Exercise, Motherhood, Prenatal Exercise

3 Best Pregnancy Exercises That Will Make You a Fit Mom

By Tori Levine, creator of Mommy Barre

Ever wondered what exercises are safe during pregnancy or some quick and easy exercises for pregnancy you can do anywhere? Well, I’ve made up a list of the three best pregnancy exercises that will make you a fit mom based on my work with prenatal clients over the years. These exercises will keep you in shape and feeling good throughout your pregnancy and beyond!

Not only are these exercises great for pregnancy, they are great to do with your baby and for some quick strengthening and toning wherever you are!

  1. Squats – These are a great way to keep your legs strong so help support you as you gain the necessary weight during pregnancy and to help prepare you for birth.

How to perform a Squat – Stand with your feet a little further than hip-width apart. Inhale and as you exhalesqueeze your belly button to your spine and keeping your back flat, stick your rear back like you are about to sit on an imaginary chair. As you stand up engage your glutes (your buns) and keep your core tight and engaged until you are standing again. Repeat 10-20 times a few times a day.

Pro Tip: This is a great exercise that I often do while brushing my teeth.

  1. Clams – These exercises work your core and the muscles around your hips to help maintain stability in your pelvis and core.

How to perform a clam exercise – Lay on your left side with right shoulder and hip directly above your left shoulder and hip. Bend your knees so that your shoulders are in line with your hips and your feet. Inhale in this position. As you exhale lift your right knee toward the ceiling but be sure keep your hips and stacked on top of each other. Each time you lift your knee you should exhale and each time you bring your knees closed you can inhale. Your feet should stay together throughout the exercise. Complete 20 on each side.

Pro Tip: Don’t roll onto your back and then do a sit up to switch sides. Stay on your side and push yourself up sideways to avoid causing or exacerbating a diastasis recti. Watch our video on how to sit up the right way.

  1. Wall Push Ups – these are great to work your upper back muscles to help counteract postural changes that occur during pregnancy as well as after having baby.

How to perform a wall push up – Keeping your body straight place your hands on the wall in front of you. Walk you feet back a few small steps so you are slightly angled. Inhale and begin to bend your elbows and lower yourself toward the wall as you exhale and engage your core. Keep your core engaged and supporting your baby bump while you press your arms straight. Make sure your shoulders are pulled down and you are also engaging your upper back muscles between your shoulder blades. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 10.

Pro Tip: Start with your feet closer to the wall and as you get stronger you can begin to walk your feet further away from the wall. You can also do a set of 10 with your elbows out and parallel to the floor as well as a set of 10 with your elbows pulled tightly into your sides to work different muscles.

For a demonstration of these and more exercises you can do at home for pregnancy, with baby, and beyond subscribe to the Mommy Barre™ YouTube Channel and join our private community of supportive moms at www.facebook.com/groups/themommybarre.

About Author

As a certified pre/postnatal fitness educator, former dancer, and mom, Tori Levine developed Babies at the Barre™ to get moms back in shape without damaging their healing bodies. She has been featured as an expert in SHAPE, fitPregnancy, Parents®, and SELF Magazines. Babies at the Barre™ has grown into Mommy Barre™ which encompases, Bellies at the Barre™ (prenatal), Babies at the Barre™ (postnatal), Toddlers at the Barre®, and Moms at the Barre® so we can assist you during and long after your pre/postnatal seasons!

Copyright 2018 Babies at the Barre, LLC


breastfeeding, Motherhood

Three Things Every New Breastfeeding Mama Needs to Know

By Lynn Turcotte-Schuh.

I am a big advocate for breastfeeding. Not because I judge those who don’t, but because I know that those who do need a lot of support. If you choose not to breastfeed (or can’t breastfeed) I am happy to be first in line to help you correctly prepare formula. However, if you choose to breastfeed let me be the first in line to encourage you, support you and help keep you on track. Here are three very important things you need to know about breastfeeding.

#1: Breastfeeding is natural, but it is NOT automatic.

