How to Make Homemade Babyfood – Mango Pear Puree.

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My baby loves squeeze pouches. She is still struggling with chewing and swallowing chunkier foods, having only two teeth, the little munchkin! She is getting much better lately but still loves to hold the pouches and quickly swallow healthy, yummy foods. I especially love the idea of mixing fruits with veggies to get those little taste buds to appreciate veggies, if in disguise.

Pear and mango is one of Anneka’s favorite combinations.

Start with fresh mangos and pears. Peel and core. Don’t cook the fruit. Leave it raw.

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Blend two pears and two mangos in the blender, or whatever ratio you prefer.

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Clip in the bags and fill them up! I used the awesome Infantino squeeze station. (Yup, that’s my husband’s hairy arm, not mine).

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Label and cap your pouches. Freeze. Take out to thaw in the fridge hours before feeding, or use a bit of warm water to get it to the right temperature.

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Feed your baby one of the fresh pouches! My little angel loved it!!

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My 10 Favorite Products for Mom and Baby

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Lille Baby Carrier

In my baby’s first months, she had a lot of tummy trouble, which is agonizing, as any Mom will tell you. I learned she needed to sleep upright due to her problem with acid reflux, and being held closed helped her digestion as it calmed any separation anxiety she may have felt.

I cannot tell you the transformation that came over my newborn when I put her in this Lille Baby for the first time and kept her in it her entire nap. Not only did she sleep oh so peacefully for two hours (a record for her), she also was much calmer afterward, and within days of sleeping in the Lille Baby (yes I used it for every nap), she was OK with being set down to play by herself sometimes. The sleep transformation was so healing. No more waking up crying because she was spitting or throwing up, just her nestling her head on my chest and sleeping as peacefully as a baby ever has. I cherish these bonding memories with her, as she began sleeping in a little crib at 5 and a half months for her naps.

At the time of this blog post, Anneka is 8 and a half months old and I still pull this out whenever I just don’t know what else to do. It calms her and makes everything OK when she needs extra snuggling. You can see she likes it.

 

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baby cozy in lille baby attachment parenting

Arms Reach Cosleeper

If you have a King size bed, you probably don’t need this. Or if you’re not comfortable with co-sleeping in bed with your baby. We practice a hybrid approach, but Anneka spend several hours each night in her Arms Reach Cosleeper. I always wished it was level with the bed (I realize it’s not for safety reasons), but I can get Anneka out of her cosleeper and nurse her without ever waking up. At least it seems that way, since I often wake up in the middle of the night and I’m holding Anneka and I don’t remember getting her. But it does make night nursing sooooo much easier, and you will feel more rested. I think the mini is the best choice for the younger months, because I can move this from bed side to her nursery against the wall to beside my desk to play time as well. She likes the small cozy size and freaks out in a bigger crib.

Love to Dream Swaddle

This little baby girl loves fabric, and loves to suck on her little 100% cotton covered fists. This is without a doubt the best swaddler solution I tried, and I tried the Zipadee-zip (good for older babies), muslin cloth swaddling, and those velcro swaddlers by Swaddle Me. She didn’t love the Swaddle Mes for very long, because she really want to play with her hands and suck on her fists. She absolutely loved the security + freedom of this arms up Love to Dream Swaddle. I think this is a must have. I switched Anneka to a Zipadee-Zip at 6 and a half months because you are supposed to stop using the Love to Dream when Baby learns to roll. It was a month after she learned to roll and I didn’t want to stop. In my experience watching Anneka, she did fine both on her back and on her tummy in this, so I never knew if stopping was necessary, but an abundance of caution is good. Learn more here. 

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Bamboobies

Skip the disposable nursing bra liners and get one set of these bamboo liners. You’ll be glad you did. They are smooth, absorb a ton of milk, and will save you money in the long run.

Tummy Calm

Absolutely essential. If your baby has tummy problems, colic, or acid reflux. The first night I gave this to Anneka, after a 2 hour crying fit, she burped and fell into a deep 3 hour sleep. Thank God. Available at Walgreen’s.

