Posts tagged self care
The 10 Best Gifts for New Moms
 
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Finding the best gift for a new mom should be a relatively easy task, however if you find yourself looking for the perfect gift for the new mom in your life, you may find that most new mom gifts are actually geared towards the baby, not the mother. At Duo Diary, our postpartum wellness journals are designed with mom in mind. We know that moms need to take care of themselves first, but somehow, this notion is still an afterthought. That's why Duo Diary is much more than just a baby feeding diary - there’s a page for baby….and a page for mom.

The ‘page for mom’ is missing in almost all postpartum products, which are mostly primarily baby focused. Mom is completely missing from the equation. Giving moms permission, access & tools to take care of herself is basically revolutionary at this point. So, we want to highlight other ‘revolutionary’ products that would make the best gifts for a new mom after she brings home a baby.

 

The 10 Best Gifts for New Moms

1. Postpartum Exercise Membership

There are a few women-led companies out there that are focused solely on helping women regain function after childbirth so that they can get back to their normal activities in a safe way. The catch is that most new mamas don't even know companies like this exist, so gifting a new mom with a membership (all programs are online and done at home) to one or more of these companies is a great way to ease her back.

Restore Your Core

Mutu System

Momma Strong

Abs, Core and Pelvic Floor by Natalie Hodson

 

2. Motherbees

An LA-based company, Motherbees offers LA- local food delivery focusing on foods for healing from childbirth like soups, teas, recovery and more. And for those who aren't local to LA, Motherbees founder Heng Ou wrote "The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother" filled with recipes and traditions and "the lost art of caring for a mother after birth" (available on Amazon).

 

3. Postpartum Subscription Boxes

Since subscription boxes are a thing these days, we're happy to see that some companies are taking 'pregnancy' subscription boxes into the 4th trimester. Many companies now offer boxes JUST for a new mom:

Alively

The Stork Bag

Ecocentric Mom

Bump Boxes

NaturAli

 

4. Mama Glow Glow Time Collection by Good Medicine Beauty Lab

New moms are often concerned about what they eat, but did you know that what you put ON your body is important, too? Aside from feeling incredibly luxurious and decadent, this line at Good Medicine Beauty lab was created just for mamas, and is safe for pregnant & nursing women.

 

5. Bone Broth Herbs

There's a reason the Motherbees book (#2 on this list) has lots of broth recipes- bone broth is warming, feels nurturing, grounding, and calming at a time when a new mother needs it most. Urban Herbs is upping the bone broth game through their Nourish The Mama herbs that can be added to bone broth, using a blend of Chinese herbs thought to help women recover from childbirth. Make sure you check with your healthcare practitioner/doctor before using these herbs. (And if you gift this to a mama, please, make the broth for her!)

 

6. Meal Delivery Service

Nourishment is so important for new moms, but making a healthy meal is damn near impossible when you have a newborn. Enter meal delivery services. Getting a new mom a gift card to any meal delivery service (NOT meal kits which require the mom to actually do the cooking) can often be EXACTLY what a new mama needs. Yes, you could just bake a lasagna, but lasagna isn't healthy or nourishing and many meal delivery services offer options for dietary restrictions and meals that can be truly healthy for a new mom. Try using The Google Machine to find local deliver services in your area that cater to moms (like Motherbees in LA or MaMeal in Chicago). Otherwise, consider gift cards to Doordash, Grub Hub, or Munchery.

7. Earth Mama Organics Postpartum Line

We love seeing companies that create products just for mom, and Earth Mama is a well known company that makes natural and organic products. While they have a large line of products for baby and pregnancy, they also have a postpartum line, made just for the new mama. 

 

8. Postpartum Doula

A new mom needs help, in any form, of any kind. Wondering what kind of gift to get a new mom? Consider gifting a gift card or certificate to a local postpartum doula, whose role is to help support the whole family's transition- not just focusing on baby. They may do a range of tasks from light housekeeping, meal prep, baby support, lactation support, to help with siblings. Find one in your area here

 

9. Postpartum Kits

Etsy is full of creative kits made with products to help soothe and nurture a new mom. You can find a plethora by simply searching for "postpartum" in Etsy, but here are a few:

SweetGum Botanicals

Plainville Homestead

Green Earth Naturals

 

10. Duo Diary Postpartum Journal

There are a million apps and baby journals out there that help new parents track all of their baby's feedings and diapers, but none of them take mom into account. Duo Diary knows how intimately intertwined mama and baby are, and we also know how common it is for new moms to lose track of her own health while she adjusts to focusing so much on baby. That's why our journals are designed with ample space for new moms to make sure they are healing OK, that they are getting the care they need, that they are eating, sleeping, drinking water, and other basic needs that seem to go out the window for new moms (showers, anyone?). We also offer an entire Resources area just to help mothers navigate the postpartum period and our blog is full of information like exercise for new moms, healing after childbirth, and interviews with cutting edge mama focused companies like Mothering Arts and Birthfit. You can buy our journals in the original one month journal or our new 3 month journal or 1 year pack. Go here to purchase one for the new mom in your life.

