Wellness

Bedtime Can Be Sweet, Not Stressful Thanks to Mommy’s Bliss

Bedtime Can Be Sweet, Not Stressful Thanks to Mommy’s Bliss

Bedtime Can Be Sweet, Not Stressful Thanks to Mommy’s Bliss 1920 1080 Chase Jennings

Want mom to mom advice? You can trust Mommy’s Bliss to carry you through each stage of motherhood and parenting. They have you covered with pre and postnatal care supplements, babies and kids vitamins, medicines, and probiotics, and now a newly launched sleep product line for toddlers.

A couple months ago, I was introduced to the founders of the brand and after several conversations, I immediately knew the brand was one I wanted to partner with and endorse as an ambassador. I first learned about Mommy’s Bliss when my mom explained the benefits of gripe water, which we’ve been using for generations since key ingredients organic ginger extract and organic fennel extract are staple herbs in Indian home remedies. Ever since my twins were infants, I’ve been using Mommy’s Bliss gripe water to settle their tummies so they could sleep soundly, and I could too.

Gripe Water is where it all started for the family-owned company. It all started when Roshan Kaderali, a mom, pediatric nurse, midwife, and doula who had used Gripe Water to ease infant colic and fussiness for years while working in Scotland. When she moved to the U.S., she was astonished that the “magical” Gripe Water formula she relied on wasn’t available here. So she set out to create Gripe Water and Mommy’s Bliss was born. As the company grew, its mission hasn’t changed: help moms everywhere bond with their babies by creating effective, trusted products that incorporate wise ingredients from around the world.

Now, Roshan’s daughter Yasmin, who’s a mom of two, is at the helm as CEO. She grew up learning from her mom about the “miracle of life,” surrounded by the realities of childbirth and infant health through her mom’s maternity center. After attending college at the University of California, Davis, Yasmin spent two years living in Central America volunteering with programs focused on women and children’s human rights. Inspired to learn more and make a difference, Yasmin pursued an MPH & MBA and continued this work in the non-profit sector, and then was led back to @mommysbliss bringing fresh perspective as a new mom herself. Both Roshan and Yasmin share the dream of helping children and women all over the world to live in bliss, with food, good health, respected human rights and peace.

This year, Mommy’s Bliss launched a toddler sleep line because they truly believe in the importance of #bedtimebliss. It’s no surprise an ongoing challenge we face as parents is getting our kids to SLEEP. Regressions, routines, daylight savings, life in a pandemic! We often have to recalibrate so our little ones can fall asleep at the right time and have a restful night.

I interviewed Pediatric Sleep Expert Nicole Cannon, aka @sleepymamanj, to learn more about the science behind sleep. Nicole is a mom of 3 kids (ages 7, 5, & 3) with her 4th child on the way! Drawing from her expertise as a Maternity and Child Sleep Consultant as a member of the International Maternity Institute and Association of Professional Sleep Consultants, Nicole clears up misconceptions around sleep and explains how melatonin and cortisol affect our sleep cycles. On our podcast interview, we discuss how essential it is to have a bedtime routine in place and and review what to do on those days we’re thrown for a loop and need to call in the reinforcements. That’s where the new sleep line from Mommy’s Bliss comes into play with options for kids 3+ — a gummy, a chewable tablet or liquid — that all contain safe ingredients such as melatonin, magnesium and a bedtime bliss blend of organic chamomile, lemon balm and passionflower.

Some of the best quality time I have with my kids is when we’re reading books at bedtime. I love our conversations, the giggles, and witnessing their imagination take flight. Now that I have toddlers, circumstances are different and “sleeping through the night” varies. I’m glad that I have an arsenal of safe, natural, efficacious products when my kids are having an especially difficult time.

LINKS:

Use this link to save $3.00 on any (1) Mommy’s Bliss sleep product:
https://mommysbliss.com/sleep

Sweet dreams kiddos (and grown-ups too!)