Nixi teething necklace

This just doesn’t stop being a favorite with Anneka. She holds on to it for comfort in her car seat and she loves the different textures on her teeth. It started being a favorite at about 5 months. Sometimes I wear it while I hold her. She can grasp it and chew on it the whole time she’s in her Lille Baby, sling or in my arms. Sometimes I take it off, unloop it, and let her play with it under supervision. A little fashion for Mom and a lot of fun for baby – win, win! We both love this. Available at many places, including Target. 

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Indestructibles Books

indestructibles books that babies can really sink their teeth into

Books babies can really sink their gums into. That’s what the tagline for Indestructibles says. There is almost nothing Anneka likes better than paper, and with these crinkly textured books (they feel like Tyvek house wrap or money), I have total peace of mind that I won’t be having to rescue her from little choking-hazard sizes pieces of soggy paper.

Summer Infant® Babble Band™ Wearable Audio Baby Monitor

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You’ll never have to wonder if you can hear your baby or monitor over the noise of conversation, dinner, barking or a video. Any unusual sound and this watch vibrates to let you know something might be amiss or your baby is waking up. Then you can press and hold the middle to hear the actual sounds coming from the nursery. There is also a setting to leave the sound on at all times if you prefer. We even have a white noise machine in Anneka’s room and we learned that as long as we put this on the other side of the room from the monitor, it won’t report on the white noise, meaning vibrations actually represent baby vocalizations or other new sounds.

We had a more traditional monitoring system before and found it very problematic. I could hear Anneka before I could actually hear the monitor due to a 5 second delay and the fact that household noises drowned out the earliest little noises she makes.

I love the Summer Babble Band!

Bio-Kinetics Oats

The first night I gave Anneka Bio-Kinetic Oatmeal instead of regular oatmeal, she went from waking every 2 hours to sleeping 7 in a row.

Bio-Kinetics Oats are oats that are sprouted. If you’re a fan of Ezekiel bread, for instance, you’ll understand the significance of sprouted grains. Since my darling one has a sensitive tummy, this was just another link in the tummy calm regime I’ve found for her (baby wearing, probiotics, etc). Sprouted grains make grains much more digestible, which is why Anneka must have slept so long. My guess is that they not only filled her tummy, like oatmeal is prone to do for babies, but also settled it. Sprouted oats are full of enzymes. Plus I love that Bio-Kinetics doesn’t add forms of iron that might constipate or irritate baby’s stomach. It doesn’t add anything at all. It relies on the nutritious value that is inherit in such a wonderful food as sprouted oats (which already contain iron).

By the way, don’t purchase Bio-Kinetics from Amazon. I tried my first order from Amazon and it was noticeably stale. The second time I ordered directly from Bio-Kinetics and it was as fresh as a freshly baked cake.

Probio5

Probiotics are necessary to heal the real cause of hurting tummies, and probiotics with enzymes and grapeseed extract are a triple threat to digestive issues. Anneka slept longer and was much calmer anytime I was faithful with giving her her Probio5 for at least 2 days. Enzymes help with digestion, probiotics promote healthy bacteria in babies that may have had them wiped out due to antibiotics from birth, and grapeseed extract kills the bad bacteria. While you’re at it, get some for yourself. You probably need the extra energy they’ll give you.

After trying many other brands of probiotics and researching the ingredients, I’m convinced there is absolutely nothing better on the market (that I’ve seen or tried) than Probio5.

top10productsformomandbaby

 

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Update on Hair Loss, Alopecia, Omegas, Candida, Mega X

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So many of you have emailed me and commented continuing to ask what I’m experiencing and doing in relation to my hair loss issue (an issue I’ve had to deal with since I was 19).

In particular, many have asked about minoxidil. Minoxidil was absolutely effective for me. You can read the blog post here. But I didn’t like the side effects. (More here). Weight gain and facial hair were the mildest. It was the depression (and anger) that got to me.

