There’s nothing like birthing a 10lb baby to make you feel like you’ve been run over by a bus. Your belly looks like a punctured Space Hopper, your hormones are all over the shop, your bits feel like someone else’s bits and, to top it all off, you suddenly have a small, grumpy stranger to care for.
Strapping said stranger to your chest and doing the Macarena (or salsa, or downward dog) might be the last thing you feel like doing six weeks postpartum – and I’ll be honest, it’s probably not going to help your baby sleep through the night either – but if getting out and doing something other than watching Gilmore Girls in your pyjamas with an angry gremlin clamped to your boob can help you to feel something approaching normal then it’s definitely worth the sweat and tears.
So grab yourself a good sling, dig out your comfiest leggings and get yourself and your little leech booked onto one of the capital’s many brilliant BYOB – that’s bring your own baby, not booze – classes. Trust me, it will help (booze also helps).
- Xtend Barre’s Babies on Board post-natal classes are designed to give new mums a dynamic workout while baby has a good laugh and a bit of a stretch. Sessions are based around Xtend Barre’s unique method combining elements of pilates and dance. Mums are required to wear their babies in a carrier for some exercises, while for others you’ll both be on your mat working out together (Marylebone).
- Fitness favourite Frame offers a whole host of mum-and-baby workouts, from Bring a Baby PT personal-training sessions to Mumhood Post-Natal Fitness classes, Mumhood HIIT high-intensity workouts, super-chilled Mumhood Mum & Baby Yoga classes and targeted Mumhood Postnatal Tums sessions for safely rebuilding your abdominal wall – all with your limpet in tow (six London locations).
- RePilates’ Postnatal Pilates classes have been devised by club founder Gina Leung to help your body recover from pregnancy and birth. Babies are welcome to join in the class, during which you’ll work to improve your posture, restore your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles, reduce tightness caused by breastfeeding and looking after you baby, tone up and relieve stress (Greenwich, Brockley, Forest Hill).
- When it comes to pre- and post-natal wellbeing, it doesn’t get much better than Triyoga with its tranquil studios, wide variety of classes and high-quality teaching. Opened in 2000, Triyoga was the first London yoga studio to offer kids’ classes, and today runs a number of sessions for toddlers up to teens, as well as a Mummy-and-Me (dads welcome) yoga class, and postnatal pilates (six London locations).
- Founded by a competitive Latin American and ballroom dancer, Latino Bambino is a dance school with a difference. Dedicated to getting new mums back in the fitness groove, it offers 45-minute baby-wearing salsa fitness classes designed to burn calories, improve cardiovascular endurance and posture, and help shed postnatal weight while building intimacy and trust with your baby (classes across London).
- Slice Studios offers a variety of mum-and-baby classes, from 30-minute CariFit (cardio and resistance intervals) sessions designed to be done while wearing your baby; to Mum and Baby Yoga, combining songs, baby massage and yoga positions for both adult and child. Low-impact Mum and Baby Pilates and ballet-based Mum and Baby Barre workouts complete Slice’s postnatal offering (Parsons Green).
- PBB BabyBarre from Paola’s BodyBarre is a cleverly designed fusion of pilates and yoga for pre- and post-natal women. Pre-toddling babies are welcome at this unique class, which helps build strength and keep core muscles strong while alleviating any negative side effects of pregnancy such as lower-back pain, sciatica, pubis symphysis, swollen extremities and weakened pelvic floor muscles (Fulham).
Bab navigates the foam-brick pool at Baby Gym, because she’s way too old for mummy-and-me classes.