You don’t have to wait until your baby’s naptime to get a workout in—have her join you.
Practicing yoga with your baby isn’t just an adorable good time—as the two of you bond, you’re toning your entire body as she develops motor skills. While you challenge your core, thighs, arms and shoulders during this gentle yoga practice, your baby benefits, too. “It will help her sleep longer and help stimulate her mental and physical development,” explains Helen Garabedian, founder of Itsy Bitsy Yoga in Sudbury, Mass., and a certified infant developmental movement educator.
Yoga movements can mimic the soothing rocking motion your baby felt while in the womb, Garabedian says. This stimulates the relaxation response in both of you, helping you and your baby fall asleep easier and sleep longer.
The National Association of Sports and Physical Education (NASPE) recommends that infants get daily physical activity, and yoga is a great, gentle place to start—and the perfect way to ease your baby into a lifelong appreciation for exercise. The following program, designed exclusively for Fit Pregnancy by Garabedian, is suitable for babies at least 3 months to 4 months old (when they have good head and neck control) and can be done into toddlerhood. You can do these moves throughout the day to soothe a fussy baby or all at once for a full workout. Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning this or any postpartum fitness program.
To avoid any interruptions, have your baby fed and changed before you begin. Lay a soft blanket on top of your yoga mat for her to rest on. Warm up by holding your baby with her neck and head supported and dance around the room with her for five to 10 minutes.