Breastfeeding is a LEARNED SKILL for both Mama and baby. Both parties have an instinctual drive moving them towards each other. The newborn baby, if left alone, will crawl up its mother’s abdomen, search for the breast and latch on to the nipple all on its own. The Mama’s body produces breastmilk that changes with the baby’s age, will be different for a boy versus a girl baby and is chock full of immunity. I mean, does it get more amazing than this?!? Mama and baby are truly a dyad. Here’s where the instinct ends…logistics. The first three weeks of breastfeeding are REALLY HARD. There is a steep learning curve and it can be very overwhelming if you’re on your own.

Look at these two photos. The one above shows a baby that is tummy to tummy with Mama with hips and shoulders aligned. This baby has a good chance at a proper latch. The baby on below has hips and shoulders that are aligned, but their body is turned out slightly. This slight change in position will not allow this baby to latch properly…which means they don’t get the nutrition they need and Mama’s nipples get shaved down (OUCH!). If I hadn’t pointed out this difference, many of you may not have even noticed there WAS a difference. This is where LOGISTICAL support is vital in your breastfeeding journey. You can find a list of certified breastfeeding counselors here. (link is https://www.alpp.org/search)

#2: Your tribe will make or break your breastfeeding experience

Breastfeeding can be one of the most deeply connected experiences you will ever have, or it can be one of the most trying challenges you will ever face. What makes the difference? Your tribe. Let’s look at two Mamas facing the same obstacle – breastfeeding has been painful. One Mama is surrounded by a supportive tribe of Mamas who have overcome the obstacles of breastfeeding. The other Mama is surrounded by an equally supportive tribe of Mamas who chose to stop breastfeeding and switch to formula. Neither group is right or wrong, in general…but one group is right or wrong for you and your goals.
If you are a Mama that wants to work through the struggles and come out the other side, surrounding yourself with Mamas who have done just that is going to be imperative. You need voices to counter the well-meaning loved ones who tell you to “just stop”. You need voices to cheer you on, to motivate you and give you confidence. You can find your tribe locally or online…whichever makes you feel more comfortable. If you are looking for an online tribe, I would be honored to invite you into mine. (Link is https://www.facebook.com/groups/HappyMamaVillage).

#3: Breastmilk is produced via supply and demand

This is important to know for several reasons. First, breast pumps (even the really good ones) are only about 40% as efficient as baby (on average). Unless you are a Mama that HAS to pump (i.e. baby is in NICU and can’t latch), it will behoove you to stay away from the pump for at least three to four weeks. Let’s add some numbers in to illustrate (and these are totally random numbers BTW!). Let’s say your baby needs 30 oz of milk per day. If your baby is on the breast 100% of the time, your body will produce 30 oz of milk. If your baby is on the breast 50% of the time and the pump is on the other 50%, your body will produce about 21 oz. If you only pump, your body will produce about 12 oz. There is a HUGE disparity here. Once your body is a milk-making machine (usually about 3-4 weeks out), then you can start adding in the pump if you need to build up a store of milk.

Second reason to remember this fact is so that you don’t freak out when the cluster feeds come. All babies will cluster feed at some point and most cluster feed on relatively predictable time tables of growth spurts – see the infographic. Cluster feeding is NOT happening because you are not making enough milk. It is happening because your baby is giving your body a heads up that they will need more milk as a baseline in the coming days and weeks.

Remember that 30 oz example? If your baby is approaching a growth spurt, they will cluster feed, telling your body “you need to start making 40 oz per day please”. And your body will respond. Your body will elevate your baseline to meet the demands of your growing baby. It is very rare that you truly have a low milk supply. If you have any concerns about that, speak with your lactation counselor.

Breastmilk is the best nutrition for your baby. We CANNOT replicate it. We come as close as we can with formula, but it will never be the same. Formula will not change as your baby grows. It does not have the immunity in it that breastmilk does. Just as your body knew how to grow and birth this baby, your body also knows how to feed it. Trust yourself and your baby. Ask for help when you need it. Embrace and enjoy your breastfeeding journey, but begin it with realistic expectations.
In Gratitude & With Love,

Lynn Turcotte-Schuh, CCCE, CLC

About Author

Lynn Turcotte-Schuh is a Childbirth Educator and Parenting Mentor, Children’s Book Author, Baby Sign Instructor, and the Creator of Happy Mama Wellness where she helps Mamas prepare for their new role, break through their parenting challenges, operate at their highest potential and create a positive and nurturing family dynamic. Lynn is highly passionate about helping Mamas find their power and be a role model they can be proud of.

