I can almost promise you that they will. Simply because.....it's what babies do. I can't recall a class ever, where a baby didn't cry at all. But at least I can't recall a class where all the babies cried :). Here's some reassurance and ideas on how to cope!
1. Your teacher is on your side. Instructors, Facilitators and Teachers who work with parents and babies are used to babies crying and the classes are designed with babies in mind. For example, towards the end of my classes with the younger babies (below 9m); I reserve standing work for the end when babies are getting tired - a gentle rock with a song can help to soothe and is still using movement to help their brain develop the vestibular and proprioceptive areas; vital for balance and movement.
2 All the other parents are on your side. No one is judging. They will all be feeling compassion and also wondering if they will be next. Their turn will probably come!
'I was so worried that all the other parents would judge me if my baby cried. I couldn't have been more wrong. Everybody's baby cried at some point and we were often all rocking and shushing them sometimes. Everyone was really kind and supportive.'
Kat, Baby Yoga
3. You can stop and start the class whenever you need to. It's really normal for parents, particularly of younger babies, to need to slow things down; or just sit quietly for a moment and give them a cuddle. In my classes (and many others) you're welcome to stand up and give your little one a jiggle, a look out the window, or even pop into the hallway for a breather if they start to cry.
'You're not stuck in the class.
Stand up and rock your baby;
go outside to calm them if you need to.'
Katy, Baby Yoga
4. Look out for signs of overstimulation. These include more vigorous kicking of legs than normal; filling the nappy unexpectedly; and avoiding eye contact. These are early signs that crying may be round the corner.
Babies are stimulated by EVERYTHING. The background sounds and smells in a place new to them, the feel of a new vest, as well as all the new activities and songs in a class.
Consider doing the class activities more gently; taking a few minutes break, then trying again; or just enjoy watching the class while you soothe them in their favourite way.
If they fall asleep through the class, you can still pick up lots of hints and tips for simple things to do at home; enjoy being out of the house; and enjoy the chat at the end, connecting with others in a very similar position to you. In my Mum & Baby Strengthen & Stretch classes, Mums often enjoy some time just for them to stretch if bubs has a snooze!
5. Keep yourself as calm as possible. Babies can sometimes pick up that you are feeling anxious in a brand new class; possibly full of strangers to you; wondering if your baby will cry or need a feed (see the next blog post for tips on this!). It's a rare person who wouldn't feel a bit on edge.
Taking as much pressure off yourself as you can will help. See this previous blog post for ideas on this.
And take a deep breath or two for you. Maybe decide that for the first two or three classes, you'll just aim to get there and see what the set up is, join in what you easily can and just watch the rest - feeling able to pop outside whenever you need to. (Remember to put your mask back on if you leave your mat -unless you're exempt).
6. If all else fails; let it go this time. Although disappointing, especially when you've paid for an activity, it might be best to skip it if your baby is having a really unsettled day and you're feeling super anxious about the class. With my class passes, as long as you do so before the class starts, you can swap to another class if there are spaces available.
If you decide to try the class on a tricky day; it may make all the difference, or... it may simply confirm your suspicions! If your baby is really upset in a class and it's too much for you; just slip out and head for home. Experienced Mum of 2, Lizzie, puts it like this:
'It isn't usually a massive loss of money if
one or two classes don't work out.
It's better to keep yourself sane and
decide not to go, or leave if you need to.
Rather than stress yourself out trying to calm a baby
if they've become very upset.'
Lizzie, Mum & Baby Strengthen and Stretch
Usually, the more used to the class you and your baby become, and the older they get, the less likely they are to cry in the class. So just go for it, knowing that it will get better and better with time and you'll normally be glad you tried. In the next blog post: what to if they need a feed in class.