4 Ways to Create Developmental Play Experiences for Baby

Contributed by Lauren Vien, Education Director at Rose & Rex

 
roseandrex.jpg
 

Ever wonder, “What should I be doing with my baby all day?”

We get it. As parents, we try to fill our babies’ days with anything and everything that positively impacts their development.

To create rich play experiences, try interacting with your baby in the following ways:

TALK

Speak, read, or sing to your baby. Language development is influenced by the amount of language that a baby hears during his or her first year. Narration is one way to incorporate lots of language into your play. “I see you reaching for the yellow ball. Oh! You touched it with your finger tips. Uh oh! Now it’s rolling under the table. Can you reach the ball with your foot now?”

TOUCH

Massage, tickle, or rub your baby’s body. Touch reduces stress and increases the unique bond between parent and child. In addition to cuddling up together, try providing your baby with independent sensory experiences. Naked playtime allows babies to move freely, while exploring how their bodies relate to the surface beneath them.

MOVE

Encourage your baby to reach, kick, grasp, and wiggle. Seek safe, padded play spaces for your baby to explore- both indoors and out. Tummy time troubles? Try introducing books or musical instruments. Babies should spend nearly every waking moment experimenting with movement; be conscious of how much time your baby spends confined to a bouncer or stroller each day.

CONNECT

Eye contact, facial expressions, and tone of voice are crucial elements of emotional development. Playfully exaggerate feelings of happiness or sadness. Stand in front of a mirror with your baby, study each other’s faces, and mimic each new expression.  Connecting with your baby in this way teaches your baby how to communicate with others.



Reverse those Kegels for Labor Prep!

 
bruce-mars-558921-unsplash.jpg
 

Contributed by Ashley Brichter our most trusted Childbirth Educator, Doula, Lactation Counselor, and Mom of two.


Want to minimize your risk of tearing? Ensure a smoother pushing phase of labor? Think about letting go!

Each month I teach a small group of expecting parents about the labor and delivery process and each month I ask, who’s been told to “kegel?” [The majority of hands go up.] Then I say, “great! Can one of your explain how to do a kegel for those that might not know.” There is always one eager student who answers quickly: “squeeze like you’re trying to stop the flow of urine.”

Here’s the thing. The vagina and the surrounding muscles of the pelvic floor do not actively help push a baby out. I understand why you might have thought that. No one really learns about childbirth (before they come to class) but it’s not true. Vaginas don’t push babies out. Uterus’ push babies out. “Tight vaginas” can even cause some trouble when it comes to labor.

Let me explain! Check out these images of the pelvic floor.

 
IMG_7863.jpg
 

There are 14 muscles that run from pubic bone to tail bone and from sitz bone to sitz bone. The pelvic floor is akin to having an artisanal woven basket between your legs, especially created to help you eliminate waste (from bowel and bladder), support internal organs and your general upright structure, and provide sexual pleasure! The pelvic floor has very important jobs to do.

The muscles around the vaginal opening are, in general, tight on all of us. If you’re curious, I would highly recommend seeing a pelvic health specialist for a prenatal or postpartum evaluation! They are not always tight, just often. The reason I don’t want to you to super-kegel your way through labor-preparation is because tight muscles are more likely to tear under pressure!

That said, if you did want to kegel to “strengthen” the pelvic floor muscles, “squeezing like you’re trying to stop the flow of urine” wouldn’t be the way to go. If you look at the pictures again, the muscles around the vagina are just part of the equation.

Excuse my language, but can you squeeze like you are stopping the flow of urine at the same time as you are holding in a fart? Let go and try again. There it is!? Now you have access to the front and back of the pelvic floor muscles! If you can do it one more time, stopping urine, holding in a fart, and pull your low belly in – you have the famous FPC Pump + Kegel!

WAIT WAIT WAIT! For labor preparation specifically, I really want you to focus on the release. When a baby passes through the vaginal canal, the muscles of the pelvic floor should be used to relaxing and releasing.

Let’s go the other way.

Can you try to push out a drop of urine? Let go. Can you try and push out a drop of urine at the same time as pushing out a fart? Again, excuse my language! Can you try and push out a drop of urine at the same time as pushing out a fart and see if you can let your belly go (presses out and away from you)? That’s it. That is your pelvic floor release. Some women will describe this as finding a bulging sensation. in their pelvic floor or between their legs. If you do it a few more times, you may really notice how and why this would be useful for labor preparation. We want our muscles and tissues to be comfortable spending time in their relaxed state so they are happy to do so when a baby passes through.

For extra-credit, feel free to play around with finding the contraction and then the release. Can you move through the full range of motion seamlessly? Imagining moving a dimmer as opposed to a light switch. Can you coordinate with breath? Exhale contract, inhale release. It’s a challenge!

You can also look into Perineal Massage for labor preparation and if you have friends abroad think about getting your hands on an Epi-No.

Also, come to ALL THINGS BIRTH on March 20th at 6:30pm (with or without partners) to learn about some of the other things you hadn’t considered before having a baby!


