March Newsletter

Spring is in the air

And there is a spring in our step after our busiest ever month and a load of lovely reviews from members and also in the press - so many that we have had to re-do our press page, which was bursting at the seams! We also have some new partners offering exclusive discounts to our members. Details of these are provided below. 

West London Mum talked to us for their 'Meet a Startup' feature, asking how the idea came about and who we see as competition.  Royal Mums asked about my tips for working mums, my inspiration and who we would match them up with.  Parent Dish looked at the trend of finding mummy friends online.  We love Sheer Luxe's emails and we were delighted to see the Mummy Diaries are back - even more so as we were featured in it! And finally we were able to Match Up the lovely Rebecca from Clapham Mums recently and she wrote about her experience as a member of Match Up Mums.  As much as I love the chance to bore everyone to tears with my interviews, it is even more exciting to be part of someone's actual pregnancy announcement!  It is really great to have someone who can share their first-hand experience of Match Up Mums. 

And that is where you lot come in, too!  As much as we love getting fantastic press coverage, you can't beat word of mouth recommendations.  So do please keep telling all your friends and family about us - if you've already had your baby you will have appreciated just how important a local support network really is, something that lots of first time mums-to-be might not realise until they really, really need it.  Send them our way any time!  And a big thank you to those of you who have already recommended us, we love it when people tell us that is how they came across Match Up Mums.

Want to meet some pregnancy & baby experts?

This month we are also working with a great network of Clapham-based businesses on the Clapham Pregnancy and Baby Show.  If you are in the area, do come along for a fun afternoon on Saturday 21st March.  Tickets are free but to guarantee admission pre-book yours at EventBrite. It is a bit of a different feel to the usual baby expos, this one is less about coming away with armloads of stuff and more about meeting all of the local experts who are available to offer support and advice throughout your pregnancy or early days as a new mum.  There will be taster treatments, lovely goody bags and a raffle in aid of Ickle Pickles charity.  
We are also looking forward to working with Kensington Mums on an event for mums-to-be in that area later in the year.

New discounts & benefits

Last month we also set up some more partnerships, so that you can all benefit from your membership of Match Up Mums even before you get matched or well after you have started meeting up with your Match Up Mums friends. As always, the details are in the members’ area – along with discounts on maternity wear, night nannies, weaning sessions, gyms and personal training, nursery design, babysitting – and more! The discounts available add up to over £2,000 which we think is a rather nice perk for our lovely members.
 
Here are the new partners this month, offering discounts exclusively for you. Oscar & Olivia is an online boutique of eco-friendly and stylish children's clothes and they are offering 15% off any order or 25% off orders over £100, Younique baby offer postnatal support packages designed to help with breastfeeding and sleep issues, and Pelfix pelvic floor education programme will have you back on the trampoline in no time ;)
Both Pelfilx and Younique baby are offering our members 10% off their highly regarded services. See our members' area for the discount codes you need for these and many other mum and baby-friendly brands.
  
As usual we end our newsletter with guest posts from two of our partners. Dominique tells us how Sophrology can help new mums deal with lack of sleep, and Jayne shares her expertise on the oils that are safe to use on your baby's skin.

Please keep recommending us to any mums-to-be or new mums that you know, and keep the feedback coming.  Until next month, we thank you for your continued support and wish you all the very best.

Love,
Megan x

How Sophrology can help new mums deal with lack of sleep 

by Dominique Antiglio, Sophrology Therapist, Bsc(Hons) Ost, of BeSophro

Feeling irritable and overwhelmed shouldn't be what a new mother experiences on a daily basis. There must be a better way.
 
Understandably, time is never enough and lack of sleep can make you feel tired and stressed. If you have just given birth, your body has been through a huge physiological roller coaster and it needs time to recover. Better sleep means more energy and also a feeling of empowerment: so many women feel tired and frustrated they can't do as much as they did before they had children.
 
Thankfully, help is at hand: Sophrology offers great tools to help you recuperate, de-stress and sleep better. In continental Europe doctors recommend Sophrology as an effective relaxation and self-development technique to notably help deal with pregnancy, prepare for birth, deal with anxieties and lack of sleep. Sophrology uses simple and efficient tools to access consciousness and grow inner resources through breathing, relaxation, meditation, visualisation and body awareness.
 
Because time is precious, what you choose to help you sleep better and feel calmer and more alert during the day needs to act fast and offer immediate relief. With regular practice, you can learn to achieve a deeply restorative state of relaxation within 5 minutes and from there work on a wide array of issues.
 
Achieving that deep state of relaxation is called “sophroliminal state” in Sophrology: that's what happens when the alpha brain waves kick in to provide a sense of well-being. The sophroliminal state in itself is a great way to recuperate, rest and rebalance. This state of relaxation can make a huge difference to balance your emotions and mood swings related to hormonal changes. It is achieved with your eyes closed, sitting in a comfortable position and following the gentle voice of your Sophrologist.
 
As a rule, it is a good idea to start embracing a new routine during pregnancy:

Before your baby is born, learn to have short naps
Re-prioritise your schedule and ask for help – the cleaning can wait and if you're feeling overwhelmed ask for more support especially with the easy tasks others can help you with
Take 10-30 minutes each day to reconnect with yourself using Sophrology, allowing you to acknowledge and accept the changes you are going through and prepare for your future including the birth itself. 

