Kegel Exercises

Posted by Alina on Friday Mar 27, 2009 Under health, useful tips

Kegels are named for Doctor Arnold Kegel, who first described these pelvic floor exercises. Pelvic muscles create a hammock inside your pelvis for the organs that lie above. The aim of Kegel exercises is to improve tone in the pubococcygeal and other muscles that encircle the urethra (bladder tube), vagina, and rectum.

To practice isolating these muscles, try stopping and starting the flow of urine. When performed correctly, no outward sign of effort should be visible. You can do these any where any time, and most women would benefit from performing a set of 10 repetitions multiple times per day. The exercises can be performed in a variety of ways, for example; a) contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles, b) contracting, holding for 5-10 seconds, then relaxing, c) elevators: contracting the muscles incrementally (like an elevator going to 1st, 2nd, 3rd floor) and releasing gradually, more advanced ways include barbells, springs, and rubber bulbs made especially for this purpose. You can perform these exercise in various positions, such as lying, sitting and standing.

Benefits of Kegels include easier birthing with fewer tears, enhanced sexual enjoyment for both partners, prevention of prolapsing of pelvic organs, and prevention/treatment of urinary incontinence (such as with sneezing or coughing). It is an important exercise and something that can easily be worked into most people’s routine.

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Posted by Alina on Wednesday Feb 4, 2009 Under pregnancy, useful tips

For the birth of our son, having a doula with us made for a great experience. A doula is a “trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth (birth doula); or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period (postpartum doula).” (reference) Our doula met with us several times before the birth to help us come up with a birthing plan, provide educational materials, and explain to us what her role will be.

My labor was induced beccause I was past my due date, and the labor totaled 26 hours! To describe the experience as INTENSE, would be an understatement. My husband and I went through feelings of excitement, nervousness, anxiety, fatigue, hunger, frustration, pain, and many more that have since been repressed. Having a doula helped us to stay focused and at ease. She was very professional and reassuring. Our doula was quickly able to identify when a certain position was not working and coached us through different laboring positions to find which worked best to relieve the pain. She also gave me countless foot massages, because that seemed to help.

She helped us deal with the hospital staff by reminding us of questions we meant to ask them or things that we should ask about. She never spoke to the staff on our behalf, but I remember she and my husband developed some code words so that when she would say a certain word to him, he knew just what to ask of the nurse or doctor. Let’s face it, after being in labor all day and all night, not eating, and not sleeping,  the ability to think quickly on our feet seemed to disappear.

Aside from coaching us through the many hours at the hospital, our doula also shot some photos with our camera and was able to capture some amazing memories. She was able to photograph the moment when the doctor handed me my son, when my husband cut the baby’s umbilical cord, and when all three of us were cried for the first time as a family.

To learn more about doulas, how they train, and where you can find one, visit

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Head and body support for babies

Posted by Alina on Friday Jan 23, 2009 Under Baby Products

snuzzlerThere are various types of head and body supports made for young babies. When my son was born, a friend (and mother of two) recommended the Velboa Snuzzler by Kiddopotamus. This is an excellent product! It is a support system made of two pieces, one for the head and one for the body. They can be used together (attached by velcro) or separately, and each piece is two-sided; one side is covered with fleece, the other with a smooth fabric, which seemed to keep my son cooler in the summer. Because there are two separate pieces, they can be adjusted as needed for a baby’s changing height. When my son was a newborn, I used this head and body support with the infant car seat. Once he got a big bigger, I only used the head support for when he fell asleep in the seat. Now (9 months) that he has outgrown his infant car seat but still has too much wiggle room in the big car seat, the Velboa Snuzzler has made a come-back. It helps to keep him snug in his bigger car seat, provides body support so he doesn’t end up leaning over too much to the side or twisting his body, and supports his head and neck when he falls asleep. Really great product, easy to care for (just throw in the washing machine), and comes in a variety of colors.

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Sippy/ Trainer Cups

Posted by Alina on Monday Dec 8, 2008 Under Baby Products

At his 6 month appointment, my son’s pediatrician said that he should start drinking water with a goal of 4-6 ounces a day. I started him with a Born Free Trainer Cup and he has been taking in about 0.5-1 ounce/day. The flow seemed to be quite strong, and my son began to choke after a couple of sips. At 7 months, although he tries, he is not able to drink independently. Because the spout fills up with water and my son tends to bite down on it, he ends up pretty wet all over if I let him play with the cup.

I decided to try a different cup with a soft spout. I chose the Avent Magic Trainer cup, and it seems to work much better for my son. He is able to drink without choking and is actually taking in 3-4 ounces per day. Because the spout is less voluminous, biting down on it does not cause a much of a leak, so that I can let him practice drinking independently without having to change his outfit.

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