Returning to Running after Pregnancy

 
andrew-tanglao-436401-unsplash.jpg

Contributed By Alicia Ferriere, DPT, PRC

 

Returning to exercise is one hurdle postpartum, returning to running is another. Running requires a lot from the body. Cardiovascular stress aside, running requires you to respond to gravity pulling down on your joints at 4-8x your body weight. It requires your muscles to be explosive while controlling high amounts of torsion going through your body. Running outside requires you to respond to your environment smoothly, without tripping or falling. As postpartum women return to running, it is important to take steps to get there safely to minimize injury down the road.

Basic mechanics of running and jumping

Let’s break this down into basics without getting too complicated. Running consists of transferring your weight from one foot to the other with a slight flight phase in between. That flight phase is what differentiates it from walking. Flight is also what makes running more impactful on your body. You’re essentially hopping from one foot to the other repeatedly. Now, depending on run form and speed, the amount of force going through your joints varies. Regardless, if you’re performing any sort of “run” you’re putting increased load through your joints. There is also increased torsion that is going through your body with each step. Without getting heavy into biomechanics, you need to have control over that rotation to prevent injury with the increased load of running.

What does this mean for your body?

Both pregnancy and labor/ delivery change the body in different ways. Simply being pregnant can put you in a posture that over-lengthens the abdominal wall and shortens hip flexors. Delivering a child can mean some sort of trauma either to the pelvic floor musculature or the abdominal wall. There is also increased elastin hormone running through your body which tends to make your ligaments a little looser. After discussing the force going through the body during running, it makes sense that we want to be as stable as possible to prevent injury when returning to running. If there was any trauma to your core or pelvic floor, you need to make sure that those muscles are properly working to ensure they will stabilize your trunk and pelvis during running.


Where to start

Start by making sure you can adequately work your abdominals, glutes and pelvic floor muscles. Start out with basic exercises such as breathing, and body weight squats. Start to build up some single leg stability by practicing single leg squats or lunging. You also want to build stability in the core through movement. You can try anything from dead bugs to 3D planking. The important part is to feel that you can use the muscles that have previously been put in a poor position to work or even damaged.

Return to plyometrics and jumping

Once you feel confident that your muscles are along for the ride and strong, you want to start to introduce plyometrics back into your body. A great way to start out postpartum is to begin on your hands and knees in a pike position, and practice jumping from here. Be sure to incorporate different directions and transition from double leg to single leg. Once this gets a little easier, introduce light jumping. You want to get your body used to stabilizing against increased gravitational force. You can progress all of this by introducing running drills and bounding before going into your first light run or even walk/run. As with any activity, you want to build your endurance gradually.

When returning to any activity postpartum, it is important to be kind to yourself! Allow proper time for healing and retraining of your muscles. Pregnancy and delivery does a lot to your body! Try not to compare yourself to your pre- pregnancy level of fitness right after delivery. It’s amazing to have goals in mind, but just make sure you give yourself enough time to achieve those goals safely!



What's this belly pump and kegel all about?

If you’ve taken class with us, you know we start every single class with our Pump & Kegel activation. If you’re a regular, you may find yourself getting bored with this repetition. If you are brand new, you may find yourself extremely frustrated with trying to understand what we are talking about!

No matter where you are in fully grasping this foundation, we assure you, it’s the single most important thing you are doing for your pregnant or postpartum body. Our goal at FPC is to make sure you are going through pregnancy with minimal aches and pains and that you make a complete recovery, postpartum.

Devoting as little as 4 minutes a day to breathing into your diaphragm, feeling full range of motion in your pelvic floor and deeply connecting to your transverse abdominis muscles is the key to minimizing the risk of diastasis recti (abdominal separation) and pelvic floor dysfunction.

It’s also important to take the time to separate the 3 elements of this process every time you do it. If any one of them isn’t functioning properly, you are jeopardizing the entire system.

#PumpAndKegel in 3 Steps

  1. Breath into your diaphragm. (The opposite of a stress breath where you see your shoulders rise and fall with every breath. Send the air, deep and low)

  2. Sense the muscle of your pelvic floor. Practicing feeling them engage lightly as you exhale and release fully as you inhale.

  3. Exhale and lift your pelvic floor again while adding a lower abdominal activation. Think of zipping up your entire abdominal wall from the bottom up. (If you are pregnant, imagine hugging the baby as close to your body as possible)

 
michalina-1264044-unsplash.jpg
 

If you are curious to learn more, join Joanie in one of our monthly, “Protecting your Core for Birth and Postpartum” where we’ll cover:

  • the anatomy and function of the "inner core unit" (aka the muscles you need to continue to train during pregnancy and in postpartum)

  • What exercises to do starting day 1 post birth

  • Diastasis Recti prevention and rehab

  • How to avoid pelvic floor dysfunction

Check out our Events page for the next upcoming workshop!

Tips for Returning to Work as a New (Pumping) Mom

Contributed by Milx

At Milx, we strive to modernize motherhood in all forms, which includes making life easier for working moms (like us!). We all three had babies in 2018 and understand the physical challenges around pumping and nursing, along with the emotional challenges that come with leaving your precious new babies. Read below for some tips on how to make things a little easier!

