Passport Photos for Babies

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A few months after your new baby is born and the initial fog has lifted, you start getting organized. As most of us are expats living in Luxembourg and/or we loooove to travel, we need a passport/ID card for the new little person in our life.

Here are our recommendations to how and where to get the passport PHOTOS done!

The most popular method seems to be taking the picture yourself! Once you have managed to keep the baby still and on a grey or white background (check with your embassy what is allowed as some countries can be pretty strict with their passport pictures), you can either send the photo per email or bring it on a USB key directly to the photo shop and they will print it for you.

It is very important to be clear on the requirements of your photos, for instance it is sometimes required that baby should:

  • not be smiling
  • with open eyes (fair enough but if it’s a newborn that can only stay happily awake for around an hour, impeccable timing is going to be of the essence)
  • with a closed mouth (getting tricky now…)
  • not be sucking on a pacifier or anything else for that matter
  • not be crying. And again here, timing is going to be of the essence. Therefore plan the session so baby is not overtired, or over-hungry and just freshly woken up from a good nap
  • not be wearing any hats, bandanas, glasses or tiaras… Really!

If you do not trust your own photographic skills there are a few places you can go and they will take great care of you and your baby!

Finally, you can also hire a professional photographer to take the photo, perhaps as part of a fabulous family shoot! We really love to work with the following wonderful talents (and regular photography volunteers for Luxmama):
F&G Photography www.photographyfg.com/
Laura Pakasiene Photography: www.facebook.com/LauraPhotography.Luxembourg
Neha Poddar Photography: www.facebook.com/nehapoddarphotography

Our top tip: before going to the Photo shop, check with the authorities to see how they prefer to have them done. The Danish Consulate in Luxembourg suggested we send our photo by email. We therefore didn’t have any cost regarding the printing of the photo. We did have a lot of takes at home as baby would not lie still, but we made it in the end!

What are your experiences? Share in the comments below!


More about the Author

Anne Louise is a mother of two small boys and works as a Holistic Health Coach in Luxembourg. Her passion is helping people, just like you, feel better about themselves through self-care, nutrition and exercise.  

Her dream is that we all start taking better care of ourselves, by eating better, exercising, having healthy relationships, healthy careers and everything else we need, to be at our absolute best. Her dream is that we all Get Real about lives, our health and our well-being.

Why not start Getting Real about your Health and Wellbeing today? You can join her mailing list where you will learn all about her private practice and stay up to date with her events. Sign up here: bit.ly/getrealwithanne

Anne Louise is also a blogger (click here to find her blog) and a volunteer for the Luxmama Club. You can meet her at our monthly Bellies & Booties event.

 

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Cécile’s Incredible Birth Story

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I had the pleasure of connecting with Cécile Devroye, a new Mom here in Luxembourg, first at our Positive Birth Movement Luxembourg meetup. With her little baby in tow, Cécile shared her incredible birth story with us all.

A huge part of my work as a Birth Doula and Childbirth Educator is informing clients of their options and helping them make decisions they are comfortable with, centred on the best evidenced based information. When I heard Cécile’s story I knew it was an anecdote I would hold on to, I was proud of her. Proud that she knew she had options and trusted her inner voice. We knew we needed to help others hear her story, too.

Here at Luxmama, we are passionate about many things. Our focus and main awareness pillars are Birth Rights (or Human Rights in Childbirth), Green Parenting and Perinatal Mental Health. While we have been focusing on the doula aspect of Birth Rights with our current #choice2haveadoula campaign, this is not exclusive! There are so many different ways we hope to help parents know their rights in childbirth and always encourage respectful communication with medical care providers.

In hearing Cécile’s story, we hope that you too will ask questions and get a second opinion if necessary. Trust your instincts and “be free” to not blindly follow what is expected. Take control of your experience and make it your own, it’s one you will remember for a lifetime.

Read the interview here:

Erin (E), Cecile (C)

E- This morning we will be talking about your birth and the unique experience you had here in Luxembourg and subsequently in Amsterdam where Sara was born. But first, I would love to hear a little about you and your philosophy when it comes to birth.

C- I believe in trusting our bodies and that birth is the most natural human experience. As women, we have a very strong intuition when it comes to being a mother and how we decide to have our babies. Mother instinct. It is important to listen to ourselves and our feelings. My dream was to give birth in water and even in Nature. I would have even considered giving birth with Dolphins in the wild.

I had the chance to read a beautiful book “La Naissance, un voyage” about a woman who traveled around the world and was present in several natural childbirths in Mexico, India, Brazil, Africa. So many inspiring stories. It made me realise that there are many ways in giving birth not only what doctors in a traditional hospital will tell you that this is a normal procedure. There is no such thing. It is all about your own story and your baby’s story too.

E- That’s a great philosophy. Women have been doing this since the beginning of time. In my opinion, birth is natures work at its finest.

C- Exactly!

E- What can you tell us about your pregnancy?

C- Despite my age (I am 46 years old) I knew deep inside that I would become a mother one day. And when you want something really strongly, I believe that all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. It doesn’t matter how… it is all about the will and the right timing. I become a mother at the right moment. I was working on my own projects but not as an employee. When I knew I was pregnant I felt honoured to have been chosen as a mother. I did not want to have too many ultrasound tests. I had only 2 at the right beginning, then a 3rd one at my 32 weeks and I found out that it was a “she”. I felt so happy and blessed. My pregnancy went well although I felt some pain in my ribs and I later learned that this was because of her position inside – she was in breech . Because of her position, I had another echo at my 37 weeks when the doctor told me that my baby was “under the growth-curve” and that I had to decide nearly on that same day for a scheduled caesarean. He was quite harsh and frightening. He even told me that my baby could die in my belly… A midwife discouraged me from even thinking about natural birth with a breech baby because “they would have to break my pelvis”, and it put Sara at risk for being disabled.

They even said that if I didn’t follow their advice, I would be putting them in jail – I understood that they were worried about their reputation and that it was their fear not mine. I was a first time Mom, and if I had have been younger I might not have been as confident to stand up to them…

I was shocked but even more outraged by the way they talked to me. It was so threatening but I could in the end come back to my senses and I immediately went to see another doctor for a second opinion who told me that everything was fine and that she was just a smaller baby.

E- It’s great that you trusted your instincts and decided to get a second opinion. That is always an option. So, you mentioned Sara’s position causing you some discomfort during your pregnancy. To explain, this is because she was in a breech position, which means she was resting bottom down instead of head down. What happened from this point?

C- I tried several things to invite Sara to turn down : I went to prenatal yoga classes where I learned some posture to help out. I tried moxabustion [the Chinese Medicine technique of burning moxa (dried mugwort) known to encourage babies to turn] but it didn’t work out. I talked and sang to her. In the end she was happy and comfortable where she was. Someone once told me that the reason she stayed in breech was because she wanted to be close to my heart which is a very sweet sentiment.

I heard that in the whole country there were sadly only two doctors who are known to support a breech position delivery, but one of them was the one I had a bad experience with and who suggested a caesarean birth at 37 weeks and the other one is practicing in the same cabinet and was actually on holiday.

I believe that everything happens for a reason and Sara had certainly her reason to stay in breech – maybe she wanted to be born in Amsterdam.

E- That’s so true; we know babies have their own intuitions already in the womb. Tell us about your choice to give birth in the Netherlands, and the process.

C- There was no way for me to decide for a C-section (which was my only option in Luxembourg). I was still convinced that I could give birth naturally. So, I escaped Luxembourg when I was 41 weeks pregnant (11 days past my estimated due date) and I went to Amsterdam It was a last minute decision and while we were traveling by car, I was looking for a place to stay that I finally managed to find. When we arrived in Amsterdam, we went directly to the birth hotel where I met an amazing lady who directly arranged an appointment with the hospital. I knew I was at the right place as soon as they told me that they were experts in breech delivery. All of the doctors, midwives, obstetricians were women and they were so great and welcoming. As Oprah Winfrey said “life speaks to you every day.” Whatever you decide in life and the choices you make you will get your answers.

E- Wow it’s great that you felt so welcome. What can you share with us about Sara’s birth?

C- I was in good hands and I trusted the doctors right away. I dreamed of giving birth in water and I ended up having quite a medicalized birth, but as soon as you realize that this is the moment for your baby to come, there is no important dream anymore, the most important thing is to see your baby arriving safely. I am happy that I was able to give birth naturally without having to have surgery and I was thankful for the excellent team (doctors and midwifes) in Amsterdam who helped us throughout. We received excellent care. Sara spent one night in the neonatal unit but she was with me the next morning.

E- Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

C- Yes. I deeply encourage every mother-to-be and anyone else to listen to their inner voice, to follow their courage and feel free to take any decision according to who they really are. We have created society and that society has conditioned us. Our minds are strained and heavily conditioned by a morality which is not moral and not normal. We obey to teachers, politicians, doctors, etc but they don’t own the truth. And when it comes to birth and babies, “prenatal programming” definitely exists. The only truth to trust is the one within us and I hope that more and more people will open themselves to that consciousness.

Also, Sara’s birth is not only my story, but it’s also her story. Before they are even born the baby’s journey starts. It’s not about only us as human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. We must have faith in something more than what we can see.

Finally I would like to quote a courageous mom whom I was in touched with during my pregnancy and after Sara’s birth, she said something I totally agree with : “Change birth to change humanity”. It is so true.

E- “Heal Birth, heal the earth”

C- That’s exactly it.

Thank you so much Cécile for sharing your story with us. You have demonstrated great courage, and it is so great that you felt empowered and able to take control of your care and in turn this very important life event! This is inspiring and I hope that others in the same, or a similar situation, may also find the courage to trust their instincts as you have.


More about Cécile Devroye

Cécile has worked in the cinema industry for years, occupying various positions in animation companies, production enterprises, film festivals and producer training organisation. She left the film industry in 2011 to start her own business as a Life Coach. Believing that a vibrational attitude of positivity will attract positive results, she launched the “Dare4Change” initiative in 2012, aimed at raising people’s awareness of their true purpose in life. Cécile is passionate about People, Consciousness, Synchronicity, Quantum Physics and Universe. She believes that we have entered a new Era of Consciousness: people are waking up, they understand that their lives have a greater purpose. She says that we have everything within us and it is about time to have the courage to follow our heart and intuition. So, what if everybody did exactly what they love to do?


Would you like to tell us your birth story?  Click here!


More about Erin Botrie

Erin is a Certified Birth Doula and Child Birth Educator (DTC) from Ontario, Canada. She joins the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep asbl Team, bringing first-hand experience supporting families through this important time and is passionate about birth rights.

Erin enjoys working with expecting and new families to empower their decisions during pregnancy, labour and parenting. A passion for birth and supporting women through this time is what brought her to where she is now.

Erin believes in the importance of families acquiring the knowledge they need to make informed decisions that make sense for them on this journey. Erin advocates for labouring and parenting “your way.” With years of training and first-hand experience she has learned a wide range of tips & techniques that can help expecting parents on the path towards their best birth and parenting experience.

Break the Taboo

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Break the Taboo

Urinary Incontinence

Is this subject too taboo?

When I started my studies for physiotherapy I never thought that I was going to be where I am today. I used to think this job was meant to help people with back pain, broken bones and sport injuries. Isn’t that what physiotherapists spend their precious time on?

I have been following the Luxmama activities for some time now and have also been reading all your comments, and I realised that you as parents now know that your beloved kids also sometimes need physiotherapy, especially around that dark, dreary winter time marked by the dreaded bacterial outbreaks in day-care centers. I wish I knew that during the first year of my university studies.

Fortunately, I discovered pediatric physiotherapy in my second year of university. I enjoyed working with and around children and decided to have a trainee-ship in a maternity hospital to learn more about handling new-born children. That was the time when I was thrown in at the deep end. Not only was I surrounded by crying babies but also and in particular by pregnant women, sexual pain, perineal tearing, incontinence, aching breasts and so much more. I was literally shocked!

Young and ignorant as I was, I had no idea of what happens after the first rush of happy hormones wear off after giving birth. From the movies we learn that giving birth is painful, exhausting and is really really hard, but nobody speaks about why it is so painful. Why is nobody talking about what happens to the pelvic floor during the pregnancy, childbirth and following weeks and months?

In the era of Shades of Grey, when nothing seems unspeakable, unfortunately, the pelvic floor and its injuries like perineal tearing is still a taboo topic. A study (1) says that 93.5% of primiparae (women giving birth for the first time) suffer a perineal tear at delivery. Moreover, 32% to 64% of women world-wide are affected by urinary incontinence (2). Women who experience damage of the perineal structures have pain, social and psychological problems in addition to problems with their pelvic floor (incontinence or organ prolapse) (3).

Women of all ages need to be enlightened. The sooner the better. That is the reason why it is so important to talk about these potential challenges and to prevent them. 

Today, I am a physiotherapist specialized in gynaecology, urology and… whoop!… paediatrics.

I want to give you more information about topics like the pelvic floor, doing sports during pregnancy and perineal tears, so that the unpleasant side of delivery is no longer a taboo subject. Women, and men, need to know that there is a way to resolve urinary incontinence, so you can focus more on other more positive sides of being a mum.

 

The Pelvic Floor

The pelvic floor is the area between the pelvic bones at the very end of our trunk. Roughly speaking you can imagine a bowl of muscles resting between your pubis (the bone close to the bladder), your coccyx (the bone which hurts a lot if you fall on your bum) and your ischial tuberosity (the bones which you sit on).

On the one hand the function of the pelvic floor is it to guarantee continence and to avoid organ prolapse. This security must be given at any moment, also in pregnancy. On the other hand, the muscles must be able to relax when we go to the toilet to voluntarily empty the bladder or the rectum (4). The pelvic floor must hold against the pressure which can result from sneezing or coughing or carrying the baby in the uterus. So, the muscles contract and they lift the vagina and the anus to regulate the push. To sum up, strong pelvic floor muscles are needed (5).

The pelvic floor undergoes changes due to the hormonal and mechanical changes during pregnancy (6). In this context we speak about the weight of the uterus pushing on the pelvic floor (7), the Body Mass Index of the mother before the pregnancy and at the moment of the delivery, but also the weight of the fœtus. The heavier the baby is, the more weight is pushing on the structures of the pelvic floor (8).

The production of the hormones Oestrogen, Relaxin and Progesteron is higher during pregnancy, which influences the pelvic floor and the urogenital organs (9). The effect of those hormones is a loss of stability of the ligaments and muscles, particularly the muscles of the uterus, the bladder and the urinary tract. This results in an inefficient closing mechanism and therefore in urinary incontinence (7). Incontinence is described as an involuntary loss of urine or faecal matter (13). This can be felt during physical activities such as sneezing, coughing or lifting the baby (10).

Physical activity and sports contribute to the production of catecholamine, which helps to guarantee the functionality of the closing mechanism of the urinary tract and safeguards urinary continence (11).

Several other risk factors during pregnancy and delivery can impact the pelvic floor negatively. These include as for example the second stage of birth, smoking habits and epidural anaesthesia (6).

In addition to the slacking of pelvic floor tissue during pregnancy, strains and tears of the perineal structures (vessels, muscles, connective tissue) cannot be ruled out (12).

There are already studies which can prove the positive effect of pelvic floor exercises to prevent incontinence while researchers continue trying to find even more solutions against perineal tear, too.

I would love to accompany you and your friends in your re-education of the pelvic floor. There is no reason why we should live with incontinence after an experience as wonderful as becoming a mum.


About the Author

Carmen Glod is a physiotherapist specialized in urogynecology and paediatrics. She is luxemburgish and studied in Germany. Talking about the pelvic floor is her passion. Her aim is to break the taboo around pelvic floor injuries and incontinence.

She is working in the Cabinet de Kinésithérapie Mélodie Hermant. 121C route d’Arlon 1150 Luxembourg. Tél.: +352 263899

Don’t hesitate to get in touch!


References

(1) Samuelsson, E., Ladfords, L., Lindblom, BG., Hagberg, H. (2002). A prospective observational study on tears during vaginal delivery: occurrences and risk factors. Acta obstetricia et gynecologica Scandinavica, 81(1), 44-9.

(2) Milsom, I., Altman, D., Lapitan, MC., Nelson, R., Sillen, U., Thom, D. (2009). Epidemiology of urinary (UI) and faecal (FI) incontinence and pelvic organ Prolapse (POP). Committee 1.

(3) Handa, VL., Blomquist, JL., McDermott, KC., Friedman, S., Munos, A. (2012). Pelvic floor disorders after vaginal birth: effect of episiotomy, perineal laceration, and operative birth.  Obstetrics & Gynecology, 119(2 PT 1), 233-9.

(4) Ashton-Miller, JA., DeLancey, JO. (2007). Functional anatomy of the female pelvic floor. Annals of the New York Academy of Science, 1101, 266-296.

(5) Nyangoh, TK., Bessede, T., Zaitouna, M., Peschaud, F., Chevallier, JM., Fauconnier, A., Benoit, G., Moszkowicz, D. (2015). Anatomy of the levator ani muscle.

(6) Bozkurt, M., Yumru, A. E., Sahin, L. (2014). Pelvic floor dysfunction, and effects of pregnancy and mode of delivery on pelvic floor. Taiwanese Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, 53(4), 452-458.

(7) Chan, S. S., Cheung, R. Y., Yiu, K. W., Lee, L. L., Leung, T. Y., Chung, T. K. (2014). Pelvic floor biometry during a first singleton pregnancy and the relationship with symptoms of pelvic floor disorders: a prospective observational study. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 121(1), 121-129.

(8) Bozkurt, M., Yumru, A. E., Sahin, L. (2014). Pelvic floor dysfunction, and effects of pregnancy and mode of delivery on pelvic floor. Taiwanese Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, 53(4), 452-458.

(9) Chen, B., Wen, Y., Yu, X., Polan, ML: (2005). Elastin metabolism in pelvic tissues: is it modulated by reproductive hormones?. American journal of obstetrics & gynecology, 192(5), 1605-13.

(10) Schumacher, S., Müller, SC. (2004). Belastungsinkontinenz und Mischinkontinenz. (electronic version). Der Urologe. 43, 10, 1289- 1300.

(11) Thyssen, HH.,  Clevin, L., Olesen, S., Lose, G. (2002). Urinary incontinence in elite female athletes and dancers. International urogynecology journal and pelvic floor dysfunction, 13(1), 15-7

(12) Memon, HU., Handa, VL. (2013). Vaginal Childbirth and pelvic floor disorders. Women’s Health, 9(3), 265-77.

(13) Haylen, B. T., Ridder, D., Freeman, R.M., Swift, S. E., Berghamans, B., Lee, J., Monga, A., Patri, E., Rizk, D. E., Sand, P. K., Schaer, G. N. (2009). An International Urogynecological Association (IUGA) / International Continence Society (ICS) joint report on the Terminology for female pelvic floor dysfunction. Neurology and Urodynamics, Version 17, 10-17.

Luxembourg Parks: Bambesch

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Another wonderful park in Luxembourg is the Bambesch playground. The parc is right next to the Bambesch forest which has beautiful trails to explore, many of them are all-terrain buggy friendly.

There is really an array of interesting installations to explore for all ages and the benches and shady trees make it great for picnics. If you don’t feel like packing a picnic, next door by the Tennis Club, you will find the restaurant Am Clubhaus op der Spora – also with a little terrace overlooking the tennis courts. The food is great and includes great sushi!

When visiting the park, the closest restroom facilities are below the restaurant. There is no changing facility so keep that in mind.

To get to the Bambesch playground: (very close to Boo’s Café)  – Rue Bridel – Centre Bambesch L-1264 Luxembourg.

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Various beautiful walking trails into the forest

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Taking a break in the heart of the forest

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Time to picnic!

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More about the Author

DSC_0554

As mother of two darling babies Certified IMPI Holistic Pregnancy & Child Sleep Coach, Perinatal Coach/Educator and Happiest Baby Educator, Marise Hyman provides worldwide maternity, sleep & parenting coaching & education for expecting/future/new parents through Marise Hyman Maternity Coaching – setting them up for success, so they can sail into their new lives with confidence!
She is also the founder of the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep asbl, an edgy non-profit organisation raising awareness for green, natural & holistic parenting alternatives, birth rights and postnatal mood disorders by offering a variety of inspiring social and educational events in Luxembourg.

Prenatal Fitness in Luxembourg

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We all know, moving our bodies in ways that feel good is essential for our well-being. When you are pregnant, this still rings true. But as you embark on your prenatal fitness journey it is still recommended to discuss the level and type of exercise suitable for you (as each pregnancy is different) with your medical care provider.

The Benefits:

In general, exercising during pregnancy is recommended, safe and offers the following benefits

  1. Greater control over weight.
  2. Boosts your mood (yes please!)
  3. Research shows that exercising regularly during pregnancy could significantly decrease and prevent the risk of unintended caesarean births.
  4. Exercising during pregnancy also allows the baby to have access to improved blood flow, oxygen and other nutrients.
  5. Mums-to-be who exercise throughout pregnancy also experience shorter labours and are less likely to require medical assistance during labour.
Go for 20 to 30 minutes of “moderate” exercise per day that feels good, on most days of the week. If you’re exercising at a low level, you can continue for longer. Swimming, walking, pilates, yoga and other specialised prenatal fitness classes etc are great. If you love swimming, do consider diversifying your fitness activities a bit to decrease Chlorine exposure. Other more strenuous activities like running and strength training is also fine if you have been doing these prior to getting pregnant and your body is used to it. Of course, other activities with a higher risk of injury like horse-riding, contact sport, rollerblading and skiing, you may want to give a skip for obvious reasons.
The pregnant body changes rapidly and requires careful attention during pregnancy due to the changing hormones causing your muscles, joints and ligaments to loosen , weight gain and change in blood volume. It is therefore recommended to choose your prenatal fitness instructor wisely and to rather join in at classes that are specialised for pregnancy as they incorporate important pregnancy-specific modifications, include guidance on proper alignment, which ensures you and baby are both safe to enjoy. After the first 13 weeks of your pregnancy, you should not lay on your back as this could decrease your blood pressure.
Look for an experienced and well-qualified teacher with specialised training in pregnancy fitness who knows the physiology of the body and how to ease pregnancy aches and pains. For example, if you have back pain, he/she should be able to guide you on exercises to reduce the pain and find ways to avoid it, if possible. It’s also very important that your instructor is well informed about diastasis recti – the abdominal separation that occurs in pregnancy, including how to watch for it and what exercises to do and not to do in order to lessen the degree of separation. The best pace to move at, it is where you can still talk.
Other beneficial features to look for when choosing, are classes where you also:
 – learn to use the breath, to control your emotions and find physical rest in the body,
 – learn different labor positions so they come natural on the big day, as movement is a key part in managing labour progress and sensations,
 – have the opportunity to share and connect with others in the class, so you can start building your “birth community village”. This part is golden.
 – can understand the language the instructor speaks so you don’t miss important information!

Below we have compiled a list (below in alphabetical order) where you can get your prenatal fitness fix in Luxembourg:

Disclaimer: Neither the author or Luxmama Club & ParentPrep asbl shall be held responsible for any negligence resulting from a service provided by practitioners listed hereafter. Please use your own discretion to investigate suitability.

Cabinet Maman Enfant Kinésithérapie  – Kirchberg. All classes are in French including classical preparation (breathing), pilates, yoga, light fitness exercises, aqua-gym, “gym posturale” (stretch & improve your posture), fit-ball, stretch yoga.

Clare Marie Pilates & Wellness   – Various locations. Prenatal Pilates.

Initiativ Liewensufank – Itzig. Prenatal yoga and fitness in German.

Mammafit  – Various locations. Prenatal fitness.

Maternité Grand-Duchesse Charlotte – Luxembourg city. Prenatal fitness.

Midwife Michelle Finck – Belair. Prenatal yoga and fitness.

Pilates Alaya Luxembourg – Luxembourg City. Classes in FR.

Pilates Studio Luxembourg – Luxembourg City.

Pregnancy Swimming class at Pidal Various locations, under “Cours de Natation” you will find the “Schwangerschaftsgymnastik” in German).

Respirit Pilates – Strassen. Classes in FR.

Tree of Life Yoga – Various locations. Classes in EN and FR.

YogaBalance – Kirchberg. Feminine glow classes (breathing, relaxation, meditation and postures).

Yoga La Source – Bereldange.

Yoga Shanti – Various locations.


Please shoot us a message, either as comment to this post or blog.luxmama@gmail.com to add any prenatal fitness, not already listed here. And if you’d like to contribute an article to our blog, by writing a review of your experience with any prenatal fitness activity in Luxembourg, we want to hear from you too!


More about the Author:

As mother of two darling babies, Holistic Maternity & Sleep Coach/educator, Marise DSC_0554Hyman provides worldwide coaching and education in planning for an empowered pregnancy, birth and parenthood journey to future/new parents through Marise Hyman Maternity Coaching – setting them up for success, so they can move from confusion to confidence.
She is also a Birth Advocate and founder of the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep asbl, an edgy non-profit organisation raising awareness for green, natural & holistic parenting alternatives, birth rights and perinatal mental health by offering a variety of inspiring social and educational events in Luxembourg.

What is Ortho-Bionomy?

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Ortho-Bionomy is a gentle, non-invasive, osteopathically-based form of body therapy which is highly effective in working with chronic stress, injuries and pains or problems associated with postural and structural imbalances. The practitioner uses gentle movements and positions of the body to facilitate the change of stress and pain patterns. A strong focus is placed on the comfort of the individual, no forceful movements are used. The practitioner also suggests home exercises that individuals can do to further facilitate the neuromuscular re-education process begun in the session. Ortho-Bionomy is very effective in helping alleviate both acute and chronic pain and stress patterns by reducing chronic muscle tension, soothing the joints, increasing flexibility, improving circulation, and relaxing the entire body.

Source: www.ortho-bionomy.org

Chrystele Welter practices ortho-bionomy in Luxembourg and is here sharing her expertise and knowledge about the therapy.

 

ORTHO-BIONOMY – A gentle and effective method

Dr. Arthur Lincoln Pauls, a British osteopath and Judo instructor, created the method in California in 1976. Through his own personal development, he improved on the Phase Reflex Techniques of Ortho-bionomy: these techniques include positional release and energetic techniques that enable the patient to understand, consciously experience and even participate in their own capacity to self-correct.

An accumulation of stress and fatigue, associated with memories of physical or emotional traumas which have taken root in our cells can cause a breakdown of the energy in our body.

These blockages are the cause of muscle tension, visceral pain and unexplained imbalances of our major functions (sleep disorders, headaches, migraines, dizziness, etc.…), causing discomfort and difficulty in adapting to the environment. Health problems occur when the body can no longer regulate these functions.

Like the homeopathic principle saying “applying the true values of life”, Ortho-Bionomy covers a wide spectrum of techniques ranging from hands-on contact to non-physical contact. With reassuring care the practitioner stimulates and supports the body’s natural self-corrective reflexes. Ortho-Bionomy can help to liberate the body of its energetic obstructions and restore its natural ability to find harmony and balance. A lovely therapy for living your maternity and motherhood in serenity.

How Ortho-bionomy treatments can help newborns, pregnant women and new mothers?

Ortho-Bionomy is a gentle approach to support the body and spirit from pregnancy to the motherhood when the mother’s body changes and some pain or tiredness appears physically. This method promotes the relaxation of the nervous system, the emotions and the physical body.

Ortho-bionomy is different but complementary to Osteopathy

Osteopathy treats the body’s structures with a physical manipulation of the muscle tissue and bones. Ortho-Bionomy is a little bit different with a gentle approach, without any cracking, and more focused on the emotional body. Thanks to this energetic work we focus more on emotions which can explain any tensions or symptoms.

Following the circumstances of childbirth, a mother can be in need of some emotional healing after the delivery – even if it was a normal vaginal birth or caesarean. The therapist can help her to release this with a soft and gentle physical approach including soft compression and listening to the signs of body. The therapist strengthens the ability of the body to self-regulate itself while focusing on the mother’s body.

Motherhood is emotionally a very delicate period for the mother: Post pregnancy is a new experience for mother and requires some physical and emotional readjustments. This therapy helps to re-calm the nervous system after a caesarean operation or any trauma, even by a normal vaginal delivery, and is soothing for the tissues.

Ortho-Bionomy also helps the father to relax his anxiety to confront the birth journey with the mother and afterwards, post-birth, the new life with the newborn.

This method is extremely gentle and provides healing for babies and children. Children are very receptive to the contact and energy transmitted to their body and this treatment calms their nervous system and helps them to release any tensions following the delivery (emotional trauma, cranial sacral, sleep issues, infant colic, digestive problems, etc..). Ortho-Bionomy is gentler than osteopathy, including also energetic work and is part of the cranial-sacral technique.

What is the cost and how many sessions are required?

A minimum of 3 sessions are required and the cost is €65 per session

In a typical session, the patient lies fully clothed on a table and identifies with the practitioner any areas of discomfort, this gentle approach uses comfortable positioning and relaxing movements to unlock tension, relieve pain, promote structural balance, reduce stress and increase personal awareness and well-being.

Ortho-Bionomy’s primary benefit lies in helping to break the cycle of pain, to correct structural and physical dysfunctions and to release stress.

