and spray parks are sunny places. Feel free to send sun hats and sun glasses.

There are even a couple field trip venues for which we recommend umbrellas as portable sunshades because we expect a long, exposed walk (we’ll let you know when those are coming).

camper with water bottle

When we are out for a long period, we may have campers reapply sunscreen and the staff carry some for that purpose or for campers who have forgotten. If you need your child to use a particular sunscreen, please pack it in the smallest possible container.

Don’t forget the water bottle!

We usually eat away from the camp venue and campers need water bottles to stay hydrated. Please pack (and label) a water bottle every day.

Your camper needs to wear something over their swimsuit during transit.

canal park splashingWe do not allow campers to ride the buss with bare legs (girls) or chests (boys). If their suits are effectively t-shirts and shorts, they are good to go. Otherwise, they need a coverup of some a kind. Please consider that your camper may be putting shorts/pants over a wet/damp suit on the way home. They may need dry bottoms to change into on waterplay days.

Label EVERYTHING!

If you’ve spent any time in schools or camps you know that the lost-and-found is a monster. We ask variations of “does anyone know who’s waterbottle/lunchbox/shirt/yogamat/etc this is?” many, many times a day. Our collection of spare swimsuits, hats, gloves, and more is all stuff that was left behind. Label EVERYTHING! – or at least everything that might be removed from your child’s person over the course of a camp day – wait . . . that’s everything.

Ok, now here’s the list (click the arrow to expand):

Campers do not have to bring their own yoga mats, but are welcome to do so. In addition campers need the following supplies:

campers walking
  • Morning Snack;
  • Lunch; **no tree nuts or peanuts please**
  • optional afternoon snack (if staying for games);
  • Water bottle;
  • Yoga class – shorts under skirts please – and outdoor weather-appropriate clothing;
  • an appropriate shoe
  • Walking shoesno flip-flops, open-heal crocs/clogs or ballet flats;
  • Sunscreen should be pre-applied if needed;
  • Swimsuits and a change of clothing on water play days (typically 2 days Tuesday-Friday depending on weather);
  • A backpack in which your camper can comfortably carry their own lunch, water bottle and towel (for waterplay days). 

PK4 campers need the following additional items:

  • A change of underwear, pants, and socks. Even typically reliable children can have bathroom accidents when they get distracted and don’t want to stop playing to visit the restroom and PK/K campers have a tendency to have non-bathroom messy accidents as well, for which a change is helpful.
  • **summer only** Nap mat or blanket for rest time (K campers can opt into nap during PK-4th weeks too);
Category: camp

Load More

There Is No Secret

I’m here to break it to you. There’s no secret to parenting. There’s no 3 easy steps (popular “discipline” manuals aside).

It’s messy. It takes your whole-hearted participation. You are going to feel like you get stuff wrong . . . But while there are lots of possible descriptors when reflecting on parenting choices and approaches, with some obvious exceptions, there isn’t really a “wrong” because for a lot of parenting questions there’s no objective right answer. It’s not math. It’s guiding an individual person through growing up.

child covered in paint

Yes, sometimes that kind of messy.
©Jen Mueller

What is there then? There’s the approach that most closely honors your integrity and matches your core values executed with as much skill as you can manage in that particular moment. In short: there’s doing your best.

Yes, this post is absolutely a reaction to something that came across my Facebook feed. I writer who typically posts interesting material, posted something that really read to me like “if you are having this problem, you doing it wrong.”

The problem with the post (which, no, I’m not linking to) is that the author mixed up approach and values with results. I approve of her approach and values – in this case making the child feel heard and understood in regard to their feelings about some disagreeable task – but disagree that it will necessarily result in a cessation of resistance to said task in the short run.

That said, I generally take her approach to the problem. So why do I keep doing it if it doesn’t “fix” the problem? Because it’s the that matches my values and feels like integrity. So I will continue doing, likely in the face of continued resistance, until something shifts. My guess is that shift will be partly my skillfulness, but will mostly be my child growing up.