 
Screen Shot 2019-02-28 at 6.56.34 PM.png
 

1) Make time to pump. If you’re breastfeeding, you also need to regularly pump milk to store for your baby to drink whenever you’re not with them, and to remind your body to continue to lactate. If you stop pumping when you’re away from your baby for long periods of time, you’ll stop producing milk all together. If you’re breastfeeding and going back to work - assuming you work an 8 hour day - you’ll have to pump 2 to 3 times a day for about 30 minutes each. Do not skip pumping sessions, as it will cause your milk supply to decrease. Breastfeeding rates significantly decline after women go back to work because it’s such a challenge to fit pumping into your schedule. Many women don’t feel empowered to communicate that they need to carve out this time. Remember, it’s your right to take the time to pump so speak up, set scheduling expectations up front and block time off on your company calendar for regular pumping sessions.

2)  Invest in the right tools. If you’re pumping and nursing, for example, make sure you have a nursing/pumping bra (like Milx!) that you can wear all day to save time changing during pumping sessions. Make sure whatever you wear has hands-free capabilities (like Milx!), so you can be productive even while pumping. Also, have an extra set of pumping accessories you can keep at work in case you forget something. This happens all the time - trust us!

3) Set scheduling boundaries with yourself and your coworkers. This applies not only with your pumping schedule, but also with time restrictions. For example, you may have been the stay-late-to-get-things-done colleague, who now needs to leave work by 6pm sharp to relieve a caretaker at home. Let your boss and coworkers know your hard stop, so they don’t book late meetings and offer up an alternative evening time (say, post baby’s bedtime), if a later meeting’s imperative. Also, maximize your efficiency at work by being organized. Rumor has it that women with children are some of the most productive in the workplace!

4) Go easy on yourself. They call it the Fourth Trimester for a reason. Your body is still adjusting to mental and physical changes and you’re adjusting to being a working mom. It takes time to adapt to your new routine -- you’re trying your best at work while also caring for your babies. Change your mindset to focus on all you’re accomplishing rather than what you’re not able to do. And remember, moms are superheroes!

5) Lean on your village. Build a support system of other moms and ask for help in and outside of work. Reach out to us @milx.mom directly on Instagram if you have any questions. We share our own nip tips and also get great advice from moms all over!

Mother Untitled - Resources

 
Neha Ruch, Founder of Mother Untitled

Neha Ruch, Founder of Mother Untitled

The gathering for the new mom happy hour with Mother Untitled was evidence enough of the MU thesis - that a career pause or shift to create space for motherhood warrants a new and empowering narrative.  The modern story is one of the creativity and community that this chapter unlocks if you choose to lean into it.  Heavy caveat, per the conversation on Wednesday, the complexity is real.  As most of us in the room were in early stages of contemplating our choices, conversations around ego, negotiating flexibility, relationship changes and entrepreneurship naturally came up.  Two hours left just enough time to hear from everyone and find camaraderie so Neha followed up with a few helpful links to build on some of the key topics.  On answering "what do you do?" (and a follow up to that), negotiating flexibility (more and more on that), building and measuring passion projects, work that works for mothers and embracing the pause plus ways to stay connected.

For more on all the angles, explore the Mother Untitled platform and stay in touch with Neha @motheruntitled

 

3 Ways To Keep Moving When You Get To The Hospital

CG+on+ball.jpg

Contributed by The Fit Doula, Maddy Wasserman

Whether you’re in active labor or trying to get things going, keeping your body moving during labor is fundamental. Movement is an essential tool for pain relief and relaxation. As you change positions, you and baby work together to navigate the birth canal.

Below are three ways to keep your body moving throughout labor once you get to the hospital. The key is to follow your intuition and be creative.

  1. Dance with your IV pole: Your caregiver will likely suggest you receive fluids intravenously (IV) to prevent dehydration. This should not limit yourfreedom to move; stand up, sway, squat and dance with the pole. You can even bring a portable speaker with your favorite tunes to inspire movement and rhythm.

  2. Spend time on the ”Labor Throne” AKA the toilet: Emptying your bladder and bowels during labor will help make way for baby. In addition, I encourage you to spend some additional time on the toilet as you labor through contractions. It is a great place to hang out, it puts you in an upright position and encourages your pelvic floor to relax. If you are comfortable there, there is no reason to leave.

  3. Bring a birth ball: If you don’t have a birth ball yet, Get one! It may seem excessive to bring in a cab but trust me you will be happy you did. Just deflate it a little and your partner can re-pump at hospital. There are lots of ways to use the ball to get your body in positions of rest & relief and to promote progress:

-Try sitting on the ball and swaying your hips side to side & front to back, either upright or rest your head on pillows on the bed. (adjust bed height to accommodate)

-Kneel on the bed and rest your upper body on the ball relaxing shoulders.

-Place ball on bed and lean over it, swaying lower body.

When buying a birth ball size is important. A ball with a 65cm diameter is best for a woman of average height (63-70 inches). A much shorter woman may require a 55cm ball, and a much taller woman may require a 75cm ball. If you are planning to have an epidural get your self a peanut shaped ball, these are great to keep your hips open and support your legs in various positions. See Positions Here

Movement during labor is the best comfort technique for pain relief and labor progress.

When a position is working stay with it and have your birth team support you and remind you. And when it no longer helpful, change it up. sometimes moving positions can re adjust your mental space, which is just an influential as the physical.

Your Pregnancy is a Wellness, your Body is Wise, Trust Yourself & MOVE!

