Yoga can truly be enjoyed throughout the lifespan, beginning with baby yoga and taking you all the way through adulthood until you’re elderly.
Yoga for babies usually involves mommy-and-me poses or postpartum yoga classes that encourage mothers and babies to interact, bond, and move their bodies together through gentle yoga poses.
In this article, we will cover the benefits of yoga for babies, when it is safe to start doing yoga with your baby, and a few easy yoga poses for babies you can try at home.
We will look at:
- 7 Benefits of Yoga for Babies
- 7 Benefits of Baby Yoga or Postpartum Yoga for Mothers
- How Old Should Yoga Babies Be Before They Do Baby Yoga?
- What to Expect At a Baby Yoga Class
- 5 Easy Yoga Poses for Babies
Let’s jump in!
7 Benefits of Yoga for Babies
One of the nice things about mom baby yoga or mommy-and-me yoga is that both the mother and the baby can benefit at the same time.
Although there isn’t a ton of scientific research involving the benefits of yoga for babies, there are several purported benefits of yoga for babies cited by pediatricians, pediatric occupational therapists, and child development specialists.
Benefits of yoga for babies include the following:
#1: Developing Motor Skills
Helping your baby through the simple stretches and baby yoga poses helps your baby develop gross and fine motor skills, the ability to engage in voluntary movements, and have a better understanding of their body in the surrounding environment.
Poses on the tummy can improve neck strength and control.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that your baby will necessarily be on the fast track to become the next Mia Hamm, but baby yoga can help build neuromuscular connections in your little one’s brain.
#2: Increasing Strength and Flexibility
Mom baby yoga promotes a balance between strength and flexibility for babies.
As they move their limbs, babies can increase their strength and set the groundwork for coordination and kinesthetic awareness.
#3: Reducing Gas Pains and Promoting Digestion
One of the most practical benefits of yoga for babies is the fact that certain baby yoga poses can reduce gas pain, improve digestion, alleviate constipation, and lessen the symptoms of colic.
For example, knees-to-chest pose (Apanasana) can help your baby pass gas, which can ease discomfort and fussiness.
#4: Improving Sleep
While the common saying “sleep like a baby” makes it seem like all babies sleep super soundly, most parents know this can be far from the truth.
Although every baby’s response to baby yoga can vary, baby yoga is often said to help your little one sleep more soundly.
As with adults, yoga poses for babies can promote relaxation to ease your baby into a restful sleep.
#5: Improving Social Interactions
Mommy and me yoga doesn’t just help the mom bond with her baby; the bonding goes both ways.
Baby yoga can improve the ways in which babies interact with their caregivers and can promote social engagement and trust.
#6: Soothing Your Baby
Many baby yoga poses soothe and relax your baby, especially if they involve repetitive movements or get skin-to-skin contact with their mother.
#7: Increasing Sensory Awareness
Especially if you attend a postpartum yoga class with your baby, where there’s likely to be music, yoga can stimulate your baby from a multi-sensory perspective.
Yoga for babies also can help improve their perception of depth and gravity.
7 Benefits of Baby Yoga or Postpartum Yoga for Mothers
Mommy-and-me yoga or postpartum yoga with your baby is beneficial for the mother as well.
Benefits of baby yoga for moms include the following:
#1: Helping Strengthen the Pelvic Floor
The muscles of the pelvic floor take quite a beating in the third trimester and during vaginal delivery.
Studies show that certain yoga poses can rebuild the strength of these muscles and restore function to the pelvic floor during the postpartum period.
#2: Increasing Core Strength After Pregnancy
Many women suffer from diastasis recti during pregnancy, or may have weak or damaged core muscles after delivery, particularly if the baby was delivered via cesarean section.
Postpartum yoga with your baby can be a gentle way to return to movement and rebuild core strength and balance.
#3: Improving the Bond With Your Baby
One of the biggest benefits of doing yoga with your baby is that it’s a beautiful bonding experience.
Many baby yoga poses involve holding or rocking your baby as you hold the pose. This skin-to-skin time bonds the mother and baby and promotes the production of oxytocin.
#4: Easing You Back Into Exercise
Although baby yoga classes are very low-intensity, such that they’re not much of a “workout” per se, postpartum yoga is a great way to ease back into an exercise routine after pregnancy and delivery.
