Tuesday 14 May 2013

Why I'm Feeling Apprehensive About Baba Boogie Fitness

This is a bit of an awkward post, mostly because I actually really like Sarah Jane Honeywell. I’ve never seen any of the kids shows she does, but I know she’s vegan and I like the idea that there is a vegan on children’s tv. I like to imagine she is a role model for vegan kids. And I’m all for that.

I follow her on Twitter in fact, so I can keep updated with the campaigning work she does to promote veganism. Isn’t that great, a childhood role model who isn’t afraid to stand up and make a difference? What a lovely thing. I hope she is playing a part in inspiring a generation of youngsters willing to stand up and scream “Fuck you David Cameron!” or whatever it is people scream in the future.

But sadly, this is not a post about how totes-amazeballs Sarah Jane Honeywell is. Nor is it a post about how much I hate David Cameron. It’s a post about how apprehensive I feel about Sarah’s latest venture.

As I was trawling through my twitter feed today, I noticed a post by Sarah talking about @Bababoogiefit - the first mum and baby fitness DVD.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing offensive about a little postnatal exercise. In fact, anything that can tame that saggy, doughy, overflowing monstrosity us mums call a midriff sounds good to me. It can be hard to get motivated post-pregnancy, it’s just so lovely to stay anchored under a sleeping baby and work through a few box sets. But exercise is important. It is a proven stress reliever and mood raiser, and can help you out of any rut. So, as I say, I’m all for a bit of exercise.

And the idea of exercising with your baby? I love that even more. How great that you don’t have to ditch the baby at the creche, or abandon them with a family member, for you to work out. Life with a baby can be pretty tough. Even if you do actually manage to get up on time for an exercise class, successfully book a place at the creche, get both yourself and the baby dressed on time, and head to the front door, you’re still probably not going to make it. In that scenario, it is pretty much guaranteed that, just as you look smugly at your be-sweatbanded self in the mirror as you reach for the front door, you will hear a ear-splitting fart noise, only to discover your entire gym outfit (and the only one that fits you these days,) is covered in a thick, yellow gloop that smells suspiciously of baby poo. Or, in the unlikely event that you make it to the car, the baby will fall instantly asleep and you’ll sit outside the gym for two hours waiting for her to wake up because you are too scared to try and move her. Or, in the even less likely event that you actually make it into the gym on time with your baby, she’ll decide she’s starving and you’ll spend the entire exercise class sat on the subs bench with you breast on display.

Even just thinking about going to the gym with a baby has made me exhausted. So that’s why I can see the importance of having a DVD. No leaving the house, no lycra-clad gym bunnies ogling at your baps, and, best of all, no-one will know if you are covered in baby poo.

Back to Sarah for a second. Her tweet linked to a Twitter account set up to promote the new DVD. There isn’t much information up there at the moment. There isn’t a website link or a description of the DVD. All there is infact, is a photo.

The photo shows Sarah Jane Honeywell and two other women (in slightly terrifying one colour gym outfits) wearing babies in carriers. Normally, the sight of someone carrying a baby fills me with excitement. I often have to physically fight the desire to try and high-five them. But no, these keep fit women are not wearing the type of carriers that fill me with excitement at having found a like minded parent. No, they are wearing the WRONG type of carriers.

Now, if this has all started to sound a bit finicky, bear with me. There is a valuable lesson to be learnt here. Babywearing is great, but you have to wearing your baby in the right kind of carrier. The right type of carrier supports the baby from knee to knee. This means she is supported by her bottom in the carrier. She is supported from thigh to knee, so there is minimal pressure on the thigh joint. The right type of carrier allows the baby’s spine to stay in the natural curved position.

The wrong type of carrier, also known as a “crotch-dangler”, supports the baby by the crotch. This puts more pressure on the thigh joint and can actually lead to hip dysplasia. Crotch-danglers also force the baby’s back into an unnatural straight position, this is not good for the developing spine. If you’re interested, you can read more information here.

Some of the babies on the promotional image are even being worn outward facing. Wearing your baby facing outwards, pushes her spine an incorrect position. The baby is unable to cling to your body, and doesn’t have the muscle control or strength to hold herself in the right position. Her pelvis will tilt forward and be forced to carry her own weight, as well as absorbing the force of each step you take. This isn’t good for baby’s spine, but it also won’t be good for yours. Carrying a baby in a forward-facing position puts unnatural stress on your body due to the uneven weight distribution.

There is no website, and no further information about @bababoogiefit available online yet. This entire post spawned from the promotional photo on the Twitter account. Perhaps it will turn out that they tell you all of this information in the DVD, and wear the right type of baby carriers throughout the exercise. Maybe they only put the crotch-danglers on for “a laugh” in their lunchbreak, because the thought of anyone making an exercise DVD and using such ill-suited carriers was so hilarious.

I can hope anyway.

p.s. Sorry Sarah, please don’t take it personally. I still think you’re a great vegan role model for the kids.

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