Exercise, Motherhood, Uncategorized, yoga

5 Pose To Make Moms Happier

by Naomi Gottlieb-Miller

We’re told as moms that the days are long but the years are short.

I 100% agree with that. I’m literally writing this while my 2 ½ year old son is napping in my lap and thinking, when did he get so big that he can barely fit into my lap?

The days really can feel painfully long sometimes, especially if you’re not setting aside time to take care of you.

I’ve created a quick yoga practice that you can do every day to boost your mood and maybe even feel a little happier on those especially long days.

The practice is just about 10 minutes long, with 5 simple yoga poses for you to do.

Don’t worry: this practice is intended for busy moms of at all levels of yoga practice. If you’re newer to yoga, I promise you’ll be just fine. The poses I’ve picked aren’t super challenging and I give lots of modifications if you need them. Also, the more you do these poses, the more familiar they will become, and the easier they will feel in your body.

So give yourself 15 minutes, roll out your yoga mat, and make a date with yourself so that you can feel a little more satisfied and have a little more bounce in your step on those long days of motherhood.

About Author

Naomi is a mom, a yoga teacher, a self-care advocate, an activist, and a total star trek nerd. I’ve been practicing yoga for 19 years and teaching for 14. She is known for my creative and intentionally sequenced yoga classes, as well as my belief that laughter, sound effects, and animal noises that correspond with their yoga poses make yoga more fun.
She loves avocados, unicorns, and has been called a “crazy indoor plant lady”

Website: http://www.conscioushealthymama.com

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The Importance of Early Bedtime for Children – A Psychologist’s Perspective

By Dr Cheryl Andaya

Your child wants to play but it’s getting pretty late and it’s already past their bedtime. You decide to let them stay up just a bit longer. Then, you realize how late it is and they have school the next day. You’re not too worried since they’ve stayed up late before and managed okay. While it seems harmless, not getting enough sleep can have long-term negative effects on a child’s development. An article in the Harvard Gazette (McGreevey, 2017) states “children ages 3 to 7 who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have problems with attention, emotional control, and peer relationships in mid-childhood, according to a new study led by Harvard pediatrician.”

I am guilty of letting my children stay up late at times, especially during days where there is no school. However, we know that adults who are sleep deprived exhibit irritability, drowsiness, and decreased cognitive functioning. In fact, they have shown that driving while sleep deprived is equivalent to driving drunk (National Sleep Foundation, n.d.). Children, who are still developing physically, emotionally, and cognitively can have immediate and long-term effects when appropriate sleep is not achieved. We have all experienced the tired toddler who is screaming and throwing a tantrum. Little things will set off my 7-year-old if he misses his nap. If your child is having behavioral problems, it’s always a good idea to reflect and see if they missed their afternoon naptime or if they slept late or poorly the night before. Children in school who have not had enough sleep fall behind as maintaining attention becomes difficult. Sometimes it can seem like symptoms of Attention-Deficit Disorder. When I conduct psychological testing with children and adults, I typically ask if they had a good night’s sleep the night before. Poor sleep also affects mood. Teenagers are especially susceptible as they go through hormonal changes and changes in sleep patterns. When children and teenagers stay up late playing videogames and then sleep in half the day, this can be very disruptive to their functioning.

Problems exhibited by children who don’t have enough sleep

  1. Irritability
  2. Inattention
  3. Defiant behavior
  4. Depression
  5. Difficulty thinking
  6. Slowed thinking times
  7. Concentration problems
  8. Emotional sensitivity
  9. Tantrums
  10. Insomnia due to being overly tired

Teaching good sleep hygiene is important at an early age. I have run into many teens and adults who suffer from insomnia due to poor sleep hygiene. Here are a few pointers on getting your child started on developing good sleep habits.

Sleep Routines

One way to help ensure your child is getting enough sleep is to have nighttime routines and stick to the recommended amount of sleep. Check out this infographic from the National Sleep Foundation for the recommended amount of sleep based on your child’s age: https://sleepfoundation.org/sites/default/files/SleepTimeRecommendations012615%5B1%5D-page-001_0.jpg. Each child is different so be observant on what is the best amount of sleep for your child.

