Creating more ‘Me Time’ – A Cheats Guide for Mums

Creating more ‘Me Time’ – A Cheats Guide for Mums

Being a Mum is hard!

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”?

Mindset

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?

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. 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!).
  8. 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!

Be Kind

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 and are looking to book a massage, Check out Harmonia Therapies

For some great Mummy Cards for self-care then have a look at the Nourish to Thrive Cards

For great tips on why Massaging Your Baby can benefit you both then read our previous article. My new book, providing you with some Mindful Parenting tools is now available to purchase on Amazon

 

If you would like to receive our Monthly Newsletter packed full of useful tips for you and your growing baby then simply sign up below.

Namaste

x

Rachel

 

 

 

New mums – ditch the guilt

New mums – ditch the guilt

Being a new mum – no book can prepare! Overnight your life completely changes. Many women believe when they are pregnant that their life will be exactly the same as before, just with a baby. Oh my, what a rude awakening that can be!

Not only are you suddenly meant to become some sort of ‘baby whisperer’ but cope with your body post-natally too! The trauma of birth becomes a taboo subject and you should now be portraying a glowing earth mother – preferably surrounded by an aura of tranquility!!

Sound familiar?

 

The Reality

The truth is very different for most new mums. Even the most ‘textbook’ of births can be exhausting, painful and very, very long. For those babies that arrive unexpectedly and early there is often early onset guilt – ‘was it something I did’, ‘I should have known something was wrong’. Then we add a baby, hospital trip, breastfeeding and that’s all before we even get home.

Sleep deprivation kicks in quickly, combined with coping with a new baby and the pressure to breastfeed and those early days often lead to a massive overwhelm.

The Guilt

So, you are now at home, pass the blur of those first few days and the accumulation of lack of sleep is being to take its toll. Gone are the days when generations lived in the same village and offered support. Now, partners take off 1-2 weeks, parents pop in to cuddle the baby, friends drop of lovely presents and then, we are on our own.

What happens, the guilt kicks in. We should be able to handle our baby, cook dinner, clean the house and of course, look amazing too! You look at Social Media, everyone else looks they are having the most amazing time with their new baby or juggling the family and a fabulous career. Surely it’s just you?

The Truth

No, it affects all us mums! Honestly, it does. In my classes, where I’ve been teaching baby massage & yoga for 14 years it is something I see all the time. It only takes one Mum to speak up, then they all chip in. The truth is that as a new mum we are all faced with challenges, as individual as our personalities. However, the good news is:

  • You are not alone
  • There are things you can do to help yourself

What can I Do?

  1. Find some support, from friends and family but also further afield. Join some baby classes locally, there are plenty of different activities out there. Connect with people in person, do not just rely on ‘virtual support’, the posts on Facebook or WhatsApp. It is important that you find other mums who are going through the same stage as you, support of like-minded mums is a very powerful thing!
  2. Get out and about. Leave the house, even if it takes you an hour to do it. If you don’t drive, then go for a walk with the buggy. If you can get out to classes, or meet up with friends then do. Getting fresh air is not only good for the body but also for your emotional state. Also, to go out you have to make an effort to get dressed, and sometimes that can seem an unachievable mountain all on its own. You don’t need to be dressed for a night out with full makeup, just not in a onesie!
  3. Try some Mindfulness. I know it is the buzz word at the moment but it can really help create moments where you can feel connected to yourself again. It is also amazing to use with babies! If you are new to the whole Mindfulness thing then I recommend some great apps, cards, and groups below. The thing is to find a way that works for you. You can also check out some useful tips to use with the older kids in the Top Tips Blog too.

Ditch the Guilt

So being a new mum is not the picture of mother earth delight it is often cracked up to be.

If you have days in your pj’s, realise you have been out all day with baby vomit down your back, have cried over trying to get a car seat out of a car. Well, then welcome to Motherhood! You are part of a tribe that acknowledges your guilt – but can tell you to let that stuff go! You are doing an amazing job!