High Impact Exercise During Pregnancy

 

By Alicia Ferriere, DPT, PRC

running.JPG

A question I am asked a lot by my pregnant patients is, “Can I continue my high impact workouts during pregnancy?” With a variety of treadmill running classes to trampoline jumping classes, it may be hard to know what is safe to do as your body changes.

First things first: always get approval from your doctor. Depending on your body and your pregnancy, your doctor may have restrictions to your exercise activity. To ensure the health of you and the growing baby, talk to your doctor.

Let’s talk about what high impact activity is. During any sort of movement, gravity is pulling your body down to the ground. If the movement involves leaving the ground and coming back to it, that force increases. High impact activity is anything that increases that force with a component of speed. To keep it basic, if both feet are leaving the ground at the same time, you’re performing a high impact activity. This can be anything from jumping rope, to running, to trampoline workouts.

It is important to acknowledge what your prior level of fitness was before pregnancy. If you were an avid runner and did high impact exercise before, your body is accustomed that kind of workout. Your body goes through a lot of physical changes during pregnancy, it’s not the best time to try something new or ramp up your fitness routine.

The body has to adapt to a lot during high impact exercise. It is not just cardiovascularly challenging, it’s challenging on your musculo-skeletal system.Your joints and muscles have to develop the proper coordination to control the force going into them. That being said, even if you did a lot of high impact exercise prior to pregnancy, it is important to listen to your body and acknowledge the changes that are happening.

As your body changes over those 40 weeks, your center of gravity changes due to the weight gain in your abdomen. This changes your posture and therefore muscle control. Your body also has increased elastin hormone that can loosen your ligaments. With any high impact activity, there is always the risk for injury. Take the time to sense the changes in your body at different times throughout pregnancy. How you feel in week 25 is going to be different to week 29. It is okay to adjust your activity accordingly. If you ever feel downwards pressure or heaviness in your pelvic floor or if you pee yourself, it is time to stop.

Overall, exercise is great during pregnancy. It improves blood flow to all parts of your body as well as to the baby. If you’re feeling that high impact activity isn’t for you, there are a variety of other workouts that can elevate your heart rate without the impact (hello FPC!). Something as simple as walking uphill can be cardiovascularly challenging and generate healthy movement to your muscles and joints without the high forces on your body.

The main thing is to listen to your body! It does a great job of giving you information- you just have to tune in to it. Don’t be afraid to ask for modifications or adjustments as you need them and make sure to always work with a perinatal fitness professional (make sure their certification is from a reputable company).



 

Ask a Physical Therapist

We asked Dr. Alicia Ferrier, what are the things she wished every woman understood about physical therapy during pregnancy and postpartum. Here are her answers!

Dr. Alicia Ferriere, PT, DPT, FAFS, PRC

Dr. Alicia Ferriere, PT, DPT, FAFS, PRC

What are a few things you wished pregnant women knew about PT?  

  • Physical therapy can address pelvic position to make sure your pelvic outlet is in it’s optimal shape for delivery

  • Pregnancy leads to changes in posture and overuse of certain muscles- this can be painful! We can work together to correct these postural changes to decrease pain as well as improve muscular control for delivery.

  • Education is key! There are precautions you can take that will help to limit your likelihood of diastasis recti and postpartum injury

Screen Shot 2019-01-16 at 5.31.20 PM.png

What are a few things you wished postpartum women knew about PT?

  • Labor and delivery is traumatic to your body. It’s important to take care of yourself! I highly recommend that every postpartum mother have an evaluation by a physical therapist. Think of any other muscle in your body; if it is cut into or injured, you have to rehab it! Having a c-section or vaginal delivery is no different.

  • PT can help you re-learn how to use muscles that were potentially injured during the birthing process. We can also assess your movement patterns to find out what muscles are under-working or over-working to help you avoid injury as you return to activity.

  • If you want to return to higher level exercise, we can work together with sport specific exercise to ensure you return to exercise safely


FPC believes every pregnant and postpartum mom should be working with a woman's health PT in order to develop a deeper understanding of her core and pelvic floor. We understand that’s not always financially or physically feasible so be sure to check out our “Ask a PT” workshop on the community workshop calendar. We’re striving to bring access to this information to as many women as possible!

3 KEY CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE COMMITTING TO CHILDBIRTH EDUCATION CLASSES

You may be deciding whether or not you need a childbirth education class. On one hand people have been having babies forever (and you’re busy) on the other hand you would really like to avoid a cesarean (if possible) and someone said class was a good idea! If you’re leaning towards taking a class you also have to decide which one is right for you. Private or group, one-day or series, at the hospital or at a studio? Like so much in pregnancy, it’s stress-inducing and we don’t want that! Our most-trusted childbirth educator, Ashely Brichter of Managing Overwhelming Moments, highlights three key considerations before deciding how to best prepare for birth! 

 
belly-black-and-white-girl-157724.jpg
 

  1. Know that not all common hospital practices are best practices!

For example, it has long been thought that women should receive IV fluids in labor, in lieu of eating and drinking. It turns out, there is not sufficient evidence to prove that restricting food from a low-risk laboring women increases her or her baby’s safety. We also know that women who are allowed to eat and drink are more satisfied with their birthing experiences and that there are some negative side effects if a person receives unnecessary IV fluids. While doctors and midwives have medical preferences, you the ability to direct the course of action during your labor, barring a true and rare medical emergency. Understanding the nuances within medical interventions is essential in order to prepare to be your own-best advocate. Before choosing a childbirth class, think about how much you would like to learn about specific medical interventions. (This includes best practices around epidurals!) 