Winding Down

Help your child begin winding down at the end of the day. Try to make this winddown period the same time each day. Make sure they have eaten a good meal so they don’t go to bed hungry. If they have problems with wetting the bed, you want to make sure you don’t give them any liquids too close to bedtime. A nice warm bath can help them physically relax. Reading a book, saying prayers, meditating, reviewing positive aspects of the day, and of course, snuggles can also be a nice way to slow things down. This also helps them think of positive thoughts when the lights go out and they dream. Providing special individualized attention to your child during this time gives them a sense of security, which helps them ease into sleep. If you’re rushing to get them to sleep and feeling stressed, your child will feel that tension and it will make falling asleep harder, so try to work on calming yourself as much as calming your child.

Environment Conducive to Sleep

Your child’s sleep environment is also important. Many parents allow their children to fall asleep with the television on; however, this is not the best way to achieve sleep and teaches poor sleep hygiene which can contribute to future sleep problems. Here are a few things that help in providing an environment that promotes sleep:

  1. Blackout curtains
  2. White noise maker or lullaby (depending on the age of your child). Make sure it has a sleep mode that will turn off after a certain time. My son enjoys falling asleep to music. When he wakes and the music had turned off, he has a clock radio where he can just hit the button and the sleep mode will kick on again.
  3. Oil diffuser and oils (I use doterra – see my resources page on my website (livewithcouragenow.com/resources-and-reviews) for the oils and type of diffuser I use to help with putting my children and myself to sleep)
  4. Nightlight – The very tiny amount of light emitted can help your child if he/she is afraid of the dark. They have nightlights that are also oil diffusers!
  5. Try not to have any electronics (television, video games, iphones, ipads) in the room. I usually have our children charge their devices in our room where we can ensure they are not going on after a certain time.
  6. Cuddle object – My younger child always selects one cuddle buddy to sleep with. Having this security object helped him transition when he started preschool and it helps to have when we go on trips.

Consistency

Finally, one of the most important things when it comes to ensuring your child gets a good night’s sleep, is to develop good sleep patterns through consistency. Make sure they have the same sleep and wake times. Our bodies rely on routines to get that circadian rhythm going. What is the circadian rhythm? You can find out more about it here (https://www.nigms.nih.gov/education/pages/Factsheet_CircadianRhythms.aspx). Basically, the site states “Circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a daily cycle.” It responds to light and darkness, which is why using blackout curtains and keeping things that produce too much light, like electronic devices, out of the room are important. Once you get your child on the same routine of sleeping and waking each day, it becomes much easier to put them to sleep and the waking hours become much better. Babies are a little different since they are prone to mixing their days and nights; however, even with babies, you want to get them on a routine as much as possible when they are ready.

In my practice, I’ve seen children with mood and behavioral problems improve in functioning when they get on a consistent routine that provides enough sleep and healthy eating. Young children need to learn healthy sleep hygiene, which will set them up for a better future.

Works Cited
McGreevey, S. (2017, March 10). The Harvard Gazette. Retrieved from news.harvard.edu: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/03/study-flags-later-risks-for-sleep-deprived-kids/
National Sleep Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved from sleepfoundation.org: https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/drowsy-driving-vs-drunk-driving-how-similar-are-they

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Cheryl Andaya is a licensed clinical psychologist in Hawaii with over 10 years of experience in working with children, adults and families. She has testified as an expert witness in Hawaii courts and enjoys making a difference in people’s lives. She has taken her years of knowledge and clinical experience to create livewithcouragenow.com a website where individuals can gain knowledge in parenting, leadership, coaching, and finding courage to live their best life!

Aloha everyone! As a clinical psychologist, my mission is to help others be the best parent, leader, and find the courage to step out of their comfort zones, punch self-doubt in the face, and conquer their goals. I grew up with humble beginnings with immigrant parents and now raise a family of my own with a blend of cultural appreciation and respect for themselves and others.

Please join me in improving our futures!
Facebook: facebook.com/livewithcouragenow
IG: Instagram.com/livewithcouragenow
Pinterest: pinterest.com/livewithcouragenow

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Top 3 Ways Blogging Great Content That People Love

You had your free time after the baby sleeps. You turned on your phone. You wrote. You published. And one day after, your blog post was only read by three people (if any). You were dumbfounded.

With so many blogs out there, how do we make sure readers read our blog? Below are the key things:

1. Create useful content

Different people may find different blogs useful. Here’s a few examples.

A busy engineer with kids at home may be so stressed out with his life, that he wanted a blog that is less serious and entertaining. It could be blogs that humours, or relating their interests, such as football.

A new mom, on the other hand, may have a newborn that refuse to nurse or sleep, and she wants to know why. So she searches blogs that are related to her problems and how to solve it.

So what should you do? Research your readership. Analyse how many people are reading your blogs, and which types of blog posts attract them the most. You will find your way.

2. Make your content unique

How many travel blogs have you read? How many mom blogs have you read? I’m sure your answer is plenty (and still many of them that you haven’t found or read)!

So how do you stand out from the crowd? Surf through other blogs from your niche. Analyse them. Observe their voice, tone, and style. Do you want to copy them at a better way (which is very difficult), or would you write more specific topics? Your choice!

3. Make your content scannable

Admit it – we don’t really read anything online until the end (at least for me!). We scanned through the article.

What does readers read, then? Headlines. Introduction. Subtitles. And ending. You better make these things perfect!

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Why It’s Important For You To Attend A Childbirth Class And How It Prepares You For Your Parenting Journey

by Lynn Turcotte-Schuh, CCCE, AAHCC

Birthclass

Hey Mama. First of all, congratulations! Growing a human is no small feat and I am so proud of you for hanging in there! Having said that, i­­­­f you are anything like me, you’ve had (or will have) a moment of panic when the realization hit that the miracle growing inside you was going to come out…of YOUR body…through your VAGINA.

Most Americans spend more time researching a new car than they spend researching and preparing for the birth of their baby. Figuring out which course is right for you and your family can be overwhelming…and many people choose to just live in ignorant bliss. In fact, the large majority of first time parents never take any sort of class. Please note, however, that this is one of those cases where just because most people do it this way, it does not mean it’s the best way. Let’s cover some of the AMAZING benefits of taking a childbirth class as well as what to look for in a good class.

Why should I take a childbirth class?

If I had a dollar for every time I get asked this question. I get it…only about 20% of first-time parents take a childbirth preparation class. Why is that number so low? Personally, I think it’s because of all the misinformation circulating about how many options you actually have. Taking a class can make you more prepared than you even knew you could be. It answers all the questions you didn’t even know you had. Want some more concrete reasons to take a class? Here you go:

  1. A woman’s body was built for growing and birthing babies. I always ask expectant Mamas – “Did you have to Google how to make a placenta?” After the giggles dissipate, we get to the meat of that question. The placenta – an organ your body creates to support the growth of your baby. Your body LITERALLY grows an entire new organ complex (no different than your heart or lungs) in order to grow your baby. Really let the power of that sink in for a moment. If your body know how to do this, don’t you think it also knows how to birth the baby? Taking a class will help you understand what to expect from your body and increase your confidence for the big day.
  2. During your childbirth preparation class, you have the opportunity to discuss your fears about labor and birth with both the instructor and the other students – who quite often have the same fears and anxieties. Calming these fears can actually keep your labor on track and progressing normally…never mind giving you a much more positive experience. I guarantee the other parents in your class have the same questions and concerns…and there is always power in numbers. Knowing you are not alone and getting answers is invaluable.
  3. Some students find that completing a class with their partner creates a stronger bond that better prepares them to parent together. In the large majority of cases, you started this journey together, bringing your baby into the world should really be looked at as a team effort. Baby is working hard to get themselves out (the cardinal movements of labor), Mom is surely working hard to get baby out (breathing, relaxing, listening to her body, uterus contracting, cervix opening)…it seems only fair that the parenting partner should be working hard too. I call this person the labor coach and their to-do list is quite long. A good childbirth class will cover the job description for both Mom AND Coach. Once you have worked as a team to bring your baby into this world, there is nothing you can’t do together.
  4. During a good childbirth class, you get a full picture of ALL the options available to you. No matter what type of birth you are striving for, by the end of your class you should be feeling empowered, educated and confident in navigating the right path for you and your family.
  5. Finally, in order to keep your labor progressing and keep labor pain to a minimum, you need to be relaxed. The labor process is a very intricate dance of hormones and when adrenaline (the stress hormone) spikes in the early stages, in can actually stop your labor. This adrenaline then blocks your body’s natural pain killers (endorphins) and increases your discomfort. When you know what to expect, what is normal, and have tools and techniques to call upon you can prevent the early adrenaline spikes and keep your labor progressing and less painful.

How does childbirth class prepare us for parenting?

To answer that question simply, a good childbirth class should not only cover the stages of labor and relaxation techniques, it should also cover the first few days with your baby. Topics such as newborn procedures, diaper changing, feeding baby, when to call the doctor and how to care for Mom in those first few weeks postpartum are just a few of the extras that should be covered.

Secondly, remember how the class created a sense of teamwork? Can’t parent without that!

What should I look for in a good childbirth class?

Whether it is a private class or a hospital class, these are the minimum attributes I would recommend looking for:

  1. Instructor Certification – some instructors are certified in specific birthing “techniques”. I don’t think this is a bad thing, I myself am certified as a Bradley Method instructor. What I do think is that an instructor with ONLY this certification (Bradley, Hypnobirthing, Lamaze) cannot necessarily give you a great overview of all your options – they must teach to the curriculum provided. I recommend looking for instructors that have certifications through organizations like CAPPA (Childbirth and Postpartum Professionals Association) or ICEA (International Childbirth Education Association) in conjunction with the more specific “methods”.
  2. Curriculum – as described above, a good childbirth class should cover the stages of physiologic birth, relaxation techniques, common interventions, pain management options, newborn care, and caring for Mom at minimum. If you are taking classes through your birth place, you may need to go to several different sessions to get all of this information.
  3. Partner’s Role – as mentioned previously, a good childbirth class will prepare the coach as much as the birthing woman. Do not settle for anything less!
  4. Logistics – Is this class one single day or multiple sessions? How many couples are in the class? What is the class fee? What is included in the class fee (handouts, etc)?
  5. Online or In-Person – Many private instructors will only have in-person classes, as do many birth places. Some instructors and larger organizations offer online-only courses. There are a small handful of instructors that will offer both or have classes which combine online curriculums with personalized instruction. Look at your schedule and choose the option that best fits your life.

To summarize, trust your body Mama. Trust your instincts. Take a class. Embrace your new role…it is the most fulfilling one you will ever have.

ABOUT THE 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. She accomplishes this through programs like her signature courses Childbirth Made Easy(er) and How to Train Your Toddler. Lynn is highly passionate about helping Mamas find their power and be a role model they can be proud of.

Want more information on Lynn’s signature program Childbirth Made Easy(er)? Please click here!

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Aydeen’s Favourite First Foods Recipes!

Hello everyone!

Yes, I know this is what most of you have been requesting for such a long time. I’m so sorry that it took ages!

I will share a lot about Aydeen’s food journey and his favourite recipes, but for now let’s start with his favourite first foods!

I was very particular when it comes to Aydeen’s first foods. I wanted it to be natural, tasty, and comprehensive. On top of it all, it must be nutritious!

Ingredients-wise, when Aydeen started his first solid at 6 months, I started him off with single taste for the first few weeks. I made sure he tasted a whole lot of variety, so just imagine how my medium-sized refridgerator was coping to keep all the stocks!

Anyhows, let’s go straight to his favourite first single tastes. I would say it’s more method, instead of recipes, as these are single tastes!

I got these recipes from the book Feeding Your Baby Day By Day by Fiona Wilcock. It’s definitely worth an investment!

P/S: “your baby’s usual milk” refers to whatever current milk you are giving him. It can be breast milk or formula. Aydeen, of course, mixed his first foods with breast milk (there goes my stock!). It helps a lot making him loves the new food he tasted everyday! 🙂

PSS: remember this 1 simple rule – when baby started solid, milk is still his main food, and solid food is JUST FOR TASTING. So, DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED if your baby eats a little, so long he has plenty intake of milk!

PSSS: don’t ever think that a baby doesn’t like certain food at his first taste of it, or even the second. As studies shown that it took a baby about 10 tries for new food to be accepted by babies, so try again in the next few days! 🙂

1. Baby Rice

This is Aydeen’s VERY FIRST food, and he ate a whole lot bunch of it! Yes, I think he is a carbo-lover. Definitely my son!

Ingredients:

Your baby’s usual milk

Baby rice (you can do this yourself, which is very easy, or just buy the baby rice from the grocery store)

Method:

If you buy the baby rice, just follow instruction from the packaging.

If you are doing it yourself, mix 1 teaspoon of baby rice for every 15ml of milk.

2. Carrot

Carrot was one of Aydeen’s favourite first foods, and is still his favourite even when he is 1 year old! A little warning: your baby’s poo may turn a bit orangey-coloured after eating this 😂

Ingredients:

1 large carrot

60ml of cooled boiled water, or baby’s usual milk (Aydeen, of course, used breast milk)

Method:

1. Peel the carrot and trim off the top and bottom. Slice thinly.

2. Steam for 7-8 minutes, or until tender.

3. Cool slightly, then puree with water or milk.

3. Broccoli

Broccoli was my favourite, and I was longing to make it Aydeen’s favourite too. Hence, I introduced him very early on broccoli, and it has been his favourite vegetable ever since!