My extremely premature hair loss bothered me a lot! I even wore wigs sometimes, which was sometimes fun and sometimes weird. (see some of my favorite wigs here). I’ve tried many supplements. Hair Repair (the best at the time that I had tried), straight saw palmetto, and everything I could read about that seemed to have promising reviews. After taking something for 6-8 weeks, I would see mildly encouraging results, but then nothing. Revivogen was one of the most frustrating products, building up a supply of new growth only to lose it all (due to the synchronized growing and shedding cycles it encourages – completely pointless to me).

I’ve been trying something lately I wanted to share with you. I’ve been on this product for about 3 weeks. I went on it after dreaded post partum shed made me feel just terrible and always self conscious.

Here is the before and after:

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The before was from about 8 weeks ago, but it is what my hair looked like when I started on Mega X (made by Plexus). (Besides a few hairs I could see that had started to sprouted from taking Hair Repair for two weeks). I stopped taking Hair Repair when I started taking Mega X.

What encourages me is the way the new hairs line my hair line, and the way that stray piece of hair no longer falls down the center of my face because it has other hair to “cling” to. (Yes, hair sticks to each other – it’s one of the trademarks of healthy hair).

This is just the beginning, so we’ll see what happens.

Also after:

after 3 weeks of Plexus Mega X hair loss update

(I’m wearing Sonia Kashuk Tinted Moisturizer in Linen in this picture – I love it!)

And just another photo I like:

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I should say that besides being on Mega X, for a month previously I was on the Triplex system from Plexus, which balances hormones and blood sugar, something I knew I was in need of. I would like to talk about this issue in a future post. I do not know how much this contributes, but I know hormones which are out of whack can be at the root of many unlikely issues.

Ingredients of Mega X:

Ahiflower seed oil, raspberry seed oil, broccoli seed oil, SDA (from Ahiflower seed oil), sea buckthorn berry oil, pomegranate seed oil, avocado oil.

 

Meet the Porterkins!

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This is a project I’m very fond of.

Porters in Denver.

Us. Talking to you. Connecting with you. Inviting you into our home virtually or (if we like you) in reality. (Come on, Annouchka and Captain!) Come on and visit us in snowy, sunny, mountainous Denver.

And this is my favorite vlog so far, but be sure to check out the others!

Much love,

Daddykins, Mommykins and Babykins.

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Can you Spoil a Baby with Closeness?

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My baby girl’s head is close enough to kiss and I can feel her heartbeat against mine. Her head peacefully rests just under my collar bone and I never want to stop holding her this way. For the first time since she’s been born, I’m working at my desk and I’m at peace at the same time, because she’s right there and I know she’s safe and happy, her lips in a peaceful lopsided curve, her breath evenly inhaling and exhaling. My heart, which has been racing with anxiety, calms down and I can concentrate, kissing the downy head a few inches from my chin every few minutes. My baby’s in my beloved yellow baby carrier and she sleeps peacefully for two hours. This is amazing because little Anneka’s acid reflux kept her from sleeping for more than 30 minutes at a time for weeks during the day, and I marvel at her peace and contentment.

Another day, she’s having trouble settling down for a nap and I take her outside in the brilliant Colorado sunshine. She looks around thoughtfully and starts blinking in the bright light, eventually her head rests against me and she nods off, lulled to sleep by the rhythm of walking and the warmth of the sunshine. I want to walk for hours.

Late at night, I hear her baby cries and I force my eyelids open and stumble across the room, falling into her crib and almost falling down. I can’t take this anymore, I think. She’s awoken 3 times already and it’s only 11:30.  I am even more exhausted because I wasn’t sleeping anyway. I was laying there wondering if she was still breathing. I pick up my little human whose cries sound as distressed as my heart feels and I lay down with her snuggled in my arms.

And I sleep. She nurses and sleeps as well. And I don’t get up until morning breaks through the window. She smiles up at me. This is how it should be, I think. Sleep. For both mother and baby. And nourishment for baby. And closeness. And peace.

