The Benefits of Infant Classes
New moms learn together while exposing babies to new situations.
The lives of new mothers revolve around sleepless nights, poopy diapers and breast- or bottle-feeding. These days, almost anything, from diapers to gourmet dinners, can be delivered to your doorstep within an hour, so if you can afford it, you truly never have to leave the house.
This means days can pass by with little or no adult interaction, at a time when parents are often feeling isolated or vulnerable. Some moms feel that joining an infant class isn’t for them. Who wants to sit in a circle and commiserate on the imperfections of motherhood with total strangers? But they might be surprised by how easy it is to make friends with new moms when they’re experiencing the same stages of motherhood together.
Infant classes can prove to be important to a mom’s physical and mental health. Being active also helps release endorphins, chemicals that improve mood.
“Most women assume postpartum is only a few weeks, but a mother is in postpartum for the first two years,” says Giselle Baturay, owner of Granola Babies (granolababies.com), a children’s boutique and annex in Costa Mesa that offers a variety of classes taught by experts.
The newborn series is a six-week session organized by the baby’s age. The topics are tailored to the needs of each group and typically include sleep and baby routines, communicating with your baby, feeding, postpartum wellness, holistic wellness, relaxation and balance as a new mother, parenting tips, creative play, family balance and more.
Baturay says that infant classes are important because they allow new mothers to learn from experienced moms and be around other mothers in similar circumstances.
Taking a class with your newborn allows you to connect with him or her without the constant pressure of feeding, changing, crying and burping. Exposing babies to new people, sights and sounds can also be beneficial for their social development.
“Whenever I’m talking with moms of young children, I always emphasize the importance of self-care,” says Mark Howerton, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Costa Mesa. “It’s very important for the child’s development, the mother’s well-being and the functionality of the family for moms to have times and places to receive support and care during this unique stage of life.”
Since your newborn can’t enjoy the amenities of a playground quite yet, infant classes can be the next best place to make mom friends.
“In an age where most of us don’t live around the corner from our families, your village of mom friends becomes like a family,” says Chelsea Scuderi, founding partner of Motherhood Together in Irvine, “Sometimes it’s just nice to know that you aren’t the only one who was pooped on and spit up on in the same day.”
Motherhood Together (motherhoodtogether.com) offers eight-week sessions for babies 0-12 months, and classes include infant sleep, infant massages, nutrition, meal planning, baby sign language, baby-and-me yoga, CPR and photography.
“New moms crave information,” says Alexandra Spitz, founder and parent educator of the New Mom School (thenewmomschool.com) in Newport Beach. Her team includes an internationally board-certified lactation consultant, pediatric physical therapist, pediatric dentist, estate planning attorney and birth doula.
Classes are organized by the baby’s birth month at the New Mom School so all of the mothers are experiencing the same phase of motherhood.
Topics included in the 10-week session are attachment and bonding, working vs. staying home, postpartum health, hormones and nutrition for mom, and the baby’s physical development.