Essential Insight To Postpartum And Bundles Of Health

Questions about postpartum? Well, let me introduce you to Bundles of Health who had some questions for me...

Photo by Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas

When a smart group of Northwestern University Students launches a platform supporting the holistic health of mom's reaches out and say's we'd like some of your input... I say "how can I help?" Considering I love to write and have so many thoughts on being a new mom I want to share, their questions only helped propel me into getting information out to all of you even quicker. 

Why is health and wellness important to you?

Without health and wellness we have to ask ourselves, “what kind of life are we living if this isn’t important to us as individuals?” I would encourage it to be important to EVERYONE. I could go on forever about this… but in short; As I learn more about how nutritional food plays such a significant role in our mind, body and spirit health I challenge us all to take a serious look at how we care for ourselves. As a society, I wish we had nutrition, yoga & meditation courses throughout our education systems starting in pre-school through master programs that reached even the medical field more significantly. My personal journey has been transformative as a growing interest in the wellness industry had me asking questions about my value in the quality of life I was experiencing. Several years ago I fell into the pool of many, who get caught waiting until something is wrong to make changes. A scare with an auto immune disorder developing gave me great insight to how I could be living a much healthier, happier life. Curiosity and passions have led me to educate myself through literature, documentaries, courses, podcasts and even using social media as a platform to take better care of myself. I then ask, how I can pay it all forward? I want to live a long and vibrant life and I have control over the food I eat, how active I remain and the lifestyle choices I make to support that longevity I'm striving for. I hope to inspire others to do the same. Finding the recipe that’s right for you with things like; organic healthy food, yoga, exercise you enjoy, meditation and sleep are vital to our health and wellness. These important, quality of life elements often are the first thing we neglect and do not prioritize because we are too busy working or taking care of everyone and everything but ourselves. When we are living in a time where we are likely to die from diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease, I pray we honor the things we have control over and do our very best to live an abundantly healthy life.

 
Photo by Erik Almaa

Photo by Erik Almaa

 

While pregnant, did you think about how you would take care of your health postpartum?

I went into my pregnancy feeling great! I planned to continue on with my mindful lifestyle and listen for any adjustments that this special time might call for. I absolutely thought about maintaining this postpartum, with the addition of allowing myself to fully heal before jumping back into how physically active I usually am. My biggest concern was my emotional health. In my case, two months prior to our due date, I moved after living the past 17 years with a flourishing career and wonderful friendships in Los Angeles to Sonoma, California to settle into a quieter life with my fiancé. Moving in general is challenging not to mention doing it seven months pregnant with your new home under renovations. Leaving friends and my career naturally had me wondering how I would handle it all as I became a new mom. I mentally prepared with mediation practices at the forefront, focusing on all of it being a positive experience and how greatly our family would benefit from this decision. I was equally excited about the change so it made visualizing myself in a wonderful new environment that much easier.  Daily gratitude about it all still serves my mind so well. 

Not knowing what kind of birth experience my story would turn out to be also took some preparation. By about 35 weeks I referred to resources of what types of things would help your recovery period and made sure to have them at home ready. We also hired a doula who was an amazing guide during birth and gave great insight to what kinds of things we could expect and how she’d assist with postpartum. There are plenty of articles you read that can be scary as well so I chose to be aware, but not slip into a place of worry and anxiety. Most importantly I made a commitment that I would be very open about how I'm feeling as bonding with our baby girl and my loving fiancé took over our lives.  I’d continue eating healthy meals and ask for support with all the specific self-care I would need.  As independent as I’ve been, I trust that if there’s ever a time to really ask for help this would be it... and I do. 

It takes a village to raise a kid. How has your village helped you through both pregnancy and as a new mom?

