Tag Archives: mom

Do You Have a Birth Plan?

As I get closer to delivery (only five more weeks), my husband and I were advised by my OB to review a series of questions and “what if” scenarios. I found a detailed check list on The Bump, which provided a great starter template. But you have to keep in mind; plans don’t always go the way you envision. So, play out a few different scenarios so you are not surprised, or caught off guard!

Here are some interesting things they brought up that I didn’t really think about:

  1. Do you want the lights bright or dimmed?
  2. Do you want interns present from the birth?
  3. How do you prefer to spend your first stage of labor (i.e., in a bath tub, walking around, with music or in silence)?
  4. During delivery, how do you want to be positioned (i.e., stand, squat, lie on side, lean on partner)?

 

And here are some really important questions to ask yourself and consider:

  1. Would you like labor augmentation? Do you even know what that is?
  2. What kind of pain relief do you want to use? There are a lot of options.
  3. What level of fetal monitoring do you want?
  4. After delivery, what do you want to do with the umbilical cord and placenta?
  5. What if you have to have a c-section. Read about options and recovery. You have decisions here too (i.e., want your partner there, want to see the baby come out via mirror)?
  6. Print out your plan and keep it in your hospital bag. It’ll be a nice source of comfort.

 

**Fun fact: Lindsay had her baby only one week after writing this post! Good thing she had her birth plan (and this blog) all set.

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Written by our Founder & CEO, Lindsay Bell

Finding Harmony With Your Child

We recently got the chance to partner with Emily Chamberlin and Christopher Diaz, co-founders of Heart to Harmony, an organization centered around connecting parents and caregivers to their children through various techniques. Learn about their teachings through our Q&A below, and by stopping by their space on the Upper West Side!

Q: What is the mission behind Heart To Harmony? What kinds of things do you hope your members takeaway from your classes? 

 A: Our mission is to create a harmonious atmosphere, where families and their babies can find a deeper bond within themselves and with their child. Our participants leave class feeling uplifted and encouraged emotionally, physically and spiritually. Parents and caregivers will acquire knowledge of children’s songs, baby and me exercises and breathing techniques to do at home. These tools can be used in or out of the class to calm the mind, relieve stress and connect on a deeper level with their child.  

 Q: What types of classes do you offer? Can people of all ages register to take a class? 

 A: We offer a Baby and Me exercise and mindfulness class for ages 4 weeks to new walkers that focuses on connecting with your child through the breathe, guided imagery, singing and simple fun baby and me exercises.

 Q: Where did your passion/inspiration come from to start up Heart of Harmony? 

 A: Our inspiration came from our shared desire to create a unique program for families with little ones to meet, bond, have fun and find community. Our love of teaching, working with kids and connecting on a deeper humanistic level with others is the spark that ignited Heart to Harmony. 

Q: How can prospective members sign-up for a class? Are the class schedules flexible? 

A: Those interested in joining our Heart to Harmony family can e-mail us (chrisandemily@hearttoharmony.com) to schedule a 10 minute meet and greet prior to joining class. This meet and greet is required so that we can get to know each family on a more personal level. 

Families can sign up for a class through the “Register for class” section on our website. Payments online are made through PayPal. Cash and VENMO are also accepted prior to class.

Special discount offer for Bell Family Company families: Receive a 25% discount on your first class with Heart to Harmony! Just mention this blog and your BFC member info when signing up. 

For a great promo video to learn more about Heart to Harmony, click here!

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Reclaim Your Health and Increase Your Joy

Make 2018 the year of taking control of your physical and mental health. Whether you’re looking to eat healthier, increase your energy level, or shine a little more light at the end of this motherhood tunnel, Thrive Hive Wellness is here to help.

See what all the buzz is about through our Q&A with Jennifer Khalaf, Founder of Thrive Hive Wellness.

Q: It sounds like an important lesson you learned in your journey was making time to focus on yourself as a woman, and not just your role as a mom. Why is it so important for moms to take time to focus on themselves, too? 

A: Mothers are incredible and have the ability to give and care for others on a level that always amazes me, but no matter how happy we are to do it, I don’t believe you can pour from an empty cup.

Before we have children we have many components that make up our sense of identity – our passions, our careers and our relationships, to name a few. After we have children, there is often a shift in “who we are” and how we define ourselves. Many of us feel that we lose the woman we once were and have a hard time making this new woman a priority – either because we don’t have enough time and/or resources or because we feel guilty being away from our family.

