What You Need to Know About Baby & Me Yoga

mom-baby-yogaWhile it may have felt like your little wriggly one was already practicing yoga moves in utero, once they’ve arrived, there really is no better time to think about starting yoga.

Yes, we know, energy and time can be in scarce supply postpartum. So the thought of a mama and baby yoga class (not to mention the thought of putting on exercise clothes) from six weeks, might be daunting. Even stressful. Will I strain myself too soon? Where will I feed baby? What if my baby cries and interrupts the class? What about diaper changes?

But it’s not about putting stress on you, your body or your baby. The right classes offer an inclusive, safe environment. All other parents will be in exactly the same position, with exactly the same worries. If baby cries, no one will judge. If you need to stop and feed baby, go for it. This type of yoga experience is all about destressing and reconnecting with your body. It’s about creating new bonding experiences with your baby. A real win-win for both mom and baby:

Here are our 5 top reasons to give mama and baby yoga a try:

  • NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY: Don’t worry if you weren’t able to fold yourself in to a pretzel pre-baby. It doesn’t matter. No prior skills or yoga knowledge is necessary for new parents to enjoy and benefit from this experience.
  • BONDING TIME: It offers you dedicated time where you can both relax. Remember, your baby will relax when you relax! Joint relaxation is so powerful in strengthening connections and non-verbal communication.
  • BETTER SLEEPERS: Yoga promotes MORE and BETTER sleep. Hooray! Short classes offer just the right amount of stimulation they need to help them sleep for longer stretches. If that’s not good news enough, tactile stimulation has also been show to contribute to the development of the brain and nervous system.
  • BETTER DIGESTION: Yoga stimulates all of baby’s bodily systems including the digestive system. It’s been known to help keep babies contented between feeds and also alleviate wind and colic too.
  • GOOD FOR MOM: Yoga can be great for mom’s all important emotional wellbeing. Not only is parenting hard and stressful at times, for new parents especially, it can be darn scary. Yoga gives moms time to relax and refocus via breathing exercises and focused stretches. And let’s be honest, parenting can also have its lonely moments too, so classes like this are a great way for parents to get out, socialise, support and find a healthy balance.

If this sounds good to you, we offer an all-levels Mama and Baby Class at Babies in Bloom, suited for 6 week olds to crawlers – check out the next few dates on our calendar. All you need is a yoga mat and blanket for baby to rest on.

Our wonderful instructor Holly also recommends some helpful home resources if you want to bring the yoga experience and relaxation vibes home – the Itsy Bitsy Yoga series and Yoga Pretzel Cards.

Enjoy and Namaste!

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Date Night Post Baby

“You still need to make time for date nights…..”

We’ve all read this somewhere. Heard it from someone. Maybe rolled our heavy eyes at the thought of it while folding the never-ending baby laundry and simultaneously nursing.

The truth is, it is HARD. Especially in the early months. Hard to find the time. Hard to find the energy. Sometimes hard to find the money. Hard to find the motivation. I mean, how many sleep deprived parents do you know that would opt for a night out vs an early night in if they got the offer of ‘free time?’

Yes, it is absolutely hard. But it’s not impossible.

It just takes more planning – because there is no more going out on a whim. But that’s ok, it’s something to really look forward to isn’t it?

It takes more determination – because you DO know deep down that it is worth it and that it will recharge you in the long run.

And it takes a lot more expectation management. Because most likely, it won’t be like pre-baby dates. There will be nerves (oh so perfectly normal!). Countless urges to ‘check-in’. There might be sitters to go back early for. And pay! And there will almost certainly be more yawns and less wine in anticipation of those early feeds, wake up calls and whiffy diapers. Baby and hangover = just not worth it!

But just because it will be different to pre-baby dates won’t make it any less special. Or essential. You are both finding your feet in this new life-changing role – and even though you might not think it, you are both doing just great! You DO deserve a break every now and then. A chance to recharge and reminisce on why and how you first became a happy couple, and then smile at how beautifully your story has evolved.

