Category Archives: Fitness

MamaDances: Newborn Dance Class Through A Mother’s Eyes

Good morning, darlings!

This post is so long overdue! Sofia and I did the Mother and Baby dance class from October to December last year. We started it just a couple of weeks later after a baby yoga class. *Read more about it here.* Needless to say, it was a blast!

Surprisingly, I had never heard about this kind of class before. And I am eternally grateful to a friend of mine who simply sent me a message to see if I would be interested to check it out. It didn’t take much convincing. I watched a video online and I was sold. This is the exact reason why I wanted to dedicate a post to this baby class. I wanted other moms to be aware of it. Not only it’s a great way for new moms and their babies to bond, but also have fun, relax, while socializing with others.

My instructor, Eryn Dace Trudell, was absolutely amazing. And even though I can’t call myself a great dancer, I felt right where I belong!

MamaDances 1Source

Sofia was only 10 weeks old when we started the class. She was really responsive to everything that was happening around her, especially at the beginning of the class when we snapped fingers and clapped to create our own ‘music’. In addition, she enjoyed being in my arms as we danced around and moved past other babies in a class. In the second part of the class, we put our babies in carriers. Sofia was asleep within the first few minutes, while I focused on learning new dancing styles and techniques.

I asked Eryn if she would do an interview with me because I wanted you, my dear readers, to get the most information out of it. And she kindly agreed.

MamaDances 8Source

Here it is, without a further ado.

First things first.

Go-to music: For classes I use: Snatam Kaur, Oka, John Hughes, Ali Farka
Favourite dance style: Contact Improvisation, Skinner Release Technique (of which I am a certified facilitator)
Dancing tip: Breathe and let go

Eryn, could you tell us more about yourself and your fitness background?

I have a BFA from The Juilliard School, and so my original training is in classical ballet and modern dance. Since studying these classical forms, I began exploring new dance and post-modern dance techniques. I love the somatic approaches such as Alexander Technique, Body Mind Centering , Feldenkrais and all their developments. I am a certified facilitator of Skinner Releasing Technique and a practitioner of Contact Improvisation.

MamaDances 2Source

How did you come up with the idea of a Mother and Baby dance class?

I had the privilege of witnessing a professional dancer trying to present at a choreographic workshop while her child tried to upstage her. It was the most beautifully authentic dance I ever saw. She eventually brought the child on stage with her to continue the presentation.

As necessity is the mother of invention, when I became a single mother in 2006, MamaDances was the solution to finding a way to support my little family by applying my skills and experience. Sensitive to competition I wanted to create work for myself that would offer a complementary revenue source and demographic to the profession of dance.

MamaDances 3Source

Could you walk my readers through your everyday class? What can people who attend it expect?

We begin with rhythm and socialization studies to loosen up the intimidation factor and get to know each other. Next we do a floor warm-up including lower back release and abdominal strengthening. On the first day we move with our babies in our arms within a study called “ Soft feet”. Technically, we are learning to let go of holding patterns in the knees and the feet to allow fluidity to come into the body through the contact and dialogue from the floor through the skeletal structure to the head. The principal being taught is the idea of letting go into the direction of movement. This creates availability and a state of readiness to respond with suppleness. This exercise seems very simple but there is a lot going on.

MamaDances 5Source

What impact does music and dance have on a child’s development?

I am not specialized in this area of knowledge. I have no academic background in child development. In fact I am only beginning to embark on this area of research now. I only know from experience that the babies enjoy it. My own children who have been exposed to a musical and movement environment are very tuned in musically. My oldest daughter now plays several instruments and my younger daughter has an amazing ability to replicate a tone and sing musical phrases.

MamaDances6Source

Sofia and I really enjoyed dancing with you! Can you tell us more about the philosophy behind dance classes for babies and moms? What sets you apart from other baby classes out there?

When I began MamaDances in 2007, there were very few activities for mothers and babies. I had heard about Salsa Babies, but there was only one class being offered in Montreal that I could see. Mom and Baby Yoga was just beginning. Cardio-Pousette [cardio with a stroller] was happening at Parc Lafontaine. Since, then many activities have been introduced to the market, particularly things like Music classes.