Namaste

x

Rachel

If you want to learn how to introduce Mindfulness into your family then my book Mindful Moments is available on Amazon. If you would like some monthly tips on Parenting then do sign up to the newsletter, I promise not to spam you!

For details on a great Mindfulness App

For more details on Mother Guilt read some of the amazing blogs by The Guilty Mother.

How to make massage part of your Baby’s routine

How to make massage part of your Baby’s routine

Baby Massage has now become one of the most popular classes to attend for mums with little babies. No wonder, the classes are chilled, engaging and mums get to learn a whole load of massage techniques that they can use at home. In a Buddha Buddies Baby Class all aspects of learning how to massage your baby are covered. Making it part of your routine is an essential element.

What Routine!!!

Although most mums would agree that having a daily routine is something that they have or trying to establish, it is not often as easy as it sounds. For many mums there are a number of issues that make creating a routine very tricky. These can be from birth issues (long stays in hospital) to post-birth complications for baby or mum, to lack of additional support. Add in mass sleep deprivation and it can all just be too much.

How Can Massage Help?

Somtimes you just need to start small. I often have very small babies in classes (from 4 weeks and feeding every 2 hours). It can seem a mammoth task to put ANYTHING into a regular pattern. Baby Massage can help. Although in a class you will learn a ‘massage routine’, which can take up to 45 mins to complete, you can just choose 3-4 massage ‘strokes’ that your baby likes. This may only take 4-5 minutes but can still have a positive effect on your and your baby (you can read all about the Benefits of Baby Massage in our blog).

4-5 Minutes a day – that is all you need to start with. First, think of WHEN that will work. It is often hugely beneficial before bedtime, after the bath before the last feed. Or this might not work and you find that the morning works best. The key is, repeat that 4-5 minutes at roughly the same time, EVERY day.

Breaking this down into small time chunks is doable – a small step. If you repeat this every day, you are creating a Routine! Hurrah – it might be all you can manage at this point. Just take those few precious moments every day and enjoy.

Developing your Routine

You are past those early weeks and some parts of your day are starting to look similar. It feels like a massive milestone, you are getting there! Develop your Baby Massage routine alongside this. If your baby is now happier for longer before bed, then add some more Baby Massage in, take it up to 7-8 minutes, or longer.

Some days will always work better than others, but don’t worry or stress. It is all part of your journey and the important thing is to be aware that those small steps are starting to become more manageable.

Your routine will change as your baby grows, sleeping and feeding patterns change and you will need to adjust around those. Then you put in colds, teething, injections, holidays and days out and it is easy to see why your lovely routine has flown out the window. Just know that you can establish a new routine, putting those small steps back into place.

Buddha Buddies baby yoga

Your Growing Baby

One of the things I mention in my classes with my Buddha Buddies mummies, every time you reach that point of ‘something needs to change’, it inevitably does! Having Baby Massage as part of this routine ‘toolkit’ can really help you as a parent. Remember, you can use it at any time. It can be a great mood changer as it affects so many of the physical and emotional systems. As well as being calming to receive, it is also soothing to give. Those repeated strokes can have a lovely affect on you too!

Your baby will go through enormous changes in this first year – it is indeed a journey for you both. So don’t sweat the small stuff, enjoy those moments and try to make your Baby Massage part of your daily routine.

Learning more about how your baby is developing is exciting! You can learn lots more about the awesome baby brain or if you are in Kent, pop along to one of the Buddha Buddies classes. There is also lots of great information on our Pinterest Boards too – split into boards for every stage of development. Why not Subscribe to our newsletter, all about Top Tips and being a Mindful Parent.

Enjoy this time and get in touch with any questions

Namaste

x

Rachel

 

8 reasons why mums are loving massaging their baby

8 reasons why mums are loving massaging their baby

Most mums or Mums-to-be have now heard of baby massage. Classes are now readily available and there are books, blogs and videos for anyone who wants to pick up some techniques. The question is, why are mum’s now adding in Baby Massage as something to do with their baby? Well, I thought I would put together a brief ‘hit list’ of some of the many reasons why Mum’s love massaging their baby’s.

