Posts tagged #pregnancy

Happy Birthday to us! August news.

And thank you, thank you to all those lovely members who have made it such a great first year.  We are well on our way to matching up our 150th group of likeminded mum friends, and whether you were one of our very first guinea pigs or more recent joiners, we are so grateful to have you along for the ride. It's a bit of an old cliché to talk of a roller coaster year, but it has certainly kept us busy.

Reflecting back on the last year there have been some real challenges, usually around finding time to keep on top of everything on the work and home front, with the new business often feeling like a demanding fourth child!  And with that of course there have been some lovely highs, but especially receiving lovely feedback and reviews - it's a great feeling to hear that groups are still meeting up a year on and having fun, and  even planning things like nanny shares together. It is strangely satisfying when we make a match on multiple levels, like the group who had all taken a completely different career path from the one they studied towards and also all played a musical instrument. Or the group who all worked in the medical profession and liked running. And more than once we have introduced people who live on the same road (and have lots more in common besides that) but who had never met one another - maybe it's a London thing!  We've even welcomed back some early members who enjoyed their first Match Up Mums experience and have come back for a second time, around their next pregnancy - you fast workers know who you are… And it is lovely to have you back.

Happy Birthday to us! :)

Happy Birthday to us! :)

Latest offers from our partners

I couldn't talk about the first year without acknowledging the support we have had from so many other businesses. This really is a lovely sector to work in, it seems to attract people who are kind, open and supportive and we've loved getting to know lots of new people forging interesting careers and businesses.

It also means we can reward our members for being part of Match Up Mums with a raft of exclusive offers (now worth in the thousands of pounds if you were to do the lot!) in our members' area. This month we have some new offers and our usual guest posts, and it seems appropriate on this anniversary newsletter that we have one of them from someone I have known personally for many years, and one is the latest new partner we have met thanks to an introduction from our friends at Neighbourhood Midwives, who also recommend them highly.  

Firstly all of our members can claim a free yoga class with Nadia Raafat - I know it won't be exactly local to many of you, but I can tell you from firsthand experience that this is a very special class and well worth a trip! I went to Nadia's pregnancy classes myself at BatterseaYoga in my first pregnancy, and really loved having the time to get my head around the fact I was having twins(!). Second time around it was equally valuable to just have some time out from juggling work with being a mummy to two very busy boys, to feel a connectedness to our new baby.  So, highly recommended. As well as pregnancy yoga there are postnatal classes and a lovely mum and baby class too.

BatterseaYoga are offering all Match Up Mums subscribers their first class free at any class of their choice. To book your free class simply follow the link from our members' area to BatterseaYoga.com and use the discount code provided.

If it is too far to travel for the class itself, do check out the next best thing which is Nadia's DVD, endorsed by many magazines, midwives, baby product review sites and birth education organisations.

Secondly, we very recently met with the founder of a new and adorable baby clothing company, Baby MORI.  Dubbed "unclepreneurs" by the FT, these guys bring an innovative and fresh approach to baby clothes. I know everyone says their babygros are soft (you wouldn't sell many marketed as 'super-scratchy', after all!) but these ones are almost *shockingly* soft and made from all natural fabrics. You can purchase as you need from the MORI website, or subscribe to their parcel service and receive deliveries every 6 weeks - just when you abby is about to enter the next phase. Their fabrics are a beautifully soft cotton/bamboo mix, designs are Scandinavian and Japanese-inspired, and colours are always neutral. Because we like them so much, we asked for a special offer for all our Match Up Mums members. The code they have provided for us will get you 20% off all MORI products, or try their £42 subscription for just £20 with free shipping in the UK (you can cancel this anytime) - find it in the members area of our site.  

 

We have more offers in the pipeline so watch this space.  In the meantime I will leave you to enjoy Nadia's guest post, and I'll just sign off by wishing you all a great summer. Thanks again for being part of our brilliant first year and please do recommend us to any mums and mums-to-be you know!

Until next month, have a good one...

Love,
Megan x

Yoga - good for mummies, good for babies   
by Nadia Raafat, co-founder of BatterseaYoga 
 

Becoming a mother was synonymous for me with becoming a yogini. Although I had dabbled in yoga pre-pregnancy it was only really during the trials and tribulations of my first unplanned pregnancy, thirteen years ago, that I discovered the sanctuary that yoga offered. 