MamaDances merges many of the concepts you will find in other classes, such as music and rhythm awareness, and stimulation for the babies. Plus , stretching and strengthening like in yoga and pilates. And then the fitness comes in, when we realize we have been moving non-stop for 60-80 minutes without even noticing. The material is integrated in a way that the movement of the moms and the babies becomes a synergy of expression and connection.

MamaDances 7Source

Can moms with no previous dance experience still have fun in your class?

Yes. All the material is prepared to be equally beneficial for those with or without experience. That is one of the biggest challenges of creating material for a class. There is a huge range of ability and experience in a class.

Do you teach any other classes apart from Mother-Baby class?

I teach Contact Improvisation and Skinner Releasing Technique. I also have a Parent and Child Program which is a development of the Mom and Baby program.

What are your goals for this coming year?

I have a lot of inquiries about this method from people in other parts of the world. I am hoping to create an online teachers training program and to begin sharing and expanding MamaDances globally.

MamaDances 4
Source

Finally, any fun stories you’d be able to share with us? I am sure you had quite a few laughs with your members during the class.

The obvious is that we are putting one of the most aesthetic practices, dance, together with the most fundamental, maternity. The dance of eternity. I love it when a mother finds something that her baby really loves and the babies start laughing and so Mama starts laughing and then it’s all quite funny. We can’t take ourselves too seriously, yet here we are now responsible for another human being in the world. It’s a wonderful dichotomy.

Thank you very much for your time and an incredible, one of a kind, dancing experience with my daughter!

Mama Dances Class

If you are a new mom in Montreal area, definitely check out MamaDances website to register or to get additional information: www.mamadances.com. If not, see if you have similar classes where you live. You’ll have the time of your life with your little plus one!

*You can read more about my postpartum fitness journey here.*

Have you tried a dance class with your baby? What was your experience?

Have you followed my TwitterFacebook and Instagram page for most recent updates? You can also subscribe to receive emails to always keep in touch in the little window to the right.

xoxo
Olena

 

Advertisements

10 Comments

Filed under Family, Fitness, Health

Social Fitness: ReboundFit

Good morning, loves!

I’m a big lover of at home and outdoor workouts. For some reason, gym machines never failed to intimidate me. The only things I would normally use were a treadmill, StairMaster and an elliptical. Even at that, I prefer to run outside to take in my surroundings and to feel a gentle *or not so gentle* breeze on my face. So, generally, a gym membership is a waste of money for me, especially that I’ve got my main fitness necessities, such as dumbbells, pull-up bar, jumping rope, etc. at home. There is, however, one thing that I do miss. What would it be, you’ll say. I miss group classes!

There is something magical about having to workout with other people. You get to meet other fitness junkies, be inspired and even be held accountable by them, not to forget having to de-stress and share quite a few uncontrollable laughs. All of that while getting a great sweat session on! Don’t you find there is something incredibly empowering about that?

TIU Girls at Reboundfit

Recently, I mentioned to you that I have discovered *or was rather discovered by* a Tone It Up community of girls here in Montreal. I was thrilled to have someone who could share my love for fitness. So when they organized a meet up, I was jumping from excitement! Little did I know, that I would be literally bouncing to get my sweat on at a ReboundFit class!

If you are not sure what ReboundFit class is all about, don’t worry, you are not alone! In fact, I loved the class so much that I decided to interview the owner of the studio, Narcisa. And she agreed! I feel that people need to be aware of awesome local fitness studios like this one!

ReboundFit - Narcisa

Before getting to serious business, a few fun questions to get to know you, Narcisa.

Guilty pleasure: French fries
Go-to snack: lately, tangerines
Favourite workout: ReboundFit, of course!
Fitness tip: Whatever you choose to do, find a way to make it fun! The more fun something is, the more likely you are to stick with it.

Now that we got this out of the way, could you, please, tell us more about yourself and your fitness background?

