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Prepping your Body for Birth

Train your body physically and mentally for the big day.

Prepping your Body for Birth

Preparing your body for pregnancy and birth is comparable to getting ready for a marathon-meets-Tough Mudder! Although every birth is unique, a healthy, fit mother has strength and flexibility to her advantage to push her baby out like a pro. The birthing experience will be taxing on your body both physically and emotionally, so the more “training” you can do beforehand, the better. Below, find 5 great tips that will help you physically and mentally prep for birth.

Physical Prep:

  1. Squat it out. If I were to choose one exercise to perfect, it would definitely be squats because they help prepare for a natural delivery. Whether you play with a TRX squat, a yoga Malasana squat, or a weighted goblet squat, make sure you get low, and wherever the toes go, the knees should follow.
  2. Learn to Swim. Swimming takes 90% of the body weight off when you are waddling around winded during your later months of pregnancy. Learn how to swim now, and your body will thank you down the road! Spending time belly down also helps position the baby for a natural birth at 36 weeks pregnant, when you are praying your baby doesn’t flip breeched.
  3. Untwist Asymmetries. Do you do any of the following? Turn to look at your computer screen, carry a side shoulder purse, or jut one hip out? Unbalanced movement causes a twist in the spine and pelvis. Why is it important? Two ligaments attach the uterus to the pelvis, and any twist in the pelvis will create torsion of these ligaments. If there’s a twist in the pelvis and uterus during labor, the baby will have difficulty descending and may end up facing the front of the mother leading to immense prolonged back labor. It’s important to get assessed by a chiropractor to help optimize the structure and function of your body leading up to getting pregnant.

Mental Prep:

  1. Meditate Daily. Meditation helps us to let go of our extraneous thoughts and habits, allowing us settle into a safe and calm space. The same is true during labor; if we let go of fear and expectations, we drop into a primal, grounded space during contractions and stay present between contractions. Our patients at the Urban Wellness Clinic who meditate daily tend to deliver their babies like rock stars! Our favorite meditation guides include Headspace, a friendly app with short 10-minute meditations under the guidance of Andy, a gentle British bloke; and Art of Meditation with Elena Brower, an innovative and accessible online offering created by my favorite NYC yoga instructor. Find the same time of day to meditate, this helps ease in creating a new healthy habit. Just start, there’s no better way to break procrastination than sit down, close your eyes and breathe.
  2. Belly Breathe. Place your left hand on your chest and right hand on your belly, and take a breath. Where did you send the majority of your breath? If it was all in your chest, welcome to the stressed out club of NYC’s dysfunctional breathers, don’t worry there’s hope. The natural breath is mostly belly expansion as we breathe in and the belly softening to the spine as we breathe out, and the sternum (chest bone) will travel forward but not upward.

Tips for belly breathing:

-Place the tongue on the roof of the mouth 1 inch behind the teeth, this helps access belly breathing.

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-Focus on the exhale. This is when we actually breathe, when there is an exchange of oxygen to the blood stream.

-Low hum on the exhale. This engages the vocal cords and core muscles will sync up the diaphragm on the exhale.

Get belly breathing down now. During pregnancy, the baby grows which pushes up on the diaphragm and leads to using neck muscles to breathe and reflux. Lastly, the pressure action of the diaphragm is essential in creating force for progression and pushing out your baby in second phase of delivery.

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

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.

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

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

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.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

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.

$120

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.

$179

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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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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