 

weight gain kanika chadda gupta weight loss

Gain Weight During Lockdown? Here’s How to Regain Control

Gain Weight During Lockdown? Here’s How to Regain Control 1920 1080 Chase Jennings

weight gain kanika chadda gupta weight loss

Gain Weight on Lockdown? Here’s How to Regain Control

Over the last two months, much of the country has been in a state of self-isolation, and many of us have put on a few extra pounds. This unwelcome quarantine has led to stress, and, as we all know, stress can lead to overeating.

What Can I do?

If you’ve noticed the scale inching up as the days trudge on, remind yourself that lockdown is not going to last forever. Someday soon, you’ll be back out into the real world, and you’re going to want to look and feel your very best.

Fortunately, there are many ways to reverse the bad habits you may have picked up over the last 60 days. One of these is to adopt healthy stress-busting habits. This is especially important if you are a caregiver since, as Community Home Health Care points out, stress weighs heavily on those that care for others.

Look for new outlets, which might include blogging, exercise, or meditation. Note that none of these suggestions involve cooking or put you in a situation where you would eat as part of a social setting. When you learn to remove food as a comfort item, you won’t be tempted to ingest excess and unnecessary calories.

Next, reframe how you dine. Make a rule that food must be consumed in the kitchen or dining room, so you’ll be less likely to eat in between meals. You’ll also want to make a point to utilize the food you have in your pantry in the most healthful ways possible. A few great examples of healthy recipes you can put together without having to go to the grocery store include spinach tortellini soup and quesadillas made with untraditional ingredients, such as legumes. You also likely have a great base for soups and sandwiches as well as healthy casseroles.

Once you do begin to venture out again, prioritize nutritional foods, such as salads, fruits, and lean proteins. As far as vegetables go, you already know you’re supposed to be eating the rainbow. But if you are one of the many people who can’t stomach the earthy taste of greens, you’re going to need to put in some work retraining yourself on how to eat healthily. According to Precision Nutrition, there are three basic steps to make this happen. These are to challenge yourself to try things you don’t normally eat, pair them with something you do, and then look for ways to cushion the bitterness, which is likely your biggest turn off when it comes to things like kale and asparagus.

Finally, if you’re still having trouble mastering your food intake, it can help to hire a nutritionist. This is an individual, who may post their services on freelance job boards such as Upwork, who can work with your tastes and preferences to help you manage your caloric intake.

Diet and Exercise

Fitness buffs are happy to tell you that the only way to lose weight is to hit the gym and hit the gym hard. This is actually not the case, although exercise is crucial and can help bolster your weight-loss efforts. Even if you’re not used to working out, make a point to add at least 30 minutes of exercise to your day every day. Running, jump roping, and even activities such as kickboxing, are all great ways to lose weight, and come with the added benefit of letting you expel pent-up stress.

If you’ve gained a little weight, don’t worry. We are in the same boat. But if your ultimate goal is to waltz out of your house wearing your pre-pandemic pants, the time to take action is now. Remember, managing your weight starts with what you eat, so start in your pantry. When you reframe the way you look at food, you can make healthy and delicious meals with what you’ve got. And as quarantine comes to a close, remember to prioritize vegetables and other healthy options at the grocery store.

 

Guest post by Jennifer McGregor

Photo Credit: i yunami on Unsplash

3 Pain-Free and Stress-Free Ways Busy Moms Can Maintain a Healthy Weight

3 Pain-Free and Stress-Free Ways Busy Moms Can Maintain a Healthy Weight

3 Pain-Free and Stress-Free Ways Busy Moms Can Maintain a Healthy Weight 2000 1339 Chase Jennings

3 Pain-Free and Stress-Free Ways Busy Moms Can Maintain a Healthy Weight

Let’s talk about a touchy subject: maintaining a healthy weight. While the world has moved toward the acceptance of healthy bodies — and we are so here for that positive change — it’s still important for people to find simple, healthy, and effective ways to prevent obesity. That’s because obesity and chronic diseases are still closely linked. If you want to take better care of your health, you can use these effective and painless tips to do so.

