After my daughter was born, our weekly mommy and me yoga class was a bright spot in the middle of some of the longest days. Not only did the class help me regain my strength, it was also a place where I could form lasting bonds with other new parents in the city. Having a self-care routine proved essential for me after becoming a new mama—and my daughter seemed to enjoy the atmosphere, too.
The beauty of a good postnatal class is that instructors have designed workouts just for postpartum bodies, plus they understand if you or your little one are having a challenging day. Parent-baby fitness classes should be a judgment-free, safe zone for you and your baby.
Here are places and programs that regularly offer parent and baby exercise classes in New York City. As with any new exercise program, check with your doctor for the go-ahead. For more classes, check out our NYC classes guide.
14th Street Y – East Village
This members-only East Village community hot spot offers postnatal Pilates and barre classes for parents and babies. Class schedules change often, so visit the website for current offerings.
92nd Street Y – Upper East Side
Regular Mommy & Me Yoga classes at this neighborhood institution focus on core muscle stretching and strengthening, all in a nurturing and supportive environment.
Bend & Bloom Yoga — Park Slope, Brooklyn
Here yoga classes are designed to rejuvenate your body after childbirth, while connecting with your newest addition. After 50 minutes of flowing yoga the focus shifts to bonding with baby through infant massage and gentle stretching. Bend & Bloom also offers gentle postnatal workshops just for moms, and yoga classes for older kids.
CrossFit South Brooklyn Diapers & Dumbbells — Gowanus, Brooklyn
Diapers & Dumbbells is a one-hour postpartum fitness class designed to help new mothers and their partners safely return to exercise, connect with other parents, and develop the strength they need to support their growing babies. You don’t have to have any CrossFit experience to join. Classes are open to mothers (and partners) of all fitness levels and their pre-crawling/pre-walking babies.
FIT4MOM – Prospect Park, 9th Street entrance
FIT4MOM offers several different programs designed specifically for moms. Stroller Strides and Stroller Barre are mommy-and-me fitness programs where kids of any age are welcome in a stroller, or on bikes or scooters if older. Fit4Mom also offers a two-month Body Back fitness program for moms looking for a high-intensity workout without baby, as well as a running club for moms, offering a start-to-finish 5K program for beginners and a 5K and Beyond program for moms who want to increase speed and stamina or train for longer races.
Fitnotic – Upper East Side
Sheryl Wilson, mom and founder of Fitnotic, specializes in prenatal and postpartum fitness and offers a unique blend of online, in-home, and group programs for moms and expectant moms. Wilson will customize a workout for you based on physical level, interests, and equipment you already have on hand. Programs can be done online or via Skype and emphasize core and pelvic strengthening. She also offers a fun Hoopdance cardio class that meets weekly at John Jay Park (77th Street between York Avenue and the East River).
Harlem Yoga Studio – Harlem
Harlem’s yoga class for mothers and newborns focuses on gentle stretching, deep breathing, and moving with your baby. The class is relaxed and flexible, while helping you to rebuild core strength and release tension. The studio is on the 3rd floor of a walk-up and stroller storage is limited, so it’s suggested that you wear baby or bring a small stroller.
Lunges with a view at a Mommy and Me Fitness NYC class.
Mommy and Me Fitness NYC – Greenwich Village
Local NYC mom and certified personal trainer Meri Treitler offers an energizing stroller workout class for new moms that varies every time: You'll jog, squat, lunge, jump rope, use resistance bands, and use the city as your own personal training room.
Movin' Mamas – Upper West Side
Postnatal Pilates instructor and mom Randi Stone offers an hour-long stroller class for moms to move and sweat together, where babies are welcome. Stone has created a whole-body workout that aims to rehabilitate the core, heal the pelvic floor, improve posture and flexibility, relieve aches and pains, and release stress. The workout uses your own body weight for resistance, along with the stroller, bands and balls, park benches, trees, and more. Classes take place in Central Park in warmer months and at JCC Manhattan from November to April.
Park Slope Yoga Center – Park Slope, Brooklyn
This has been a Park Slope staple since 1998, with classes catering to all phases of motherhood, including prenatal and postnatal classes. Postnatal parent-baby yoga classes, for parents of babies ages 3 weeks to 22 months. include two instructors to ensure both the parents and babies get the attention they need. And if you're not already a yoga pro, don't worry: This is a “mixed-levels” class, so everyone can join in.
Take a solo or mommy-and-me yoga class at the Prenatal Yoga Center.
Prenatal Yoga Center – Upper West Side
This Upper West Side standby offers classes in postnatal yoga, where babies are welcomed, in addition to a Mommy & Me class that focuses more on establishing a bond with your baby. The studio is a one flight walk-up, but someone will be there to help you carry your stroller if needed.
PROnatal fitness gets you and your little one(s) outside for fresh air and exercise.
PROnatal Fitness – Central Park, Battery Park, Tribeca, Williamsburg, and Harlem
Developed with the guidance of fitness experts and ob-gyns, PROnatal Fitness offers hour-long indoor and outdoor classes for new moms. The outdoor stroller class offers a total body workout that includes cardio conditioning, body strengthening, core rehabilitation, postural improvement, and gentle stretching. One key perk for new moms: They don’t penalize for last minute cancellations, as long as you notify them.
Strollercize – Upper West Side
This aerobic program turns your stroller and the paths in Central Park into your own gym. The stroller is used to add resistance during the cardio session and balance in the “pushing” sessions. The group also offers a baby-friendly class to help with toning and strengthening.
Xtend Barre Baby On Board — Brooklyn Heights
This barre class includes an extra dose of resistance and cuteness, as you wear your baby in a sling or carrier. All exercises are challenging, yet safe for you and your baby. It’s best suited for babies 18 pounds and under.
The YMCA of Greater New York – Citywide
With 22 locations throughout the five boroughs, it's likely there is a YMCA location near you. Parent-child classes range by location, but include parent-and-me yoga and Pilates. Some locations also offer family Zumba and specialized "Rumble & Tumble" classes geared toward honing motor skills in kids with parental support.
The Yoga Room – Long Island City, Astoria
The Yoga Room offers parent-and-baby yoga at its Queens studios in Long Island City and Astoria. Each class devotes time for gentle hands-on yoga and massage for babies. Bonding postures and fun songs are also part of the fun. And check out their yoga class just for toddlers, featuring puppets, stories, and yoga poses to strengthen growing bodies.
Zumbini — Tribeca
If you’re not into the yoga scene, there is Zumba for you and your baby! Zumbini allows you and your little one to dance, play with toys, and sing for 45 minutes. The choreography is easy, so no need to be intimidated.
A version of this post was published in 2015; it has since been updated. Katie Nave Freeman contributed additional reporting.
Photos courtesy of the venues