APPLICATIONS OF THE ORTHO-BIONOMY

• Imbalances, tension and pain of the musculoskeletal structure (back pain, thoracic/lumbar pain, sciatica, neck pain, sport injuries, etc.)
• Dysfunction and pain of the viscera (post-operative pain, digestive discomfort, uterine fibroids, etc.)
• Imbalances of major functions (sleep discomfort, migraines, anxiety, etc.)
• Pre and post-natal support
• Support of some chronic diseases and discomfort resulting from surgery

ORTHO-BIONOMY’S BENEFITS

• Better energy flow and relief of acute or chronic pain
• A release of physical and muscular imbalances
• Emotional tension or traumas, and Post-traumatic stress discomfort
• Relief of discomfort due to surgery
• Better body awareness and enhancing of healing capacity
• A deep feeling of relaxation and well being

Ortho-Bionomy can work in support of a medical check-up but cannot substitute itself for one in any case.

 


More about the author:

Chrystele has practiced Reiki Energy Therapy for 15
years and also organize initiations for people interested
in self-healing and healing of others.

Passionate about a holistic approach, she became an
Ortho-bionomy practitioner in 2007 in France and
subsequently in Luxembourg. She then decided to compliment her current knowledge with a training in Thai traditional massage and Thai oil massage with essential oils at the Thai Medical School in Bangkok. She has been working in her own centre called “Zen Attitude” in Strassen since 2011.

Currently, she practices her therapies in a joint practice, as an independent therapist and can be contacted at A-B Kinésithérapie, 27 Rue Principale, L-5240 Sandweiler. Tél : (+352) 621 25 21 22.

Inside my own skin

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How we create a ‘sense of self’ by holding our children and talking to them.

The sun is rising on a new morning, I am (sleep)walking around the house. The hands of the clock are sprinting to an unknown finish line, while I am slowly (and so far, unsuccessfully) trying to get myself together. The clock is pounding in my head. We are late! Very late! I increase my pace, running from one room to another. My beloved little girl happily follows my steps, charmingly dragging stuffed animals and dolls with her like this is all part of a game we play. Her rolling laughter fills up the space around us. The clock does not exist in her world, all we do is play.

The water has boiled in the kettle, I am finally making coffee. I went to the store yesterday so where, the hell, is the sugar?! She stamps her feet excitedly on the floor and in one moment tears the package apart. Million grains of sugar are scattered everywhere, like fields of crystal flakes. The little one is ecstatically observing the new texture, touching it with the tips of her fingers, whereas I can almost observe my sanity scattering on the floor alongside the white sugar flakes. I calm my breath. Instant tears of frustration pool within my eyes. My inner voice is shouting at her like a lunatic, killing any last strength that was left in me. I take another deep breath, restoring my sanity where it belongs, and wonder who or what should I collect first – Me? Her? The sugar? After all, these are all part of this scattered morning… By explaining to the little one that we now need to take a shovel and a broom and collect the sugar flakes, I symbolically gather the both of us ‘back in the sugar jar’ so we can wake up properly and be prepared to start the new day.

Our lives are saturated with moments like these, when the internal and external realities are generating so much noise that even a small trigger like the scattered sugar could flood our inner container, creating a big storm inside. These incidents could allow us to take a pause, and be relieved for finally being given a break from the every – day pressures, but might also make us feel pretty shaken.

Inside my own skin: The field of psychology is interested, among other things, in our early development as babies. One of the aspects of that early period of life, is the pre-verbal experiences we had as babies. These pre-verbal experiences refer to the way we were experiencing the world before we acquired the ability to speak, and verbally express our thoughts or feelings. According to the child psychology field, these early childhood hidden memories have an immense impact on the way we feel, think, respond, and behave as adults.

Esther Bick was one of the first Psychoanalysts who dedicated their life work to the early childhood’s development. Bick (1968) writes about the baby’s development of a sense of self through his skin’s sensations. By doing so, she demonstrates the strong bond between our physical body/reality, and the emotional sphere. According to which, the baby finds the ‘proof’ for the existence of another person but him (external object) by the sensations he feels on his skin. He gets to know his parents through the physical contact, such as while being breast fed. This essential touch of the parent provides a firm and holding container to the different parts of the baby’s personality, creating for him a sense of self.

Bick’s skin image is simple and complicated at once. It is very clear to us that the baby needs to be physically held by the parent to survive. What we now realize is, that the skin wrapped around our body is also functioning as a container, allowing us to feel psychologically held. The caregivers in charge of the baby’s emotional and physical well-being are creating a coating, which would be at his disposal, as a safe and holding container. To this Bick calls: “Being all of a piece within his skin” (Bick, 1968).

We are hardly aware of the psychological function of our skin, until we feel the need to be held. Indeed, in this hectic morning all I needed was a hug. I needed that the world would wait for a few moments, the clock would stand still, my husband would come home for 5 minutes of physical holding, and help me gain back my sense of self. A five-minute hug from him could be a good alternative for the real thing – A hug from my mother. In the absence of these two, my daughter and I were engaged in the re-collection of the sugar grains into their container, a symbolic activity which allowed the two of us to calm down and gain a sense of control, feel all of a piece within our skin.

Body and soul: Winnicott (1954) refers to this subject when he talks about “the psyche-soma”, the duo of body-soul. To explain his theory, Winnicott uses an image of a big round body, containing everything in it and functioning as one unit. According to him, when we are functioning normally there is no separation between our body and our soul. The physical and mental spheres are not standing one against the other, but functioning together, two parts of the same big unit. Growing up, we acquire the ability to imagine, picture in our mind the physical outlines of ourselves (our bodies). By imagining, we are creating a whole image of ourselves. This inner image of ourselves is a big part of our inner world. To these two parts (inner world and external world) Winnicott calls: Self and Imaginative-self.

All this sounds at first quite complicated, but is easily demonstrated using our everyday lives. I find myself debating frequently whether what I am feeling is physically or emotionally based – when my heart is “broken” it is obviously not spreading in tiny little pieces like the sugar pack from this morning, but it sure does feel this way. Emotional pain could make us feel physically ill and we can hardly tell the difference.

Mind and soul: To continue Winnicott’s trail of thought, I would like to address another idea of his. Our soul, is an imaginative elaboration of our physical sensations. Meaning, what our babies physically feel (hugs, kisses, hunger, cold, etc.) is becoming their emotional reality as well. Moreover, the soul can mediate between the external reality and our emotional experience. When the external environment does not meet our need (is not “a good enough environment” as Winnicott calls it) it could turn into one in our minds. Our mind is what makes a “good enough environment” to a perfect one (Winnicotte, 1954). Considering that we could never be the perfect parents, no matter how hard we try, this is good news to all of us.

Soul mitigates reality: Therefore, when the hands of the clock are sprinting, the clock keeps pounding in our head, and we feel like we are very close to the break point, we use our mind (mentalization) as an anchor. The internal dialogue we create is mitigating the relation between the inner and external world. The way we think about what is happening to us has a great impact on how we feel about life in general. As an adult, I am familiar with this inner dialogue and manage a delicate balance using language, words and images. My daughter, on the other hand, is still at the preverbal stage of life, experiencing the world with her other senses: she tears a package of sugar, sensing its grains through her fingertips, and recollecting them with a shovel. Happily, I am able to do the other activities for her, providing her with the functions she still lacks: the recollection, speaking or holding in these scattered moments are allowing her to feel contained and safe, inside her skin.

* References:

Winnicott, D. W. (1954). Mind and it’s relation to the Psyche-Soma. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 27(4): 201-2019.

Bick, E. (1968). The experience of the skin in early object relations. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 49: 484-486.

 


About the writer:

Adi Dwek Bonar is an experienced therapist and counselor living in Luxembourg. As part of her work, she accompanies children, adolescents, parents, and soon-to-be parents in the process of understanding themselves and/or each other to increase their well-being.

Her personal experience as an expat raising two kids in Luxembourg taught her the specific challenges of relocation and the growth opportunities it holds.

Adi is accepting new clients in her clinic in Luxembourg city, or via video chats.

You can read more about her at: www.2grow.eu

You can contact her at: Tel: +352 661 888 864 adi@2grow.eu

It takes a Village

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I am so grateful for the Luxmama Club. I am so grateful that I have somewhere to turn when things look hard or when I don’t know where to find the answer. My only wish is that I had known about them before I became a parent.

I grew up in Luxembourg so I never consulted the English speaking community much. I tried to be stay up to date with the Danish community but with everything else I tried to be as local as I could.

Having my first son was not the piece of cake I had hoped it was. I wasn’t given the right help or support that I had hoped for, so my birthing experience was far from good. I had read all about pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding from Danish sources and was mildly shocked when I understood that things work very differently down here.

When it was time to have my second son I thought it could be a good idea to see what the English community was offering and that is when I found the Luxmama Club. In the beginning I was a tad hesitant and maybe a little standoffish when it became too holistic or green or environmental for my taste – I mean sometimes it is purely about survival… but these fears quickly disappeared when I saw and experienced how nice everyone was and how open minded people were about doing things differently. The Luxmama community is so diverse with people from all over the world so there are bound to be clashes, but everyone seems to give each other space to be as we are. And, truth be told, we do need to look better after our environment, with all the disposable nappies, plastic bottles and what not…

For me, the Luxmama community is the village we need in order to raise our children, because it does take a village! I am not very good at asking for help, so it took a while before I realised that being a parent, especially to multiple children simply cannot be done without asking for help. Even one child can be highly challenging. Not only asking for help is difficult, but also receiving help nobody has asked for can be very hard.

When I was in the first months of baby bliss I was shocked by my new sleepless existence and how far we can go without actually sleeping, but at some point the ball drops and our bodies simply won’t play along anymore.

How nice would it be if we wouldn’t have to let it go so far? If it was completely natural that someone comes over with a hot homemade meal without any strings attached. Or someone was coming by to take the baby out for a walk so it could get some fresh air while mummy could just be herself for a little while. Maybe even do some chores, maybe shower!!, or just clean or tidy up the house? How nice would that have been?

When the second baby arrived things really got out of control. Not only was there even less sleep – is that even possible? Yes it was… and as parents, we have to split ourselves into several people. Both my boys needed attention from me, how was I supposed to handle that?

One of my big struggles was that the bigger kid was going to crèche and my rule was that he was not allowed to stay there longer than x number of hours. It felt cruel to me to let him stay any longer. So when I had to pick him up, it was usually during naptime of the other kid. How was I supposed to handle that? Disrupt a sleeping baby, which I think is a terrible thing to do. Any parent knows or should know not to disturb a sleeping baby – when they finally freaking sleep!! Am I right? Or should I go against my principles and let the big kid stay in crèche longer? Which kid would win? Who was more important? Impossible questions. How nice would it had been if I could have a grandparent, a neighbour or friend nearby who could just be there while I pick up the other kid? This would also help with not having to take the baby in and out of the freaking child seat… am I right? But this is the not the world we live in, so we have to adapt. Sometimes the baby would win, but more often than I care to admit I had to wake up my sleeping baby. Aiihhh the guilt.

It is always about choices. For instance baby should be laying flat on his back most of the time for healthy spine development, but the safest way to travel in a car is having the baby in a maxi cosi, so what should you choose? Or should we take public transport everywhere we go risking that some places are not handicap friendly? Which, it turns out, they are not.

The first months I never had a warm meal, because baby always needed my attention during dinner. I was the one with the boobs, I couldn’t really give them away, could I? Although I really wanted to. I remember during pregnancy I was thinking, if I could just not be pregnant, just for a little while, just to have a break. Like hanging a jacket on the rack and put it back on when I was ready. But the alien inside my belly was stuck with me and I with him, nowhere to drop him off.

These are only some of the issues I was facing with my baby and I had a healthy happy baby, I don’t even want to think about those that struggle with diseases or other. On top of that we actually do have 3 grandparents here to help us out… and I still feel that I needed or need a village! The kids are getting older and new challenges arise and the village is still needed!

Even if in today’s world we have come so much closer with social media and easier travel methods, we have come so far away from each other.

Just the other day at a bellies and booties get-together a mother was complaining about

never having any time for herself! She was clearly deeply in love with her baby girl, but she was so missing a little time for herself – MAMA, we hear you!! If we had a village community this would happen less and less.

In the spirit of Christmas why don’t we come together and help each other out? Do you know someone who is about to be a parent or just became a parent? Becoming a parent is hard work and it can be so hard to ask for help. It can be such small things as helping a tired parent get his/her pushchair out of the bus, or offer to hold a crying baby while mother is trying to find her wallet in her oversized bag that is now filled with baby stuff and no longer has lip-gloss and a compact mirror. Or offering your neighbour to help out with their kids when they need it.

To new parents I have to say that it is never too late to build your village. If you are alone here in Luxembourg with limited friends and no family I urge you to reach out to a mom’s community. Even if you do have family and friends, like I have, you still will benefit from a village. You do not have to face these challenges alone. If you are feeling what you are feeling, I bet you someone else is feeling the exact same thing! Please don’t wait until the ball drops, reach out now. It is completely OK to think parenthood is hard because it is! And we do not need to do it alone. We are here for you!

Finally and probably most importantly let’s support each other in our journey of parenthood. We all come from different countries and we all have different customs that we agree with or not, this doesn’t matter. We are all parents and we all love our children more than life itself. We all want what is best for our children! Let’s stand together!

From everyone here at Luxmama:
We wish you a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR! Here is to a new beginning and to creating that village!

 


More about the AuthorLOGO_NEW

Anne Louise is a mother of two small boys and works as a Holistic Health Coach in Luxembourg. She helps her clients deal with the overwhelm of parenthood. Through diet and lifestyle changes she motivates and encourages her clients to live their best live. She helps her clients lose weight, gain more energy, increase quality of sleep and finally feel awesome about themselves!

 

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Struggling with weight herself for most of her life, she can truly relate to her clients and offers a safe space to talk about issues around food, body image and self-love.

She keeps up to date with the newest Health Trends and blogs about her findings. Get her story and top health tips straight to your inbox, just click here.

A Breastfeeding Story

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This month on the blog it is about Breastfeeding! A fellow Luxmama Club member is sharing her experience. Before we dive into it though, we want to point out a few things.
  1. First of all, breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt, if it does, it is an indication that the latch is not correct and you can reach out to a midwife in the hospital, or an independent midwife in your area to resolve issues immediately. Please don’t wait!
  2. Second of all, if you are facing problems regarding breastfeeding you can get help. In this case, please reach out to an IBCLC Lactation Consultant asap. You can find a very useful resource for further breastfeeding support by following this link –>>Click here <<–
  3. Finally, you can pick up the latest breastfeeding brochure at Initiativ Liewensufank (Breastfeeding from A-Z) in several languages or download the English version here.
  4. And lastly, another excellent online resource with a very useful search function for questions is Kellymom.com.
That’s it! Now, without further ado, here is Marlous story:

Thoughts: Bye bye Breastfeeding. A rough start and my top 3 loving it. 

After two kids in two years I am really closing this chapter. I feel blessed and happy to be able to close this chapter and at the same time I feel a little sad, because it’s hard. Not knowing if I will ever have any other kids, it might be THE end. I wrote down my personal struggles and my personal motivation for loving it. Not judging anyone else as I do believe it is a very intimate and private decision.

Let me start by saying that I feel so much more relaxed breastfeeding in Luxembourg than in the Netherlands. It seems more common here and it might also has to do with the fact that the parental leave in Luxembourg is much better organized than in the Netherlands. You are able to have paid parental leave for 4 or 6 months in Luxembourg, vs mostly unpaid (some employers foresee 70 per cent of minimum wage) parental leave in the Netherlands. That is why I personally think (not have any scientific data for this) a lot more women chose breastfeeding over formula milk in Luxembourg.

A rough start

The start of breastfeeding can be a struggle in multiple ways. Let me point out three items. Although, I do think I have heard worse struggles than mine. 😉

  1. Auch!
    The first three weeks just suck. The first weeks are hard and painful work. The lack of sleep, the bleeding breasts, the painful nipples and the insecurity and struggling how to attach your baby…. The question marks about the rhythm, the quantity and quality of your milk and so on…. Especially the first weeks as the baby naturally loses weight, can become stressful. With my first one, Jules, I did not feel a lot of stress. Jules gained weight quickly.
    Chloé was different. She only was 2700 grams born and dropped nearly 10 per cent. That was a bit stressful and I chose to feed her every one and a half hour trying to help her gain weight. In the end, it took me with both kids about three weeks to feel natural, painless and confident while breastfeeding.
  2. Back to work
    I found it hard with my firstborn because I did not feel supported by my employer. In the end, I managed to combine continue pumping and breastfeeding for three months after my maternity leave. Nearly after three months, it became a real struggle managing everything together and I think that this also was effecting the quantity (and probably quality) of my milk production. After six months I quit breastfeeding and was in peace with this decision.
    With Chloé I have not worked in combination of breastfeeding. It feels way more relaxed, also to start working again.
  3. Comfort and ease… not always…
    As I already mentioned; in Luxembourg I find it more relaxed than in the Netherlands. Among public places I did not always feel that comfortable in the Netherlands with my firstborn. Even among friends I did not always feel comfortable. I only know a handful friends breastfeeding fulltime and that made me feel like an outsider sometimes. I heard so many stories about people who felt judged or bad for not breastfeeding. I actually sometimes felt it the other way around because I hardly knew anyone choosing/being able to do the same. With Chloé, luckily, I was way more confident feeding her outside the house.

My motivation top 3

  1. Staying flexible
    Being able to feed Chloé and Jules all the time during the day is my absolute number one reason to love breastfeeding. It makes all activities and also travelling so much easier. It prevents you another purse full of bottles, cooled down boiled water, boiled water and formula milk. Only leaving with diapers and an extra set of clothing, made me go out in just a few minutes with only one purse! Especially at times when they are so young that they are not eating any other food not bringing formula milk along makes one travel light for every occasion. I think this flexibility helped me a lot while moving to Luxembourglittle lux lion
  2. Helping getting back in shape again.
    I do believe my weight loss after both pregnancies continued mainly because of the breastfeeding. I like to eat and do not go on a special diet to lose weight. I am not totally happy with my body again after my pregnancies, but that needs exercise, not losing weight.
  3. Bonding
    The breastfeeding feels like a special moment. The natural search for food of a baby still fascinates me. This moment in peace I found mainly with Jules. With the second one, it was even as fascinating, but also more challenging. Especially with two little ones, I noticed that it sometimes is a challenge to divide attention. The oldest one is a toddler now and quite demanding. The baby is more easy to handle and therefore I like it with a second that these times are chosen for you to share moments of attention and affection.

And now ~~~

With Jules I started pumping after three weeks, to prepare for work. With Chloé, I never pumped since the day she was born. Sometimes this was hard because it really kept me close to the kids and gave me little time for myself. However, for me the advantages were better then the disadvantages. Mainly the flexibility to go wherever, without the hassle, made me go out a lot with two little ones.

I am thankful for being able to breastfeed and will cherish it the rest of my life. ❤

 


More about the Author

Marlous de Leeuw is born and raised in Rotterdam. Exploring Luxembourg since 2017 with her boyfriend and two little lions. Besides having a background in Human Resources she loves to create concepts and writing blogs about life, parenting and travelling. While parenting is maybe her biggest journey at this moment, including occasionally jetlags, she is very open minded for a ticket to any destination.

 

What mothers say about their Births

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In October 2016 – Strasbourg, the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep asbl attended the EU Human Rights in Childbirth conference with Initiativ Liewensufank, also an organisation supporting pregnancy and parenthood in Luxembourg.

Birth Rights or better explained as Human Rights in Childbirth is one of our awareness pillars and is a concept not very well understood by the mainstream as Human Rights is quite a recent phenomenon and extending that to childbirth, is sadly not common place yet. You can read more about what Human Rights in Childbirth means for Luxembourg here.

In preparation for the conference, all attending member states had to initiate surveys so we could all report on the status of certain Human Rights topics in practice in our individual states.

We worked together with Initiativ Liewensufank on the survey for Luxembourg which were aimed at investigating the exercise of “Informed Consent“, being fully informed of the risks, benefits and alternatives explained by medical care providers whenever any medical procedures are suggested.

Below you can see the results of our survey which was presented to the conference and published in the 3/2017 edition of Initiativ Liewensufank’s baby info magazine. All in all – Luxembourg has much to do in terms of improving the exercise of Informed Consent in practice, as do many of the other member states. With a Cesarean section rate of +30% (one of only seven other member states in the EU also exceeding 30%), a very high rate of artificial labour inductions, episiotomies and many other interventions questioned today by evidence based research when routinely performed/not consciously chosen by the birthing person, Informed Consent has never been more important. The aim is fully informed decision making.

Many families have wonderfully positive experiences of birth in Luxembourg and the birth facilities are state of the art, but our wish is for all families to have THEIR individual choices and rights respected, because birth is individual and families are unique.

Our wish is also for families in Luxembourg to have access to the full range of options in the modern birth world as well as the latest evidence based practice and to be treated with dignity and respect as explained in the Universal Human Right in Childbirth of “Privacy” and Art 8 of the EU Convention on Human Rights – Respect for Private & Family Life.

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More about the Author DSC_0554

As mother of two darling babies Holistic Maternity, Childbirth & Sleep Educator/Coach, Marise Hyman supports expecting/future/new parents worldwide through Marise Hyman Maternity Coaching – setting them up for success, so they can sail into their new lives with confidence!
She is also the founder of the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep asbl, an edgy non-profit organisation raising awareness for green, natural & holistic parenting alternatives, birth rights and postnatal mood disorders by offering a variety of inspiring social and educational events in Luxembourg.

Top 7 locations for bump-shoot

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The magical moment of birth is not far and you would like to have a pregnancy photoshoot in Luxembourg.

Naturally, you may ask your friends, your Facebook friends, in your Facebook groups, your colleagues, Google and many more where they had their pregnancy photoshoot or which places they would suggest or you would chose one yourself after having visited the place.

It is true that Luxembourg has many potential places, as Luxembourg is full of beautiful sceneries, forests, parks, lakes and castles.

From all this, I tried to make a little “shortlist” of Luxembourg Castles which I believe will give the best photos ever and will connect the pregnant woman with nature, herself and her baby.

1. Beaufort Castle!

Top choice due to location, natural beauty and lake. 

It’s actually two castles: one medieval in ruins and one renaissance.

Apart from the castles themselves that are great backgrounds, the surrounding nature is just amazing! A little lake opposite the castle with swans and a new wooden path, the green grass, the tall trees, all makes it the perfect place! In addition, logistics are easy as there is parking right in front of the castle and the road to reach it does not have lots of turns 🙂

For more info: www.beaufortcastles.com

Beaufort Castle as seen from the lake

Beaufort Castle as seen from the lake

2. Müllerthal

…or Little Switzerland where you can find the famous waterfalls of Luxembourg.

Everybody talks about it but when you actually go there you realize that the waterfalls are not so big but somehow this place helps you reconnect with your inner self, with nature and of course with the water, the source of life.

I must admit that it does not seem to be the typical place for a heavily pregnant woman to walk around, but if you decide to do your photoshoot in Beaufort castle, the waterfalls are not far from there and you can just stop by for 1-2 shoots. It’s really like a fairy tale!

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Müllerthal’s beautiful waterfall

3. Bourscheid Castle

Bourscheid Castle is one of my favourites in Luxembourg. It is not so touristic, very well maintained, surrounded by beautiful forest area and not far to reach. It is one of my top choices.

Bourscheid Castle

Bourscheid Castle

There is a great bonus that comes with this place: a very nice hotel which is next to the river and with lots of grass where you can take nice pictures 🙂 You can also rest and have a coffee.

For more info: www.chateau.bourscheid.lu

The hotel is Cocoon Hotel Belair: www.cocoonhotels.eu/hotel-belair

4. The gardens of Villa Vauban in city centre (you may need to ask for authorization)

Villa Vauban

Villa Vauban

Villa Vauban has the big asset that it is close to the city centre and makes the logistics easier. It’s also a beautiful place where serenity meets luxury and simplicity all at the same time.

5. Munsbach Castle

Just beautiful! The castle is very impressive and will definitely become the perfect background for a fairy tale pregnancy photoshoot.

For more info: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munsbach_Castle

Photo of Munsbach Castle

Munsbach Castle

6. Chateu d’Urspelt 

This castle is absolutely wonderful and it is built after typical Luxembourgish architecture. It has beautiful gardens and the facilities of the nearby hotel. A white outfit would perfectly match this castle!

For more info: www.chateau-urspelt.lu

Chateu d'Urspelt

Chateu d’Urspelt

7. Chateau de Septfontaines

A small beautiful castle not far from the centre of Luxembourg City, with beautiful gardens and is very easy to access.

For more info: www.chateaudeseptfontaines.com

Chateu de Septfontaines

Chateau de Septfontaines

For all places suggested, it is highly recommended to confirm the possibility of access before organizing the photoshoot, just to be in the safe side!

Now all you have to do is to enjoy and SMILE!! 🙂


More about the Author

Professional headshot Elfi smile

Elfi joined Luxmama Club as a volunteer in 2015.  Along with her full time role in an international organization and raising her daughters, she is passionate about writing stories and helping other people share theirs. Stories that empower, inspire and create the ” you are not alone” feeling.  You can see more of her work in her recent blog koufelef.wixsite.com/elfiswritinglab but also in www.themamagers.gr (articles in greek) and www.newdiaspora.com (articles in english) 

 

Seeking solace in serenity

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As I laid my head back into the cool sea water and felt it spread from a tiny circle at the back of my head into a crown that tickled my ears, I asked myself, how?

My 3-year old daughter’s face lit up against the bright blue sky, and crinkled into one big smile, so happy she was in her new “Frozen”-themed blow-up ring and classic orange arm bands wrapped around her little arms.

How?

How can I – or anyone – get this feeling of utter serenity at home?

Why can’t I feel like I do on holidays, when I am at home? At work? On the bus to work? On they way to picking up my daughter from the crèche? Anywhere?

Why is it, as soon as we are home, hardly out the car door after that long journey, that my stress rises, the domestic jobs quickly pile up (from nothing – the house was fine when we left!) and our children can quickly appear more challenging, more whiny, more tricky to keep cheerful and peaceful?

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We still need to eat, cook (at least if self-catering), prepare and shuttle around with us those activity packs/“kids’ stuff” on holidays, (nappy bag or medical emergency bag in our case for our daughter’s allergies; toys/games; (healthy?) snacks to help occupy our tiddlywinks during those nice holiday beach-side lunches).

We still need to remind our toddlers to say “thank you” and “please” at each opportunity (depending on our level of interest in or discipline regarding etiquette or perhaps yours are onto this already themselves); to wipe their sticky fingers and lips after their favourite ice cream (or encourage them to do this themselves if not already and “its about time they became autonomous”).

Of course, maybe it’s just me, but talking with friends, I get the impression most of us have a long list of things we want to do as parents on a daily basis (pretty much constantly) to help guide them in what we think is the right direction. I guess each of us may have our own priority ideas and aims in this respect.

And while these guiding ideals can be very rewarding and a part of our constant love and the time we want to give to our children in nurturing them and helping them to grow, why is it that all these things are much less of a chore; much easier to empower our little ones with, when we are on holiday (or so my experience has led me to believe)?

Of course one obvious observation is that (in the case of working parents) we don’t have to work on holiday (or at least presumably less than normal) or do as much domestic work and admin, chores and run errands.

We don’t see the dust accumulating at home; that pile of clothes ready to sort through to exchange with its next season’s equivalents; that stack of bills to pay on the kitchen table or waiting in our letter box… and those miniature hand prints all over our windows/doors/walls that we only just wiped off yesterday. The latter probably depends on our level of our desired cleanliness; maybe for some they don’t matter – instead, those little prints are a sign of exploratory life at home, or perhaps they are not even noticed in the first place – personally, I wish I had a more laid-back, let-it-go attitude and as a first holiday-inspired promise to myself right now: I will try to keep that more in mind in future!

The funny thing is that all those things are still there whilst we are on holiday. Potentially, some are still visible at the holiday venue; certainly some if not all are existing there to where we will return and we can be aware of that, if we choose.

But – for me at least – we just cannot see them, or perhaps we just don’t notice them so much.

So what’s the difference?

I think the difference is our mind: Whether or not we do or don’t see these little (or big) things (jobs to do, etc.) on holiday, my personal experience is that they just don’t seem to impact me in the same way (and you?). 

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We are cocooned by a conditioned comfort-zone that tells us that on holiday, we must and can relax; no chores; no arguments with our loved-ones; no irritable behaviour towards our toddlers (due simply sometimes to our impatience of, for example, not wanting them to pour their own morning apple juice for fear (and normally factual knowledge!) that they will spill it everywhere. (Again, maybe that last one is just me and here a second promise to myself: More patience, patience, patience: I must remember, each second can be a precious moment; one day we will miss those apple-juice spills.)

And so what’s the answer? How de we find that serenity that we more easily access on holidays, when we are at home or anywhere and at anytime?

If the “missing link” between serenity on holiday and serenity at home and in our everyday lives is our mind and how we react to what we see and know, then isn’t that an amazing truth? Because our mind is something we can be aware of, can notice and can – perhaps with a little extra required conscious effort at times – not so much “manage” but acknowledge.

And then we are simply left with our thoughts; some may come, some may go and some we have the power to create on the spot.

