Mama and Baby Yoga? Never Again.

I’ve done some dumb things in my time. There was that time I slathered myself in Crisco while living in Raleigh and tried to suntan. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Instead I ended up with second degree burns and skin cancer. There was also that time in college that I did my final Women’s Studies presentation on pornography. That may not sound very stupid except for the fact that my stance was pro pornography. It seemed like a good idea at the time and I still stand by many of the points I made, but that’s a post for another day. That was the only D I ever got.

So, yeah, I’ve done some dumb things and every one of them can be summed up retrospectively with one phrase: “Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.”

Yesterday, I added something to that list. You see, my regular yoga studio (the one I visit four times a week, and I will continue to visit until we move away) offers a Mom and Baby yoga class. “BRING YOUR BABY TO CLASS? What a great idea!” I thought. And so yesterday, I bundled Emory up, put a diaper bag together, grabbed a bottle, and headed out to attend our first ever mother/baby yoga class, because, hey, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

And it is a good idea. The class is a great idea for mothers with babies who don’t continually need to be talked to and sung to. The class is perfect for mothers who don’t have babies who want to be walked around a lot. And it’s a great idea for mothers who don’t have babies who insist that they stand on two feet all the time. Mothers who breastfeed will feel right at home. Mothers who feed their baby from a bottle will feel out of place. Mothers who use a pacifier will feel badly for doing so. Mothers who have a baby who is forever curious, a baby who refuses to sleep until sleep sneaks up behind him and knocks him out, will have trouble relaxing.

I should have known the moment I saw several other mothers filing into the studio carrying their babies in the Bjorn facing in and covered up entirely with blankets that it may not be a good idea for this mother and baby combination. There is no way Emory would ever allow for such a thing. Emory must face out at all times. Emory doesn’t care how cold it is outside or what wet stuff is falling from the sky, Emory must see what is before him.

But I really wanted this to work and for the first few minutes, I thought that it might. Emory smiled at everyone. “Where AM I?!” his eyeballs asked. “WHAT EXCITING PLACE HAVE YOU TAKEN ME?” I got set up while he looked around, taking everything in, everyone. This could work! And then class began and we were asked to place our babies on their backs. That’s when the teacher broke Emory’s rule number one.


Then teacher did something even more insane; she asked that we let our babies do their own thing for a minute or two while we do some yoga solo. And that’s when she broke rule number two.


But the other babies were fine with this, well, all but two: mine and another baby boy.

There was another boy there at the beginning of class who was doing some pretty killer commando moves across the sheen yoga floor. He could not crawl, but he made a valiant effort getting around. And like a drunk inchworm, he did just that. His mother spent the first fifteen minutes chasing her son around. And then guess what? She left. Just like that, she got up and left. Can you believe that? She is my hero.

My son did not do well with the whole “mama does some yoga while baby chills on the floor alone”. And if I were to guess what Emory wanted to say to me, I’d say he wanted to say the following: “Mom, you took me out today, which I thank you for. I like to see stuff. We entered this cool place and I was surrounded by ladies, and you know how much I like ladies and the longer the hair the better. And some of those ladies had such long hair! And I was happy. But you immediately took me out of the Bjorn, away from all these long haired ladies and put me on the floor? Unforgivable. I shall now scream.”

At one point, in a desperate attempt to actually get some yoga done, I gave him a pacifier. That’s when I felt like I broke rule number one as a mother. While we were doing something interactive work with our babies, Emory let everyone know he was pleased by this and began making screeching monkey sounds. Right after Emory freed one of his ear-piercing screams (through the pacifier, mind you) the teacher said something like, “Was that your little one? Babies normally can’t make that type of noise through a pacifier!” I felt like I muzzled up one of Michael Vick’s pit bulls and brought it to a playdate for a bunch of well-behaved, toy poodles.

I spent the majority of the hour and fifteen minutes entertaining Emory, which is exactly what I do every day, only this time we were in public and we were supposed to be doing yoga. I spent the rest of the time fighting off a massive bout of insecurity especially during Savasana (relaxation pose, happens at the very end) when it was suggested that everyone lie on their sides and breastfeed their babies. (I had a lot of trouble and heartache trying to breast feed, which is why I pumped exclusively for 5 months.) Instead of breast feeding, I sat upright with my baby and fed him from a bottle. And whenever the teacher came around and suggested I try and relax Emory began to fake cough, which made me feel like I brought the sick kid to school. The teacher placed a block beneath my arm (very nice of her) and we sat there as silently as we could and listened to a hushed chorus of suckling babies.

Emory and I did not enjoy mama/baby yoga, not at all. Instead, I left more stressed out than I was before I arrived and Emory was upset with me because I didn’t let him run his fingers through the teacher’s long, curly hair. Plus, the car nearly ran out of gas and I left my yoga mat on the side of the road.

