Hello again, Mamas. Well, we are just over a month into 2018. January is a wrap. Endings are a natural time to pause and reflect. In December, we explored the idea of a revolutionary resolution; incorporating mothercare as a part of your daily routine. How’s that working out for you? Are you claiming your right to attend to yourself? If you are, then the year is off to an auspicious beginning! If not, there’s no time like the present to begin a practice of making motherhood easier by learning to cultivate your own health and happiness. Since this is about the moment so many of us fall off the resolution-wagon, this month’s edition of the Blog is dedicated to jump-starting your mothercare-regimen. What follows are 3 researched-based tips for steps you can take, today, to transform your experience of motherhood. Are you ready?
Quit Exercise: Start Flexercise! Unlikely advice from a pre/postnatal fitness trainer, right? But in a moment you’ll see why abandoning traditional exercise for what I call "flexercise" is a great choice if you have little one(s) at home. First thing’s first—what do I mean? The concept of “flexercise” incorporates several criteria, including:
• Making you feel better, not worse.
• Fitting comfortably in to your daily (or nightly) routine.
• Being adaptable to your current level of fitness.
• Including a modification to be done with or without your baby.
• Embracing the reality that sometimes rest is more important than motion. My upcoming book “Mother Matters: A Holistic Guide to Being a Happy, Healthy Mom” is loaded with examples of how to incorporate a flexercise routine into your daily life. For a sneak peak, take a look at the videos on my website—I’ve just added some new ones! Moving your body as a new mother takes on even more meaning than it might at other times. Postpartum women who engaged in a strength-based training program were found to have greater self-efficacy around exercise than postpartum women who did not, a 2014 study revealed. In other words, those who believed in their ability to exercise more, exercised more.
Eat, Sleep, Repeat!
The foods a new mom opts for can make a difference in helping cope with a chronic case of depleted " Zzzzs." Nutritional Consultant Patricia Gilroy states that one of the best ways to stave off physical and emotional fatigue nutritionally is to keep blood sugar levels even throughout the day. Complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta and brown rice are preferable to their white counterparts, which can lead to a rapid spike and drop in pressure. A tall glass of water along with those carbs is also a good idea. Water can keep the bodily systems running smoothly and reduce the risk of constipation—a common culprit of fatigue. Eager for some mouth-watering, easy-to-prepare recipes that will satisfy your taste buds as well as your body, “Mother Matters” is full of them! Here’s one to tide you over in the meantime:
Quinoa with Roasted Veggies & Feta:
Roast 1/2 a sliced red bell pepper, 1/2 a sliced green bell pepper, ½ a sliced red onion and 2 whole, unpeeled garlic cloves in a tablespoon of olive oil at 375F for 30 minutes. Remove the garlic and squeeze the soft pulp into the vegetables. In the same roasting pan, add in ½ cup cooked quinoa and combine well to absorb the juices from veggies. Move to a plate, and serve sprinkled with ¼ cup crumbled feta and 2-3 torn basil leaves.
A Little Touch Goes A Long Way!
Most people recognize there is a connection between the mind and the body. Positive (or negative) impacts on one will invariably impact the other. This is especially evident in healing therapies involving touch, like massage for example. Effective body work often results in a calming and restorative consequence for the mind. Sounds like just what the doctor (should) order for a new mama! Developed 5000 years ago in China, acupressure is essentially a form of massage that works similarly to acupuncture. Instead of using specialized needles however, the practitioner uses fingers to apply pressure to particular points on the body. This makes acupressure an easy and effective tool for self-treatment. Moms who are feeling weak or sore following labor and delivery will welcome some attention to the Stomach 36 point. Some believe that treating this point, also referred to as Leg 3 Miles, can boost energy levels. Here’s how to do it: From a seated position, locate the patella or knee bone. Place one hand just below the bone and slightly to the outside away from the body. Your hand should be just at the top edge of the tibia, the larger of the two lower leg bones. Using your thumb, rub the area in a clockwise direction for thirty seconds to a minute on each side. A feeling of mild soreness or warmth may emerge in the area. You may treat both sides simultaneously, or one and then the other, as it feels comfortable for you. For more on acupressure, visit the website of Four Flowers Wellness, a wonderful resource for women's health in Chicago.
About Dayna: Dayna is a leading authority on the subject of women transitioning to motherhood and serves as Director of the Anna Keefe Women's Center at the Training Institute for Mental Health in Manhattan. She is a licensed social worker and NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) Certified Personal Trainer with an additional certification in training the pre and postnatal client. Dayna is the author of the upcoming "Mother Matters: A Holistic Guide to Being a Happy, Healthy Mom" (Familius Press, Spring 2018) and “The Female Body Fix” (Rodale, 2018). Dayna also serves as a "Real Answers" expert on TheBump.com. She has written or been consulted on articles for the websites of PopSugar, The Today Show, Pregnancy & Newborn, Big City Moms, Pregnancy Corner, WAGmagazine among others, and writes the "Mother Matters" blog on the Huffington Post. A sought-after speaker, Dayna regularly presents on the subject of mothercare. The Mother Matters Blog. Evidenced-based mother-care tips delivered with care to your Inbox, every month. Sign up and share @ www.daynamkurtz.com “Like” Mother Matters on Facebook Follow on Twitter @daynamkurtz Follow on Instagram @daynam.kurtz Read Dayna’s “Real Expert” Answers to Mamas’ Questions @ TheBump.com
LeCheminant, J.D., Hinman, T., Pratt, K.B., Earl, N., Bailey, B.W., Thackeray, R., Tucker, L.A. (2014). Effect of resistance training on body composition, self-efficacy, depression, and activity in postpartum women. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 24, 414-21.
Patricia Gilroy BA, DipHE, NT Email interviews June 9-September 27, 2016.
Ashley Flores, LAc, Skype interview with the author, February 11, 2016