Cut Out Those High-Calorie Coffee Drinks

Taking a break at your local coffee shop is a great way to de-stress and decompress after a long morning with the kids. If you’re picking up fancy lattes and blended drinks while you’re there, however, you could be sabotaging your weight loss efforts and your budget. So, consider ditching those expensive and calorie-loaded drinks for homemade pour-over coffee instead. You can snag a top-rated and affordable pour-over coffee maker for the same price as a few of those fancy drinks; plus, you will be cutting out a lot of excess sugar and carbohydrates in the process. If you really miss the flavors of those lattes and specialty drinks, you can also search coffee recipes online to start jazzing up your pour-over coffee with low-sugar and low-calorie additions that won’t throw off your diet. Some coffee beverages have more calories than a few eggs or slices of bacon, so you’re definitely better off preparing your own drinks so you can control the calories and sugar in each cup.

Try Spending a Few Minutes on Meditation

If you’re like most moms, mornings are probably pretty busy in your house. Whether you’re getting your baby fed or getting your older kids ready for school, moms never seem to have a break during the morning rush. That can leave your mental health seriously neglected, which can ultimately impact your weight and other aspects of your physical well-being. So, instead of waking up right before the kids do, why not try getting up a few minutes earlier so you have some time to yourself before things get hectic? If you really want to boost your happiness and health, you can spend those extra minutes on mindful meditation. Getting started with meditation can be tricky at first but once you get the hang of it, you are likely to feel less stressed. Pair your morning meditation with a quick yoga routine, which you can squeeze into as little as 10 minutes,  and you have the perfect recipe for boosting your weight and mood.

Find Fun Workouts That Don’t Feel Like Work

Starting your day with some meditation and power yoga can put you on track toward a healthy weight, but you need a little more exercise to beat obesity and maintain your overall health and well-being. In fact, studies have found that people who exercise at least 30 minutes each day, or a total of 200 minutes per week, tend to weigh less and feel better than those who lead a more sedentary lifestyle. While 30 minutes per day may not sound like a lot to many folks, carving out an extra half hour for exercise can feel like a serious challenge for busy moms. So, instead of stressing yourself out over getting to the gym or getting out for a run, try to find fun and practical ways to stay active during the day. Grab the kids and your dog for a nice evening walk or make it a habit to pace around as you talk on your phone. Want an even more engaging way to workout with your little ones? Then you should definitely try this super-fun playground workout!

Obesity has been linked to so many other serious health issues, so it’s so crucial for moms, and anyone really, to find a balance between maintaining a healthy body and being proud of having a different body. Doing so can mean getting more time to spend with your children as they grow older, and the simple tweaks above can make fighting obesity feel like less of an obligation.

Guest post by Jennifer McGregor

Photo Credit: Pexels

 

Simple Changes for Moms To Connect With Their Mind, Body, and Soul

Simple Changes for Moms To Connect With Their Mind, Body, and Soul 2560 1709 Kanika

 

For busy moms, healthy habits can be difficult to incorporate into your day when you already have your routine down. For example, you may feel intimidated by the thought of a new workout, especially if you have a tight schedule. Or maybe you want to eat healthier, but this can be expensive, which is hard if your family is on a strict budget.

However, having healthy habits isn’t just about how you stay active or the way you eat. Everything about your life matters, including having a living space that is clean and free of clutter. You also have to pay attention to your sleep patterns and that you’re getting enough, both in quality and quantity. When you treat your body well overall, you’ll feel better in just about every aspect of your life.

If it’s not already the case, getting your family on the same routine can help since everyone will be on the same page. You already know how hard it is to try and make meals for four different people with vastly different tastes and schedules. If possible, make sure your loved ones are ready to make some healthy changes right alongside you so you can all get focused together. Having moral support will help you maintain these habits and work toward new goals.

Here are a few things for moms to consider when making changes to live healthier.