This dynamic duo will have to find some other way to bond… like maybe mud-wrestling.


  1. My baby’s due in three months and two weeks. I eat up pictures of yours, dreaming of the fast approaching day I get to meet my son. Emory is ridiculously gorgeous. And I admire his spunk! Too right, laying on the cold floor without any stimulation is LAAAAAME! Yoga, schmoga, bring on the curly hair.


  2. Thank you so much for making my Friday. I love coming to your site and reading about your life. I’m seriously smiling really big after than one.


  3. I couldn’t take Evan to Mommy/Baby Yoga either! He wouldn’t sit still to save his own life (still won’t and he’s 26 months now). We took him to what they call Mother Goose, where we went to a local kindergarten classroom and sat on the floor and flung the babies around and sang nursery rhymes for 2 hours. Evan loved it. I loved it because I worked out a little while chasing him around the baby-proof kindergarten class AND I wasn’t the only one there with a little boy who loves attention from his mommy! We still sing all the songs, but now he can dance for himself!
    And, I get the frustration about basically being judged for not breast feeding and letting your baby use the pacifier. I stopped breast feeding after 2 months (couldn’t keep up with the ravenous boy) and he used a pacifier for quite a while. Some people looked at me like I had 3 heads.


  4. man, i thought yoga instructors were supposed to be open minded and stuff! so much judging coming from her!


  5. This sounds familiar to me! You can do this with some babies if they have certain dispositions. Most of my kids, forget it! And if you have more than one child, double forget it! After awhile, I gave up taking them most places because all I did was chase them around. And this is relaxing and entertaining, how?

    Try to resist that fellow parent disapproval. It’s just a sign of insecurity on the others’ parts. Don’t take it personally. They do not know how to parent Emory, you do!

    OTOH, we were thrown out of lots of places for disruptive behavior (especially with Susanna).


  6. Wait – did she actually call your son a “pacifier baby?” Good grief.

    And maybe this is just because I don’t have kids, but the idea of a roomful of women laying on their sides and simultaneously breast feeding just creeps my sh*t out. The image is way too Handmaid’s Tale baby farm for my taste.

    Besides – do babies all get hungry at the same time?

    There’s so much I don’t understand.


  7. In all fairness to her, I think she was just thinking out loud, not being rude really. I dunno. Later she told me that her kids never took to them, thankfully and that she would have continued to let Emory use his thumb if he wanted to suck on something.

    But, you know what? No one out here, no mother will ever be able to do it right by everyone. So, I throw my hands up for the most part.


  8. Jenny, it felt weird to me, too. But I am way too private for that. That’s just me, tho. To each their own.


  9. oh my goodness – you poor thing! I seriously feel your pain and I DESPISE being around women/moms that make you feel inferior for the bottle or paci or whatever – it really is absolutely ridiculous! I would have given my right arm if Baby D would have just taken to a pacifier rather than using me – even bought every single kind known to man and nothing worked. I envied those mothers whose babies were all calm and loving their pacifiers! Anyway, that was completely off-point, but I’m pregnant and I can’t stop talking, so…ya know. Anyway – you wrote that so well & I love those pictures of you & Em!


  10. Please don’t give up on Mommy/Baby yoga. I’m a yoga teacher in DC. You’re right, this might not be the right class for you, but, as with any yoga class, different teachers fit different people.

    Check out some others, email the teacher before hand to see what happens in her class (studios will usually put you in touch with their teachers) and then try again.

    The classes like this where I teach all sing, dance, have fun, and no breast feeding is required! Oh, and pacifiers are welcome!


  11. I feel bad about something that I need to clear up.

    Breastfeeding wasn’t required. But everyone there did it. I felt out of place is all.

    Also, as with most all judgement, some of it could have been self-created, meaning I very well may be so tainted by the breastfeeding/pumping experience I had both online and off, it could very well be me at this point. You know what I mean? I really took some abuse with all of that and it may take forever before I am over it.

    Anyway, the teacher was nice and kind. It was just nowhere near relaxing for Emory or me.

    DC, eh? My favorite teacher ever lives there. Man, I miss her so much.


  12. Even if it wasn’t required, the very idea that someone would suggest a bunch of strangers all sit in a room and breastfeed together is so bizarre to me.

    Then again, even though I’m hopefully 4-6 years away from having a kid, I’m already preparing myself for the onslaught of criticism I’ll get someday for not wanting to breastfeed. That’s not to say I won’t end up doing it, but I am not at all jazzed about it.


