No matter what you read or who you listen to, one thing is certain – nothing can properly prepare you for Motherhood. You know you will be suffering from lack of sleep, learning about this new baby and dealing with your body post-birth. The difficulty is, doing it all. So, how can you find some “me time”?
Fill your own cup – This is a variation on a quote that is often seen regarding motherhood. It is the KEY to ensuring that you are able to still give to others. You need to ensure that your ‘cup’ is not always empty. How can you give to others if you have nothing left to give? This is where that all-important self-care routine comes in.
The thing is to acknowledge that in order to still be you and be a mother and partner you need to know that you will need to put some time into your own health. You can read how you can ‘ditch the guilt’ in a previous article. It is not an easy process, every time we even think of doing something for ourselves, the guilt can kick in.
Realising that you NEED to put some energy into your own wellbeing will enable you to be more present in your other roles: Mummy, Partner, Daughter, Employee or Business Owner. So, with that now in the front of your mind, how can you start to find the time and energy for yourself?
Things to try
Take a moment before you get out of bed in the morning to think of something you are grateful for. It does not always need to be the big stuff, sometimes it can be really small such as “the baby only woke once last night” or “it looks like it will be a sunny day”. This Gratitude Practice can often have a profound impact on how we start a new day.
Decide to do one small thing today just for you. Again, it might be to drink a cup of tea when it is still hot! Put on makeup before you go out. Often, just a few minutes needed to complete these small tasks allows us to take a minute – just for us.
Mindful Moments, so when you decide on your one small thing, be present in that moment. Do not make up the next feed while drinking your tea, or talk to your baby when you are putting on your make up. Just enjoy the simple pleasure of completing this one thing, just for you. These Mindful Moments allow our brain some time to rest and re-set and affect not just the brain waves but also our parasympathetic nervous system (the one that controls our involuntary nervous system), so our blood pressure lowers, breath deepens and heart rate slows.
Pick something to read. (Maybe not War & Peace!) Just for the pleasure, whether it is a trashy mag or a book you have wanted to read for ages. Nothing too taxing or large, or you will be defeated and see it as something else you have not finished. This is a great ‘guilty pleasure’ and can definitely take priority over putting the washing on.
Connect with friends and family. It is easy to stay in contact with people over social media but it is really important for your wellbeing to actually meet up with people. Getting out and about is vital for our emotional and social wellbeing. Being a Mum can be a lonely business, being able to chat with other women can really help to reassure us that we are all in the same boat!
Get planning on something bigger, an evening out or meeting friends for coffee or lunch. Book a Massage (great for the body and soul), have your hair cut or maybe even a night away! Just the act of planning allows us to think of something that is not revolving around other people’s needs.
Nap when you can, when your baby sleeps, try and grab some time. The accumulation of sleep deprivation can have a massive ongoing effect on your mental and physical health. The evidence is now clear that a ‘power nap’ can help with brain function (even Google are now promoting power naps for employees!).
Get a cleaner! I know really? Yes, ditch the guilt on the cost. The small weekly outlay will be worth it. You will be at home, baby taking a nap and think “Oh I really should just clean the bathroom, or dust or….” Let’s face it, the list is endless! Knowing that the basics are covered will have a direct impact on your mental health! We are back to the mindset again, remember, your health needs to be a priority too!
Motherhood is the most wonderful thing to enter our lives, embrace it but also believe that you are worthwhile too. Be KIND to yourself. We are often our own worst critics and listening to that voice in our head over the choices we make can be life-affecting. You are doing a marvellous job (yes it is indeed a job – just without pay!). I hope you feel that you can now create your own Me Time with these simple tips.
So, be kind to yourself without guilt. Enjoy your journey with your family and welcome to the ultimate TRIBE – Motherhood!
If you live in Kent, England and are looking to book a massage for some real self-care love then, check out Harmonia Therapies
Pregnancy is like carrying around a hot water bottle with you all the time! Many mums love this but getting overly hot when pregnant is no joke. When the weather heats up, you are likely to feel that more than others. So here are some tips for keeping cool during pregnancy brought to you by Guest blogger Janet Penny.
