'Mommy and Me" classes have become increasingly popular amongst new moms as they offer plenty of baby/mommy bonding time and mommy/mommy time. At Sweet Pea’s Studio, 3717 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, the Baby and Me Yoga class provides moms and babies a chance to stretch, breathe, relax and bond together.
"Yoga gives them some much needed stretching," says Tracy Von Kaenel, the Baby and Me Yoga instructor at Sweet Pea’s Studio. "Their bodies have changed so much from the pregnancy and the delivery that it helps them to re-tone the belly and the pelvic floor."
The class, which usually lasts an hour, is meant for babies 4 weeks old up to the crawling stage, which is different for every baby. This class isn’t just for moms, either—Von Kaenel says she has had dads and other caretakers in the class as well. "Besides getting the regular benefits that you would from a yoga class," Von Kaenel says, "it’s also a nice bonding experience."
Towards the middle of class, moms, dads and other caregivers are given a chance to bond with each other. "As a new mother, they have so many questions—things are different and everything’s new," says Von Kaenel. This portion of the class gives them time to exchange experiences and remedies.
Several park districts in the Chicago area also provide "baby and me" classes that involve various activities that range from painting to Stroller Strides.
The Bartlett Park District offers a swimming parent and tot playgroup as well as a swim class. The average age for these classes is 2 and babies need to be potty trained or wear a swim diaper. "The biggest thing is allowing your child to get comfortable," says Erin Mages, the assistant aquatic manager at the Bartlett Park District. For any class, the goal is to allow parents and babies to bond and feel safe, especially in the water.
For more information and class schedules at Sweet Pea’s Studio, call (773) 248-9642 or visit sweatpeasstudio.com. Most park districts offer a wide range of "baby and me" classes throughout the year. For more information on classes at the Bartlett Park District, visit www.bartlettparkdistrict.com.