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I’ve been thinking about my relationship with yoga and I’ve decided that I’m not sure that yoga really gets me.


I know what you’re thinking, yoga has been around for thousands of years and while I can argue that I have too, I can also attest to the fact that I often have to stifle my LOL’s when instructors talk, or I stop listening because I’m busy planning my day. I’m sure this is not what I should be doing during class, but I can’t control myself. Which really is the point of going to yoga anyway. But what can I say? Our relationship is complicated.

Practicing yoga is mentally challenging for me for a few reasons: 

1 | I only communicate with dense sarcasm and cynical wit.  

2 | When my mind is quiet, my “to do” list is loud.  

3 | I desperately want to achieve peace, so my inner yogi and my inner mom are at constant odds during my practice.

I mean, during almost every yoga class I decide I’m going to stop drinking coffee and start drinking green tea, never yell at my kids again, and give up wine so I can treat my body like a temple. You know, or some shit like that. Approximately 30 minutes after returning to my family, I’ve already destroyed my temple in an attempt to maintain my sanity.

To be clear, I love my chaotic mom life. I love teetering on the edge of outrageous fun and sudden melt-down. I love making memories and allowing my crazy kids to be crazy!

So, I think I know what parents need. If I was a yoga instructor, I’d teach only moms and dads looking to escape the chaos for an hour. I’d call it Real Yoga for Real Parents, and this is what I’d say:

Come stand at the front of your mat. Breathe in, and allow the thoughts of the day to swirl through your body, but try and keep them in some sort of order. Remember that you’ll get to that stuff, but you won’t get to it right now. Stop making the grocery list. There is no way you’ll remember everything that you are supposed to get right now. And you know you’ll forget the one thing that you really needed anyway. Let the groceries go out with your breath.

Breathe in and allow yourself to be filled with love and gratitude. Be grateful for giving yourself the time to come to yoga today. Be grateful for the love you are receiving from the universe, and from everything. Forget about that time that your child called you a “butty-butt-butt-head.” He didn’t really mean it. And let go of the fact that all you were doing was trying to get him to eat peanut butter toast. That he asked for. Before he realized he wanted a hard-boiled egg exactly like the one you made his sister. In fact, he wanted that exact one.

Allow yourself forgiveness. Yes, forgiveness for not having the foresight to have predicted that whole egg issue. Breathe out love for those tiny little dictators. Empty the breath completely from your body and with it, allow all of your thoughts of toddler frustration to leave you. Just for now. At home, it’s their time. It’s their time back there. Right here it’s your time. It’s your time right here. That’s all over the second you ride your people-wagon back home. (Ha ha! Man, I love The Goonies.)

Breathe in, and let your arms hang at your sides. Turn your palms slightly forward. Drop your shoulders and allow them to separate. Let your collar bones widen and your shoulder blades draw together and roll down your back, as if you’ve never carried a 40 pound sleeping child on your left shoulder for a half mile, just to have them wake up the moment you lay them down on their bed.  

Let your shoulders fall away from your ears. Aligning them with your hips, your knees, your ankles. Drop your left hip, which might feel awkward given that you’ve had a baby propped up there for the the past five years. So, you might need to literally push it down. Like, with your hands.

Feel the energy draw down through your legs and through your feet. Draw your arches up, but let the balls of your feet and your heels be grounded. Breathe out and plant yourself in the earth and feel comfort in your connection there. Don’t worry, there are no toys to clean up here, and no spilled milk to wipe off the counter.

When you breathe in, let the silence and peace spread throughout your entire being. Don’t panic. Nobody is behind a closed door spreading your $50 body lotion on the mirror. Well, maybe they are, but if they are it’s clearly not your fault because you are not responsible for them right now, you’re here. At yoga.

As you breathe out, try not to be so pissed. Because the whole lotion thing is obviously your husband’s fault. He’s probably checking some damn sports score instead of playing with his precious children. But listen, you don’t even know if this scenario is real and thus, there is NO need to allow him to ruin this time that you’ve carved for yourself. No sir. He is NOT taking this from you. NOT THIS TOO. Peace, dammit. Breathe it alllll out.