Well first and foremost Olena, I want to thank you for this lovely opportunity. I am very happy to be sitting here with you today to speak about this passion project of mine. Also, you were amazing on the trampoline, congrats on completing and surviving your very first ReboundFit workout! You are now officially a Rebound Babe (laughs)!

As for me, I have always been an active girl for as long as I can remember. And I even have the scars to prove it! I was a Track and Field athlete for 4 years back in New York, where I competed in local and state competitions as a sprinter and short distance runner. When I moved to Montreal I shifted my focus away from the competitive fitness world and focused on my studies. But that did not last for too long as deep down inside of me I felt a strong urge to bounce back into the world of health and fitness, pun intended! And that’s the thing with a passion right? It always finds its way back into our life no matter what. It is then our job to either make something of it or keep ignoring it. Well, long story short, I decided to make something of it and here we are today!

Trampolines at ReboundFit

How was ReboundFit born?

ReboundFit was literally conceived out of my apartment. I remember spending countless hours reading books and watching videos on anything health related. Why? Simply because I am passionate about the subject. I would leave work, stop by the book store, get a book on health or well-being, go home and enjoy the read. I derived an immense pleasure from educating myself on the subjects of health, fitness and well-being. Throughout all this ‘’research”, I kept stumbling upon rebounding and its amazing health benefits. I became intrigued. I wanted to experience these benefits for myself. I phoned all the gyms and health studios in Montreal but none offered this sport. I was baffled that despite the countless studies and research done on the subject of rebounding that the gyms had not caught on yet. Even NASA had done studies on this amazing sport and confirmed its amazing health benefits back in the 1980s. The business woman in me then had an idea! Using my background in fitness (by then I was already teaching fitness classes at the YMCA), along with my creative workout style, I carefully designed the ReboundFit workout! If I had to describe it in 3 words it would be FUN, EFFICIENT and SAFE. My focus was on getting the maximum benefit from exercise with the least possible risk of injury, while having a great time!

ReboundFit - punch

Your workouts are really intense! I can attest to that awesome shaky after workout feeling and sweat glow. I could feel every single muscle by the end of the class! Can you tell us more about the science behind ReboundFit workouts? What sets you apart from other fitness classes out there?

That is a great question Olena! ReboundFit is very unique in that it works every single cell in your body at the same time, which makes it the ultimate whole body workout! How does it do that? See, when you lift weights, the corresponding muscles get stronger by resisting the force that is applied to it. The more force your muscles resist, the stronger they will get. In the same way, as your body bounces up and down the trampoline, every single cell in your body is subjected to the increased gravitational pull experienced at the bottom of the bounce as your feet reach the mat. When you are walking, the gravitational pull on your body is constant. The moment you start moving in the vertical field (i.e. jumping) you increase the gravitational pull experienced by every single cell in your body at the bottom of every jump. The higher you jump, the more the gravitational force at the bottom of the bounce. Every single cell in your body adapts to this increased force by getting stronger.

And that is not all; at the top of every bounce, for a split second, you are weightless. All the cells of your body decompress and relax as a result of this weightlessness and at this very moment your body responds by releasing endorphins, the feel-good hormones. This is why a lot of people report feeling happier and less stressed immediately after a ReboundFit workout. It is a natural antidepressant!

So as I was saying, at the top of every bounce your cells experience zero gravitational pull and for that split second they are completely relaxed. By the time you reach the mat, the gravitational pull is increased due to the acceleration and your cells react by contracting, and releasing toxins out of the cell in the process. It is thus a great detox tool!

ReboundFit - cardio

And of course, let’s not forget about the lymphatic system, the garbage collector of the body. It is the system in your body that collects and gets rid of all your toxins. Unlike the circulatory system which has a pump to move the blood throughout the body, the lymphatic system does not have a pump and relies on muscle contraction to get the job done. The up and down movement during a ReboundFit workout causes a constant opening and closing of the lymphatic valves which allow for the most efficient circulation of the lymphatic fluid throughout the body. Toxins are thus eliminated out of your body at an accelerated pace.