2. There’s a difference between learning from an “expert” and learning from an educator. 

Many hospitals offer their own childbirth preparation classes often taught by labor and delivery nurses and many labor and delivery nurses teach private childbirth education classes. While it is amazing to learn about birth from someone who has professional experience, it is also important to consider the perspective and style of your teacher. By “perspective” I am referring to consideration #1. Will your instructor teach you what to expect from common practices or teach you about best practices? Will she teach you what to expect from the hospital or how to thrive in the hospital? In terms of style, I am sure you can think about a teacher who you loved in school and a teacher who just fell flat. I am willing to bet that the teacher you loved did something other than lecture. If you’re going to invest time and money in a class, I think it is worth making sure the teacher has intentionally created an engaging learning environment.

3. Your partner can, and should step up! 

Partners play a pivotal role in labor and delivery as well as the postpartum experience. Childbirth education classes can play a huge role in making them feel prepared and empowered to be an active team member and advocate! Has your partner had the chance to practice labor-massage techniques or learned what they should be keeping track of logistically so your process is a seamless as possible? Again, before choosing a class consider what knowledge and skills you would like our partner to come away with and how much time that will take! 



By Ashley Birchter

Overwhelmingmoments.com 

Not All Pre/Postnatal Certified Trainers Are Created Equal

Part of the impetus behind starting FPC was that our co-founders, Joanie and Carolina, personally experienced a wide range of discrepancy while working with “pre/postnatal certified trainers” during their own pregnancies. If you have taken classes outside of FPC, you have probably noticed lots of contradictory modifications from your trainers.

There is no overseeing agency that regulates the fitness industry. There are hundreds of different organizations to get certified through and while they do overlap in information, they tend to vary in terms of testing, training, and committing themselves to providing the most up to date research.

That’s just general fitness. Pre and postnatal gets even less attention. Anyone can develop a certification, charge money for it and hand trainers a piece of paper that “certifies” them to train pregnant and postpartum women. Sometimes a certification program is 2 hours, sometimes it takes 4 months.

When it comes to finding trainers for FPC, we are looking for a very specific list of credentials to ensure you are taking class with the most knowledgable trainers in the industry. Our team is small for that very reason. It’s been extremely difficult to find qualified trainers.

There is one certification that we can fully trust and we’re excited to be partnering up with them. Fit for Birth (FFB) teaches corrective exercise and functional movement with the understanding that all women are different. FFB is devoted to staying up to date on the most current research and passing that information down to all their trainers.

We want more Fit for Birth certified trainers so we've created a FPC + FFB mentorship program 

Fit For Birth is introducing a new way to take their bundle course experience that comes with ongoing support from them as well as FPC, to make sure you have the most impactful learning experience on the market!

If you have interest in a career in pre/postnatal fitness, or you are a life long learner and want the most up to date information on this topic, we'd love for you to take advantage of this opportunity. The more people who have the correct information, the stronger all new moms will be!

If you have questions, please reach out to Joanie at: Joanie@fpc-nyc.com .



USE CODE: PARTNER

at checkout for $100 off

Open enrollment runs through January 7th. and space is limited.

In order to participate you must: 

  • Enroll by Jan 7th

  • Use code PARTNER at time of purchase

  • Join kick-off call and ongoing calls throughout the process (optional)

Mama Holiday Gift Guide

Mamas are such pros at taking care of other people and we feel like you deserve ALL THE GIFTS. Just forward this list to the gift-givers in your life.

pinkpresents.jpeg

Sakara popcorn and their 10-day reset package to get the new year off to a great start. Use code REF_FPCLOVE15 for 15% off any meal delivery.

The Pajama set from Hatch. Seriously the most comfortable pjs you’ll ever own.

A Provenance Meals Holiday gift set.

An at home, on demand massage from Zeel. Make sure to use code FPCEVENT20 for $20 off.  

A mani/pedi from our favorite non-toxic nail salon Sundays.

A “kid expert” slash professional babysitter from the best childcare company we know, Curated Care.

A lifestyle or maternity shoot with photographer extraordinaire, Rob Fitch. Thank us in ten years for the suggestion!

A membership to FPC. Enjoy UNLIMITED classes, 50% off workshop prices, and exclusive discounts.

This baby carrier from Artipoppe is everything.

Five Things I Wish I Knew About Breastfeeding Before I Had a Baby

By Carolina Gunnarsson

 
Picture by  Sharon Schuster  of our gorgeous friend and instructor  Erin Williams

Picture by Sharon Schuster of our gorgeous friend and instructor Erin Williams

 

Firstly, I would like to mention that I have no formal education in lactation support BUT I have birthed and nursed three babies so I am hoping that accounts for something. Women always ask me for tips on breastfeeding and this list is something I personally wish I had before I welcomed my first baby in to my world. If you have another one you would like to add, please share in comments or email us at info@fpc-nyc.com.

