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5 Benefits of Meditation During Pregnancy

Plus one pregnancy meditation you can do right now.

5 Benefits of Meditation During Pregnancy

If you have ever watched a laboring woman work through a contraction, or if you yourself have gone through one, you may have noticed her enter a moment of deep or even serene concentration . It may have even looked like she was meditating.

As a doula and frequent meditator, I have always been deeply interested in exploring the mind-body connection. Birth is a physically and emotionally demanding process; just like an athlete training for a marathon, it is important for pregnant women to explore beforehand some of the sensations and feelings that they may experience the day they go into labor. By practicing meditation throughout pregnancy, you are ultimately providing yourself with a blueprint for a calm and peaceful birth. The techniques you employ during meditation you will carry with you when it comes time to have your baby.

Here are 5 benefits of meditation

  1. Tuning out distractions. If you are giving birth in a hospital, chances are you will be surrounded by noises and people that are unfamiliar to you. Whether it’s the beeping of a monitor or a nurse checking in, it is important to be able to tune these distractions out so that you can relax and concentrate. Meditation is the single greatest way to practice inner concentration. Close your eyes or lower your gaze and practice letting all of those disturbances melt away.

  1. Lowered heart rate. When you release the mind, you release the body as well. Meditation is a great time to check in with your physical self. Where do you carry your tension? Where do you need to release? In taking deep, slow breaths, you will begin to notice that your heart rate will drop as well. A calm and steady heart rate will also indicate to your baby that you are happy. Enjoy this moment as a gift to yourself and your child.

  1. Deeper connection with your baby. Sitting quietly can often help in forging a deeper understanding of your baby. What is your baby doing in this moment? Is she/he moving around or calm and peaceful like you are? I like to encourage my client to visualize her baby, stroke her belly, or whisper encouraging words. Meditation is a wonderful time to deepen that

  1. Increased Theta. In the human body, there are five main frequency brain waves: Beta, Alpha, Theta, Delta, and Gamma. The Theta State is one of deep relaxation and calm. When you meditate, you activate Theta. Theta is associated with creativity, visualization, problem solving, and intuition. The higher our Theta frequency, the more expansive our consciousness becomes, and the more expansive our consciousness, the more open we are. 
  2. A chance to learn more about yourself. My favorite benefit of meditation is the opportunity that it offers to connect with your subconscious mind. Quieting all the external chatter allows you to engage in a deeply personal and intimate dialogue with yourself. In meditation, you are encouraged to experience thoughts as passing clouds. Allow whatever comes up in this time to pass you by without holding on to it, or judging it. What are your hopes or fears about giving birth? Meditation will illuminate a lot of these answers for you. You may surprise yourself about how many of these answers are already within you. Trust the voice that arises when you meditate.

And your meditation: Try practicing this breathing meditation in a way that is useful and personal to you.

1) Start with 5 cleansing breaths in through the nose, out through the mouth.

2) Exhaling breath should be long and slow. Imagine blowing bubbles, or air coming out of tire.

3) Inhale peace/exhale stress and tension.

4) With each breath in, go deeper and curl your breath around your baby.

5) Feel your baby vibrating with love.

6) Repeat 3 times.

Image source.

12 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$189

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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In Montessori schools, parents are periodically invited to observe their children at work in the classroom. I have heard many parents express shock to see their 3- or 4-year-old putting away their own work when they finish—without even being asked!

"You should see his room at home!" or, "I ask him to put his toys away every day, and it's a battle every single time" were frequent comments.

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