You know, I could go on and on about the amazing health benefits of this workout, but people can just go on our website to read more on this. I just wanted to point out the main things that set us apart from other workouts which is manly the fact that it is a workout done in the vertical field.

before ReboundFit class

I really enjoyed kicking and punching that was involved! Also using weights and even resistance bands while on a trampoline?! Wow! I definitely didn’t see that coming. Where do you find inspiration for your moves?

Thank you! I get inspiration from dance, ballet, kickboxing, yoga, pilates and all the other workouts that I do. You can always find a little bit of your favorite workout in ReboundFit!

Obviously, there are many people out there who have various health issues such as bad ankles, runner knees. Could they still have fun in your class?

Absolutely! The workout can be adapted to almost any age and any physical condition. The one you did was an intermediate level. We also offer beginner classes and advanced classes. We have also just started a ReboundFit BootCamp style class which will make its full debut very soon!

ReboundFit - stretch

How about people with poor coordination? Why should everyone try a ReboundFit class at least once in their lives?

A ReboundFit workout will actually improve your coordination! It improves your brain’s responsiveness to the vestibular apparatus in your inner ear, which improves both balance and coordination

What are your goals for this coming year?

The ultimate goal is to get every single person ON THE REBOUND! (laughs)

Finally, any fun stories you’d be able to share with us? I am sure you have quite a few laughs with your members during the class.

Not sure I can discuss the type of fun the Rebound Babes have in class. Hehehe!

Thank you very much for your time and an awesome workout, Narcisa!

Thank YOU, Olena! It was a pleasure having you in the class and doing this interview with you!

ReboundFit in action

I would definitely recommend this class to everyone who lives in the Montreal area or comes here for a vacation! If you hurry, you’ll be able to take advantage of a free trial class by entering code freetrial when booking. It’s available only for a limited time, so if it’s something you are curious about – don’t hesitate or procrastinate, just go for it. To book your class and find all other necessary information head to http://www.reboundfit.com/schedule-booking/.

And if you live elsewhere, see if a class like this is available in your area. You’ll have the time of your life!

Have you ever tried a trampoline class? What did you think?

xoxo
Olena

Leave a comment

Filed under Cardio, Cross-training, Fitness, Social Fitness, Uncategorized, Weight Loss

Baby & Mommy Yoga

Good morning, beautiful people!

As promised, today I will tell you about Sofia’s baby yoga classes.

Those of you who have followed or have known me for a while are well aware of my love for yoga. What you may now know is how it all started.

My first encounter with yoga happened when I was still in elementary school. I remember my dad pulling out this book with pictures of strange looking people. *Not to discount this guy’s talent, it’s actually quite impressive what he’s doing here… but, c’mon, you  we all know what I’m talking about! Haha!* 

old fashioned yoga

Source

Anyhow, let’s move on. I remember being very intrigued, but at the same time being super confused. Breathing through the pain? Moving slowly? Breathing on counts? To add to my confusion, it went pretty much against my rhythmic gymnastics training and I didn’t see the point of standing in a pose where nothing was pulling. *I was flexible, remember?*

I never read that book *No colorful beautiful pictures, remember?*; nonetheless, I my fascination never faded away and I kept on leafing through the pages every now  and then. Fast forward to my early twenties, curiosity was still there. What was different is that now I wanted to learn. I’m turning 30 later this year *gasp* and I’m addicted to yoga. I love how practicing yoga makes me feel and don’t plan on quitting. Those stretches feel way too good! *It’s crazy how our bodies change, don’t you think?*

yoga

 

I actually wanted to attend prenatal yoga in addition to my prenatal aqua class. Unfortunately, both class were held at the same time, so I improvised.

dbobyk_150607_2145_web

Sofia’s first yoga class happened when she was almost 2 months old. I was thrilled to have that experience with her, yet I had no idea as to what to expect.

Well… It was interesting! Definitely not what I expected, but there is nothing wrong with it! I guess going into it I was thinking yoga flows… deep stretches… What I forgot to account for is BABIES! *Duh?!* Also, generally baby classes are great for socializing; thus, majority of moms were beginners and we had to go at their speed. *Once again, there is nothing wrong with it. Just regular overambitious self! Haha!*

2nd baby yoga class

Babies LOVE Savasana

All jokes aside, there is a big deal I learnt at baby yoga classes!

