At the same time you’re battling a postpartum body the reason for it is quite possibly preventing you doing anything about it.

And even if you’re quite rightly proud of your tiger stripes a little injection of exercise endorphins wouldn’t go amiss.

Zumba-ing all the way through her pregnancy with her youngest son, Claire Witherington certainly wasn’t someone who’d be prepared to say goodbye to an adrenaline high after his arrival.

As she searched for an exercise option that her baby could join her at, Claire discovered Sling Swing dance and gentle movement classes for parents/carers with babies in slings and baby carriers and decided to start up some classes in Lincoln herself.

Photos: Hannah at Love with Light Photography

Claire invited me along to try one of her classes and, as a regular baby wearer and someone who also misses the Zumba and pilates classes I’d enjoyed until week 30 something of being pregnant with my eldest, I was really interested in trying it out.

But what really swung it for me was, not only was my baby not just welcome to come along but integral to the class, but my older two were also fully included in the group too – they would need to bring a teddy along with them to put in their own child-sized doll slings that were available to borrow so they could “dance like mummy!”.

How cute is that?!  I really want to go back and enjoy more classes for several reasons, not least to get some better photos of Luke and Willow wearing the slings and joining in because they loved it.  My strong lass even opted for “carrying twins” at one point fitting her doll and red teddy bear into the colourful, stripy sling.

And it’s not just mini sling swingers that can benefit from such loans: “I do have a number of slings available for parents to borrow and I am a trained baby wearing peer supporter so I can fit people safely,” says Claire.

“I used to worry that I wouldn’t have enough slings but, to be honest, most people have their own.

“It’s a shame in a way as I’d love to attract people who don’t usually use a sling!”

The nature of the group may prevent it from being high intensity but it’s emphasis on friendly fun, inclusivity and gentle fitness definitely gets my vote.  Starting with a few songs to engage your child with, then moving on to the exercise routines, the class finishes with some time to socialise with your fellow dancers.

IMG_5970“The focus of the class is the social and bonding elements rather than on fitness although you are obviously burning a few calories whilst doing it!” she says.

“It’s kind of ‘me time’ but without leaving the baby!”

Of course the person who gets to make the overall verdict is Faith.  And the fact she was sleeping contentedly within minutes of the start of the dancing tells me she’d be quite happy for me to put on my dancing shoes again in the future.

Claire currently runs two term-time classes: 
Mondays at 1.30pm at Yarborough Leisure Centre and Fridays at 10.45am at One NK Leisure Centre.

Find out more on Sling Swing’s Facebook page.