Top 10 Tips to Stay Cool During Pregnancy
1. Run your wrists under tepid water. This will help cool the rest of your body too by lowering your core temperature. Don’t make the water too cold as it will constrict your blood vessels and send signals to your body to retain heat.
2. If you suffer from swollen ankles and feet, raise them up and drape them with cool wet towels. Also, take advantage of the weather to wear flip flops
3. Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water, 8 glasses a day is recommended. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink, take a bottle of water with you everywhere.
4. Go for a swim. I remember how much I loved swimming when I was pregnant, for one thing, I felt weightless for the whole time. Even if you can’t swim, spend some time submerged in the water at the shallow end, it’s a wonderful relief.
5. If you can, run your errands in the morning, before the sun gets too hot.
6. Wear large airy clothes of natural fibres, during the day as well as at night.
7. Keep your blinds and curtains closed during the day and windows open to keep the air circulating.
8. Invest in a fan and put a frozen bottle of water in front to add moisture to the air
9. If you find it difficult to stay cool at night, check out this cooling pillow
Guest Blog by Family Photographer Janet Penny. Janet is based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England and specialises in baby, child and pregnancy photography. She has lovely blogs for mums and mums-to-be including baby names. She kindly offered some great tips on keeping cool during pregnancy to help all those mums that struggle to get comfortable in the heat.
Janet runs Hushabye Photography, specialising in newborn, older baby and maternity photography. You can see her work on her website.
When Baby Comes
Luckily your amazing body will find its thermometer again! If you are thinking of taking your newborn to classes then have a read of the article that offers some great ideas on what you can look for. If baby massage is on your list of things to do with your baby, you can also purchase the online baby massage course from Rachel. It has over 100 minutes of guided videos and each module allows you to take your time and learn all you need to comfortable massage your baby at home.
Rachel is a Complimentary Health Specialist, running a Wellbeing Centre and is the founder of Buddha Buddies, Baby and Children’s Yoga, Massage and Mindfulness classes. She is the author of Mindful Parenting – 40 Mindful Moments to share with your children. She is currently working with experts in the field of Pregnancy, Child Development and Mindfulness to bring more information to parents everywhere. You can check out her blog on Top Tips to bring in some Mindful Moments with your children.
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As a Baby Yoga Instructor, I love the simplicity of baby action songs. A simple nursery song combined with some movements never ceases to bring a smile to a baby’s face.
However, did you know there is a lot more going on in that baby brain while they are smiling and moving?[
Disclaimer: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means I may receive a commission if clicked at no extra cost to you. Though the opinions remain my own.]
Your Baby’s Brain
You know that your baby has the most awesome brain, every parent is always astounded at just how quickly their baby develops and gains new skills. Let’s face it, even at birth the amount of brainpower that your baby shows is pretty mind-blowing! (did you know that your baby knows your smell as soon as they are born – amazing and true!)
During the first year, the physical size of your baby’s brain doubles! That just goes to prove that they really do get smarter every day. Also, the area of the brain that shows the most development in the first year is the cerebellum, which is responsible for movement. You can read more about this in the great article by LiveScience.
So, how can we harness this rapid growth and boost your baby’s brainpower?
Doing – Yes, really! The main method of really working that grey matter and the method that works best for your baby is the act of doing, watching and engaging in something.
By working on song and movement you are utilising both the left and right sides of your baby’s brain. This really is a double winner for boosting that early development. Different areas of the brain are being activated at the same time! I cover various songs in baby yoga classes but I have also started to put them together in a FREE VIDEO SERIES over on youtube. You just need to grab your baby and you are all good to go! I have put one below so you can see me in action.
Singing, love it or hate it? Luckily enough, your baby is tuned to love the sound of their caregiver’s voice, so even if you think you are sounding horribly out of tune, do not worry your baby will still love it! It is another way to get other family members involved. There really is nothing cuter than a sibling signing to his or her little baby brother or sister! If you have Grandparents who are not nearby, you can always set up that Zoom call and get them singing too.
