A video of what has come to be known as Baby Yoga—but actually doesn’t seem to have much to do with baby yoga as we know it—made the viral rounds last week, showing a rather attractive Russian woman swinging around a newborn baby like a rag doll. The clip had people up in arms: What will happen to those vulnerable newborn arms?! In the U.S., we are told to treat our newborn babies gingerly. But while the video is indeed somewhat shocking (see it after the jump), I think there are actually some lessons to be learned about newborn baby care from this extremely unusual (and somewhat disconcerting) baby exercise technique.
When my first baby was born, we had a wonderful woman come and help us. She was more of a doula than a baby nurse, but her real strength was understanding newborns, and helping parents to learn to understand them too. When I saw the baby yoga video, I was reminded of some of the most valuable lessons I learned from her:
Newborn babies don’t really like to be held gingerly. What comforts them is firmness and confidence. They also love motion. I can’t say it was easy for me to watch this Russian baby exercise technique on video. Seeing a floppy newborn baby flying through the air like that is disconcerting. But is that because it’s unsafe, or just unfamiliar? I can’t imagine this technique will be taking off in our neck of the woods anytime soon, especially considering the outrage it seems to have provoked in American viewers. But maybe seeing that a baby can supposedly be swung around safely can help you feel more confident about holding your newborns once they are born…and worry less that they’re going to break!
Read more about Baby Yoga on Strollerderby.