Benefits of Skin – to – Skin with our babies.

As I’m always that mama blogger that just loves throwing those baby terms and phrases out there, if you follow me on instagram then you would have seen that I recently posted a picture of me naked  with my baby girl. Thus inspiring me towards this blog post so I could talk (or type) about the pure intimacy, the closeness and the benefits of the now more commonly heard term: skin – to skin.

 

So what is Skin – to – Skin?

The definition of skin – to – skin (also known as kangaroo care, or kangaroo mother care (KMC) is holding a baby bare chested against the care givers bare chest from birth and as much as you can throughout the first few months of life.

More importantly: What are the main benefits of skin – to skin?

  1. Keeps baby warmer, regulates breathing and heartbeat and keeps blood sugar levels higher.
  2. Mothers who practise skin to skin find that they recognise their babies needs much more easily (in my case this is true, I’ve always known what my babies wanted purely from instinct from the strong maternal bond)
  3. Babies who are kept close via a sling or kangaroo care are most likely to breastfeed exclusively and for longer (very true)
  4. The physical contact of skin to skin will increase the mum’s supply of the happy hormone OXYTOCIN – happy mum, happy baby!
  5. Skin to skin stabilizes a baby’s body temperature for them, no machines in the world can let you know if your baby is too hot or too cold, it we can only keep our baby in a median average temperature, however, when practising skin to skin a mothers breasts have the ability to recognize the baby’s needs temperature wise and adjust accordingly. A cooler fact? A twin mother’s breasts will adjust accordingly to each baby if one child is placed on each breast. Our bodies know what’s best for our babies!
  6. Easy transition from the womb – studies have shown that babies who are held skin to skin are more physiologically and emotionally stable than babies who are placed in incubators. They also demonstrate better neurobehavioral outcomes such as less crying, lower pain response and better breastfeeding.
  7. Studies of babies having to go through clinical procedures, such as preemies in the NICU, show that skin to skin definitely helps pain relief and that the duration of the pain is shortened by the close contact. Researchers are hoping that in the new future, findings from these studies will be taken into consideration and that a real breakthrough will be made in newborn care, especially for those who have to go through any types of painful procedures.

As you can see nothing is better for our newborn babies than a mama’s body. Just as through the whole pregnancy a mother’s body changes accordingly to adapt and grow a child within her, skin to skin proves that a mothers body also knows’ best during the fourth trimester of childcare and the transitioning from the womb to the outside world. As well as all the benefits, kangaroo care can be just fun in itself, so whilst your babies are tiny, skin to skin as much as you can and enjoy the bond that will be formed between you and your tiny loved one(s).

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Unpacking my ISARA

Hey guys, I’ve post my VLOG where I’m unpacking my oh so wonderful ISARA baby carrier. I’m truly IN LOVE with it, as I’m sure you will be too! So click play and see what came out of the box!

Love R,

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!

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. 

Motherhood Unplugged 

So I’m here again after what seems like an eternity, apologetic and ready to ‘catch-up’ as usual. Or more likely fill you in on all the crazy happening in my life. I would like to pretend I’m sipping a cup of coffee whilst my newborn is napping away and I’ve found an hour from my sweet new mommy #2 life to write this blog post. However, the truth is actually on my way to a check up with my doctor, sitting in the back of the car, making myself extremely nauseous whilst I write this. Anyone else get that? And truth is I’m cranky because I’ve said to myself a thousand times I should write on my blog, but by the time night comes I’m crashed out in bed with my make-up on whilst putting Ayan to sleep. Motherhood. So therefore I can’t wait any longer so I’ll just write in the car and throughout the rest of the day whenever I’m catching 5 minutes to do so. That’s paragraph one done. I’ve arrived, so I’ll save this draft and be back later… 

Back again, finally home, everything is great! Scar is looking good. Aryana is currently burping/vomiting on me whilst I write this, however, before I leave in half an hour to take her for her first check up I would like to finish this post. So let’s see shall we. 

As I was saying, well actually I don’t remember what I was saying, but what I do want to say is that, blogging is something I so love to do, I love to write, write about my life. I love the questions I receive, the insight I give people into my personal life. However, at some point blogging turned into a ‘competition’ for me, I kept following other bloggers, especially ‘mom bloggers’ to catch what ideas they had, to see how they were doing climbing the social ladder. And at some point I noticed a trend. These mothers all seem to have the ‘perfect lives’ with perfect babies that sleep through the night, perfect make-up, perfect hair and perfect white backgrounds for their Insta pics and their vlogs. And whilst all that may be true, it is not achievable – not without a whole lot of stress anyways. I found that at some point I got caught up in some kind of competition, to portray the ‘perfect Insta life too’. Stressing on taking the perfect Instagram picture, stressing on having my make up perfect for a vlog, stressing on writing the perfect blog posts. Making everything seem like my motherhood was easy, smooth and life was bliss. Well it’s not true. My life is bliss, but for all that it is and all that it isn’t. For all that I manage to do and all that I don’t.

