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Hello, mama. How are you doing?

It goes without saying that the pandemic and global lockdown in many parts of the world, has changed the way we live. Just when we thought we could take a quick break from the kids and run to the grocery store for some alone time, we are hit with strict guidelines to stay home.

As if mom didn’t already have a lot on her plate, she now needs to work twice as hard depending on her support system arrangement. If the grandparents used to come over to babysit they can’t till further notice. If a live out nanny cannot live in, she needs to remain home for her safety and that of her employer. When children could go to school, it gave mom time to herself to get some rest and work done before the kids got back. Now, mom and or her partner need to home school. How in the world is this possible?

What I have learned these past few months, especially because we have been without a nanny during this period is taking it one day at a time.

The living room does not need to be cleaned 3 times a day. The bathtub can be scrubbed once a week. We can order out (if possible) when we do not feel like standing over the stove to put a hot meal on the table. We can look into grocery delivery options. The baby does not need to be showered 3 times a day.

It all sounds easier said than done but it is doable if you are intentional about it. Pace yourself. Give yourself grace. Do only what you are capable of. Your village may not be present but you can make use of what you have control over. Your family is grateful for you and the effort you put in on a regular to keep them happy. You are doing great. Cheer up. This too shall pass.

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Social Distancing Amid COVID-19

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We want to make sure everyone is staying safe as much as possible so we have put together some reminders to note as you go about your day:

  1. It has shown that prevention 101 is washing your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use a hand santizer often.
  2. Stay healthy by eating well, exercising and practicing self-care. Check out the home workouts we have created for you to keep you busy and active during this period.
  3. Stay home to avoid coming in contact with someone who has contracted the coronavirus and may not show symptoms until later. This prevents spreading the disease. It has been advised to stay at least 5 meters apart from another.
  4. Stay up to date with accurate and correct information and avoid spreading fake news. This only compounds the problem.
  5. If you feel something, say something. You can save your life and that of many others by self-isolating.
  6. Suspend unnecessary outings and non-essential activities to limit exposure to the disease.
  7. Get enough sleep (7-8) hours and rest to boost your immune system and making it less prone to illnesses.
  8. Use this time to catch up on family activities.
  9. Stay hydrated.
  10. Check on loved ones as often as you can.

We are praying that the global crisis ends quickly, but we must do our part to make this a reality.

With Love,

The Love & Grace Team

The Modern Woman Event- POSTPONED

Hi there,

It has been a crazy few months amid the recent pandemic, Coronavirus. We are sad to inform our guests that the The Modern Woman Event, which was supposed to be held on March 21st, 2020 has now been postponed till further notice. A new date will be communicated when available.

In the interim, we ask that everyone stays prepared and cautious and keeps a clean hygiene at all times.

The below are some tips from us at Love & Grace on staying healthy.

  • reduce your stress so as not to suppress your immune system making it more prone to attack
  • sleep (for 7-8 hours) daily helps restore and recharges your body
  • try to eat healthy foods (fresh and clean fruits and vegetables) and loads of water
  • WASH YOUR HANDS FOR 20 seconds (sounds like a broken record but this is prevention 101)

 

Mom Guilt

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As moms, we deal with the inevitable. We birth children. We take care of them. We most times are their primary caregivers. And to top it all, we worry, worry, worry. Did we pack their lunch on time? Did we give them the right snacks? The breastfeeding mom is wondering if she weaned her little one too early and begins to feel guilty. The stay-at-home mom wants to sleep and thinks she’s being selfish for not wanting to bond with her son at that very moment. The working mom feels she abandoned her twins to pursue her career goals. The list goes on.

Here are a few ways to say “NO” to mom guilt.

    1. Distracting yourself by engaging in things you enjoy doing can help curb the mom guilt. For example, you are interested in watching a movie that you have had in queue for a while but never got to it. Engage in a short session of exercise. This could be as simple as stretching for 10 mins. Use this distraction to tell yourself, I am practicing self-care. From stretching, you transition to watch your movie. It’s a nice way to ease into what you want to do without feeling as though you abandoned your child just to watch a movie. It lightens the burden.
    2. Think positive thoughts. Mom guilt can overwhelm you with negative thoughts. “You’re a bad mother,” “how could you go for a massage and leave your child with the nanny?” and so on. Instead of thinking of these thoughts, replace them with “I am a better mother for doing this for my children,” “I love my child(ren) so much and I am a great mom.
    3. Build resilience to not feel guilty unnecessarily. There are things we feel guilty for in life that are understandable depending on the circumstance. However, if whatever you are engaged in does not hurt or affect any party involved, please don’t sweat it.
    4. Yes, like exercise. Workout to help release those happy endorphins. Practice more self-care habits and make it a routine. When it becomes a ritual and a part of who you are, there is no room for guilt for doing what makes you happy. More importantly, doing what you must do. It’s like taking a shower daily. Should you feel guilty for wanting to keep a clean hygiene?
    5. Talk to your child(ren): One interesting thing about kids is that they don’t care as much as we think they do. They just want to live happily, play with friends and just be kids. Tell them, mom needs to step out to take care of somethings first before she returns home. Example, you must step out to get groceries to cook for the family. Grocery shopping is an escape for moms if you didn’t already know haha.

I hope these tips can help you curb this mom guilt thing. Always remember, you are the best mom your child(ren) can ever have. You are enough and that is all that matters.

Moms at Brunch

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On Saturday, Nov. 30th, 2019, i had the pleasure of hosting some beautiful moms at our brunch-n-moms event in Victoria Island, Lagos. We had the opportunity to cover motherhood topics, work life balance, motherhood and relationships and so much more. It was a great way to wrap up our motherhood series for the year.

Stay up to date with future events by subscribing to our email list.

Sex After Baby

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Sex, oh Baby!

Sex! The 3-letter word that can be pleasurable or painful in any relationship. How? Pleasurable when everything is in the right place including being in the mood and painful when become a mom and just birthed a baby. Yes, it’s a love and hate relationship. Well, as beautiful as sex is, it is not completely satisfying as you may think; especially for the new mom during the early weeks after delivery. It is recommended by the Dr. to wait at least 6-weeks postpartum before resuming sex if there were no complications during delivery. This is advised for a few reasons such as allowing the vaginal walls heal before adding pressure from intercourse, which could lead to vaginal hemorrhage or tears and even infection.

So, how is sex postpartum? Well, it varies from mama to so mama. Some have no issues returning to sex after baby while others may hit some roadblocks. Some common issues that happen after delivery include:

Vaginal dryness, soreness, perineal tear, low libido, extreme fatigue, pain and loose vaginal muscles. Let’s face it, your body has gone through a significant shift from the time you fell pregnant till the time baby arrived. This upheaval of hormones has thrown off a few things and caused a lot of imbalance in the body, which in turn affects intercourse thereafter.

Below are some great tips for enjoying sex after baby.

  1. Take it slow: it was a long process growing a baby so you almost have to re-learn how to have sex again. If you’re not ready, don’t force it. Go with the flow and start slow. You can try intimate activities like cuddling and massages. You will get there. Don’t worry.
  2. Get that pelvic floor active: as a certified pre/postnatal fitness specialist, I am very passionate about strengthening the pelvic floor, which houses the vagina, bladder and rectum. The weak muscles holding up these organs need time to heal after delivery and can only do so with repeated pelvic floor exercises such as core breathing, kegels, pelvic tilts (to mention a few).
  3. Create the time: set aside time for sex and be intentional about it. I know it may seem overwhelming trying to have sexy time with a new baby crying non-stop or needing to feed on-demand, however, planning can go a long way. Have a close friend or family member watch baby while you and your partner have some alone time.
  4. Involve foreplay: your vagina has gone through a lot in birthing a baby, so it is understandable if you don’t want to rock the boat too soon. Instead, arouse the vagina naturally allowing it to produce its own lubrication. If you’re breastfeeding, you are more than likely going to have a lot of dryness down there due to drop in estrogen levels so relax and let the body do what it was naturally made to do. You can also have your partner touch you in areas that will stimulate you both. Remember, sex doesn’t have to be full penetration.
  5. Have the talk: chat with your partner and be honest. If you’re not feeling it or ready, just be open and have that talk. Tell your partner what you’re ready to do and what you’re not comfortable with as you slowly heal. Sex should be pleasurable and not a chore so if you are not ready, don’t force it.
  6. Eat well: ensure to consume foods high in protein that will give you energy and make you feel good. Also stay as hydrated as much as possible especially if you’re breastfeeding. Eating the right foods and getting enough rests helps provide the energy needed to get busy in the bedroom.

If you’re worried about resuming sex after baby, talk to your health practitioner on ways to gradually get you back in the zone. There’s nothing to hide or be shameful of. It is normal to doubt and worry if you are up for it, but the most important thing is being open-minded and gradually easing yourself back. Good luck.

5 Things That Happen To Your Vagina After Childbirth

So baby is finally here. There is an upheaval of hormones. There is joy in the air. There are baby blues. There is excitement. There is anxiety. And then there is the vagina. Yes, the real MVP that delivers both baby and pleasure. See below five important things that every mom should know about her vagina after a vaginal delivery.

 

  1. Your vagina may be wider. Word!!! Your vagina stretches a lot for a vaginal delivery and normally will shrink back down. However, having a baby with a big head or multiple vaginal deliveries makes it less likely for it to return to its former state.
  2. Your vagina may have scar tissue. This usually occurs if you had a tear or episiotomy (a surgical cut made at the opening of the vagina during childbirth), which could make having sex extremely uncomfortable. Scar tissues will heal over time.
  3. Your vagina may dry out. After children, your estrogen levels are known to drop. Estrogen keeps the vagina moist. Lack of this moisture causes the vagina to dry out. Adding lube during sex helps relieve the dryness.
  4. Your periods may become heavier or lighter. After pregnancy, if your estrogen levels are lower your postpartum period may be lighter. If the estrogen levels are higher, your periods may become heavier postpartum. Breastfeeding may cause estrogen levels to drop. I was once given some estrogen booster by my doctor while breastfeeding but chose not to use it for fear of losing my breastmilk supply (especially during the early weeks of establishing my supply).
  5. Your orgasms may become weaker. Because muscles surrounding the pelvic floor are weakened before and after pregnancy, your contractions are weaker down below causing less forceful orgasms. Practicing kegel exercises help tighten the vaginal muscles and great for restoring function to the pelvic floor.

Are there any changes you have noticed in your vagina after having a baby or multiple babies?

5 Reasons Why you’re struggling to lose the baby weight

As a new or seasoned mom, it can be quite frustrating looking like you are still pregnant even though you had your child 9 months ago. More annoyingly, you notice that your sexy and favorite clothing no longer fit. Below are some reasons why you may not be losing that “stubborn” baby weight.

 

  1. Choice of foods: You have probably heard the phrase, “you are what you eat.” In other words, if you eat junk you will look like it. If you eat whole clean foods, that will also show. Cutting down calories in hopes of losing weight is not healthy especially after just having a baby. This is because your metabolism before baby is not the same after baby. For this reason not eating enough of the right foods will slow down the metabolism.  What should you really be eating postpartum to help lose the baby weight?
    1. Green vegetables. Yes, your least favorite had to be the first on the list. Green vegetables such as spinach, pumpkin leaves (Ugwu), kale, broccoli etc are great healing foods. After baby, your body has gone through a tremendous amount of wear and tear, so eating healing foods like these help with repairing the connective tissue exposed as a result of abdominal wall separation (a.k.a diastasis recti). Other healing foods include fruits (kiwis, berries, bananas, walnuts, almonds, protein rich in chicken, fish oil found in salmon and mackerel.
    1. Good Fats. I am not referring to processed fats but good fats found in avocado, olive and coconut oil, and nuts.
    1. Protein rich foods. Foods high in protein such as organic chicken, lean turkey, eggs, beans are great for healing the recovering abdominal wall tissues and fueling the body up with energy.
    1. Water. Water as you already know is a no brainer and should be consumed often to help with detoxification and re-hydration. If you are in the early stages of breastfeeding, drinking a lot of water will help with increasing your milk supply.

 

It is strongly advised to stay away from sugar (which is found in all processed foods).

 

  1. You are exhausted and/or stressed: After baby is here, mom is bombarded with a load of responsibilities added to the upheaval of hormones already on her plate. Stress may also result from lack of sleep, which is very common and normal especially during the early days of being a new mom. However, less hours of sleep drastically decreases our level of energy which in turn makes it harder to lose that baby weight. Ask for help because you cannot do it alone. This will relieve you of a lot of stress and pressure of meeting the challenging demands that motherhood may bring.
  2. Dehydration: Dehydration is a big issue when it comes to weight loss and many of us are not consuming enough water. It is recommended to drink half of your body weight in ounces. Drinking enough water helps keep the fat off rather than store it. Staying hydrated makes you less likely to eat more.
  3. You are working out too soon. If you are in a hurry to jump back on the mat or race to the gym after baby, you are likely to run into problems like injury or re-injury. The reason is because postpartum recovery involves targeted exercises aimed at healing the core and pelvic floor first before returning to high impact intensity exercises. Low impact exercises and good nutrition go a long way.
  4. You’re overthinking it. The more you think about how much weight you want to lose, the more you don’t see changes. As repeated a few times above eating clean and healthy foods and doing the right exercises gets you back to your desired shape in due time. It will happen. It is gradual. Don’t sweat it.

Why I Threw Away 90 Ounces of My Breast Milk

Anyone who has been able to breastfeed their child or been around a mom who has spent hours a day pumping knows that breast milk is like liquid gold. This is more so during the early weeks after the child is born. Breast milk not only nourishes your baby but also protects your vulnerable newborn by helping to fight infection and promote development.

So why in the world did I throw this precious supply away? Plus, 90 oz (2,661 ml) of breast milk is quite a lot.

 

Here’s what happened.

 

I started to pump from the day my daughter was born and will save stashes of breast milk in the freezer cause I was paranoid that my supply may drop and my baby would be left with nothing to eat. Or have some saved so another caregiver was able to feed her while I was away.

 

The first time I tried giving her freezer thawed breast milk was at 2 months old. She repeatedly refused to take it. I later found out that once breast milk goes into the freezer, refrigerated and thawed, the taste of the breast milk goes soar due to excess lipase present. Ah Ha! I thought I had found the reason so I tried to fix and found out you can scald the milk before putting it in the freezer. Scalding is a process of heating your breast milk and allowing it cool before putting it in the freezer. This will help remove the soar taste. After thinking about it I decided not to do it because I was concerned that the amount of heat applied to the breast milk may destroy nutrients in it.

I made a few more attempts to give her pumped breast milk from her freezer stash but she remained adamant. I then decided there was no point pumping if she would keep refusing. I not only realize she didn’t like the freezer stash, but also discovered she didn’t want to take (even freshly pumped breast milk) from her bottle. We then went on on-demand breastfeeding. It was quite a stressful period for me and the family because in the middle of this, we had to relocate.

I didn’t want my frozen stash to go to waste and I didn’t want to deal with the stress of traveling with it if she was refusing it.

I reached to a breast milk bank to see if I could donate it.

They came back with a ton of questions, assessments and said they will need to run a series of test before they could accept it. The deal breaker was that the smallest amount they could take was 100 oz and I had 90 oz. I was very disappointed as I knew many babies in the NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit) could use it. Amid moving, I unwillingly decided to throw the stash away. After doing this, I realized I could made breast milk soap bars and use on my daughter and for the family but it was a little too late.

There are other ways to make use of your thawed frozen stash of breast milk that your child is refusing to consume.

  1. Breast milk can be used to clear up diaper rashes.
  2. Mix breast milk with coconut oil and use to remove cradle cap scales.
  3. Use the breast milk to clear up acne.
  4. You can use your breast milk to make soap bars for the household.

One thing I appreciate about motherhood is being able to make mistakes and learn repeatedly just to give our kiddos the best. Have you ever been in a similar predicament such as this?

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8 Tips for Traveling With a Baby/Toddler

 

Just under 3 weeks ago, my daughter (18 months old) and I made a trip oversees for a few days to spend some time with family and friends. It was not the first time traveling with her alone but the toddler stage was different. I learned a few things on this trip that help me and will prepare me  for future trips when traveling with little mama again.

  1. Travel LIGHT. This might sound cliché but it isn’t. Let me explain what I mean here. It can be very stressful especially if you are traveling alone with a baby so I would advise you carry a good size diaper bag as your only hand luggage and stuff it with only what you need. The last thing you want on a trip with your baby or toddler is constant crying and fussiness throughout your flight while having to carry so many things at the same time. Ditch the strollers especially if it’s for a short trip and take a baby carrier (depending on your child’s age and weight).
  2. Allow baby/toddler breastfeed or suck from bottle or pacifier before take off and during landing. This helps reduce earaches for baby due to altitude and aircraft pressure.
  3. Wear comfortable clothes: This is important for both mama and baby. You want to be able to move around easily and feel light as you navigate thru the airport and handle your luggage(s). You also want to make sure your child is dressed in an outfit that’s easy to change when they have an explosion and you need an urgent diaper change. 
  4. Don’t over pack: It is more than likely that you would want to shop for a thing or two during your travel even if it primarily involves buying more diapers that you may need to travel back with. Don’t try to stuff all your toddler’s favorite books and or toys in your luggage. Pack a light weight toy or coloring book for older kids to keep them entertained during the flight. Your child is not going to care if he doesn’t have all his toys with him when away. He really just needs his mama and maybe one toy that usually helps him self soothe like a comfort blanket etc. Lastly, pack just enough extra clothing incase of accidents depending on the age of your baby. Having just the right amount of diapers onboard is equally important. If your child goes through 5-6 diapers a day, I suggest grabbing 3 to 4 more extra.
  5. Make friends while traveling. If you can try making friends with fellow travelers so they can be willing to assist you were necessary. I remember when I was flying with my daughter alone for the first time. A lady walked up to me and asked if I needed help because she knows how it can be quite challenging doing it alone with a baby. I was grateful and very appreciative as it went a long way. More help could come from someone willing to get your luggage off the carousel or getting you a luggage stroller etc. s
  6. Snacks, snacks and some snacks. Make sure to stuff your bag with as many healthy snacks as possible for the kiddos. You can grab some granola bars, crackers and/or fruits (clementine, apples, bananas etc) are good fruits to travel with. 
  7. Read up on Airline and Airport policies. Traveling with children is very different than traveling  as an adult as rules and regulations vary by age of passengers. Do your research on if you child is old enough to travel as a lap infant or if you are allowed to cross security with a certain amount of breastmilk or already made formula or cereals. If you have to call to ahead to be sure do so to prevent disappointments and delays. 
  8. Relax. If you are spending time with your little one alone either for the first, second or third time enjoy the highs and lows and embrace the chaos. Your child isn’t looking for a perfect mom. He is looking for a present mom. Travel and explore the world with them while you can. They grow up fast.