Monday, September 19, 2005

1, 2, 3, 4, up, down -- Baby Aerobics

For the past month, peanut and I have been going to a baby aerobics/play class once a week. A colleague of mine also on maternity leave with her baby daughter ( a week older than Peanut) had told another colleague of mind in the same position (ie, at home with her baby daughter) about it, and so via word of mouth, we decided to go check it out.

My main reasons for going were to keep exposing Peanut to group settings with other babies and to have a chance to do some exercise myself :-) I think its important for provide these sorts of experiences for Peanut - i want her to feel comfortable in groups and get to see other babies. Otherwise we're just hanging out at home or she's cruising around in her stroller passively observing what happens around us.

The group we joined is called Kirppanat and we go to the 0-6 months group in Tapiola. Our regular group varies from about 12 - 20 moms + babies (i haven't seen any dads in our group or the one right before us).

A regular session starts with everyone marching in a circle with babies in hand to a Moomi tune. Its a little warm up for the range of activities ahead. I always have to smile as we go around the 2nd or 3rd time and the number of slobber drops on the floor increases :-)

Almost everything involves mom + baby except for a few exercises for mom where babies get a chance to explore on their own on their playmats. Many babies just lay there, looking around - usually at the mom or baby next to them. I find peanat hardly ever looks at me :-) The "work out" is designed for everyone to do all the moves in whichever way they and baby feel comfortable. Taking a break for breastfeeding, diaper change or other baby comfort activities is a natural part if baby needs it.

None of the activities are meant to develop super babies - no sitting training, no crawling training, no balance training, etc. Its just a chance for mom & baby to play to some music with a group of others.

For me, its nice to do some leg-lifts or sit-up types of moves. I've found myself trying some of them at home, too. And, now I know how to involve Peanut so its much more likely the exercises get done!

Each session ends with a quieter tune during which moms are encouraged to breastfeed (if they want and baby wants to) or just rock gently with babies. When the song ends, everyone leaves according to their own schedule; after diapers are changed, babies burped and bundled :-)

The only thing missing is a chance to interact more with the other moms. Like everyone, most have someplace else to go after class and there really isn't time during the class.

A few practical notes about the sessions in Tapiola:
> the tennis place tries to keep the strollers outside, but i still see several inside each session
> babies should wear something comfortable
> bring your own small blanket and some toys to amuse baby during blanket time (+ pacifiers)
> i've found myself rather warm during classes in sweats, but everyone seems to wear long pants + socks

About Kirppanat:
> you can pay as you go or
> buy a pass card which is slightly more economical
> classes are in Finnish


bibiche said...

Hi there, and thank you for this nice and usefull blog!
I expect a baby for the begining of november and was actually wondering how to get this baby to meet others as day care in Finland starts only when they are 9 months.
I also saw on the "kirppanat" page that they propose some kind of exercising for pregnant women which I'd love to do as I am too lazy to do it on my own at home. Unfortunately, I don't understand finnish: any idea where to find the equivalent in english in the area of Helsinki?

Peanut's Mom said...

hi - glad to hear you enjoy it :-)

I unfortunately don't know of any english language classes, but must say that it seems the language probably doesn't matter much. Especially in the case of the Kirppanat classes, its very easy to follow and just copy what everyone else is doing.

You can also check out the Finland Forum bulletin board where there is an extensive Families page where people exchange information:

Good luck for the coming months and I wish you all the best for your baby's arrival in November!