#5: Increasing Upper Body Strength
A lot of postpartum yoga poses involve holding your baby up in one way or another. This strengthens your upper body so that you’ll be able to more easily hold your baby while feeding or moving around during the day.
#6: Building Confidence
Becoming a parent can be stressful, especially if it is your first time. Baby yoga poses have the ability to calm and soothe your little one, which, in turn, is calming for the mother because it instills confidence that you can relax your baby if he or she gets fussy.
#7: Meeting Other New Moms
If you decide to do an in-person baby yoga class, you can meet and connect with other new moms and build a social support network.
How Old Should Babies Be Before They Do Baby Yoga?
Most experts agree that a baby should be at least six weeks old before beginning baby yoga, or the age at which they are starting to gain control of their head.
Waiting until they have full head and neck control (usually around 3 months) can be the safest approach to when it’s safe to start baby yoga, but gentle stretches while your baby lies on his or her back (such as Happy Baby Pose) should be safe after your baby is six weeks old.
It’s important to consult your baby’s pediatrician before you start doing yoga with your baby. Similarly, if you had a difficult pregnancy, labor, or delivery, you should check with your OB-GYN or physician before you begin postpartum yoga.
What to Expect At a Baby Yoga Class
Although you can certainly do yoga with your baby at home, public postpartum yoga classes can be a great way to meet other moms and have support in your baby yoga practice.
Mommy-and-me yoga classes usually have a very open, positive, and casual atmosphere.
They are more focused on bonding, relaxation, and gentle movement with your body and your baby’s body rather than getting an intense workout.
Baby yoga classes usually last anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, beginning with breathing, and then progressing to beginner-friendly yoga pose sequences that involve holding your baby in your arms or interacting with your baby on the mat.
There is no expectation that your baby must be quiet. If you need to feed or change your baby—even during class—that is usually totally fine.
Mommy-and-me yoga classes are less about preserving a “zen” atmosphere and more about embracing what it really looks and feels like to be a mom of a little one.
5 Easy Yoga Poses for Babies
The following are a few easy yoga poses for babies that you can try at home:
#1: Wind-Relieving Pose
This is a great yoga pose for babies with gas pains because it helps relieve trapped air.
- Lay your baby on his or her back atop a few pillows to cushion the body.
- Gently lift your baby’s legs up to his or her chest by slowly bending the knees.
- Hold for 5 seconds.
- Rub the tummy and stroke the legs or draw circles around the thighs to encourage them to relax.
- Gently straighten the legs.
- Repeat 3-4 times.
#2: Cobra Pose
Once your baby has head and neck control, you can help your baby press up into Cobra Pose during tummy time.
#3: Bridge Pose
Once babies are about five months old and starting to roll over or move more deliberately, they are getting strong enough to try Bridge Pose.
- Lay your baby on his or her back, bending the knees and planting the feet flat on the floor.
- Gently help your baby lift his or her hips up until their body is in a straight line from the knees to the shoulders.
- Allow your baby to hold this position on their own as long as he or she would like, celebrating your baby with coos and claps.
#4: Butterfly Pose with Baby (Baddha Konasana)
This easy mommy-and-me yoga pose is a great hip-opener for mom and will allow you to smile and connect with your baby face to face.
Your baby should be able to sit upright on their own, or you will need to support them by wrapping your hands around their upper body.
- Sit on your mat facing your baby.
- Bend your knees and drop them down to each side to bring your heels together in front of your body.
- Help your baby come into the same position, by manually putting his or her heels together.
- Hold on to your baby, supporting their upper body, as you shift your own upper body from left to right and back to front, moving and circling together.
- Continue for at least five full breaths.
#5: Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Because yoga babies aren’t ready to support themselves on their palms and heels, this pose can be modified for baby yoga. The degree to which you’ll have to support and manually move your baby will depend on his or her age and developmental level.
- Lie your baby on his or her stomach with arms and legs outstretched.
- Kneel behind your baby so that his or her legs are enclosed gently by your thighs.
- Gently encircle your baby’s chest with your hands and lift it up to carefully bring your baby to their knees.
- For older babies, you can help them put their feet down on the floor.
- Hold for five seconds, and then lower your baby gently.
Looking for some perfect yoga music your little one will love? Check out our guide to yoga music for kids here for happy yoga babies.