The Benefits of BABYWEARING

When we are welcomed to parenthood, we are also welcomed to a whole new world of phrases and terms to do with child raising, it’s almost like learning a new language, right? A term which has become increasingly popular and continues to do so amongst this generation is BABYWEARING. Although it is fairly obvious what this term means (wearing our babies) what is not immediately obvious are the scientific facts, the studies and the wonderful benefits of this practise during the early years of raising our little loved ones.

When it comes to babywearing so many questions arise; which carrier should I use? What’s the best make? What does the term ‘ergonomic’ even mean? When can I start wearing my baby? Is it safe? When should I babywear? Whilst ALL of these questions won’t be answered in this specific post, one question which I will be answering is;

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BABYWEARING? 

  • OXYTOCIN LEVELS: When a mother gives birth, many people don’t realise the importance of keeping the newborn as close to the mother as possible and at nearly all times for at least a minimium of 6 weeks post-partum. Why? Is this the first time you’re hearing this? Most probably. So here’s the theory, a female body for 9 months forms and carries a child around, it creates this baby and all of a sudden after 9 months gives birth and many societies or cultures expect the mother and baby to stay away from each other in some form or the other from very early days, it is expected of many societies and cultures that the mother let varying guests hold the baby e.g. friends and families. Whilst of course we must accomodate to the fact that we are a civilised species and that we cannot hoard our babies and not let anyone touch them we must also for a second stop and think, what should our reactions be as mammals? We are mammals and we still sport many mammal instincts and characteristics in today’s day and time (of course). Not many realise that this constant distancing from the baby decreases our oxytocin levels. Why is that a problem and how does babywearing help? Lowered oxytocin levels means a ‘lowered level of happiness’. Thus increasing depression, which manifests into post-partum depression and in extreme cases post-partum psychosis, as well as pschosomatic illnesses in mothers. This is nothing new, think about all other mammal species, they do not let ANYONE or ANYTHING even touch their babies for the first 6-8 weeks. Babywearing helps increasing this scenario as oxytocin levels are increased through physical contact with the newborn. Thus having a postive domino effect on the relationship between mother and infant. Stronger maternal bond -> better understanding of baby and it’s needs as well as easier breastfeeding -> better care. 
  • NEEDS ARE MET: Babies who are carried are generally calmer because all of their primal/survival needs are met (we are still mammals at the end of the day). The caregiver can be seen, heard, smelled, touched, tasted, felt, giving especially newborns the closest feeling to being in utero as possible. This makes the transition from in utero to out in the open world a much smoother, easier and less traumatising one for newborns. As well as this, the caregiver is able to provide feeding and the motion necessary for continuing development e.g. neural, gastrointestinal and respiratory health (hopefully the caregiver NOT being a smoker) and to establish balance (inner ear development).
  • HUMANIZATION’: Infants are ‘humanized’ earlier. Instead of spending their first days in anxiety, trying to figure out the giant world around the, and wondering/crying for their parents (generally specifically the mother). Infants feel safe, secure and content thus allowing them to develop socially and concentrate their energy and rapidly growing brain on other things such as studying facial expressions, studying body language and energies as well as learing languages.
  • ESTABLISHING INDEPENDENCE: One thing that many people DO NOT realise is that babies who are baby worn actually are more prone to establish their own independence then those who are not. Why? Because babies who are babyworn spend the lives in a secure state, rather than in a state of panic or anxiety due to separation (separation anxiety), This constant state of being content and secure manifests into a child with confidence in themselves rather than a child that is fearful, therefore the domino effect being that a child with confidence feels ready to establish his/her own independence from an earlier age and explore the world around them – continuing to grow and become an independant adult.
  • ATTACHMENT AND LOVE: This one a more obvious benefit of babywearing, carrying your baby around almost always ensures a growth of a strong bond inbetween the caregiver and baby. Being that close, and feeling the someone so dear to you, so close to you all the time can only result in a feeling of closeness, physically, emotionally, mentally and full of love.

These are the main benefits of baby wearing, covering some of the maybe not so obvious reasons as well as physiological reasons on why babywearing is such a healthy practise when it comes to raising our children. Although I covered these few points, yet in detail, there are many other reasons as to why we babywear and how we use babywearing to help us in every day life. Please don’t forget to subscribe to my youtube (Life of a Chocolate Girl ) to learn everything you need to about babywearing and lots more!