Peace.

I’m amazed, just two days after I sleep with her and hold her in the baby carrier, that she is a much calmer, happier baby, more content to lay on a blanket or in her swing by herself for longer stretches of time. “She is secure,” I think as I watch her new found chillness.

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Shortly after this night, I get a cosleeper, so I can hold Anneka at night and put her in the cosleeper for an hour here and there if she gets restless or hot (which she sometimes does), and seems to need some space.

The baby trainers words on blogs haunt me, as do comments from strangers. “Your baby will still be sleeping with you when she’s 5.”

“So much work for you to hold her in the baby carrier while she naps! You should get her used to the crib.”

And from friends.

“She will never learn to sleep alone if she’s used to being next to you.”

But I don’t let fear of the future keep me from doing what feels right to me as a Mother now. And I cherish every minute of the closeness.

At about 4 months, Anneka’s naps in the Lille baby become less settled. Instead of sleeping for 2 hours, she sleeps for only 30 minutes, then peers out at me with curious eyes. I have to be increasingly quiet, too. Every word I say could wake her up; it used to be that the sound of my voice used to soothe her. Every dish rattle, everything anybody else said to me, woke her up. But her naps were even shorter in a crib or swing. “Here it comes.” I thought. “The dreaded transition.”

But to my surprise, the dreaded transition lasts less than a week. Each time Anneka napped in her crib, her naps get longer. Rather than stressing over trying to get her back to sleep when she wakes up after a very short sleep cycle, I just greet her warmly and hold her awhile. I think she decided a crib wasn’t a bad place to sleep since I was always around the corner. I loved it when I found her up doing a baby pushup, gazing around the room, content rather than panicky.

That brings me to one of the most beautiful things about “attachment parenting,” which could be called responsive or connective parenting. You respect your baby’s unique temperament and ability to grow to independence on her own. You realize that she will grow out of the precious time of dependency on your closeness all too quickly. I mourned the loss of the Lille baby nap and at the same time that I welcomed new spans of time in which to make a cup of tea, talk to other people, give Nate a hug, etc.

I find the same thing happening with her night time sleeping. Sometimes I wake to her tossing her head, trying to find an unmoving and cool place on which to lay it. It’s then that I pick her up and put her in the co-sleeper with a little kiss and an “I love you.” She sighs or makes a little noise and rests her head peacefully. I can tell she likes it.

But when she was 2 months? We needed each other. She needed the closeness of her mother’s heartbeat, and I needed to know she was still breathing. I missed her, this baby I had carried for 9 months, and without her, I would lay in the darkness waiting for her to cry with worry in my heart. It was almost a relief when she cried. I welcomed getting to pick her up.

We are too quick to wish our children into independence. In fact, I find many parenting styles that are pushed on parents today pressure them into pushing their children into it before the fourth trimester is up.

“She’ll be spoiled if you hold her too much.”

“She’ll never learn to sleep on her own if you don’t stop sleeping with her.”

“He’s 10 months and still getting up to nurse? Why don’t you make him stop?”

Then when they are teenagers, we want just the opposite. Parents look back with fondness on the days their children wanted to snuggle, wanted connection, longed for closeness.

In the touching book “The No Cry Sleep Solution,” Elizabeth Pantley asks you to ask yourself if you mind that your baby sleeps with you, gets up to nurse more often than the neighbor’s baby, needs to be held and soothed in a baby carrier an hour or three a day. Many times, she points out, the Mother finds the answer is no. She doesn’t mind. She just feels like she is a failing Mother if she doesn’t get her baby to sleep through the night at 4 months or self-soothe to sleep on his or her own.

In the examples I’ve given, I find that Anneka is ready for the next step almost before I’m ready, or, at least, one part of me. And I expect that’s the way it will always be. She’ll say, “Mom, I can do this.” And I’ll say, “Okay, if you’re sure.” And I’ll watch her grow into a beautiful, strong young woman, rooted in the security of love and unhurried nurturing, knowing she was always welcome closeby.

