International Cesarean Awareness Month + Wendy’s Story April 07 2015, 1 Comment
Hi mamas, did you know that April is International Cesarean Awareness month? In the United States, one out of every three women gives birth via Cesarean. Whether planned or unplanned, C-sections are major abdominal surgeries. Many do not understand that maternal recovery can be difficult, both physically and emotionally. I was one of these women.
After delivering my first baby by unplanned Cesarean, I was surprised at the lack of support and physical guidelines for recovery. After a long and difficult labor, my doctor and I made the call to move forward with a Cesarean. I delivered a healthy baby boy, but my physical and emotional recovery was difficult.
As a Pilates instructor, I used my training to reconnect with my body after birth. A desire to share my knowledge with others led me to create the mamalates birth recovery method in 2005. Since then, I’ve dedicated my practice to working with prenatal and postpartum women.
International Cesarean Awareness Month
In honor of April’s International Cesarean Awareness month, mamalates is donating 5% of sales from the mamalates Cesarean Survival Kit to the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN). The Cesarean Survival Kit provides new moms with instruction on safe, restorative movement, while addressing postpartum pain syndrome. The props and info help relieve low back pain, release scar tissue, and support safe healing.
To find out more about ICAN, click over to ICAN-online.org or connect on Facebook and Twitter.
COREnection Cesarean Recovery Workshop
If you're in Portland, be sure to check out my upcoming COREnection Cesarean Recovery Workshop at Studio mamalates on Weds., April 22 at 11:30am. Through breath and organized movement, you’ll learn how to release where you may be overcompensating, re-awaken and strengthen traumatized core muscles, and gain spinal mobility and stability. 1.5 hour workshop, $25. Details here.
Wendy Foster is the creator of mamalates and the master trainer for all mamalates licensing programs. An internationally certified Pilates instructor, pre/post fitness specialist, and birth recovery expert, Wendy has been teaching Pilates since 1999 and practicing yoga for nearly two decades. She owns a studio in Southeast Portland, OR. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit mamalates.com.
Photo credit: Kelly Sue DeConnick via Flickr
Second photo: Wendy Foster and her little one / Credit: Wendy Foster
Healthy stocking stuffers for moms November 25 2014, 0 Comments
If you’ve welcomed a baby into the world in the past year, congratulations! Baby’s first holiday season is such a fun milestone. Or maybe you have older kids: soccer players, ballerinas, or aspiring astronauts. Kids are the light of our lives and make the holidays that much brighter.
Although kiddos often take center stage during the holidays, it’s important to remember the moms who have worked so hard to bring these little humans up in the world. We’ve pulled together some healthy stocking stuffer ideas, from in and around Portland, to honor our favorite mamas.
Share 52 reasons
Let the kids help create 52 Reasons Why I Love You cards, to remind mom just how special she is. This is a great DIY keepsake for mom, with love from the whole family. We think it would be fun to stack the deck with a few family photos too.
Grow with love
For moms with a green thumb, a delightful salsa kit from Victory Seeds in Molalla, OR is sure to please. With seeds, recipes, and instructions, everything she needs to grow and make her very own salsa can be found in this gift bag. Choose between mild and hot varieties. ($9.95)
Mamalates for mom + baby
As the days grow shorter and the weather gets colder, it’s more important than ever for moms to stay active. Pick up a mom + baby workout DVD from Portland-based Mamalates. The 40-minute workout challenges moms to “reclaim their cores” safely, while connecting with their babies. ($19) (Use promo code DVD10 to save $10 through Nov. 30, 2014.)
Soaps to rejuvenate
Artesian soaps are a great gift to help moms rejuvenate. Check out Portland’s Camamu, who offer Green Goddess Soap with sweet fennel and lavender to help detoxify and boost the spirits. ($6) Other local soap companies include Sellwood Soap Co. and Oregon Soap Company.
Massage to relax
When the holidays get hectic, what could be better than a relaxing massage? Benefits of massage include stress relief, strengthened immune system, and lower blood pressure. Not to mention a chance for mom to enjoy a little “me time.” We love the healing hands of Savannah Mayfield, Licensed Massage Therapist at Nurture Life Coaching in Portland.
Give back through ICAN
Sometimes the best way to give… is to give back. Consider donating to ICAN, whose mission is to improve maternal and child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery, and promoting VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). The gift can be made in honor of that special momma in your life. Plus, there’s even an ICAN Portland chapter.
10 Tips for a Successful Mom + Baby Class June 12 2014, 0 Comments
Are you thinking about attending your first mom + baby yoga, Pilates or other fitness class with your newborn? Maybe your baby is 6 months old and you are ready to try a class- just the two of you!
More and more gyms, yoga studios and birth centers are offering some type of movement class where you are welcome to bring your new baby, take time for yourself and get out of the house. This is a wonderful thing! Studies show that daily exercise can help combat postpartum depression and improve sleep. At Studio Mamalates we get concerned moms wondering: How does it work? What if they cry? What should I bring? Maybe you are starting a new type of fitness that you never tried before at a new facility and feel a little intimidated. It can be overwhelming!
I've put together a list covering common questions that I've received in the past 10 years of teaching classes and added some helpful tips to help you navigate, prepare and encourage you to get out with your little one and MOVE!
1) When to start classes:
It's recommended by ACOG not to start exercise classes until 6 weeks postpartum. But, that doesn't mean you can't STRETCH, get on a foam roller or have your abdominal's check for separation + start to reintroduce yourself to your abs. sooner. Find out how vigorous the class is, check with your doctor and you may be able to start at 3 weeks or earlier. There also may be a birth recovery workshop or option for a private session that you can bring your baby to before you start the weekly classes.