Featured image: two girls sharing a secret by www.personalcreations.com via flickr/cc license

Spaciousness through Freeplay at Yoga Camp

“Yours is so much more relaxed than other camps where I’ve worked,” remarked a college-age staffer earlier this year.

reading during during freeplay

Reading during freeplay

Well, there are several reasons for that. One is that we intentionally keep our camp small enough that normal kid energy and noise isn’t usually overwhelming. We also consciously plan lots of transition time into our day so that we don’t feel hurried from one activity to the next. But one of the biggest reasons: we try hard to balance structured activities – yoga, arts & crafts, and themed field trips – with lots of freeplay – both in- and out-of-doors.

The value of this spaciousness and camper-directed play goes way beyond helping keep the counselors relaxed. Child-directed play has enormous benefits in brain development, social-emotional skills, self-regulation, and general happiness and mood:

“Undirected play allows children to learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and to learn self-advocacy skills.” – American Academy of Pediatrics

“Children who can entertain themselves, or play with one another, are unconsciously learning how to adapt themselves to challenges they’ll face further down the road.” – Time Magazine

We are lucky to offer camp in a space that allows for lots of gross motor play as well as imaginative play with traditional playroom toys. When we play in the parish hall, children are allowed to use the materials in whatever why they like. Adults only intervene if children need help making play choices that are safe, don’t damage anything, and enable everyone to have fun.

The playroom contains a variety of imaginative toys and campers often combine different toy types in elaborate role-playing games.

We provide choices and variety in play activities. We often bring out fine-motor building materials such as links and blocks. We have about 1000 Keva Planks and, while extremely heavy to load in and out of the car on school-closed days, they were definitely our best single camp purchase.

Some days we bring out sensory materials such as play-dough, shaving cream, or water beads or process-art materials. (We are overdue for another slime day.)

Sometimes our field trips even allow for free play or open-ended exploration, such as the Children’s Garden at the Botanic Garden or the Spark!Lab at the American History Museum.

We also prioritize outdoor time, which has been shown to improve mood and ability to concentrate. We get out most days and usually spend lunch and extended play time at neighborhood or metro-accessible playgrounds and splash parks.

Sound like fun? It’s not too late for your yogi to join us this summer. Read more about kids yoga camp and sign up!

Why I Don’t Encourage Pregnant Moms to Attend Breastfeeding Support Groups

Ok, the headline is a little misleading . . . I think it’s good for pregnant moms to attend breastfeeding support groups, but not as their only breastfeeding preparation.

babywearing

flickr user hugabug-babywearing by creative commons license, 4/20/2015

As a leader of peer-to-peer breastfeeding support, I’ve seen a trend of childbirth educators assigning La Leche League or Breastfeeding USA meetings as homework for their students. Yes, those meetings are free and expecting moms (and sometimes partners) are welcome. Yes, those meeting leaders are knowledgeable. Yes, peer-to-peer support has been shown to increase breastfeeding duration and satisfaction (which is pretty cool). As wonderful as a peer-to-peer meeting can be, it is NOT a class and is not intended to be.

A prenatal breastfeeding class presents the information for expecting parents in an organized format with an emphasis on the most common challenges and best practices to set up the breastfeeding mother and baby for success. A support meeting addresses the issues in response to the moms who show up, which may not be typical. 

Peer support meetings tend to be focused on the mother baby dyad and, for the comfort of self-conscious new moms, may not even allow male partners to attend. Classes tend to be targeted to both parents as a team!

Peer support meetings tend to be focused on supporting moms and babies from 2 weeks to 2 years postpartum. This is well after the critical first hours and days for establishing breastfeeding.  A class can can lay out a set of landmarks for expecting parents as those first hazy days with a newborn and need to know if things are going well or if it’s time to get help. 

A good class addresses the critical questions parents have in the early days: How much milk does your newborn actually need and how do you know if he is getting it? How often should your baby nurse and for how long? What is engorgement and what do you do if it happens? How do you know your milk has “come in”? What do you do if you aren’t sure if it has? Are the considerations (tips) different if you have a c-section birth? An early baby? A really large baby? What can your partner do to help? A peer-to-peer meeting might touch on all of these things, but it might not.