We certainly aren’t love experts, but have had our fair share of nerves, tears and hesitations, so from our experiences, here are a few tips on how to enjoy those first few post baby dates:

  • Choose a sitter you are completely comfortable with – a family member, a close friend, or a highly recommended sitter. Having utter faith in your sitter is essential in your efforts to relax and recharge. And don’t forget to set clear expectations BEFORE you leave on IF and WHEN you will be calling them OR want them to message you – this saves you racing home in a panic when you can’t get a hold of them, only to find them rocking your baby gently to sleep with their phone on silent in their bag.
  • Keep it simple – Date night doesn’t need to be fancy. It can be anything from dinner and a romantic stroll on the beach, to a local coffee, candy on a park bench or a Pokemon Go hunt! We won’t judge! It doesn’t matter, the important thing is you’re spending time together. And if you really aren’t ready to leave baby, then don’t worry. If you force yourself to go, you won’t enjoy it, so why not just plan a special dinner or indoor picnic at home once the baby is down?
  • Keep it local – You will feel better knowing you are only ten minutes from home if needed, so don’t stray too far the first few times. Build up your confidence.
  • Don’t put so much pressure on yourself regarding how you look – and that’s easier said than done in the early months when your body doesn’t feel like your own. Just remember, your body is your family’s life story. It is capable of amazing things and can and will change. And as for your husband, he watched in aww as you brought life in to this world – he thinks you are an absolute goddess, however you might feel about yourself right now.
  • Try not to talk shop – Ok. It’s completely unrealistic to say you won’t talk at all about your tiny new bundle. You are both smitten after all. But try and limit it. Use your date night as a chance to reminisce, gossip and reconnect over shared interests.

Have fun lovebirds! You deserve it.

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First Foods Around the World

babies in bloom first foodsWhat did you give your little one for his / her first meal? Pureed fruits? Vegetables? Meat? Oats?

And WHEN did you give it to them? Was Daddy there, too? Grandma? Auntie?

It’s a big decision isn’t it? A huge parenting milestone. Not to mention adorable / hysterical when it comes to the faces babies will pull when they try new flavors and textures for the first time. Trust us, if you are about to start weaning, get the camera ready!

While here in the US, it’s widely encouraged to breastfeed up to six months before introducing food, it is not the case for other countries and different cultures. It varies so much around the world– and it’s FASCINATING!

Did you know for example that a Tibetan baby’s first interaction with food is at FOUR days old? A piece of zamba – a mix of barley, wheat, corn, and peas, stirred, fried, ground in to flour and mixed with yak butter – is stuck to the baby’s forehead in a purity ritual.

Japanese parents start ahead of our six month recommendation too. Usually on the 100th day of the child’s life. At this stage, babies will often be presented with a dish called okayu, a rice porridge topped with dried fish and vegetables or mashed pumpkin.

In China, babies at four months will typically have moved on from breast milk to rice dishes paired with fish, carrots, seaweed, and eggs as well as blends such as chicken soup, pumpkin, ground pork and smashed eggplant. Jamaican parents often start at the four month mark too. Before morning milk, babies are given indigenous fruit blends – custard apple, mango, banana, papaya, naseberry – with honey.

And what about spices? When would you introduce those in to your baby’s diet? In India, at six months old, babies are introduced to khichidi – a vegetarian dish of rice and high protein lentils loaded with herbs and spices like cumin, cilantro, mint and cinnamon. Mexican parents also commonly opt to introduce spice young, sprinkling chili powder and lime on to apples, oranges and pears for baby.

Thought provoking isn’t it? What a colorful variety of dishes for the littles of the world!

Feeling emotional about weaning?

While babies of the world all eat differently, it is important to remember that all parents react to weaning differently too. While for some it is fun and exciting, it’s not unusual for others to have sad or uneasy feelings about this chapter.

There’s the ‘my baby is growing up so fast’ tears and anxieties about choking or allergies. As well as a sense of loss for many mothers who have breastfed and enjoyed that special ‘oneness’ with their child.

Some breastfeeding mothers even experience mood changes, which many researchers believe is down to hormones, because weaning brings with it a drop in prolactin and oxytocin levels. Prolactin, as well as being the hormone required for milk production, also promotes well-being, calmness and relaxation. Oxytocin, the hormone in charge of milk ejection, is also known as the ‘love hormone.’ When feeding decreases, or stops, so does the ‘feel good’ oxytocin.

Thankfully more and more research is being done into post-weaning depression. Support and awareness is growing. So remember, if you or someone you know has symptoms for longer than a few weeks, it’s important you speak with a doctor.

If you are interested in reading more about weaning around the globe, you can find the source of this article here.

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What Type of Sunscreen is Best for Kids?

babies in bloom sunscreenBlessed with more than our fair share of glorious sunshine, we all know how important it is to be sun smart here in SoCal.

But that doesn’t stop us from getting a little confused every now and then when it comes to sun safety, especially when we’re talking sunscreen for our little ones. With so many options on the shelves nowadays, and ever changing recommendations, how do you know which one to go for?

As it is International Sun Screen Day this week (27th), we’re sharing with you what we’ve read and know about choosing and using sunscreen on kids – we hope it helps!

At what age can I start using sunscreen?

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says sunscreen should be avoided if possible in babies younger than six months and that every effort should be made to keep babies covered or in the shade. However, if protective clothing and shade are NOT available, Healthy Children.Org advise using sunscreen on small areas of the body such as the face and the back of hands. If this is your only option, you might want to test your baby’s sensitivity first with a small amount of sunscreen on their inner wrist.

What should I look for in a sunscreen for kids?

Healthy Children.Org say that a sunscreen should have the following:

  • “Broad-Spectrum” on the label – that means it will screen out both UVB rays (the ones that will give you sunburn) AND UVA rays (aging rays).
  • An SPF (sun protection factor) of at LEAST 15 (the AAD however recommends at least 30). The higher the SPF, the more UVB protection it has.
  • Water Resistance – either ‘Water Resistant’ (effective for up to 40 minutes in water) or ‘Very Water Resistant’(effective for up to 80 minutes in water). Note, manufacturers are now banned from using misleading words such as ‘waterproof’ and ‘sweat proof’ on labels as re-applications is always required.

What about chemicals?

Many parents are worried by this. The most common sunscreens on the market will contain chemical filters – from two to six of these ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. Mineral sunscreens use zinc oxide and/ or titanium dioxide.

Many kids’ brands are now formulated with safer, more effective ingredients than those in other products – about 63 % of kids sunscreens contain effective mineral ingredients that provide good protection from ultraviolet-A rays, compared to 40 percent of other sunscreens says the Environmental Working Group (EWG). They have an annual safe sunscreen guide on their website which is a wonderful resource – look out for their 2016 edition here.

How often should I apply sunscreen?

Every day if you will be outside. Even on cloudy days, up to 80 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays can penetrate your skin says the AAD.

  • Apply sunscreen to dry skin 15-30 minutes BEFORE going outdoors – it needs time to absorb in to the skin.
  • Use enough to cover all exposed areas – especially the face, nose, ears, feet, hands and even the back of the knees. Most people only apply 25-50% of the recommended amount of sunscreen.
  • Be careful around the eyes – if you rub sunscreen in to a little ones eyes, wipe the eyes and hands clean with a damp cloth.
  • If it irritates the skin, try another brand. If a rash develops, talk with your child’s doctor.
  • Reapply sunscreen every TWO hours.

Does sunscreen expire?

The FDA requires that all sunscreens retain their original strength for at least three years. Some sunscreens include an expiration date but if yours doesn’t, write the date you purchased it on the bottle. If the expiration date has passed, throw it out.

What is the best sunscreen?

There is no right answer to this.  The best type of sunscreen is the one you will use again and again says the AAD. Lotion, cream, stick or spray, it’s a matter of personal choice. Pick one that is practical and appealing to you as well as ticking all the safety boxes in our ‘what should I look for’ section.

Don’t forget to look after YOU in the sun too parents! Set a great, sun safe example to your littles!

Oh and if anyone has THE secret to putting on sunscreen without tears, tantrums and toddler tackles, please let us know.   🙂

For more tips on sun and water safety, click  here.

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