Massage Your Baby – 8 Reasons Why You Should

  1. Building a bond – The evidence is pretty clear that the connection that is established while massaging your baby has a long term effect on that all-important bond.
  2. Easy to do – Yes, once you know a few techniques it is simple and actually intuitive – let’s face it nature gets us to stroke our baby’s without even thinking about it.
  3. Anyplace – you do not need to be anywhere in particular – no special room is required. You just create the right atmosphere, using low lighting, perhaps some ambient music and you have the setting all good to go. Meaning you can massage your baby away from home, on holiday or perhaps staying at the in-laws.
  4. Fits into your routine – I know, the dreaded routine, though most parents will agree that having one certainly helps. Massage becomes a part of every day. Whether you choose to massage before bed, or perhaps after the first-morning feed. Whatever works for your routine, Baby Massage can slot in.
  5. Calming for baby and parent – It is a double whammy – both the giver and receiver of Baby Massage feel the calming influence. Blood pressure drops, breathing rate deepens and heart rate slows. Those repetitive strokes are as effectual on you, as your baby.
  6. Getting Dads involved – This can often be a trickythings for new dads, where do they fit in. Especially so if a mum is breastfeeding. So how about making the Baby Massage time the one that Daddy gets to do? A chance for them to connect and enjoy some real quality bonding time with their baby. Poor Daddy’s are often neglected in being part of a routine. Baby Massage is an easy way for them to have that time – just between them and baby.
  7. MIndful Mummy Moments – Mindfulness appears to be the new buzz word – however, for mum,s it can be the most natural thing in the world. You know the moments, when you have just spent 20 mins staring at your baby’s face – now that is a Mindful Mummy Moment. How about being aware of that when you massage your baby? Make that eye contact, talk to them and feel everything else slip away.
  8. Amazing Benefits – Not only all of the previous 7 but also the physical aspect or creating that contact allows for babies to feel more secure, increasing oxytocin levels (happy hormones) and decreasing any of the stress hormones (adrenaline etc) – leading to a baby that feds better and sleeps better.

Massage Your Baby with Rachel Hawkes

Everyones a Winner

I know, I nearly burst into song when I wrote that headline but in this case, it really is true. The reason mums are learning to massage their baby’s are the amazing upside without any downside! Benefits for baby, mum and dad so if you have not had a go at Baby Massage yet, then now is the time.

You can also read more about which classes you should choose in a previous blog. Or perhaps you want to check out some of the techniques you can use to Massage Your Baby? If so check out our Pinterest board. If you are live in Kent, you can always pop along to one of the Buddha Buddies Baby Yoga & Massage classes and learn everything you will need to confidently Massage Your Baby at home.  You can learn more on the Buddha Buddies website    

Why not subscribe to our NEWSLETTER and receive lots more tips

Namaste

x

Rachel

Chicken Pox Tips for Babies

Chicken Pox Tips for Babies

Chicken Pox – Home Help

Whether your baby is small or an older child – CHICKEN POX makes every parent start that panic of ‘What do I do now?”

Well, time to take a breath and know that no matter how severely they react there are some simple things you can do that will really make them FEEL BETTER! So grab a cuppa, take a moment and have a read of a couple of top tips that you can help with any child, even from newborn.

Do not Worry

Firstly, do not rush to the shops as granny told you that Calamine Lotion is, the ‘thing’. This simply dries out the skin and makes those nasty little spots dry and extra itchy. You can use Aqueous Calamine, this is the same calamine but put into a different base (feels similar to sudocrem). This stops the skin drying out, though it is difficult to put on and get off so only use it on those really big spots!

Secondly, get those old stained muslins ready! Why – you are going to make your very own home remedy!  Our Oat Soak Recipe

Oat Soak Recipe

This is so simple, costs peanuts and is good for all babies, children and adults! It’s super easy to make and will ease those horrid symptoms of itchy, hot skin.