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Road Trippin’ gone (w)RONG

So last weekend, we thought it would be an awesome idea to take the kiddies on a road trip to BRASOV – another county, around 5 hours from our home county. We planned on leaving Saturday morning, staying the night, visiting all the way through Sunday and then making our way home Sunday evening. It would have been great if all had went well, it was even funnier, that things went totally wrong. Here’s the thing, for some reason me and my husband are able to have full blown panic attacks over a dirty house (we like it nice and clean, no idea why we’re SO OBSESSED), however, when we are stranded and have nowhere to stay we’re simply just the type to casually laugh it off and find another way. This time the other way meant returning home at 4am with two babies. More about that later, let me just take you quickly through our day, my first impression of Brasov, a few pics we took and then the funny part at the end!

So we left earlyish on the Saturday morning, grabbed some breakfast and snacks and we were on our way! The babies were angels and slept the whole way in the car, (Lucky us right?!) after around a 4-5 hour drive we arrived in Brasov, my first impressions of this county was sincerely, how CLEAN and fresh the air seemed, historical, beautiful and something which probably others wouldn’t notice but I do is how the houses are all the same. It is so organised, orderly and picture-esque, I’d love to buy an apartment there! So we went to visit the Dinosaur park in Rasnov which of course was awesome for Ayan, he loooved it, and then after we climbed up to the old medieval castle where we were lucky enough to find and capture the most amazing sunset, with a view as far as your eyes can see and as high as the mountains can go! After a long tiring day we wanted to go to our avantgarde apartment which we had booked except it seems that it had all gone disastrously wrong, the booking site never got back to us in time, they couldn’t find us another place to stay so we found that we had NOWHERE to stay, believe it or not ALL the hotels in the area were booked for the night, so what did we do instead? Did we stress? Did we argue? NOPE. We went to the nearest supermarket (carrefour) bought some bottles of water, WASHED OUR BABIES IN THE CAR PARK (still 30+ degrees outside) went in search of pizza, put the babies to bed in their carseats and then my husband drove us home. It actually felt sooo cozy (I love night drives in the car), with music softly playing in the background, the hum of the cars engine.

ps. update on the situation, the booking site fully refunded our amount AND gave us $200 towards our next booking. So we made the most of the situation and got our money back plus more. Positivity = win/win

Below I’m posting some pictures from our trip, also if you want to watch my VLOG from this trip don’t forget to check my youtube @lifeofachocolategirl to see my road trippin’ vid. And I’ll see you next time on the blog!!

 

3 reasons why the ‘baby weight’ is harder to lose the second time round.

You've probably heard from your friends and family, or you're probably living this right now, it's something you're sure wouldn't happen and lo and behold it IS happening to you. You are just not seemingly able to lose the baby weight this second time round.

Unfortunately this is happening to me too. I seem to go in cycles of finally managing to lose a couple of pounds, only to pile it STRAIGHT BACK a couple of weeks later. I find that as I'm nearing the 4 month marker I've started wondering to myself if I EVER will get back to the way I was or if I'm alwayd going to remain 8lbs+ my pre-pregnancy weight. What makes it worse is that I keep comparing myself to my first pregnancy and how I lost the weight quicker that time round, finding that the more I compare myself, the more frustrated I was getting. Then at some point I snapped out if it and I really thought to myself. 'Hang on, if I lost it the first time round, then surely I'm doing something different or wrong which means I am not losing it the second time round.' And there was my answer. I was doing something different. NOT wrong, but different. Not only did this revelation ease my impatience, it also opened my eyes to the fact that maybe we should just stop comparing. If you aren't losing your baby weight the second, third and fourth time, then for sure you're doing something different too. Below I'm going to list the differences and why, they're actually real reasons. 

1. It's your second (or more) birth: 

2. We have less time and so we are eating more: 

3. Getting to the gym is harder: A personal one for me, I find that with two children, getting to the gym is MUCH HARDER than it was getting there with my first. I mean after spending the whole day with my first, daddy would walk through the door after work, I'd put him on baby duty and run to the gym, not a feeling of guilt in my soul as this was my hour. However, having two babies it goes something like this. Stay with the baby the whole day, daddy walks through the door with first child (he's been to nursery all day). I obviously choose to spend my evenings with him doing something fun rather than running off to the gym as he's already been away for 8 hours and I'm not wasting my few precious hours that I could have with him, sweating it out in the gym. #sorrynotsorry

So literally, there you go, 3 legit reasons why I cannot get back to my pre-pregnancy weight as fast as I did after my first & also 3 reasons why it doesn't even matter anymore. Life is different, the circumstances are different. I'm a mama, just like you, doing it all alone. So let's not be too hard on ourselves and of course, try and make the healthier choices when we can, have patience and slowly but surely everything will fall into place. 

When love isn’t enough.