If you’re a mother to be, or just another momma following a mommy blogger than please don’t put the expectations on yourself that they seem to lay out for you. I can assure you half these ‘perfect mommies’ have parents, in laws, nannies, cleaners to help them do what they do. Hence the extra time to do all these crafty, Pinterest things that get us feeling like we aren’t doing enough. Admittedly as a mother I have extremely high expectations of myself 99% of the time so I end up joining the Pinterest mommy club, however, it’s not always smooth sailing and there is 1% of the time when I’m a binge eating, tired, stressy mom who feeds my kids chicken nuggets for lunch AND dinner. And I’m going to blog about it. 

Yep that’s right, I want to give a real insight into my REAL life. Not my wannabe Insta mom life that anyways I never can keep up with. I want to show what it’s REALLY like to be a momma with a toddler and a newborn, to be young, full of passions, tired as hell, mostly achieving what I set out to do but everyday for at least a few moments as my husband will tell you… a hot mess. I want to blog the real me. Blog what’s REALLY written in my diary for the day, write about the tantrum Ayan had and although I was a zen mother on the outside I’m crying on the inside. So as of today I’m blogging my life to you, my real life, with all the social media around even being a mother has become a competition and I’m tired of it, so join me on my journey, even if I don’t have fancy Insta pics or if I don’t look like a model everyday or if I write a cranky post, grab a coffee (only one if you’re breastfeeding or pregnant). Because motherhood is fun, it is great, it’s full of ups, but there is also sad times, frustrating times and times of tears. Because this is REAL motherhood, this is… motherhood unplugged. 

Should we forget ourselves when we become mothers? 

#4

Somtimes as mothers, we get so lost in ‘being mothers’ that we completely forget to take care of ourselves. We get lost in the whirlwind  of making sure our little loved ones have all their needs met, that they are forever first on our priority list and we truly forget that we are human beings also, that albeit few, may have needs too.

The ability to put your children before you in every way is one of the most beautiful abilities a woman can have, not only does it mean that you are a selfless, loving and nurturing soul, but it also means that your children are lucky to have such a personality as a role model in life. However (there always is a ‘however’), maybe as mothers’ we never realise that sometimes forgetting about ourselves and who we are as an individual can have a negative effect on our children too.

I believe ever so strongly that in order to make others happy around us, we must truly be happy and fulfilled within ourselves – I believe this even more so when it comes to our children. I want to make mothers out there realise that, being a mother and being YOU although can be mixed are two separate parts of life, one dependant on the other. A happy and fulfilled you, automatically makes a happy and positive mother. I came to learn this with my own personal experience as a first time mother with my wonderful baby boy…

…At some point in his first year of life I lost myself and I thought I could only be a great mother if it was all about him. I for sure didn’t do anything for me as I would be overpowered with feelings of guilt and would feel selfish. How dare I do something for myself? As you read this I am sure a lot of you can relate to these feelings, especially as first time mothers. In time I came to realise that in my goal of being the ‘perfect mother’, I was actually making myself miserable because I was losing myself and if I was miserable my little baby was only soaking up these emotions and for sure it could only have negatively affected him, feeling his mother so frustrated (never underestimate your child, they feel EVERYTHING).

So after he was a year old and I realised that my initial supermom tactics weren’t working I decided to take another route, I started doing little things here and there that made ME happy, they didn’t have to be time consuming, just little things that I could identify ME with, such as, getting my nails done, taking 20 minutes in the morning to actually do my make-up, making myself my favourite breakfast on the weekend instead of just eating leftovers etc. you see, making yourself happy doesn’t mean getting a pamper session at a spa every day of the week, but instead, remembering who you are and the things you like the most and trying to incorporate them into your everyday life. Sure enough I started being a much more happier and fulfilled version of myself and I saw a much happier and fulfilled baby as a reflection of my actions.

Our children are our mirrors, a reflection of our innermost feelings because long before they can even speak they can pick up on how we are feeling internally, so use your children as an indicator of the vibes which you may be giving out.

