Mother and baby moves
Birthlight Mother and Baby Yoga moves that you can try at home. They are suitable for babies from six weeks old (eight for caesarean).
Exercise 1: Connect
This exercise will enable you to connect with your baby. Deep abdominal breathing is very relaxing, and it works to tone your pelvic floor and abdominals.Sit in a comfortable position with your baby lying in front of you. Place one hand on your own tummy and one hand on your baby’s tummy. As you look into your baby’s eyes, notice how your baby breathes into her/his belly. Mimic your baby’s belly breathing. As you inhale, breathe into your hand. As you exhale, draw your navel towards your spine and lift your pelvic floor. Repeat for several rounds.
Exercise 2: Rolling cat
This exercise releases tightness in your back and neck and provides a gentle massage for shoulders and tummy. Your baby will love the close proximity and the element of surprise. You can even play peek-a-boo.
Begin on all fours, with your wrists under your shoulders, and your knees under your hips. Ensure your fingers are spread wide and your weight is evenly distributed through your hands and knees. Lie your baby underneath you, with her head below your face.
Start with a neutral spine. Gaze into your baby’s eyes, inhale, and relax your pelvic floor. Exhale, lift your pelvic floor, tuck your tailbone under, round your back and tuck your chin as you gaze towards your navel.
Inhale and return to a neutral spine. Repeat several times. Variation: Begin on all fours. Inhale. Exhale, moving your buttocks towards your heels to stretch your back. Inhale, bend your elbows and scoop forward. Kiss your baby. Exhale, lift your pelvic floor, arch your back, and sit back on your heels. Your baby will love seeing you move from a distance to close.
Exercise 3: Soothing hold
Being held face down is very relaxing for your baby, and allows her to look around from a different perspective. It puts comforting pressure on the abdomen, which is very therapeutic, especially for babies with colic or wind. Practise this hold while seated. Slide your baby’s chest on to your hand and hold her upper arm between your thumb and index finger. Place your other hand between your baby’s legs to support the abdomen. You may then rub your baby’s tummy. When you’re confident in this hold, stand, and walk or rock your baby from side to side.
Exercise 4: Aeroplanes
This exercise massages your lower back and strengthens your deep abdominal muscles.
Lie on your back with your knees together and folded into your chest. Draw your navel towards your spine.
Fan your fingers around your baby’s rib cage and lay her face down on your shins, with her shoulders in line with your knees. Continue to hold your baby.
Try gentle variations, such as bouncing your knees to give your baby a ride; or rocking her from side to side and massaging your lower back
Inhale as you bring your knees closer to your chest, then lift your head to give your baby a kiss. Exhale, draw your knees and baby away as you lower your head to the mat.
Your baby will love to hear you sing. Singing releases oxytocin, which promotes bonding
Exercise 5: Diagonal stretch
This exercise gives you a stable base for realigning the curvature of your spine after pregnancy, improves balance, co-ordination and core strength. It is excellent for keeping your baby engaged and great for developing hand-eye co-ordination.
Begin on all fours, with your wrists under you shoulders and you knees under your hips. Ensure your fingers are spread wide and your weight is evenly distributed over your hands and knees. Lie your baby underneath you with her head below your face.
Start with a neutral spine. Inhale and extend one arm forward and the opposite leg back. Exhale, lower your arm and leg and return to all fours. Repeat on opposite side. Continue for as many rounds as you like. Practice the moves slowly, so you can focus on keeping your pelvis stable and engaging your pelvic floor as you lower your arm and leg with control to prevent wobbling. Optional: Wriggle your fingers as you extend your arm forward. Contraindication: If you still have pelvic pain or your baby is less than 2 months old, extend your leg back but keep your toes on the floor.
More moves for mother and baby can be found in birhtlight's book 'Yoga for mother and baby'.