My third holiday-inspired promise then is this: To know that even when times are tough, I am running late, am fed up of trying different tactics to tame our home life on evenings when things go a little “wrong”… In any instant, I can close my eyes and know that serenity is still there somewhere within.

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Perhaps for me, serenity for the time being will be a thought back to that moment in the sea. What about you? Where do you find yours?

I’d love to invite all mamas and mamas2B to join on a light-hearted “seeking solace in serenity” mission: Simply a weekly morning coffee and catch-up in Luxembourg. Click here to join the MeetUp and see when the next event is. A chance to meet with other mamas and mamas2B and swap ideas, experiences, notes on how we keep serene when times get tough. Or just to sip a coffee together and for a moment think back to our last slice of serenity…


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More about the Author

Jessica, mother to daughter and daughter-to-be “baby bump”, lives and works in Luxembourg where she and her husband started their family a few years ago.

Passionate about life’s journey – its ups and downs, surprises and challenges – Jessica is inspired by ways to seek serenity along the way and likes to share and exchange ideas with other parents – including as coachee and follower of the “Three Principles” of Mind, Consciousness and Thought.

 

Luxembourg Parcs part 1: Parc Mersch

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This is the first in a series about the amazing parks that there are to explore in Luxembourg, which is a must as the summer arrives! Also as we have no car all the parks are easily accessible by public transport.

Our first park is Mersch park, a beautiful green space. It is just perfect for those days when you want to head out of the city!

LMblog1It is wide open space with a small lake, 3 different play park areas, wide gravel paths suitable for buggies, bikes, wheelchairs and wheeled toys. There are many park benches dotted about the main park areas and a few picnic tables. Also there are many trees perfect for having a picnic underneath. Meemoo and Pook had a blast playing there for a whole day a few weeks ago.

Toddler Park Area 

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It is fenced off from the rest of the park and has a wide variety of toys, for the younger toddler and older more adventurous. There are cute little houses, trampolines, seesaws and slides.

Younger Child Park

(3-8 years)

This is in the centre of the park. You cant miss it!  It is a large wooden platform with different bridges, slides and interesting ways to climb up. Meemoo and Pook enjoyed running around playing an imaginative game as they explored.

Next to this is a very large zip wire, it did not see as scary as it looked.  Pook enjoyed having a go!

Older Child Park 

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This is opposite the park for younger children. It has many amazing swings. There is a large tyre swing that swings, rocks and bounces all at the same time. Also it has a large spinning tyre swing. There are many interesting things to climb and clamber over. It has an amazing Willow maze, which was also the perfect place to sit in the shade and eat an ice cream.

The Lake 

LMblog4There is a wooden platform you can walk out on to see the lake. Meemoo and Pook enjoyed watching the ducks. Behind this we went on a very short circular walk. It led us back across another wooden platform, towards the small cafe.

Facilities 

It has a small cafe open in the Summer months selling hot and cold drinks, hot snacks plus the all important ice cream for a sunny day.  Next to this there is a set of toilets for customers of the cafe. There is also a public toilet.

How to get there by public transport?

We are still enjoying exploring Luxembourg without a car! Mersch park is surprisingly simple to get to from Gare central. The train ride out of the city was enjoyable spotting all the bridges, looking over the Grund and Clausen . On arriving at Mersch the park is reached by a relatively short walk with two young children. Once leaving the train station head straight along the main road through the town and up past the church with the Dragon water fountain. Then take the next left and park is right in front of you.

Note: All age recommendations are the authors own opinion.


More about the Author

Hi!

I am Gemma, Mummy to Meemoo, 3, and Pook, 5, and wife to Speedy!

We love nicknames in our house. I am currently looking after my two children at home, finding time to write and create play ideas, play spaces and simple crafts to keep us all entertained! In a previous life I was an Early Years Teacher and I can be found most Tuesday reading stoires at Il etait une fois asbl in Gasperich.

Find out more about The Adventures of Meemoo and Pook at www.theadventuresofmeemooandpook.co.uk

A blog with lots of ideas for imaginative adventures in play.

 

“We had a Birth Doula!” – Una

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As part of our Birth Rights Awareness Campaign, Have a Choice 2 Have a Doula” at the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep asbl, we are interviewing families that had a Birth Doula in Luxembourg (or globally) to help illustrate the benefits they bring to the birth experience. Our approach is to raise awareness at the level of the strongest voice collectively, the consumers, so they understand the benefits. Furthermore, the aim is that consumers understand their Human Rights in Childbirth which provide them the right to “choose the circumstances of birth” according to their individual wishes, regardless of what care providers/birth facilities may claim – e.g. “ you will only be ‘allowed’ 1 support person (the dad) in the birth room”.  Read more here about our campaign, your rights, how to navigate around such misguided responses, hire a Doula, sponsor/support our campaign and more!


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”We had a Birth Doula!” – Interview with Una Clifford, Luxembourg

Interviewed by Elfi Koufogeorgou

Elfi: When and where did you give birth?

Una: Luxembourg city, 2012, Clinique Bohler

Elfi: The support from women to women during labour is age old, but the term Doulas in Luxembourg especially is not yet well known. How did you find out about the role of a doula?

Una:  I started reading up a lot when I became pregnant a second time in 2012 to be able to manage the birth more independently. Ironically, the literature enlightened me on the role of the Doula and I realised that being alone was simply not necessary!

Elfi: Why were you interested in Doula support?

Una:  My husband was sure during my first pregnancy that birth was not for him – he finds a regular blood test a trial due to a phobia of blood. We tried and it didn’t work so for my first birth I was alone and it was a very unsettling experience.

Elfi:  How did you go about finding and hiring your Doula?

Una:  I asked around and no-one really seemed to know. One friend advised me to contact the Liewensufank in case they had any idea. It was there that I met my Doula, Maryse Arendt, who informed me that since the organisation was having a birthday that year I would have to attend their birthing classes and then the Doula service would be provided free of charge.

Elfi:  What kind of support did she offer prenatally?

Una:  We met a couple of times and at first I was not sure that we clicked – she spoke good English which was important to me. My languages are good, but English is the language of my heart and in such an intimate moment it was essential to me that I could speak freely.  I attended the birthing classes as required and we also talked through my birthing plan.

Elfi: During your labour and delivery, how did your Doula support you and your partner’s birth experience?

Una:  I called her when I was a few hours away from delivering. she turned up promptly and took over from my husband, supporting me physically, rubbing my back, making me feel comfortable and encouraging me to keep moving. I was pretty sure that I did not want any pain relief and I did not want anyone pushing on my stomach. She stuck to this firmly, reminding the doctor and midwives of this when I was too tired to on their suggestion. I could not have been more grateful afterwards! Her presence was so reassuring and she felt like a rock for me in this tough but wondrous moment.

Elfi: What kind of support did she offer postpartum?

Una:  I don’t remember Maryse disappearing from my birthing room – she must have called my husband after handing me my beautiful son and encouraging me to allow him to make his way slowly to the breast. Afterwards she visited us once to make sure we were doing well. I wrote to her and made a donation to the foundation later.

Elfi: Please share anything you feel other women should know about your birth experience with a Doula.

Una:  A doula can be a mother, a partner and a professional all in one. I cannot recommend it more wholeheartedly!

Elfi: In 1 sentence, how did it make you feel during labour, having an independent, knowledgeable support person, looking out for your best interest by your side, continuously?

Una:  The presence of a woman who has your back and supports you in this precious moment of birth is indescribable!


IMG_6431More about Una

Una is a mother of two energetic, independent and fun-filled children. She works as a strategy advisor at the European Investment Bank and runs a 500 strong women’s network in her ‘spare time’! Alongside her mission of supporting the rights of women and girls, Una indulges in her real passion – music – singing with the Choeur de Chambre de Luxembourg.


More about the Author

Professional headshot Elfi smile

Elfi joined Luxmama Club as a volunteer in 2015.  Along with her full time role in an international organization and raising her daughters, she is passionate about writing stories and helping other people share theirs. Stories that empower, inspire and create the ” you are not alone” feeling.  You can see more of her work in her recent blog koufelef.wixsite.com/elfiswritinglab but also in http://www.themamagers.gr (articles in greek) and http://www.newdiaspora.com (articles in english) 

Antibiotics and babies!

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By the time my youngest was 16 months old I had had to fight the doctors (and his daddy) twice to not give him antibiotics. My belief is to only use antibiotics on babies (and children) if it is absolutely necessary. In my two cases, I didn’t believe it to be. He may have recovered faster, but I believe the damage antibiotics do to the body is at a far greater cost then the few days they are in pain. I may seem like a horrible mother, letting my baby suffer, but let me explain.

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Babies are born almost sterile and their gut flora is being populated the minute they enter the world at birth. During the first years of their life the flora is further populated and it is said that the immune system is mature at the age of 5.  Seventy percent of the immune system is located in the gut and works close together with the bacteria residing in the gut. It is therefore so important that the gut flora is rightly populated before maturation. The flora that you are born with is the default flora your gut will always revert back to for the rest of your life! You can influence the flora with the food you eat, but you can never change the default!

Antibiotics are like atom bombs inside the gut and kill everything, the good and the bad bacteria and it can take months before they revert back to normal. Some species are even lost for life.

Studies have shown that kids who have been treated with antibiotics are more likely to gain weight in their teens and develop allergies and other lifestyle related diseases.

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My kid had ear infections both times and my pediatrician told me that 70% of all ear infections are viral and not bacterial. Antibiotics only work on bacterial infection, not on viral infections. So there was a 70 % chance that the drugs would do more harm than good. I was not going to take that chance.

In both cases my baby was in hospital where they prescribed the antibiotics. I refused to use the prescription and instead made an appointment with our pediatrician. I had several discussions with him and we agreed to monitor day by day how it progressed and I promised to get back to him if it got worse. Babies and kids are sturdy and can take more than we think. He was treated locally, which is also with an antibiotic but definitely less harsh on the body.

My plea is that you don’t blindly trust the doctor, especially if it’s not your regular doctor. Don’t be afraid to fight for the health of your child! You know them best and the choice is yours.

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I don’t want to scare you, but I want you to be aware. Antibiotics are not bad. They can indeed be life saving, when they are necessary. Trouble is that many doctors prescribe them for no reason!

Be smart, educate yourself and ask questions! If your doctor won’t answer them, then find a doctor who will! You have the right to know what is going on and into your child.

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Finally, if you find yourself in a situation where your child needs antibiotics, PLEASE make sure to give probiotics during and after a course of antibiotics. This will help you child’s gut flora to revert back to normal and to strengthen his/her immune system.


More about the AuthorLOGO_NEW

Anne Louise is a mother of two small boys and works as a Holistic Health Coach in Luxembourg. She helps her clients lose weight, gain more energy, increase quality of sleep and finally feel awesome about IMG_8083themselves! Struggling with weight herself for most of her life, she can truly relate to her clients and offers a safe space to talk about issues around food, body image and self-love.

She keeps up to date with the newest Health Trends and blogs about her findings. She also runs a Facebook group for Healthy Tips and Support! Don’t be shy to get in touch!

Conscious Food

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This month in the Luxmama Blog, we are very happy to have a conscious Guest writer, David from Conscious Foods! Enjoy!


My name is David. I have a background in finance and when that bored the life out of me I decided to do something that I am actually interested in.

Conscious Foods is a ‘slow food’ project aimed at providing quality products to people with an interest in a conscious diet. It is targeted to those who want to eat healthy and I also offer the possibility to buy in bulk.

The project started a few years ago and has many aspects. On the supply side, I have handpicked a selection of small producers – mostly from Greece – with exceptional produce. I push unknown Greek products to support the struggling agricultural sector. At the same time I wish to support different grains. Many of the pulses are of traditional varieties, which are of a higher quality than what you typically find in the market.

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My interest in sustainable agricultural methods came about throughout my experiences in living in different ashrams and collectives around the world.  I believe that many of the environmental problems we face can be tackled through taking conscious decisions as consumers. Conscious Foods is about protecting our biodiversity and living a conscious life.

Since I enjoy turning my passions into my professions, I am also employed with a permaculture team working on private gardens. We aim to educate households to engage with their gardens and transforming them into low-maintenance plots of abundance.

It is believed that if one person out of ten used their garden to grow food all of the world’s hunger would disappear.

Eating consciously makes you stronger and healthier. It makes you more compassionate towards others and this makes the world a better place.

We save tons of wasted energy and pollute way less. We preserve our biodiversity and seed heritage. But most importantly we shift the balance of power from big corporations back into our hands.

Many corporations are taking control of the food production through seed patenting, GMOs, and petrochemicals. And they are very good at it since they have spread all over the world. This year the EU approved a further 19 new GM organisms for imports. And with the TTIP negotiations taking place, things could worsen.

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I sincerely believe that this can be reversed by living consciously. Knowing what to buy and when. Informing ourselves where something comes from and how it was made. This will set the rules for ethical business and our children will thank us for it. xx Namaste.

Next, to spice it up – we’ve asked David a couple of questions:

Luxmama: Do you currently have children?

David:

No

Luxmama: Would you like to have children of your own one day?

David:

Maybe

Luxmama: How do you think can parents of today inspire their children to live a more conscious life?

David:

By living one themselves. Teach them to appreciate all aspects of life on all levels. There is great beauty everywhere and children are great at seeing it. Parents should encourage that and show that everything in the universe is connected. Harming your body is harming the universe and vice versa. Patience is a great virtue and that can be taught effectively if the parents practice it themselves. Meditation too can bring great benefits especially if it is taught at a young age.

Luxmama: Where did you grow up yourself?

David:

Some of my childhood was in Greece, but a big part of it was in Luxembourg.

Luxmama: What is your favourite childhood memory?

David:

I am somewhere outside and its warm. I see a tree, I hear some bird chatter and the sun is setting. All my senses are awakened and everything is perfect. I did not get to feel like that again for a very long time and only through extensive meditation.

Luxmama: What is your favourite children’s song?

David:

At the time it was the national anthem because of the way schools’ way of initiating nationalistic fascism into our minds. More accurately it would probably be the way I imagined the pipers song would sound when he took all the kids away. That must have been some tune!

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Luxmama: Are you available for babysitting? (Just a little joke 🙂

David:

LOL. Sure, as long as we can play board games…


More about David:pretty

David is from Greko-Irish descent and Luxo brewed. A farmer, Lover & Rastaman. He loves plants, especially growing them and he would plant anything anywhere. He is easygoing and positive. He travels to see the outside, sits still to see the inside. He is also the founder of Conscious Foods.

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Giving back

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This month, in the Luxmama Blog – we are thrilled to republish with permission, a beautiful piece written originally in Greek for The Mamagers by one of our beloved volunteers, Elfi Koufogeorgou. Enjoy!


Elfi Koufogeorgou, Luxembourg

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In early 2016 I was coming out victorious from a delayed, or more appropriately, a belatedly accepted postpartum depression, combined with burnout. Even today, many people in my social circle don’t know it, not because I feel uncomfortable talking about it, but because my life has moved on a lot since then.

Two things really helped me to move forward (besides the support of the people very close to me): writing and the LUXMAMA CLUB.

Even though I could simply say that this club is essentially a support group in Luxembourg, addressed at new parents, potential parents, pregnant women and young mothers, I will give you some further details for inspiration and because when you are away from your homeland, being a member or volunteer in an organisation like that makes you a better person.

This group started out from a mother, like you and me, who having worked for many years in a large private corporation in Luxembourg decided to quit and focus on her passion. She became certified as a Holistic Maternity & Sleep Coach. What do these things mean?

Unfortunately, I had no idea what they meant during both of my pregnancies. I found out much later, after the period I described in the beginning.

It means that when you are pregnant you are not alone. There is someone who will tell you about your rights during childbirth for example (there is a lot of misinformation and intimidation on many subjects relating to that); someone who will properly prepare you for your new role as a mother, who will support you emotionally, will teach you everything about healthy diet for your baby past the first 6 months, will help you find a first aid seminar, will explain to you if you are a foreigner what exactly applies to the new place you have arrived, regarding pregnancy and childbirth, how to find the right doctor and hospital, etc.

They will also help you with all the chaos of choosing the right products for your baby, how to calm it, massage it, and many more. And all that aiming at keeping you happy, healthy and enthusiastic about your pregnancy, so you can welcome in the best possible way the new human being you are bringing to life.

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This mama didn’t stop there, however. She also created the LUXMAMA CLUB. A team of female volunteers who stand by mothers and parents in every moment. When I saw they were recruiting volunteers, I contacted her without a second thought. A new world of experiences and emotions opened in front of me. Having worked for years in big companies and international institutions, I had never thought (and I admit it) to offer something voluntarily to other people. Of course, that kept me prisoner of many stereotypes, like “who cares?”, “everything is fake”, “why bother without getting paid?”, “you’re doing it to show off instead of helping”. How wrong I was, and how happy I am that all those stereotypes collapsed inside me. I remain a full-time employee of course, mother of two girls and a Labrador, and an active wife. But now I devote much of my free time, together with fellow volunteers, to other mamas who are stressed about their pregnancy, have thousands (millions) of questions about giving birth, breastfeeding, raising their children, and so on.

Besides all that, the most important thing is that we organise (either for free or with a very low cost, just in order to cover basic expenses and rent) meetings, excursions, seminars and meetups. Mothers (and fathers) come over and we discuss, laugh, cry, share, learn, eat, feel and exchange experiences.

Babies are breastfed, children are free to play, eat, laugh, cry, and all together like a big family we confront motherhood, fatherhood and all that comes with it, full of courage and smiles.

We usually have a key speaker, who will provide valuable tips on a variety of subjects (breastfeeding, baby massage, child psychology, nutrition, but also make up artists and stylists, so that mothers can feel and be beautiful both on the inside and outside).

Of course, there are also certain terms, for example promoting healthy diet, that’s why you’ll rarely see us eating at a Pizza Hut or fast food place. All the delicacies we offer in our meetings are homemade by volunteers.

What have I learned from all this? That it is wonderful to share, to assist and be assisted, to spend your grey days with people who are there to help you and say something sweet without expecting any reward.

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We recently organised a family day in one of the most beautiful parks in Luxembourg. Many families from different ethnicities, others with many children and others with a single parent, two dads, two moms, one child, everyone was there. A big hug all together! Laughter, games, picnic and carelessness were the characteristics of that beautiful day. At some point, a little child around four years old comes and tells me in French: “It’s nice here!”

“Yes, it’s nice!”


Original article in Greek : www.themamagers.gr
English translation by : http://www.newdiaspora.com/

More about the Author:elfi-round

In between managing a full time role in an international organization and raising 2 young children, Elfi loves to do volunteer work in her community and connect with expecting and new parents.  She is passionate about using social media to raise awareness and has a particular soft spot for breastfeeding. She is the Facebook Group Administrator & Manager at the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep asblShe also recently launched the LuxKids Lab Facebook Page to raise awareness on STEM activities for children.

Winter Herbal Remedies

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This month, Ana Gross from Ana Healing Herbs, shares with us some Herbal Winter Goodies, to improve the immune system this winter and keep the sniffles at bay…

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Ana’s Immune Musts

Before we get to the recipes, herbs or supplements, below is a short discussion about fundamentals for good immune health. Without these, even the best herbs and supplements would not be able to reach their full potential. Since immunity does not happen overnight, it’s a good idea to prepare.

In my view some of these fundamentals are the following:

  1. Good Sleep: sounds like a no-brainer, but really worth the mention. Ideally, we should aim for getting at least 8 hours a sleep every night (kids need more). Includes good sleep hygiene (such as having a night ritual, like we do for our kids – like winding down, limiting screen time, etc. It can include a warm bath, calming tea, etc).
  2. Adequate nutrition – this is fundamental. Without good nutrition, all other treatments, whether herbal or conventional medicine will not be as effective. Some nutrition tips that you may want to take into consideration are things like eating seasonally as much as possible, including plenty of fruits (especially berries & no tropical fruits), tons of veggies and good quality protein, limiting refined sugar and eating warm foods. I really love stews, soups, broths, etc. in the winter – you can pack in a lot of nutrition in there, plus you can add immune boosting herbs. I also encourage a smoothie a few days a week and including fermented foods in the diet such as kefir, fermented veggies, kombucha, sauerkraut, miso, and yogurt.

There are also immune boosters that you can include in the diet:

    1. Bone broth
    2. Broth boosters: dried shiitake mushrooms, ginseng, astragalus, codonopsis.
    3. Garlic: chopped garlic (add towards the end of cooking to avoid losing too much of the antibiotic activity). Eat chopped garlic when sick. Can also make garlic lemonade for kids (or you!) and garlic honey.
    4. Spices: a lot of spices will not only help keep you warm but they are antibacterial, and can strengthen your immune system. Favorite spices for winter: turmeric, ginger, peppers, cayenne (if you can tolerate spicy food because this is pretty spicy), cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg. They can also help clear mucus if you have a cold or cough.
    5. Mushrooms
  1. Reduce Stress: stress has a profound effect on the immune health (as does lack of sleep by the way). Stress contributes to the production of adrenal hormones (the fight or flight hormone), which negatively impact the immune system.
  2. Exercise: I always recommend some sort of exercise (I know its hard since we are all so busy). Among its many benefits exercise stimulates the production of serotonin (happy hormone). This can really help those also suffering from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
  3. Spend Time outside. Yes, even in the winter when it’s cold and even if it’s just a short while.

Ana’s Herbal Winter Recipes

Disclaimer: Products and information presented here are intended to be used for educational purposes only. They are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease nor are the views intended to be a substitute for conventional medical services. You must always contact your health care provided if you have a medical problem.

BEEF BONE BROTH

Ingredients:

  • 5-8 lbs beef bones (with or without marrow)
  • A scoop of fat – e.g. coconut oil for roasting
  • Filtered water
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar – essential to leach mineral out of the bones and maximize the mineral content in your broth
  • 1 onion
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • 1 chopped celery stalk
  • 2-3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 2-3 bay leafs
  • Herbal Broth booster (optional)

Method:

  • Rinse and clean the bones with water; pat dry, and rub with fat.
  • Roast the bones with the garlic at 400F for 45 minutes to an hour, turning once, until they are well-browned. This improves the final flavor of the stock.
  • Add the bones and the pan scrapings to a big pot (or slow cooker pot), cover with filtered water and bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling, add the vinegar, bay leaves, garlic, onion, celery and carrot.
  • Turn down the heat and simmer covered for several hours and ideally minimum 12 hours up to 24 hours. If you use a slow cooker, you can just add all the ingredients to the slow cooker at the start and simmer on medium or high for 24 hours.
  • Try to skim off any scum that comes to the surface at the beginning. Keep adding water to keep the bones underwater.
  • When the stock is finished simmering, allow it to cool, and filter through a fine mesh strainer. Refrigerate until chilled.  Once chilled, the stock should set like gelatin, and the fat should rise to the top.
  • Pick off the fat and reserve it for cooking or discard it.
  • Scoop out the gelled stock. You can use right away, keep in the fridge for a week or freeze in small portions.  You can add it as a base for soups or take drink it directly from a cup.

INFUSED OILS AND BALMS

Infused oils are a great way to extract plant properties into oils in order to use them topically. You can later use the oils in balms and creams. Great plants to make infused oils are chamomile, rose, plantain, lavender, calendula.

How to make an infused oil:

  • Fill a glass jar half way with dry herb (ie Calendula)
  • Pour in a carrier oil (ie olive oil) until it covers the dried herb completely. Can use any oil, but olive oil is popular one as its very stable (ie does not rancid so quickly)
  • To infuse:
    • Slow method: let sit in a warm place for two weeks (works best in the summer when you can put in the sun)
    • Semi-slow method: if you have a slow cooker, you can leave the covered jar for 3-4 days in warm water on the low setting.
    • Quick method: put in pot with simmering (not boiling water) for 3-4 hours.
  • Strain the oil and discard the plant material.
  • You can use the oil directly or use it to make a balm or cream.

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To make a basic balm:

  • Prepare a double boiler or a glass jar in “bain marie”. Caution – put tray on bottom of pan or use larger jar lids so glass jar is not on directly on bottom of pan.
  • Bring water to a light simmer.
  • Measure 1 cup of the infused oil and 3 tablespoons of beeswax
  • Add 3 tablespoons of beeswax to the top boiler or glass jar. One the beeswax has melted, add the infused oil. Mix well to make sure it is well combined and the beeswax is melted.
  • If using a double boiler, pour the mix into a clean glass jar. If using the jar directly, just remove from the heat. Make sure no water leaks into the oil, as it can make the balm rancid.
  • At this point you can add essential oils if you wish. Mix well with a stainless steel fork or whisk.
  • The balm will start to set after a few minutes.
  • Wait until completely hardened and cool. Then add the lid and label.
  • The shelf life of a balm is about 1 year.

Balm Recipe #1: Calendula Lavender Balm

  • 1 cup Calendula infused olive oil
  • 3 TBSP beeswax
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil

The calendula oil can be used for all kinds of skin irritations and dry skin. Can be used by the whole family.

Balm Recipe #2: Respiratory Relief Balm

  • 1 cup Lavender infused olive oil
  • 3 TBSP beeswax
  • Essential oils: 20 drops eucalyptus, 5 drops peppermint, 20 drops rosemary

Rub in the upper back, chest, feet. Wash hands well after applying as it can irritate eyes and sensitive skin areas! Not for use with small children.

For smaller children over 2: you can use the following essential oils: 15 drops pine essential oil, 20 drops frankincense essential oil, 5 drops bay laurel or fir essential oil

SYRUPS

Quick honey syrups

  • Can add extracts to honey to make a quick syrup (e.g. cough syrup recipe below).
  • Fresh herbs syrups:
    • Fresh ginger with honey. This is a great tasting warming remedy. Great for fevers and coughs, as well as stomach ailments such as nausea, diarrhea and stomach flus. Great to sweeten tea. Keep refrigerated. Chop a few pieces of ginger.
    • Fresh onion with sugar (or honey). Cut onion into thin slices. Place layers in a jar alternative with sugar. The onion juices will mix with the sugar to become a syrup. Great for coughs and colds.
  • Cold infused syrups
    • Marshmallow Root Syrup. Mix 3 Tablespoons Marshmallow root powder of finely cut with 6 ounces of cold water, let sit 4 to 8 hours
    • Strain and measure 2 ounces of the liquid and place in a glass jar or bottle.
    • Add 2 ounces of honey (or maple syrup) or 2 ounces of glycerin.

Elderberry Syrup

Elderberries (Sambucus nigra) have a long history of use to prevent and treat colds and flus. When used on a regular basis throughout the winter, it can help prevent colds, flus, and respiratory infections. Can be prepared with honey or with glycerin (for children under 1 or those with honey allergies).

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup dried elderberries
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup honey OR 1 ¼ cups food-grade glycerin (honey is a medicine in itself so when possible, use honey).

Method:

  • Place elderberries and water in a pot on medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Turn off heat and steep for 30 minutes
  • Strain the mix and return the liquid to the stove on low heat until the liquid is reduced to 1 cup.
  • Remove from the heat and mix in 1 cup of local honey (or if planning to use for children under 1, mix in instead 1 ¼ cup of vegetable glycerin.
  • Label and bottle. Will keep for at least a year refrigerated.

For illness, general immunity, maintenance and prevention give 2-3 times a day. Can be given directly, diluted in a small amount of water, juice or formula/breast milk, or added to yogurt of smoothies.

Each dose:

  • For children under 2 –  ½ tsp.
  • Older children – 1 tsp
  • Teenagers and adults – 1 TBSP

Cough Syrup

And for a quick cough remedy that’s safe for kids and adults:

Mix the following in a 4 ounce bottle:

  • 2 ounces elderberry syrup
  • ½ ounce thyme glycerite
  • ½ ounce Echinacea tincture or glycerite
  • ½ ounce anise seed tincture
  • ½ ounce catnip glycerite or tincture

Take for up to a week and if there’s a tendency for recurrent coughs stay on it for several weeks. The echinacea prevents recurrence, the elder is a respiratory immune tonic, the catnip relaxing and the anise mucolytic and a respiratory antispasmodic.

Dose:

  • Kids: ½ tsp 4-6 times/day
  • Adults: 1 TBSP 4-6 times a day

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INFUSIONS & DECOCTIONS

Infusions are basically teas prepared medicinally. They are steeped for a longer time than a tea, and usually are steeped covered (usually flowers and leaves).

Decoctions are preparations of herbs that have to be simmered to obtain their maximum benefit (usually harder pieces and roots).

Calming Tea

This tea is so versatile it should be in every home. It can be used for babies, kids and adults. It’s a calming tea for irritability, can be used for teething, great remedy for children’s fever and calms irritated tummies. Safe for pregnant and breastfeeding moms. For babies you can also add a cup of the tea to the baby’s bath.

Mix ¼ cup each of dried Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Catnip in a glass jar. Mix Well. Take 2 teaspoons of the mix and add 1 cup of boiling water. Steep covered for 10 minutes.

Dose:

  • Babies: 20 drops up to 3 times a day
  • Toddlers: up to 1-1 ½ cups a day (divided into two doses) and
  • Older kids and adults: up to 2-3 cups a day.

Fever Tea

Mix ¼ cup each of dried Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Peppermint, Elderflower & Yarrow place in a glass jar. Mix well. Take 2 teaspoons of the mix and add 1 cup of boiling water. Steep covered for 10 minutes. Safe for kids and adults. Safe in Pregnancy.