On your next inhale allow a slight smile to cross your lips. Allow your mind to let go of any chatter that gets in the way of attending to your breath. It’s inevitable that you’ll remember an urgent task you absolutely must complete immediately after class is over. But, you don’t even have a crayon to write with right now, so worrying about it for the next hour will only be punishment for yourself. C’mon. How important are those well-child checkups anyway?

On your next inhale, allow that love to spread throughout your whole body. Give yourself permission to allow your mind to wander during your practice, but assure yourself there is nothing different that you should be doing right now except what you ARE doing. Which is yoga. Remember? Breathe in and breathe out. You’re just doing yoga. That’s it. Come on, now. Seriously. You can do this. You can only think about this. Shh. You don’t hear a baby crying. Shhh. That’s a mirage.

You made it through the whole practice and you did it for yourself. I’m so proud of you. I know it’s hard, but it’s time to return to the busy-ness of being a mom/dad/human. In those moments when you feel like no one is listening to you – even though you have calmly repeated yourself 5 times, and your child still hasn’t put on their fucking socks – try and remember this moment.

Channel your inner Zen, look deeply into your kid’s eyes and say, “Please put your socks on.” one more time. Then, inhale and exhale for good measure. 

You did it. You are so rad.

Namaste, bitches!

 

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We spend a lot of time prepping for the arrival of a baby. But when it comes to the arrival of our breast milk (and all the massive adjustments that come with it), it's easy to be caught off guard. Stocking up on a few breastfeeding essentials can make the transition to breastfeeding a lot less stressful, which means more time and energy focusing on what's most important: Your recovery and your brand new baby.

Here are the essential breastfeeding tools you'll need, mama:

1. For covering up: A cute nursing cover

First and foremost, please know that all 50 states in the United States have laws that allow women to breastfeed in public. You do not have to cover yourself if you don't want to—and many mamas choose not to—and we are all for it.

That said, if you do anticipate wanting to take a more modest approach to breastfeeding, a nursing cover is a must. You will find an array of styles to choose from, but we love an infinity scarf, like the LK Baby Infinity Nursing Scarf Nursing Cover. You'll be able to wear the nursing cover instead of stuffing it in your already brimming diaper bag—and it's nice to have it right there when the baby is ready to eat.

Also, in the inevitable event that your baby spits-up on you or you leak some milk through your shirt, having a quick and stylish way to cover up is a total #momwin.

2. For getting comfortable: A cozy glider

Having a comfy spot to nurse can make a huge difference. Bonus points if that comfy place totally brings a room together, like the Delta Children Paris Upholstered Glider!

Get your cozy space ready to go, and when your baby is here, you can retreat from the world and just nurse, bond, and love.

3. For unmatched support: A wire-free nursing bra

It may take trying on several brands to find the perfect match, but finding a nursing bra that you love is 100% worth the effort. Your breasts will be changing and working in ways that are hard to imagine. An excellent supportive bra will make this so much more comfortable.

It is crucial to choose a wireless bra for the first weeks of nursing since underwire can increase the risk of clogged ducts (ouch).The Playtex Maternity Shaping Foam Wirefree Nursing Bra is an awesome pick for this reason, and because it is designed to flex and fit your breasts as they go through all those changes.

4. For maximum hydration: A large reusable water bottle

Nothing can prepare you for the intense thirst that hits when breastfeeding. Quench that thirst (and help keep your milk supply up in the process) by always having a water bottle with a straw nearby, like this Exquis Large Outdoor Water Bottle.

5. For feeding convenience: A supportive nursing tank

Experts recommend that during the first weeks of your baby's life, you breastfeed on-demand, meaning that any time your tiny boss demands milk, you feed them. This will help establish your milk supply and get everything off to a good start.

