I hear women talk about taking their baby to yoga, gymnastics, or music class. They don't mean dropping them off at childcare and attending a class themselves—these women are attending classes geared towards mom and baby. Once upon a time, I enrolled my oldest daughter (six months old at the time) in such a class, and looking back, it was one of the best decisions we made for her and our family. What are the benefits of classes for mom and baby?
Bonding & Togetherness
No matter the location or the way the class is billed, classes designed for mothers and infants are geared towards nurturing the parent/child relationship. It can be done through music, movement, or a variety of other outlets, but the subject of the class is ultimately irrelevant. The main goal is that you select a class that you and your baby together. If your baby dances every time the music is on, a music class is the perfect choice! Research local options online, and speak to friends and neighbors about classes they took with their infant.
Taking a class with your infant can help get your creative juices flowing. Are you singing the same three songs, doing the same things at the playground, or playing with the same old toys at home? Enrolling in a parent/child class can give you some great ideas for new activities you and your infant can do at home. I learned to create small, manageable obstacle courses for my newly crawling infant during a Gymboree class—we had a ball climbing over pillows and couch cushions at home from then on!
One of the primary reasons I signed my oldest daughter up for an activity at six months old was so that we could meet other moms with babies the same age as my Samantha. Though I had friends and family with children, it was wonderful to meet other parents who were in the same stage of life that I was. What started as a once a week gym class with my infant daughter turned into play dates and new friendships.
Getting out of the house and doing things with your infant may have been reserved for a trip to the grocery store or to the post office, up until this point. Suddenly, your baby is more alert and you may be feeling a bit cooped up inside the house, especially if you're a stay at home mom. Enrolling in a class with your baby may provide the motivation you need to get out and get active, even just one day a week.
Inspire the Baby
When we first enrolled in a class with my infant daughter, she was on the verge of crawling. She took one look at those other babies crawling around, and I strongly feel it was the push she needed to get moving herself. Even when she wasn't doing something the slightly older infants in the class were doing, she was watching and learning, alert to everything going on around her. As an only child, she learned from what the other infants were doing, and probably inspired some of them, too.
Classes for mom and baby are certainly not a necessity—in the process of moving overseas, we didn't manage to enroll my second daughter in a class until she was a toddler. However, there are definite benefits to classes that put you and your infant first, and if you can find one in your area with the right price and good timing, you shouldn't turn down the opportunity.
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