Breathing can be a powerful ally to help you get some rest, whether it's a quick nap or a good night's sleep. You choose when you carve 10 minutes out of your day: maybe it's first thing in the morning, or at midday or before going to bed. The sensation of calm you gain from dynamic relaxation can work wonders for your overall health.
 
If you practise breathing exercises regularly not only it will help you during labour but also it can make a difference to the quality of your sleep after the birth. You can learn to use the breath to calm and focus your mind while relaxing your nervous system. It will also help you to bring a fresh supply of oxygenated blood to your brain and you will therefore feel more alert and energised.
 
As you grow more confident in connecting more with what you feel and listening to your needs, you also learn to pace yourself and listen to your baby needs, feeling confident that you can support him or her, reinforcing the special bond you are creating. It would be a shame to let your disturbed pattern of sleep impact on that very special time of your life.
 
A short daily Sophrology practice will also help you feel happier and feel more grounded, staying in the present moment. This is a very powerful tool to help you be at ease while you are coping with the challenges of motherhood. This is a time of life when women go through so many changes, and it can be a source of anxiety and endless questioning, especially for first-time mums. Nothing will replace going through your own experience;  accepting that is a huge step. Therefore, being able to let go of these anxieties and live more in the present, taking one day after the other is a great strategy. Although everything is changing in your body and in your life, that connection you have with yourself remains a stable ground.
 
Sophrology is not complicated and can bring positive changes and support from the first session as it is a practical and simple approach. Your Sophrologist will guide you through a tailored practice and record it so that you can listen to it at home and learn at your pace in between the sessions. You can start it before or during pregnancy if you need support, or wish to prepare for birth and motherhood. Sophrology can also be practised right after birth especially if you find it difficult to settle in your new life. And of course your baby is welcome for the session too ! Home visits are available in Central London. Sophrology can also be practised in groups.

A first simple Sophrology tip: the tense and release exercise.

When we experience worries or tension in the body, the first step is to acknowledge it is happening here and now. This is the first step into letting go.
 
Start in a relaxed seated position. Tune into your areas of tension, inhale, activate your whole body by tensing every single muscle of your body including your face and toes. Match the tension in your body with the tension you experience inside and, as you exhale, release all muscles of your body. Stay still for a few second and notice the relaxation sensation in your muscles. Repeat 3 times at a slow pace.

About Dominique Antiglio and BeSophro

BeSophro has been created by one of the UK’s leading Sophrologists, Dominique Antiglio, who is also an Osteopath and Sound Therapist. She specialises in stress-management, birth peparation and self-development. Based in London since 2011, Dominique is also the co-founder of The Sophrology Network to promote the practise of Sophrology in London.
She created Bloom@58 to offer a holistic approach to maternity care where she enjoys collaborating with other therapists.

For more information: www.be-sophro.co.uk or contact Dominique directly info@be-sophro.co.uk

Time for an oil change?

by Jayne Russell of NomNom Skincare  

As a massage and nutritional therapist of more than twenty years, specialising in pre and postnatal care, and a skin care formulator I have been constantly researching and updating my knowledge to find out what works best for baby skin.  Oils have different properties, benefits and disadvantages so which should you use and avoid in baby massage and skincare?
 
The International Association of Infant Massage recommends “babies be massaged with a high quality, preferably organic, unscented, cold pressed vegetable oil”.
 
A recent study found that “olive oil significantly damages the skin barrier, and therefore has the potential to promote the development of, and exacerbate existing, atopic dermatitis” concluding that its use in infant massage should be discouraged. This comes as a surprise to many who are still being advised by a health practitioner to use the very same on their baby’s dry skin!
 
Johnson’s baby, who were involved in funding this study, have used the finding in a recent advertorial to denigrate ALL natural oils. The truth is you do need to be careful with your choice of oils for delicate baby skin, particularly where there is a tendency to sensitivity or eczema, but mineral oils are certainly not the best alternative. Sharon Trotter midwife and baby skincare expert advises they:

  • create a greasy and sticky texture that is not a good medium for massage
  • create a film or barrier on the skin which means skin cannot breath properly or eliminate toxins, which could lead to allergies or dryness
  • do not absorb, leaving a layer of oil on the skin which is slippery
  • provide no ‘nutritional’ value to nourish the skin

I would add that it is usually artificially fragranced, itself a cause of sensitivity and irritation. Well-chosen plant oils by contrast can have very positive benefits for the skin. They:

  • Absorb and are chemically similar to the fats under our skin
  • Carry fat soluble vitamins into the skin which help to nourish
  • Enhance the skin’s protective functioning without blocking the pores
  • Can help meet the body’s essential fatty acid requirements resulting in softer skin less prone to eczema.

However, you also need to be wary of potentially sensitising nut oils, particularly where there is a tendency to eczema and allergies - peanut and tree nut oils such as almond and the seed oil sesame are all high on the list of sensitising ingredients.
 
So which are the best oils to use on your baby’s skin?
 
Oils which are low in oleic fatty acids (thought to be responsible for olive oils adverse effect) and  high in linoleic, such as sunflower or starflower and evening primrose oil (both rich in GLA, which is particularly beneficial for dry, irritated skin and cradle cap) or coconut are the most suitable and favourable for baby skin.
 
Look after your oils by storing them in a cool place away from direct light and check the best before date. And use your nose – it is always a good idea to sniff an oil before use to check it still smells fresh!
 
For more advice on baby skincare download Jayne’s FREE eBook “10 Steps to Super Healthy Baby Skin” www.nomnomskincare.com

Posted on March 5, 2015 .