Dose:

  • Toddlers: ¼ cup to 1 cup (depending on age) up to 3 times a day while fever persists
  • Adults: up to 3 cups a day while fever persists.

STEAM INHALATIONS

Steam Inhalations to relieve congestion:

Boil water in a large pot. Have ready a bunch of some of the following fresh herbs; Thyme, Rosemary, sage, peppermint. Once the water is boiling, turn off the heat, throw in the herbs and cover. Let sit for 5 minutes. Then, very carefully, open the pot and inhale the vapor while holding a towel over your head. Be very carful to avoid burns. Repeat a few times. Could also use steam in halation with essential oil or vapor rub (use only a small amount (2-3 drops of essential oil) as it can be very irritating.  Alternatively, and for younger kids and babies, you can do steam inhalations in the shower.

Steam inhalations for babies and toddlers to relieve respiratory congestion

You need only about 5 drops of thyme OR eucalyptus essential oil on a washcloth. Steam up the bathroom by running the washcloth under the hot shower until the bathroom is steamy and turn off the water. When the bathroom has filled with steam, bring in with the baby into the steamy bathroom for 10 minutes. You can do it twice per day.

OXYMELS

Oxymels combine the stimulating properties of vinegar with soothing properties of honey. They are also both anti-bacterial. This centuries-old preparation is great for coughs and congestion, especially when there is a lot of mucus.

Oxymel Recipe: Thyme and Elderberry Oxymel

This is a great recipe for coughs with a lot of phlegm.thyme.jpeg

  • Combine ½ cup dried elderberries + ¼ cup dried thyme in a glass jar
  • Add ½ cup honey (local honey preferable)
  • Add ¾ cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • Cover with a plastic lid or put wax paper on the lid if using a metal lid (as vinegar will corrode the metal). Let sit 3-4 weeks.
  • Strain, label and bottle.
  • Has a long shelf life. 2-3 years.

OTHER RECIPES

Turmeric Milk

Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and helps strengthen the immune system. The warming herbs are also great for digestion as well as having anti-inflammatory properties.

Mix 2 TBSP of Turmeric powder with ½ tsp each of spices (cinnamon, clove, cardamom, black pepper, vanilla, rose, pumpkin pie spice and ginger in a clean glass jar. If you like very spicy can add 1/8 tsp cayenne powder (optional).

To prepare:

  • ½ to 1 tsp of the mix
  • 1 cup Milk of choice
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ½-1 tsp of turmeric powder Mix

Combine all ingredients in a pan on medium heat. Once the milk begins to simmer turn it off and serve in a cup. Sweeten with honey (or other sweetener) to taste.

Smoothie Recipe

I really like smoothies as I find it’s a great way to add many nutritious items and kids love them.

  • ½ cup frozen blueberries
  • ½ cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup almond (or other nut) milk or water
  • 1 TBSP nut butter (I normally use almond butter)
  • 1 TBSP chia seeds
  • ½ cup spinach or other green
  • 1 soaked and pitted date
  • 1 banana
  • small piece of fresh ginger (3-4 cm)
  • Can add bee pollen or turmeric root powder for added immune boosting ☺.

Garlic Honey

Both honey and garlic have natural antibiotic properties as well as antibacterial and anti-viral properties, making them great allies in the winter.

  • Peel a whole head of garlic and place the whole cloves in a clean glass jar.
  • Add honey enough to cover the garlic
  • Let them steep 4-6 weeks.  You will have to mix daily since the garlic will float to the top as it slightly ferments. After 4 weeks, store in the refrigerator.
  • The garlic will become like candy! You can also use the honey in teas or in cough syrups.

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Garlic Lemonade

This is a great remedy for kids and adults for when you have a cold, cough or respiratory infection.

Gently crush a clove of garlic. Add 1 cup of boiling water and let it steep for 20 minutes. Sweeten with honey.


More About the Author

Ana is a practicing clinical herbalist based in Luxembourg. Her passion for plants and natural products started 16 years ago with ana-herbs-new-logoa small artisanal soap production which led her to continue studies in herbalism and aromatherapy incorporating both Eastern and Western wisdom.

Ana Healing Herbs also stocks traditionally handmade products and teas, made with care using only carefully selected natural, organic or wild-crafted ingredients and absolutely no artificial ingredients of any kind – ever. She believes that every product we put in and on our body should be a gift of nourishment to our bodies.

Story time taken to the next level!

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In the digital era, printed media hasn’t been doing too well – except for one category: children’s books. The classic story time hasn’t lost its magic. Children still love to touch paper, to turn the pages themselves and to treasure the book as a physical item.

Nevertheless, the countless digital screens around us with flashing games and responsive animations bring a challenge to the traditional story time. How can we make the good old books even more interesting, interactive and engaging, without losing the magic of paper?

In recent years, there’s been fascinating development in one particular field of literature: personalised children’s books.

A personalised children’s book is more than just a book

You might have heard about them and they’ve been around for a while. Some parents recall personalised books from their own childhood but for many, these are still rather unknown products. Personalised children’s books have always been popular in the UK for example, but in the rest of the Europe they are still quite a novelty – and certainly in Luxembourg too.

There are two main reasons for this: firstly, printing personalised books has been a pricey business up until the recent years. Secondly, it is only now when bigger publishing companies have become interested in the potential of personalised books. Still, many personalised books out there are made outside of the traditional publishing industry by start-ups and self-publishers.

So what is a personalised children’s book?

It’s a printed book where the child is included in the story! Commonly, the child is the main character of the adventure and you can add the child’s first name into the story, sometimes also their address, country, photo, name of the grandparents, favourite food… you name it!

So how does it work? Usually you personalise and order your book online. Then the book is digitally printed on demand and shipped to you. Handy!

As the child discovers their name and other familiar elements in the story, a personalised book indeed makes a very special reading experience. The mystery of how the child ended up inside the book is truly captivating for them. Thus, a personalised book can actually keep the child more engaged to the story than a traditional book.

Personalising a story can make a story book more educational.

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We know that children love to see their name! On their door, school bag, on a bumper sticker – and in personalised books. A child pays more attention when they are directly involved, and this applies particularly to stories. This is why a personalised story can encourage early readers to read more, and thus to learn more.

Dr Natalia Kucirkova, one of the leading researchers on personalised children’s stories and books, has stated that “personalisation [thus] adds a layer of playfulness, authenticity and immediacy to the story and can be a great way to engage children and caregivers in the process of shared book reading. Parents and teachers can harness the motivational power of personalised books to engage reluctant readers or challenge bookworms.”

Personalisation carries other benefits too: it can help the child to learn how to spell their name or address, where to find their country on the map and more, depending on how the book is personalised.

So personalised children’s books are great – but could they be taken to the next level?

Personalisation brings a particular challenge to the publisher: how to integrate these personalised elements to the story in a way that they don’t feel as mere gimmicks? It’s perhaps fun to see a photo of your child’s cut-out head attached to a body of an illustrated princess, but does that serve the story? Is it aesthetically pleasing? Would you still like to return to that story over and over again? Can you make a personalised book a timeless classic?

For years, the personalised children’s books have remained more or less the same: the child is the main character and their name is integrated in the story. Certainly there’s room for far greater imagination and surprising stories to utilise personalisation.

Dr Kucirkova has spotted another challenge of personalised stories: “Personalised books serve as a starting point for children to get hooked on story creation with themselves as heroes; but they need to learn to understand and feel empathy for others’ viewpoints and behaviours.”

I was personally intrigued by these challenges and they inspired my partner and me to create a new kind of personalised book: a story where the child is not the main character, a story that is ‘designed’ personalised from the very beginning and where also the giver of the book is part of the adventure. And so was Luxembourg’s first personalised book born: Message in a Bottle.

There’s so much more to be explored with personalised books but it requires courage from both publishers and children’s authors. Personalised children’s books still carry misconceptions, and it’s not the first type of story that authors think about creating.

After all, the rules of a good book haven’t changed: it’s all about the story, whether it’s personalised or not.

What will the future adults treasure from their childhood today?

At the end of the day, it’s hard to imagine that a child would treasure an e-book or a tablet game for decades to come. A personalised book in particular, makes an unforgettable gift that lasts. Children’s book aren’t going to disappear just yet but it doesn’t mean that they couldn’t be made even more magical. You have to admit, finding yourself part of the story is always magical.


About the author:TUIRE_KIKI.PNG

Native Finn, Tuire Siiriainen is an illustrator and the founder of Blueberry & Pie, a self-publishing company. She published her first book, a personalised children’s adventure Message in a Bottle, through her company in August 2016. Currently she resides in the beautiful countryside of Luxembourg. You can follow her and Kiki’s (the hero of Message in a Bottle) adventures on Instagram @messageinabottlebook and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/messageinabottlechildrensbook/

Human Rights in Childbirth – What the?!

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One of the 3 main Awareness Pillars of the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep asbl is Birth Rights or better expressed as Human Rights in ChildBirth.

Human Rights in Childbirth – heck, what on earth does that even mean?

Yes – we get that a lot!

And it’s perfectly understandable considering how long it took for humanity globally to even comprehend and recognise the need for basic human rights (the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the 56 members of the United Nations in 1948). Never-mind being treated with dignity and respect, having the freedom to choose the conditions and receiving Evidence Based Care under Informed Consent during the most natural life process now treated as an illness in many civilized societies –  Pregnancy & Childbirth… 

That is having your human rights respected in childbirth. And that’s exactly the plight of a very new international organisation – Human Rights in Childbirth, (“HRiC”) recently founded in 2012 by doctors, lawyers, birth advocates and other experts realising the need for this previously ignored and not well-understood concept.

They explain that “Human rights in Childbirth are women’s rights, because women are human too. (hurray!) The last century has seen a long struggle, around the world, for legal recognition of that basic fact.” Wow! ”

“Women do not lose their basic human rights once they become pregnant. And yet, across the globe, women’s human rights are compromised and violated around childbirth.” (Source: Human Rights in Childbirth)

The human rights framework is a valuable tool for understanding the global problems in beyoncematernity care and the obligations of governments to provide care that is accessible and affordable to all citizens. It is also helpful to understand the dynamics that occur between birthing women and their healthcare providers, and problems with medical intervention and abuse including the skyrocketing cesarean section rate. The list, below, is their attempt to identify the human rights at stake around childbirth. “We do not claim that it is exhaustive. And we do not claim that these rights are protected, by law, where you live. Even if these rights are recognized under your nation’s constitution, or treaties to which it is a signatory, they may be forgotten in maternity care. That’s why HRiC came into being: “Because we believe that it is time for these rights to be recognized and implemented, in law and practice, for birthing women everywhere. For that to happen will require activism and advocacy. Work with the network in your own nation to figure out what these rights mean there, and to advocate for their more perfect realization, as necessary.”

And this is exactly why we at the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep asbl feel it is crucial to start talking openly about this. This is too important to ignore.

Consumers need to be aware so they can be empowered, because Birth Matters.

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What are the Universal Human Rights of Women in Childbirth?

  1. Right to Informed Consent
  2. Right to Refuse Medical Treatment
  3. Right to Health
  4. Right to Equal Treatment
  5. Right to Privacy
  6. Right to Life

First of all – it is extremely important to understand that there is no doubt that technology and medical interventions have saved countless lives daily, and that we absolutely are not against medical procedures, hospitals, technology and medical staff when used responsibly and with proper consent. We are tremendously grateful, but we are also aware.

We (Birth Advocates, anthropologists, doctors, midwives, families) world-wide are becoming increasingly aware that developed countries in the Western world are experiencing a rise in medical interventions at Birth, often not based on the latest Evidence Based Practice, very often without proper informed consent from women and unfortunately for the wrong reasons…fear of litigation, time constraints inter-twisted with profit margins, routine hospital policies not based on latest evidence and simply a lack of training in what natural child-birth involves. (Documentary for further exploration: The Business of Being Born). And the funny thing is, most families are totally unaware of this, we are being conditioned that this is how it is.

Who’s fault is this?

It’s a systemic issue and not the fault of individual Care Providers. It’s profit margin pressures from hospitals (businesses) and other players. It’s the fault of the media, embedding fear into childbirth. It’s the lack of the system in allowing a Midwifery Care Model, a woman-centered model of care that has been proven to result in less medical intervention, birth trauma and more satisfaction from families with low-risk pregnancies.

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Currently in Luxembourg, the role of Midwives or “Sages-Femmes” as we know them are completely under-utilised and they act mostly as assistants to doctors in hospitals or underpaid independent pre/post-natal home-visitors, whereas in many other countries, families have the freedom to choose high-quality midwifery based care from the beginning of pregnancy up until the post-natal period. But this simply is not an option in Luxembourg. The Scandinavian countries are prime examples of how successful and supportive of families this model of care can be, where families can choose that midwives follow them during pregnancy, build a relationship and then support them during birth and the postnatal period.

Michel Odent at the 2016 Heal Birth, Heal the Earth Summit in Scotland (Findhorn) said: “The Western world is currently experiencing an upward trend in medical intervention, in other words, the Domination of Nature. This can not continue without dire consequences for humanity. It is time to develop a NEW Paradigm now. A paradigm where a symbiotic revolution will bring nature and technology into a mutually beneficial relationship to co-exist.”

As you can see, the issue is very complex and not easy to understand by the average person not constantly immersed in pregnancy & birth (aka birth junkies like us!). Governments, lawyers, Courts and expecting families themselves struggle to fully comprehend the big picture. No wonder – it took so long before the world started to take notice. And that is exactly why we need to start raising the awareness at the level of the consumer, because collectively this voice is the strongest.

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Professor of Complex Obstetrics Susan Bewley (quoted in Why Human Rights in Childbirth Matters by Rebecca Schiller) suggests that not significant yet, but nonetheless real increases in maternal mortality rates in some developed countries is now being seen, with a mix of factors contributing, including older mothers, IVF, language barriers, immigration and….rising caesarean section rates.

In the US, 1 in 3 women is giving birth (the same in Luxembourg) by Cesarean section and nearly a quarter are induced (30% in Luxembourg). “Is the pendulum swinging too far?” Asks Professor of Complex Obstetrics Susan Bewley (quoted in Why Human Rights in Childbirth Matters by Rebecca Schiller), “harm may be caused in pursuit of absolute safety”.

Rebecca Schiller adds that it makes sense that at some point, perhaps a point we arrived at a while ago, current obstetric practice reached a limit of what can be achieved and genuine innovation will be needed to keep mortality rates down.  Part of that innovation may be as simple as not intervening so routinely in pregnancy and birth.

What about families consciously choosing Medical Interventions

It is important to emphasise that it is most definitely NOT about validating the choices that families wanting and choosing medical intervention make. It is their human right to make those choices and they should be supported and not judged in that. Medical interventions can bring benefits and each person’s experience, philosophy and preferences surrounding birth are unique.

What is important is that families:

1. Really have the option to choose how (the conditions) and where they give birth, and

2. Receive updated, complete and enough information to enable them to make properly informed choices

3. Are not judged for their choices but rather supported.

The emergent issue is rather about those many families that receive routine, unwanted, un-consented medical interventions (with the first often snow-balling into the next and a very likely result being an eventual “Emergency” Cesarean Section). HRiC eloquently explains this as “one-size-fits-all, protocol-dictated, assembly line maternity care” that violates the right to informed consent and fails to promote health and well-being. And families unknowingly experiencing this, often believe that medical intervention actually saved their baby’s life… Professor Cecily Begley, Chair of Nursing & Midwifery at Trinity College Dublin, explains the cascade of interventions very well in this short video clip.

Also see below comparison of Routine vs Evidence Based Care commonly experienced in the US, very similar to what women experience in Luxembourg, with the exception of:

– VBAC’s:  Many doctors here do consider VBAC as a viable choice for women who had a previous Cesearan (subject of course to the women’s specific situation),

– and having a Birth Doula. The rate of Doulas “allowed” at birth if a birthing women chooses so is negligible in Luxembourg. It is clearly researched and supported by the WHO that Birth Doulas bring improved birth outcomes and satisfaction for families and therefore as part of our 1st Birth Rights Awareness Campaign, the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep asbl is campaigning for “Have a Choice 2 Have a Doula” in order to raise awareness at the consumer level.

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But what if I had a Cesarean Section?

It is also important to emphasise that if you have had a Cesarean section, your birth was definitely not “less than”, that you are not less of a mother, your baby is not less of a baby and whenever Cesearean Sections are compared to Vaginal Deliveries it is never directed at you.  And if it was your conscious choice/intended outcome, it is your Human Right to make that choice and be supported.

Improving Birth explains: “Information about birth and modes of birth should be treated as what it is – important health information for personal decisions – and is not intended to shame women or make them feel bad.  At the same time, withholding information from women because we don’t want to cause hurt or guilt is a misplaced effort.  It’s a perpetuation of what is truly hurting women and babies today: known but undisclosed risks of procedures like Cesarean section, biased information from care providers, pressure because of non-health factors, and a lack of options.”

Therefore we need to speak about this topic to protect those families that are unaware of how the violation of their rights lead to unintended birth outcomes. And we would be naive to expect as humanity that our species will thrive should we completely replace surgical births with natural childbirth without consciously thinking it through properly.

The WHO warns that when C-sections aren’t medically indicated, they may be more likely to harm mothers and babies than to help them as they carry with them a host of risks to mother and baby during and after the procedure (as do many other surgeries). In addition, new emerging research is showing that compared to vaginally born babies, those born via C-section are more likely to suffer from a host of health problems later in life: asthma, allergies, eczema, type 1 diabetes, celiac disease and that they are more likely to be hospitalized for gastroenteritis. Many researches now believe this is due to the missed opportunity of baby’s interaction with the mother’s microbes in the birth canal, also referred to as the seeding of the microbiome, key to a baby’s developing immune system and responsible for a wide range of metabolic activities. (Documentary to explore: Microbirth).

So bottom line, if your baby was born via Cesarean section, he or she can still live a very healthy life, given solid and thoughtful nutrition, love and care. Also consider finding out more about optimising gut health for your child.

The “ideal rate” for caesarean sections is between 10% and 15% of births according to the WHO.  Perinatal reports worldwide compare (among other indicators) national cesarean section with the WHO recommendation to evaluate maternity care. Upon closer look at the changes we must make to decrease cesarean section rates, it becomes clear that in many cases they can be prevented (if this is is within the wishes of the family).

With all that being said, let’s take a deep breath…

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2016 EU Human Rights in Childbirth Summit

In October 2016, we attended the EU Human Rights in Childbirth Summit in Strasbourg. (The 4th summit in the EU).

The purpose of the summit was:

1)  To strengthen the work of European maternity care activists to advance the human rights of all women in maternity care across Europe.
2) To report on, and document, what women are experiencing in healthcare during pregnancy and childbirth across Europe, in order to advance advocacy at the local level and to educate human rights lawyers and stakeholders from the European Court of Human Rights and elsewhere.

Wow! What an experience and eye-opener this was!

Along with the help of Initiativ Liewensufank, we gathered data and launched a survey (thanks to everybody that completed the survey!) in Luxembourg to be able to report on:

1) Access to Midwifery Care/Out of Hospital Options, and

2) How women are actually experiencing Informed Consent & Refusal.

It was clear that Luxembourg has some work to do!

Access to Midwifery Care/Out of Hospital Options:

When it comes to access to Midwifery Care/Out of Hospital Options we know that the Midwifery care Model is just not an option in Luxembourg as explained earlier.

In many countries like the UK and the Netherlands families are free to choose from viable Out of Hospital Options, like the choice to a safe and properly supported Homebirth or another alternative, a Birthing Centre.

Homebirth may sound too hippy, crazy or risky to some but  large scale studies from Birthplace in England, have demonstrated the general safety for “low-risk women” when properly managed and supported with integration to further medical support when needed.

A Birthing Centre is a home-like facility, existing within a healthcare system with a program of care designed in the wellness model of pregnancy and birth and guided by principles of prevention, sensitivity, safety, appropriate medical intervention, and cost effectiveness. For someone trying to avoid unneeded medical interventions but not totally up for a home-birth, this is a fabulous choice!

In Luxembourg – there ain’t no Birthing Centres as the premise for their function is a Midwifery Based Model of Care, while Home Birth carries with it a social stigma and although not against the law (as previously in some countries like Hungary), there is a lack of financial support and training of midwives and medical staff at hospitals that will enable families to really have a choice to a normalized and integrated healthcare option.

The rate of Home Birth in Luxembourg in 2015 was 0.2% while the UK was over 2% and the Netherlands 12%. Some women in Luxembourg choose to drive to Birth Centres across the border.

How women are actually experiencing Informed Consent & Refusal.

At the summit it was evident that even though the legal framework in many countries are by now supporting this aspect in theory, this does not mean that it is exercised in practice/reality (In Luxembourg, this has been part of National Law since 2014).

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And just so, from our survey, a few of the outcomes in Luxembourg interesting to highlight, showed that:

  • 43% of women did not feel their care providers spent an appropriate amount of time with them when explaining medical procedure(s).
  • 34% felt that they didn’t have all the information about benefits and risks of the procedure(s) being suggested?
  • And 30% were not satisfied with their gynecologist
  • 44% rated their Cesearean Section experience bad or very bad on the psychological level and 28% for the physical experience.
  • Common routine procedures performed are episiotomies, induction of labour, artificial rupture of the membranes, kristeller (pushing on the belly) and electronic fetal monitoring (EFM), with 73% of women reporting no consent given for episiotomies, 79% not consenting to the kristeller procedure and 68% not consenting to EFM (to name just a few).

Coming back to the 6 Universal Human Rights as formulated by HRiC mentioned above, let’s just see where we stand, here in the Grand Duchy.

  1. Right to Informed Consent – clearly from the above survey, we see that families are undergoing routine medical procedures of which many are outdated (not based on latest Evidence Based Practice) and not medically indicated and without consent. It sounds crazy but according to Evidence Based Birth it takes up to 20 years for research findings to be translated into clinical practice. Shocking, isn’t it? But totally true.
  2. Right to Refuse Medical Treatment – “This means that you don’t have a legal obligation to walk into a hospital to receive treatment, and that you can walk out at any time. It means that nobody should perform an intervention on you without asking you first.” This we can see as well from above, is not the case.
  3. Right to Health – “In countries across Europe, foreign-born and immigrant women are at significantly increased risk of maternal and perinatal mortality and low birth weight babies.” In addition, almost 50% of women giving birth in Luxembourg do not carry the Luxembourg nationality and those that are not competent in French, German or Luxembourgish have difficulty communicating with some providers, which adds an additional layer of stress and confusion and definitely do not contribute to a pleasant birth experience.
  4. Right to Privacy – “Recognition of the right to choose the circumstances of childbirth requires states to legitimize and support the full range of women’s birth choices, including the choice to give birth with a midwife at home or in a birth center, or with a doctor or midwife at a hospital. The state should not enforce medical monopoly and make women’s choices less safe by treating out-of-hospital birth choices as illegitimate and driving them underground. The right to choose the circumstances of childbirth has implications for women’s right to support for vaginal birth. This issue is pressing, as the cesarean rate rises. Birthing women make decisions around childbirth in accordance with their personal needs.  Women’s needs and decisions around modesty and privacy during labor and birth, pain relief, medical assistance, and surgery are different because women are different. Maternity care systems should be able to anticipate and support a diverse range of needs and choices around pregnancy and childbirth, and to support those needs with respect and non-judgment.” Clearly as explained above, Luxembourg has a long way to go here.
  5. Right to Life – “An unborn baby is represented by the person who is most invested in its health and well-being. Nobody is more invested in the health and well-being of a being-born baby than the person who grew it under her heart, from her blood. The maternal-fetal dyad is best protected when the birthing mother is respected as a competent decision-maker for herself and her child. 99% of maternal deaths happen in developing countries, where poverty and lack of infrastructure can threaten survival.”  Here in Luxembourg though, we are thankful to have hospital care and infrastructure generously available to those who need it.

To conclude, we can see that the issues are complex!

Yet:

  • The more consumers become aware of their rights,
  • and the more they stand up for their rights,
  • the more we put pressure on the systems governing maternity care,
  • the more we work together as families, birth advocates, care providers and child-birth educators,

–> only then will future families, mothers, babies and generations to come, be able to benefit from the freedom of viable choices as well as respectful and nurturing maternity care.

And this my dear friends, will leave lifelong positive imprints on our society.

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What Luxmama Club is doing and how you can get involved:

  •  We have launched our 1st Birth Rights Awareness Campaign to raise awareness at consumer level (collectively the strongest voice) of the proven benefits of having a Doula at your birth: Have a Choice 2 have a Doula. Support our project by donating here.
  • We have launched Positive Birth Meetups as part of the global movement. Anybody interested in sharing and spreading positivity about birth, come and join us!
  • If you are passionate about birth rights and would like to get involved in any current or future campaigns please contact us! And join our Facebook group, Birth Advocates in Luxembourg.
  • If any of this resonated with you, you can make a difference by raising awareness on these topics with your family and friends so they too are empowered.

More about the Author

As mother of two darling babies Certified IMPI Holistic Maternity & Sleep Coach/Educator Marise Hyman provides worldwide coaching and education in planning for an empowered pregnancy, birth and parenthood journey to expecting/future/new parents through Marise Hyman Maternity Coaching – setting them up for success, so they can move from confusion to confidence!
She is also a Birth Advocate and founder of the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep asbl, an edgy non-profit organisation raising awareness for green, natural & holistic parenting alternatives, birth rights and postnatal mood disorders by offering a variety of inspiring social and educational events in Luxembourg.

Eve’s Luxmama-2B Review on Yoga

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I’ve been trying to maintain my fitness levels somewhat during my pregnancy and had been going to the gym until I finished up at work. But by 32 weeks I was feeling quite enormous – that seems laughable now at 40 weeks – but I thought having to modify so many of my movements at the gym made it not really worth going anymore. I also really felt that I wanted someone who was qualified in training pregnant women, as the last thing I wanted was an injury at this stage.

Once I finished up at work and my schedule was a lot more flexible I started to look for yoga and pilates classes. After a lot of googling, I came across the Studio in Kirchberg, their prices seemed too good to be true* so I decided to sign up. I bought a ten class subscription that was valid for four months.

I’ve been so impressed so far. The courses are taught by qualified physiotherapists so I felt I can really trust them to know exactly what we should be doing and I am therefore much more likely to keep my focus than when I’m trying to second guess an unqualified gym instructor.

In both courses the instructors will come over to correct the positions of the class participants and if anything feels uncomfortable they will modify them. The instructors are generally very helpful and will often give general advice on healthy movement during and after pregnancy. I found the tips on getting out of bed very useful. I have mostly been attending the prenatal courses but have also attended a couple of the postnatal pilates “bébés bienvenues” classes and found them very good also.

They seem very well organized with some toys for the babies and the instructor will often pick up babies that seem unsettled so their mums can continue exercising.

The courses are conducted in French but I have noticed the instructors speaking English to some of the participants so presumably the individual courses are also offered in English.

The only real downside is that the admin is very slow. It’s necessary to phone or email to book a class and often responses are slow, in addition, the website often isn’t updated to reflect cancelled classes.
*The price is set to go up soon.


About the Author:
Eve is a market researcher by day, food blogger by night living in Luxembourg city with her husband and very spoilt cat awaiting her first baby.

www.wordpress.com/posts/rashersresch.wordpress.com
www.instagram.com/rashersresch

eve

Top 10 tips to Green your Family

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“Greening” is the process of transforming a space or lifestyle into a more environmentally friendly version. The act of greening involves incorporating “green” products and processes into an environment.

Now why on earth would we bother, this sounds tedious?!

Reasons that may resonate with you could be:

  • To preserve the earth for future generations
  • Out of pure respect to Mother Earth and realising our responsibility as inhabitants
  • Sustainability just makes sense

and/or

For the HEALTH of your growing baby in your belly, your children, yourself, your partner…

You see, these days we are exposed to environmental toxins on a daily basis that increase our toxic load and as a result our risks for chronic diseases. Many of these toxins are a by-product of an industrialized world. Some even go as far as saying that the daily toxic load we encounter in 1 month, is more than your great-grandparents encountered in their whole lifetimes..

If you’d like to explore these thoughts a bit further, take a look below:

The good news is that in your home, YOU are in control (unless you have toddlers/teenagers!), so making a few small changes can have a significant impact on your family’s daily toxic load intake.

Really.

In your home, YOU are in control.

Ideally, becoming mindful of environmental toxins you are exposed to and aiming to decrease your intake is important for everybody’s health. On the other hand, it is also never too late to start your Greener journey. Babies are particularly vulnerable to environmental toxins and that is exactly why expecting families can only benefit from a decrease in toxin exposure. And then once baby is born, continuing Green practices and being realistic yet not obsessive to the point where it stresses you out (yet another toxin!) will be beneficial for your whole family as well as Mother Earth.

So it’s really a win-win!

There are many ways to do this. You do not have to rebuild your home. Just make some easy changes, bit by bit and you’ll be amazed at where you’ll be a few months down the line. Each time you run out of something, simply replace this product with a Greener more natural/non-toxic option.

Before we shoot with the actual Greening Strategies, it’s important to understand how we absorb toxins:

Anything you:

  • Put in your mouth (foods and drinks)
  • Put on your skin (your largest organ and highly porous – absorbs what you put on it)
  • Inhale

As simple as that.

Go Green with Cleaning Products

Gradually replace the cleaning products you use at home with more natural options. Luckily in Luxembourg, more natural versions are readily available in commercial stores and in particular, Naturata. The laundry detergent you use can be replaced with a 100% natural, economical and bio-degradable miracle of life – soap nuts! (Available at Naturata).soap nuts

Another fun thing to do, is to make your own products. With basic ingredients like vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and essential oils, you’ll be amazed at how far you can go.

For more inspiration check out:

Go Green with Personal Care and Baby Products

Now do exactly the same with your Personal Care Products. From deodorant to face wash to each and every product you use on your baby. You will be surprised at how many unpronounceable chemicals are contained in mass-marketed and well-cherised baby brands. Product ranges like Weleda, Aveda and others found at Naturata are a better bet. Coconut oil is also a staple here. Limit the use of wipes at home (replace with a washcloth and water) and when you do use wipes, go for the most natural versions as opposed to the most baby-friendly-marketed versions. Water wipes are great.

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Go easy on the plastic

Plastic is nobody’s friend. Once in touch with food, toxins can leach into foods and drinks, even more so when put in the microwave. Plastic toys for babies and children are also something to consider avoiding. They all do eventually end up in their mouths and the phthalates making plastic soft and flexible is a major contributor to indoor air pollution as they are not chemically bound to products, which makes them easy to migrate and off-gas into the air we breathe. That “new car” or “new toy” smell is the smell of phthalates off-gasing…  Furthermore, plastic doesn’t biodegrade. Animals can ingest it, with sometimes fatal consequences. And there is a toxic soup of plastic swirling around in the ocean. Most plastic is made from fossil fuels like oil and natural gas, which release toxic emissions when extracted from the earth. So what to do? The next time you buy something, choose a non-plastic alternative. Material and wooden toys (from sustainable sources with non-toxic finishing), ceramic, stainless steel and glass sippy cups, bottles and eating utensils. Bio-degradable vegetable fibers are also now being used more and more.

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Eat Organic

Not taxing your digestive system with additional toxins ingested from foods will also go a long way. Yes, it is more expensive, but for a reason. Pay the farmer now or pay the doctor later. Yes, not everything you encounter outside of your home will be organic. But opting for locally grown, organic food at home will be a game-changer for your whole family.

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Open windows!

Indoor air pollution is a reality, especially now that we live in highly insulated homes. Open the windows, especially the sleeping environment at least 1 hour per day.

Invest in Indoor plants

Indoor plants can assist with filtering polluted air. “The air cleaning capability of plants maintained within a closed living environment goes far and beyond simple removal of carbon dioxide (which humans and animals exhale) and replacing it with clean oxygen. House plants also have the remarkable ability to remove toxins such as benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air, which can be a particular health hazard for those living or working in newly built residential homes, apartments, and commercial office space.”

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Read more here:

Say no to Toxic Wall Paint

Wall paint is one of the leading causes of air pollution.  Paints and finishes release low level toxic emissions into the air for years after application.  THe source of these toxins is a variety of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) which, until recently, were essential to the performance of the paint. Thankfully, new environmental regulations and consumer demand, have led to the development of low-VOC and zero-VOC paints and finishes. Most paint manufacturers now produce one of more non-VOC variety of paint, durable, cost-effective and less harmful to human and environmental health.

Green baby’s Nursery

Baby’s Nursery deserve a whole blog post on its own. As explained above, VOC paints are not what we want in here.  Opt for the most natural mattress you can find. This is more important than anything else. Select natural (organic if possible) fabrics for bedding.

Choose furniture made from natural materials and finishing. Blinds, shades, and curtains gather dust mites, so minimise these and wash frequently. In humid conditions, carpeting may harbor mold and mildew. Synthetic carpeting, backing and pads contain so many chemicals they are often referred to as a “toxic soup” that can cause headaches, fatigue and breathing difficulties.

Consider EMF’s

While Electro Magnetic Field Radiation (“EMF”) is dangerous for adults, they can be life threatening for babies so it is a good idea to minimise electronics and especially wi-fi devices where baby will sleep and spend a lot of time.

Here’s why…

  • Babies skulls are thin.  This allows for radiation to penetrate deep into the brain.
  • Babies are growing fast. This means their cells are dividing really fast. Every time a cell divides, it makes a replica of itself. Stuff like radiation can cause the new cell to be mutated. Mutated cells are also known as cancer.
  • EMF exposure weakens the immune system. Babies don’t yet have fully formed immune systems. This is why babies are so susceptible to colds and infections. Expose them to EMF’S, and they become even less able to fight off bacteria, viruses or fungi.emf

Banish Toxic Thoughts

We often don’t realise how our thoughts shape our world. In fact, everything starts with thoughts. So being more mindful of them will shape a better world, simply put. If this intrigues you, read the beautifully written little book by Sandra Ingerman, How to Heal Toxic Thoughts.

ChangeThoughts

OK, so reading this may trigger some overwhelming feelings. Don’t sweat it. This is not an overnight process. Take it step-by-step. One small change at a time. Finished with a product? Just replace it with something better next time. It ALL adds up.

Here is a guided relaxation to help you relax about it all. When you are in a relaxed frame of mind, you will be better equipped to think consciously going forward.

And each conscious decision you make, will not only benefit your own family but also Mother Earth, none of us can live without…


More about the Author

As mother of two darling babies Certified IMPI Holistic Pregnancy & Child Sleep Coach, MH AuthorPerinatal Coach/Educator (Baby Planner) and Happiest Baby Educator, Marise Hyman provides worldwide maternity, sleep & parenting coaching & education for expecting/future/new parents through Marise Hyman Maternity Coaching – setting them up for success, so they can sail into their new lives with confidence!
She is also the founder of the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep asbl, an edgy non-profit organisation raising awareness for green, natural & holistic parenting alternatives, birth rights and postnatal mood disorders by offering a variety of inspiring social and educational events in Luxembourg.

 

 

 

Let’s just be!

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Let’s just be!

My kid is starting school in September! I know, right. But I just had him! What happened? He is starting in precoce in the local school. They can start when they turn 3. In September he will be 3 and 8 months.

As a consequence he is saying goodbye to his friends in crèche. This breaks my heart. It took a long time for him to be happy in crèche and to make friends. Now he runs to the door and can’t wait to play with Peter, Eva, Youni and all the other besties! They have really formed a great group and he talks about them constantly!

The sad news is that all of them are going to start school in September and not in the same school. We have already said good-bye to Martyna. She will spend the summer in her home country and when she comes back she will start precoce.

Tears were flowing on her last day.

I was getting prepared to comfort my little sad boy and to explain why life is the way it is. But you know what? I didn’t have to. My kid didn’t seem too affected by this. To be honest, I haven’t dared asking him about it because I don’t want to remind him of it. So maybe he hasn’t realized it and the reaction may come later. But I still think it is amazing how kids just pick life up and keep going. He goes to crèche not the least bothered by the fact that Martyna is no longer there, but instead focuses on all the other kids that are there.

Kids are so present in the present! We, the adults, should really take note! We get so caught up in the past and the future that we forget the present. We forget to enjoy and play in the present. Kids don’t do that. Kids don’t think about the consequences or how much pain they may or may not be in in the future. They just keep playing because that is what is happening right now!

When we grow up, we forget how to live in the now, especially when we become parents! We worry all the time! Are we doing this right, should I have done this differently? How will it be in the future, etc. etc! We constantly worry, and the older we get the more we worry.

Let’s learn from our kids and be more in the present! Whether you are trying to get pregnant, are pregnant to your chin or just had your kid, this message is for all of you! We can’t change the past, and the future hasn’t happened yet. The only thing we can influence is the present. So let’s get back into the present and be! Life happens now!

If you have your newborn or toddler with your right now, then try to notice how (s)he is breathing! Notice their stomach moving up and down! This is how you should breathe too! Breathing this way will calm your mind, body and spirit and will bring you back into the now!

Our kids are amazing! They are much more in touch with nature than we are! Take note and learn! I can’t wait for what other lessons my kids have in store for me! But for now, I will breathe and be in the present!


More about the AuthorGet real logo cropped

Anne Louise is a mother of two small boys and works as a Holistic Health Coach in Luxembourg. She helps her clients lose weight, gain more energy, increase quality of sleep and finally feel awesome about IMG_8083themselves! Struggling with weight herself for most of her life, she can truly relate to her clients and offers a safe space to talk about issues around food, body image and self-love.

She keeps up to date with the newest Health Trends and blogs about her findings. She also runs a Weight Loss Support Group on Facebook! Don’t be shy to get in touch!

A letter to my Baby

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Dear Baby,

I am lying awake in bed. It’s the middle of the night. You have just eaten and gone back to sleep. Exactly 10 weeks ago I was awake too. Around this time you started signaling that you were ready to be born. At first I tried to ignore it. After all you were planned one day later. However, in the wee hours of the 24th November it was clear that you did not want to wait any longer. You had already started your journey towards birth and there was no going back. At 8:29 am you came into this world.

Tuesdays have been my special day ever since. Every Tuesday I count to know how old you are and I remember what these first moments with you were like, how all of sudden your dad and I were no longer alone. How I became a mum.

Over the last few weeks you have started to have a great routine. On most nights now I only get up once to feed you. You have developed the skill to fall asleep by yourself at night after our evening ritual. During the day you are awake a little more. You are aware of your surroundings; you look at me with your big eyes, you look for me when I am not in your field of view, you smile in the most beautiful way, you wriggle and fidget. You have already grown so much.

I remember the first days at hospital when you would sleep a lot during the day and keep me awake most of the night, crying with your little newborn voice. If at all you would only calm down lying on my chest. You were so fragile and frail. The midwife on shift would ask me if she should take you away for a few hours so that I could get some rest. But I said no every time they asked. I was not going to leave you alone for even a second.

When we first brought you home, all was new and unfamiliar. I was very emotional and still tired from your birth. Yet I wanted to be on top of things and do everything right. I am not going to lie or sweet-talk. The first weeks were not an easy journey.

Even though my love for you remained unshaken, I often doubted my abilities to take care of a baby and myself. Why were you crying so much, why was I unable to calm you down? Was something wrong with you? Were you traumatized by your birth? Was I doing something wrong? Was I even able to look after you? Why weren’t you one of these babies that sleep all the time and never cry except when they are hungry? I spent many nights carrying you around the flat, lying or sitting with you on my chest, trying to find a way to make you feel comfortable. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. I often cried with you. Then again I tried to be rational about it, to find solutions that made sense and that simply had to work. And of course did not…

The night with the darkness and quiet brought the negative thoughts, the doubts and the overwhelm. With the light of the day emerged the brighter side of life, a new beginning, the joy and the pride of having you, the reminder that I could handle anything that was presented to me.

Even though you are only 10 weeks old, you are my greatest teacher. You are teaching me many things… To be patient and stay calm no matter what, to listen and be attentive, to be present when all I want to do is plan and project into the future, to be flexible and ready to do the exact opposite of what I expected to do.

And also: when I face my fears and let go, things fall into place in the most beautiful and unexpected way. Nothing is impossible. We are perfect as we are. You are unique and so am I, so no need to compare with others. We are here to learn and there is no wrong answer.

And most importantly: love is all that matters.

And yes, I sometimes wish things were easier. That you didn’t have your “cry time” in the evening where all I can do is listen to you and hear you. That you slept according to “my” schedule. That I could get more done. That you didn’t cry in public or during baby massage when all the other babies are totally zen or in the exact moment I want to make that phone call.

But who am I to force my way onto you? After all what I love most about you is that you have your own little personality and that you are strong-headed. You know what you want and what you don’t want. And you make it very clear.

This is such a precious time. Many moments that will not happen twice or occur in the same way ever again. So I remind myself to be present and to enjoy what we have: a unique journey filled with joy and love. I cannot imagine life without you. I am deeply grateful that you have chosen me to be your mum.

Thank you for being the person that you are. I love you in the most divine way.

Happy 10 weeks, my love.

Love,

Mummy


Maud Hansen

Come Fly With Me! (Pregnancy Edit)

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Escaping with your other half for one last holiday before your baby arrives, or a babymoon, is becoming more and more common. Having recently returned from my own babymoon, I’ve come up with some hints and tips on how to make to most of your time away.

(Please note, I am not a medical professional, always seek the advice of your doctor/midwife before traveling)

Timing

According to medical advice, the safest time to fly is during your 2nd trimester, with most airlines accepting pregnant passengers up until 35 weeks (check with each airlines individual policies).

Not only is this safer, it is also the period when you should be finished with morning sickness, and not so big that you’re feeling huge and uncomfortable. Especially when squeezing into your tiny airplane seat! I traveled between 29 and 31 weeks. While I still physically felt good, being a month or even two earlier would have been perfect. I wasn’t exactly huge at this time, but the tight airplane rows made getting into my bag on the floor almost impossible. Luckily we were given aisle seats so I could push my bag with my feet into the aisle and bend over enough that way to get into it. But it was near impossible to get in and out of my seat when the considerate passenger in front decided to recline their seat….

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The airport & flight

Try to get to the airport nice and early to have a better chance of choosing your seat (if you haven’t already checked in online). Having an aisle seat means you’re more likely to get up and move around, and also you won’t feel so guilty disturbing your neighbour as you get up to use the bathroom for the millionth time. Pregnant women are more prone to problems such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) so make sure you get up regularly and go for walks, curl and uncurl your toes, stand up and down on your toes (you can do this one in the bathroom if you’re afraid of getting too many weird looks).

We are all constantly being told to stay nice and hydrated during pregnancy, so buying a big bottle of water once you’re through security should get you through the duration of the flight – also drinking plenty of water will mean you’ll need to make regular bathroom visits, therefore helping you move around, win win!

Make sure you keep any pregnancy notes, papers, medical certificates etc close at hand in case of any problems or queries from airline staff. I had a rather scary moment boarding the plane to come home, the air steward after congratulating me, asked how far along I was….31 weeks at this point. Cue a long pause then “Ah I’m sorry but you’re not actually allowed to fly”. WHAT?! Luckily, I’d printed an email confirmation from the company stating up until 35 weeks I could safely fly without medical certificate. Being prepared helped us stay calm and rectify the situation. Although being stuck in the Canary Islands wouldn’t have been such a terrible situation 😉

How to stay comfortable

Ok, flight over and you’ve now arrived at the hotel. Unless you’re really lucky to live in a warm climate year-long, you’re probably feeling rather hot and bothered. Making sure you’ve packed lots of light, breezy clothes made of natural fabrics for the duration of your trip will help keep you cool.

Most hotel rooms provide spare pillows as standard anyway, if not, it’s worth asking for a couple more at reception. After a long day exploring your surroundings, or just lounging by the pool, making sure you still get a good nights sleep, with extra support for bump if needed, is still very important.

Make the most of being able to swim outdoors in the pool or sea, as being weightless will be such a surreal but pretty awesome feeling. It’s also important not to overheat so a quick dip will help keep you cool as well as active.

If the beach is your scene, you will find that lying on the sand is not as comfortable as it once was…plus you’re more limited for positions as you can’t lie on your belly anymore. Unless of course, you dig yourself a big hole in the sand and place your belly inside. Tried and tested, this was such a blessing after 8 months of not being able to lie face down. However, you will not look graceful getting out of your pit.

I also packed some towels from the hotel (I know, I know, but rules don’t apply to pregnant ladies!). I rolled up a large towel and 2 smaller hand towels to create a raised pillow, then it just felt the same as lying in bed. Just don’t spend too long dozing on one side, unless you want an uneven tan! This make-shift bed also works well during picnics in the park!

Depending on the stage of your pregnancy, overindulging on food could make you feel bloated and unwell so don’t just stuff your face because you’re away. While we enjoy treating ourselves on holiday, you are still feeding a growing baby, so eating well is still important. At least being in a warmer climate tends to mean you’ll better access to more exciting fruits. But an ice cream is always an excellent way to help keep you cool and once in a while is a lovely treat!

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How to look good

Looking good may be way down your list of priorities, but I always feel better when I look better, and I enjoy making an effort in the evenings to make up for being sweaty/sandy/sun creamy during the day. Maxi dresses are a godsend while pregnant, light, comfortable and flattering for bump! Cinch in under your bust with a belt if need to avoid looking too tent-like and help show off that beautiful bump of yours.

Getting a lovely golden tan will help you feel more radiant and less like a zombie – however be warned your skin could be more sensitive and more prone to burns than before. In my case, I went the opposite way and found I took so long to take colour. With all the extra hormones floating around you right now, be careful and stay safe in the sun. A tan is gorgeous, a burn is not.

Bikini, swimsuit, tankini, au natural….your choice of swimwear is just as overwhelming when pregnant than before. Go with whatever makes you the most comfortable and sexy. Personally, I fully embraced a bikini – in fact, it was probably the 1st time I’ve felt truly confident in a bikini because I love my belly. However, I’ve been blessed with some very good genes and I’ve only put on weight on my belly (which looks slightly like I’ve eaten a balloon!). I only decided the week before going that I felt good enough in a bikini to not need to cover up. A tankini would have been a good option to let baby see some beautiful sunshine while sunbathing but also be able to cover up if feeling a little shy. When I traveled (May), I couldn’t find any maternity bathing options in regular high street shops, such as H&M. From looking online, asos have a fab collection (free delivery over 25€), as do New Look (free EU delivery over 65€) and the range at Next is ok (they deliver free to Luxembourg, their kidswear range is amazing!). I was surprised to find a maternity swimsuit in Decathlon for only 15€ which would be perfect for anyone taking part in prenatal swimming classes.

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Each person is different, and each pregnancy is different. I felt amazing during my entire pregnancy, and the sun gave me so much more energy than usual so we spent our days walking and exploring the island. Before going, we didn’t book any trips or set ourselves any expectations as you just never know how you’re going to feel or react to being in a warmer climate. Just bring comfortable shoes incase you feel great, and several great books incase you don’t. Enjoy some alone time with your other half, away from the stresses of daily life, baby preparations and interfering relatives – as well-meaning as they may be…..enjoy your break & bon voyage!

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More about the Author:

973280_978470308aaa4fa19eb7ca935a940b1dEmmy is a soon-to-be first time mama who has been living near  Luxembourg for almost 2 years. A few years ago, Emmy began exploring a much more ‘back to nature’ and holistic approach to health, diet and life in general, and is now passionate about having a more natural maternity journey and empowering other women to do the same. She is also part of the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep asbl Team and a Maternity Coach Trainee.

The Massage with a Happy ending…

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Pregnancy Massage in Luxembourg

“It can be exhausting growing a little human”

It can be exhausting growing a little human, shopping for baby, running to doctor’s appointments only to sit there for hours, counting kicks, mulling over names, answering endless (well-meaning) questions from relatives and friends, sending your partner out at the crack of dawn to urgently search for organic sun-dried pickles and ice cream.

That is exactly why pampering yourself with a pregnancy massage will do just the trick to chill out for a bit.

The Benefits:

And as you may know, the benefits don’t stop there. They are bountiful, both on a physiological, emotional and psychological level. Pregnancy massage may:

  1. Alleviate stress on weight-bearing joints and other structures
  2. Assist in remedying many of the common discomforts experienced during pregnancy: muscular discomforts, lower-back pain, upper-back pain, headaches, leg cramps, sciatica, stiffness, tension and knots, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, heartburn and acid reflux, fatigue, varicose veins, nasal congestion, shortness of breath, edema of the lower extremities, neck pain, hip joint pain and other pains as well as constipation
  3. Increase blood circulation, which provides more oxygen and nutrients to both mother and fetus and stimulates the lymph system, thereby increasing immunity and removal of toxins
  4. Stabilise hormonal levels and helps relieve depression or anxiety caused by hormonal changes
  5. Soothe and relax the nervous system by releasing endorphins into the mother’s body. As a result, the expectant mother feels more relaxed and at ease, and will also sleep more easily and more deeply
  6. Assist in maintaining good posture and adjusting to a changing alignment caused by the baby’s increasing weight. Massage increases muscle tone and flexibility, enhancing the ability to carry this extra weight while also relieving aches and pains, leg cramps and muscle spasms.
  7. Ease the load on the heart and helps keep blood pressure in check
  8. Enhance the pliability of skin and underlying tissues
  9. Support the return of blood to the heart and increases blood flow to the uterus and placenta.
  10. Prepare the mother-to-be for an easier delivery with its sedating effect on the nervous system, promoting relaxation and stress relief
  11. Offer a natural, safe, drug-free alternative choice for pain relief, since taking medications are often limited during a pregnancy for the sake of the unborn child
  12. In addition to the physical benefits, prenatal massage provides expecting women with the emotional support and nurturing touch provided by nonsexual human touch and energy.

When I work with clients in Baby Planning or Holistic Sleep Coaching (for babies or during pregnancy), I always encourage my clients to invite a relaxing massage into their lives as often as they can. Any pregnant mom can benefit with some pampering, provided the massage therapist is qualified (preferably within the last 5 years) and works regularly with pregnant clients. Look for a three-year history of performing prenatal massage on a frequent basis.

Make sure you have the go-ahead from your doctor (especially if your pregnancy is considered higher risk) before you explore any form of therapy.

When I work with parents to improve sleep for their household, their well-being and self-care is crucial to their ability of caring for their little cherub and forms an essential part of the Sleep Plan. And what better way to relax, release and let your tension melt away. With that, being said, each person is different and there are clients that don’t enjoy being touched by “strangers”. Self-care for them, takes on a different form and we sit together to find their sweet spot.

“an innocent happy ending to your daily tensions”

So below I have compiled a list (below in alphabetical order) where you can get your prenatal massage fix in Luxembourg, bringing an innocent happy ending to your daily tensions…

Disclaimer: Neither the author or Luxmama Club & ParentPrep asbl shall not be held responsible for any negligence resulting from a service provided by practitioners listed hereafter. Please use your own discretion to investigate suitability.

Chrystele Welter

Thai pregnancy massage therapy as well as Reiki & Ortho-Bionomy therapy offered by Chrystele Welter – Sandweiler.

Price depending on hot/cold oil options – varies between €65 (45 min) – €120 (90 min)


Joëlle Hoffmann: http://www.joellehoffmann.lu/fr/femme-enceinte

“Unifying masssage” for mother and baby by Joëlle, a Pshycomotrician, reflexologist and trained pregnancy and baby masseuse – Limpertzberg.

Price available upon request


Les Thermes

Indoor swimming centre with full spa offering a “Future maman massage” – Strassen.

30 min: €38 or 55 min: €60


Luxchiro

Chiropractic & Wellness Centre with various massage therapists offering pregnancy massage: Kristy, Gigja, and Dorothy – Kirchberg.

Cost depends.


Luxeden

This massage, available from your second trimester of pregnancy, uses Ayurvedic massage techniques which releases muscular tension in the back, heaviness of the legs and more – Mondorf-les-bains (as well as in-home sessions offered when purchasing a block of 5 or 10 sessions.)

60 min: €90 (reduction available when purchased in multiple blocks of sessions)


Mondorf Domaine Thermal

Although not always indicated on their website, they do offer prenatal massage options. Please inquire – Mondorf-les-bains.

Prices from 25min for €49

(+352) 23 666 – 600/domaine@mondorf.lu


Nada Ayurveda Well-being

Ayurvedic style pregnancy massage by highly qualified Ayurvedic therapist – Biwer (22 min from Luxembourg City Center)

55 min (70 min incl breaks): €75


Namaste

Various massage options, including Tibetan singing bowls from a “naturotherapist” – Bereldange

30 min: €45, 45 min: €65, 60 min:€80 and more.


Oa6 Santé & Bien-etre

Expecting Mama Wellness package: 30 min cleanse, scrub and facial mask combined with foot and leg massage. Spa access is included but keep in mind sauna/steam room are not recommended during pregnancy – Oberfeulen

90 min: €115


Relax Max

In France, Luxembourg and Belgium as from the 2nd trimester – In-home

60 min: 90


Spa Anywhere Anytime

A personalized massage tailored to your needs. Whether you need to alleviate tension or discomfort in the neck, shoulders and upper back, lower back pains or swelling of the hands or feet, this massage is designed for you. Comfort and sensitivity are vital in helping you to relax and enjoy your pregnancy, motherhood and of course baby – In-home

60 min €120, 90 min: €165


Vanessa Schäfer

Highly recommended therapeutic women’s massage for all life stages (cyclic, fertility, menopausal challenges, endometriosis and cysts etc) by highly qualified physiotherapist (Kinésithérapist). Also especially for pregnancy.  – Junglinster

Price on request


Yoaké

NEW LIFE, MOTHER-TO-BE: €135 for 75 min – An unique synergy of massage and products with natural active ingredients to restore body tissue elasticity and firmness. A rebalancing, tonifying and firming treatment with nourishing actions and relief to reactivate the function of the lymph and vein system.

INNER PEACE & HARMONY: €100 for 60 min –  This delicious relaxing massage brings comfort during pregnancy and an exceptional harmony between the baby and the mother.

VITAL LEGS: €65 for 35 min – Legs massage to improve circulation and reduce swelling.

Boulevard de la Pétrusse, Luxembourg


Yoga La Source

Pregnancy massage focusing on the special needs of the mother-to-be as her body undergoes dramatic changes. The massage helps to relieve stress on weight-bearing joints such as ankles, low back and pelvis as well as alleviates neck and back pain caused by muscle imbalance – Walferdange

60 min €70


Vis la vie

Wellness institute offering energetic wellness, iridologie, raw food cooking classes & coaching offers, natural beauty treatments and more. For mamas-to-be a “Drainage future maman” is offered promising to drain the lymph fluids, activate blood circulation and relieve back tension at – Place Guillaume II, Luxembourg City

30 min:€49


Santulita Massages Ayurvédique

Experienced Ayurvedic therapist offering not only prenatal Ayurvedic massages but also postnatal – Ehlange-sur-Mess (Luxembourg)

60 min:€65


Another form of therapy, extremely useful during pregnancy is reflexology. Watch out for a future post on this topic.

Please shoot us a message, either as comment to this post or luxmamaclub@gmail.com to add any pregnancy massage treatment, not already listed here. And if you’d like to contribute an article to our blog, by writing a review of your experience with any prenatal massage in Luxembourg, we want to hear from you too!


More about the Author:

As mother of two darling babies, Certified IMPI Holistic Pregnancy & Child Sleep Coach, MH AuthorBaby Planner and Happiest Baby Educator, Marise Hyman provides worldwide maternity, sleep & parenting coaching & education for expecting/future/new parents through Marise Hyman Maternity Coaching – setting them up for success, so they can sail into their new lives with confidence!
She is also the founder of the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep asbl, an edgy non-profit organisation raising awareness for green, natural & holistic parenting alternatives, birth rights and postnatal mood disorders by offering a variety of inspiring social and educational events in Luxembourg.

 

Oh Boy!

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Oh-Boy cover pic

“A penis is a penis. They hardly ever go away.”

These are the exact words I heard from my doctor during our ultrasound, after I asked him if he was absolutely sure I was having a boy. I heard the words, but the news did not sink in for another few weeks. It was not because I wanted a girl or I was in any way disappointed. It was for one, very simple reason, I could not imagine having a boy!

You see, I am a bit of a perfectionist, so I plan, I research and I get prepared for everything I possibly can. Being informed made it very easy for me to prepare for a baby, but how do I even begin preparing to raise a little boy? Having a girl was something to which I could relate. I could see myself spending time with her over the same toys and games I enjoyed as a child, talking over problems and doubts I had as well. I grew up with one sister and I knew absolutely nothing about how boys felt and what they needed. My sweet baby, who I already loved to the moon and back, at the same time felt like a mysterious being from another planet. How would I know how to play with him, teach him or help him when he needed my advice? I played with cars sometimes when I was little myself, but this is as far as it went, so how would I cope? At this point I still had my partner at my side, so for the time being, I decided to lean on him in this department.

I felt overwhelmed and, to be honest, absolutely terrified.

I carried Julian to full-term and I fell in love with my baby boy all over again the moment I saw him, but it was not a smooth sailing with him. He was healthy and perfect but also very demanding. He was hungry all the time and wanted to be cuddled constantly. I was too exhausted and too focussed on looking after my new baby to think of anything else.

When Julian was four months old, I became a single mum under extremely strenuous circumstances and this is when it hit me again. Julian’s father was in his life, but he was no longer in mine, so when Julian was with me, I was on my own. I could barely cope with being alone with a baby who was not too fond of sleep and trying to get myself and my life back together at the same time, and now I needed to raise a little boy as well?! I felt overwhelmed and, to be honest, absolutely terrified.

When he was two, I did not feel I was bonding with Julian the way I should.

When Julian started growing up and he was just over one year old, it became very apparent to me that the stage when he favoured his father came much earlier than I ever expected. I was absolutely exhausted both physically and emotionally from looking after him and it seemed cruel that he was not thrilled to be with me and cried every time his dad dropped him back off. I was already dealing with a massive amount of rejection from my former partner and now it felt as if my baby boy did not want to be with me either. I tried my very best to fit into my idea of his needs and expectations. I played with cars, made loud noises and silly faces and when he started running, I was running with him.

When he was two, I did not feel I was bonding with Julian the way I should. I loved him the best I could, but I felt there was something missing between us. I felt like I was his caregiver and not his beloved parent. Of course a difficult situation between his father and me did not help, in fact it only added extra pressure. I could not put my finger on it, I thought I was doing everything that was expected of me, but it was not working and I was too tired and too frustrated to continue.

Once I let go of actively trying to be a worthy parent and giving my son what I thought he needed, an interesting thing happened.

One day, I thought that was it, I was happy to settle for being my baby’s babysitter, if this was how he saw me. Once I let go of actively trying to be a worthy parent and giving my son what I thought he needed, an interesting thing happened. Spending time with my boy became more and more enjoyable because I allowed myself to be me. In my eyes it was “just me”, but he did not see it this way. I loved sitting next to him when he played with his cars and it turned out that very often my presence was enough for him.

Slowly, I found my place in our relationship and I understood that I did not have to compete with his dad, or adjust to him playing, I had other things I could offer him. It took a while for us to click again, but eventually we found harmony in being us, a mum and a son. We still play with cars and trains, but in a slightly different way. I teach him how construct roads and tracks, how to put things together so they work, because as a designer this is what I am good at. We play with his animals pretending they walk their little ones to the “zoo crèche”, feed them and put them to sleep. We talk for hours, because he wants to hear about everything, not only cars and diggers. We talk about the world and emotions while he volunteers to help me clean, cook and fix things around the house. I gave him my old camera and now he grabs it every time I am using mine, so we can take photos together.

I am no longer trying to compete with anyone or consciously trying to make anyone happy.

We still do everything we did before, but I only do those things when and the way I enjoy them, too. I show my hot-headed, stubborn and strong-willed little boy how to be more patient, precise and take his time to cool off instead of getting upset and angry the moment things do not go his way. I am no longer trying to compete with anyone or consciously trying to make anyone happy, I am just enjoying time spent with my son and I absolutely love watching him grow and become a very smart and sweet little boy. The self-doubt and single-parent guilt are still there sometimes, but then I think of the wonderful moments we have together and all the things he now does himself, because I had patience to teach them to him and courage to let go and let him be more and more independent.

When I feel overwhelmed, I turn to my closest friends and family, who have been witnessing my transition from surviving to thriving, and I listen to them saying how amazing it is I spend so much time listening to my son and trying to see things from his point of view as well, so we can learn from each other and continue to co-exist dynamically, bonded with mutual love and respect, so he can grow up to be a confident adult and a loving and respectful partner. I learnt from my son that in parenting, just as in any other relationship, you need to be yourself first to be able to enjoy the other person. You need to learn from your mistakes instead of wasting your time regretting them and allow yourself to be proud of your achievements. If you stop for a moment and see yourself through your child’s eyes, you just might find most of the answers you were looking for.

Then Google the rest.

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More about the Author:
DeeDee on the Luxmama Blog

DeeDee is the founder of POPUP Studio, a small, independent label where she illustrates and designs high-quality, ethical clothes, toys and accessories. As a single mum to a three-year-old boy, she knows plenty about time management and multitasking, the knowledge she shares with others on her new blog Make Life Dandy.

Medical Interventions During Labour – Part II

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Induction and augmentation of labour

The evolution of obstetrics in recent decades has meant that nowadays, the majority of births take place in hospitals with a rise in routine interventions. The reasons are often more related to hospital policies, the unfolding of events in the delivery room and the potential legal implications, than with each individual situation. Natural births, without medical intervention or medication, are becoming more and more rare.

Medical Interventions during labour II

“If you agree, we’ll induce you now” – a medical suggestion that a great number of women/couples are faced with at the end of pregnancy, even before the due date. An offer which, thanks to its ease, can often be enticing for future parents, especially when the pregnancy has begun to be particularly taxing or difficult. But, usually, the parents are not well enough informed about the medical risks of an artificial induction, or the potential risks.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) only recommends induction for medical reasons. In Luxembourg, 30% of births are induced, and of these, more than 41% are accelerated deliveries. Only in the minority of cases, was there any medical reason for intervention.

Nowadays, we are extremely lucky to have at our disposal doctors and hospital staff who are capable of saving our lives in emergency situations. Yet, pregnancy and childbirth are natural occurrences, and ideally, shouldn’t require any medical intervention unless absolutely necessary. According to scientific studies, it’s better to just let nature do its job.

In the mother’s belly, babies don’t have a calendar or a watch to tell them the doctor’s predicted due date. Labour is actually naturally induced by an interaction of fetal and maternal hormones, and it is the baby who signals the start, when his/her body is ready. However, a great number of labours are started either before, the day of, or only a few days after the due date; and yet, according to the WHO, spontaneous labour is likely to occur anywhere between 37 and 42 weeks. It is not until after the 43rd week that the baby is post term and that induction is necessary. Except of course, in cases of risk to either mother or child where intervention is necessary.

The due date – an unreliable date

To calculate the due date, a few things are taken into account; the 1st day of the woman’s last period (taking into consideration here the differing cycle lengths of each woman), the circumference of the mother’s womb, the diameter of the baby’s head and also the length of the baby’s femur bone – therefore, according to calculations, a baby with a larger than average head should be born before the due date.

Furthermore, pregnancy length varies from woman to woman to anywhere between 38 and 42 weeks; with around 40% of babies born after their due date.

Therefore, it is a real possibility that a child who is artificially forced out of the uterus is not yet physiologically ready to be born and that the child may have needed more days to become ready.

This is why it is important for the future mother to remain calm and wait patiently for birth, especially at the end of her pregnancy, and also that she remains self-confident and assured, without being fixated on the due date. Sometimes, it even seems that a baby can feel when their mother is not quite ready; the mother is stressed, and through her hormones, she signals to her baby that it’s not quite ‘the right time’ to be born.

How does induction work?

Often, when being induced, the cervix is prepared first, by introducing a gel. In the majority of cases, the mother will also receive an oxytocin drip. Then her waters are artificially broken, and we can no longer describe this process as a ‘natural’ birth.

What’s more, the breaking of the waters is hardly recommended – it can cause undue stress to the baby, increase the risk of infection and can cause contractions to be more intense and therefore much more painful for the mother.

What are the risks of induction and acceleration of labour?

The uterus can become overstimulated by the medication, there is a risk of more intense, prolonged contractions and less rest in between pressure waves and the baby can become stressed.

Often with inductions, the mother and baby are constantly monitored; therefore, reducing the mobility of the mother, which can in turn, reduce the efficiency of the contractions or disturb and even prevent relaxation. The birth process now, develops further away from the parents’ expectations and birth plan.

Lots of women say an induced birth is more painful than a natural birth; hence why they are generally given an epidural, which can also have further negative repercussions, as she can no longer move around freely. Furthermore, as the mother no longer feels the pressure waves, the production and release of endorphins (pain- reducing hormones) is greatly hindered, and the baby in turn is deprived of these hormones.

It’s possible that, in cases of induction, other medical interventions are triggered and become essential: help using forceps or a vacuum extractor (“ventouse”), episiotomy (cutting the perineum and vaginal wallto allow more space for the baby to pass through) or a cesarean, which is most common due to the slowing of the baby’s heart rate.

There is also the risk that a scar from a previous cesarean could rupture due to these more intense contractions.

Inductions, epidurals and other medical interventions could also have negative repercussions on breast-feeding.

French obstetrician Michel Odent, as well as other experts in the field, is against the induction of childbirth: the natural production of hormones, notably oxytocin and endorphins, are greatly disrupted, which could, from the very start, have a damaging effect on the mother-baby bond.

According to Odent, “industrialised” labours could have negative effects on future generations deprived of these love hormones at birth; he fears a rise in crime, a decrease of compassion and an increased tendency towards suicide.

According to a working group of German medical experts, doctors should only look at an induction after 41 weeks at the earliest (in the case of a normal pregnancy) and they only recommend it after 41 weeks + 3 days. It is not until 42 full weeks have passed that there is a real medical need for an induction or a cesarean.

So, if the question of an induction arises, you should carefully consider its necessity – because, after all, who would prematurely open the bud of a flower or a butterfly’s cocoon? Why then do the same to our babies?

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Article Originally published in the Baby Info magazine 2/2015 by Initiativ Liewensufank

Author: Sandy Girotto-Weinzierl, Certified Hypnobirthing Teacher at Initiativ Liewensufank

Translated by Emmy McNiece and edited by Marise Hyman from the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep asbl

 

 

Medical Interventions During Labour Part I

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Part I – Vaginal Examinations

The evolution of obstetrics in recent decades has meant that nowadays, the majority of births take place in hospitals with a rise in routine interventions. The reasons are often more related to hospital policies, the unfolding of events in the delivery room and the potential legal implications than with each individual situation. Natural births, without medical intervention or medication, are becoming more and more rare.

“Each single action, recommendation or quick procedure, no matter how small these things are for us, they so naturally accumulate that we no longer even realise that we are experiencing an intervention and what the side effects are.” (Schwarz, Stahl 2011: 8)

Medical Interventions during labour I

Routine examinations during labour includes the examining of the cervix. The opening of the cervix is assessed in order to judge the progress of the birth. Upon admission to hospital, the woman usually undergoes a vaginal examination to evaluate how far along the birth process is, the position of the baby’s head, and to exclude a prolapsed cord, in cases where the waters have already broken. Even towards the end of this opening phase of the cervix, the woman is examined to determine whether the cervix is fully open or not.

Generally, a woman will experience many vaginal examinations during the birth. They serve primarily a monitory function of which the midwife then records the findings into a birth log.

Vaginal examinations can interfere with the natural course of labour, in particular, when the woman in labour feels like she isn’t respected. This is more so true when the woman in labour does not know the midwife and if she and the midwife does not speak the same language. She is simply asked to undress, and lie down with her legs spread open. A vaginal examination is an intrusion into the most intimate part of a woman’s body, and should therefore be carried out only when needed and with the utmost respect and empathy. This means that the midwife delivering the baby should explain exactly what she proposes to do and why the examination makes sense before doing anything. The woman should also be asked for her consent. The midwife should not naturally assume that every woman agrees to this investigation. Additional consideration and care should also be practised with women that have had traumatic experiences in the past, and therefore these kinds of physical examinations requires a lot of empathy.

Many women find the experience of a vaginal examination to be very uncomfortable, even painful, especially if it takes place during a pressure wave, which is only useful in the rarest of cases. Nevertheless, they simply go through the investigation, since they assume or it is conveyed to them that it is essential and non-negotiable.

These frequent vaginal examinations also bring certain risks. During each vaginal examination there is a risk that bacteria can get into the vagina, which could then continue to migrate to the uterus and the unborn child if the amniotic sac is open. This has been known to be the cause of infections from hospital germs in the uterus after birth and also infections in the newborn. Therefore it is extremely important that vaginal examinations should be limited to a minimum.

In a vaginal examination there is also always the possibility that the fragile amniotic sac could be damaged, leading to a premature rupture (sometimes this is the intention of the midwife to accelerate the birth).

Both the baby and the mother should be able to benefit from the safeness of an intact amniotic sac for as long as possible, as recommended by the pioneer of natural birth Dr. Michel Odent. This French gynaecologist has been fighting for natural births. He encourages women to listen to their instincts more and criticises a medical-led birth, which should only be done in cases of an emergency. Nowadays, we often try so hard to avoid a possible emergency beforehand that we actually cause a chain reaction of interventions. Michel Odent stresses that a birth which is undisturbed allows the birth-promoting hormones to flow and act freely.

However, whilst routine tests serve a monitoring function, they could interfere with the woman’s natural flow of birth. The results of the vaginal examination may have a negative affect on the progress of a woman’s labour due to feelings of disappointment and therefore midwives need to be more tactful when commenting on the results. Women often become discouraged when they already have been in labour several hours, breathed through the pressure waves, and then receive the disappointing result of “only” a few cm dilated. This can lead to stress and the woman feels pressured, which could in turn delay the birth, or even lead to the birth process stopping and the need for even further intervention.

The dilation of the cervix is not a clear indication of how labour is progressing. For many women, the dilation of the cervix is not linear, but rather is intermittent. A woman who is 3cm dilated could have her baby in her arms just several moments later, just as it could also be a few hours until the baby is born.

Pure observation of the woman in labour by an experienced midwife could reveal a lot more about the progression of the birth (mood of pregnant women, the tones, the posture, the body odour of the woman, breathing…) and does not especially disturb the woman in labour. Women need to be examined as little as possible; it should be discussed beforehand with caregivers and specifically indicated in the Birth Plan.

Always keep in mind:

Giving birth to a child is something that is normal, natural, and which should be as protected, safe and intimate as possible. Too many interventions in the natural progression of birth are directly increasing the risk of potential negative consequences.

For further information, read the full report here (in German language only), www.bond.azw.ac.at/opacdata/0010063408.pdf

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Article Originally published in the Baby Info magazine 1/2015 by Initiativ Liewensufank

Author: Sandy Girotto-Weinzierl, Certified Hypnobirthing Teacher at Initiativ Liewensufank

Translated by Emmy McNiece and edited by Marise Hyman from the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep asbl

Super Mama plus Super Papa = Super Baby

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Author: Clare Marie Trono

Hello Super Mamas & Papas! Well, if you’ve found your way to this blog then you’re already on the right path in your quest for knowledge and resources to support you on your parenting journey!

Whether you are trying to conceive, already in bloom or already have your little bundle of joy in your arms I’m sure that I don’t have to emphasise the importance of being fit and healthy to lead a happy life!

By this I don’t only mean your body but your emotional and mental well being as well.
So lets get real for a moment – when I say fit and healthy, it’s not about being super skinny with a six pack, hitting the gym 6 days a week, power protein bar in hand, I mean something a bit more realistic like doing an activity that you enjoy 1 to 2 times a week, to get your body moving. This could include anything from Pilates and yoga to zumba, cross fit or just dancing around the house in your pyjamas cleaning – there are no rules! By setting more realistic goals for yourself you are more likely to achieve the results you want. This is even more apparent for your body and mind during pregnancy!

For many women, once the morning sickness and fatigue has passed or at least, is on it’s way out after the first trimester, is the time when lots of mothers are looking to get their bodies moving and prepare their bodies and minds for birth and recovery.

So, I often get asked what is the best exercise to do whilst pregnant?

The answer is pretty simple, anything that makes you feel good! Pregnancy is such a sacred moment in your life why waste time and energy on anything that doesn’t make you feel good? Your medical practitioner will probably have already advised you that you can continue with your current activities until you feel that its time to stop, providing that you are experiencing a healthy pregnancy and your activities are not extreme sports or anything where there is high risk of injury. The general rule is that you can continue with your current exercise regime until you feel that you would prefer to do something more specifically designed for your evolving body during your pregnancy.

I am sure that it is no surprise to you that the healthier and fitter you are during your pregnancy the better it will be for both you and your baby during and afterwards. I think that a balance of some low impact cardio activity such as swimming or walking with Pilates is the perfect combination of exercises during pregnancy and for postnatal recovery.

pilates & pregnancy

Pilates is a movement methodology developed by Joseph Pilates at the turn of the 20th Century. Pilates is a sequence of moves that focus on core strength, mobilising the spine, strengthening muscles and maintaining flexibility.

Pilates is a great method and one of the best exercises for you to practice during your pregnancy, after birth and beyond. It comes highly recommended by midwives and medical practitioners. This is because Pilates is a low impact activity which works with your body and calms the mind. But don’t be fooled, just because it’s low impact doesn’t mean that we don’t work! We work but in a safe, effective and efficient way!

Pilates exercises are completely adaptable to suit you at each stage of your pregnancy and you can come to class right up until you give birth (if you want!). I have a lot of ladies who attend the Super Mama pregnancy pilates class right up until the birth. But like I said there are no rules, and the most important thing is that you listen to your body and do what you feel is best for you and your baby.

There are many benefits to exercising throughout your pregnancy which extend to after your beautiful little baby has entered the world. These include:

Benefits of Pilates during pregnancy and beyond:
• improved circulation
• maintenance of fitness levels
• improved posture and prevention of back pain
• faster post-natal recovery
• preparing the body for delivery
• enhance a sense of well-being
• improved self image and self confidence
• help to decrease stress and anxiety
• Mood enhancing

Lots of women choose pilates as it is such an adaptable method so that you can continue to strengthen, keep muscle tone without any negative impact on the pregnant body.As we are also working on connecting the body with the mind through breath, breathing with each movement we are also training the mind and body for the birth. To stay connected, trust and go with the flow. I believe that everyone should be empowered with the knowledge so that you can trust your body – your body is absolutely amazing, all we need to do is listen and trust!

Pilates also addresses the postural changes during pregnancy, balancing and strengthening muscles to reduce back pain, elevate discomfort and maintain mobility throughout the pregnancy.

Yo mama.jpg_srz_p_435_321_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srz

We also work with balance, checking in with your body, bringing awareness and understanding so that you can have a happy and healthy pregnancy.

It’s normal to feel tired, it’s normal to have a crazy hormone emotional day, everything is
acceptable. For most ladies her in Luxembourg, especially if you are expats, we don’t always have our close friends and family near us and this can be a bit tough. Especially as everything is increased by at least 100% when pregnant. But you are not alone! Everyone has rubbish days so try and make sure that you’re investing a small amount of time in yourself.

Most women are only pregnant once, twice or maybe three times therefore I really emphasise the importance of everything you choose to do during your pregnancy is about doing the things that make you, your mind, your body and therefore your beautiful bump feel good.

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For me, my pregnancy pilates classes are also about providing an environment where mums can socialise, share ideas and knowledge, ask the questions and share their experiences. It’s important to have fun and relax. There is a misconception that Pilates needs to be so serious and dull, but it’s actually great fun and those moments when you
can see your body getting stronger and your mind getting calmer are the most rewarding. I hope to create an environment where you can just let go and concentrate on flowing with your body and breath for an hour.

I always say to the lovely Super Mamas that attend my classes, that if you don’t remember
anything from the classes, just try and remember these three things during your labour (and life):
1) trust your body – it’s amazing, intelligent and often has all the answers
2) gravity is your friend – let your body take you into the best birthing position for you
3) Breathe, breathe and breathe some more – bringing clarity and calm

And most of all stay positive – YOU CAN TOTALLY DO THIS!!!

Try this simple breathing exercise:

Breathing Exercise

We all have days, even without being parents, where life is challenging and you need a little mini-motivator in your ear lovingly shouting: You can do this!!! So when times get a little rough around the edges just remember that: You ROCK!

Giving birth does not have to be something to fear. There are ways you can prepare yourself, mentally and physically. Such preparation will help you to have a positive and fulfilling experience.

It’s also really important to ensure that whoever you go to for treatments e.g. reflexology, chiropractic, massage, Pilates, Yoga or fitness are specifically trained in how to work with Pre and post natal ladies. Please never be afraid to ask the consultant or practitioner about their qualifications and even ask to see our certificates if you are unsure.

There is a misconception that Pilates is gentle, which it can be but we also really work the body too. This time in your life is such a sacred moment and each interaction you have with a practitioner whether is is a fitness instructor, masseur, reflexologist, Physio, each session should make you feel good!

It’s an honour to share this journey with you, so please follow your intuition and don’t be afraid to ask the “Are you qualified for teaching pregnancy/post natal question”.
WE LOVE TO TALK ABOUT IT and would never be offended!!

So I hope to see you on the mat soon for some Pilates!

Clare

xxx

This article is dedicated to my lovely friend Ria, her partner Erik and their new baby boy Alexander, as i received the news of his birth just as I finished writing this article!

Go Super Mama & Super Papa!


About Clare:

140503 017Clare has been practicing pilates since the age of 17. She set up her own business, Clare Marie Pilates & Wellness when she moved to Luxembourg in 2012. Clare Marie holds a specialist Level 3 Pre & Post Pregnancy qualification which has empowered her with the knowledge to design suitable classes for pregnant ladies and new mothers. Pre & Post Pregnancy Pilates classes with Clare Marie are designed and adapted for you at each stage of pregnancy and
after birth. With a wealth of experience, training and dedication to the field Clare
focuses on inspiring and empowering others with the knowledge to live happier
and healthier lives.  For further information please visit www.claremariepilates.com

Why you want to visit the space between your thoughts…

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Finding the calm within us, helps us gain more clarity.  When we see more clearly, we obtain a better sense of perspective, which in turn, leads to contentment…

These days meditation and mindfulness are no longer viewed as something only reserved for yogis, hippies and gurus! Both are now becoming universally embraced.

Meditation is a tool that trains and cultivates the mind, allowing thoughts to come and go, not labeling them, not getting caught up in them, not ignoring or resisting them, just watching them. Subsequently, we gradually learn to move beyond our thoughts, better understanding their flow, which lays the groundwork for mindfulness. Think of mindfulness as meditation in action, in real time, with eyes open, applying the same principles as in meditation to everyday life.

Allow yourself to imagine what the positive implications of these qualities can bring to fertility, pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood…

Why is Meditation valuable for Parents & Parents-to-be?

The short answer is that improving health and happiness in the world starts in the individual. And wouldn’t we want that for our children? And ourselves?

The long answer:

Becoming a parent is a stressful life event. Depression is within the normal range of responses to life stresses. This seems obvious, but it is frequently overlooked. Stress is not our friend. Stress is detrimental to our health and the precursor to perinatal mood & anxiety disorders affecting mothers and fathers alike. Depression during pregnancy and postpartum are fairly common, affecting anywhere from 15% to 25% of women of which only 15% are being treated. Why? Due to a lack of routine screening and the stigma attached. When parents are not treated, research shows they are less able to bond with their children or care for them properly.  And they may end up with lifelong chronic depression or anxiety.

Coupled with other risk factors like sleep deprivation, negative birth experiences, unmet expectations, feelings of self-efficacy and self-esteem as well as a lack of support following isolation from our families it has become even more important to talk about the importance of taking care of ourselves as parents as there is a strong link between a person’s physical well-being and emotional health.

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It is absolutely astounding how much research has been conducted in the last decade on mindfulness and meditation and all the amazing ways it can transform our brains, and our lives.  Recent studies indicate that as little as 12 minutes of meditation a day, over an 8-week period, is enough to create changes in the brain!

Are you mindful or is your mind full?

Meditation is now well-established as a complementary medical treatment as well a stress-management and resilience tool. Its practice also brings greater success and fulfillment in one’s daily activities.

With mediation, expecting and new parents can learn to step out of the endless inner chatter that so dominates our life, often leaving us feeling overwhelmed or out of control. What better time to discover a place of calm and contentment than during pregnancy?  What greater gift to give your future child than piece of mind – both yours and theirs?

Every mountaineer makes sure they have the right gear when setting up base camp, but they’ll also spend time getting mentally strong.  The same should apply to every mother and father looking to ascend Mount Parenthood.

The beauty is also that it’s never too late to begin. You will be faced by many challenges all along your parenting journey and meditation can help you be a better parent.

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Deepak Chopra, one of the best-known figures in the holistic-health movement explains that “everyone thinks that the purpose of meditation is to handle stress, to tune out, to get away from it all. While that’s partially true, the real purpose of meditation is actually to tune in, not to get away from it all, but to get in touch with it all. Not to just de-stress, but to find that peace within, the peace that spiritual traditions talk about that passes all understanding. So, meditation is a way to get in the space between your thoughts. You have a thought here, a thought here, and there’s little space between every thought.

According to wisdom traditions, this space between the thought is the window to the infinite mind, your core consciousness. And the more we learn about this space between thoughts, we find certain things to be true of it:

  • It’s a field of infinite possibilities – infinite possibilities, pure potentiality.
  • Everything is connected to everything else.
  • It’s a space of infinite creativity, infinite imagination.
  • It is a place where there is something called the observer effect, or the power of intention, which means intention is very powerful when brought to this space and it orchestrates its own fulfillment – what people call the law of attraction – so those are wonderful qualities of your own spirit.

In meditation, we get into this space so we find infinite possibilities, infinite correlation, infinite creativity, infinite imagination, and infinite power of intention.

That’s what meditation is really about…”


Top Tip: if you are in Luxembourg, do check out our Meditation workshops for expecting and new parents! Click here to find out more.


More about the author

DSC_0538

As mother of two darling babies, Certified IMPI Holistic Sleep Coach, Baby Planner and Happiest Baby Educator, Marise Hyman provides worldwide maternity coaching for expecting/future/new parents through Marise Hyman Maternity Coaching – setting them up for success, so they can sail into their new lives with confidence!

She is also the founder of the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep, an edgy non-profit organisation raising awareness for green, natural & holistic parenting alternatives, birth rights and postnatal mood disorders by offering a variety of inspiring social and educational events in Luxembourg

Let’s get physical!

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What is “Sport pour tous”?

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One of the great things about having a family in Luxembourg is that you’ll find activities on offer that will suit each budget.

The “Ville de Luxembourg” or City of Luxembourg (“VDL)” is always seeking to improve the quality of life of its citizens and recognises the importance of regular physical activity.  As a result they offer a wide variety of indoor, outdoor as well as aquatic fitness options through their program “Sport pour Tous” which translates as Fitness for everybody.  The program offers over 160 different fitness courses aimed at both residents of the city as well as non-residents and regardless of age, shape or physical ability.  These are grouped under three distinct categories, being Sport pour tous – Jeune (from 12-16 years), Sport pour tous – Adults (from 16 years) and Sport pour tous – Aînés (from 55 years).

Baby activities Luxembourg

What tickles us in particular is the “Gym Parents-Enfants/Eltern-Kind
Gymnastik” translated as parent-child fitness, hidden in the Adult category…

By viewing the page Sport pour tous – Adults, towards the middle of the page, just above the description of the three different types of activities, click on “Le programme des cours” in order to view the season’s classes on offer.

Gym Parents-Enfants currently on offer for toddlers (accompanied by their parents) are Mondays 16h-17h in Dommeldange for 1-2 year olds, Mondays 17h – 18h in Dommeldange for 2-4 year olds, Wednesdays 8:45 – 9:45 in Cessange for 1-4 year olds as well as Fridays 8:45  -9:45 in Rollingergrund for 1-4 year olds.  (Subject to change, please view the latest program.)

We set off to test the Monday classes offered in Dommeldange with the then 18 month old Amelie and 3 year old Lisa…

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The facilities

There are various sports halls used by the VDL and you have to be a bit of aIMG_2682 detective to find the exact location of the different classes.  You will find a list of the various sports halls including the public passport options here.  The Dommeldange sports hall is located in rue Nicolas Hein and is difficult to access by car from everywhere in route d’Echternach.  As a result we had to park in route d’Echternach and walk  500 m without baby carriers or strollers in stormy weather in order to reach our destination.  Don’t make the same mistake…  Should you come by car, be sure to enter from Rue de la Station.

The “vestiares” or dressing room facilities is spacious and clean. There are even some showers (open style) as well as hair dryers and a changing area.IMG_2691

Enter the sports hall.  Space and more space.  Perfect for toddlers to frolic and scurry around!

The first class was for 1-2 year olds and Amelie immediately took it upon herself to test the quality of the facilities while I introduced myself to the friendly instructor who comfortably conversed with me in English.

Let’s get physical!

The class starts with some casual ball kicking/playing/running around while we wait for everybody.  After about 15 minutes of free play, the instructor continues with the actual class in Luxembourgish which is not a problem at all for me and Amelie, even though neither of us are fluent.  It is easy to follow the lead from the rest of the group and as soon as someone really looks clueless, the instructor quickly switches to French or English until you show signs of comprehension.  Throughout the class, constant emphasis is placed on using simple Luxembourgish words, e.g. the colours of the markings on the floor, and we are often instructed to stand behind a particular coloured line and perform an action and then to move to a different coloured line.

There were no more than 12 other class members which is a comfortable size for this age group.  As parent, you are physically participating along with your baby, throughout the class.  A bit more than I expected… Make sure you are suitably dressed!  I won’t say that my dress was really appropriate to run around with Amelie, participate in a crawling race and eventually let Amelie practice her horse riding skills on my back (which proved highly popular)…IMG_2694

Amelie’s favourite part was the obstacle course (“parcours”) with mats, benches, mattresses and walking beams, strategically placed, to one-by-one, “challenge” the toddlers (with a parent by their side).

For the grande finale, everybody participated in putting away all the equipment and piling the mats on a big trolley. The toddlers (beaming with pride) were then placed behind each other on top of the trolley and as the trolley was wheeled to the equipment shed, we all sang:

“Bimlibim den Zuch fiert fort,
wien fiert mat?
Wien lo keng 50 Cents bezuelt,
deen huele mir net mat.”
Which translates into English:
Bimlibim the train takes off,
who’d like to join?
If you don’t pay your 50 cents now,
you won’t be able to come along.

The second class (right afterwards) for 2-4 year olds followed the same structure, though there was a huge difference.  There was at least 25 children, accompanied by their parents and quite often one parent with 2 children.

Some would call it a bit chaotic!  But without a doubt, each child thoroughly enjoyed this class which included several races back and forth, as well as ball kicking, rope play, hula-hoop tossing, mattress jumping and once again a full body workout for parents alike!

Registration and cost:

To attend any class, registration is mandatory.  Free trial sessions are not offered normally. For the purposes of writing this review article, we had to go through the registration process, attend the class and afterwards cancel the contract by telephone.

Registration is NOT so straight forward and is best left for a day when you had more than 5 hours of sleep…

To register: Complete the online forms in steps 1 to 4 here.  In step 3 you will choose the specific classes you would like to register for.  (Please note that you will be enrolled for the rest of the season currently running and not only for 1 class.)  The final step is to either sign your application electronically or print out, manually sign and then send by post to Service des sports, 5 rue de l’Abattoir, L-1111, Luxembourg.

We had to call the administration a week later to confirm whether our request has been approved but you may be lucky and could receive a confirmation by post.

Total cost per season works out as €30 for city inhabitants or €60 if you live elsewhere while an unlimited class pass per person, per year will cost €110 or €220 respectively.

You will receive an invoice for the full amount by post after having attended your first class.

For more information, send an e-mail to sports@vdl.lu or contact the administration directly at 4796-4400 or 4796-4414.


More about the Author

DSC_0538

As mother of two darling babies, Certified IMPI Holistic Sleep Coach, Baby Planner and Happiest Baby Educator, Marise Hyman provides worldwide maternity coaching for expecting/future/new parents through Marise Hyman Maternity Coaching – setting them up for success, so they can sail into their new lives with confidence!

She is also the founder of the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep, an edgy non-profit organisation raising awareness for green, natural & holistic parenting alternatives, birth rights and postnatal mood disorders by offering a variety of inspiring social and educational events in Luxembourg

Trust. Breathe. Wait.

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A ravishing rendition of her birth story in Luxembourg, by Anna Chieppa from Barcelona…


It is mid-August, 10 pm and Greg and I step out into the street, dragging a little bag.  I have thrown in some books, my laptop, pink baby pajamas, organic cotton bodies and my journal.

The starry night is cool and clear.  The moon is pale and flat as a coin.  At the Maternité Grande-Duchess Charlotte hospital, Sophie the midwife speaks French and we look at her with hope.  But after a quick visit she shakes her head and tells me that I am only 3 cm dilated, maybe 4.  I cannot hide my disappointment.

“Go have a walk”, she says.  “Take the stairs.  Come back in two hours”.

We go up to the terrace and watch the silent night, the stars cut in ice, the dark shapes of the cars abandoned in the parking lot.  Over the last few days I have been scared, but tonight I feel strong and I trust my body.  The contractions are becoming painful and when they surge, I grab Greg’s shoulders and breathe deeply while shutting my eyes.  What proved impossible during my first labor, is coming much easier today.

Trust.  Breathe.  Wait.

Greg and I make a joke and a man appears at a window, hissing at us to be quiet.  We leave and go to “climb the stairs” as instructed.  We return two hours later.  The pain is now sharp and I can’t believe it when Sophie says that I’m now only 5 cm dilated.

Your baby will be here within five to six hours, she says.  I feel like swearing.  I can not imagine spending another six hours feeling like this.  I’m going to ask for an epidural, and sink into the oblivion of anesthesia, like I did with the first baby.

But Sophie knows better.  She asks me about my first labor and my ideal birth.  I tell her about my wishes to have a home birth that I missed out on the previous time due to my lack of pain management.  I tell her about all the reading and meditation I’ve been doing, as well as the hypnosis classes I’ve attended in Barcelona.

She listens without a word and then says: “I have a good CD, do you want to listen to it”?

Before I can even object, she turns off all the lights except a salt lamp casting pink shadows.  She leaves with Greg after popping in a CD.  I quickly enter a deep state of relaxation.  The pain disappears like foam.  Waves and waves of pain lift me up and drop me off on the seashore of peace that widens between contractions.  I have to surf those waves each time they come, I rise and rise and when the contraction stops I return to water level, floating in a sea of peace.  I do it once and then again and again, I lose any sense of time until the pressure makes me so sick that I start to vomit When Sophie enters the room my legs are soaked.  My waters have broken and the trance is suddenly over. Sophie bends over me and announces that I am seven cm dilated.

Only seven centimeter!  Still three to go!  The pain grabs at my throat and I am about to ask for anesthesia.  I’ve lost my strength and my trust.  But Sophie just smiles again.  She is a small woman, with ashy hair and a bony face, pale blue eyes behind the glasses.  Her face, I will never forget as I will always remember what she did for me that night.

She turns over and says, with her soft voice and firm smile: “Now you can go to the bathtub”.

There is a round bathtub in the room next to us, with a rope hanging from the ceiling, above the water.  Sophie tells me to grab the rope each time a contraction kicks off.

I enter the water.  It is warm.  I sit down letting the water rise up to my neck.  I let the warmth and the pleasure fill me up.  It is bliss.  I shut my eyes and float in another state of peace.  The pain arrives.  By now, I can sense it long before it comes.  It’s so strong, I cannot cry or move.  I pull the rope and wait and the entire time Sophie’s voice whispers in my ear:  “Laisse le bébé descendre.”  (Let the baby descend).

The pain stops.  Again, there is peace… and water.  I hear Greg asking something, and then Sophie’s voice:  “She’s high on endorphins”.

Time becomes water, and silence.  The world is reduced to the warm water that embraces me, to the soaked hair that somebody is brushing, the blue water, the hard bottom of the bathtub, the sound of my breathing broken by the pain, Sophie’s face next to mine and her soft voice, “Laisse le bébé descendre”.  Then it comes again, so I grab the rope, my body rises with all its heaviness and there is more whispering, more moaning, my body up and down.  Then I leave the rope, go back to the water, breathe.  It feels so good to float like this.  With each contraction this little girl is coming closer but when will this finish?

A lot of time has passed and my resistance becomes weak.  Each time that I now sense a contraction coming, panic fills my throat.  I can hardly breathe, my body is stiff from pain.  No words come out of my cracked lips.

Suddenly it is cold.  A yellow light is covering the tiles of the walls.  It is five in the morning and Sophie says. “That’s it, we are there, almost ten cm.  Only half an hour more and then your baby will be here.”  And then it hits me that there will be no epidural.  There is no going back and my body is at its limit. Now what?  I turn to Greg, I want to cry, what am am I going to do?  Sophie calmly says: “Get up and walk back to the room.  Can you do that?”

They drag me outside.  “Do you feel like pushing?” she asks.  I don’t feel like freaking pushing.  I feel like screaming.

I am lying on a bed.  For a very long time the pressure stops and I look at myself.  At the big mirror attached to the ceiling I see a fat woman.  She is naked, with wet hair, black rimmed glasses and a tired man by her side.  Outside it’s still dark, and quiet.  Then it comes.  I hear the woman howl.

I expected to feel more contractions but this new feeling is far more powerful – an intense pressure against my behind, a tension to the point of breaking.  I am clinging to Greg’s shirt, wailing.

A doctor rushes to my side.

The pressure stops.  Somebody is talking but I do not understand.  And then the pressure returns…like a tsunami.  I am afraid of pushing, but I have to. I cannot keep this pressure inside.  I push and scream and push….and  when I feel a burning sensation, a sudden surge of panic hits me.  Then I remember they say that when you feel the fire ring, it means the end is in sight.  There is no turning back anymore.  I have to push now.  I gather all my strength and push again, screaming as my pelvis turns into fire and my baby slips out like a bullet.  Everything changes suddenly.  The pressure is gone and I can only feel a numb pain.  They put something long and slippery in my arms and I look down.  It’s a wet baby.   It is six in the morning and dawn is breaking.

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The baby is at my breast but I cannot look at her.  I feel nothing.  I just want this pain to end.

Looking back:

The first few months after birth is a roller coaster for any mother. The fatigue of labor, sleepless nights and challenges of breastfeeding made me wonder if I really wanted this baby.  But this baby ignored my inner voice and kept holding on to me as if I was her only safety, her only love.  I started watching her.  How she shut her eyes like seashells at night, her trembling lips while sucking, her wrinkled little hands intertwined with mine.  Little by little and day by day, my fear of not being capable of loving her crumbled like dried leaves.

Anna&Lila

For my first labor I really wanted a natural home birth but ended up having a hospital birth with an epidural.  For my second I wanted an epidural and ended up with a natural birth.

I am proud of how I managed the pain this time.  I am truly happy that I had the chance to experience this intense journey of the women’s innate strength.

If I had a third baby, I would certainly like to practice hypnosis more, as I know it is the way to a more manageable, less painful and more conscious natural birth.

The day after that night, Sophie came to see me.  “I wanted to give you the opportunity to experience just how strong you can be” she told me.

Eighteen months have passed since that day.  I’d like to tell all women out there that it does not matter how their births turn out in the end.  Each of us should look in the mirror and congratulate herself for the mere fact of having gone through this. And then you should congratulate yourself again.  And again. We should carry on for a whole day and keep on doing it for years to come.

We all have to treasure the magic experience of birth, the struggle and the fear and the excitement of labor.  What an incredible powerful event to witness. The beginning of life. Such a miracle and mystery…


More about Anna Chieppa

Anna Chieppa is a freelance writer who has been living in Luxembourg for two years.  She used to live in Barcelona and it took her a year to get over the shock of the weather.


Would you like to tell us your birth story?  Click here!


More about Luxmama

DSC_0538As mother of two, Certified International Maternity Institute Baby Planner Consultant and Maternity & Child Sleep Consultant student, Luxmama provides personalised baby planning consultation services (maternity coaching) for future/new parents & parents-to-be – setting them up for success, so they can sail into their new lives with confidence!  Also on offer is a variety of social and educational events through the Luxmama Club designed so you can make the most of becoming and being a new parent in the modern world today.

Once upon a time…there was “Il Etait Une Fois”

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IMG_2676Show me a child that doesn’t like music, movement and puppets and I’ll show you a furry jellyfish!

Nestled in a pedestrian alley in Gasperich is Il Etait Une Fois (translated as “once upon a time”),  not-for-profit cultural organisation, created in 2004, with the aim of promoting culture amongst different nationalities.  Their “Reading Corner” is lovely and invites children of all ages to come and read a book in their mother tongue.

They have reading workshops for children in many languages, but with the addition of Giusi and her multi-cultural musical background, have over the last few years expanded their repertoire to classes incorporating music and singing.

Recently, signing classes for babies aged 0-24 months in French have also been included in their activities.

We attended the singalong in English for babies 0-3 years.  The class consists of a course, usually run on Monday mornings and incorporating traditional nursery rhymes and songs with movements, much to the squealing delight of many a baby.

When we arrived, my two little monkeys were instantly smitten with the collection of books and I had to apologise dearly to another mama when my youngest claimed a pink scooter as her own… Yikes!

Before the class starts, parents can grab a coffee while babies warm up.

We were warmly greeted by the lovely Guisi.  Her genuine love for music and children shines through in her eyes.

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The song with puppets was a big hit!

Our class started in the colorful room with a greeting song, followed by lively popular nursery rhymes, each with their unique accompanying movements.  It is recommended to enroll for the entire course so your baby can become familiar with the songs, movements and other friends around. (The course usually runs in blocks of six classes.)

It is clear that with regular attendance, this class will play a big roll in your child’s natural language development and will also foster a love for music.  Even my mother enjoyed it!

The class included good old favorites like “wheels on the bus”, a couple of songs I’ve never heard before, and a firm favorite was “the squirrel with the bushy tail” where we could stroke the friendly little furry animal.

The atmosphere is warm and friendly and we all left with a smile.

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It took some convincing though for Amelie not to leave with the black panther…sigh…


Further info for this Singalong class:

Age group: 0-3 years.

Cost: 24€ per child for the entire course (6 sessions).

For further information and to book: click here

Il Etait une fois location: 6, rue Tony Bourg, Luxembourg-Gasperich, L-1278 Luxembourg


More about Luxmama

DSC_0538

As mother of two darling babies, Certified IMPI Holistic Sleep Coach, Baby Planner and Happiest Baby Educator, Marise Hyman provides worldwide maternity coaching for expecting/future/new parents through Marise Hyman Maternity Coaching – setting them up for success, so they can sail into their new lives with confidence!

She is also the founder of the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep, an edgy non-profit organisation raising awareness for green, natural & holistic parenting alternatives, birth rights and postnatal mood disorders by offering a variety of inspiring social and educational events in Luxembourg

A joy I have never known…

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pregnant in luxembourg

Early cuddles…

We had a cup of tea with Shamala Hinrichsen to find out more about her journey during the birth of her first baby, little Jan (now 1).

Luxmama:  What preparation have you done for the birth of your baby?

Shamala (Sham):  I took antenatal classes with the Wellbaby Clinic and I also did hypnobirthing classes by HypnoBirthing.lu.

Luxmama:  In which hospital did you give birth and what was your impression of the facilities and the help from staff?

Sham:  I gave birth at the Maternité G.-D. Charlotte at the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg.  The staff were very good and I had a brilliant birthing process. The hospital is rather old, hence things are rather run down and the rooms are small but I had a birthing room all to myself the entire time and did not have to go back and forth.

Luxmama:  Did you have any issue to communicate with the staff in the hospital?

Sham:   Not really.  (Shamala speaks English, German, Tamil, Malay, French and a little Cantonese!)  But I did find it a bother that there is no coherence on what is ‘correct’ by all the staff – each one says something different and under the duress of hormones that is enough to drive one nuts!

Luxmama:  What type of birth did you have in mind and why did you choose that?

Sham:   I envisioned a pain killer free natural birth.  Simply to keep it simple.

Luxmama:  Did you feel anxious about birth and did you try any methods to reduce your anxiety?

Sham:   HypnoBirthing classes really really helped and I still use the methods I learned until today.

Luxmama:  How did your labour start?

Sham:   I was on a conference call to China, and I felt the first waves of Jan wanting to come out!

Luxmama:  That’s hilarious! What did you do to stay comfortable?

Sham:   I worked for half a day, then had friends over for tea and later for dinner! I stayed comfortable by getting everyone to join my labour!

Luxmama:   Great story!  What happened then?

Sham:  I had a great great time and I would not do anything differently. I spent a lovely time with Carl, my husband and dear friends who came over with food. I spent a quiet night with the waves on my own so that Carl could get some rest and then headed over to the hospital.

The midwife that I remember most was Nathalie who was just a pillar of support – working with me to avoid painkillers and just keeping me comfortable and encouraging me on.  Carl was just phenomenal remembering the exercises from HypnoBirthing.

Also we had a playlist called “Plautze Bear’s Birth” and I kept listening to all the songs I had played for Jan all the while.  It took 21 hours, but Jan arrived happily eventually!

I was not really upset when at the 20th hour of labour, my doctor discovered that the top of my cervix would not dilate (an anatomical anomaly) and while I had dilated 9 cm below, I would not be able to birth Jan vaginally.  I had really tried and as much as at that time given all the pain, I wished I had known about my cervix earlier, on hindsight, I am glad that Carl and I had the chance to go through what we did for Jan.

Luxmama:  And did you experience love at first sight when your baby was in your arms finally?

Sham:   Both Carl and I were in tears the moment we heard him. It was magical and I will never forget it!  We called out to Jan and whispered his name in his ear…

Luxmama:  What was your breastfeeding experience like?

Sham:   I must say that while the Gods of labour had forsaken me, the Gods of breastfeeding stayed close to my side.  Jan nursed within the first 30 minutes and nursed all night!!!  In fact, trying to wean him off now at 12 months is the problem!!!!

All I can say is, go with the flow – your baby and you will thrive – whether you breastfeed, whether you do something else – just do what feels right instead of what everyone says is right.

Luxmama:  Was there anything you forgot to pack in your hospital suitcase and what would you say are the top 5 items to remember to pack?

Sham:  Music, a book to read, moisturizer, slippers and a towel.  I actually did not bring along disposable underwear that fit!  But the hospital was happy to provide!

Luxmama:  How long after birth did it take before you “recovered”

Sham:   Sometimes I feel as if I am still recovering (chuckle).  But since I had surgery, I would say it took about six weeks before I felt somewhat okay.

Luxmama:  What would you do differently next time?

Sham:   I know now that I cannot give birth vaginally, so will be an altogether different experience.

Luxmama   What is your top tips for first time mamas giving birth her in Luxembourg?

Sham:

  1. Become friends with other moms and moms-to-be
  2. Have faith that you are giving birth in a nation with the highest per capita expenditure on healthcare – so you have access to everything
  3. Be informed on what to expect
  4. File your paperwork correctly

Luxmama:  What did you learn or experience that you never expected?

Sham:  A joy I have never known.  I have been born as a parent now. And also the amazing group that I now belong to – parents!


About Shamala:

Shamala is a Malaysian of Indian descent and a geneticist by training who is now being outsmarted daily by a one-year old. She published her collection of short stories in 2012 and a series of bilingual books in 2014 along with her husband.  She is currently working on her novel. However motherhood is a grand excuse to not do anything else!

Like many among us, she came to Luxembourg almost three years ago for work reasons.

You can check out her work here:

Elephant’s Breath – a collection of short stories

Carl and Sham love Marzipan  (Carl and Sham are best friends – Book 1)book pic

Carl and Sham visit Britta and Matze  (Carl and Sham are best friends – Book 2)

Carl and Sham go to Luxembourg  (Carl and Sham are best friends – Book 3)


Would you like to tell us your birth story? Click here!


More about Luxmama

DSC_0538As mother of two, Certified International Maternity Institute Baby Planner Consultant and Maternity & Child Sleep Consultant student, Luxmama provides personalised baby planning consultation services (maternity coaching) for future/new parents & parents-to-be – setting them up for success, so they can sail into their new lives with confidence!  Also on offer is a variety of social and educational events through the Luxmama Club designed so you can make the most of becoming and being a new parent in the modern world today.

“I’ve 2 hands free” said no pram-pushing mama ever!

Featured

In the last part of our three-part series on baby wearing, certified baby wearing consultants Chantal Weis and Félicie Wietor continue to answer our questions.

Hop on over to part one and two right here if you’ve missed them.

1. Luxmama: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions. Could you please tell us a bit about yourselves?

rhubare

Chantal Weis

Chantal Weis (C) I am a luxembourgish mum of 3 girls born in 01/2008, 06/2010
and 02/2013. Before I became a mother, I was a teacher in the Luxembourgish
“enseignement modulaire”. I worked with teens who had learning and also often, behavioural difficulties.

Before becoming pregnant with my second daughter I decided to save my energy by instead educating my own child as I was often left without any enough for my own family.
Currently, I am a stay at home mum. I do a lot of volunteer work and also provide baby wearing consulting. In my spare time, I love to knit, crochet or sew something for my little ones or read a good book.

With the birth of my first daughter, I received a wrap as a gift. It took me a couple of weeks before I even dared to try and carry my baby in it. She was so small and the wrap so long… Unfortunately at that time, there were no baby carrying experts available.

Slowly but surely, I started to feel more comfortable using the wrap. With the birth of my second daughter I had bought another, shorter wrap which enabled me to wear her on my back more easily.  At that moment my addiction with wraps started.  I wanted to try different carriers, new brands, different fabrics and more tying methods.  Then I enrolled at the baby wearing school in Germany in 2011, became certified in 2012 and in order to gain an even deeper knowledge, I also studied at PSETUA in France in 2014.

Félicie Wietor (F): I am a midwife and daycare mother.  I have 2 children aged 6 and 3
years old.  Although I have learned a few things about baby wearing during my midwife studies, it was only with my first child that I had realised how important baby wearing can be for both parents and babies. My son was a high-need-baby, born preterm and carrying him helped me a lot to calm him and to have both hands free.

fee-enora

Félicie Wietor

I wanted to learn more about baby wearing and at the same time help other parents to enjoy carrying their children. I then enrolled in a baby wearing-school in
Germany “Clauwi-Trageschule” in 2010 and qualified in 2011 with a certificate as “baby wearing consultant”.

After the birth of my daughter, I stopped working as a midwife to be able to spend more time with my children. Currently I work as daycare mother and also provide baby wearing sessions.  I regularly attend professional trainings to update my knowledge and to be able to offer high-quality baby wearing sessions. I also have skills in Kinesthetic Infant Handling and I work as a volunteer at La Leche League in Luxembourg.

2. Luxmama: It seems that you’ve both found your true passion! Could you please give us some guidance on the criteria to consider when choosing a baby carrier. Is it advisable to buy one already during pregnancy?

C&F:  Choosing an appropriate baby carrier is comparable to buying a pair of shoes.  To ensure that it is comfortable for you and the baby, it is best to wait until your baby is born so the carrier can be properly fitted with your baby in it.  But on the other hand, we also completely understand that parents are exited and want to prepare for their baby’s arrival! Parents want to ensure that they’ve bought everything, so they can only focus on resting, bonding and breastfeeding once baby has arrived.

Therefore, if parents do choose to buy a carrier during pregnancy, there are a few key aspects to consider, to avoid disappointment:

  • A good baby carrier should be made from the same type of fabric than a baby carrying wrap. It should not be stretchy in length but should still allow for stretching in width.  This is important to allow a curved spine for baby while at the same time offering enough support. The younger the baby, the more important this is.
  • The carrier should be adjustable to safely fit your baby’s growing proportions from birth and onwards.
  • Whichever carrier you choose, look for a carrier that holds your child in a position
    you would naturally carry them in your arms, in front or on your hip (always a rounded spine and legs in spread squatting position).
  • Most carrier manufacturers list weight limits for their carriers, but there is often a significant discrepancy between the published weight limit and what a particular user finds comfortable.
  • If you and your partner will alternate carrying your baby, shoulder straps are more user friendly than buckles as buckles requires readjustment each time to fit the person carrying the baby.

3. Luxmama: What are the main reasons why a front facing carrier is not recommended?

C&F:  There are three main reasons:

  • Front faced carrying often leads to over-stimulation of the baby.  He/she is forced to face the outside world and experience continuous stimulation. An over-stimulated baby can be restless, stressed and could often cause the baby to cry after being carried.  On the contrary, when a baby is facing inwards, he/she has the choice to turn the head aside and look around when feeling curious and at any time as the need may rise, the baby can return facing inwards or make eye contact with the wearer when seeking comfort. The baby can therefore regulate the amount of stimulation he/she experiences.
  • Furthermore, the positioning of the baby in a front facing carrier is not natural. The back is not curved and instead is forced to be straight or even hollow.  In this position the muscles of the back are being stretched asymmetrically, the vertebra’s discs are under pressure and the blood circulation of the discs is being compromised.front facing french
  • Additionally, the legs are often not supported enough. The carrier’s base is not providing support from knee to knee which in turn causes poor blood circulation in the legs. As the baby is not in a spreadsquat-position, the hips are under pressure.

From around three/four months however, most babies start to resist being carried facing inwards as they naturally become more curious at this age. This is then the perfect time to start carrying your baby on your back in a woven wrap. With a baby carrier, on the other hand, it is recommended to wait until your baby’s neck control is more stable, mostly around four/five months. If you are too scared to put your baby on your back at this stage, another alternative position is with baby on your hip. This way, your baby can see more, but is still able to make eye contact with you.

baby-portraits017

4. Luxmama: Which types of carriers do you recommend are the best to be used from day one after birth, for a very long time afterwards and for frequent everyday use?

C&F:  A woven wrap adjusts easily to the baby and the person who carries. You
can use it from the first day onwards until your child no longer requires carrying.
Not everybody feels comfortable or secure with a couple of meters of fabric. So if you want to use a carrier you can use for a long time, choose one that you can adjust to your baby.

The width of the fabric between baby’s legs, the height of the fabric over baby’s back and
the width of the fabric near baby’s neck should all be adjustable.

Whichever carrier you choose, look for a carrier that supports baby in a position you
would naturally carry him/ her in your arms. That is in front or on your hip (upright, curved
spine and with the legs in a spread-squatting position).

5. Luxmama: How long, during one session can a baby safely be worn in a carrier.

C&F:  The baby can be worn in a carrier as long as he/she and the wearer are both comfortable. When you carry your baby you can immediately see and feel when something is troubling him or her. Your baby will show you when he/she has had enough. And your body will tell you when to stop. Some people, suffering from severe back pain, can only carry for short periods of around half an hour while others still find it comfortable even after three hours.

Keep in mind that being carried offers a mini-workout to your baby. He or she has to continuously re-balance his body in response to your movements.

Don’t forget to offer something to drink or breastfeed him/her when being carried for a long period.

6. Luxmama: There are many mass-marketed, hugely well-known upright carriers on the market today that do not in fact support the spine and legs properly as you’ve explained. Are these safe to use? What are the implications when they are used.

C&F:  These upright carriers are safe in the sense that they will not kill your baby. Carrying your baby for very short periods and on rare occasions in this type of position will not cause any extreme harm.

On the other hand, carrying a baby often and for long periods in this position bears a considerable risk for the baby’s development as the spine is not well supported and the legs are not in the optimal spread-squatting position.

With that being said, even in this case your baby still benefits from your presence, your smell, your voice and your stimulation…


A new and wonderful resource is the newly created website listing of profiles, location and contact details of independent baby wearing consultants in Luxembourg:

www.droen.lu


More about the author

DSC_0538

As mother of two darling babies, Certified IMPI Holistic Sleep Coach, Baby Planner and Happiest Baby Educator, Marise Hyman provides worldwide maternity coaching for expecting/future/new parents through Marise Hyman Maternity Coaching – setting them up for success, so they can sail into their new lives with confidence!

She is also the founder of the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep, an edgy non-profit organisation raising awareness for green, natural & holistic parenting alternatives, birth rights and postnatal mood disorders by offering a variety of inspiring social and educational events in Luxembourg

 


Upright, embraced tight!

Featured

This article is the second part as follow-up from a previous post about my own personal baby wearing revelations which are common misconceptions amongst most first-time mothers. You can check out our third and last article in the series here.

Beautiful baby girl carried by her mother in sling

The truth is that there are great carriers on the market today but also many “not so great” carriers. Furthermore, there are tried and tested safe positions to wear your babe but also a few raising some red flags when it comes to the optimal development of your baby, especially when being carried for long periods of time….

We have gathered baby wearing experts, Chantal Weis and Félicie Wietor to help us understand how we can safely use this powerful and amazing tool to improve our bonding and attachment with our babies while at the same time making life easier.

1. Luxmama Club: What inspired you to become a baby wearing consultant?

Chantal & Félicie (C&F): We discovered baby wearing for the first time when we had our first babies. We loved carrying them. It was such a good feeling, having them close and safe with us, while continuing with our daily activities. Wearing/carrying our babies helped us to understand their needs. When we carried them, they were peaceful and happy, and that is how we knew that it was right for them.

Following on from this positive baby wearing experience, we wanted to learn
more about baby wearing and the best way to do it. On the other hand, we also wanted to share our experience and knowledge with other parents to help them find a way to carry their babies and to make baby wearing more popular.

2. Luxmama Club: How does one become a baby wearing consultant and where did you obtain your qualification?

C&F: We studied at baby wearing schools in Germany, Clauwi-Trageschule and France
Porter son Enfant Tout Un Art (translation: “Carry your child, an art”. We attended weekend seminars and had to pass both written and practical tests to be certified as “baby wearing consultants”.

In addition, annual supervision is required to remain a certified baby wearing consultant.

3. Luxmama Club: In short, how are your sessions structured and what is the cost?

C&F:  A baby wearing session is an individual consultation consisting of two parts:
a) We share basic information about wearing a baby which includes a lot of safety aspects, and
b) We do practical training about how to correctly use a wrap or a baby carrier. We begin with a mannequin to practice first and only by the end of the session, will the mother’s own baby be involved.

The first session usually lasts about two hours and costs around €45. Second or third sessions can be used to learn and practice a new way to use the carrier when the baby is older, or to choose a new carrier, if the old one doesn’t fit anymore. These sessions are shorter (about 60-90 minutes) and cost between €25 and €35.

The wraps, ring sling and baby carriers that we use during the baby wearing session,
can be borrowed for a short time to make sure that the chosen one is best for you.

4. Luxmama Club: How should the legs of a newborn be supported in an upright carrier?

C&F:  A spread-squat-position, also called  the “frog position”  is important to ensure optimal development of the hips.

In a baby carrier, wrap or ring sling, a baby’s legs should be in a spread-squat-position. This means that the legs are a bit open and the baby’s knees are higher than the baby’s bum. The end of the sling’s fabric should fit right up to the hollow of the baby’s knees.

spread squatting

A healthy spread-squat or splayed “frog” position.

In a baby carrier, the baby’s legs are usually open wider than in a wrap. In this case, we recommend not to move the baby’s knees higher but to keep them on the same level as the baby’s bum.  Similarly to a wrap or sling, the fabric should be spread from the hollow of one knee to the hollow of the other.  Baby carriers with an adjustable seat size between the baby’s legs are much better than those with a fixed seat.  The seat between the baby’s legs should be able to adjust and widen so that babies of all ages can always adopt the anatomically correct splayed “frog” position which is so important for the development of young hips.

5. Luxmama Club: Why should a newborn spine be supported in a curved position when being worn in a baby carrier?

C&F:  A newborn’s and baby’s spine is naturally rounded. It is best to maintain the spine’s curved form when carrying the baby to avoid any pressure on the spine’s muscles and ligaments which in turn could cause tension on the vertebra’s discs and lead to poor blood circulation.

A rounded back is also essential for the baby to maintain the spread-squat-position and to stabilise the hips.

A healthy curved spine

A healthy curved spine with flexible fabric allowing the natural curve but at the same time still offering adequate supportstabilise the hips.

Starting from birth until a toddler can walk independently, his/her spine will gradually become straighter from the neck down to the pelvis as a result of the natural strengthening of the spine’s muscles.