  13. How disappointing. I attend a baby/mama yoga class that is so much different – the tone is light hearted and accepting, we are expected to make noise, etc. Some of that is set by the teacher, of course (she regularly takes the fussy babies and rocks them, gives them their paci, when mom’s are trying to concentrate on doing a bit of restorative yoga), but I think it also has to do with the group of women (luck of the draw, there).

    Is there a gentle yoga class you can attend on your own? Emory is old enough to enjoy swim “lessons” (aka splash around with mom) or music “class” (aka lick the shiny bell), but with all your medical stress right now, perhaps some gentle healing time alone would be nice.


  14. Oh, I am well beyond needing anything gentle. I’m rather enjoying the four other classes I take per week where they kick my ass inside and out. i love feeling sore. Really, I do.

    I just thought this would be a great way to meet local moms. I’ll try something else. :]

    Swimming might work! The YMCA is near.


  15. Wow. Throwing down group boob sounds un-fun to me. To each their own! I bet Emory would be an awesome little swimmer – and baby swim trunks? Swoon.


  16. Ick! Such a judge-y sounding teacher. Babies are all different and it’s not a reflection of anyone’s parenting skills if some of them are more prone to being, well… prone than others! Ditto the reaction to the coughing. At some point your kid will go out into the world and encounter microbes – turns out nature has equipped the body with a handy-dandy immune system to deal with just that and a l’il coughing won’t hurt nothin’. I mean, there’s a reason why parents used to force their kids to play with Jimmy and his chicken pox just to be sure everyone caught it and got it over with. Yeeeeesh.

    Sorry, I just really cannot stand it when people, particularly women, get up on the high horse about there being a right way and a wrong way to EVERYTHING with your infant. Dropping your child, leaving it alone for extended periods and forgetting to feed it are not, generally speaking, good ideas, but beyond that it’s all up to what works best for the baby in question.

    Having said that – I do want to point out that the thumb as pacifier substitute can be pretty expensive later in life in terms of orthodontia. My mother rues the day she caught me sucking my thumb and didn’t whip it out of my mouth because that decision wound up costing three years of braces, retainers and other unsightly corrective devices. Not as unsightly as the overbite and crooked teeth, but still. Not good for the ol’ adolesence.


  17. I would prefer a pacifier over a thumb. Maybe this is just because I worked w/ a girl who was maybe 25 and STILL sucked her oddly deformed thumbs. It sounds like the teacher was just genuinely surprised that he could make that sound w/ a pacifier, but you were there not me. My recent off point rant: Spell check can really suck b/c you dont need to know how to spell words anymore. I wonder how long Emory will be “writing” before he has to start “typing”. wonderful pics of the two of you :)


  18. ah, y’all, this was just supposed to be a funny, fairly lighthearted story. I guess you’d have to know me personally and my tone of voice. I am really not upset with the class or the teacher or anything. I just won’t be going back to that particular mom/baby extravaganza.


  19. I read this and all I could picture was a SNL skit:) Look for a Kindermusik class. I did that with Simone and she loved it. Lots of singing and instruments and dancing around with your babe. Very dorky but the kids love it. It is very similar to stuff done at Gymboree Play or The Little Gym (our personal favorite) but those tend to be more in the burbs. Kindermusik classes are usually in rented spaces so you might be able to find one close to you. Plus, they usually will let you attend one class for free to see if you like it.


  20. I hear you about the yoga thing. I had a great class that I attended when Isabel was a baby. Out here in San Fran I attended one class with Aubrey and it was horrible. There were only two people in the class and the other women in the class was VERY condescending towards me. She was asking me all sorts of weird questions and quizzed me all about why I put Isabel in a private school and that Public schools are really great in San Fran and the like…..Needless to say Aubrey and I never went back.
    Instead, she and I attend a class that the Little Gym. I am not exactly fond of the singing and such in that they incorporate the name “Little Gym” into every song. Can you say “advertising”! Ugh. Aside from that it gives Aubrey freedom to roam around and I don’t have to say “No!” all the time.
    Swimming was always a good one for us. Isabel really enjoyed that one. I am waiting until Aubrey is walking before we start that with her….It should be fun seeing how much she drenches the bathroom everytime she takes a bath…..


  21. OK – “throwing down group boob” is pretty much the funniest phrase I have heard in ages, and I’m really trying hard to figure out how I can use that in everyday conversation.

    Thank you, Lana!


  22. Emory sounds a lot like my son in that aspect! He would never sit calmly by while I did something..hmm..come to think of it, he still rarely does, at 18 months. There is a program at the local theatre called Strollers and Stars or something similar where they leave the house lights on, music is turned down, there are changing tables in the theatre etc. All my local mommy friends were always trying to convince me to go, and I could not believe they would even THINK Jonah would sit calmly in his carseat watching a movie for two hours. Nope. Not my child, I would be pacing back and forth in front of the screen shushing him for the whole time. Needless to say, I never even tried.

