It was 10:02 a.m. I felt like that cliche new mom, running in late because the baby had napped a bit late that morning. I took a deep breath, almost turned around, but made myself walk in. Was it a doctor’s appointment? A job interview? Nope! Simply my first attempt at a mom and baby fitness class.

After having my daughter last July, we had a few brief months of walks during the fall before winter settled in. And as the temperatures got colder, all the more reason to stay snuggled at home.

Now that spring is peeking its head around the corner, it’s time to get out of our (ahem, my) comfort zone and start looking for activities to get us both out of the house.

After doing some looking around, I found a class at Jade Integrated Health in Brunswick. I chose to take the fitness-based class rather than yoga, primarily because my daughter, Olivia, is more known for her giggles and alertness than her Zen.

As I rushed into the studio, I was immediately happy with my decision. Nineties alternative music was playing softly in the background of a sunny room with cheerful teal blankets and curtains. I immediately apologized for being late and flustered, but the instructor, Kirsten Twaite, was quick to put me at ease saying that making it there was the hardest part.

I may beg to differ on that one, as a few of the ab exercises had me cringing later that night!

Kirsten went on to explain that this was a totally baby-friendly environment, and to do whatever I needed for Olivia and take everything at my own pace. As a trained physical therapist who specializes in post-natal recovery, Kirsten made sure to ask about our fitness levels and any areas that have been giving us trouble. As new mothers our bodies are very much in recovery, and it’s important to work with someone who specializes in women’s health.

Kristen also may be a baby whisperer because she enchanted Olivia and even picked her up to give her a tour of the room as I was attempting leg raises.

The class focused mainly on stretching, but had a cardio aspect using our own body as resistance. The goal was to feel it later, but not be out of commission with an infant to take care of. I can say that after months of my cardio being pacing the floors in the late-night hours, it left me with just the right amount of soreness later that night.

There were many modifications for different fitness levels, so the class could really be as difficult or easy as you’d like.

As the class ended, we were encouraged to take our time and relax about leaving as no class was scheduled after ours. It was nice to not ruin my relaxed state by having to rush out, so we took the time for a quick diaper change and cuddle before bundling back up into the car seat.

Our takeaways:

• I would recommend skipping the sign in and paying for your class ahead of time online, if available. Because I was running late that day, I ended up paying after the class, but this may not be acceptable at all studios.

• Wear comfortable clothing, and don’t attempt to squeeze into your pre-baby sports bra. Just trust me on this one.

• I had Olivia take an early nap and woke her up right before we left the house (hence rushing). Aside from almost being late, it ended up working in our favor that she was bright and alert for the class.

• Don’t worry. Everyone there has heard a baby scream before. This was one of my biggest fears– what if she screamed and cried? It would have been fine. One of the other babies slept in his carrier the entire class while Olivia clapped and screeched happily watching me make funny moves and faces.

• Be honest about your limitations and take it slow. You just had a baby, and your body is different. Listen to it. Don’t try and jump into where you think you should be.

• Bring an extra big blanket for baby to lay on. Something I didn’t think about but would have been helpful. Thankfully, there were extra yoga blankets available.

• Have a few toys or teethers available at arm’s reach before you get started. It helped to be able to pass those over when Olivia showed signs of being a little bored.

• Keep at it! You’re not only benefiting yourself, but studies have shown that children of active mothers are two times as likely to lead active lifestyles later in life. Also, the energy I had after the class was fantastic – I found myself skipping my afternoon coffee, which is nothing short of a miracle.

Jade Integrated Health has two locations in Brunswick at 12 Windorf Circle; and in Portland at 100 Fore St. Class schedules and descriptions, instructor information and a full listing of their services can be found at www.jadeintegratedhealth.com.

Jenny Byrnes can be reached at [email protected]