What does this mean for your life? You will be breastfeeding A LOT. Nursing tanks, like the Loving Moments by Leading Lady, make this so much easier. They have built-in support to keep you comfy, and you can totally wear them around the house, or even out and about. When your baby wants to eat, you'll be able to quickly "pop out" a breast and feed them.

6. For pain prevention: A quality nipple ointment

Breastfeeding shouldn't hurt, but the truth is those first days can be uncomfortable. Your nipples will likely feel raw as they adjust to their new job. This will get better! But until it does, nipple ointment is amazing.

My favorite is the Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter. We love that it's organic, and it is oh-so-soothing on your hard-at-work nipples.

Psst: If it actually hurts when your baby latches on, something may be up, so call your provider or a lactation consultant for help.

7. For uncomfortable moments: A dual breast therapy pack

As your breasts adjust to their new role, you may experience a few discomforts—applying warmth or cold can help make them feel so much better. The Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Pack is awesome because you can microwave the pads or put them in the freezer, giving you a lot of options when your breasts need some TLC.

Again, if you have any concerns about something being wrong (pain, a bump that may be red or hot, fever, or anything else), call a professional right away.

8. For inevitable leaks: An absorbing breast pad

In today's episode of, "Oh come on, really?" you are going to leak breastmilk. Now, this is entirely natural and you are certainly not required to do anything about this. Still, many moms choose to wear breast pads in their bras to avoid leaking through to their shirts.

You can go the convenient and disposable route with Lansinoh Disposable Stay Dry Nursing Pads, or for a more environmentally friendly option, you can choose washable pads, like these Organic Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads.

9. For flexibility: A breast pump

Many women find that a breast pump becomes one of their most essential mom-tools. The ability to provide breast milk when you are away from your baby (and relieve uncomfortable engorged breasts) will add so much flexibility into your new-mom life.

For quick trips out and super-easy in-your-bag transport, opt for a manual pump like the Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump .

If you will be away from your baby for longer periods of time (traveling or working outside the home, for example) an electric pump is your most efficient bet. The Medela Pump In Style Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump is a classic go-to that will absolutely get the job done, and then some.

10. For quality storage: Breast milk bags

Once you pump your liquid gold, aka breast milk, you'll need a place to store it. The Kiinde Twist Pouches allow you to pump directly into the bags which means one less step (and way less to clean).

11. For keeping cool: A freezer bag

Transport your pumped milk back home to your baby safely in a cooler like the Mommy Knows Best Breast Milk Baby Bottle Cooler Bag. Remember to put the milk in a fridge or freezer as soon as you can to optimize how long it stays usable for.

12. For continued nourishment: Bottles

Nothing beats the peace of mind you get when you know that your baby is being well-taken of care—and well fed—until you can be together again. The Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle Newborn Starter Gift Set is a fan favorite (mama and baby fans alike).

This article is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.

Coverage:

A viral video about car seat safety has parents everywhere cracking up and humming Sir-Mix-A-Lot.

"I like safe kids and I cannot lie," raps Norman Regional Health System pediatric hospitalist Dr. Kate Cook (after prefacing her music video with an apology to her children."I'm a doctor tryin' warn you that recs have changed," she continues.

Dr. Cook's rap video is all about the importance of keeping babies facing backward. It's aptly called "Babies Face Back," and uses humor and parody to drive home car seat recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

"Switching from rear-facing to forward-facing is a milestone many parents can't wait to reach," Dr. Cook said in a news release about her hilarious video. "But this is one area where you want to delay the transition as long as possible because each one actually reduces the protection to the child."

Last summer the AAP updated its official stance on car seat safety to be more in line with what so many parents were already doing and recommended that kids stay rear-facing for as long as possible. But with so many things to keep track of in life, it is understandable that some parents still don't know about the change. Dr. Cook wants to change that with some cringe-worthy rapping.

The AAP recommends:

  • Babies and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat.
  • Once they are facing forward, children should use a forward-facing car safety seat with a harness for as long as possible. Many seats are good up to 65 pounds.
  • When children outgrow their car seat they should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle's lap and shoulder seat belt fits properly, between 8 and 12 years old.

