Zen and the art of Mummy maintenance …
If I stay in the house all day, I start to go mad. It’s not good for me. It’s certainly not good for DamBaby (DB). There’s only so many times she wants to hear me sing the same songs; go through the same rotation of animal noises or shake our growing selection of rattly toys at her. And the less said about the dancing the better.
In a thriving city like Amsterdam, it’s not hard to find a baby-friendly activity every day of the week. From playgroups to swimming to sensory, there are multiple mums (and the odd dad) just like me, trying to find new ways to entertain themselves and their little one.
Baby yoga, unlike other more stimulating activities, is an opportunity for baby and me achieve some Zen. I took pregnancy yoga classes from 12 weeks pregnant. I’m convinced the calming breathing exercises helped me have an easy(ish) birth. It was a natural progression to continue onto baby yoga.
I first took DB to baby yoga aged six weeks; the youngest she could go. The first class, containing six women with babies from six weeks to eight months, contained more hilarity than Hatha. To a deceptive background of soothing lullabies, the babies took turns to cry and produce a variety of other bodily noises and content. But, bound by the comforting fact of shared chaos, us Mums continued to do little bits of stretching – both of baby and ourselves – as and when we could.
Fast forward six weeks and I’m now achieving more yoga content for me in every class. DB has grown up and got used to the environment. I’ve even done some abs work (not that I have abs any more). Don’t get me wrong, she’s still likely to let out an explosive poo at some point during the class – babies have no sense of social etiquette – but she’s getting much better. At the end of every session, we strip the babies to their nappies and give them a lengthy massage with almond or coconut oil. Bonus fact: DB sleeps brilliantly after the class and massage.
As DB gets older, and is increasingly alert in the day, I plan to seek out activities that are more stimulating. But the moves I’ve learnt in baby yoga – and reminder to keep breathing calmly – I can take with me and use any time.
In Amsterdam, I recommend Joyful Yoga ‘Baby & Me’ Yoga.