‘Love is all you need.’ – We commonly grow with this idea that especially where marriage/ partnership/ couple life, is concerned, then love is the answer to everything. In the general sense this is true, if you truly love each other then you’ll get through everything. In another sense this is false. Many of us innocently don’t seem to notice or realise that when falling in love we put so much effort in order to show the other half that we love them, yet when we’ve completed a ‘formality’ e.g. getting married, we forget to put in the effort or we believe that now we are one, surely that is it and we are set for life. Nothing could be more false than this.

I found myself slowly turning from the wife to the room mate. After 2 children, my husband working a hard job and almost 0 help from any exterior resources we found that although our love never died and we still love each other dearly, the spark was fading. We no longer did the intimate things couples do, we no longer took showers together or ate dinners together. We no longer baked together, talked until late hours of the night whilst drinking a glass of wine together (I like sweet, he likes dry and we always used to dispute over which we would drink). We lived in denial like this for maybe a year, slowly, slowly, fading apart, until we were merely co-habiting together. We always messaged each other and kissed each other goodbye, I’m not sure if we were in denial or we both just purely didn’t realise, until the revelation came.

A Saturday morning we went to central park for an ice cream, my daughter was snoozing in her sling whilst my son was playing on the slides with some friends he’d made – he no longer needs or wants us to play or our assistance on things at the park. My husband suggested that we sit on a bench whilst he played and so we did. After we’d sat down I realized that we’d sat so far apart we could have been strangers, even stranger we made NO conversation. I was watching the children play around me, absent mindedly checking my phone and so was he. To my dismay tears bit the back of my eyes as I realised we really didn’t know what to say to each other, we’d forgotten how to make a conversation concentrated on us, unless it was about the children or our plans for the day or something routinal. I think at this point realisation had hit him too as in our awkward silence we fidgeted, each one waiting for the other to speak first.

Anyways, the awkward silence was never broken by one of us, but my son, as we continued our day, I had no idea what was going on in his mind, I mean I didn’t feel like I really knew him anymore, but I knew that I felt heartbroken and full of despair for the rest of the day. Now you see, this is the part where I say it’s love that does truly only matter, he must have been feeling my vibe and my energy or he must have felt the same way as that evening two glasses of wine were waiting for me on the table after the babies had been put to bed. We spoke, we spoke and we spoke. We spoke about all the things that had led us up to this, we spoke about all the changes we had to make and we spoke about how we never dated anymore.

I realised at this point that you should never take it for granted that you’re married or in a long term relationship, you should always treat the person and show them hoe you feel, because we may never know where we’ll be tomorrow, yet we should make the present day a beautiful one, one full of love, it is important to prioritize yourself and your love sometimes, no matter how busy life can get. So from that evening we made a promise to each other. We promised that even if we didn’t get to go out anymore we’d at least do something we loved together at home at least once a week, whatever that may be. It’s important to love, laugh and have fun with your other half, it’s important to reignite the fire every once in a while. It’s important to put the effort in letting them know that you love them. 

So as my mid – week wish to my readers, tell the person you love that you love them, kiss them and enjoy them. Work, money, material and responsibilities are of course important in our lives, yet at the end of the day what is more important when we are old is the sweet memories we will make with our loved ones. Enjoy the rest of your week and don’t forget to enjoy it with your favourite person too, because you know, sometimes, just loving, just ain’t always enough…
                 ⭕️❌⭕️❌⭕️❌⭕️❌

 

 

Supplements whilst pregnant and breastfeeding.

A question I have been asked a lot during both my first and second pregnancies and during my time breastfeeding after, is, is it safe for me to take protein powder? Do I take/use any other supplements during these precious times. It is at this point where my answer is always, ‘yes and no.’ The lines surrounding this subject are very important especially as it concerns the health of a baby, therefore, if you are thinking of taking protein and or supplements, it is important to know the ‘rules’ as well as how, when and how much is safe to use. On this blog post I will outline the basic – yes and no’s to what can be taken and what is a no go, however, I will be also uploading a VLOG, so that I can expand and talk about in more detail what supplements I take, what stages I take them and most importantly why I take them.

Prenatal Supplements: YES. Prenatal supplements are extremely important to take during pregnancy, even if you have a healthy diet and lifestyle, a prenatal will help cover any bits missed when it comes to getting a full dose of essential vitamins and minerals that you will need to take care of yourself and your growing baby. On another note, whilt breastfeeding many women choose to just continue with their prenatal vitamin, however, experts suggest that it is actually important breastfeeding mother make the transition from a prenatal vitamin to a postnatal vitamin. This is due to the fact that whilst nursing, the nutritional needs of a mother and baby are different to those of a pregnant woman and that certain vitamins are needed in different quantities such as Vitamin D.