  1. Your breasts (and nipples) might hurt A LOT but there is help to be found. Reach out to us for a list of recommended lactation consultants. A good nipple cream can also be a true lifesaver.

  2. Pump frequently to trick your body into producing more milk than your baby needs. That way you can start build a freezer stash and also lower the chances that you develop an undersupply. Find my favorite pump here.

  3. Do not expect your baby to adhere to your schedule. On demand feeding for at least the first couple of months will save you from many tears and anxiety.

  4. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Sometimes it can be hard to exclusively breastfeed but that doesn’t mean you have to stop, just do it as much as you can and want and use formula or donated milk for the other feedings.

  5. Never be ashamed of nursing in public. If someone tries to shame you for feeding your baby just know that you have the legal right in all 50 states to do so (as of July 2018). Read more on TheBump.Com.

The best thing you can do to set yourself up for a successful breastfeeding experience is to arm yourself with knowledge. We host monthly Breastfeeding Basics workshop and you can sign up for our November 14th one here.

Your Baby's Sleep During the Fourth Trimester

Contributed by Hadley Seward of Bonne Nuit Baby

Ahhh, the fourth trimester. The 3-month period of time when babies biologically should still be in their mamas’ bellies, but instead they’re with us in the world, unable to tell day from night or sleep in ways that make sense.

This period is oftentimes confusing for new moms: on the one hand, you’re blissfully happy that your little one is finally here. But on the other, you realize what true sleep deprivation feels like (and why it’s used as a form of torture). Some moms are instantly enamored with their babies and love all the cuddle time, while others just want to be alone for five minutes. Either way, it’s okay and it’s totally normal.

If you’re currently in the throes of the fourth trimester (or about to give birth), let’s talk about what you can expect when it comes to your baby’s sleep:

Safety first. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you to review the latest safe sleep guidelines. (And here are my thoughts on products like Rock-n-Plays, swings, and sleep positioners/cocoons — not only are they unsafe but they’re super difficult to transition away from).

The first six weeks of your baby’s life are all about healing, catnapping when you can, and getting to know your baby.

In a word: survival. As much as you’ll want to focus on sleep, there’s not much you can do right now. If your little one loves to snooze all day but party all night, that’s normal. (Just don’t try to limit daytime sleep in the hopes that he’ll sleep more overnight–it won’t work). My general rule of thumb: Don’t go out of your way to introduce unnecessary sleep associations, but don’t stress out if you need to do so.

Around 8 weeks, you should start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

While your baby’s sleep will remain inconsistent, she should begin to differentiate between day and night. WOOHOO! This typically means that nighttime stretches become a bit longer (4-6 hours). Slowly begin to introduce naps in a consistent sleep environment (crib/bassinet instead of stroller/baby carrier), even if you start out by focusing on one nap per day. Also ensure that LOTS of naps are happening — babies this age usually can’t stay awake for more than 45-60 minutes without becoming overtired. Use a timer on your phone to keep track of awake periods if need be.

Between 2-3 months, nighttime sleep continues to consolidate. 

Again, we’re not talking 12 hour stretches here, but you should all be getting more shut-eye (especially if your baby has mastered falling asleep independently at bedtime). I always advise families at this stage to chat with their pediatricians about how many nighttime feeds are needed, as sometimes it’s okay to let go of a few overnight snacking sessions.

As you likely know, around 16 weeks there’s a big sleep regression.

The silver lining: at this age, you can–and-should–begin to put your baby on a more consistent sleep schedule. The downside is that the regression oftentimes exacerbates underlying sleep issues, such as needing to be fed/rocked to sleep. (Learn more about the 4-month regression and how you can survive it here).

Join us at FPC on Wednesday, November 7, as we welcome Hadley Seward and her expertise on your baby’s first year of sleep. Sign up here.

"Do Your Kegels" or Is it, "Never Kegel"?

Carolina weights.jpg

For years there’s been a trend to tell everyone to “do your kegels” and we are currently seeing a shift in the other direction. We’ve recently heard both other pre/postnatal professionals and pregnancy care providers telling women they should never kegel.

We’re here to help clear up that contradictory information and educate you on why we think a general statement one way or the other is dangerous.

If you've taken class with us, you are familiar with the cue, "Pump & Kegel".  We remind you to fire this inner core unit constantly.  But why are we so focused on that? 

The muscles of your pelvic floor support your uterus, bladder and bowel.  They are important for sexual function AND work with the rest of the muscles of the core to stabilize and support the spine.  They also support the extra weight of the uterus and growing baby during pregnancy.  

Many of us don't realize that the pelvic floor, like our diaphragm, is part of our core.  Having an over active or under active pelvic floor negatively effects all the functions associated with breathing, digestion, eliminating toxins and moving through our every day lives.  It also helps neutralize intra-abdominal pressure, making us less susceptible to developing a Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation).   Your pelvic floor should contract and release with every single diaphragmatic breath which is why we cue the contraction AND release in all our classes at FPC.

We are bringing a hyper awareness to what your core should be doing naturally because most of us are dysfunctional movers and breathers. We do this because training your muscles to move functionally means that they will be able to properly support you in your day to day movements outside of class as well.