So much support is necessary during pregnancy and as you become a new Mom. Having a village is crucial. I’m blessed with an incredible man who has tremendous communication and has fully supported my ever-changing emotions during everything so far. If I was to itemize the things he’s done since we found out we were having a baby to make this time so joyful and easier on me, this blog would be really lengthy. He’s present and helpful every step of the way. The only thing he can’t do is breastfeed if that gives any indication to everything he does to help out. I know how lucky I am with him. Both sides of our parents have come to visit since our baby girl arrived and been incredible with respecting our time for bonding and taken on house chores, making meals and grocery store runs. They’ve allowed us to be completely hands on with our baby and let us guide them when it’s ok to take her for a walk or hold and play with her. We are so grateful for Emerie’s Grandma’s and Grandpa’s and all they do for us. The support and guidance from girlfriends has been a delight. From paying forward baby registries, sharing lists that helped them and girl talk about the entire process has kept me smiling and pointed in the right direction if I’ve had questions. Two of my very best friends just gave birth right before me and we’ve had a ball sharing stories, tips, photos and the miracle of becoming new moms all together. Erik, my fiancé, and I had decided we wanted to do as much as we could all on our own and that hiring Kate Coletti, our doula would be the only outside help we’d have until we felt we really needed more. Kate is special and having gained our trust and a natural comfort upon meeting her we knew she was aligned with our needs in the birthing process and postpartum. I think the most magical thing about having her expertise is how she helped the bond between Erik and grow even stronger before, during and after we welcomed our baby girl. Her guidance has created an overall wonderful experience for us especially as questions or concerns arrive.     

Photos by Kate Coletti

Photos by Kate Coletti

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 What’s the hardest thing about being a new mom?

For me it’s not so much about being hard, as it’s just full of adjustments. There is joy beyond words in being a mom and holding a tiny life that you created with another human. I always hoped to be a mom and with a partner like Erik, it makes it even more amazing than I knew it could be. Some of the adjustments that are challenging me are things like; the posture my body has taken on breastfeeding 24/7… it’s a terrible slump, I’ve tweaked my neck, my back and shoulders are suffering and since I’m slowly getting back to my yoga and everything I’m used to doing, I feel stiff and tight, not normal for a yogi. As much as I love slowing down and relishing in just holding our baby, I have to remind myself I’m not juggling work like I was and to just enjoy being a mamma. I’m a creative being though so I crave keeping that flowing but it takes blocks of time to focus and that isn’t always possible right now. Learning to trust your instincts and not google search everything you may have doubts about is something that I struggled with right away and thankfully has really settled now. You spend so much time with this little person you do just naturally have all the instincts together that help guide each other. And everyone does say sleep is the hardest… It’s no joke, I could feel myself whimpering like a 5year old some nights not knowing how I could sit up in this terrible posture and breastfeed one more time, but you see their sweet little eyes and face just communicating to you they're hungry and then you do and I can fall back asleep pretty easily so I have that going for me. I’ve felt more rested than I thought I would but I thank Emerie for that, so far she’s been a pretty darn good sleeper for us and we are the queens of naps. 

Photo by Mike Byrne

Photo by Mike Byrne

How could you see Bundles of Health being beneficial to new moms and the people who care about them?

There are not a lot of companies out there that are focused on the postpartum aspect of how to help mamas holistically in these new roles and I love that about Bundles of Health. I can see how a lot of mom's may not care for themselves the way they'd like to or perhaps once did when a baby arrives, as it is incredibly hands on and the hours can just drift by with loosing site of even the simplest things, like drinking enough water. Having a place where healthy, mindful gift packages are put together to send to a mom in need or for a mamma to refer to is so wonderful. I bet most mamma's out there would trade a $75 bouquet of flowers sent to them for an organic salmon dinner or an at home massage or even a snack pack filled with nutrient rich products any day. Offering a virtual doula is another resourceful component that I can see many new moms using. Many like me, don't have family living nearby and that's difficult at times, when you wish they could be closer.  When asked, "what can we do" or "how can we help",  I would love to refer family and friends to a place like Bundles of Health just as I would like to choose things from there to send to the mamma's in my life I can't be with. The convenience of giving mom's the Add To Registry button is handy as well. You have some wonderful items already listed that I have used during my pregnancy and postpartum. I think you're on a roll and have a beautiful business that will flourish. 

Andreas Most Essential Postpartum List

Thank you for stopping by and a special thanks to Bundles Of Health for reaching out to me and having me share some of my story & tips with all of you. Please check out their site and support one of the mamma's in your life. If you have any questions or comments for me, bring it on... I love hearing from you guys! 

xo Andrea

BATHING YOURSELF IN LOVE...

