A lot of the usual baby classes have been restarting over the last couple of months as restrictions continue to be lifted. A lot of you may have taken part in online classes over the last year but sometimes nothing beats getting out and meeting people face to face whilst enjoying some bonding time with baby.
For many of you, this will be your first opportunity since baby was born to meet other mums or dads, connect and share experiences. If you are a new mummy or daddy, this can be a lovely time to cherish these first few months and have a go at some parent-baby activities such as baby yoga, sensory or massage at home. It’s a lovely way for you and baby to find some time to bond, play and breath.
After months of lockdown lots of new mums and dads will likely also feel a a little apprehensive to take steps back in to physical classes but rest assured that everyone will be in the same position as you.
So, if you fancy taking the opportunity to try something new there are lots of classes to choose from as well as plenty of online content if you prefer to continue with activities online.
Baby Yoga and Massage
Babies are complete naturals when it comes to yoga and baby massage is a brilliant add on to the natural instinct parents have when they cuddle, hold or stroke their baby.
Combined with soft words or gently singing, baby massage can be an extremely enjoyable bonding experience.
Suitable from birth, baby massage has many benefits, not only for your baby but for you too. It can help soothe baby and improve sleep patterns, and also help you understand your baby’s needs and help you feel more confident when handling your tiny new addition!
This article – ‘Baby Massage Tips and Benefits’ from the NCT covers some basic techniques as well as safety, top tips and the use of oils so is definitely worth a read before having a go.
Yoga can aid the gross and fine motor skills and creates a lovely balance between strength and flexibility in developing bodies – some research even shows that enjoying baby yoga can help little ones to crawl or walk quicker! You can start Baby Yoga from around 6 weeks old, although if you have had a c-section, then it is advised waiting until the 12 week stage.
Baby Yoga has also been proven to help ease the pain of colic through relaxing yoga movements that help release tension and digestive discomfort, including constipation and gas, and can ultimately lead to parents and baby feeling happier and more relaxed. This could be a great addition to any anti-colic methods you are already trying
Encouraging a baby to feel relaxed is essential to developing their ability to self-soothe and this can be incredibly helpful in terms of improving sleep patterns. Yoga also helps parents to relax and calm their minds too which in turn will naturally help keep baby soothed. Some yoga moves involve placing your baby a little further away from you, but this can help with babies who are particular clingy as they learn to trust that it’s ok to be away from you and that you are close by for cuddles..
Kat King from Love U Yoga offers all sorts of wellbeing and mindfulness including Pregnancy and baby yoga and she can be found via Instagram @loveuyoga. This video is a great instructional from Kat to show you basic techniques of Yoga and Massage. Click here for video
When it comes to equipment needed, the Shnuggle Baby Yoga Play Mat has been made from a comfy warm to the touch material ensuring baby stays cosy and helping them to relax and is ideal for these activities.
Dedicated Floor and Sensory Play
If Yoga or massage is not your thing, you don’t necessarily have to take part in a class to get some quality bonding time with baby. Just simply setting aside some dedicated, quiet time to play and interact together is all you need. Lockdown is forcing us all to slow down and be still (as much as you can slow down with a new baby!), so finding a little bit of time in the day for just you and baby to relax can be bliss!
You could also try some dedicated Tummy Time. This is great way of improving your baby’s muscle strength, mobility and independence which will in turn aid your baby when it comes to head lifting and crawling. A great way to start this is to have baby lying face down on your chest – being close to you for this starter stage can truly help with bonding and eye contact as your baby seeks you out. Then once ready, you can try moving to the floor and placing your baby on a mat for a couple of minutes to start with. Give them a little tummy time each day and gradually increase the minutes when they are ready.
There are some great videos and ‘how to’ tips from Baby Centre and Tumble Tots are starting up their regional classes from 12th April 2021 offering fun, all round activities to support baby’s development and play.
There are so many classes available, search online for some local options or try some national groups like the ones mentioned that can offer classes nearest to where you are.
The Shnuggle Baby Yoga Play Mat
For a comfy, hygienic place for your baby during floor play, tummy time, picnics in the park, or any classes you are considering doing together, the Shnuggle Baby Yoga Play Mat is perfect.
Being lightweight and easy to carry, it is extremely portable and hassle free to take easily from living room to nursery, or when government restrictions permit, to classes or a friend’s house. With a stylish removeable, faux leather strap which can be easily placed in a pushchair basket or onto handlebars, the roll up system means the mat can be easily put away when not in use without taking up much room.
The mat is brilliantly resistant to moisture and bacteria and can be easily cleaned so you can be reassured you can make sure the mat is clean and safe for your baby – especially as the world navigates it’s way around COVID_19.