Finding a good baby group in Darlington and Newton Aycliffe area can be tricky. There are lots of choices and I’ve pretty much tried them all! The only thing that I have stuck with during maternity leave with both children is baby yoga. A baby yoga baby group is not like your typical playgroup in Darlington. Offered through the franchise Kalma Baby and delivered by a fully qualified teacher, Lucy Ellis, this mum and baby group offers you both gentile exercise and the chance to focus on well-being.
I wasn’t sure if EET would like it, but I had heard about the benefits for colic and sleep – he had colic and hated sleep, so I thought it was worth the chance. Slowly, week-by-week, he started to recognise the songs and actions and the smile that came across his face made there no mistake that he was really enjoying himself. Obviously, when they only just start smiling, you remember if there is a pattern to where they appear and they were definitely more apparent in these sessions.
Baby yoga helps build muscle strength, core strength and flexibility – in both parents and babies as there as parental participation is required! There is nothing too taxing and no one bats an eyelid if you decide to sit out – feeding baby is always a good excuse! I have arthritis in my hip, so just tend to not participate in anything to do with that area. We sing a song called ‘Elephants have wrinkles’ where we squat with the baby and I try to push myself a bit harder in that one as I am desperate to lose weight off my legs! Likewise when I have little man in the air during ‘Three Little Men in a flying saucer’.
One big bonus of the classes is the friendly atmosphere. The classes I’ve been to have always been full of lovely mums. which is always a worry when you’re walking in on your own. In my first class, there was a big group, who all seemed to know each other and get along well, where I would usually feel a little uncomfortable in that situation, the mums and Lucy, the instructor, couldn’t have been nicer in making me feel welcome. So much so that we have already graduated three terms and are currently in our fourth term. Yes, you get to see your little one in a little cap too, it’s taken us three terms to get it on his head, so I’m hoping fourth time lucky ahead of the summer term for a good graduation picture!
The progression I have seen in E, as a result of doing baby yoga from a young age is astounding. He is extremely confident, which I am thrilled about as R is a lot shier, probably as a result of me opting for playgroups rather than taught sessions when I was on maternity leave with him. He was rolling, sitting, crawling and now standing confidently early within his expected milestones. He recognises the parents in the class and likes to say ‘hiya’ to everyone and he has taken to Lucy as a member of his own family and often leaves me in class to go see her! He can plank, which I definitely wasn’t expecting the first time he tried it, but he nailed it! I definitely see a correlation between baby yoga and his development as he’s only on the 9th centile for his age, but he is as strong as an ox. Although it has taken me until my second child to realise; mother and baby groups are about the development of the baby, if I had to do it all over again, I’d go to the taught sessions every time. They cost more because they’re taught, not unstructured. You get what you pay for. The mums can all go out for coffee after because the children sleep after learning!
What has probably been a bigger thing for me is the fact that Lucy takes photographs during the sessions and shares them in a private group on facebook. Without this, I would have no pictures of E and I that weren’t selfies. I absolutely adore that I can add these to his lifecake to remember this special time with him. That for me is worth every penny!
Disclaimer: These views are my own and I have paid for all of my own sessions at Kalma Baby Darlington