I trained as a yoga teacher when my first-born was 18 months old and have not walked away from my mat since… Yoga has accompanied me through my subsequent pregnancies, supported me throughout the births and the postnatal period of a further three children. Today my four yoga babies are aged 12, 10, 5 and 19 months old.

Yoga was made for pregnancy. In a sense pregnant women get a fast track ticket to the heart of the practice. Pregnancy with all its niggles and symptoms brings women into their bodies in a visceral way; their bodies swell, their breasts grow, calves cramp, backs ache and hormones rage. But most of all a small being floats and tumble-turns inside them. Whilst exercise is needed so many forms become off-limits. Yoga, through a prescribed combination of posture work, breath work, mantra, relaxation, visualisation and meditation, offers physical well-being and relief from many of the complaints of pregnancy. But more than that it also offers emotional and mental wellbeing too. A recent study, carried out by the Oxford Centre of Mindfulness found that pregnant women carried markedly reduced stress hormone levels in their bodies after a mindful yoga class. 

As the birth looms and the baby wriggles down towards the birth canal pregnant women really start to engage with the practice; they suddenly find the meditation easy and feel motivated to get their baby into a good position for the birth. During the labour itself yoga and meditation offers women a clear pathway; the path of presence and open-minded, open-bodied awareness. Using the movements and breathing exercises learned in class, the mantras and visualisations practiced week in, week out, they are well placed to carry themselves through the twists and turns of the childbirth experience with a relaxed and open body and mind.

In our postnatal classes new mamas and babies yoga together. Mum restores and re-energizes her body, rebuilds her strength, rediscovers her fitness whilst baby, at first, snoozes, and then, later, joins in. Babies love baby yoga. They love to be touched, squeezed, and played with. And as the babies grow, the yoga grows with them. Six month old babies fly, swing, roll and ride their mothers’ bodies chuckling and giggling as they do. It aids their motor development, vestibular development and emotional development too. Baby yoga helps babies digest well, move well and then sleep well. In fact at the end of a class, the baby is usually snoring before mum is out of the studio door.

Today myself and my partner Angus Ford-Robertson and I are lucky enough to have established our own beautiful and independent studio next to Battersea park where we offer a wide range of classes. For Mothers and Babies we offer three pregnancy classes, one baby-friendly postnatal and one mum and baby yoga class.  Batterseayoga also offers a number of meditation classes and our Beginners Mindfulness programme is being widely referred to by GPs across Wandsworth borough  - and many a pregnant woman is to be found in those classes too.

As study after study demonstrates the efficacy of these ancient practices, more and more mothers are experiencing for themselves the well-being that yoga and meditation bring. All you need is a mat and an open mind. I invite you to come and visit our studio with baby in belly or in arms and discover for yourself the gifts of yoga. Fit body, Calm mind. Happy Baby. What more could a mother ask for? 

Our members review: Home Spa London

Home Spa London have been a partner of Match Up Mums since our launch, offering discounts on their services, and it is great to hear that so many of our members have been enjoying this rather lovely perk of your membership.

If you would like to treat yourself or your little one to some pampering, Match Up Mums members get 10% off any treatments, and anyone hosting a group baby massage class for their mum friends receives 20% discount off the course.

Three of our wonderful members have been trying out their range of mum and baby treatments.  First, our recently-matched member and mum-to-be Petra reviews Home Spa London’s pregnancy massage.  Samantha, who joined as one of our founding members and had her baby Willow in August, shares her experience of doing a baby massage course at home with her mum friends.  And finally, a treat for one of our busier members who combines a busy job with three small children: Sarah reviews the relaxing at home massage for worn-out mamas.

 
pregnancy massage
 

Pregnancy massage

Reviewed by Petra, Match Up Mums member, mum-to-be and style-blogger over at Monmum.

“I don’t know about you but I often find it hard to legitimise spending money on pampering myself and am usually not one for fuss, even when I know it would do me the world of good. Cue a new little life growing inside my belly and the motherly instinct is already in full flow. Anything that will help the healthy growth of my baby and ensure she is happy in there is the least I feel I can do, so I am delighted when the lovely Jo from Home Spa London offers me a full body pregnancy massage and eagerly accept.,

As the name suggests Home Spa London means that Jo can come out to your home, although she also has a couple of bases in South London if you prefer or don’t have the space at home.

I opt for the home visit, which means I can just relax at home after the event without having to jump on a crowded tube or get stuck in traffic before I can snuggle up on the sofa or take a warm bath, elongating the pampering as much as I can (as advised by Jo).

