So how was 2014 for you?
We hope it was a good one - and that you are looking forward to an even better 2015. In this January newsletter we look back on a rather hectic but really satisfying 2014 and also start to think about what 2015 might bring. As usual we have some great guest posts, this month they go out to all of you still aiming for some new year's resolutions - you'll find three articles at the bottom of this newsletter, which we hope you'll enjoy reading.
We wish you all a very happy new year and hope it brings you everything you could wish for. We also want to thank you for being part of our amazing first six months in business - it's been great! Things have really taken off quicker than we could ever have hoped and for that we are so grateful. We launched Match Up Mums hoping there might be a need or desire for a service like this but thanks to all of your support and incredibly useful feedback, we now know there is. We've matched up 72 groups (stop press! make that 73) now, below is a snapshot of just some of the groups we have put together - you might even recognise yourself in there…
A small handful of members remain unmatched and we particularly thank those members for their patience. Our membership is still largely in London itself and so members outside London will be encouraged to take only bronze membership, and we will contact them to upgrade as and when we do have good matches in their area. Sometimes even within London we just don't have good enough matches to propose a group and won't waste your time until we do have good matches - but we never give up and we are constantly looking to find the right matches for you.
To provide our members with a benefit to joining even before they get matched up, we also put in place a load of exclusive offers from mum and baby-friendly businesses. The list includes these great companies and I'd also like to thank them all for being so supportive and welcoming of a new kid on the block and for helping us to enhance our members' experiences. It's been fun getting to know you all!
The discounts are listed in full in our members' area but just to remind you, they include:
10% off at JoJo Maman Bébé; 10-15% off a load of different antenatal or postnatal classes at Lulubaby; 10-20% off with Home Spa London, 15% off your registration fee with Night Nannies; 10-20% off with Mama Knows Best parenting consultancy; a free month's membership of Hello Mums babysitting service, 10% off full care with Neighbourhood Midwives; a humungous discount off nursery design services from MK Kids Interiors; 15% off all services and treatments at the Vitality Centre; 10-20% off tickets for London Mothers' Club events; 10-20% off classes with First Aid for Life; up to 30% off with Matt Roberts gyms, 10% off the Yummy Tummies blueprint package, 20-25% off PaleoGym courses; 15% off Angel Maternity clothing, 20% off Almondella baby boxes and 10% off classes and free use of the crèche at the Old School Club. PHEW!! These are all great businesses and we hope you enjoy getting to use their services at your special reduced rates.
Looking ahead... 2015 is going to be busy!
Our plans for 2015 include a load of new groups - we are working on groups of City mums-to-be in Battersea, 2nd time mums in Wandsworth, new mums in Woodford, Putney first time mums due next summer, new mums in Regents Park and 2nd timers in Twickenham and Tooting… Among about twenty more! So if you know anyone who might be interested in joining one of these groups or might like to find their own group of mum friends-to-be, please do send them our way. We are also helping to promote a couple of events that our partners are working on for pregnant women and we are excited to be a part of their plans in this area too. I'll give more details in our February newsletter and on our social media with some dates for your diaries.
To round off this newsletter, as usual we have some guest posts for you and this month the theme is New Year's resolutions. We have two really informative articles about how mums can keep healthy - personal trainer Matt Roberts tells us about training safely while pregnant, while Lyndon from the fabulously named Yummy Tummies has some great tips for sorting your tummy out after having a baby.
Anyone who saw on Instagram or Twitter the amount of Christmas cake I have got to get through will know that my own resolutions are going to have to wait until at least February but I hope for those of you who feel ready to get fitter, these come in handy! Finally, if your resolutions are less about the body and more about the mind and spirit, the article from Inma at the Old School Club might just inspire you to learn a new creative skill or take up a new hobby.
Until next month, we thank you for your continued support and wish you all the very best of years in 2015. Here's to making it a great one.
New Year, New Tummy?
by Lyndon of Yummy Tummies
If I was to ask you what part of your body you would most want to change, chances are that you would say your stomach. Let's face it, after having your abs slowly stretched over the last nine months, it would be nice for it to go back to where it once was.
In this rush to get your 'abs back' a lot of people resort to all sorts of crazy exercises.
However, if you get it wrong at this point you can really mess your abs up. It is not just a case of heading down to your local bootcamp and holding a plank for four minutes at a time.
So what is the best way to get your tummy back in shape after having a baby?
Try the following three step process:
- Step 1: Restore Pelvic Floor- these muscles need to be strengthened again to restore function of your pelvis and to prevent any incontinence issues or pelvic pain. By the way, did you know that by doing your pelvic floor exercises it actually helps to flatten your stomach? This is because the pelvic floor muscle are on the same reflective loop as your deep abdominals (the transverse abdominals).
