The One Thing I’d Gift To All New Mamas

The One Thing I’d Gift To All New Mamas

If there was just one thing I’d gift to all new mamas it’s Yoga Nidra, otherwise known as, “Yogic Sleep”. It’s the perfect antidote to lack of sleep.

Don’t get put off by the name. Despite the word “yoga”, it doesn’t involve dynamic vinyasa flows or long holds. Instead, you lie completely still on the floor or on your bed for about 20 minutes. It’s similar to a relaxation where you’re guided by a voice but rather than going on an imaginary journey, you’re instructed to bring your attention to all parts of your body while your body rests.

5 Benefits of Yoga Nidra for Mamas:

  1. It requires very little effort. Just lie down and listen.
  2. It’s for everyone including complete yoga novices, pregnant and early postnatal women.
  3. It’s ok if you fall asleep. Sometimes you’ll stay awake, other times you’ll drift in and out of consciousness and other times you’ll fall asleep- none of it’s wrong. Even if you fall asleep your subconscious is listening.
  4. Research suggests that a 45 minute yoga nidra equals 3 hours sleep. It’s not a substitute for sleep but it’s a good alternative when you’re not getting enough of it.
  5. It reduces stress, anxiety and overwhelm. Deep abdominal breathing and rest stimulates your body’s relaxation response. 

Carving out time to do yoga nidra with little ones requires a little creativity.

Here’s my tried and tested tips:

  • Use one of your pockets of time sprinkled throughout the day to rest. Put your bits and pieces for yoga nidra in one spot in the area you normally do it so that when an opportunity arises you’re ready to go. I have my headphones, eye pillow and woolly socks in a box under my bed.
  • On long drives: while your partner is driving (and your little one(s) is asleep in the backseat), put your seat back, headphones in and close your eyes.

Working Mama: 

  • On your lunch break either in a meeting room (lock the door behind you);
  • In the park under the shade of a tree;
  • Or in your parked car. 

Mama Working Part Time or SAHM: 

  • While your little one(s) nap: as soon as they fall asleep, grab your phone and box of bits and pieces for yoga nidra and start. 
  • When your Toddler skips their nap: give your little one(s) some quiet toys or books to “read” or let them watch an episode of Playschool. Remove potential hazards or if it makes you feel more comfortable, put your toddler in a secure high chair or playpen. Give them a snack and some water to eliminate anything they may need you for for the duration of yoga nidra. 

Before you start, tell them what you’re doing and why. “Mummy is just going to meditate now so that she can be a nicer mummy. I’ll be right here if you need me. Let’s see if we can both be really quiet”.

Have an open mind and very low expectations. Be prepared to be interrupted to find your little one(s) lost toy, get more snacks or wipe their bum. When this happens, you’ll feel frustrated and disheartened and think, “What’s the point?” or “Why bother!”. But tend to your little one(s)  and go back to yoga nidra. It’s not perfect but neither is mamahood.

yoga-nidra-for-mamas-with-a-toddler

They’ll be curious the first few times you do it but persist. Exposing them to meditation and quiet time and watching you practising self- care is not only beneficial for you but it’s teaching your little one(s) some very powerful tools.

  • In the car: if your little one falls asleep in the car, park the car in a quiet and shady spot (by the beach, the park or in your driveway). Put your seat back, headphones in and close your eyes (Hot Tip: keep an eye mask in the glove box).
  • Ask for help: ask your partner, friends or family to play with your little one for half an hour while you find a quiet place to rest. Ideally they’ll take your little one(s) for a walk or to the park so no one bangs at your door asking for you for a snack but if not, lock your bedroom door, put your headphones in and turn up the volume. As long as you tell your little one(s) where you’re going and what you’re doing, they’ll be ok and if not the first few times, they’ll get used to it.

Making rest a priority and a habit while you’re pregnant will make it much easier to squeeze in once your new baby arrives. Motherhood and sleep deprivation go hand in hand so making rest a habit while you’re pregnant will make it easier when you have your baby in your arms.

If you’re not pregnant, try a Yoga Nidra on Youtube. If you’re a tired, pregnant mama, get your free 20 minute Yoga Nidra to take you from exhausted to energised HERE. Fill in your details and I’ll send it to your inbox for you to download.

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The Best Prenatal and Postnatal Care Providers in Milton Ulladulla

The Best Prenatal and Postnatal Care Providers in Milton Ulladulla

As a Birth and Postpartum Doula, my job is to help you find the physical, emotional and educational support you need throughout your pregnancy and postpartum. I’ve created an easy- to- use Directory of the best prenatal and postnatal care providers in Milton Ulladulla. I’ve spent the last few months meeting these incredible people and trialling some of their treatments and hand picked the best for you.

The Directory includes acupuncturists, breastfeeding support, childbirth education courses, chiropractors, massage therapists, osteopaths, naturopaths, reflexologists, Womens’ Circles, Playgroups, postpartum doulas and Prenatal Yoga and Mums and Bubs Yoga and Massage classes.

For the best Prenatal and Postnatal Care Providers in Milton Ulladulla, CLICK HERE

Are you a tired, pregnant mama? Get your free 20 minute Guided Deep Relaxation (Yoga Nidra) to take you from exhausted to energised. Fill in your details HERE and I’ll send it to your inbox for you to download.

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6 Ways to Avoid Leg Cramps

6 Ways to Avoid Leg Cramps

Leg cramps often strike in the middle of the night when you least expect them and can be painful enough to make you sit bolt upright and cry like a baby (speaking from personal experience).

My first leg cramp was so painful that I wondered how I could cope with the pain of contractions during labour. After the second one I decided I’d use future cramps to practise my labour breathing to ride out the pain while my hands- on- husband massaged the pain away.

Despite having an action plan in place, I was curious as to why I was getting these god- awful cramps and wondered what I could do to prevent them. I spent copious amounts of time searching google and asking health professionals and to be honest, no one really knows the answer. The following are the findings from my research and my own self- discovery.

There are a number of causes of leg cramps in pregnancy:

  • Tense or stiff muscles
  • Poor blood circulation
  • Dehydration
  • Pressure of the growing foetus on the nerves and blood vessels
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiency

Here’s 6 Ways to Avoid Leg Cramps in Pregnancy:

1. Epsom Salts: Have a bath with 2 cups of epsom salts or soak your feet in 1 cup of epsom salts before bed. Not only will it prevent leg cramps but it will help you to relax and get a good sleep.

Pregnant woman in bath

2. Elevate your feet: Up until 30 weeks (or as long as you’re still comfortable lying on your back) try Legs Up The Wall. If you’re not comfortable lying on your back, elevate your feet on a chair and some cushions while you’re sitting on the couch. This will help with circulation, tired aching legs and reduce swelling.

Legs Up The Wall for Leg Cramps

3. Stay Hydrated: it’s recommended you drink at least 2 litres  of water a day during pregnancy. Herbal tea such as Raspberry Leaf or Pregnancy Tea is also a good source of hydration as are fruit and vegetables high in water content like watermelon, strawberries, oranges, cucumber and celery. More hearty foods like broths and soups are also a good option.

Pregnant woman drinking water.

4. Take a Magnesium supplement before bed or rub your calves with magnesium lotion or oil or perhaps ask your partner to massage your feet and calves. Magnesium relieves muscle tension but also promotes sleep and prevents constipation. 

Woman massaging calves to get rid of leg cramps

5. Eat a banana: are a great source of potassium, magnesium and calcium which helps your muscles relax. They also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps your body to produce serotonin that aids your body to regulate sleep.

Woman eating banana

6. Stretch your legs before bed: Click the link below for my 10 minute prenatal yoga sequence to get rid of leg cramps. Do it before bed to help with circulation and muscle tightness.

Tell me in the COMMENTS below.….what have you found helps you avoid or get rid of leg cramps? 

Are you a tired, pregnant mama? Get your free 20 minute Guided Deep Relaxation (Yoga Nidra) to take you from exhausted to energised. Fill in your details HERE and I’ll send it to your inbox for you to download.

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10 Surefire Ways To Get More Sleep In Pregnancy

10 Surefire Ways To Get More Sleep In Pregnancy

There’s nothing worse than being exhausted and longing for sleep but when you fall into bed you lie awake tossing and turning. Insomnia during pregnancy often comes at a time when you need it most.

There are various reasons why you may have trouble either falling asleep, waking up during the night or falling back to sleep during your third trimester including: needing to pee, lower back and hip pain, leg cramps, reflux, an active baby, restless legs syndrome (RLS) or anxiety and fear.

Here are some surefire ways to get more sleep in pregnancy:

FOOD AND DRINK

1. Avoid fluids an hour or 2 before bed to limit trips to the toilet. Instead, stay well hydrated throughout the day.

2. Drink chamomile tea at least 2 hours before bed to promote digestion and relaxation.

3. Avoid caffeinated drinks after midday as it’s a stimulant and may affect your ability to fall asleep easily. 

4. Eat an easily digestible meal at least 2 hours before going to bed to prevent heartburn.

PREPARE TO REST

5. Enjoy a bath with 2 cups of epsom salts to relieve muscle tension, prevent cramps and induce sleep. If you don’t have a bath, soak your feet in a bucket of hot water with 1 cup of epsom salts.

6. Set up your bedroom for sleep. It should be cool, dark and quiet. If not, open the window, wear an eye mask and ear plugs.

7. Lavender essential oil in a diffuser (3- 5 drops) or massage onto the soles of your feet (1 drop with a tablespoon of carrier oil). You can get doTERRA essential oils at wholesale prices, here

POSITIONING

8. Sleep on your left side to promote digestion and reduce heartburn. Put a body pillow between your knees and ankles so your hips are stacked to reduce hip and lower back pain. As your pregnancy progresses, it may also feel good to put a small cushion under your belly. If you’re suffering heartburn, you may be more comfortable propped up with pillows.

RELAX

9. Gentle stretching before bed such as hip circles and calf stretches promote circulation and reduce the likelihood of hip pain and leg cramps.

10. Practise Worries In A Box Meditation. As you’re lying in bed, visualise a box with a lid and a lock. As your worries come to mind (big or small), put them one by one into the box without giving them another thought. Continue to do so until your mind feels empty. Then visualise closing the lid, locking the box and putting it outside your room. Then wait for sleep to come.

Download my FREE Worries In A Box Meditation to help you fall asleep HERE

 

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Here’s The Difference Between Prenatal Yoga and Pilates

Here’s The Difference Between Prenatal Yoga and Pilates

It’s common for women to be introduced to yoga or pilates when they fall pregnant. Both prenatal yoga and prenatal pilates are considered safe during pregnancy and a popular alternative to other forms of exercise.

My prenatal yoga classes combine yoga poses, breathing exercises, guided deep relaxation (yoga nidra) and meditation to prepare your body and mind for labour, birth and motherhood.

I use props such as bolsters, blankets, blocks, straps, the wall or stability balls to assist or challenge a pose.

My prenatal pilates classes include exercises using your own bodyweight for resistance and small props such as therabands, stability balls, magic circles, foam rollers and hand weights to build physical and mental stamina and strength for labour and birth.

In both prenatal yoga and prenatal pilates, a theme around pregnancy, birth or the 4th trimester will be discussed and interwoven throughout the class.

In both prenatal yoga and prenatal pilates you’ll discover poses and breathing techniques for an active labour and birth.

Both prenatal and prenatal pilates will finish with a deep relaxation and meditation as I believe these are essential tools for labour, birth and motherhood.

Both classes will start and end in circle where we’ll enjoy tea and nourishing snacks to build a community of like- minded mamas.

Mamatoto Retreat in Milton are now offering both prenatal yoga and prenatal pilates classes. To find out more go to: https://mamatotoretreat.com/yoga-and-pilates-classes-milton/

If you have any questions about prenatal yoga or prenatal pilates, please comment below.

I look forward to meeting you in class soon.

Melissa

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Pack These In Your Hospital Bag for a Natural Birth

Pack These In Your Hospital Bag for a Natural Birth

It’s impossible to predict what kind of birth you’ll have or how long you’ll stay in hospital, so pack your hospital bag for all possibilities. 

Despite my resistance to a home birth, I spent most of my labour in my bathroom, with my son making a splash within an hour of my arrival at the hospital. 

My hospital stay was short, and I didn’t use everything in my hospital bag, but it gave me great comfort knowing that I was well prepared.

While you’re on maternity leave, put your nesting instinct to good use by packing your hospital bag, freezing some meals, buying doTERRA Essential Oils for your birthing kit, making some DIY products and creating your birth playlist. 

Depending on your birth plan, where you’re having your baby and the facilities provided, choose what’s relevant for you from my suggestions.

Hoping for the best quote

Hospital Bag Checklist for labour:

  1. A Birth Doula offers support before, during and after birth to you and your partner (obviously she won’t fit in your bag). Check out the Australian Doula College (ADC) website for more information and help in finding the perfect doula for you. The ADC also do placenta encapsulation that I credit for my high iron levels, good milk supply and strong immunity.
  2. A laminated copy of your Birth Wish List. Do lots of research by attending birth education classes and ask your Doula, Midwife or OB questions to gain a thorough understanding of the stages of labour and birth to help you write your plan.
    Writing a Plan B too will ensure you go into labour feeling empowered so that whatever happens, you’ll make informed decisions. Either ask your Doula for a template or find one online.
  3. An Electric Hot Pack to reduce pain in your lower back and abdomen. I was counting on using my wheat pack as a natural pain reliever wheat packs (along with hot water bottles) have been banned from maternity wards in Australia.
  4. A Playlist as some hospitals are mobile black spots so if you’re planning on using Spotify, have a back up plan.
    I chose relaxing music from my yoga classes by some of my favourite artists such as Sacred Earth, Deva Premal, Snatam Kaur, Sharon Gannon, Donna De Lory and Krishna Das to name a few but choose music that resonates with you.
  5. A Fluffy Robe will keep you warm and is easy to breastfeed in.
  6. Portable Speakers to listen to your playlist in labour and for playing lullabies, nursery rhymes and The Wiggles later on.
  7. Headphones to listen to podcasts, watch movies on your mobile device or to make phone calls if your labour stalls. Comedies that make you laugh will boost oxytocin and help progress your labour.
  8. Snacks to give you energy and stamina. Have a stash of easy to digest finger food. Some of my favourites are:
  • Cut up fruit that has a high water content to keep you well hydrated like watermelon, grapes, strawberries, oranges or apples
  • Cut up veggies like cucumber and celery with some guacamole or hummus dip
  • Bliss Balls
  • A smoothie
  • Warm soup in an insulated flask.

8. Pure Plain Coconut Water to keep you well hydrated. It’s a great electrolyte replacement and contains less sugar (and others nasties) than Gatorade or Powerade.

9. A Stainless Steel Drink Bottle with a sports cap so you can drink water when you’re in various positions. It’ll also be useful when you’re breastfeeding.

10. Therapeutic grade Essential Oils will make your room smell nice and keep you calm and relaxed. For a relaxing atmosphere, add 2- 4 drops of lavender essential oil in a diffuser.

11. A Diffuser will disperse the scents and the health benefits of the essential oils into the atmosphere. You can’t use Candles in hospitals so ditch your oil burner and buy a diffuser. You can also use it in your baby’s room to kill airborne germs, ease congestion, promote sleep and much much more!

12. A Face Spritz to use during labour and for when you’re a sleep deprived mama in need of a pick- me- up. Add 40 drops of doTERRA’s Invigorating Blend, Citrus Bliss, to a 100ml spray bottle and fill with distilled water

13. Lip Balm for dry cracked lips. Make your own with this easy DIY recipe or buy a natural one

14. Your Own Pillow for comfort. To help you sleep during labour and afterwards, pop a few drops of lavender essential oil on it

To boost oxytocin (for bonding and breastfeeding), stay nice and warm after birth. Have a hot shower, dry your hair and put on clothes that are easy to have skin to skin contact with your baby and breastfeed in.

Hospital Bag Checklist for After Birth:

  1. Fragrance- Free Soap or Body wash to enhance bonding and promote breastfeeding.
  2. Deodorant Paste. Here’s a quick and easy DIY recipe if you’d like to make your own or buy some.
  3. Woollen Socks to keep your feet warm in bed.
  4. Ugg Boots to keep your feet warm and easy to slip on and off whilst juggling your baby.
  5. A Meal for after birth that is sweet, warm, oily, simple and moist. Choose easy to digest foods like soups and porridge and then introduce heavier meals once your digestion improves. Avoid cold, dry foods that can make you constipated. Arrange for a friend or a family member to bring you a home-cooked meal because hospital food is awful and void of any nutrient value.
  6. Cutlery to eat your homemade meals. I didn’t anticipate that there wouldn’t be any in the kitchenette when my husband showed up with home-cooked shepherd’s pie.
  7. An Insulated Reusable Coffee Cup will keep your tea or coffee nice and hot. 
  8. A Warm Cup of Delicious Tea is like a hug in a mug and boosts oxytocin. Drink Raspberry Leaf Tea from 35 weeks to strengthen and tone your uterus in preparation for labour and birth and drinking it after your baby is born shrinks your uterus and provides you with a rich source of iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium.
  9. Ear Plugs and an Eye Mask to block out the noise and light from the nurse’s station, catering cart and noisy neighbours so you can sleep while your baby sleeps.
  10. Peri Spray to soothe and heal your perineum. To make your own, add 10 drops of frankincense and 10 drops of lavender to a 40 ml spray bottle and top with distilled water. Spray onto your perineum each time you pee or directly onto padsicles (frozen pads) for a cooling effect.
  11. A drop of Peppermint Essential Oil in the toilet before your first wee. The vapour is said to stimulate the urethra and bladder and to help your body to relax and let go.

If you’re keen to try the DIY recipes, reuse glass jars from home or purchase containers and the raw ingredients (excluding the therapeutic grade essential oils) from New Directions.

Are you pregnant? Get your free Guided Deep Relaxation (Yoga Nidra). Fill in your details HERE and I’ll send it to your inbox for you to download.

Find out why I choose to use doTERRA Essential Oils and how to buy them HERE

If you found any of these ideas helpful or have any questions, please COMMENT below.

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