This is why we disagree with the general, blanket advice to either A: do your kegels or B: never kegel. A fully functioning pelvic floor does both! Everyone should understand the muscles of their pelvic floor. Some women need to strengthen them, some need to learn to relax them. If this isn’t information you can assess on your own (many of us can’t), you should seek out someone who can help you assess whether or not you are doing kegels correctly and if you need to devote time to training them to function properly.

If you are given the advice to either kegel or never kegel, what should you do?

Ask follow up questions! Does your care provider notice something specific that has led them to make that recommendation? If so, ask them what they see and what are they concerned about. Another thing you should do is ask for a referral to see a pelvic floor therapist to address the issue. Your midwife or OB is excellent at what they do, but they don’t have the credentials to assess your pelvic floor and prescribe exercises in the way that specialist that can. It’s important to get the help you need.


Want to learn more? Join us for one of our upcoming Protecting your Core and Pelvic Floor for Birth and Postpartum workshops. We’ll teach you to assess your pelvic floor and give you all the information needed to understand how to exercise through pregnancy and postpartum safely.

5 "Scary" Myths About Prenatal Fitness

In honor of Halloween, we’ve put together our top 5 “scary” myths that continue to persist in the pre/postnatal fitness world.

Have you heard any of these before?

 
Screen Shot 2018-10-25 at 10.43.30 PM.png
 

You should keep your heart rate under 140BPM’s.

This was a guideline that was recommended in the past but has since been eliminated by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG). Everyone’s level of fitness and resting heart rate is different before pregnancy which means giving a “one size fits all” number doesn’t make sense. We now use “perceived level of exertion” or the “talk test”. Basically if you feel like you are pushing too hard and gasping for air, it’s a sign to slow down.

It’s dangerous to lift heavy weights.

This is another guideline that was given to keep the heart rate from going above 140bpm’s. Lifting weights spikes your blood pressure for a short period of time, but so does stress, running to catch a cab, chasing toddlers, and living life! :) You want to lift weights in order to maintain and build muscle tone. Don’t forget you have a newborn that you are going to be lifting and holding on the way. It’s wise to build up that strength now and not once you are dealing with sleep deprivation and fatigue.

Screen Shot 2018-10-25 at 10.46.25 PM.png

You can continue doing whatever workouts you did before pregnancy.

This one is the scariest myth of all! While many of your pre-pregnancy workouts are indeed safe for the baby, they aren’t necessarily safe for your core and pelvic floor. It’s important to train differently and with a lot more intention during pregnancy in order to ensure a complete postpartum recovery. (Apply that Pump & Kegel!!) Many people that continue their pre-pregnancy routine throughout pregnancy end up doing damage to their bodies (Diastsis Recti and pelvic floor problems) that can cause pain or discomfort for the rest of their lives.

Crunches are safe before you start to “show”.

Fine for the baby, yes. Safe for your body? Probably not. We recognize that every body type is different and some women continue crunching long into their 2nd trimester without any problems, but they are lucky. Bottom line, the more you strengthen your Rectus Abdominis (6-pack) and Obliques, the more strain you are going to place on your linea alba as your belly starts to expand. We recommend you step away from your traditional crunches and oblique work and begin focusing on strengthening your Transverse Abdominis (TVA) as soon as you know you are pregnant.

Screen Shot 2018-10-25 at 10.48.58 PM.png

You can go back to your regular workout classes when you are cleared at 6-weeks.

You had an easy pregnancy and amazing delivery. You exercised up until the day you delivered, you feel great and just got clearance from your care provider (sometimes as early as 2 weeks) that it is safe to go back to your pre-pregnacny workouts. Doing too much too soon can cause serious lasting damage. Your core and pelvic floor has been under a tremendous amount of strain for many months. It’s going to take more than 6 weeks to heal. In fact, your first 12 weeks postpartum are considered your “critical healing period”. That’s when you body is doing all the work to bring your linea alba back together and restore strength and function to your pelvic floor. It’s great that you feel amazing, but if you misread that as “healed” and head out for a run and then do 100 crunches, you may end up giving yourself a Diastasis Recti or pelvic organ prolapse. (that’s pretty scary). Honor what your body has just been through and allow it to rest and heal. That intense sweat sesh will still be there when you are really ready for it a few more weeks from now.


Questions about pre or postnatal exercise? Ask us in class! We love questions and want to make sure you are moving through your pregnancy and recovery with 100% confidence.

Spicy Ginger & Coconut Water Mocktail

Ginger Mocktail MKT.jpg

We asked our newest FPC instructor, health coach and co-founder of Market.Kitchen.Table, Amanda Schoppe, “What would you serve up at a 1st birthday party to impress a room full of new mom friends?”

This Spicy Ginger & Coconut Water Mocktail was her answer!

Makes 4 Mocktails:

Ingredients:

  • 2 - 2inch pieces of Fresh Ginger - thinly sliced

  • 2 tsp Ground turmeric

  • Pinch of ground cayenne 

  • 2 Cups Water ( For boiling ginger tea)

  • 3 Cups Organic Coconut Water (We like Harmless Harvest)

  • 1 tbsp Organic Maple Syrup

  • Juice of 2 Lemons

  • 4 small pieces of candied ginger for garnish

Directions:

  • Place water, ginger and spices in a sauce pot and bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer and steep for 8 minutes. 