I believe we all deserve to be happy and take care of ourselves – both in terms of nutrition and in terms of self-care. Self-care is not a luxury, it’s essential to your health and happiness and it looks different for everyone – it doesn’t mean you have to get a weekly facial! For me, it can be anything from a workout I enjoy to getting tea with a friend.

It’s important to remember that while “mama” may be our most cherished name, it’s not our only one. We are wives, sisters, friends, coworkers, neighbors etc. and we deserve to fulfill our passions and interests. When we don’t nourish our bodies and minds, it often takes away from other areas in our lives. A fulfilled mama, is a happy and present mama and at the end of the day, that’s good for the entire family.

Q: What are some of the plans/services you offer moms looking to join, and how can they join? 

I work with moms in a variety of ways – I customize programs based off each client’s goals. For some women that may be focusing on nutrition to fit their bio-individual needs and lifestyle and for others it may be helping them work through areas of their lives that they’re feeling stuck or unfulfilled. We work together twice a month over a 3 or 6-month period (either in person or via video conference) and take steps each week towards making the changes to get them to where they want to be. Sustainable change takes time and let’s be honest when something goes wrong in the family, it’s mama to the rescue! These programs allow for the inevitable (a sick child, a school break, etc.) to happen and not sideline the progress they worked hard to achieve.

In addition to one-on-one coaching, I also offer family nutrition consultations, cooking demonstrations and pantry makeovers where we go through the family’s cupboard and swap out not-so-healthy staples with healthier alternatives that are equally delicious, but more nutrient dense.

To work with me or for a complimentary consultation, you can reach me through my website, or by email at jen@thrivehivewellness.com.

Q: What are a couple key takeaways moms will get when joining Thrive Hive Wellness? 

I recognize that every woman is different and it’s why each of my clients receives support tailored to their unique strengths and challenges. As such, their takeaways depend on their goals, but every client gains a better understanding of what foods support their bodies and gives them energy and balance. Additionally, they are equipped with tips and tools to help them make more space for themselves and feel more joyful and present in every aspect of their lives.

Motherhood is crazy and amazing all at the same time and sometimes we need a little reminder that our health and happiness is important too. If we know how to keep filling up our cups, we’ll have plenty to pour into our families!

Thrive Hive

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Breath Confidence from EATWHATEVER®

I have a habit of liking foods that tend to leave my breath a little less desirable. I’m looking at you everything bagel.

It’s especially alarming when I’m out in public with friends or significant other, and I need to keep myself within an arms length distance so they can’t smell my breath.

To solve the bad breath problem, I tried out Eatwhatever® . Eatwhatever®  is a revolutionary breath freshener that assures confident fresh breath in two quick steps—swallow a gel, suck on a mint. Unlike other breath fresheners, Eatwhatever® works in your stomach AND your mouth. It’s all natural, vegan, gluten free, kosher certified and made in the USA!

I was lucky enough to team up with Jacqui Rosshandler, President of Jacquil LLC, and creator of Eatwhatever®, to try both the peppermint and ginger flavors. They were both great!

What I was really impressed by was the ginger flavor. One night I had an upset stomach, and remembered I had a stash of Eatwhatever® mints in my cupboard. I took a ginger gel cap followed by a mint, and my stomach felt much more at ease minutes later. An added bonus for expecting moms, the ginger flavor does wonders for helping with morning sickness and nausea.

To snag some of the Eatwhatever® products, checkout their website. And for those dog lovers, checkout Woofmints! Now both you and your pup can stay kissable!

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

The Woman Inside the Mom

It’s important for moms to focus on the woman that lives inside being a mom. It can be easy to forget about who you are and what you want when you are caught up playing the role of mom, and looking after your little one(s).

Beyond Mom is a community of over 6,000 creative and productive women that focus on seeking Self within motherhood. We had the chance to get to know Randi Zinn, author, mindfulness and wellness expert, and founder of Beyond Mom, to learn more about this great organization.

Q: What was your greatest influence or drive to start up Beyond Mom?

A: Intuitively, I knew that I wouldn’t be happy just focusing on motherhood. I love my kids beyond measure but somehow inside I knew that if I was fueling myself and giving to the world, I would be a better mother. I met so many women who felt the same way and I wanted to create a space that honored this perspective and encouraged it. Plus, I want to show my kids what it looks like to work hard and go for your dreams. Just the other day, my son asked why I had to leave to go to an event for my book, and I told him that I wanted him to know that he could write a book one day….he seemed to like that answer.

Q: The name Beyond Mom is great! Why is it so important for moms to realize that there is value in life “Beyond Mom”?