Who doesn't love to run a hot bath and slip into some bubbles once in a while? This is not just for the ladies, gentlemen... if you've neglected to treat yourself to this form of relaxation, what are you waiting for?  Come one, come all, fill the tub and set up for the mood you're in.  You can create any kind of environment you want here. A hot tea and a good book with the window cracked, let the fresh air blow in. Or how about dimming the lights, fire up a few candles and sip a glass of wine with some calming classical music, maybe you can talk your partner into washing your back?  What if you put on some fun tunes, let the kids grab their water toys and add some extra suds for them to splash around for a bit?  Bath time can be such a lovely way to unwind and settle-in to some self love and create space for that necessary unplugging time.

When a cozy tub presents itself in a lovely hotel room you can bet I will find time to enjoy it... you ready to go to a few of them with me?

Photo by Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas

As all the leaves have been beautifully changing through fall & winter and the cold is sweeping over LA I'm reminded of my time in Amsterdam where we landed at The Dylan for a few days. It's by far one of the cutest, hippest and comfiest places I've stayed. I looked for the seven dwarfs for a moment, the vaulted wood-beam ceilings reminded me of the cottage from "Snow White." Quaint with so much personality and a to-die for deep, ceramic encased tub perched delicately in front the autumn colored trees dancing in the view from the window.  I slipped in with an aroma therapy candle lit, read a few chapters of "Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks" before drifting into a day dream, feeling the crisp air gently brush over my face. Wonderment ensues.

Next tub stop is The Grand Ferdinand Hotel in Vienna, Austria. A sexy stand-alone, white-porcelain, antique claw foot tub. This one claimed my attention with a glass of wine, bubbles and some music.  What a delightful way to warm up after an afternoon in the cold exploring with my man while he was on location shooting. Relaxing ensues.

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Well hello there from down under... we've now arrived at a private island in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef exclusively hosting the One&Only Hayman Island Luxury Resort, Australia. This modern soaker complete with glowing ground effects was plenty spacious for two. It blatantly invited us to fill it to the brim,  stretch out and unwind.... so that's exactly what we did. Romance ensues.

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Last stop for this tub tour is The Battery, San Fransisco. Let's face it, I fell in love with this entire bathroom. Another gorgeous, stand-alone acrylic haven accented with the handy caddy for setting your cup of tea and book on. Why haven't I thought of using that before? After rising before the sun to shoot a job in the chilly SF morning temps... I couldn't wait to kick off the heels and return to this space. I pressed play with one of my Deepak Oprah Guided Meditations, set the phone on the caddy and felt my mind and body settle into this delicious present moment.  Mindfulness ensues.

If you guys ever venture to any of these places, I hope you take up my suggestion to find some time to soothe your soul a bit in this fashion. These hotels are all worthy of more then just tub talk but that will be another post! At some point we all need a Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman bath tub moment singing your favorite song, allowing yourself to just feel, embracing the very simple idea of a darn good bath. You deserve it.

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DETOX SOAK: 20 min max

  • Mix up 1 cup of baking soda, 2 cups of epsom salt  (Tree Hut) and 10 drops of some mood enhancing, certified organic, therapeutic essential oils (Doterra). I love wild orange, lemon, peppermint for invigorating and for relaxing I combine lavender & bergamot. 
  • Moisturize yourself after with some organic coconut oil to rehydrate your skin
  • Consult your doctor if you're pregnant before bathing in oils or have any other concerns to your health.

Thank you so much for stopping by. If you have any great soaking tips for me, send them my way in comments. Any great hotels with amazing bathtubs you've experienced are welcome to please. Make time for you... you won't regret it, ever. 

XO ANDREA

GTA: Gjelina Take Away, Venice CA

GTA is a delicious and convenient spot to pop in and out of quickly or pull up a crate and chill for a few right on Abbot Kinney. I'm always looking for places with healthy options. I enjoyed their quinoa & green bean dish, heirloom tomatoes & avocado and some mixed vegetables with a warm, almond milk cortado (my favorite there) for my caffeine fix. If you want your pizzas, sandwiches and assorted treats they have that too. I may or may not have had a freshly baked, gooey in the middle, chocolate chip cookie. My guy and I just dropped in after lounging at the beach, pulled up a crate and relaxed in their covered alley while we people watched and I felt oh so European. It was just perfect. Enjoy! 

GTA supports local, sustainable & organic practices whenever possible. I'm always a fan of that.

Click here to find them on Yelp.