MUM’S THE WORD! BABY SLING FIT CELEBRATES A YEAR OF TEACHING POSTNATAL NEW MUMS & THEIR BABIES VIA ONLINE CLASSES!
When Covid-19 struck almost a year ago, specialist fitness instructor, Ailsa Petchey, knew she had to do something to keep supporting new mums with their postnatal recovery, strengthening, mental wellness and baby bonding.
Having launched Baby Sling Fit – exercise classes designed especially for new mums and their babies – in 2018, Ailsa had been successfully delivering in-person classes for over a year before the pandemic hit. Determined not to let her clients down, she pulled out all the stops to come up with a solution that would enable her to continue running her classes, support the mums in a safe environment and keep her business going.
‘On the build up to our first lockdown, I had several mums come to class in the February worrying about the safety of doing exercise in groups with other mums and babies,’ Ailsa remembers ‘So within a week of hearing this and the potential of lock down happening, I decided to start teaching my classes online via Zoom’
‘Talk about a quick learning curve! I did my first online class in March 2020 and was terrified that the technology would let me down or that I couldn’t get to see my mums, or that the sound wouldn’t work. You don’t just need to be able to teach, you need to be an IT specialist when you first start!’
Ailsa needn’t have worried. Her clients loved the new format and the fact that they could still interact directly with her and other class members. As well as the benefit of being able to continue with the exercise programmes, the virtual classes have also provided the continuation of some much-needed peer-to-peer contact, which many of her clients have found invaluable.
‘Exercise for new mums is so essential for a full postpartum recovery,’ Ailsa explains, ‘but most new mums feel guilty about leaving their babies to exercise and take care of themselves and are not advised by health visitors or doctors of the benefits of exercise, not only for their physical recovery but also the mental benefits as well. The onset of the pandemic meant that many new mums would have found this even more difficult.’
There were over 850,000 births in the UK in 2020. It is recorded that sadly,10-15% of new mums struggle with a form of postnatal depression and that is without a pandemic to wade through. Knowing that over 85,000 women in the UK deal with the debilitating effects of postnatal depression each year, from loneliness, isolation, loss of confidence, lack of bonding with their baby and extreme bouts of low mood, Ailsa knew how important it was for her to continue supporting these new mums.
‘I have been a fitness instructor for over 27 years and retrained in antenatal and postnatal fitness. I created Baby Sling Fit to encourage mums to exercise with their babies so there would be no mum guilt to stop them getting back to pre-pregnancy shape.
‘There are so many benefits to our exercise classes. Mums can bond with their babies whilst exercising. Baby wearing releases oxytocin, which is the love hormone, it calms hormones, improves low mood and increases trust.’
Mums get stronger quicker as it is a resistance workout. ‘Women are rarely told the benefits of weight bearing exercise’ Ailsa explains ‘It helps to balance hormones and calm the mind, it elevates endorphins which are the feel-good hormones and lifts serotonin and dopamine hormones, which need to be supported, especially when many mums are sleep deprived in those first few months. This helps with better quality sleep and energy to get them through tough days, and we all need that!’
‘Also, for new mums to know that they are getting stronger, reducing pregnancy tummy bloat, lifting low metabolism and feeling more like themselves again, whilst exercising with other like-minded mums and their babies, is a great way to get through lock down and your first year of motherhood.’
‘It’s important to get the message out to mums, that taking care of themselves will mean that they are happier and have more energy and their babies in turn will be happier.’
‘I’d love to see more mums join the classes and feel the benefits and not feel isolated or alone on their amazing first year of motherhood.’
Baby Sling Fit Classes are on Tuesday 10am, Thursday 11am & Friday 10am via Zoom. The Live classes are supported by an online web app that also has lots of pre-recorded postpartum workouts, so if mums miss a ‘live’ class they can do a workout in their own time.
If you are interested in trying a FREE Taster class, you can go to Facebook and Instagram and like the Baby Sling Fit page @
All details about the classes can be found at: https://www.babyslingfit.com/
PLEASE NOTE :
* Mums need to be signed off by their doctor before exercising. Usually, 6 weeks after a natural birth and 10-12 weeks after a c-section.
* They need a firm hold baby sling (The recommended Bambalino baby slings can be purchased from the Baby Sling Fit website for a special price of £25).
* They will be sent a health form to complete before starting a class.