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Check out our new family vlog! Porters in Denver.

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10 Ways the Lille Baby is Better than the Ergo Baby

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Dear Lisbeth Lehan,

Thank you for making the Lille Baby. I have an affectionate, sensitive 3 month old who’s had tummy trouble of one sort or another for most of her young life, but much of that changed when I got the Lille Baby.

Anneka barely could stay asleep for longer than an hour or two as a very young baby. I couldn’t figure out why, or why she would cry so hard at night and not be consoled. Then I learned she had acid reflux and colic, and it was best to keep her upright, among other things (the other things being smaller feedings, probiotics, herbal tummy medicine and more). This was pretty hard to do all the time. The first time I put her in a carrier, she slept for hours. She didn’t love sleeping in the carrier though, until I got the Lille Baby. Now she naps regularly in her Lille baby while I get to hear and feel her breathing and see her cute sleeping faces, and work while I do it, for hours a day. She became much calmer and happier the day I got the Lille Baby. I know part of it was the fact that she didn’t spit up when she was upright like that, and it was the best position for her to sleep in. But I think part of it was the closeness, too. I wonder how much colic is anxiety and how much it is digestive issues, or how much the two influence each other.

With her in the Lille Baby, I have brushed my teeth, blown out my hair, taken long walks, worked for hours, shopped, nursed my baby, and made breakfast. And when all else fails to calm her, I have gotten her to sleep in under 2 minutes in noisy, crowded environments that tend to overstimulate her.

She feels safe in it, I feel close to her, and I feel comfortable. It’s a win win. It changed both of our lives.

Love,

Marisa

Many of my baby carrying friends have asked me about the differences between the Lille Baby and the Ergo Baby. I own both so here they are.

Infant Head Support

The Ergo Baby, even with the infant insert, and compared with the Lille Baby, has terrible head support. My baby used to throw her head back and then forward, not knowing where to rest it. The infant insert dishes out, slanting away from the wearer and the baby doesn’t know what to do with his or her head.

The Lille Baby has a soft 3 sided head support that simply wraps around the baby’s head in the position your baby’s head already naturally lays as you’re holding your baby to your chest, just beneath your chin. It’s a completely comfortable and natural position for baby and Mom or Dad.

You can fold this head support up or down. With the head support down, your baby’s neck rests against the fold, and still has minimal head support. It’s natural in this position for you to put one hand on baby’s head if baby needs you to while they look at the world or if you’re bouncing the baby.

Anneka in the Ergo Baby with Daddy. You can see the lack of head support, even though I love this picture:

#denverdads #ergobaby #ergobabycarrier @natewilldo #daddysgirl

A photo posted by Marisa (@virtuallymarisa) on

 

Compared to the Lille Baby’s head support:

Anneka, during one of her many long naps:

 

And with the head support down:

And finally a picture of my baby in the #lillebaby with the head support down.

A photo posted by Marisa (@virtuallymarisa) on

Head Positioning – Ease of Doing Things in the Carriers

The Ergo baby positions the baby so that their head is higher than your chin. You can’t possibly eat in it, or drink anything. At least I couldn’t.

The Lille Baby positions my baby in a natural snuggling position, head on chest, turned to either side or even with baby’s chin and bottomlip resting against my chest.

Comfort of Carrier for Wearer

The Ergo Baby is really heavy and hot. The Lille Baby feels like absolutely nothing in comparison. It’s a featherweight.

The Ergo Baby wears on my shoulders and upper back after 1/2 hour or an hour.

The Lille Baby has an incredible lumbar support that makes wearing it for 3 hours a breeze.

Comfort for Baby

Anneka really feels like she’s in a contraption in the Ergo Baby and would take 5-10 minutes to settle down when I was attempting to soothe her.

The Lille Baby is more ergonomic. The baby is in a very natural position, exactly like you would hold her against your body with her little legs partially wrapping around your waist, her head on your chest.