Clean Home, Clear Health

You may not realize how much clutter you’ve accumulated until you start going through each room with the intent to clean things out, and all that clutter can wreak havoc on your mental health, as well as the air quality in your home. Dust, pet dander, bacteria, and other debris can live on your belongings, making it difficult to prevent allergies and other breathing issues. Not only that but also living with mess and clutter can be detrimental to your mental health, leaving you feeling stressed and even affecting your sleep.

Declutter each room, starting with the bedrooms, and give every space a thorough tidying. If you can swing it, hire a cleaning service to help out. In New York, homeowners spend an average of $116-$228 for a good deep clean. Even if it’s just once in a while, it’s a worthy investment.

Say Sayonara!

Stress and anxiety can really take a toll on the way we feel, and sometimes the best way to combat those feelings is to get away for a bit. Whether you need a full-on vacation or just a short road trip (yes, even if it’s solo or with a girlfriend!), it’s important to get a change of scenery sometimes to get the blood flowing and find inspiration again. If you’ve been feeling like you’re in a rut with your career or are having trouble sleeping due to anxiety, consider taking a trip. If you can combine an activity with it, like hiking, all the better.

Improved Gut Health = Better Mood

Scientists are continuing to find that the flora of our gut have a considerable effect on our mood and overall well-being. If a nurtured microbiome can lead to happiness and improved overall wellness, all the more reason to amp up healthier eating habits. For an easy gut health boost, look for ways to incorporate probiotics daily, whether it’s through fermented and cultured foods like yogurt and pickled vegetables or adding prebiotic and probiotic supplements.

Meditate and Melt Away Stress

When life begins to feel overwhelming, sometimes the best way to get through it is to go inward. Meditation is a wonderful way to de-stress because it allows you to focus your concentration in order to relax and push away the stressors of the world. When done in conjunction with yoga (a class usually costs between $12 and $16), it’s the perfect way to feel better overall. Find a quiet, dimly lit spot in your home and give it a try.

Healthy living might necessitate some changes on your part, but they don’t have to bring on stress. In fact, when done correctly, these changes will help you eliminate those negative feelings so that you can focus on your family, job, and personal projects while keeping your mind and body in check.

Contributed by Jennifer McGregor, publichealthlibrary.org

Got Milk? – Mrs. Patel’s Review

Got Milk? – Mrs. Patel’s Review 3500 2333 Kanika

Ask any new mother about breastfeeding and she’s bound to tell you all about her personal experience – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Though cluster feeding and sleep deprivation are no fun, I have always been fascinated by breastfeeding and its benefits so I kept at it with my boy-girl twins for nearly a year (tandem feeding using my Twin-Z pillow) and am currently breastfeeding my 4-month-old son. I am fortunate he is a good eater. At the hospital, the nurses and my lactation consultant were impressed and said, “Look at that latch. He knows exactly what to do and is a hungry hippo!” I have to admit however, like all nursing moms, I often wonder “am I making enough milk?”

This time around, I am doing all the things I used to do like taking Malunggay supplements, fennel capsules, oatmeal with flaxseed, lactation cookies (the secret ingredient is Brewer’s yeast), and guzzling 80 oz. of water a day. But I am adding one more variable to the mix — Mrs. Patel’s.

Trusted by over 100k mothers, Mrs. Patel’s features lactation teas, bars, and sprinkles. I found out about the company while browsing on Instagram and purchased the bundle package (box of lactation tea and bars for $35) to try the most popular products. Here’s my review.

Milk Water Tea (Chai Spice) – $12.99

Ingredients – Much like a masala chai, this is made of tea leaves and cinnamon with added all natural, ayurvedic herbs like dill seeds (suaa in Hindi) and alfalfa sprouts (rajko). Dill and alfalfa are the galactagogues, or milk-producing ingredients, while cinnamon is known to make breastmilk taste sweet. Your baby will love that!

Taste – I can’t go a day without brewing my masala chai in the morning, so I really liked this blend. Though it’s more watery than chai, it still has the distinct aroma and flavors. I stir in steamed whole milk to make it more frothy and satiating.

How I Consume It – The box comes with 7 sachets and mentions you can use each 3x. I actually steep one sachet into a medium carafe which yields 5-6 small cups of tea which I sip on throughout the day.