Iron Supplements: YES. Many woman after giving birth are temporarily anaemic due to the massive blood loss. Iron supplementation is very important for some new mothers, yet maybe not as important for others, this widely varies from mother to mother, their birth stories and their general diets. One group of mothers it is important for regardless are those who have had a c-section, as iron supplementation is extremely important for the post operation recovery.

Probiotics: YES. During pregnancy the hormone oestrogen slows down everything that is happening within our digestive tracts, leading many mothers to continue to suffer even after birth constipation, wind, stomach cramps etc. Probiotics help to maintain a healthy digestive tract over the long run and results can be seen even from the first few days of taking them. Depending on the specific probiotic, most are safe for use during breastfeeding and even have been proven to help with maintaining a healthy digestive tract for baby too. No more colic! Although when buying an over the counter probiotic make sure to verify that it is indeed BREASTFEEDING SAFE before buying. 

Protein Powder: YES and NO. When it comes to protein powder it can be a red flag on whether you take it or not. Here it is important to understand how protein powder functions to help us and know how the other added artifical substances can harm/cause damage to our growing babies. There are also so many other factors that vary depending on age of baby, stage of pregnancy and the mother herself. I will expand more in detail on my upcoming VLOG on what type of proteins are okay and what types are a NO – GO. 

 

BCAA’s: NO. The term BCAA is short for ‘branched chain amino acids’. In short they are just basic protein building blocks for our body, so you may wonder, why not for a growing foetus? In general high levels of BCAA in children under 12 years of age have shown to cause mental retardation and brain damage, an unborn foetus or nursing child can inadvertently consume extra levels of BCAA through any kind of nutrition passed from the mother to the child during the pregnancy or nursing stages. This is why it has become a general rule for medical professionals to recommend that women who are pregnant or nursing not take any kind of BCAA supplement. It’s better to play it safe than sorry. 

Fat Burning Supplements: NO. Fat burning supplements usually are just made using a stimulant or a combination of stimulants in order to increase our metabollic rate, thus causing us to burn fat easier/quicker. If you have been pregnant or nursing before, you will know even every day stimulants such as caffeine has to be restricted during these sensitive periods of time. Why? Everything we consume, our child does too and if the effect of a stimulant can have such an impact on our body then inadvertantly it would be like giving crack cocaine to your child. So that is a definite no. 

L – Carnitine: YES. Whilst there is not enough research of L-carnitine use during pregnancy, it is better to be on the safe side and to not use it, however, during breastfeeding reseach has shown that it can help a mother bring her energy levels up during this time where a lot of energy consumption goes into making milk. Moreover research has also shown that small amounts of L-carnitine have had no side effects in nursing babies, yet large amounts of L-carnitine use has still not been researched. It can therefore be concluded that l-carnitine in moderation and at smaller doses is safe to take during breastfeeding. 


 

Finding a new Niche

Niche: A comfortable or suitable position in life or employment.

Why have I started this post with a definition? Because metaphorically I am looking for one. Since having my second wonderful addition to my family, I have found that now, more than ever I have somewhat become lost. Lost in myself. Don’t misunderstand me, I  L O V E  being a mommy, every single second and everything else that comes with it, however, as I have written before, it is important to not let motherhood purely become your identity, as it’s from there I have learnt and seen in other people, things have started going wrong. It is important to never forget who YOU are, what you love and what you are passionate about.

aside from being extremely passionate about my wonderful family and my children am passionate about many weird, wild and wonderful things, yet lately I find I do nearly none of them. Not because anyone is stopping me, but somehow because I seem to subconsciously make a choice to not do so otherwise I am sure I will feel a guilt for doing something for me#motherhood #fatherhood #iknowmyhubbyfeelsthesameway. 

Another reason to why I’m not doing things I love (including my husband) #sorrynotsorry is because as a new mother to 2 little wonders, one being a toddler and the other being a newborn it is so hard to find the time. WE hate leaving our children with other people, it just doesn’t feel right to do so, as until today I never really felt I could trust anyone with my children.

So where does that leave me? 

  • feeling sometimes sad & frustrated, followed by guilt because actually my life isn’t all that bad and I have a wonderful family.
  • feeling unhappy with the way I look because it’s been 6 months since I last saw the interior of a gym.
  • feeling like I’m room mates with my husband because we’re so busy we forget that finding time for each other is important too.
  • feeling as though I’ll never be passionate about anything except for my children ever again.