  • Mean while combine Coconut Water, maple  lemon juice and store in fridge

  • Turn off heat on stove and once mixture cools to room temp place in a glass container and place in fridge. 

  • Once you are ready to serve combine coconut water and spicy ginger tea and pour into 4 glasses over ice. Garnish with a candied ginger piece and lemon slice. 

Enjoy!!

Happy Birthday FPC!

Happy 1st Birthday to FPC!

It’s been exactly a year since we’ve opened our studio doors. Carolina and I knew there was a desparate need for a place for moms to work out out safely and create a community but we greatly underestimated the outpouring of love we would experience this first year.

Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 10.08.02 AM.png

Starting a business is HARD and overwhemling work (oy, our email inboxes), especially while raising families of our own. There have personally been many times when I’ve wanted to throw in the towel (usually over the frustration of towel deliveries not showing up on time!) and then I teach a class and my heart is bursting with passion and love for what we’ve created. If it weren’t for each and every one of you, we wouldn’t be here today.

We’ve collected some beautiful testimonials over the last year and we just wanted to take a moment to share a few.

Carolina and I want to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts. This last year has been a wild and wonderful roller coaster and we can’t wait to see what year 2 brings for FPC!

Lots of love and appreciation,

Joanie & Carolina


Beyond being one of my all time favorite fitness classes; FPC is also a community of women supporting and encouraging each other while we go through this incredibly special time in our lives. 

 I've always been very active, but pregnancy demands slowing down. It also fundamentally creates a vulnerability that I really wasn't comfortable with... that is, until I found FPC. The community gave me confidence, solace and joy both during my pregnancy and postpartum. It also allowed me to continue to be active without the fear of hurting my baby or myself.  I can not rave enough about Fit Pregnancy Club! 

-E.R.

FPC was a staple for me through out  my pregnancy, and the benefits were obvious in my labor and delivery. I was induced at 41 weeks and after 27 hours of labor and 2 and a half hours of pushing, I delivered a beautiful 9lbs, 2.5oz baby boy. Because of FPC, my pushes were strong and sustained, and without question, class was the difference between my natural birth experience and avoiding an emergency c-section. After my delivery, my doula asked the nurses how much tearing I had, given the size of my baby. All the nurses were stunned to tell us that my perineum remained intact. They all asked if I had I done pelvic floor exercises during my pregnancy...another point goes to FPC’s Pump and Kegel technique!! FPC was a massive help for my pregnancy, labor/delivery, and recovery. 

-A.L.

I can’t say enough great things about FPC, the staff and my overall experience. FPC has been the source of physical and mental sanity as well as fun and sisterhood for me ever since I walked through the door. 

When I found out that I was pregnant, I immediately struggled with 2 things: how do I stay safely fit and find other women to share the experience? Then, serendipitously, I saw FPC’s flyer in a pregnancy clothing store. 

While pregnant, I loved prenatal Pilates but that didn’t give me enough variety in exercise and cardio. FPC perfectly filled that void for me and also provided a great network of women to go through the  pregnancy experience with. It became my all encompassing resource for all things pregnancy and childbirth related. But it didn’t stop there, after my daughter was born, FPC became the perfect place to bring my newborn. Their post-natal workout classes are not only extremely effective, but also super fun for my daughter and me. Thank you ladies of FPC, 5-star review all the way! 

-O.C.

Before starting at FPC, I hadn't even heard about diastasis. Everyone had told me that it was important to exercise during my pregnancy but no one mentioned that it could also cause more harm than good.  FPC taught me how I can safely exercise during pregnancy, their workouts are fun, and I learned what to pay attention to when working out on my own / taking other classes - and I probably exercised until a lot later in my pregnancy than I would have otherwise.

My plan for postpartum recovery was to work with a pre/postnatal certified personal trainer once I got the OK from my doctor. It turned out to be a scheduling nightmare and after trying for over 6 weeks to find someone, I eventually gave up. At that point I really wanted to start exercising again and this is when I discovered that FPC also started offering postpartum mom and baby classes - so obviously I went back! 

I enjoyed their classes even more after my son was born. I loved to have other moms around me who went through similar things while doing something good for myself. And the best part? 12 weeks postpartum I was fully healed, felt stronger, and able to resume my regular pre-pregnancy workout routine. I don't think I would have taken such good care of my body and recovered so quickly without FPC - thank you Joanie, Carolina and to all the other amazing trainers at FPC!

-M.W.

Current Brand Obsession

We are all about products that simplify our lives and we are so excited to introduce you to our latest obsession: YUMI.

In their own words: it’s “Superfood for Superbabies…Every week, our nutritionists design a new menu for your babe based on their age and nutritional needs. Every ingredient has a purpose, your baby's meals are mapped against thousands of clinical studies and reviewed by our experts. We nerd out so you don't have to.”

You receive a box full of delicious and nutritious food once a week so you have one less thing to worry about. As a special perk they are currently offering the FPC community 20% off any order with code FPC20.

And PS. block off your afternoon of November 14th as Yumi x FPC are cooking up a truly special event for that day.

Screen Shot 2018-10-11 at 8.17.55 PM.png