Movement with Song
Adding in movement during the song really is the next step in working that brain. Your baby will always love listening to songs you sing, but when you start adding in some movement with them, it really takes make the whole thing far more exciting and interactive, which all helps with that brainpower. There are various songs that are available, and you one of the joys is always making up your own too. I have listed some of my favourites below, but feel free to add in any that you know. The lovely thing is that lots of traditional ‘nursery’ songs work so well for this, and many of them are regional. It is a great way of adding in some real diversity and also family history to the next generation.
Your baby learns by watching and doing, so what other baby activities can you add into your day?
Baby Massage – this still remains one of the best ways to add-in soo many benefits to your baby. From bonding to singing, there really is a whole lot of techniques there to build that baby brain. You can start baby massage today with the online baby massage course. It has all you need to learn baby massage at home, all delivered in video modules that allow you to learn at your own pace. It also has full support via the private Facebook Group too.
Books – reading with your baby, especially if you are choosing interactive books is another brain-boosting baby activity that you can easily add in every day. I have put in a couple of my favourites below.
Keep It Going – From Birth To Age 3
These are all suitable for the first year, but remember that your baby’s brain will continue to grow and the first 3 years at the biggest times of brain growth during our whole lifetime. There is more to read on how your baby’s brain is structured and activities for working both sides of the brain too. So keep going with those activities! You can check out more baby and toddler activities here and also how to add in some mindfulness activities for the toddler and beyond years
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As a parent, it can be difficult to not only read all the ‘best advice’ but also find the time to put all those great new strategies in place. There is so much out there on how to improve ourselves as parents and bring up our children to be resilient, kind, caring and happy. The tricky thing I found, how to pack it all into an already busy life.
Speaking to lots of other parents, especially in my baby classes, everyone seems to be feeling it. How do we learn all this ‘new stuff’ on how to be the best parent we can and then find the time to ensure that we are able to put it into practice? I know that I love to read and develop, not only as a person but as my role as a parent. I end up ‘cherry-picking’ from various books, blogs, and general tips. Sometimes successfully, others, well – not so much!
[Disclaimer: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means I may receive a commission if clicked at no extra cost to you. Though the opinions remain my own.]
When I was looking at the idea of a Mindful Parenting book, this thought kept popping up. So, how could I make a book that actually had stuff you would want to put into practice an easy read! I had so many ideas and thoughts of how it ‘should’ look but in the end, I choose to follow my own intuition. Keep it simple. Write something that would be easy to not only pick up and read but also put into place.
The book is not divided into ages of children. So many families have a wide age range and honestly, many of the exercises are suitable for a wide age range. As a parent, you know what type of activity your child likes, regardless of age. My girls (aged 12), still love chasing bubbles around the garden! So, let’s not confine this to age ‘appropriate’ activities. Instead, I have split it into types of activities. You can choose a guided meditation, with a full script to read out to your child. Or maybe they prefer something more tactile? How about using a Mindful Stone?
Mindfulness For All The Family
This is a book that parents and their children can read together. The techniques are also easy to bring into daily life. I wanted to show that Mindfulness can be accessible to all. If you have never ‘practised’ mindfulness before, you would have somewhere to start. If you have a daily mindful practice in place, then great, there are plenty of tips that you can add into your kid’s life that would enable them to join you on the mindful journey.
Some Mindfulness Tips To Try
I have listed a few simple ideas that you can start to use straight away. Give them a try with your children and if you want to learn any more you can check out the book on Amazon – Mindful Parenting, 40 Mindful Moments to share with your children. There are also some great FREE resources on the website, with downloads and printables. This is a growing library of resources if you would like to receive monthly tips on easy to use Mindful ideas then sign up to the Mindful Parenting Newsletter.
Dinner Time – A really great place to start bringing in some mindful awareness. Ban all the gadgets from the dinner table. This can often just open up the opportunity to share some conversation, which can be a good place to begin.