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[Editor's note: Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.]

Suicide rates for girls and women in the United States have increased 50% since 2000, according to the CDC and new research indicates a growing number of pregnant and postpartum women are dying by suicide and overdose. Suicide rates for boys and men are up, too.

It's clear there is a mental health crisis in America and it is robbing children of their mothers and mothers of their children.

Medical professionals urge people to get help early, but sometimes getting help is not so simple. For many Americans, the life preserver that is mental health care is out of reach when they are drowning.

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg just released a plan he hopes could change that and says the neglect of mental health in the United States must end. "Our plan breaks down the barriers around mental health and builds up a sense of belonging that will help millions of suffering Americans heal," says Buttigieg.

He thinks he can "prevent 1 million deaths of despair by 2028" by giving Americans more access to mental health and addictions services.

In a country where giving birth can put a mother in debt, it's not surprising that while as many as 1 in 5 new moms suffers from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, more than half of new moms who need mental health treatment don't get it. Stigma, childcare and of course costs are factors in why women aren't seeking help when they are struggling.

Buttigieg's plan is interesting because it could remove some of these barriers. He wants to make mental health care more affordable by ensuring everyone has comprehensive coverage for mental health care and by ensuring that everyone can access a free yearly mental health check-up.

That could make getting help more affordable for some moms, and by increasing reimbursement rates for mental health care delivered through telehealth, this plan could help moms get face time with a medical professional without having to deal with finding childcare first.

Estimates from new research suggest that in some parts of America as many as 14% or 30% of maternal deaths are caused by addiction or suicide. Buttigieg's plan aims to reduce those estimates by fighting the addiction and opioid crisis and increasing access to mental health services in underserved communities and for people of color. He also wants to reduce the stigma and increase support for the next generation by requiring "every school across the country to teach Mental Health First Aid courses."

These are lofty goals with a lofty price tag. It would cost about $300 billion to do what Buttigieg sets out in his plan and the specifics of how the plan would be funded aren't yet known. Neither is how voters will react to this 18-page plan and whether it will help Buttigieg stand out in a crowded field of Democratic candidates.

What we do know is that right now, America is talking about mental health and whether or not that benefits Buttigieg's campaign it will certainly benefit America.

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[Editor's Note: Welcome to It's Science, a Motherly column focusing on evidence-based explanations for the important moments, milestones, and phenomena of motherhood. Because it's not just you—#itsscience.]

If you breastfeed, you know just how magical (and trying) it is, but it has numerous benefits for mama and baby. It is known to reduce the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, and cuts the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by half.

If this wasn't powerful enough, scientists have discovered that babies who are fed breast milk have a stomach pH that promotes the formation of HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor cells). HAMLET was discovered by chance when researchers were studying the antibacterial properties of breast milk. This is a combination of proteins and lipids found in breast milk that can work together to kill cancer cells, causing them to pull away from healthy cells, shrink and die, leaving the healthy cells unaffected.

According to researchers at Lund University in Sweden, this mechanism may contribute to the protective effect breast milk has against pediatric tumors and leukemia, which accounts for about 30% of all childhood cancer. Other researchers analyzed 18 different studies, finding that "14% to 19% of all childhood leukemia cases may be prevented by breastfeeding for six months or more."

And recently, doctors in Sweden collaborated with scientists in Prague to find yet another amazing benefit to breast milk. Their research demonstrated that a certain milk sugar called Alpha1H, found only in breast milk, helps in the production of lactose and can transform into a different form that helps break up tumors into microscopic fragments in the body.

Patients who were given a drug based on this milk sugar, rather than a placebo, passed whole tumor fragments in their urine. And there is more laboratory evidence to support that the drug can kill more than 40 different types of cancer cells in animal trials, including brain tumors and colon cancer. These results are inspiring scientists to continue to explore HAMLET as a novel approach to tumor therapy and make Alpha1H available to cancer patients.

Bottom line: If you choose to breastfeed, the breast milk your baby gets from your hard work can be worth every drop of effort.

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