Probably, the coolest part was learning various stretches for babies. Sofia still enjoys them!

First, we would warm up babies’ various muscle groups, just like we do for ourselves, starting with upper body.

Exercise #1

Lay baby on her back on the floor. Hold on to her wrist. Lift baby’s arms up and then bring them down. Repeat 5 times.

Exercise #2

Begin in the same position as before, but alternate sides: Right arm – up, left arm – down, switch sides. Repeat 5 times.

Exercise #3

Still on the floor, spread baby’s arm out to the sides, bring them on across her chest, and spread them out again. Repeat 5 times.

The next stage is a lower body warm up.

Exercise #1

With baby lying on her back, hold her feet or lower legs. Gently push one leg up toward her chest while extending the other. Switch sides. Repeat 3 times on each side.

Exercise #2

Now do the same, but with both legs simultaneously. First push both  knees to the stomach, then extend to the floor. Repeat 3 times.

Exercise #3

It’s time to do a bicycle! Guide your baby’s legs in a circular motion as if pedaling a bike. Do the movement 10 times, then reverse the direction.

Exercise #4

With the baby on her back, lift her legs perpendicular to the floor. Gently stretch them to the sides, like a mini split, then bring legs back in the Buddha pose while crossing legs one over another. Repeat 3 times while alternating the leg on top.

Exercise #5

While on the back, bring baby’s knees to the stomach. Move the legs in a clockwise circle, then reverse in a counterclockwise motion. Repeat 3 times in each direction.

At this point, the baby is warmed up for full body stretches.

*In this video Sofia is 4 months old. I was simply playing around with her while doing some of these stretches.*

Exercise #1

Lay baby on her back. Hold baby’s right wrist with your right hand and baby’s left foot with your left hand. Gently pull baby’s left foot to her right shoulder while bringing her right hand across to her left hip (baby’s leg should be above her arm). Repeat 3 times, then switch sides.

Exercise #2

With baby’s feet in your hands, gently bring them to your baby’s nose. Don’t force it. Repeat 3 times.

Exercise #3

Beginning with your baby on the floor on her back, grasp her forearms (if your baby still doesn’t hold her neck properly, you can hold your baby under her arms while still supporting your baby’s neck with your fingers). Gently bring your baby to a sitting position, then to standing. Then in reverse: back to a seated position and, finally,  on the back. Repeat 3 times.

IMG_7654 edit

I may have forgotten a move or two, but you get the gist of it. Sofia absolutely loves these exercises. Believe me, you will be rewarded with multiple smiles while bonding with your baby at the same time!!!

You may also be curious as to how YOU can practice yoga with a baby by your side. No worries, mama! You can still do it!

First of all, the baby can be cooing right NEXT TO you.

IMG_8045

Your baby can be ON you.

IMG_7736

You can also hold your baby in your ARMS. Most importantly, make sure that you are stable in any given pose. If needed, stand by the wall or hold on to a chair for extra stability; but if you’re still in doubt, just put your baby down. It’s better to be safer than sorry.

IMG_8241

Don’t forget to make it a fun activity for both of you. Babies love interaction!

IMG_8592.JPG

Have you done yoga with your baby? How do you engage your baby?

xoxo
Olena

 

13 Comments

Filed under Family, Fitness, Health

My Postpartum Fitness Journey

Salut, mes amis!

How have you been?!

Spring is almost here! Even though it is still very cold here in Montreal, I am full of excitement. Spring is my favourite season. I love it because everything around starts to bud and blossom, coming back to life. I can’t wait to go for long walks again and finally start training for my first half marathon. I bet Sofia will have a blast in her stroller accompanying me!

IMG_6419

Throwback to fall

 

Many of you have asked about my fitness journey since giving birth in July. The truth is I had to, as they say, proceed with caution. Surprisingly, I was given very little guidelines at the hospital in regards to how to recover from having a cesarean. Naturally, I did have a few hiccups here and there when I would ‘push’myself too much without even knowing it and I would end up in a lot of pain that would prevent me from moving completely. I had to be cautious and patient, which, as you can only imagine, is not very easy for an active person like myself.