- Step 2: Close the gap between your external Rectus Abdominal muscles. This will prevent any rectus diastasis issues and also allow you to perform more effective exercises going forward. By targeting your deep transverse abdominals this will decrease this separation and give your stomach that flat and tight appearance.
- Step 3: Increase the stability around your pelvis and lower back. Throughout the early stages of post pregnant life there will be still be a presence of relaxin in your body. While this a great hormone for increasing the flexibility of your hips and ligaments surrounding your pelvis, it may create a fair degree of instability afterwards. It is necessary to gain a good degree of stability in your body again especially if you are doing activities such as running.
The above three steps are the first key steps you must take when starting exercise again after having a baby. The stronger the foundations the greater ability you will have to perform all of the harder exercise to follow.
If you need any help or advice drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be more than happy to help.
Training whilst Pregnant?
by Matt Roberts Personal Training
It is always a good idea to check with your Doctor that you are ok to train whilst pregnant but in the main it can only serve to benefit you in the long term.
Women with a good training history and current level of fitness can continue training as normal whilst others who have not trained before should stick to body weight exercises. However, as a general rule of thumb you just need to be careful and listen to your body. The general goal should be to reach and maintain a reasonable level of fitness. Not only will it benefit you but your baby too.
There are obviously exercises to steer clear of or at the least limit. Exercises lying on your back should be avoided after month three and exercises that encourage you to tilt forward should be used sparingly. Whilst overhead pressing should be avoided because they can tend to exacerbate lumber stresses. Equally, breathing techniques should be coached to avoid excessive periods of breath holding which can lead to spikes in blood pressure and adversely affect the foetus.
Before starting any workout it is a good idea to warm up for a longer period of time and keep an emphasis on waking the muscles up to create stability rather than mobilising the joints. When finished the workout, concentrate on cool down stretches that have been coached so not to push the muscles and joints to new limits.
Lifting weights is encouraged although given that the joints are under significantly more pressure, the limit needs to be kept on the low side. Meaning that you should be lifting lighter weight but more times with a rest period of between 60 – 90 seconds. The exercise selection should focus on the core muscle groups to counter stress on the lumbar spine (lower back) caused by the load from the baby on the front of the body. Plus an emphasis should be placed on strengthening the posture chain (e.g. lower back muscles, glutes and hamstring) through appropriate exercise choice.
Conditioning work should be lower intensity designed to maintain aerobic fitness rather than build cardiovascular fitness. The heart rate should be kept in the 130-150bpm range.
Finally, training should be kept to three times per week with a rest day between each day. Full body routines tend to work best as they prevent blood from pooling.
These are guidelines but it’s important to remember that one pregnancy can be very different to another and even within these guidelines some people will be able to do a lot more than others. Let your common sense guide you.
Learn a new skill
by Inma Goodhew of The Old School Club
Talking about New year’s resolutions ... do you know that crafting is good for your brain & your soul? Research shows that sewing and other forms of crafting such as knitting, weaving and crocheting have quite a lot in common with mindfulness and meditation. All are reported to have a positive impact on mind health and well-being.
I used to work in IT, Project Management to be precise. Long hours, plenty of travel, social drinks... you name it. So when I had my first son I was looking forward to some ”time off”. I loved my time off. For the first 6 months. I then started to itch because I had to do something else with my mornings. Being creative was a bonus. I grew up in a family where most things were handmade, including the trendy jumpers – no brand for me, all handmade. So I started making cushions, painting things at home providing sewing classes at home. Mums came with their children, starting with my yoga friends. I had a babysitter looking after the babies & toddlers whilst the mums were sewing. Suddenly I wanted this idea to become a reality, I wanted to create a place for mums to learn skills, make projects, socialise with other mums and have a very enjoyable morning.
So if you are thinking of embarking on a new hobby with other crafty mums or improve your rusty skills, you are on the right track. The same report indicates why crafting with friends may improve mind and brain wellness:
- Mental challenge and problem solving
- Social connection
- Development of hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness
- Learning and teaching
- Focusing attention and thoughts on a task
- Encouraging active creativity
- Gives a sense of pride and achievement
- Teaches patience and perseverance
- Facilitates memory formation and retrieval
And my small contribution to further add to the benefits found in this report: You can have your tea or coffee HOT, as we look after your children whilst you craft along. Yes, there is even a crèche.
Inma Goodhew is a mum of two wonderful boys and runs The Old School Club in Battersea where she teaches sewing, furniture painting and upcycling. Her passion is to teach women how to become queens of all things handmade. Like her mum.