A: When we shed all the titles, the expectations, the daily schedules and to-do lists, there is an essence that is made up of the truth of who we really are. The more time that we are in touch with that essence, the happier we really are because then we are in the flow of our lives. Our culture tells us that we should look perfect, act perfect and raise perfect children, and yet, tells us that we’re selfish for nurturing and investing in ourselves. I’m hoping Beyond Mom changes that cultural mindset….quickly.

Q: What are the most successful ways Beyond Mom works to support/encourage moms and their individual pursuits?

A: I hold regular events to bring women together for information, inspiration and community – I think magic happens in real time! What is most successful though are the day long retreats that I hold for moms to refuel themselves with yoga, meditation, discussion, speakers, and best of all, free time. Moms desperately need time to themselves and rarely get it. I’m super excited that our first Urban Day Retreat is happening on February 10th here in NYC and there’s still some spots left! Sign up here and invest in yourself and you will experience the rewards!

Q: You’re also the author of the recently published book, Going Beyond Mom. What are a few tips readers will learn by picking up a copy for themselves?

A: My book walks a woman through the layers of who she is and the layers that most typically experience upheaval as a mom. I walk you through how to rebuild these parts of yourself so you feel more solid and are able to be more present in all parts of your life – especially if you want to launch an idea. (second part of the book). A few of my favorite tips: move your body – moving your body reminds you that you are alive (very important when you are exhausted), use mindfulness techniques to calm mental overwhelm and intense emotional reactions, make sure the community in your home (anyone who walks in to help keep your home and kids safe and happy, is aligned with your values and overall needs, surrounded yourself with like-minded, inspiring people, and befriend change! (don’t struggle against change – accept it – and experience the unexpected beauty on the other side). How to do all of the above? Buy the book and dive in!

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell

The Best Childcare Advice

What’s the best childcare advice? To not feel bad about taking care of yourself!

This mom guilt thing has to be better managed and supported. Aim to find someone that you can confide in! My mom gives the best advice on everything.

Look to get some type of help immediately post baby. My mom spent the first month with me when I gave birth – she acted as my baby nurse. I think every mom needs to have a parent, assistant, sitter, or baby nurse there for the first four weeks. It doesn’t have to be around the clock, or expensive. Especially if you are working or have other kids running around.

Here are some benefits:

1. Helps you recover faster and heal
2. Helps provide support and help with the baby
3. Makes you feel taken care of and gives you someone to talk to if you have questions

Don’t wait! Try to get the process of searching for someone started early to save on stress. And don’t forget to do your research. Some moms could change everything once the baby arrives.

If you get a direct referral it’s much easier. Typically, if the referral is an excellent sitter, or a great judge of character, they will refer someone just as great. Try using an agency or a group of some sort (HINT: Bell Family Company)! If you don’t, you’ll be running your own company (sourcing, vetting, checking references, etc.). Groups or companies know all the rules, and have staff to vet through all of those things for you.

Golden rule: Treat others as you want to be treated. I think this is more important than ever for both the nanny and family. It’s amazing how a nanny that is given a coffee in the morning from her family will be more than willing to take the dog out for an extra walk, or how the family that lets the nanny leave early because she baked cookies for the family for their party that night.

And don’t forget, Bell Family is here to help with making childcare a breeze! Contact us today to book a sitter or nanny!

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Written by our Founder & CEO, Lindsay Bell

Raising a Bold, Brave, and Self-Reliant Boy

Have you ever wondered what motivates and drives your son in his everyday life? Teaching empowerment and belief in oneself is important, and it’s something parent’s can learn about in an upcoming event in New York City.

Join author and psychologist Dr. Adam Price,  for an event explaining how to teach your son to persist when challenged, and to develop the critical self-regulation skills necessary for success. He will also decode ‘boy world,’ explain why some bucks are “too cool for school” and give you the tools to raise confident, emotionally strong men.

On Wednesday, November 15 (6:30 PM until 8:00 PM), take part in the event by registering with HRP Mamas. Don’t wait – the Tuesday event is already sold out!

For full event and registration details, click here.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Making Your Back-to-Work Plan, The Pumping Edition

We recently teamed up with Jennifer Mayer, founder of Baby Caravan, and Birth Doula for over 12 years, to get her advice about mothers who are going back to work and are committed to breastfeeding and maintaining their pumping schedule. Read below for her thoughts and suggestions, and to start your back-to-work plan.