Hold Hands – Simply hold hands with your child or children and closing your eyes. You can sit in a circle if you can, or just somewhere you are all comfy. No one talks, you can either just all take a moment together or if you are able you can focus on the breath. You might want to say “breathe in, and out” in time to your breath. The guided part of this, with your voice, can be a great focal point for you all.
Count the breath – Sitting or lying, count 1 and inhale, 2, exhale, 3 inhale, 4 exhale, until you get to 10. Breath normally for a couple of minutes and then repeat.
A Mindful Walk – Get out and about with the family and make a fun game of being aware of things you can see, hear or even smell! A fab one for a day out in the park or beach. This can really be used anywhere, for those times when you want to bring your child’s attention to what is around them.
Be Mindfully Aware
For any parent, just be aware that we need to not only spend time with our kids but connect to them when we do! The juggle of our daily busy lives can often be overwhelming, these Mindful Moments are as important for us and them.
Enjoy taking time, even if it is in small pockets. They all come together to help us build fabulous connections to ourselves and our children.
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Come On Over To The Facebook Group
If you would like to be part of an active Mindful Parenting community, then head over to the Facebook Group. There are lots of parents sharing ideas and I also pop in every week with more videos and tips on how you can easily add in more Mindful Moments in your parenting journey.
I have been teaching Baby Yoga & Baby Massage for over 15 years and I have seen the ‘baby class’ market change beyond recognition. In many ways it is amazing, the choice out there for parents now is so diverse: swimming, massage, music, signing, gym, messy or play. There can of course never be too much choice – though perhaps it leads to confusion of what it is a parent is looking for?
What Do YOU Want From A Baby Class?
This may seem a strange place to start – but trust me it is a good one! If you are looking for a baby class then YOU need to decide what you want to get out of that class? If it is to meet other mums, pick up some new skills, learn how to get your baby more relaxed or to have time to chat and just get out of the house – they are all great reasons for coming along.
Where do I start?
So start with the basics – what do you want? What do I want my baby to get out of a baby class? Can they benefit in a way that I can clearly see? Then the logistics – where, when and how much. Again, don’t commit to a class that starts just as you are about to put your baby down for a nap. Throwing your routine to ‘fit in’ a class often does not work for either or you. Do not think you have to do ‘all’ the classes straight away, plan what will work for you both. Different activities will also suit different stages in the first 18 months especially.
For many parents, attending classes due to Coronavirus is not possible. Several countries are still facing degrees of lockdown and meetings of groups are just not possible. Here in the UK, it seems likely that we will not be able to go to any sort of classes until about September!
For other parents, they are not able to come to classes due to circumstances; older siblings still at home, travel difficulties or even health issues. As an instructor, I am always approached by parents who for various reasons cannot get to a class, and until recently there has been little in the way of alternatives.
The Way Forward
One of the silver linings that has come out of this pandemic has been the amazing array of businesses take their offerings online. We can now learn virtually – from baby massage to making our own sourdough! I have loved working on taking all my knowledge of the last 15 years and transforming it into courses, classes and support for parents all over the world! I now have mums and dads watching my videos and learning all the skills of baby massage and baby yoga in the USA, Australia, Hong Kong and Germany!
We are all brought together by the desire to still provide the best we can for our babies, and learn those techniques that we were planning during pregnancy. As parents, we have all had to adapt.
Online Baby Massage Course
Learning the techniques of baby massage in the comfort and safety of your own home, the online course really does provide all you need to learn how to Massage Your Baby. From which oils to use, time of day to how to help create a great daily routine, it is all in there. Along with video guidance for each and every stroke you need, with an illustrated handbook and full support in my private Facebook group. The course is aimed at parents with babies under the age of 10 months, as those babies crawling can be tricky! All the techniques are suitable from birth and any questions you may have during or after you can just pop into the group and ask.
Getting to meet other parents is still a main component of classes, and the support in the group is just the place. So many relationships are relying on this virtual support, and although nothing beats meeting other parents face to face, it is still so important to have a forum to voice your concerns, questions or just catch up. This is part of any course or class with Buddha Buddies, as support as a parent is vital, whether you are a new mum or already have children.