You will need:

  • 1 x muslin (or jam muslin if you have it)
  • Oats (nothing fancy, just the local supermarket ones are fine)
  • Dried lavender
  • Chamomile Tea Bags (again just shop brand will do)
  • Ribbon, string or something to tie 

Now, in a big bowl pour a good portion of the oats, add a large handful of the lavender, then cut up about 4 tea bags and empty the contents into the bowl. Give it a good mix with your hands or a wooden spoon. Now cut your muslin so they are in squares, big enough to put a large handful of your mixture into. Tie up securely with either string or some ribbon. (Any gaps and the mixture will spill out).

 

 

Now you need to pop this into a luke warm bath. This is a super little bag of delights! Not only will it turn all milky but the oats make the skin silky smooth and ease the itching.

The lavender and chamomile are both anti-septic and anti-inflammatory so work to calm the skin’s heat and itchiness. They are all edible so you do not have to worry if your baby starts drinking the water. There are no sulphates to irritate the eyes and increase the itching.

Staying at Home

So a couple of really easy ‘top tips’ to help you cope with this awful virus when it hits your family. Remember, some are affected worse than others so if you are worried then please do consult your doctor. This advice is not in any way a replacement of proper medical care, just some tips that have helped as a mum! You will be stuck at home for at least 10 days but try and make the most of the time with your little one.

Hoping that your little one recovers quickly and that you survive the quarantine!!

This is just one of the many ‘tips’ shared in our Baby Classes, so if you would like to know more why not head over to the website to see our class timetable.

There are also lots of other helpful articles for you such as learning about your baby’s brain where you can pick up some top tips and developmental know how!If you would like to receive our regular newsletters with further tips then please do sign up to our mailing list and join us on Facebook. All the usual links are of course below.

Newsletter

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Namaste

x

Rachel

Your Baby’s Brain – Left vs Right

Your Baby’s Brain – Left vs Right

As adults we are aware that our brain is divided into two halves – each having very distinctive roles. What, though does that mean for our babies and children? 

How does this look for your baby’s brain? 

Well let’s break it down to basics to start:

LEFT

  • Responsible for the control of the RIGHT side of the body
  • Artistic/creative side
  • Insight/imagination
  • Musical awareness
  • Left hand control

RIGHT

  • Responsible for the control of the LEFT side of the body
  • Academic/logical side
  • Language
  • Logic/reasoning
  • Science/maths
  • Written
  • Right hand control

So both sides control very different functions – most of which will not be needed in these early months. Although what is also developing is the bridge that connects both hemispheres. Communication between the two is essential – more about that in our next blog!

Our baby’s’ brain is busy forming new networks that once formed can then be used for pretty much anything, from language to fine motor skills. The process of forming these networks is biologically driven, but experiences also allow connects to form. 

Baby yoga with Rachel Hawkes
Baby yoga, great for movement

Baby Brain & Movement

Simply put – it is just as important what we do with our babies, to create these experiences as it is to allow the body to form them on its own.

Although in a Buddha Buddies Baby Yoga class we do not talk in depth about the brain – what is covered is how it develops and what this means to YOUR baby. Milestones and reflexes are just part of this developmental process, and there are many things we do in classes to bring our awareness to these key points of development.

Baby Yoga and your baby

So, if you would like to know what is happening, when and why with your baby’s development then pop along to a BB class. Or if you live outside the area then check out other articles on your baby and children’s development. Including some great tips on making Baby Massage part of your routine. 

Rachel Hawkes

A mother of twin girls, Rachel is a Complimentary Health Specialist. Running a Wellbeing Centre and founder of Buddha Buddies, baby & children’s Yoga, Massage and Mindfulness Classes. She runs between juggling the usual family and household dilemmas and her businesses.

Mindful Parenting by Rachel Hawkes

She is a major fan of Mindfulness and you can read how to use Mindfulness with your children in her book Mindful Parenting- 40 Mindful Moments to share with your children.

There are Amazon Affiliate links in this article. Only products that are actually used by the author are ever used. Rachel will earn a few pennies from all purchases made via the links.

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