There's nothing a mom cannot do. So if she wants to dance while she's babywearing, well, she will make it happen, and she will find like-minded moms while she is at it. It's how this mom's babywearing and dancing initiative came to be.
Aleksandra Ningli Seng Heinze, a human resource consultant and mom of one, saw a video of moms wearing their babies while dancing and immediately thought, "I want to do that, too!" However, she told SmartParenting.com.ph, she couldn't find classes specifically for babywearing moms here in Manila, so she set up one herself.
Aleksandra and her fellow mom friends in prenatal yoga classes found dance teachers who led their babywearing dance get-togethers, which they usually held at one of the moms' homes. They did salsa first, then hip-hop, tango, square dancing, and Bollywood. Their most recent class had Hawaii as the theme.
Two of the dance teachers working with Aleksandra are Manisha Budhrani and Ida Ramos. The steps, the dance teachers told us, had to be a bit gentler, not so bouncy steps. "I had to adjust the intensity accordingly, choose songs that were less hoppy," said Manisha, who taught the moms Bollywood dance. "I make sure that supporting the baby's head was part of the choreography," added Ida.
Aleksandra's group had babies as young as 3 months old to over age 1. "The babies love it because they are close to our body, snug and comfy on our chest. They feel our warmth and love," Aleksandra said. "It's also very entertaining for them because they listen to music and see us dancing and interacting with each other, which is good for their social development," she added.
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So far, Aleksandra swears she's never seen a baby crying during these sessions unless they are hungry, in which case the mom-and-baby duo take a break to nurse them. "One mom even nursed her baby while dancing," she says, adding she loves how the moms can dance at their own pace, taking water breaks whenever needed.
One thing that has surprised Aleksandra was how the dancing lulled the babies to sleep. "Actually, I was very surprised how quickly [the babies] they fall asleep while [their moms] danced," she said. Ida said the babies do find the routine relaxing.
As for Aleksandra and the rest of the moms, it's a workout they actually enjoy. "Moms were sweating. The additional weight of babies while dancing added to their dance workout! It's a great workout and bonding session," Manisha added.
The dance classes have also served as a welcome break and a creative outlet for some moms. "One mom told me that she looks forward to these meetings because she can use her creativity to make a costume and get out of the house and meet other moms just for fun," Aleksandra said. "I haven´t met a mom who didn't like it so far. Every mom who came to the class wanted to come back," she added.
According to Blanche Pennings, a babywearing consultant who is certifiied by the Babywearing School of U.K. through one of their special sessions in Singapore, and runs the Facebook group Babywear Becuase You Care PH, a mom can continue to babywear and dance as long as she doesn't strain her back. "Usually by around 12 kilos, [your baby] gets quite heavy, so it's it's up to the strength of the mother."
Aside from strength, it's important to you wear your baby's carrier correctly. "If you invest in a good carrier, and make sure it's adjusted well to your and your baby's body, it will not strain your back at all," Aleksandra stresses.
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Blanche, who is currently pregnant and organized free babywearing Zumba and hip-hop dance sessions herself, recommends getting a clearance from your ob-gyn, just like any postpartum exercise and especially if they have delivered via C-section. Other than that, all you need is a suitable carrier or sling and dance your way to postpartum wellness -- no previous dancing experience required.
If you're looking for dance instructors for your private babywearing dance classes, you can reach Manisha Budharani through (0917) 542-4987 for Bollywood dance classes and Ida thorough (0915) 135-7106 and (0917) 999.8529.
This arcticle was updated on October 6 to correct Blanche Pennings' training, which she got form the Babywearing School of U.K. through one of their special sessions in Singapore.