Recently, I began teaching a new class I call Mommy with Baby Pilates. Not only is this class so much fun to teach, but I see so many benefits to the new moms AND the babies.
As a new mom myself, I know there are a number of factors holding us back from fitting exercise into our lives post-partum. These are real and legitimate issues- not laziness or lack of desire. Most new moms I know would love an opportunity to get out of the house and take some time for themselves. Some roadblocks to exercise for new moms are:
-guilt for leaving the baby while mom goes to exercise
-who to leave the baby with, often times a paid babysitter while mom exercises feels like a luxury that cannot be afforded
-a fussy baby, or a baby who becomes sick and mom can't leave
-being completely exhausted from the effort it takes to raise a baby, if mom has any time to herself it seems as though resting or chores that need to be done take top priority.
-low back and neck pain from carrying the baby everywhere can prevent new moms from exercising because they don't want to hurt themselves more
-working moms already feel the guilt of leaving the baby all day, and find it hard to justify leaving for a longer period of time to fit exercise into their day
-more than one little kid in the house can make exercising nearly impossible!
Benefits to Moms
My class, Mommy with Baby Pilates, offers a fantastic solution to moms facing any of these dilemmas. In this class, moms do pilates while their babies play or sit next to them on the floor. There are other styles of teaching where the baby is included in each exercise. From my own experience as a mom and a pilates instructor, that method doesn't usually work well for mom or baby. Changing positions and the uncertainty of what's going on can make for a fussy baby. Trying to maneuver a baby AND exercise at the same time does little to improve mom's core or the proper form necessary to benefit from pilates.
Therefore, the majority of exercises done in my class are sans baby. Of course, moms stop working out whenever necessary to take care of a fussy baby, which is completely fine. No one gets annoyed when a baby starts to cry- we've all been there! Its a very supportive and welcoming environment!
The class itself is 45 minutes, and there are reasons for this. The extra 15 minutes in the hour are great for settling into the classroom, and for packing up, changing the baby, nursing, etc before we all leave. 45 minutes is a good length of time to exercise, and just the right amount of time a baby can tolerate being in the class!