    I wouldn’t find a whole room full of women breastfeeding to be odd, I’ve been part of the world breastfeeding challenge last year, we only had 30 babies latched at once though. However, having said that…how many babies can be fed when their moms decide it is mealtime? Jonah has never eaten on my schedule, only his own.

    I like the idea of music classes, or even story time at the library? We used to go to the baby storytime when it didn’t coincide with naps, and there would be lots of tossing baby around, doing hand movements and singing.


  23. Yes, but Wendy, that was called World Breastfeeding Challenge not yoga. ;]

    I plan on trying something else for sure. I’d love to find a mama/baby afternoon pub crawl, for example. OK, so I’m kidding about the crawl part, but I think a nice chat with other mothers at the local beer garden (Fried food anyone?) would be really awesome.

    Brooklyn takers?


  24. Oh man…this reminds me of the first time I took Tyler to a Gymboree class. “Bjorn carrier? Heavens no! It’s so bad for their hip development! You need to get a sling!” Bottle fed? Horrors! Paci? “You’ll delay his speech! And OMG is he wearing a poly-blend fabric? Eww! Natural fibers are better for baby!” @@ The instructor took me aside after class and told me I would probably feel more comfortable in the morning session. You see, this was a very upscale suburb about 20 minutes south of us (the closest Gymboree place). Apparently, the afternoons were dominated by the wealthy, bored housewives who loved to be judgemental. The mornings? That was full of friendly nannies who were more laid back and secretly gave the babies pacis. LOL


  25. That is so funny. My little guy is the same age as Emory and he hates being on his back. I am certain he would not have tolerated that class either. Just changing a diaper is a challenge. He is constantly flipping over on me! I love reading your stories about Emory. He is adorable. My baby won’t take a paci. I’m jealous. He is very stubborn, and doesn’t like being ignored even for a minute unless he is in his exersaucer. Thank goodness I also have a nine year old. I call him the entertainment commitee. It doesn’t sound like a very baby friendly class. Hopefully you can find a better activity to share with baby.

    Cherie (from the ep board)


  26. oh that stinks! my mom/baby yoga class has rocked and is like a big baby free for all…


  27. Emory and my little girl sound so alike (in fact was cracking up as I read the baby-facing-in/blanket sentence aloud to my husband). She is 7 months old, and has only ever wanted to face out in the Bjorn. She is a little tank now (23 lbs) and there is no way she’d still fit in the Bjorn comfortably. I am trying to find a new solution, so if you come up with one let me know. I have an Ergo carrier, but she doesn’t love it. She’ll tolerate that in the hip carry position, but it isn’t ideal.

    The other two similarities between them:

    —She started rolling over to sleep on her belly the second she figured it out ( 4 months) and never looked back. She couldn’t roll to her back until about 5 months, so I slept in her room on the floor for about a week, freaking out whenever I’d look up and she was faceplanting the mattress.

    —She would stand the entire day if we let her. With a little help, she pulls herself up and looks around proudly, like, “Look at how fantastic I am.”

    She is a really active, constantly-on-the-move little girl. I never really thought babies were all that different before I had one, but they really are just incredibly individual. There are behaviors she’s had from Day 1 that I have nothing to do with. I can try to corral her a little, but she has a mind of her own.

    These are great photos, by the way. As are all your photos. You have one cute kid.


  28. Group breast-feeding?? Really?? WTF?? (I am a baby-wearing, breast-feeding, left-wing mom with a very easygoing baby, but I can honestly say… That’s weird. Kudos to you for staying through the whole thing – There is no way that I would have lasted through the whole thing.)

    Also – Love the soccer post. (I’m not looking forward to age three.) Kids are… hilarious. =)


  29. I came across this post while reading up on Mommy & Baby yoga.

    How disappointing. All of it. The judging teacher AND the judging comments in your blog above… the ugly really comes out of women when it comes to how other women approach motherhood.

    I’m sorry breastfeeding didn’t work out for you. I’m sorry you had such a hard time about it all. I’m sorry a group of breastfeeding women elicits such scorn from other mothers.


  30. It’s ok, Eff. Em is five now and this totally makes sense to me now. He’s exactly like he was back then. Needs constant entertainment and doesn’t stop moving.

    Elliot, my second son, is 18 months. He would rock the baby/mommy yoga. And we had a much better time breast feeding.

    All ended up pretty awesome. And I still love the studio! :)


  31. […] This woman sums up the concept in her blog post Mama and Baby Yoga? Never Again. […]


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