Baby yoga: The ultimate guide for new moms
Being a new mom is a beautiful experience, but it also comes with many ups and downs.
From dealing with diaper rashes and nursing nightmares to weeks of no sleep and complete lack of self-confidence, the list goes on.
And time for yourself? Well, that’s not even an option, or wait, is it?
As new parents battle the hurdles of parenthood, some are turning to baby yoga for a moment of respite while still being able to bond with their developing newborns.
The nurturing style of yoga features everything from giggling toddlers to flying babies and of course plenty of time to relax and regain your bearings.
Plus, it’s perfectly safe and great for both moms and their little ones.
Whether you’re a first-time parent or still have a bun baking in the oven, discover everything there is to know about baby yoga and why it might be just what you need to navigate the first wobbly months of motherhood.
What is baby yoga?
Put simply, baby yoga is a style of yoga that incorporates your little one.
These classes are usually parent-focused with your baby tagging along as an adorable focal point or gurgling prop.
Ordinary yoga classes can be quite strenuous and involve poses that might be too challenging or even painful for moms that have just given birth.
In contrast, baby yoga classes combine restorative poses and gentle yoga moves with valuable bonding time with your newborn.
It’s also a great opportunity to meet other parents, improve your own health and even soothe some physical issues your baby might be experiencing.
How is postnatal yoga different from baby yoga?
Both postnatal yoga and baby yoga are designed with new moms in mind. But with baby yoga, you don’t have to search for a sitter before class.
Much like postpartum yoga, baby yoga incorporates slow, restorative poses and stretches. These release stress, repair damaged muscle tissue and restore balance to the body and mind.
The main difference is that baby yoga classes can be done with your bundle of joy glued to your hip, legs or chest.
A session will typically involve gentle movements and mindful touch.
Whether swooping into cobra pose to give your baby a slobbery smooth or relaxing with your little one tucked into your chest, these classes are intended to bolster your baby’s physical, emotional and social development as well as your own wellbeing.
Baby yoga benefits
So, is a baby yoga class really worth changing out your sweat pants and abandoning the mounting pile of dishes at home?
Yes, yes it is.
Baby yoga boasts a number of key health benefits, not only for newborns but parents as well.
Whether practising baby yoga poses at home or joining a baby yoga class nearby, it’s a valuable activity that can have ample long-term benefits.
Bolsters mom and baby bond
During the first few months of parenthood, you’ll likely be juggling household chores, work, and social obligations all while learning how to be the best mom you can be.
This can take away from quality time with your little one. And as we all know, building a strong bond with your baby is vital in this key development stage.
Baby yoga is one of the best ways to strengthen the bond you have with your baby.
You’ll also learn how to pick up and understand their visual cues, which can feel like deciphering a riddle in the beginning.
Classes often make use of eye contact, meaningful touch and play to encourage emotional and physical intimacy with your little one.
As a new mother, finding a moment to relax or simply be with your thoughts is near impossible.
Even if you find a sitter and take some time for yourself, you still end up worrying whether or not you packed enough milk or if the sitter is secretly a baby napper.
Baby yoga melds a supportive setting with soothing yoga poses and stretches to help anxious moms relax and relieve pent up stress.
While flowing between poses, you’ll also be encouraged to give your little one a baby massage, tummy rub or tickle, making them feel comfortable and more relaxed as well.
Improves sleep and wellbeing
Learning how to function on 2 hours of sleep is an art every new mother has to master.
Your sleeping pattern is more of a muddle of random naps throughout the day, and it can take months before you and your babe find your groove.
Baby yoga incorporates gentle poses, stretches and breathing techniques to stimulate relaxation in the body and soothe the mind.
After a few classes, you’ll find that both you and your little one sleep easier and for longer.
These gentle movements can also help ease colic and digestive problems that might be keeping your baby up at night.
Promotes flexibility and builds muscle
In the first few years of your baby’s life, they are but a lump of adorable clay that needs a loving hand to shape and mould.
While there are many ways to boost your baby’s development, baby yoga classes are renowned for promoting flexibility, stimulating the senses and building muscle in their chubby little limbs.
Yoga instructors will guide you through various gentle exercises like tree pose and boat pose. These poses help you and your baby build core strength, tone muscles and increase your range of motion.
Another perk of baby yoga is that it helps new parents come out of their shells, gain more confidence and forge relationships with other mums.
As you rediscover your own body and socialise with other parents, you’ll notice your self-esteem and confidence improve.
Best baby yoga poses for budding parents
A prenatal retreat or yoga class offers the best introduction to this style of yoga. However, new moms can still reap the wonderful benefits of baby yoga by rolling out a yoga mat at home.
It’s generally advised to only start practising yoga with your baby once they have passed the 6-week line.
At this stage, they should have more control over the muscles in their neck and can peer around without support. But it’s still best to check with your doctor before booking a class.
It’s also a good idea to lay a soft blanket over your yoga mat to give your baby extra support and comfort during your session.
Standing in the centre of your mat, bring your baby close to your stomach and gently ground your feet into the mat.
When you both feel comfortable, lift one foot off the ground and rest it in the middle of your thigh or knee.
Stay here for several seconds. Maybe sync your breath with your babies or close your eyes and simply be.
This is a great pose to help you find your balance again and open up those tight hip flexors.
Flying Baby Pose
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart with one hand wrapped around your baby’s chest and the other beneath their buttocks.
Make sure your knees are bent slightly. On inhale, gently lift your baby up into the air towards the right-hand side of your body.
Exhale, bringing them back to the centre and grounding your feet to the mat.
Repeat on the other side, remembering to inhale and exhale with each movement.
Sit on your mat with your legs bent and place your baby in your lap.
Support their body and slowly lift one leg to eye level and then the other.
Engage your core and breathe.
Extend your arms out in front of you. Be sure to keep your arms close to your sides, securing your baby in your lap.
Super Baby Pose
Lying flat on your back with knees bent, lift your baby up above overhead. Then, bring them back down again to your chest.
Once they are comfortable with this movement, you can lift them up and place them between your bent knees.
Then, while holding onto their arms, extend your legs slightly out until they are at a 45-degree angle.
Exhale and bring the knees back to your chest, giving your baby a little kiss when your faces meet.
Repeat this movement a few more times, feeling your core engage and pelvic floor strengthen.
Lie flat on your back with your baby lying tummy down on your chest.
Hold onto their body and relax, taking a deep breath in and out.
You can either relax or peer into their eyes and talk to them softly.
Taking some time out of the day to practise these baby-friendly yoga poses will enrich both of your lives.
There are also countless wellness retreats dedicated to helping new moms regain their bearings and blossom into parenthood.
Browse hundreds of retreats and begin an unforgettable journey today.