Then suddenly, like a ray of light, I woke up, I or maybe I should say we – finally got the chance to speak about it and realised this wasn’t what we wanted. Sure we’re doing a great job as parents (or so I hope we are), sure we work hard, bringing money in, keeping a clean house, raising a healthy, happy, family. But what about us? What shall we do for ourselves. You see the problem here is the possibility. Let’s take simply TWO things I love which I managed to maintain with my new SAHM lifestyle the last time I was on maternity leave. I loved the gym and then it was something I would really connect with my husband about, we’d swap gym stories at the end of a long day, evem though we almost rarely/never got the chance to go together since having a baby. Nowadays I don’t get the time to go to the gym. I can make the time e.g. get up at 5.30am, I am truly that dedicated, yet for some reason in Romania I can’t find a gym that opens early enough for me to get there and grab a quick workout whilst baby is sleeping. Then at the end of the night it’s almost like we are so separate we rarely had anything left to talk about. Of course, love prevails all, so we decided to find something new. 

Find a new niche, a new passion that we both share and that we can both carry out alongside raising alone (alone together) two babies. So we did! We actually found not one, but two activities that we will start this week and they go hand in hand. We hope we’ll be taking them far. Being amateurs together should be a fun journey and I hope that in a year from now I will be progressing and excelling as I imagine. I cannot wait to share with you, my beloved readers, on my beloved blog my new found passions. Everytime I put something before writing a blog post, I miss it. It’s my outlet and I love to write to you, yet for some reason I never was making time. However, I will – and I will be posting pictures soon of everything new I’m upto and onto this new journey in fitness that I’m embarking on!

With Love, 

Reema

X O X O X 

 

Turning 24 

This year I turned 24. Somehow I’m still in shock that I’m so ‘old’ on another part I feel as though 24 resembles the end of an ‘era’ to me. I looked back on my birthday and thought of the things that I had accomplished. So far, my family. A happily married mommy of 2 with a dog, a happy home and my lovely car. Material + Emotional achievements. Now from 24 onwards my wishes are to continue being just as happy, to raise my two children to my best ability and most importantly moving onto new things career and education wise. I think for now I have finished with the children and family part of my life and whilst enjoying my housewife/mom life stage I have begun to wonder what I will do next. I have no idea where life will take me, or upon which path I will stumble, for now I will just go with the wind and enjoy the journey.

 Here are a few snaps from my birthday, celebrated intimately at home where everything was done all and completely by my dear mother. 

Walks through the town 

A little picture snap back of a walk through the place I used to call home. It’s not until you live in a fuzzy, polluted ever growing city do you really begin to appreciate the nature you’ve had around you. The salty sea air on your tongue, the greenery amongst the monotonous British architecture and most beautiful of all, the horizon. The point where the Earth meets sky… 

Baby jetsetters 

So, we made it! As the time ticked by Thursday night and Ayan just couldn’t/wouldn’t sleep, I began to feel as though the whole trip would end up in a serious meltdown situation. However, although running on 0 sleep we managed to backpack, our belongings, front pack our kids, not forget anything and get to England all in one piece. Thank God for that. 

I’m not exactly sure how much time I will have to blog whilst exactly on the trip, two babies, catch up with the family, outings, shopping, legalities. I have on the other hand been documenting with videos + pics to fill you in on my days over here and of course one of the most important celebrations – my BIRTHDAY

For now, here are some snaps of Aryana on her first flight and Ayan of course. 

Packing my s*#t

Tomorrow we go to ENGLAND. That therefore means today I’m a headless, exhausted chicken. It’s precisely 23.11pm neaaarly everything is done, hopefully I haven’t forgotten anything, if I have I’ll most likely blame it on my husband because truly, that’s what they’re their for. I still have to tidy up the house, although I did spend the whole day cleaning it in the first place, how does it get so messy?!?! My right boob hurts so I’m praying I don’t get mastitis again. Note to self: must not forget PUMP. 

It’s Aryana’s first flight tomorrow and our first flight as a four, I wonder how it will go? So far, so good, however, ‘the calm before the storm’ keeps running through my head. Anyways I better run and see if I manage to get some sleep. Must wear make up tomorrow so I don’t scare other passengers with my scary eye bags. Must remember pump. Must not panic. Must not try to miss Cliffy every few minutes. Must get at least a couple of hours sleep if I can before I go. 

Oh yeah, the flight is at 6. This should be fun. Catch you later on the blog DEFINITELY with a coffee as I’ll be on the plane. But until then take a browse at my first birthday cake of this year. Those who know me know that I always for some reason without fail end up with more than one cake. This one was from my mini- dinner party at my in laws. Truly spoilt, dinner, cake + present wise. 

Yours truly, momma of 3 who needs to get off her phone and catch some sleep.