 

What are your favorite gifts to give a new mom? 


This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

This post may contain affiliate links.

An Interview With: Mothering Arts
 
 

One of the central reasons why Duo Diary was created is to give new moms a space for self care in their newly-upended lives. Bringing home a baby is transformative, and in our society, new mothers are pushing themselves through grueling schedules and to-do lists, often without breaks for themselves to heal and be nurtured. This is all too common the case especially when a woman should be healing after childbirth- not judging herself or trying to do it "all." Duo Diary aims to change this by giving women a space to take care of herself in our journals, and by also highlighting companies that are helping women nurture themselves. When we stumbled upon Mothering Arts we knew we had found something special. Founded by Kerry Ingram, Mothering Arts is dedicated to helping new mothers thrive through in-person mothering circles, group leader training, online courses, and a wonderfully calming and supportive blog with activities and downloads to help new moms tune into self care ideas. With a focus on the wellness of mom and baby in her mothering circles, Kerry acknowledges that when a woman brings a baby home, she is at a time of immense need and support in her life. Mothering circles are a wonderful place for a woman to feel nurtured, talk to other moms, and well, feel like she is serving her new mom wellness. This month, we talked with Kerry to find out more about Mothering Arts and how they can help women like you. Read more about Mothering Arts below.

 

For our readers who may not know, could you please describe/explain what exactly Mothering Arts is?

Mothering Arts is a warmly designed training for women who believe in the power of community uplifting and nurturing the postpartum year. Our online group leader training supports women to confidently create local classes for mamas and babies.

 

How did you conceive of Mothering Arts?

Great question! I had been working as a Waldorf early childhood educator for many years before becoming a parent for the first time. Something I noticed in the school community was a general feeling of isolation and self-judgement from the parents. They were so hard on themselves! I started to practice the art of acknowledgment and to simply notice something about each parent at drop off each morning, it was well received by all. Many mornings I baked fresh muffins to share with parents as they dashed out the door, which were also well received.

When I became a parent, I fell into the pitfalls that I witnessed for so many years and was beating myself up all the time for not doing things "right" or "good enough". 

I joined a local parent and child class which was lovely, and very focused on the babies while the sleep deprived mamas were barely hanging in there. We wanted to feel nurtured so we could nurture our babies, some of us missed our own parents, we wanted to talk, share questions and cry, and we were hungry! In that moment I really understood the importance of a parent feeling well supported to be able to give freely to the needs of her child.

That night, pen went to paper and dreams sparked into reality. My tiny living room was the location of our first group of 5, and now over 70 mama-baby pairs have been meeting locally for nearly 6 years.

I created Mothering Arts as an answer to an old question, while tending to a need that my friends and I shared as new parents. After the local class was growing and growing, a friend asked if I would be willing to share my model and plan... and the Mothering Arts group leader training was born!

 

In what ways do you hope to help new mothers?

I think the way I try to support new moms most is through acknowledgement, listening and nurturing. Parents know their baby more intimately than anyone else, but so quickly we give away our wisdom and power to the advice of blogs, websites, books and other "professionals". We have so much to learn from each other, and from our special relationship with our child. I want to empower mothers to cultivate their unique art of mothering that aligns with her values and wishes for her child. Mothers need to feel heard and seen, the transformation into mother is extraordinary and should be honored in the eyes of her community. I also love to prepare nourishing foods and be hands-on with baby rocking, mama shoulder rubbing and delivering a cup of warm tea.

 

Can you explain or describe some of the offerings and tools Mothering Arts has for new mothers?

I think our local groups are the best tools we have, because that heart to heart connection can not be replaced through the internet. That being said, we do offer a few online classes, LOL, the irony. Our group leader training is my heart's work, finding the women in each community who feel called to work with this tender population and weave the webs of community.

We offer a Healthy Home Rhythms ($40) self guided course for families who would like to create a simple and balanced flow to everyday life. Folks love the step-by-step plan and the lovely printables in this course.

Our Mothering Arts Collective course is a monthly subscription ($30/month) that offers oodles of resources on how to align with your values, create your family culture and make moments that truly connect us as a family. This course is self paced through the month with a thriving and warm community of over 100 moms from all over the world. It's an active group with lots of support and sharing.

And of course our group leader training for those who feel inspired to nurture mamas and babies in her community.

 

What usually brings a mother to Mothering Arts?

In person: mothers want community. They want to answer the door with messy hair, dishes on the counter and know the person who walks in is there to be real. She wants to cultivate a community of deep connections and feel totally welcome to come as she is.

Our group leaders want to be a part of the change rewriting the story of how the postpartum year is observed in our culture. Our leaders are devoted to making space to slow down, to honor and create a community of support of new parents.

 

What do you wish more women knew about the postpartum period or the transition to motherhood?

It's ok to ask for help. Your mothering journey will not look like any one else.

 

What have you learned from some of the women you've worked with?

Each mother is an artist sharing an outer expression of an inner feeling. We are all so unique.

 

Where can our readers find out more and connect with Mothering Arts?

www.motheringarts.com

We have a free monthly muse~letter full of activities, self-care tips, recipes and thoughtful articles. Be sure to sign up on our home page.

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10 Self Care Ideas For Busy Moms
 
Photo by  Dominik Martin  on  Unsplash
 

Self care is such a buzz word at the moment, which isn't a bad thing- its about time something that revolves around stress relief and taking care of yourself is a 'thing.'  But sometimes, self care ideas either don't serve us in a positive way, or they are unattainable or unrealistic. And while we all love a good glass of wine and a nice warm bath, not all self  care looks like a Pinterest photo. It can take many forms- from recognizing your worth to demanding better to taking a break- it's all important to our overall mental health and wellbeing. 

As mamas, self care is incredibly important. So here are ten tips that can have big affects on your wellbeing - a self care plan for the modern mama.

1. Say NO

For whatever reason, women are socialized to be people pleasers. An act of self care is to start training yourself to say no to others in the interest of serving yourself.  Bottom line, start making room in your schedule for you, not for others. 

2. Go to bed early and on a schedule

Research shows that an early and consistent bedtime and wake time have profound affects on our health. Consistent good sleep habits affect emotional health, problem solving, irritability, productivity, weight, and many other chronic and serious health conditions. The common knowledge is that our circadian rhythms dictate a 10pm-6am window as optimal, but some sleep scientists say genetics plays a big role, as does age. So play around with times and find what works for you. 

3. Demand more from your partner. 

Like "self care", "emotional labor"  or "mental load" are current big buzz words that have gained a lot of traction this year. And with good reason - new research shows it is oh so real and has a measurable affects on women. This one is hard, because it is one of the most important on this list, but that also means it's one of the most difficult to implement or change. The bottom line is that as a mom, you are now taking on significantly more, and these responsibilities (both actual and mental load-type of responsibilities) should be shared as much as possible. Every family is different and dynamics play a huge role but consider some small steps you might be able to take to start sharing this load with your partner in a more equal way. That may mean having some difficult conversations, but this is your health, and sometimes difficult conversations can lead to big changes. 

4. TAKE time for yourself.

Ever notice how some people just seem to have boundaries set firmly in place for themselves, they don't seem to be beholden to anyone else's expectations, and they just take time they want or need? Be like them. Unapologetically take time for yourself. Don't ask permission from your partner, don't make sure all your ducks are in a row first, just go and take some time. This might start off with leaving the room for 15 minutes to read a magazine article or something. You shouldn't need permission to take a break. Just freaking take it. 

5. Turn off screens an hour before bed.

This goes back to #2. Those blue lights our phones and ipads and TV's emit? They are oh-so-bad for our sleep - not to mention the anxiety created from scrolling through the latest political news on Facebook. Turn screens off an hour before bed to give your brain a chance to chill out before hitting the pillow and do something old fashioned like reading a book. With pages. 

6. Exercise for your mood

This means listen to your body, not your exercise calendar. Are you having an extra busy week? Not sleeping great? Fighting a cold? This might not be the best time to go out and do that 5 mile run that's on your calendar. This also depends on where you are in your menstrual cycle. Try using the Flo Living myFlo app to track your periods - this app also tells you how your hormones at different times in your cycle affect exercise. 

7. Drink a lot of water

Dehydration is super common, especially for moms who are pulled in a million different directions throughout the day. But it can have real and immediate consequences like fatigue, hunger, and sluggishness. Hydrating throughout the day is key- carry a water bottle (preferably glass or stainless steel) and keep track of how much you are drinking in your Duo Diary to make sure you are getting enough- particularly if you are breastfeeding!