2) Let the instructor know if you have special issues:
When you do begin, take a few minutes to check in with the teacher. Are you recovering from a cesarean or an episiotomy? Do you have specific pelvic floor or diastasis recti issues? Inform the instructor- she may have some special exercises or handouts especially for you.
Your baby will cry during class and probably need a diaper change or feeding. It's O.K!
The race to get to class, new smells, mama hormones, a little anxiety... this is all normal when attending some of your first classes. Relax and know that you will get your system down and it will become easier and more familiar (for both of you) each time.
4)Bring whatever you need:
Ask if mats are available and if there is a charge. You may have brought your own mat to prenatal yoga but now that you have baby, diaper bag, car seat, etc, you may be able to lighten your load while keeping your mat at home. Feel free to bring a boppy or bouncy seat-especially if your baby has reflux and prefers to be upright.
5)Exercising with baby:
The mamalates method is designed with the mama's needs in mind. Although usually about 30% of the class is structured for direct interaction with baby, this class is for YOU. Find out a little more about the class format and if that feels comfortable to you. Even if you are not holding your baby or making constant eye contact throughout the entire class, your baby is watching you move, listening to your breath- maybe getting gently bounced on a ball by the instructor. All of these experiences have benefits to your baby. Some women may choose to leave baby at home so they can really focus on the moves- ask if that is ok.
6) No Judgment!
Bottle feeding or breastfeeding? Cloth, disposable or gDiapers? Home birth, hospital birth or birth center, we all have our own style and reasons. The class should be about replenishing, exerting and filling up and everyone should feel comfortable with their choices and welcome other's.
Does the instructor specialize in pre/post fitness? How long has she been teaching and does she have personal experience with birth recovery? Take a few minutes to find out- maybe visit her FB page to get a feel and it will ensure a better fit!
8)Toys/ mirrors/ stimulate:
Are there mirrors on the wall? A fan on the ceiling? Spiky balls to hold? If so, snag the spot where your baby can appreciate these stimulating options and distractions- especially if they are a little older.
Do not underestimate the power of the swaddle. You may not swaddle at home and are able to hold your baby all day. But, at an exercise class, wrap that baby tight, put the baby down while still making her feel cozy with the pressure of mamas arms and you will be able to sneak in a little more movement. You can learn more about different swaddle techniques at 7 Swaddles Sleep Solution and it may be just what they need to calm in a class with other babies and noises.
Getting to an exercise class is just a piece of scheduling in a workout with baby. Take this opportunity to meet new moms, gather resources on local support groups like Baby Blues Connection or body workers that may be able to help you navigate tongue tie, latch issues or reflux. Go for tea or lunch after class with other moms- you may need to be the one to initiate it but you'd be pleasantly surprised at how many mama's appreciate the camaraderie of other women while caring for a little one.
Wendy Foster specializes in pre/ post fitness and is the owner of the mamalates method for birth recovery.
She has been teaching mom + baby classes for over 10 years in Portland,OR.
Transitions and the Birth of a Business August 09 2013, 0 Comments
Transitions and the birth of a business.
Phew! This website has been a few months in the making and we are finally ready to launch, making a few minor tweaks as we wrap it up. Thank you to Elisabeth of invisible ink freelance http://www.invisibleinkfreelance.com/ for all your hard work and collaboration on this project.
Since my first son was born over 9 years ago, I have tackled a just a few big work projects and whether a loooong labor or a short push, it always feels like giving birth all over again.
First,There was the transition of a full time studio owner to full time mom/ part time studio owner (How is that going to happen?).
Once I resurfaced, there was the mom and baby postpartum workout DVD that we filmed in a weekend and then spent one year editing- now THAT felt like the birth of a child. The build up (production), sliding up and down the creative canal (the editing) then a big push out (designing and manufacturing) to wrapping up the little bundle in a birth recovery kit!
Then, between the juggling of raising kids, being available for my husband, finding time for exercise, friends and self-care, (oh, and teaching pre/post classes all over Portland and selling essential birth recovery products) it felt like lots of shorter labors with a couple of relatively easy pushes.
The next big birth was the mama makeover, a non-profit event that we created to support moms and raise awareness about the birth recovery process. Two years up until midnight, tweaking and refining.
Long transition. Hard labor. BIG baby.
Then the pause while still moving (what just happened?).
I was starting to get the hang of this "birth of a project thing" (or at least familiar with it!) and decided to get a little more intentional, realizing that pauses and "rest days" were necessary as I was in "this parenting thing" for the long haul and my boys were my #1 priority.
Although opening up a movement studio in SE Portland would seem like another long labor/big baby I stuck with my intentions to create a space and welcome other birth professionals and experts to teach, mindful of not increasing my own class load.
Short transition. Small baby. Good sleeper.
Working with so many moms and hearing their stories, I realized there must be women all over the country (world?) with these same birth recovery needs that lacked all the amazing prenatal and postpartum classes and workshops that Portland offered. The birth recovery movement had begun locally, now we needed to get the word OUT. Solution? An online site that provides tips, tools and resources for women and their postpartum recovery- www.mybirthrecovery.com was born!
Easy conception."Average" transition. Short labor. Eight pound baby.
Wendy Foster is a certified Pilates instructor, pre/post fitness specialist and birth recovery expert. She is the creator of the mamalates restorative birth recovery method. She is the mother of 2 boys, having had a c-section and a VBAC. She an outdoor enthusiast and currently obsessed with sensory processing disorder in infants and children and the lack of physical movement in our public schools.
She can be contacted at email@example.com.