Did it Work? – An aunty of mine once told me that consuming liquids, be it water, milk, or soup, helps milk production. I used to concoct my own tea using dill seeds and ghee, but this tea tastes so much better and it has been working. I have seen a 1.5 oz increase to my pump sessions (I now produce 5 – 6 oz total for my 4-month-old).

Lactation Bar (Chocolate and Salted Caramel White) – $28

Ingredients – These bars are made of galactagogues like whole wheat flour, fenugreek (methi), and ghee, along with coconut flakes, cardamom, and a tinge of chili spice.

Taste – I have tried both the chocolate and salted caramel white flavors. I am a white chocolate lover so I devoured the salted caramel white bars. They both tasted a lot like a typical protein bar, though softer and much more rich. The glaze on top adds just the right amount of sweetness.

How I Consume It – This box has 12 bars. For nearly two weeks, I ate one bar every morning with a tall glass of whole milk. Delicious.

Did it Work? – Over the span of two weeks, I saw about a 1 oz. increase on each side which resulted in 5-6 oz total. My milk appears thicker than before. Since I breastfeed more often than I pump, it’s hard to measure exactly how much I produce so I gauge by how I feel. I essentially felt fuller and my baby seemed content after his feedings which is a good sign.

Disclaimer: I came across Mrs. Patel’s on my own and have provided my honest feedback. Since I have tried and tested these products and have seen results, they have become one of my brand partners. Use my link and enter promo code MOMSENSE15 for 15% off your order: http://bit.ly/2Dk1eBr

Pretty Mommies Skincare Review

Pretty Mommies Skincare Review 1496 981 Kanika

PrettyMommies was my skincare line of choice during both my pregnancies and hereafter, so I am proud to be partnering with the brand to offer my readers 20% off their first order. To redeem, click here

During my first pregnancy with my twins, I was literally on a scavenger hunt to find natural products for my skin. I quickly discovered that the beauty brands I swore by my whole life were jam-packed with chemicals (Retin-A, hydriquinone, etc.) and even the so-called “organic” mainstream options had long ingredient lists and weren’t completely free of harmful additives. Here’s a list of the skincare ingredients to steer clear of when pregnant.

After spending hours doing research online, asking 20 questions of my doctor during visits, and calling hotlines like the La Leche League International for breastfeeding mothers, I finally nailed down a skincare regimen comprised of 100% organic products which produced optimum results. Watch my YouTube video on my natural skincare routine here.

In this article, I’d like to highlight a skincare collection made specifically for expectant and breastfeeding mothers, which happened to be a game changer for me. It’s called Pretty Mommies and has been recognized as the #1 physician recommended pregnancy skincare line. Founder Gina Gordy launched the collection because she suffered from acne, melasma, and sensitive skin during her own pregnancy. Real talk – not everyone is lucky enough to flaunt that “pregnancy glow.” She said that “as her belly got bigger, my breakouts and hyper-pigmentation worsened.” Soon after, she made it her mission to provide safe, effective skincare products to expecting women. She used her industry connections with top cosmetic chemists, leading physicians, and labs to create Pretty Mommies.

When I came across the site, I called the customer service line and actually spoke to Gina on the phone. I asked her what made her formula so unique, and she explained that her products do not contain soy or soy peptides. Soy mimics estrogen in the body and should not be ingested or used topically when our hormones are raging from pregnancy. Most organic products on the market use soybean oil, but it should be avoided. In addition, many skincare products contain sodium lauryl sulfate, which is a known skin irritant. Pretty Mommies uses vegetable glycerin instead, which is non-toxic, colorless, and odorless and has antimicrobial effects to heal wounds and restore elasticity. Another common chemical is oxybenzone, a sunscreen found in almost all SPFs out there. It’s a synthetic estrogen and hormone disruptor and studies have shown links to low birth weight in babies. Pretty Mommies uses a chemical-free sunscreen made of pure non-nano zinc oxide that has been micronized so it cannot penetrate the skin. I was sold.