I don’t intend to start a firestorm since I strongly support mother-to-mother breastfeeding networks. I recommend attending even when everything seems to be going fine with nursing. Group leaders are usually experienced breastfeeding mothers, sometimes very skilled facilitators, and are extremely well educated on breastfeeding. Unlike a class, a meeting provides an valuable opportunity to hear first-hand about struggles and overcoming them and simply hanging out with other new moms is good for mental health during what can be an isolating postpartum period.

However, peer support meeting discussions are driven by the individual needs of the participants and can be very stream-of-consciousness. That can be hard for an expecting mom or dad to follow when breastfeeding and newborns are still very abstract.

I’d love to see expecting moms moms attend both organized breastfeeding education and peer-to-peer support before baby comes, but if they have to choose, I’d rather see them do a class designed especially for them.

 

 

New Parents Reading List

A really common question: What books do you recommend for new parents?

babywearing soft wrap carrier, dad, baby sleepingYeah, it’s overwhelming. I don’t even want to look up the number of parenting and baby books available on Amazon.com What’s more, recent studies have shown that all this advice is not only overwhelming, it’s making us depressed.

According to The Conversation, “[t]he problem is that these there is a potential mismatch between expectations of what the books offer and the reality of being a parent.” Many baby books promise long stretches of sleep and predictable behavior if you simply follow their schedule and method. But often, baby doesn’t read the book. Since the behaviors promised are often not developmentally typical, parents end up at odds with their babies and feeling like a failure.

But in an age when many new parents have little to no experience with baby care and are far from family and support networks, we need to turn to somewhere to learn right?

Recommended Reading List

Many baby care books are heavy on the advice and light on the science and citations.  These may not be the most common baby shower gifts, but are my favorite references because they are evidence based, cited, and declare their author biases (affiliate links):

Caring for Your Baby and Young Child

If you are looking for a manual of all things baby care and concerns that might come up in the first few years, the American Academy of Pediatrics book is pretty good.

Get the most recent version since advice changes as new science is published (and be aware that authors toe this line on AAP policy recommendations, including sleep safety.)

Brain Rules for Baby

Want to know what’s going on inside that adorable little baby you were just handed? This is a good one on brain development and why responding to baby is so important. This is not a practical manual, but still an excellent read.

Disclaimer: I don’t actually care for his perspective on sleep, but at least he admits that how it reads – as an overview of inadequate science with a justification of his personal preferences – is actually what it is. There isn’t scientific agreement on sleep and baby development at all and Medina put this section in the book reluctantly because of that.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

This La Leche League classic was last updated in 2004, which sounds like a long time ago, but babies and breastfeeding is actually pretty timeless. It’s organized in a very helpful prenatal-to-weaning format and including lots of first person stories from real families facing real struggles and triumphs. It covers a wide variety of topics for breastfeeding families including some basics on sleep and the baby sleep myths that are unhelpful, going back to work and pumping, introducing solids and more.

Your Amazing Newborn

An easy, well-illustrated read covering the prenatal and early antenatal development, reflexes, and perceptions of babies.

Baby Steps, Second Edition: A Guide to Your Child’s Social, Physical, Mental and Emotional Development in the First Two Years

This child development book is refreshingly devoid of parenting advice. It’s organized by month and quite comprehensive.

Happiest Baby on the Block

The 5-S’s method of baby soothing has become both a cliche and cottage industry, with a series of spin off books, videos, and other products (including a $1000 bed, yikes), but Karp’s advice in the Happiest Baby is solid.

I especially like the way Dr Karp encourages parents to look at the world from the baby’s point of view and adapting soothing techniques to match baby’s needs and expectations (hint: that works better than expecting the reverse to happen).