I started by taking short stroller walks around the block, then slowly increased the distance to 3 and eventually 5 km.

At about 8 weeks postpartum, I began a baby yoga class *read more here* with Sofia, 4 weeks later – a mama dance class. *More on that here.*

IMG_6466.JPG

Heading to our first baby yoga class

In October, the incision sight didn’t bother me as much. I thought it would be a perfect time to jump back into it by incorporating 30-day challenges into my daily routine *read more here*: I started with a squat challenge in October, then embarked on an ab challenge in November, and finally ended up with an  upper body challenge, which I found on Pinterest, in December.*Please, let me know if you have a good link for proper credit*.

30 day upper body challenge

In the beginning of January I knew I was ready for more, so I signed myself up not for one but for two challenges, both were totally free and could be done from the comfort of home.

One of them was a 30-day Yoga Camp by Adriene.

I’ve been following Adriene for close to 2 years now. I’m honestly in love with her videos! I totally think we could be best friends if I ever got to meet her. I love Adriene’s approach to yoga: Find What Feels Good. What was different about this yoga camp is that Adriene focused on mental well-being as well. I thoroughly enjoyed daily mantras and emails to go with it.

yoga challenge

If you wish, you can start Yoga Camp at any time by signing up here. *You will thank me later!*

Another challenge that I embarked on was an 8-week challenge by Tone It Up.

I admire Karena and Katerina so much. They are best friends in real life, great fitness role models and entrepreneurs. They were able to build a great online community, which I’ve been a part of for over a year now.You can opt in to get their nutritional plan and buy extra video workouts (which I did), but it is not necessary as there is always a free option available. I love their energy and continuous support through social media and emails.

resistance band

It never occurred to me that there is a big Tone It up community in Canada, including Montreal! To my surprise, I was recently ‘found’ through one of my hashtags I used on Instagram by one of the girls from Montreal community, so I am really looking forward to meeting them at the next meet up!

The next 8-week challenge starts within a few days. To hold myself accountable, I’d like to show you my progress from the previous challenge. There are no drastic changes as I haven’t made any changes to my diet. It is more important for me to be able to nurse my baby for as long as I can rather to lose an extra pound or two. That being said, I love how much stronger I have become in such a short period of time. It’s awesome to be in control of my body again!

progress

What was your fitness journey after having a baby?

*Haven’t read my birth story? Head over here!*

xoxo
Olena

 

7 Comments

Filed under 30-Day Workout Challenges, Family, Fitness, Health, Weight Loss

My Addiction To 30-Day Challenges

Hey there!

It’s Friday! I know, I know, you may ask, “What difference does it make? Aren’t you on maternity leave, anyway?” *As a side note, in the province of Quebec, we are entitled up to 50 weeks off. Happy dance!* Yes, you are right, but I am super thrilled to have my hubby home for the weekend. It’s always great to hang out as a family. Plus, Sofia is super funny these days. For instance, I was over the phone with Justin yesterday and was mimicking his snoring the night before, when all of a sudden she started laughing at me. *These moments are so precious!*   

IMG_7654 edit.jpg

Yesterday, I was hanging out with a friend and we started talking about exercising after having a baby. I was thrilled that finally I broke the 117 mark and I’m currently in 116-pound range. *That’s where Justin will sigh and shake his head lol!* No, I’m not obsessed with my weight. I’m not following any diets either because it’s more important for me to make sure that my baby gets enough milk and nutrients than it is to drop a pound or two. But it is nice to see that the short workouts I do on a daily basis make me fitter and leaner.

As you may know, when Sofia was about 8 weeks old, I joined a weekly yoga class with her. In October, we also joined a dance class. *I will do a separate blog post on a dance class shortly.*  However, even though I had lots of fun there, I was scared to add more activities because my C-section incision would swell up when I would even end up walking too much.

In the end of September, I came across 31 Days Away From a Banging Booty challenge, I was all for it.