When I tried the 3-step system, I was really impressed with the results. The cleanser, “Let’s Be Clear,” is a gentle exfoliant and leaves skin feeling soft and hydrated, not to mention, it has a clean, all-natural scent from fruit/vegetable extracts. The “Truth Be Told” skin enhancer is a multifunctional moisturizer and feels as smooth as silk when you rub it into your skin. It helps brighten and reduce inflammation. Lastly, the “Protect & Reflect” sunscreen gives you superior broad UVA/UVB protection (SPF 32) and fills lines, wrinkles, and pores without clogging them. When I got the occasional pesky zit, I dabbed a bit of the sunscreen on there and it was gone by morning like magic. Amazing!

Pretty Mommies sent me the 3-step skin care system for my honest review (the first package I bought lasted a whole year which is worth the price tag!) and I have to say, I’m happy to be sharing this with expecting mothers out there. I would never endorse a brand I didn’t personally believe in; in fact, this is my go-to skincare line because I can’t imagine going back to using brands that use chemicals and parabens now.

I have a special promotion for you, my dear reader! You receive 20% off your first order using my link –  click here. Let me know how Pretty Mommies works for you in the comments below. I’d love to hear your stories and help in any way I can! PrettyMommies.com.

Natural Skincare Routine

Natural Skincare Routine 1000 685 Kanika

 

Throughout my twenties and early thirties, I was never stickler about skincare brands, makeup, or shampoo having to being organic. I just used the most well-known brands on the market and didn’t read the labels. Fast forward to my first pregnancy with my twins, I decided to become acutely aware of what I was putting on my skin and what I was eating on a daily basis. If certain chemicals are harmful to a growing baby, why use them at all?

Here’s a list of skincare products that are certified organic, all natural, and have actually produced optimum results for me.

Pretty Mommies Skincare System

This line was founded by Gina Gordy, a mom who suffered acne, melasma, and sensitive skin during her pregnancy and was determined to find a natural solution for the numerous skincare issues that expecting women face. She leveraged her industry connections and met with top cosmetic chemists, physicians, and labs to launch Pretty Mommies and ensure that her 3-step system (cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF) was just as effective as its counterparts. Ingredients include vitamin C and a rare Japanese mushroom, which is rich in niacin and folic acid. The line does not use soy, licorice, mulberry, or bearberry which are great for skin brightening but can cause complications during pregnancy like estrogen imbalance and potentially premature contractions.

Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner

This is a great alternative to the toners which contain alcohol, glycolic acid, or salicylic acid. It’s gentle on the skin and smells amazing!

European Wax Center Exfoliater

With pregnancy comes crazy hair growth! (You can thank your hormones and prenatals for that!) I go to the European Wax Center to get waxed and use this exfoliator to slough off dead skin and prevent ingrown hair. 

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Peel

I found out about Dr. Dennis Gross’ peels on Molly Sims’ blog. Don’t you just love her?? You can read her pregnancy skincare list here. I used to go to my dermatologist for regular peels (VI, Jessner’s) to correct hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone, so I was happy to make a switch to these easy-to-use at-home daily peels. 

Ranavat Botanics

My friend Michelle Ranavat founded this skincare system comprised of potent masques and toniques inspired by ancient traditions and made from high-performance botanicals. Each masque combats a skincare concern, be it detoxification, illumination, or hydration. I love the Eternal Reign mask which is made of French clay, neem, and Manuka honey, and helps remove oil/dirt/pollution from your skin leaving it feeling supple and fresh. Watch my fun #RoyalRitual #MasqueMonday hyperlapse video here

Honest Beauty Eye Cream

Super mom Jessica Alba’s Honest line never fails to disappoint. The Younger Eye eye cream provides deep hydration for under-eye circles and puffiness, which is oh-so-necessary for moms (even the lucky ones who have kids who sleep through the night!) 