Sweet Sleep: Nighttime and Naptime Strategies for the Breastfeeding Family

For an alternative take on bed sharing with lots of great advice for parents, Sweet Sleep is my top recommendation. As the subtitle indicates, this book is really focused on the breastfeeding family and the advice goes well beyond early infancy.

Many sleep books focus on night weaning and spreading out feeds in order to maximize sleep. Unfortunately, this goes against biology since babies are designed to eat pretty frequently and mom’s body is designed to deliver milk that often. Some babies (and moms) do just fine with long stretches of no breastfeeding, but lactation consultants will tell you that again and again sleep training is often one of the factors when mom presents low milk supply between 4-12 months and baby’s growth has slowed.

Is the current conventional wisdom – scheduling and sleep training – the only option? Nope. This book provides real family examples and tons of strategies for getting sufficient sleep while supporting breastfeeding for as long as baby/mom/family want to continue.

Sleeping with Your Baby

This simple how-to manual by sleep researcher Dr James McKenna is for parents wishing bed share to or deciding whether bed sharing is appropriate for their family. McKenna covers the pros and cons and how to bed share most safely. Since some 60% of parents end up with baby in their bed at some point, even if the aren’t planning it, bed-sharing safety is important for every family and this makes my “must read” list.

Bonus: Quality Blogs

  • Sarah Ockwell-Smith – Sarah is author of a series of books on Gentle Parenting, several of which are on my personal reading list.
  • Darcia Narvaez, Moral Landscapes on Psychology Today – Darcia offers well cited articles on a wide variety of parenting topics
  • Ahaparenting.com – The site of Dr.Laura Markham is something you might start looking into after those first hazy days when you start thinking: What’s my parenting philosophy? How do I want to raise this person? Good stuff.
  • KellyMom.com – Breastfeeding questions and no time for a book? This is a good site written by a lactation consultant that will not lead you astray.

Overwhelmed? Join us for a quick 2-hour overview of baby development and care at one of our Beyond the Bump workshops.

 

Amazon Affiliate Link Disclaimer: Breathing Space is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

Spring 2018 Class Registration

With fun, age-appropriate poses, our yoga for babies and toddlers classes focus on breathing exercises, movement games, rhythm, and songs for little ones and caregivers to do together. Yoga supports motor skills, language acquisition, and social-emotional development. Learn more.
tot yoga collageClasses for crawling babies and older toddlers and families are offered in multi-week class series; registration is required, no drop-ins. Spring classes begin April 3 and continue through the beginning of June. Because birthdays and maternity leaves are difficult to schedule with semesters, Baby & Me Yoga does allow drop-in students. Learn more.

Weekly Early Childhood Yoga Classes

tot balanceTot Yoga 

for crawling babies to 24 mo old toddlers with parent ore caregiver

Toddler Family Yoga

for steady walkers through 3 yrs old toddlers with parent or caregiver, younger siblings welcome

Preschooler Yoga 

for 21 mo toddlers to 4 yr old preschoolers with parent or caregiver, younger siblings welcome

Younger siblings are welcome in Toddler or Preschooler Yoga. Walking siblings 1 year or older may register for half price. No charge for babes in arms. Nannies, nanny-shares, grandparents, and other caregivers welcome. Up 2 two caregivers may attend weekly. Adults participate in class, but no yoga experience is required. Learn more about early childhood yoga.

Infant Massage Classes

Massage curriculum is progress and taught over several weeks, no drop-ins. Learn more about Infant Massage classes.

Baby & Me Yoga

moms and babies in yoga classis a blend of fun, yoga-inspired movements and postures for baby and postpartum-appropriate yoga for mom/caregiver. Because it’s hard to get birth dates and maternity leaves to line up with series dates, we welcome drop-in students to attend prenatal and postnatal classes.

  • 12 noon  Tue with Kaydee @ Realignment Studio
  • 9:30 AM Sat with Erika @ Realignment Studio

Commit by the class or for the full multi-week series for a discount. Read more about Baby & Me Yoga or register for Prenatal or Baby & Me Yoga.

1 2 3 8
>