If you’ve ever travelled by plane before you’ll know that they state, in case of emergency, always fit YOUR oxygen mask first and only THEN proceed to helping your child/children. Do you know why they do that? Because in this scenario unless you are breathing well first you cannot help your children to fit the oxygen masks and enable them to breathe safely too. You must take care of yourself first in order to be able to care for your little loved ones. And yes, that does apply to every day life.

So remember doing little things or making little changes, starting from pregnancy and throughout the rest of your childrens’ lives can make the biggest difference in all of your lives. So throughout the Pregnancy Diaries I will be posting all kinds of little tips on what I do to make myself the happiest mother, whether that includes eating well, organisation skills, family activities, all the little components of every day, that add up to make our life. YOUR LIFE, so live it well, full of positive energy and happy vibes!

Amateur Parents

Can we really say that we ever know a person? A person changes with life events, emotions, hormones, maturity and so many other factors. We as humans are never the same person we were yesterday because we are not robots, whether we are forever changiing for the better or the worst (maybe a bit of both?!). One thing for sure is, that we are always changing. 

A great example of this in my life, was when I became a parent, I truly thought I knew Mihai (my husband), but then again how could I know every part of him? I didn’t know him as a father as he’d never been in played that role before. So when we did finally become parents to our little love, I saw yet another side of him that I’d never seen before, in the link below are just a few things which we learnt about each other POST baby. Some cute, and some not so cute. Every one a learning curve 🙂 Enjoy!

International Women’s / Mothers Day & a bittersweet moment for a mama. 

If you’re a mother then you already know that having children is the most bittersweet experience which you will ever have the pleasure of embracing in your life. By this, I mean every single step of the way from the very day our dear children are born we find ourselves constantly looking forward to the next step, the next milestone, the next new thing they will do tomorrow. Yet at the same time, every time we reach that unspoken tomorrow we find ourselves wondering when did time pass by so quickly? When did our little baby grow so big? We find ourselves almost wishing we could have the ‘before’ days, just for a few moments more. 

Sometimes specific moments or milestones can be a shock factor, for me as a mother, last week was one of these moments…my little baby (or better said toddler) started nursery this month. On his first day there, I found myself wondering when did the past 14 months fly by? I still see him as the little 3.45kg newborn as I hold him in my arms everyday, I normally find myself wishing these sleepless nights will end soon, that soon I’ll have time for myself, but I found his first day of nursery changed all this. I found myself wanting to cherish every moment with my little love, the diapers, the sleepless nights, the breastfeeding…because one day he’ll grow up, spread his wings and fly out of our little nest in which we’ve raised him in. One day I won’t hear his cries or his laughter filling the empty spaces of my house, soon he’ll grow and won’t leave toys lying around for me to trip over and nearly break a bone every time. Soon he’ll grow into a beautiful child that won’t demand to be breastfed whilst I’m trying to do something important, he’ll be too big and tall for me to carry around the supermarket whilst trying simultaneously to push the massive trolley of shopping around at the same time, even if I would wish to do so. So without pushing boundaries into ‘spoiling’ your child, take 5 mins from the housework to simply hold, smell and kiss your baby as you breastfeed him in the last few months, carry her around the supermarket for a few minutes when she wants to be in your arms, cuddle him in your bed and fall asleep with him curled up into your arms, just one day all of this won’t be possible. You won’t be able to hold your 30 year old son or daughter in your lap and have them sleep on you, however ridiculous it sounds, it almost sounds just as ridiculous to not do these things whilst they’re so tiny and small! So don’t let all these other mothers who swear that they do everything so ‘correctly’ have an impact on the upbringing which you give your child, we can rest assured that even these ‘perfect’ mothers have their own guilty pleasures too! And by the way, who invented the ‘correct’ way of motherhood anyways? Correct to me, is doing what is correct for my child – and that is doing what makes us all happy within boundaries so that our days can pass by in harmony…

I’ve learnt to cherish all these moments and every second of them, because one day we will grow old, and we will have so much time to ourselves we won’t know what to do with it. In those days we will find ourselves  wishing back those baby days, so let’s live, love, laugh, cry and curse (in our heads), cherish every great moment as well as every hard moment that comes with being a mother. As in the end when we look retrospectively, it’s been an awesome journey through motherhood, that will never end,  but it is oh so worth it! 

To end it, here is my little baby, and wish to all of you for a happy International Women’s Day/Mothers Day to all you beautiful mothers around the globe!