8. Get off Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or your social media drug of choice

There is some research suggesting that social media usage may lead to less happiness and life satisfaction. But you already knew that. So don't bother reading Great Uncle Earl's latest political diatribe or the 'my life is perfect' post from that person from high school you haven't talked to since high school. Cutting out social media is harder than it sounds- the research also suggests that it can show addictive qualities - so try weaning yourself off, or going cold turkey on a 'digital cleanse.' 

9. Stand Up For Yourself and Your Health

As mamas, particularly when you are a new mama, you come into contact with LOTS of people who have you and your child's best interest at heart, but whose advice may not really serve you in the best way possible (such as the common "you just had a baby, this is normal" advice). If something doesn't sound right, feel right, or most importantly- resolve your issue or give you an answer- keep demanding more. This goes for any healthcare practitioner you come into contact with after having a baby! They see a ton of people and are overwhelmed, (we can all relate to the 'rushed doctor appointment') so you'll need to demand more if you aren't getting the information you need to be healthy. 

10. Journal

The health benefits of journaling are well documented, and a little can go a long way. No, you may no longer have 30 minutes of uninterrupted writing as a mom, but even just jotting down the one nagging thought that's bugging you can help. This is why Duo Diary is designed with a big ol' notes section on the page for mamas- journaling for yourself is part of your health. So grab your Duo Diary and get writing!

 

3 Women Owned Companies That Will Help You Regain Function After Childbirth
lose baby weight

Everyone likes to imagine that after you have a baby, your stomach magically shrinks back to pre-pregnancy size, you magically lose the baby weight, pop on those skinny jeans, and saunter out of the hospital feeling the same as you did 10 months ago.

Except, not.

Look, there is a whole lot of stuff no one tells you about how to recover from childbirth (we’ll save that for another post), most of all being that your body does not know what the heck just happened. And guess what? It doesn’t really want to figure it out. At least not for awhile.

You just spent the last 10 months not feeling like yourself, and have now entered...more time of not feeling like yourself. You are DYING to get back into your old clothes, and no, it’s not vain or caving to society’s unrealistic demands of bouncing back after baby. Let’s get real: you want to know what to do to lose the pregnancy weight because you want to feel like YOU again.

But we also know you can’t just jump right back into spinning classes or other workout routines. Getting back into workouts post baby takes time, and most importantly, function. 

Because one of the things no one tells you about having a baby is that you lost function. A lot of it. And if you want to start exercising again after having a baby, getting back that core function first is important, or things can get dicey real quick. There are, thankfully, a few fabulous women-led companies out there that are completely focused on helping you regain function.

So, once you are cleared for exercise by your doctor, here are 3 bad-ass companies that will help you get on track:

Restore Your Core

A system created by Lauren Ohayon. A gentle, practical program to help you reconnect with many of the areas you’ve probably lost connection with. Slower paced and thorough, she gives you the complete foundation you need before you even think about doing any other type of exercise.

Mutu System

This is probably our favorite (full disclosure, we are a Mutu affiliate because we are so obsessed). This program was designed by Wendy Powell after two challenging births and recoveries. She trained, researched, got certified, and now helps other women around the world understand what changes have happened to their bodies after having a baby and how to get back function. Includes a 12 week program complete with simple daily core exercises, along with ‘intensives’ done a few times a week to burn calories. Want to know how to lose the baby weight in your stomach? This program nails it.  

Momma Strong

A whole package of exercises for postpartum -exercise- cleared mommas who want a little more intensity. Her library is full of programs to help heal diastasis, get the core stronger, plus daily 15-20 minute videos of higher intensity workouts meant to burn calories, but not in a way that will re-injure or make things worse.

What postpartum programs have you tried and loved? Drop it in the comments below!

This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

This post may contain affiliate links.

Don't Visit Your Friend Who Just Had a Baby Without Doing One of These
 
Postpartum Care
 

If you are reading this, chances are you've had a baby, or know someone who has. (Otherwise, you are really lost on the internet). Anyone who has ever had a baby gets bombarded with people who want to come visit and meet the baby. All well and good, except for the fact that during this 'visit' one of the parties is recovering from one of the most major events a human body can go through, and most likely doing so with a smile on their face. 

But sometimes visitors mean well and plain old just don't know what to do to help. If you've never had a child, how would you know what needs this person you are visiting has? You can't! I get it. People don't understand why having a baby suddenly means you don't have time to eat, shower, sleep or any other REALLY BASIC HUMAN NEED. But that's OK. You don't need to understand it, just know that it's real. Oh, it's so real. And when your basic sense of human-ness is missing from your day to day life, it is a really amazing thing to have one of those needs met. So here's a list of helpful things you can do when you visit a friend or family member who just had a baby.