Lorna-Jane-MNB-Squat-Challenge-Downloadable1

There’s something about having a schedule that makes it easy for me to commit. Moreover, I can focus on a specific body part. Squats was a simple choice because it didn’t engage my ab muscles (my main concern at that point of time) while keeping my core composed.

When November came around, I was ready to focus on my core! After a quick Google search, I came across the following 30-day challenge.

30 day challenge

Source

I’ve really enjoyed it because it gave me some sort of a gentle transition from not doing any ab exercises for over 9 months to actually feeling the change in my core strength.

See some of the previous challenges I participated in here:

At the same time, I find it’s important to mention that you have to do these kind of challenges in addition to your daily workouts. Otherwise, they are not as effective. Keeping your workouts balanced (cardio, strength & flexibility) is key to success.

IMG_7693

Putting up her first Christmas tree last night!

Now that December is just around the corner, I’d like to focus on my upper body strength. *I definitely have a head start constantly carrying around my ever-growing 15-pound baby. Haha!* I’m thinking a mix of push-ups, pull-ups and maybe adding some dumbbells to my workouts. Any suggestions?

Do you like incorporating 30-day challenges in your workout routine? Why?

xoxo
Olena

 

3 Comments

Filed under 30-Day Workout Challenges, Cross-training, Fitness

Rock-a-Bye Baby: The Science of Sleep With Or Without a Baby

Good morning, darlings!

I hope you’re all rested and ready to rock your day. It’s hump day, so there is hope!

As a mom of a little baby I often get asked a question, “Do you get any sleep at all?!” Usually, this question is accompanied with a somber or concerned expression. Luckily, I’m one of those moms who is not sleep deprived and normally get at least 8 hours of sleep because Sofia started sleeping through the night when she was only 5 weeks old.

IMG_5209 edit

Sofia on the day she was born

My mom keeps on telling me,”I can’t believe how lucky you are! Unfortunately, I don’t think you can be THIS lucky twice in a row…” My response to that? “I’ll take advantage of this while I can and will deal with whatever comes my way when the baby number two arrives.” *No, I’m not pregnant. Haha!*

crib

One of Sofia’s first mornings waking up in her room

Once again, I am not by any means a baby sleep expert. That being said, I’d like to explore this topic and share some tricks that helped me in my quest. *I may be lucky, but hopefully I’ve been doing something right as well!*

When Sofia was born, I came across a book written by Pamela Druckerman called Bringing Up Bébé. She is an American journalist who relocated to Paris and became fascinated by the way French were raising their kids. Her theory is: “If you believe that little babies can learn things, then you can teach them things. And one of the things you can teach them, early on, is how to sleep.”

IMG_7459 edit.jpg

Sleeping in a booster seat (almost 4 months old)

What’s important to understand is that we all sleep in cycles. As adults, we don’t even realize that we wake up in the middle of the night. However, babies need to learn not only to sleep for longer stretches of time but also how to connect these cycles. Thus, it is very important not to pick your baby up the very moment he or she starts making noises at night. Babies are noisy sleepers, and if you pick them up in between these cycles, they’ll wake up instead of falling back asleep. Obviously, don’t let your baby cry it out, just give yourself a few minutes to figure out if it’s simply the ‘in-between’ stage or the baby actually needs something from you.

after vaccines

Sleeping after vaccines

It is equally important to establish a daily routine to get the baby in the mood to sleep. Justin and I do the following for Sofia:

  • Always get ready to go to sleep at the same time,
  • Give her a bath, followed by a quick massage,
  • Nurse her to sleep. *Before and even sometimes now, if this doesn’t work, I simply walk around with her to get her to fall asleep. At first, it took me much longer, but now Sofia is settled in her routine and it’s pretty quick.*

Surprisingly, I started to sleep better with Sofia’s arrival, too! I definitely think that her routine became mine. Additionally, there’s nothing more relaxing and calming than nursing your baby!

I also have to give credit to my awesome neighbour who let me try out her daughter’s swaddler. Even though Sofia protested it at first, it definitely helped her sleep better. The first time around she started sleeping in 3 to 4 hour stretches, within about a week she started sleeping through the night.

swaddler.jpg

3 weeks old

By the way, did you know that not only newborns have difficulty sleeping? According to an exclusive Women’s Health survey, “nearly 80% of women have problems sleeping at least a few times a month, and 23% have issues almost every night.” 