Ingredients:

150g Broccoli florets, washed

120ml cooled boiled water, or your baby’s usual milk

Method:

1. Steam the broccoli for 8-10 minutes until tender.

2. Cool slightly, then puree with the water or milk.

Voila!!! These are Aydeen’s 3 first foods, and has been his favourite until now. Hope it helps in your solid introduction journey! 🙂

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3 Reasons Why I Fall in Love With Babywearing

Babywearing. I never knew this word exists, until I was pregnant. And as I was going around looking for baby supplies, just like what every other mothers would do, I was given a free book from one of the stores, saying that the owner of the store gives away the book for free. The title was: Babywearing Made Simple, written by Adrianna Thani.

I immediately fall in love with the book. And I slowly fall in love with the concept of baby wearing, especially when Aydeen was born.

1. It soothes a High Need Baby

Every single person that meets Aydeen today would say how easygoing and friendly Aydeen is. I am definitely happy as a mother, and the struggles I had to go through back when he was smaller feels worth every effort.

Aydeen was (and is still) a high need baby. He is very vocal on what he wants. And he definitely knows how to make people do it his way. It is his personality, his temperament.

Back when he was a newborn, Aydeen always cried high pitch, easily wakes up to every sound and gets mad about it, and is hard to put to sleep. Even when he was full, even when we checked there’s no wind, even when we tried everything. My maid, who had experience taking care of my brother’s and my sister’s baby, tried babywearing to put him to sleep. And it worked!

And so since then, I bought my own instant sling and wear Aydeen whenever he’s not in the mood. Works all the time!

2. It Gives You Free Hands To Do Your House Chores

Baby crying everytime you’re not beside him? He needs to sleep while you’re still waiting for your rendang to dry? Babywearing is the answer! Free hands, definitely!

3. It Widens Your Options to Travel

No need to search for stroller-friendly locations. No heartbroken at transit airports when your stroller is not with you. Best carry options at bazaars and places loaded with people!

Share this and spread the love of babywearing!

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Preparation for Introducing Solid

Many mothers asked me on recipes that I was feeding Aydeen to make him so excited to eat.

Well, I may be lucky, probably it was his traits. But I am a firm believer of “getting prepared for everything “. So, I have actually bought 3 books on introducing solid: 1 book on puree-based food, 1 book on baby-led weaning, and 1 book on mixed puree + baby-led.

At first, I was determined to go for fully baby-led, since I was breastfeeding Aydeen on demand. But when actual day comes , I turned to mixed puree + baby-led.

I was actually quite thankful that I bought the books. It gave me knowledge about what to feed, when to feed and how much to feed, though in reality Aydeen turns out eating twice (sometimes triple) the portion suggested. I was worried at first, because I heard some friends having advice from doctors to slow down the food intake due to nearing obese line. But thankfully Aydeen was born small, so paediatrician was happy he was catching up on his growth!

The books also guided me on normal breastfeed / milk intake, as well as nutritious food options. There was also an advice on transitting from bottle to cup. I have religiously followed, and I am happily declaring that Aydeen now is a pro of drinking milk from a sippy cup. No more bottles! He was drinking milk fully from sippy cup at roughly 9 months. Well done, Aydeen!

And Aydeen is also currently drinking plain water from the normal open cup. He has been doing so since 10 months. So I am targeting to let Aydeen drinks milk from open cup when he is 1 year & ditch the sippy cup. Horray!!!

Straw? Ah, probably train him after he is pro at open cup. After all, he is now pro at chewing & can say words like “ibu”, “ayah”, “dah”, “cat” and some animal sounds and baby words. So not much pressure to introduce straw.

But on top of all these, the main learning that I get from the books is the eating culture. Making the feeding time fun and attractive. And it is the time of bonding with family, eating together & socialising during mealtime. A perception & value that we need to instill at a very early age to make it become part of them.

Hence the picture I upload with this article. It was a picture when Aydeen was 5 months. In preparation to introduce him solid at 6 months, we started to have him sitting with us together during mealtime at 5 months. When he was showing the interest on our food, we first gave him empty bowl & spoon to play with. And yes, now Aydeen likes to take the spoon from my hand to feed himself. At least some baby-led weaning training! He he.

OK, recipes in next post. Too tired to write now. Till then!

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