Anneka has often fallen asleep in under 2 minutes in the Lille Baby. She can also gaze at the world and as she drifts off to sleep, I sneak the head support sides up, first one side, then the other.

Nursing

I cannot nurse Anneka in the Ergo Baby.

Though it’s not my favorite thing to do in a baby carrier, I can nurse Anneka in the Lille Baby, and even use the weather cover for privacy.

Anneka nursing:

#babywearing #breastfeeding #lillebaby #lillebabylove #babywearingmom

A photo posted by Marisa (@virtuallymarisa) on

 

Weather Covers

Speaking of weather covers, the Ergo Baby doesn’t have one.

The Lille Baby does. And it tucks neatly away into a pocket.

Other Conveniences

Speaking of pockets, I keep my cell phone in the zippered pocket in the Lille Baby.

Length of Baby Naps

Anneka would last 1-2 hours napping in the Ergo Baby, and 1-3 in the Lille Baby.

Attractiveness and Cost

Bonus: the Lille Baby comes in many beautiful looks, and costs less (when compared to the carrier plus infant insert) than the Ergo Baby.

 

Weather cover up in noisy mall to help Anneka calm down after being so excited by all the lights and people and then getting hysterical:

 

prenatal yoga warrior II

10 of my Favorite Prenatal Yoga Poses

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I’ve loved yoga since the day I discovered it. I love the way I feel when do it, and especially the way I feel afterwards. A good yoga practice makes me feel open, spacious, bouncy, flexible, strong, pain-free (or at least in much less pain), and calm. And at no time has yoga more been my friend than during pregnancy.

Yoga has helped my energy, strength and flexibility so much. When you can no longer do basic things (like pick things up or put on shoes) without modifying how you do them, keeping up a yoga practice gives your body a bank account of other default postures to draw from, without which I’d have had to ask for a lot more help.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or a pro, but these poses have helped me immensely. I also had a yoga practice before pregnancy. Not all poses would be appropriate for all pregnancies.

All postures help with 3 really important things:

  • Daily energy, strength and flexibility
  • Baby positioning
  • Strenghthens and stretches muscles used during labor (that you might not typically use)

Here are some of my favorite poses.

Warrior II

A classic and basic. Warrior II. It begins to warm up your hip flexors for the other poses. My warrior II is better now than it was before pregnancy.

prenatal yoga warrior II

Standing Half Moon

Standing half moon for picking things up. I really do pick things up this way.

standing half moon prenatal yoga

Standing Figure 4 or Standing Pigeon

A standing figure 4 for putting my socks on. As long as I practice this daily, I can put my own socks on.:)

figure four or standing pigeon prenatal yoga

Yogi Squat

Alternate position for picking things up is yogi squat. (Really helps encourage the baby into the right position, too).

yogi squat

And with a side stretch:

yogi squat side stretch

Low Lunge Variation

And one of my favorites for various purposes, opening up the low back, the psoas muscle (great for lowering risk of emergency C-section I hear), and the hips – the low lunge variation. Start this one on your hands instead of elbows. Work gently into your elbows over time.

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Horse, plie, or goddess squat, whatever you want to call it.

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With a side stretch variation. Side stretches feel so good during pregnancy.

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3 legged downward dog. 

This one will fire up your muscles and strengthen your core.

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3 legged Down Dog with Open Hip

This next one is one of my absolute favorites, especially when you’re experiencing that sore, tight band of muscles around your low back that are exhausted from holding up your baby. This yoga pose stretches all the way from your shoulder to your hip. You’ll want to start in down dog, transition to one legged dog, and lastly of all bend your knee and open your hip. In pregnancy, you can open up your side as much as you want to feel that therapeutic stretch all the way up your back (before prenatal yoga, instructors will usually tell you to square your shoulders because they are focusing on different muscles).

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Just doing the poses for this photo shoot got my heart rate up and I worked up quite a sweat, even though it was a short and sweet practice.

Cooling down, focusing, prayer, feeling gratefulness for having made it to 39 weeks, for my and my baby’s health.

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