I already shared this infographic here, but have a look at it again. There are so many dangers when you don’t sleep enough!

The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation

Not only is it more enjoyable to have a good night sleep, who actually wants to have to deal with any of the above problems?! No one has time for that!

I recently read an interesting article by Malia Jacobson Improve Your Sleep Posture. Apparently, sleeping in the wrong position can cause all kinds of problems, including ‘muscle cramping, impair circulation, and leave you hurting come the a.m.’ Here are some of her recommendations if you have:

  • Heartburn: ‘Lie on your left side with you arms resting comfortably in front of you. Bend your knees and curl your legs slightly toward your body in a semi-fetal position. If you have really bad heartburn, roll onto your back and use a few pillows to prop pup your chest and head.’
  • Back Pain: ‘Lie on your side and put a slight bend in your knees… Place a firm pillow in between them so that your legs are propped about hip-width apart.’
  • Sinus Pain: ‘Lie on your with an extra pillow under your head and let the gravity help with drainage. Your arms will need an extra support, so hug a pillow.’
  • Shoulder Pain: ‘Lie on your pain-free side with your legs slightly bent. Extend your bottom arm straight out in front of you, then bring it in, using both arms to hug a pillow to your chest.’
  • PMS: ‘Lie on your back and place a pillow under your knees.’
  • Sore Hips: ‘Lie on your back. If it feels good, prop a pillow under your knees for added support.’
  • An Achy Jaw: ‘Lie on your back, face-up with lips closed but teeth open. Try to keep your arms straight at your side.’
  • Stiff Neck: ‘Lie on your back with your neck in neutral position.’

Here are some additional tips provided to me by Casper, the sleep and mattress experts, on how to sleep better.

SleepComfortMonth

How about you? Do you sleep well? What works for you and your baby?

sleeping on my lap Nov. 14, 2015

Sleeping on my lap

xoxo
Olena

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Family, Fitness, Health

The Health Benefits of A High Protein Diet

Hello lovelies!

Can you believe it’s November?!

Sofia’s first Halloween has come and gone, but I will cherish this memory forever. *Look at how cute she was!!!*

IMG_7131 edit 1

Even though it is still technically fall, once we have our car tires changed for winter ones and start seeing Christmas decorations lighting up outside, I inevitably think of winter coming. And I am not sure if it is purely psychological or temperature related, but I tend to gravitate towards comforting food around this time of the year. *I don’t regret the majority of those decisions YET! Haha!* 

funny-man-hugging-pizza-slice-you-belong-to-me

I see nothing wrong with indulging ourselves from time to time, but I also believe in renewing focus to eat healthy. The problem with junk food is that once you’ve had too much, you start feeling crappy about yourself. And what could be worse than having low self-esteem when everything around you screams joy?!

One of the proven ways to fool your stomach is to give preference to foods that fill you up faster such as food rich in fiber and protein.

Bodybuilding Warehouse, one of the UK’s leading supplement companies, provided me with the following infographic highlighting the health benefits of a high protein diet.

health benefits of a high protein diet

According to Bodybuilding Warehouse, “In a world filled with junk and processed food it’s now vital to make sure you understand what you’re consuming. Over the last 10 years studies have shown again and again that a high protein diet is highly effective in not only helping you feel curb hunger but also improves brain function, strength and aids in muscular hypertrophy. Before we look into the what benefits a high protein diet offers it’s important to note what we mean by “high protein”. High protein to a bodybuilder could mean 400 g of protein a day, we don’t recommend that. Our data is based on the 1-1.5 g of protein per pound of body-weight approach. Some people many find it difficult to consume higher amounts of protein but it’s perfectly safe to consume bodybuilding supplements like whey protein to help aid you reach your target protein per day.”

What are your thoughts? How do you incorporate protein in your diet?

xoxo
Olena

1 Comment

Filed under Fitness, Health