For many mothers, the return to work is filled with lots of stress, concern and worry. Leaving your new baby in the arms of an entrusted caregiver and returning to work is never easy. For moms who are committed to breastfeeding, creating a good pumping
plan is a huge asset.

Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand. In order to produce enough milk for your child’s feedings, it’s essential that you pump on a regular and consistent basis. Many moms are concerned about their supply when they return to work, since they will be away from their baby. It’s true that the pump is not quite as efficient to remove milk as compared to your baby, and your supply may decrease. However, there are a few things you can do to keep your supply up while pumping at work.

1) Make A Schedule: The most important thing when pumping at work, is making sure you pump on a consistent basis. Usually pumping at least twice while you’re away (every 4 hours), and ideally three times while you’re away (every 3 hours) will be often enough. To ensure your pump sessions occur, schedule them into your daily schedule if possible.

2) Have a Dedicated Pump Spot: Some offices have lactation rooms already available, and other places of employment do not. If possible, speak with HR prior to returning to work to sort out where you can pump when you return to work. Make sure it’s not a bathroom!

3) Grab Your Gear: You’ll likely want to have one pump at the office, and another at home. Prepare for your first day by bringing an extra set up pump parts as back-up, and extra shirt (just in case!) and extra storage bottles. You’ll also want to bring a cooler bag to transport your milk home in. We love the Pack-It coolers.

4) Breastfeed When You’re Home: One way moms ensure to keep up their supply is to nurse often when they are home with their baby. Depending on how well your little one is sleeping at night, you may want to feed more often in the evening and in the morning hours. On the weekends you can spend time nursing to boost
your supply and have lots of bonding time with your baby.

Some workplaces are more supportive than others when it comes to pumping at work. Hopefully your employer respects how important and beneficial breastfeeding is.

However if you’re the first employee to pump at work, or your employer isn’t very supportive, here are some ways to create a pump friendly environment.

1) The Law is Your Friend: At the federal level, mothers are also protected but for just one year: “Section 7 of the FLSA requires employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk.”

2) Design a Lactation Room: If you’re able to, design a lactation room for your company. You’ll want to include essentials like access to a sink, fridge for storage, cubbies to hold gear, a desk or table to hold laptops and pumps, comfortable chairs, wipes, and a community board. If you need a temporary space check out companies like Melk and Mamava.

3) Educate: If you’re one of the first moms who’s pumping, your boss and colleagues might just be unaware of all the benefits. Gently educating them on the health benefits of breastfeeding for babies and moms could go a long way toward acceptance.

I hope these tips help you as your prepare for your transition back to work. Pumping is certainly a commitment that takes time and dedication. Yet for many moms the satisfaction of providing breast milk for their babies while they are away at work is worth all the effort.

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For more information about Jennifer and Baby Caravan, click here.

Training Thursday Vol. 14 – Swaddling

Welcome to volume 14 of Bell Family’s video training series, where each Thursday we release a video to help coach sitters on an array of childcare topics.

This week we are featuring a training video on swaddling!

Here are some quick how-to steps to keep in mind:

  1. Once the blanket is placed down on the surface (top folded down like a triangle) place the baby’s neck line in line with the top of the blanket.
  2. Wrap down, up, and then around the baby.
  3. Make the blanket secure around the baby’s body by tucking the remaining part underneath.
  • Tip: Look for a tag that is attached to the blanket. There is often instructions on the tag if you need a refresher.

In addition to our follow-along training video, you can read more details about How to Swaddle a Baby through parenting.com and the 5 Reasons to Swaddle Your Baby through Precious Little Sleep.

These videos are recommended to all BFC childcare providers to view for the latest techniques when caring for children. These videos were designed by our team comprised of long-time babysitters, full-time nannies, mothers, grandmothers, elementary educators, and social worker.

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Note: Always follow the family’s instruction and care methods, and keep the family informed of everything with their baby.  These videos are not required to view, but a simple recommendation. For more information or for questions, please contact our office or read our terms.

The Best of NYC Mom Groups

Are you new to the city, raising children on or near the Upper East Side? Do you need a new mom network, or some fun and easy suggestions for activities with the kids?

We gathered a great list of  NYC mom groups to help meet local moms and make playdates with children the same age as your own.

Our top three UES centric things to do with kids:

1. The Craft Studio
2. My Gym: Lincoln Center
3. The MET

Need more? Kidz Central Station is a great spot to search for classes all over Manhattan and Brooklyn for ages infant and up, and Mommy Poppins, “Top 50 Things to Do for NYC Families” has great suggestions, too!

Happy Mom-Grouping!

SistterMoms

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell