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Charlotte+Asher creates chic diaper bags for the stylish, modern mom.

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Parenthood related topics written by the founders of charlotte+asher.

Filtering by Tag: Self-care

Kicking the pregnancy back pain

Chantal Standafer

Bumpie pregnant with baby #2, Spring 2015

Bumpie pregnant with baby #2, Spring 2015

Being pregnant brings on so many new things. There's excitement, some nervousness perhaps....and most likely at some point some physical discomfort. I mean, you're growing a person. And your body is shifting things around in order to accommodate that little peanut. ACOG has a whole FAQ sheet on back pain during pregnancy! Clearly it's a thing. 

When the pain shows up and the severity of it can differ. I know for myself I experienced discomfort much earlier in my second pregnancy than in my first. There were various factors involved. One of the major ones was that because of having limited activity during part of my second pregnancy, my body just didn't feel as strong and able to keep up with my shifting center of gravity and the growing baby. But there are ways to ease that discomfort. And you don't even have to leave your house to do it!

While nothing new or earth shattering, stretching can be one of the key components in relieving pain. Remember growing up when you did sports (or even just PE class), you'd have to stretch? Well, the same reason stretching was important then is still relevant now. If muscles in your body are tight, they can be pulling on other parts, making you uncomfortable. Good news is that there are so many wonderful, simple stretches you can do to help with the pain. The Mayo Clinic suggests doing the Cat-Cow yoga pose to stretch the lower back. Sarah Isaac of FitMom Charlotte put together this short video (using yours truly as the model) of three simple stretches that can make a huge difference.  As long as your doctor gives you the ok to be up and about, there's always something you can do to help with the pregnancy discomfort! 

What are your favorite ways to alleviate pregnancy back pain?  

How to survive when baby arrives

Chantal Standafer

Baby Boyd resting peacefully at the hospital. 

Baby Boyd resting peacefully at the hospital. 

When we had our first child 3.5 years ago I didn't have a bunch of seasoned moms around me. Most of my friends were not yet having children. I had ideas of how things would happen, and had read some blog posts. I felt prepared in terms of what to purchase. But I really wasn't sure what I was getting into. 

On one hand I thought I'd be able to do it all, while on the other I was totally freaked out and wasn't sure how I'd get anything done. But mostly I was under the impression that I could, and therefore should, take care of everything. I had planned to have our freezer stocked with meals. But we moved a couple of weeks before my due date and it was crazy hot. So I didn't feel like turning the stove or oven on to cook. And Gaby was born a week early. Needless to say, we weren't completely unpacked and we didn't have meals on hand. 

And then my mom came to the rescue! She moved her flight up a week, and helped us finish unpacking, fed us and helped with the baby. She even stocked our freezer with meals for us to have after she returned home. Like I said, mom for the win. 

But once my mom left, I still had to figure out how to get meals on the table. And get the laundry done, and shower, and sleep, etc. Basically I had to figure out how to do it all on my own. And I didn't know how to ask for help. It took a while, but eventually I made simpler meals, and cooked extra so we didn't have to cook every night. 

 

Just when I thought I had found a safe space for the baby to rest, the toddler figured out how to climb into the crib. 

Just when I thought I had found a safe space for the baby to rest, the toddler figured out how to climb into the crib. 

Fast forward two years and I felt way more prepared when we had our son. I knew I would have extra demands because it wouldn't be just me and the baby. With a toddler on hand I wouldn't be able to nap as easily during the day, I'd need to get out so she could run around, plus our business had launched. I knew that I would need help! 

One of the best ways that the help came was in the form of a meals from friends. One close friend offered to set up an online meal schedule where people could sign up to bring dinner. For a couple of months we received a meal or two a week from some wonderful friends. It definitely took pressure off my plate--not needing to plan meals and figure out when to make them made a huge difference! 

So my key to surviving after baby's arrival: have a friend set up a meal schedule (we used Meal Train). No matter if it's baby number one or two, three, etc., having this checked off your list for at least a couple times a week will make a huge difference! 

What is your top suggestion for helping new parents? 

 

Essential Daily Self-Care

Chantal Standafer

Taking time for family mealtime!

Taking time for family mealtime!

We often think of self-care as doing things out of our normal routine. And yes, taking time to pamper ourselves is wonderful. But in the bustle of caring for the kiddos, there are little things we can do each day to take care of ourselves.

One of the most essential parts of life is nourishment. Yet it is oh so common to hear of moms not having proper meals. But how are we supposed to keep up with our little ones if we’re not taking care of ourselves? Not to mention that they learn so much about eating habits (and everything else!) from us.

Not surprisingly, this is not the case in our house. Because I get hangry. And a hangry mom is not a good thing. When it happens, I get headaches that often won’t go away for a very long time, lose my cool pretty easily, and experience a host of other unpleasant symptoms.

So how do I solve this problem? I eat my meals with my kids. When Gaby, our oldest, was a baby, I would nurse her and then eat my meal. But once she started eating solids, her mealtime became mine. I would never have my kids skip a meal. So I don’t do it myself.

And here’s an added bonus: for those who like to complete items on their “to-do list,” you can add your meals to that list. You feel accomplished, and you’ve cared for yourself!

What other things do you do daily to care for yourself?