Mother’s Special Blend

Yes, stretch marks are hereditary so there’s no avoiding them if your mom had them when she was pregnant, but I find that this belly oil may help to lessen the appearance of stretch marks during pregnancy and postpartum and helps control itchiness. What we mamas have to go through, right?? 

Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil

We go through bottles of coconut oil at our house. An ancient Indian home remedy, it’s great as a healthy fat for cooking, to massage on your scalp for hair growth, for oil pulling, and as a moisturizer to hydrate skin. I use this instead of a lotion for my kids as it’s natural and unadulterated leaving their skin baby soft, as it should be!

Do you have any skincare solutions that you’ve discovered during your pregnancy? Fill me in on them by commenting below!

Meditation Clears the Clutter

Meditation Clears the Clutter 2000 1333 Kanika

A year ago, I came across an article on a Harvard medical study highlighting the biological benefits of meditation. Of course we all know the positive effects including reduced stress, anxiety, and overall clarity of the mind, but I was surprised to find that meditating can actually alter the brain. The study states, “it’s well-documented that the cortex shrinks as we get older — it’s harder to figure out and remember things. But in this one region of the prefrontal cortex, 50-year-old meditators had the same amount of grey matter as 25-year-olds.” During a second study, researchers found that the amygdala, “the fight or flight part of the brain which is important for anxiety, fear, and stress” is reduced in size. Here are three easy ways I incorporate meditation in my day to day.

  1. Surya Namaskars. During my stint working as an Anchor/Producer for CNN in India, I hired a private yoga teacher who was incredibly authentic and knowledgeable. He taught me how to do surya namaskars (sun salutations), which are a combination of 12 asanas (postures) including back bends, forward bends, and controlled breathing to help the body in a variety of ways. Surya namaskars can help you lose weight, strengthen your muscles and joints, promote better digestion, combat insomnia, keep anxiety levels at bay, and can even yield glowing, youthful skin. I start my day with 10-20 surya namaskars. Watch this video to learn how to maintain an ideal pace and good form.
  2. Guided meditations. Guided meditations are great when you feel like shutting off and simply following along. Headspace has an excellent UX and UI and features various meditations based on your mood, duration, and challenges you’d like to overcome. There are other such apps on iOS and Android and tons of YouTube videos out there. Give it a try!
  3. Breathing exercises. I do a series of my own breathing exercises when I pump. Since I’m free for 20 – 40 minutes, I feel this is a good use of my time. Celebrity physician Dr. Andrew Weil advocates the 4-7-8 rule where you breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and breathe out with a long exhale for 8 seconds. Sigh.

Meditation is exercise for the mind, and just like our physical health, we need our mental state to be in tip-top shape to truly feel healthy and happy.

Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk – Increase Your Supply!

Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk – Increase Your Supply! 2736 1824 Kanika

One night, around midnight, I was feeling especially exhausted from the long day of work and “change-feed-put down to sleep” (repeat 11x times 2) routine. Half asleep, I propped up my hospital grade Medela breast pump on my night stand, plugged in the necessary parts (which look like you’re about to build a handheld periscope or a mini beer funnel), plugged in and was ready to go. After my session completed, I took the bottles off without their caps and placed them in my lap for just a second. As I turned to put away my phone, I noticed that I spilled the milk on me, the comforter, and onto the floor. “Nooooooo!!!!” I literally cried over spilled milk. That stuff is liquid gold! I wasn’t producing as much as I had hoped at the time (especially since I had two mouths to feed who were a month old), so I decided to take my milk production into overdrive. Here’s what I did:

  1. Supply and demand. I got on a breastfeeding & pumping schedule where I would alternate nursing the kids, pump, or tandem breastfeed when the three of us were up for it (using a Twin-Z pillow. It’s amazing!). Any lactation consultant will tell you that breastfeeding increases one’s supply since a child can extract more milk than a pump, and the more you do it, the more you produce. I didn’t exclusively breastfeed since my babies were given bottles at the hospital, but I nursed and continue to nurse as many feeds as I can and pump the rest. I just listen to my body’s cues and take breaks if I need to rest.
  2. Water. This seems like a no-brainer, but believe me, good ol’ H2O works wonders. When nursing, you need the additional liquid intake to flush out toxins and keep your body hydrated in order to produce milk. I drink a pitcher of water a day (8-10 eight oz. glasses). I always drink a full glass during a feed or pump session.
  3. Oatmeal. Oatmeal is an excellent source of iron and since many mothers face maternal anemia, the high doses of iron in oatmeal and bran cereals help increase supply. I eat oatmeal (I love Red Mill Steel Cut Oats) with walnuts, blueberries, and a touch of honey every morning. Add cinnamon as it makes your breastmilk taste sweeter and babies love it!
  4. Warm Compress. Sometimes low blood circulation is the reason for inadequate milk supply. You can combat this with warm compresses with a small towel or Lansinoh Therapearl 3-in-1, which I highly recommend. You can use it as hot therapy (for plugged ducts and let down), cold therapy (for pain relief from soreness), or as an aid while pumping.
  5. Fenugreek. Fenugreek contains phytoestrogens that are believed to stimulate sweat gland activity and since mammary glands are modified sweat glands, consumption can create an increase in milk supply. Methi is the Hindi term for fenugreek and it’s a staple in Indian cooking. I take methi seeds raw (1/2 a tsp) swallowed with an 8 oz. glass of water every morning. If you can stand the bitter taste, you can also soak the seeds in water overnight, boil the solution with the seeds, strain it, and drink the tea. You can even ask your mom or mom-in-law (God bless them!) to make you methi ladoos which are an age-old cure-all for new moms. Here’s a recipe we used. When you make these ladoos in a big batch, put half in the fridge and the other half in the freezer (they last for 6 months!)
  6. Fennel. Fennel seeds are a known galactagogue, or substance that helps the body produce more milk. In addition, fennel seeds aid with digestion and prevent colic pain in babies. Add a tablespoon of fennel to one cup of hot water and let it steep for 30 minutes. Drink this tea twice daily for best results. You can also mix 1/2 cup of fennel seeds, cumin seeds, and rock candy (misri) in a bowl and grind it all up into a powder. Have one teaspoon with milk three times a day. If nothing else, you can add fennel into your cooking and masala chai. It’s the best.
  7. Cumin Seeds. Cumin seeds are believed to stimulate milk production and also combat acidity, constipation, and bloating. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds with a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Take this mixture with a warm glass of milk before bed. If you want a solution that’s more concentrated, you can add 2 teaspoons of cumin to 1/2 cup of boiling water. Strain the cup and add 1/2 cup of milk and 1 teaspoon of honey for taste.
  8. Cinnamon. According to Ayurveda, cinnamon may help improve the flavor of your breast milk and babies seem to like it. Mix a pinch of cinnamon powder with 1/2 teaspoon of honey and drink it with warm milk. You can also add cinnamon to your tea. 
  9. Garlic. Garlic is also a known galactagogue. According to studies, nursing mothers who eat garlic tend to feed longer and babies seem to like the flavor of the milk. Grate 3 garlic cloves. Boil the garlic in water so that it is reduced to 1/4 the portion. Add a cup of milk and bring it to a boil again. Remove from heat, strain, and 1/2 teaspoon of honey. Drink this elixir in the morning. 
  10. Supplements. I take a lot of pills. Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle, Fennel Seeds, and Malunggay are meant to increase milk production. For good measure, I also take my prenatal capsule, Immune Support gummies, and a probiotic. I know my body only retains what it needs and discards the rest, but I feel this miracle mix is working for me.
  11. Lactation Cookies. These special cookies contain ingredients like brewer’s yeast powder, wheat germ, flax seed, and rolled oats, will all impact milk production. Shout out to What’s Up Moms’ awesome recipe. Watch and bake along here.

These Ayurvedic home remedies have been passed down for generations in my family and I managed to find variations of these recipes online. What I love most is that they are all natural, which means no side effects! Let me know if these tricks work for you. And if nothing else, make sure you close your pump bottles so you’ll never have to cry over spilled milk!