Two pregnancies, almost 30kgs gained, and it’s time for me to get back in to exercise. I didn’t get back into it in a big way between my two babies (though I did continue yoga). I know I should have but it was a big time for us and exercise dropped off my to do list. In my daughter’s first year we moved countries, I was working and juggling motherhood, and we were living in South Africa so it wasn’t safe to go out for a run. Then bam, before her first birthday, I was pregnant again and I couldn’t get out of bed for five months. But, excuses aside, it is time. Well overdue in fact. So about a month ago I headed along to Kangatraining with Claire. I was a bit apprehensive because I hadn’t exercised for SO long, but it was exactly what I needed.
Exercise is really important for the postnatal mum, for me it is the start of feeling normal again. But options can also be limited. Firstly, you either need babysitting or your kids need to be involved. You also need low impact exercises that will protect your pelvic floor and still-recovering postpartum body (I’m not a medical expert though so you should read more information about safe postnatal exercise here) so a specialised postnatal exercise class is great.
Claire’s class is broken into two sections – floor work using your baby as a weight and a choreographed aerobic workout while wearing your baby in a carrier. Almost all the bubs are asleep by the end of the class :).
Kangatraining with Claire is not your average gym class, which is why I love it. Here’s why:
- You get to work out and spend precious time with your baby at the same time:
It’s like two birds, with one stone…
- You get lots of information:
I’m a lover of information, so now I have babies I am lapping up all the science and research and ideas about babies, development etc that I have time to read and absorb. Claire, as it happens, is full of information. Before class, she adjusts everyone’s carriers to make sure they are in the optimal position for mum and bub. She made some adjustments to my Manduca carrier, such as crossing the straps at the back so the weight was more evenly carried by my spine, and cinching the part the baby sits on so it correctly supports bub knee to knee. I did a lot of babywearing with my first bub, so I could have done with this information a little earlier…
- You join the Kanga community
This is something I honestly didn’t expect. I’ve done so many exercise classes over the years and I’ve found most of them pretty impersonal, rarely with the opportunity to get to know others in the class. Well, Kanga is not like that. Yes, it’s held at a gym but it’s a social, relaxed class. If you’re looking for mum friends you’ll find them here, and you’ll likely have some things in common, such as wanting to get active and loving babywearing.
Claire even organises a social night out for all the mums every once in a while.
- You get to babywear
I love babywearing. When you have two kids you never get enough time to cuddle the little one. And there is no such thing as too many cuddles. Wearing your baby is a good way around this.
I used to think that babywearing was just for unsettled babies, or babies that don’t want to be put down (and it IS great for clingy days, sick days, separation anxiety days) but it has SO many benefits. According to Babywearing International “babywearing promotes bonding, supports breastfeeding, can help combat postpartum depression, makes caregiving easier, and can be a lifesaver for parents of high-needs children.” Babywearing is not an all or nothing practice though, I also use a pram and a bouncer. But often I find the carrier is just SO practical and comforting for both bubs and I.
- You get high fives from two year old Esmae
Claire brings her toddler to class with her. Sometimes she goes in the carrier, sometimes she plays with her toys at the side of the room. At the end of each class Esmae cheers and high fives each of the mums. I think she is genuinely proud of us. Two year olds are great, aren’t they!
Claire runs her classes in Box Hill South and Cranbourne. Kangatraining is also available in different locations across Melbourne and Australia.
Claire kindly gifted some Kanga classes to me but I was not paid to write this piece. I genuinely love Claire’s class and am continuing as a paid member as part of my goal to lose my baby weight.