Baby Yoga – with Buddha Buddies
Baby Yoga is another great tool that you can add to your parenting toolbox, and I love teaching it! It enables parents to bring in movement with even the very young babies but adapts to all stages of development. A BB Baby Yoga class is all about your baby’s development. Think of Yoga as the ‘tool’ we use to highlight what is happening with your baby now and what will happen over the following months. Each class is different with elements that remain repeated, this is to embed the moves into your baby’s brain (more on this on the next two blogs). Combining movement, music, props and a great social dynamic allows your baby to transition through stages with you seeing the clear progression of what is happening – though, more importantly – you understand why!
Again, as physical classes are not available in many countries I have been building a lovely resource of videos over on Youtube. These are all FREE and this library will continue to build. Action songs are a great place to start and from the very young babies all the way through to toddlers they will love the combination of movement and song!
I have put one in here for you to try. Please do have a look at the channel and subscribe for more videos too.
A Baby Class For Everyone
I believe firmly that these classes will benefit anyone – the joy of course – the choice is yours!
Depending on where you are, there may be a range of classes running, but if not then online is certainly a great option. Many companies are also running live virtual classes, which again can offer more choices for you. In the UK you can always check out these great directories that list what is happening where you live, Hoop,Netmums and Class4Kids.
Learn More About How Your Baby Is Developing
If you would like to know more about the many and amazing ways your baby is developing then check out the other articles. Covering baby’s brain, structure, top tips for yoga at home, how to help with Chicken Pox and many more coming all the time.
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The times of popping along to a baby class are currently out of action for many people across the globe. Baby Massage is still such a useful skill to have, but how can you still learn how to massage your newborn baby?
So, the need for great quality online baby classes and courses to impart some great techniques and also keep parents sane is a must. The Baby Massage Course is the start, Baby Yoga Classes will be coming as well.
Baby Massage Benefits
There are soo many benefits to both you and your baby from learning essential baby massage techniques. You can read about many of them in my Top Benefits blog. Though for most parents they need solutions to:
There are lots more, but if these are the ones that you need then YES massage is the right solution for you!
Baby Massage – Why Learn From Me?
I have been teaching the Massage Your Baby baby massage course for 15 years. The last few weeks have seen the closure of classes, with the risk to parents and babies just too high.
New Online Baby Massage Course
It was time to get this course available to everyone, no matter where they are. So, I have created an online course for you. With over 100 minutes of videos, a fully illustrated PDF handbook and clear modules to follow.
Many people are now in a situation where they are unable to get to a class. For others, who are still able to get out and about but perhaps prefer the idea of taking their time and working through all the information at their own pace.
What About Support?
Do not worry, the learn to massage your baby course also includes access to my VIP Facebook Group too! I pop in there with additional tips for babies and development.
There are lovely parents in there to chat to along the way. Offering that additional level of support that will keep you going and answer any questions that you may have.
How About The Baby Massage Basics?
I have put a little video below which not only covers the basics but will also give you an idea of what you can expect from the course too. I hope you enjoy it and please do let me know how you get on.
How Do I Purchase The Online Baby Massage Course?
If you want to purchase the complete online course you just hit the button below. The course is only £57 and includes everything you need confidently massage your baby at home, with video, modules to follow, downloadable handbook and support.
“I love the personal touch, it’s like Rachel is sitting in your living room with your” and “It’s so much more than a massage course!”. You can also see lots of reviews from many of the parents who have attended the live courses over the years on the Facebook Page too
More Baby Classes
There will be lots more resources coming along soon. All online courses are available on the online page and will run via the Online Parenting Platform, This platform allows you to access each course easily and download all the elements. This already has lots of ideas for keeping the older kids busy – all with a mindful approach.
Welcome, I am Rachel Hawkes, owner of Buddha Buddies and mum to twins. I have been teaching baby and kids classes for 15 years and love seeing the connections made and the confidence that builds within classes.
I hope that you will find the advice and tips here useful and that they provide some little ways of helping you on your parenting journey.
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