Somewhere around the third trimester mark, your brain transitions from “all pregnancy all the time” to “birth.” You suddenly realize there’s more to pregnancy than being pregnant, and that there’s actually a baby that has to come out. Someone--your doctor, your mom, your BFF--might use the word “tear” or maybe even “rip.” And you’ll ask, “Down there?” Yes. For real. Baby is big and your vagina is small, and, well… Tearing. Can. Happen. At one time, doctors made an incision in the perineum, which is the tissue between the vaginal opening and the anus, before baby arrived, but most experts say this procedure--an episiotomy--does not necessarily help with tearing. It can also come with a painful recovery, infection and even pain during sex or fecal incontinence. But, there are ways to prepare your perineum for the action it’s about to see. And good news: it’s called a massage! Yes, down there. Our friends at Weleda in Europe even make a special oil for it! (We’re giving away 6 bottles that are only available in Europe! Read on to find out how to win!) We recently spoke with Weleda midwife Christina Henderlich on the benefits and the proper method for perineum massage, and she also gave us a perineum oil DIY. Get ready. Why is this massage important during pregnancy? The perineum is especially stressed when giving birth. Most women wish to give birth without an episiotomy, and a perineum massage can help. Regular massage prepares the perineum tissue by helping it become more elastic. Furthermore, getting to know your perineum, the body part through which babies are born, is very important. A woman who has never explored her vulva with her hands is likely to face problems when pushing her baby out of her body in the last phase of birth. By regularly observing her vulva, and hence the perineum, a woman can develop a good feeling towards her body and come to know it better. When during pregnancy should you start regular perineum massage, how often do you do it? From the 34th week of pregnancy, 3 to 4 times a week, for 5 to 10 minutes. How do you do it? Preparation: Before starting the massage, we recommend a careful intimate wash and cleaning hands and nails thoroughly with soap and water. Perineum massage is ideally done after a warm bath, because the tissue is much more supple. When massaging, make sure the perineum can be reached comfortably: it's ideal if you are in a lying or squat position or standing with one leg in the air. During the massage, quietly breathe in and out and try to relax your pelvis. Loosening massage: Take a small amount of Weleda Perineum Massage Oil and warm it up in your hands. Apply the oil with your fingertips in small circles along the outer labia and then between your vagina and anus. Lead your thumb tip into the vagina. With your fingers, massage the inner and outer perineal area on an imaginary dial between 3 and 9 o`clock (Picture no. 1), firstly using circular movements, then with greater pressure for about 1 minute in swaying movements (Picture no. 2). Stretching massage: Put your whole thumb into the vagina and stretch the tissue towards the anus when breathing out. Repeat in a radial direction (Picture no. 3). As a second exercise, you can bulge the perineum with your thumbs down and outward. (Picture no. 4). Repeat also this stretching on an imaginary dial between 3 and 9 o`clock. You will feel a pull and a resistance to the stretching, which should not be painful. If you don’t have access to Weleda Perineum Massage Oil, is there an oil or blend that you could mix at home to use during the massage? Try wheat germ oil plus essential oils. Use approximately 20 ml wheat germ oil, and dilute a drop of Muscatella Salbai and rose. Want to win a bottle of Weleda Perineum Massage Oil? It’s only sold in Europe but we’ve got 10 bottles stashed just for WRNY readers! Go ahead and enter below. Image source.
They transition seamlessly for indoor play.
With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.
From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.
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.
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!
This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.
Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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I am enough.
I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.
Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.
As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.
Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.
When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.
My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.
So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.
When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.
And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.
Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.
May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3
We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.
A fascinating study explains why.
When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.
"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.
Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."