1. Bring food. Lots of it. Frozen. 

Since sleep and feedings are now the absolute #1 &#2 things on the mind of the person who just had a baby, eating starts to fall somewhere down the list to, I don't know, #5 or #6. So when you open your freezer and find a meal that you can just microwave and shove down your throat before the baby's next feeding, it is THE greatest thing in the world. Chili is a really easy one to make and to bring- it cooks easily in your crockpot, then freezes easily in one or two cup servings that a new mom in your life can easily reheat for herself. 

2. Bring Snacks in Bags or Jars. 

Its a giant joke that nature has played on new moms- nursing moms need to eat a lot of healthy calories, but they don't have any time or energy to make any of those kind of calories. Also, sitting down and eating a meal becomes a bit of a foreign concept for awhile so snacking becomes a great way to keep a nursing mom's blood sugar steady throughout the day, while allowing more opportunities for healthy calories and fats. The catch? She doesn't have time to make snacks. Homemade granola is one of the easiest - you can put it in a mason jar or ziploc bag that a mom can just keep nearby. Another great option is trail mix- nuts, dried fruit, dark chocolate, etc. Or lactation cookies (they are real and they are fabulous). 

3. Bone broth

It's said to restore, warm the body, and help a new mom recover and heal. Bone broth is high in minerals and proteins and, as long as you are using pasture raised/grass fed bones, high in healthy fats at a time when a new mom needs all of these things in spades. Bone broth is also super easy to make- time consuming, since it needs to simmer for 12-48 hours, but easy (literally, throw some bones, veggies and an acid like lemon in a pot and that's it. Here's an official recipe from the good folks at Motherbees), so cook up a batch and freeze in individual cup size servings for the new mom in your life to reheat in a mug and easily sip. You could also buy bone broth from companies like OSSO GOOD, which happens to have a bone broth called "Nourish the Mama" with Chinese herbs. Need I say more?

4. Bring a gift FOR THE MOM

Most visitors who show up with gifts bring gifts for the baby, which is fantastic, but in the spirit of remembering to care for the new mom, try bringing a gift JUST for the new mom. Sometimes it's a gift to help feedings, to help her with something baby related, but in the end it's something that will make her life easier. A Duo Diary is one of the best gifts you can bring for a new mother because it is one of the only products out there that easily combines the baby's wellbeing with the new mom's. There are also gifts like the book from the aforementioned Motherbees, "The First Forty Days" which help guide a new mom's nutrition for the first 40 days postpartum. 

5.  Offer to watch/hold/feed the baby so she can go take a shower and maybe even a nap

What a new mom needs more than anything (whether she knows it or will admit it) is nurturing, being allowed to heal, and given some nourishment to get her through the hard first few months. Try doing one (or all!) God bless you. If you do all, God bless you. That woman is lucky to have you in her life!) of these items for a new mom in your life and see how much they appreciate it...whether they are too tired to show it or not. 

23 Self Care Ideas

If you are a parent you may occasionally and suddenly find yourself with 15, 20 minutes, or even a half hour of free time. As the realization kicks in that you've suddenly got the equivalent of 40 ounces of gold in time, your mind starts to race through your to-do list trying to find one or two things you can knock out in 20 minutes. What is most likely NOT on that list are things like, 'take a bath' or 'call a friend' or 'read.' In other words, things we like to call 'self care activities.' That is, activities that serve absolutely no purpose other than to calm your nerves, be enjoyable, and get you in touch with what makes you tick (reading, music, other hobbies?).

This article sums up how we confuse 'self care' by doing things that are not actually caring for ourselves, a la 'I'm going to sit down and enjoy a glass or three of wine." These types of non-care 'care' activities are needed, but in small quantities. What our bodies really really need as deprived parents is actual TLC. This list is a great start. So start brainstorming and think about what you would do for self care. And next time you find yourself with a magical 20 minutes on your hands, maybe instead of knocking off a to-do item, knock of a self-care item. 

Read the full article here and let us know what you'd add to this list!

Mastering the Art of Self Care

When most of us think of 'self care,' we think of having an hour to watch Real Housewives of Whatever City, peruse Facebook, and just zone the f out. But is this really the kind of self care our bodies need? Especially as caregivers? Obviously, the answer is no. This article has some fantastic tips for what self care really means (hint, it doesn't involve your TV).

Read the full article here.