What to Expect From Mom-and-Baby Yoga Classes

Moms with babies at a mom and baby yoga class
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Mom-and-baby yoga classes are popular with the newborn set. These classes are usually geared to accommodate babies aged six weeks to crawling. If there are no extenuating circumstances, your doctor will probably give you the ok to exercise six to eight weeks after you give birth and you'll be ready to give postpartum yoga a try.

What to Bring

  • A receiving blanket or another small blanket for your baby to lie on
  • Your diaper bag, fully stocked with a change of clothes, diapers, feeding supplies for newborns
  • If your child is old enough for solid food, a few dry snacks (like Cheerios) and a sippy cup of water may occupy them for a bit. Avoid things that are hard to clean up if they spill, like applesauce and juice.
  • A favorite toy or two -- For babies who aren't mobile, a stroller toy that you can dangle in front of them is nice. 
  • Anything else small that keeps your child happy

What to Expect

In most mom-and-baby yoga classes, moms place a yoga blanket, usually covered with a blanket from home in case of spit-up or other spills, at the top of their yoga mat. In an ideal world, the baby will lie on the blanket happily for the duration of the class. This rarely happens.

The nice thing about a mom-and-baby class is that you are totally free to pick up your baby and feed her, rock her, change her diaper, or walk her around the room if she cries. Conscientious teachers will also often hold a fussy baby for you so that you can get at least a little yoga in.

Mom-and-baby yoga classes are not quiet and meditative like ordinary yoga classes. You can pick up your baby at any time, but these classes are for you as much as baby, so don't feel the need to act every time the baby squeaks.

Will Your Baby Like Yoga Class?

This depends a lot on the personality of the baby. Some delight in the new sights and stimulation of the classroom environment and are perfectly content to look around and take it all in. Others are freaked out by the very same stimulations and may cry a lot at first. They may eventually get used to it, so don't give up if the first class doesn't go well. A few babies may snooze through the whole thing.

Why Baby Yoga Classes Can Also Benefit Mom

Hopefully a little bit of a workout. Some yoga classes are gentle and/or focus a lot on playing games with the babies (such as singing "Wheels on the Bus" while peddling their little legs).

Classes at dedicated yoga studios tend to offer more workout and less playtime. There is often a focus on poses that help new moms relieve the strain of nursing and start to regain some abdominal strength.

The ideal class from a mom's perspective allows you to do as much yoga as possible while your baby isn't upset. Because, let's face it, your baby isn't the one that needs this time and space to do yoga. You are.

You will also get out of the house to an environment that is not stressful where you will meet other new mothers. The value of connecting to this community should not be underestimated.

By Ann Pizer, RYT
Ann Pizer is a writer and registered yoga instructor who teaches vinyasa/flow and prenatal yoga classes.