Baby Products, Herbal Cream

Tropika Baby Herbal Cream’s New Look!

If you ask me what is my favourite product for Aydeen, it’s definitely Tropika Baby Herbal Cream! I have been using Tropika Baby Herbal Cream for Aydeen since he was a newborn.

Anybody who knows me well would know that I am highly picky when it comes to choosing products for Aydeen, especially if it involves rubbing onto his skin!

Every Asian mothers would rub some herbal oil onto their baby’s stomach. To me, the ingredients of these oils are highly important. And on top of it all, I believe that herbal creams for babies shouldn’t be too hot, and Tropika Baby Herbal Cream just fit my requirements.

Best of all, it now comes with a new convenient packaging! Let’s have a brief comparison between the old & new packaging.

Old packaging

This was how the old packaging looks like.

It came in a bottle with cap, which is very sturdy and durable. It can fit in standard handbags, though it occupies quite a large space.

The weight was 50g, so it can easily pass the liquid restrictions at airports. My Tropika Baby Herbal Cream had travelled to four different countries globally!

Newly Launched Packaging

Thanks to Tropika, I am one of the few to try the newly launched packaging! I fall in love at first sight with the new packaging instantly.

It now comes in a tube, which feels lighter (but still same 50g) and easier to fit in between those many things in my handbag (yes, my handbag consists of a bit of my things and mostly Aydeen’s diapers, spare clothing, baby wipes, cream, bottle & toys). And it’s a standard Kipling handbag, medium-sized. I rarely change my bag.

And what I love the most is it’s ease of use! You see, Aydeen was not the kind who can sit still during diaper change. In fact, he rarely stands at one place during diaper change. Always out and about. Which, during rubbing cream time using the old packaging, his fast hands would quickly grab the bottle and already messing up his hands with the cream before I can reach it.

With the new packaging? Not anymore! Easily flip away to open with one hand (while the other is busy with Aydeen), and quickly close with my thumb when not in use. No more messy hands for Aydeen. Mission accomplished!

Aydeen’s point of view

I put both packaging side by side, and asked Aydeen to choose. He chose the new packaging, together with his water bottle. Goodbye old packaging, Aydeen found his new favourite!

All in all, the newly launched packaging seems better than the old one. Kudos Tropika for making the change!

Digital Marketing, Social Media

How To Market Effectively In The Smartphone Addiction Generation

Admit it. All of us are addicted to our smartphones. Companies are using Whatsapp to communicate between departments and with other companies. Adults are using Facebook to communicate with each other. The younger generation are using Twitter to express their feelings. And those who hate texts love Instagram.

With these trends in mind, it is definitely a must for companies to go digital with a strategy. And how can we do this effectively?

1. Optimise page title for voice search

There is Siri, there is Google Voice Search, and everything in between. Obviously, with this trend in mind, companies should make sure their contents are voice search friendly.

Studies has shown that 60% of smartphone owners aged 18+ who used voice-enabled technology are using it to do online searches. And what’s more thrilling, 51% of them are using it to find information on a product. Isn’t this a good news for marketers?

2. Create A Multi-Touch Content

Interactive content is the way to go! Smartphone users are very attracted to multi-touch contents. They love to swipe, hold, click, and all those related gestures. Creating contents that are interactive will make them more engaged, and soon they will be converted to become your customers!

3. Mind The Connection Density

Sounds a bit technical, but it is one of the most important things to consider. Connection density, in a layman term, is when there is a potential connection that arises due to two connections that are readily connected.

For example, family gathering is high in connection density, as most of them know each other, and would possibly introduce a “potential connection” to you. On the other hand, riding a bus has low connection density, as people mostly do not blonde each other, so there’s low possibility of “potential connection”.

With smartphone users, they are somehow very social in social media, and they would highly introduce a “potential connection” in the social media itself. So please get your business marketed in Social Media!

These are some of the tips how we can market effectively in a smartphone addiction generation.