As I wait for Jo to arrive, I make sure the heating is turned up and the kettle is on.

A wave of anxiety passes through me as I remember the fact that I didn’t really enjoy the experience of a home haircut and get the slight ‘fear’ about whether or not I will be able to relax and switch off or if I’ll get nervous and natter through the whole shebang, kicking myself afterwards for not making the most of the massage.

But as Jo arrives with her warm and friendly manner, I immediately feel at ease and nip for a last minute wee stop, leaving Jo to set up.

When I get back she is already ready to go and there is a calming waft of Lavender all around.

Jo explains how I should lay down and tells me a little about the massage balm she uses which comes from Somerset. I wonder why, but as she starts to massage it into my skin it feels smooth without being sticky or oily (it also leaves no oily residue on your clothes afterwards and sinks in nicely).

As we begin, I start to over talk and remind myself to relax and enjoy this. No sooner do I start to let myself unwind, Jo’s hands start to perform little miracles on my body and I immediately shut up.

Jo also offers sports massage and you can feel that there is power in her hands now working up and down my left hand side. Now this is what I call a massage and it’s not only me that can feel the impact. The little growing girl in my tummy is wriggling with delight too, apparently a common reaction. The only time I felt that she was calm and enjoying it in there to this level, was when we were on our baby-moon in Cornwall taking our morning swim in the Hotel pool.

This was a good decision I think to myself and one that will be highly worth repeating.

I felt absolutely great all evening and slept like a log!

Jo offers a friendly, comforting and professional service perfect for those days when your back starts giving out from the extra weight you are carrying around. A way to switch off and a massage that really feels like it’s made a difference.

Thanks Jo and see you again soon!”

 

 
baby massage class
 

Baby massage classes

Samantha found out about the baby massage classes through Match Up Mums and hosted a baby massage class with 3 other mums within her home.

Samantha says, “I would really recommend Home Spa baby massage classes. It's such a lovely activity for you & your baby. My little girl has really suffered with wind & colic like symptoms since she was about 4 weeks old, & baby massage seems to have helped alleviate some of her discomfort. It has been great learning the different strokes, some of which you might have been doing instinctively, but learning them in a sequence & understanding the benefits they bring gives you renewed confidence.

I chose to host the baby massage class at home with a few other local mums, which has been great as I think it feels more relaxing & cosy for the babies & the mums. The underfloor heating was a big hit with the babies & the coffee & biscuits a hit with the mums! I've also found it's a lot easier being at home with all the feeding & nappy changes that inevitably happens with 4 little ones.

Jo, our teacher, was excellent, so calm & very understanding of all our baby needs. Doing the course with such a small group meant it felt more like one on one tuition & we were able to run through strokes each of us may have missed while feeding or doing nappy changes. So we really made the most of all of the classes! Baby massage is now a part of our daily routine, whether during a nappy change or post bath, and has given us another opportunity to really bond with our babies.”

 

 
mum massage
 

Relaxation massage

Sarah, a Clapham mum of three small children, reviews Home Spa London’s massage service.  “Five years of carrying increasingly heavy children and more recently, lots of long days at my desk, have left me feeling a bit knotty and a lot tired.   Jo is so professional and immediately puts you at ease.  She brings with her a comfy massage bed – I’ve had awful massages at even very smart salons, due to their tiny cramped beds with my feet hanging over the edge but this one was really comfy.  She also uses solid massage oil so you don’t need to worry about the carpets getting splashed and damaged.  And after all that’s sorted Jo gets to work and… well I can’t tell you very much as thanks to Jo’s magic I switched off completely and I definitely fell asleep!  What I can tell you is that I so needed this, and afterwards felt loads less knotty and creaky.  And the best bit about having a massage in your own home is that you can get straight into your pajamas afterwards, and there’s none of that walking home in the cold with oily hair, which I always think is a horrible return to earth with a bump.  I slept like a baby (well, one that sleeps through the night) afterwards, too.  Definitely recommended.”

Jo offers massage treatments in your own home, and her Bump to Baby package includes pregnancy massage, a course of baby massage classes and a massage for exhausted new mums.  Visit HomeSpaLondon.co.uk for more information and don’t forget, Match Up Mums members get exclusive discounts off Home Spa London services – full details are in our members’ area.


Posted on January 25, 2015 .