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Back to the Mat: Postnatal Yoga

The magic power of yoga doesn’t end with that tightly-swaddled bundle. Here’s some great spots to get your downward dog back.

Back to the Mat: Postnatal Yoga

It’s no secret that many New York women credit prenatal yoga with reducing their pregnancy-related anxiety, relieving their aching backs and hips, and even teaching them how to breathe and engage their abs during labor.

However, the magic power of yoga doesn’t end once you find yourself holding your tightly-swaddled bundle. In fact, savvy New Yorkers are turning to postnatal yoga in increasing numbers as they discover its ability to help women recover from the stresses of pregnancy and delivery, rebuild their core strength, and hold on to their mental health during the sometimes-challenging newborn days.

While you should always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise after your little one is born – and many encourage women to wait 6 weeks before doing so – there is a large and growing body of research which supports the benefits of exercise for women who have just given birth. With its focus on strengthening the pelvic floor muscles (which, frankly, takes a beating during pregnancy), engaging your core, and creating a sense of community among the women who participate, postnatal yoga is an ideal activity for the weeks and months following your delivery.

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New Yorkers are fortunate to have multiple options when it comes to almost anything, and postnatal yoga is no exception. Here are a few of our favorite places to ease back onto the mat, center yourself, and reconnect with other new moms around the city.

Prenatal Yoga Center

Despite its name, the Upper West Side’s Prenatal Yoga Center is a warm and inclusive yoga home for expectant and new moms. With a strong focus on the community-building aspect of yoga, PYC teachers begin each class with “circle time”, allowing women to share their highs and lows of the week. PYC’s Postnatal Yoga class (babies welcome!) focuses on helping women strengthen their abdominal, back, and pelvic muscle while helping to release tension in the shoulders and neck caused by carrying a baby and hunching over while nursing.

Many clients also take advantage of the PYC’s other offerings which include new mom support groups and classes like Music for Babies and Infant Massage. One more tidbit: the studio owner maintains a blog which is a great resource for new and expecting moms alike, especially now that she’s pregnant with #2! prenatalyogacenter.com

Yogi Beans

Much of Yogi Beans’ classes are geared towards kids but this Upper East Side studio also offers some great classes for new moms. Some classes include babysitting services, which is very unusual among New York City studios, and the unique backgrounds of Yogi Beans’ founders make it a truly special place for you and your “little bean”.

Yogi Beans classes include Postnatal Yoga, for moms and their babies ages 6 weeks – crawling, Bye Bye Bump (a Vinyasa flow class which includes in-studio babysitting for mobile babies), and Core Yoga, which focuses on – obviously – regaining core strength post-baby. Check out Yogi Beans’ blog for a glimpse of some of the activities you might see in a postnatal class. yogibeans.com

Kula Yoga

Tribeca’s Kula Yoga has a reputation for having found the sweet spot in yoga, welcoming advanced dancer-types and infrequent beginners alike and managing to make all feel equally welcome in the studio’s funky downtown space.

Kula’s Kulanatal class is no different as it provides pre- and post-natal women with a warm and supportive community in which they can stretch their bodies and relax their minds. Kulanatal helps women tackle the discomforts common to pregnancy and the post-natal season while helping them work up a good sweat in the process. kulayoga.com

Karma Kids Yoga

If there’s one thing we love almost as much as yoga, it’s pilates. But not every pilates class is geared for postpartum. Luckily we’ve found a great one at Karma Kids -- not only can you take Postnatal Pilates on your own, but you can also bring your new addition along to the studio’s Mom & Baby Pilates class.

Karma Kids also has Postnatal Yoga and Mom & Baby Yoga classes, but the biggest draw for new moms at Karma Kids’ Peace-In studio on 14th Street is the warm and welcoming community. The studio partners with Union Square Moms for playgroups and meetups, and hosts events like storytime and baby-wearing clinics. Can’t make it in? Starting next week, Karma will offer pre- and post-natal yoga and pilates classes online for purchase! karmakidsyoga.com

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By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

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Hands-Free Pumping Bra

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Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

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Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

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Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

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There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

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Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

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Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

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Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

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Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

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Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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