Therefore, in order to support this natural development of the spine, it is important that the baby’s spine is curved in the wrap or baby carrier and practically speaking, this means that the area of the wrap/carrier/sling covering the baby’s back should be flexible to allow for this:

  • The straps of a wrap should not cross over the baby’s back, and
  • the straps of a baby carrier should not be fixed on the back panel of the carrier, but on the hip belt instead.

Another important aspect to remember is that even when a toddler can already walk and the spine is almost fully developed, it is still important that the baby´s back can curve when he/she is asleep and the muscles are relaxed.

 6. Luxmama Club: What is the cradle position and why is it not recommended?

The cradle carry is not recommended.

The cradle carry is not recommended.

C&F:  The cradle position is the position your baby normally is in when being fed. The baby lies diagonally or near-horizontal in front of your belly and in a baby carrier, the baby will automatically tend to gravitate to the lowest point in the carrier and through movement of the wearer turn inwards towards the baby wearer’s body.

In summary, if not used correctly, the cradle carry bears a risk of positional asphyxiation and additionally it does not support healthy hip development:

  • Due to the fact that a newborn’s spine is naturally curved (also called kyphosis), the baby will automatically face inwards and bend sideways around the wearer’s body and in turn, the vertebra’s discs will experience a lot of strain through shocks from the wearer’s movements.
  • The legs of the baby in a cradle position are not able to be in a spread-squat position which as mentioned before is best for optimal hip development.
  • Most slings designed only to cradle-carry, often hold the baby so low on the baby wearer’s body that any distress cannot be recognised immediately.
  • Unfortunately a lot of the cradle slings cover the baby’s face completely. This is a potential death trap. The baby’s face should always be in view.
  • And last but not least, when the baby falls asleep, there is a risk that the chin slumps forward on the chest and the baby can suffocate (positional asphyxiation) within a few minutes without making a sound.

The cradle carry conclusion according to the experts:  

It is extremely difficult to carry secure in this position. Even when the parents make sure the baby get’s enough oxygen, the legs of the baby are not in an ideal position.

Best practice instead, is upright, embraced tight…


Don’t miss our next article, where we tackle other hairy subjects like front-faced carrying and the best way to choose a baby carrier with Félicie and Chantal.


More about the author:

DSC_0538

As mother of two darling babies, Certified IMPI Holistic Sleep Coach, Baby Planner and Happiest Baby Educator, Marise Hyman provides worldwide maternity coaching for expecting/future/new parents through Marise Hyman Maternity Coaching – setting them up for success, so they can sail into their new lives with confidence!

She is also the founder of the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep, an edgy non-profit organisation raising awareness for green, natural & holistic parenting alternatives, birth rights and postnatal mood disorders by offering a variety of inspiring social and educational events in Luxembourg

 

Your guide to Hypnosis for childbirth in Luxembourg

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Childbirth.  Should you be worried?  No.  Should you prepare?  Definitely!

Completing our three-part series about the use of self-hypnosis for childbirth as a method of pain relief during labour, below are your guide to hypnotherapy for childbirth options in Luxembourg.

hypno 5 to delete

You can find our previous posts here:

Hypnosis for childbirth – too good to be true? – my experience and what is hypnosis

A hypno-mom’s story! by Angelique Supka (from Mintmouse)


Hypno-birthing courses:

Over the last couple of decades courses all over the world have begun to develop under different patented programs such as “HypnoBirthing – The Mongan Method,” “Hypnobabies” ,”The Leclaire Hypnobirthing Method,” and “Hypbirth.”

In Luxembourg you will be able to follow courses using the Mongon Method.

Marie Mongan, M.Ed., M.Hy., from New Hampshire, is an award-winning hypnotherapist with over 30 years of experience.

Her widely acclaimed book, HypnoBirthing, The Mongan Method, is the textbook used in HypnoBirthing classes.

How does it work?

Through self-hypnosis, special breathing, and visualization, HypnoBirthing teaches the art of using your own natural birthing instincts. You will not be in a trance or a sleep state. You will be aware and fully in control, but profoundly relaxed. And that’s just what you should be!

Courses for HypnoBirthing – the Mongon Method are currently available from Hypnobirthing.lu and Initiativ Liewensufank – in English as well as other languages.

These courses encompass more than just guided relaxation exercises and also delve deeper into the other intricacies surrounding birth in a very holistic way.  But that being said, they do not include an in-depth focus on breastfeeding and other new born care and parenting topics.

HypnoBirthing.luhypnobirthing

Who?  The courses are held by Cindy, also a delivery midwife at the Maternité Grande-Duchesse Charlotte.  If you are lucky, she might just be on duty when you give birth, but there are no guarantees unfortunately.  The team have taught over 300 couples over the span of 6.5 years here in Luxembourg. The course is provided to parents enrolled at any hospital.

Language?  The course is available in German, French, Luxembourgish and thankfully also in English.

Content?  Natural ways to induce labour, the role of the partner, gentle breathing birthing techniques, techniques of deep relaxation, creating a calm birthing environment.  Almost without fail, fathers also attend the course with the mother as they are key players in the birthing dance.

The content is therefore well rounded and chock full of additional information other than just hypnosis but Cindy says that there is really little time left for breastfeeding. It’s definitely a key aspect in any expectant mother’s preparation so best to seek out options.  (Try the breastfeeding education in English from Initiativ Liewensufank, here.)

What level of “self-study” is required for your method to be effective?  Participants should practice the breathing and relaxation techniques along with the CD on a daily basis to condition the body and mind.

When is the course?  There are no fixed time table for either the group or private courses and timing is determined based upon availability of the parents and instructors. The courses are offered during the week days/nights but sometimes Saturday classes are also offered if there are no other possibilities during the week.

When to book?  It is ideal to start the course during the 20th week of pregnancy so there is plenty of time to practice, however the latest possible stage that Cindy recommends one to start is during the 30th week of pregnancy.

Where?  The sessions are all held at the Maternité G.D Charlotte, 80, Val Fleuri, L-1526, Luxemburg.

How long?  Around 5 sessions x 2.5 hours, either in group or individual sessions.

The investment? 

  • Private Classes – mother and birthing companion:  €620
  • Group Classes – small groups of maximum 4 couples:  €335

All classes include:

–        12,5 hours
–        Original HypnoBirthing® Text Book
–        Rainbow Relaxation CD
–        All handouts for the course

Feedback:  Cindy estimates that roughly 65% of their course participants succeed in giving birth naturally, and that in general, compared to the rest of the births at the Maternité G.D Charlotte, “hypno-mamas” enjoy births without any medical interventions (e.g. inductions, epidurals, C-sections).

What level of “self-study” is required for your method to be effective?  Participants should practice the breathing and relaxation techniques along with the CD on a daily basis to condition the body and mind.

A word from Hypnobirthing.lu

“Gentle natural birth unlocks something primal at our very core that makes mothering easier and makes families stronger …

If parents would only realize that every single decision they make from conception onward influences the outcome of their birth, they could reclaim what they didn’t even know was lost.” – Kim Wildner

Initiativ Liewensufank

InitiativWho?  The courses are run by one of two certified HypnoBirthing practioners at Initiativ Liewensufank that have respectively been practicing since 2012 and 2013 and are also well versed in other pre- and postnatal areas (e.g. breastfeeding, yoga, perinatal counseling, doula). They teach roughly four to eight couples per month. (As we speak, there are also two more future practitioners finalising their training.)

Language? The course is available in German, French and also in English.

Content?  Specific information about pregnancy, the physiological birthing process, your rights in the hospital, being parents with a newborn, breathing & relaxation techniques, the role of the partner, different methods to stimulate the natural production of hormones that eliminate pain and support relaxation, birth movies and basic breastfeeding information.

Also here, almost without fail, fathers attend the course and receive additional information, specifically tailored to them.  The content is also all encompassing and go above and beyond hypnosis as such but for an even more thorough take on breastfeeding it is recommended to consider the six session breastfeeding package.

What level of “self-study” is required for your method to be effective?  Participants should practice the breathing and relaxation techniques along with the CD on a daily basis to condition the body and mind.

When is the course?  There are no fixed time table for either the group or private courses and timing is determined based upon availability of the parents and instructors. The courses are offered during the week days/nights but weekend classes are also offered if there are no other possibilities during the week.

When to book?  It is ideal to start the course by the 20th to 25th week of pregnancy so there is plenty of time to practice. The latest possible stage that one can start is at 33 weeks of pregnancy, in which case intensive training is required. This is only possible in exceptional circumstances.

Where? The sessions are all held either in Itzig, Betzdorf, Grosbous or Belvaux in Luxembourg, depending on the amount of other participants interested.

How long?  5 sessions x 2.5 hours either in group or individual sessions with one extra session offered if there is a need.

The investment?

  • Private Classes – mother and birthing companion:  €590
  • Group Classes – small groups of maximum 4 couples:  €335

All classes include:
–        12,5 hours of training for 2 persons (mother with her birthing companion) in small groups of maximum 4 couples
–        A book
–        An audio CD to practice
–        Handouts

Feedback:  As per Initiativ Liewensufank, more than 90% of mothers having attended the course manage to give birth vaginally (i.e. giving birth not through a C-section).  Compared to the national average for vaginal births of only 69%, according to the 2011 Perinatal monitoring report (“Surveillance de la Santé périnatale au Luxembourg) by the Ministry of Health, issued in 2013, this is no mean feat.

A word from Initiatif Liewensufank

HypnoBirthing has changed my whole life and my way of thinking, even in other contexts” – a mother

Clinique Bohler – Maternity Unit

Hypnobirthing classes are also offered, though not in English.


Hypnosis for childbirth sessions:

Besides the possibility to follow courses per standardised patented programs (like the Mongon method as per above) you can also seek treatments from a hypnotherapist that is trained to provide sessions during pregnancy. These sessions however do not include any other additional childbirth preparation aspects, other than hypnosis exercises.

Food for thought footforthought

Who?  Lynsey Baxter is a trained hypnotherapist (and a nutritional therapist) and can help expectant mothers learn how to use this valuable skill for themselves.  She has successfully used hypnotherapy during the births of all three her children and have previously helped many friends.  She started to provide sessions on a professional basis since the beginning of 2014.  She combines these new skills with her nutritional therapist certification in her business, Food for thought.

She originally comes from the UK but from a very young age up until 21, lived in New Zealand.  She came to Luxembourg 15 years ago, only for 2 months…where she still is today.

Language? Her sessions are provided in English.

Content? The sessions are dedicated to hypnosis exercises specific for childbirth and do not spend time on other aspects.  Therefore two sessions only, will suffice says Lynsey.

In the first session, she takes the client into trance and provide an audio file to listen to at least once per day until the second session takes place (usually around one month later). During the second session, she teaches self-hypnosis.

Fathers are not a part of the program as the sessions are dedicated to teaching the mama self hypnosis.  However, that is not to say that he is excluded from the experience.  She suggests ways to include the father in the process, such as using hand signals to indicate a contraction is coming, or that a drink is required.  (Note to self: I am wondering if this is something I can practice at home with my husband, even if my labour days are over…)

What level of “self-study” is required for your method to be effective?  Lynsey  suggests practicing self-hypnosis twice per day.  The more you put into it, the more you get out of it and the easier it will be to go into trance when the time comes.

When are sessions held? Tuesdays and Thursdays between 5pm – 8pm booked through Luxchiro

When to book?  Ideally, the beginning of the third trimester will give mamas enough time to learn how to self-hypnotise quickly and deeply.  It is also possible to do it closer to the due date but this only means that there won’t be as much time to practice, which is the key element of a successful result.

Where? The sessions are held at Luxchiro in Kirchberg, 239, Val des Bon Malades, L-2121

How long?  2 x 1 hour sessions.

The investment? €100 for both sessions which also includes an audio CD/file via Dropbox.

Feedback:  All of Lynsey’s clients have used the self-hypnosis successfully to relax during labour, but interventions can always be required no matter what the original intention, as we all know that during labour many different things can arise.

A word from Lynsey: 

Once you learn self-hypnosis, you can apply it to many other areas of your life. I would use it to help me fall asleep in the later stages of pregnancy after the tenth visit to the loo of the night.  I also used it to get me through the marathon breastfeeding sessions at the start.  I still use it on a regular basis if I have trouble sleeping or have a stressful event.  It is a tool that enables you to relax incredibly deeply, and let’s face it – we could all use some of that! – Lynsey Baxter, Food for thought


Other alternatives:

Sophrology – another alternative:

Sophrology is a dynamic relaxation technique, some call it the “French way of relaxing” and it is also described as “the science of the consciousness in harmony”.

Sophrology works on the person while in an active, alert state of consciousness, while hypnosis is more about relaxing and teaching the unconscious mind to let go of the feelings of tension that the conscious mind hangs onto.  Through breathing, dynamic relaxation, visualization and positive thinking, sophrology offers the opportunity to acquire new energy and better manage your emotions.  It is inspired by Eastern and Western influences.

The system was created by the Spanish-born neuro-psychiatrist, Alfonso Caycedo, in Colombia in the 1960s.

Before labour, sessions are aimed at helping mothers-to-be pre-visualise the various stages of childbirth. The sophrologist aims to decrease the anxiety related to the fear of the unknown; she helps the mothers-to-be anticipate the situation in order to handle it better, thereby allowing them to control rather than submit to their labour.

In Luxembourg, sophrology sessions are offered by a couple of practitioners, however only a few are specialised in preparation for childbirth.

It is unfortunate though that these sessions are not yet available in English but only in French

The Bohler Clinic

Sophrologists at the Bohler Clinic provide individual or group sessions, only in French before and after childbirth.  From the 26th week of pregnancy, eight to ten sessions are proposed on a weekly basis, while five sessions are proposed from the 32nd week.  Themes explored are accepting the needs of your body, managing your emotions, stress and pain as well as preparation for delivery through guided visualisation of birth

After childbirth, a midwife or nurse sophrologist is available at your request to assist you in coping with your emotions following your delivery and help boost your confidence when you surely need it.  It also claims to assist you in communicating in a special way with your baby.

The cost is €50 for a one hour session. And remember it’s in French.

Sohie-sophro

Sophie Caruelle-Galataud from Sophie-sophro is trained in prenatal and maternity sophrology.  She provides sessions and workshops in French.  We have not received a response upon inquiry whether her services are also available in English.

It seems the cost is €55 for a one hour session.


DIY hypnosis resources

If your budget or time is limiting you to reap the benefits of a better childbirth, there are an abundance of DIY resources available online. Here’s just a few:

Our friend Amazon

From Amazon you can purchase various HypnoBirthing and self-hypnosis birth preparation packages with books and CD’s with of course Marie Mongon‘s the creator of HypnoBirthing and Maggie Howell‘s Self Hypnosis Birth preparation program, being great options.

Other paid online options

www.hypnobirthing-online.com – 8 MP3’s for around €40 at time of publishing

www.hypnobirthingdownloads.com – 9 MP3’s, 2 video tutorials, 2 bonus tracks, free info sheets for around €86 at time of publishing

Free resouces

www.freehypnobirthing.com

www.archive.org/details/HypnoBirthing

www.archive.org/details/HypnosisForChildbirth

www.archive.org/details/HypnosisForDayOfBirth


More about Luxmama

DSC_0538

As mother of two darling babies, Certified IMPI Holistic Sleep Coach, Baby Planner and Happiest Baby Educator, Marise Hyman provides worldwide maternity coaching for expecting/future/new parents through Marise Hyman Maternity Coaching – setting them up for success, so they can sail into their new lives with confidence!

She is also the founder of the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep, an edgy non-profit organisation raising awareness for green, natural & holistic parenting alternatives, birth rights and postnatal mood disorders by offering a variety of inspiring social and educational events in Luxembourg

 

Don’t hope for a smooth delivery but prepare for one!

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In a previous article, we explored the notion that there is indeed a way to have a happy and calm birth.  How nature intended it to be.  Free from fear and pain.  With no risks for mother and baby.  Zero side affects.

That is by using self hypnosis where the inner mind is in effect trained to believe that birth will be a comfortable and joyous occasion…

Angelique Supka had just such a wonderful experience and we sat down with her to tell us matisseher story. In 2013, she gave birth to her lovely son, Matisse. She is also the owner of Mintmouse, a new online boutique for mums and their babies in Luxembourg.

Luxmama: Tell us about yourself, where are you from?

Angelique (A):  I come from a very international family spread all over Europe. My Hungarian Swiss father migrated to Belgium where he met and settled with my Belgian mum where I was born and raised with my brother.  I guess that would make me Belgian-Hungarian-Swiss which always sounded exotic in Belgium, as I quickly learned nothing unfamiliar in Luxembourg!  So let’s just say I am from Belgium…

Luxmama: Wow! But what made you come to Luxembourg?

A:  As my father later moved to Poland for business I would often travel for weekends to spend quality time.  One day on the flight back to Charleroi Airport I was immediately conquered by a charming man sitting next to me…  Three years later I find myself living with him in Luxembourg where he moved for work reasons three months before meeting me on that plane.  I fell in love with Luxembourg as our love story evolved here and the fond memories will always remain.

Luxmama: Was this your first baby?

A:  Yes (smiling), Matisse is our first baby so he teaches us as much as we teach him.

Luxmama: Tell us about your birth preparation. What made you decide to try hypno-birthing?

A:  When I came to Luxembourg I was already in my second semester and had so far been followed by a very gentle gynecologist and his midwife assistant in Belgium who were all for natural birth and also supported home births.  The consultations were held in a homey atmosphere in a house and not in a hospital.  The longest I have ever waited in the waiting room was thirty minutes.  From what I know now, this was heaven!

So when I finally moved to Luxembourg and had a first appointment with a doctor at the Bohler Clinic, randomly picked from the list as I did not know any better, I was in shock. We waited two hours to be seen and were out after only five minutes because the doctor had to run for a delivery. From those few minutes, all I remember are these words: “I would suggest an epidural but if you want to scream and be in pain, be my guest.”

I felt that the idea of a natural birth that I’ve become used to was just not supported here and that scared me immensely.

After this horrible experience I immediately decided I would actually do some research first, before heading to another doctor. It was on Youtube where I saw hypno-birthing being practiced by different women giving birth in complete serenity.  To my great surprise I quickly found a website in Luxembourg with hypno-birthing specialists. “Why not try it then?” I thought.

I called and poured out my heart explaining my situation and fears as everything was being so new to me.  Cindy, the midwife and hypno-birthing trainer on the other end of the line immediately relaxed me and invited me to meet to talk about it. I was saved! Cindy then recommended a very nice gynecologist to me.  I still had to wait long hours before each appointment and we never had much time to discuss lots of details besides the really important things.  It seemed like the service I got used to in Belgium was a real exception. Nevertheless, I felt that my wishes would be respected with this doctor and he would only intervene if and when really necessary.

Luxmama: So you were very determined to have a natural birth.

A:  Yes, I was determined to have a natural birth and would have done anything to achieve it!

I believe women are naturally created to have babies and didn’t see any reason to interfere with this beautiful process.  I am a reasonable person and at the end, bringing a healthy baby into this world was most important to me.  I never wanted to take unnecessary risks that could affect Matisse in any way.

Luxmama: Have you used any other hypnosis techniques before?

A:  Before giving birth I have only remotely heard of hypnosis and never really explored it any further.

Luxmama: At what stage in your pregnancy did you start the hypnosis classes?

A:  I started the classes around the end of my second trimester.

Luxmama: How many classes did you attend and how long were the classes?

A:  We had five classes of two and a half hours each after which I felt confident I would do well and manage it on my own.

Luxmama: Did you receive material to do self-study at home and how regular did you practise this in your own time?

A:  Yes, during the first class we received a book from Marie F. Mongan which we had to read as soon as possible.  Throughout the classes I have used the book as a “manual” to fall back on for whenever I felt like I needed some reminders. With the book also comes a CD with 2 tracks to listen to with a soothing voice helping you to relax, gain confidence and visualize the birth that you are preparing for.  I used to listen to the CD quite regularly in the evenings before going to bed and noticed that I was able to clear my mind and get into the “relaxation mode” a bit faster every time I would listen.  This way, I conditioned my mind to relax and focus in a controlled way when I wanted to.

In the beginning it is indeed difficult to focus and I used to get very distracted by outside noise. After some practice I was able to completely disconnect from that, still being aware of what’s going on around me but remaining totally focused.

Luxmama: Did your husband also attend the classes and what was his experience or involvement in the process?

A:  My husband attended each class and supported me all the way. He was very happy and proud that he could participate in our son’s birth. He often even tells people “we gave birth” instead of “my wife gave birth”!

husbandHis presence was crucially important because after the classes, he was the one to take over the role of the Hypno-Birthing specialist.  He was the one that understood me, knew my wishes, and make sure the hospital staff would understand and support it too as they might not be familiar with Hypno-Birthing.

He was my rock and it would have never been the same without him…

Luxmama: Take us through the process of what a hypnosis class is like.

A:   The beginning of every class usually dealt with any questions, fears or new symptoms we wanted to discuss and give an update on how the pregnancy and our exercises at home were progressing.  Each class however was quite different and would cover specific subjects combined with a variety of visualization exercises.

Topics I can recall that we’ve discussed, are the physiology of late pregnancy and birth, the effect of mental state on muscle tone and the baby and the delivery process, to be ready to change a birth position at any time and that our bodies will tell us what the best position is when the time comes.

We were taught to see it as a normal and natural process, rather than trauma (the way it is often portrayed in general).  Overall, the focus was most on relaxation techniques, cooperation between me and my husband and the important notion of expecting something wonderful.

Luxmama: Did you feel uncomfortable at all during the sessions and did you find it difficult at first to do the visualisations?

A:  In the beginning it was definitely more difficult.  It requires skill to distance your mind from your daily routine for a few hours each day and not to think of your to-do list for the rest of the week.  It all came about with practice and I never felt uncomfortable.

Luxmama: I understand you gave birth at the Bohler clinic. What was the staff’s reaction to your Hypno-Birthing plans. Were they supportive?

A:  The midwife on duty and following me that day was not familiar with HypnoBirthing and neither was she very supportive in the beginning. I had to be induced because my son was not in a hurry to come, even ten days after the due date.  The midwife told me I should better take an epidural because after being induced it might be very painful. Luckily we had expressed our wishes beforehand to our gynecologist and he respected that, which was most important.  He promised not to take any unnecessary action unless it was really needed.

So to start with I was given half a tablet of Oxitocin in the morning that would gently put things in motion.  We were hoping that with only that little push my body would react and commence labor.  After a whole day of contractions without much dilation, I was still given the choice to wait until latest the next morning before inducing with the drip (which is more aggressive and could make the baby come in the next few hours).  The midwife told me the contractions I had that day would be nothing compared to what was coming and I should better take an epidural now that I still could!BF

That night I sat on my birthing ball and went into deep relaxation having contractions every 3 to 4 minutes. It is a natural reaction for the body to also contract the pelvic muscles during a contraction because of the tension.  I used the visualization techniques I’d been taught to imagine my pelvis opening up like a flower and had to remind myself at every wave to relax those muscles in order for the baby to go down.

My husband was reading texts to me to help me with the visualization exercises. Then at three AM he fell asleep and stopped talking, I lost my focus for a moment and suddenly fell the contractions significantly more intensive.  That made me realize how much HypnoBirthing was helping me

birth

The next morning the midwife was very surprised to see that I was seven cm dilated and almost ready to “push”, so it worked!  At that point I asked the midwife when I would reach that ‘unbearable’ pain she had earlier mentioned to me.  Her answer was that now should be that moment…

Suddenly, her attitude started to change.  She was very surprised at how calm I was talking with her and that I was even still smiling.

Soon thereafter, I went into the birthing bath and our son was born completely naturally.  Our gynecologist was kept up to date throughout the whole process but only showed up in the last ten minutes to “catch the baby”.  I loved giving birth in the water because it was soothing and felt completely natural to me but mostly because I then felt in control and not stuck on a table with my legs up (to provide easy access to the doctors) not knowing and seeing what is going on there.  I liked the water to be not too hot and felt comfortable with just a third of the bath filled up.  I was sitting upright for gravity to work with me.

The next day, the very impressed midwife personally came by to tell me she doesn’t witness births like mine every day.  Later, we actually heard that she had switched her shift with a colleague to be able to attend my delivery.  How flattering!  I was so thankful that they had given me the time to do it my way just like I had requested without unnecessary intervention.

Luxmama: What tips can you give mamas-to-be wanting to try HypnoBirthing?

A:  I would definitely do it all over again for the next baby and I am sure the skills will come back to me in no time, whenever I need it.

I would say to keep an open mind at all times and believe in yourself that you will manage just fine.  Sometimes things may unfold differently than what you had imagined if there are complications at your delivery. HypnoBirthing can help you in any circumstances. It also helps you to stay in control of your mind and stay confident when doctors need to take control of your delivery process/body.  You are the only one who can control your mindset and how you cope with accepting changes.

Don’t hope for a smooth delivery but prepare for one!


In our last article in the series, you will find your guide to HypnoBirthing in Luxembourg.


More about Angelique:

For the last two years, Angelique has been enjoying life in Luxembourg with her little family and has just launched Mintmouse, an online boutique offering mummy and baby/kid’s items for parents who are looking for unique products not seen before in Luxembourg.  She is always on the lookout for new challenges and believes that life is too short to do things you don’t like.

When entering the entrepreneurial world she has set up a group for Mumpreneurs in Luxembourg to meet and gather like-minded mums.  The group has been a platform of support but also a source of joyful meetings and new friendships, where entrepreneurial and open-minded women can meet to exchange ideas, experience and customers.


Here is another great video to give you an idea what you can expect:

Hypnosis for childbirth – too good to be true?

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Childbirth is unpredictable, but that is all the more reason to prepare for it and embrace it. You will never have another chance to give birth to this child…

For some women, birth is a truly fearful event.  For “hypno-moms” it is merely a challenge…

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My first encounter with hypnosis was several years ago in non other than…Las Vegas. (Yes, the era before our family’s child-rearing project commenced.)  The hypnotist was decked out in a shiny ensemble. His perky helpers sported less garments..actually way less…

Needless to say, the show involved several audience members being hypnotised on stage and finding themselves in peculiar situations (sometimes involving bananas) once Mr. Shiny snapped his fingers. Even right after the show was apparently over, one lucky participant who had returned to his seat experienced uncontrollable impulses upon each applause from the audience!

So what is hypnosis really?

Nowadays, it is common for hypnosis to be used therapeutically in many areas and with great success in medical and dental procedures by patients with life-threatening allergies to anesthetics, allowing them to have surgeries without any drugs or pain.  We therefore know that the mind can indeed be trained to experience discomfort as only pressure and that is exactly what is achieved with hypno-birthing.

During labour, the more relaxation a mother achieves with hypnosis, the more comfort she will have. This physical relaxation is learned and practised daily in preparation for birth using guided visualisations. The inner mind is in effect trained to believe that birth will be a comfortable and joyous occasion!

Sadly, in our culture we are daily programmed to believe that giving birth will be an excruciating event and this is also why we experience pain. Because we expect to. On the contrary, in other cultures, giving birth is seen as a beautiful, natural event which should be celebrated and honoured. Young girls grow up with the belief that giving birth is positive and as a result, their births are without pain and fear.

Today however, the world is slowly starting to take notice and many women (yet still nowhere enough) are reaping the powerful benefits.  Celebrity hypnobirthers include Kate Middleton, Jessica Alba, Demi Moore, Pamela Anderson and many more.  It’s great to see the message being spread.

My experience

I fell in the trap of our modern western culture. Believing I need to do everything in my power to eliminate this “expected pain”.  I won’t bore you now with too many details (I will write about my birth experiences in detail at a later stage).

40 weeks pregnant and trying to be a trooper...

40 weeks pregnant and trying to be a trooper…

Instead of drawing on my natural resources, I eagerly opted to avoid this expected torture by accepting an epidural offered to me on a silver platter by the “wonderful world of medicine” today. Let’s just say that maybe should I not have had those epidurals, I would not have ended up with two cesarean sections which opened me up (literally) to a multitude of avoidable serious and life-threatening risks.

So why, didn’t I choose to use hypnosis for childbirth as pain management?  To be honest, I did not know enough about it and did not realise and understand the enormous impact it can have. Where would I find it in Luxembourg, would I even find it English. Plus, with my Vegas experience as my only point of reference – the prospect was basically ruled out and I did not make much of an effort to investigate further.  By the time I attended my antenatal preparation classes (the only English class available at that stage!) it was too late to start on a program and I don’t even remember it being mentioned in the actual class.

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Today, following my baby planning studies, I have new insight. I can not deny the fact that hypno-birthing is real and it works. I have seen enough evidence. My aim now is to educate mamas-to-be that there is a pain relief method that indeed works, without any risks for mother or baby.  With no side affects. All that is required is an open mind and time to practice the skills so you are untouchable on this wonderful joyous day of your baby’s birth.


Here’s an interesting video clip showing how the world is slowly but surely taking notice of this powerful tool.

Read part II & III:

The beautiful hypno-birthing experience of Angelique Supka from Mintmouse

Your guide to hypnosis for childbirth in Luxembourg by Marise Hyman

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Were you a hypno-mom? Tell us your story!


More about Luxmama

DSC_0538

As mother of two darling babies, Certified IMPI Holistic Sleep Coach, Baby Planner and Happiest Baby Educator, Marise Hyman provides worldwide maternity coaching for expecting/future/new parents through Marise Hyman Maternity Coaching – setting them up for success, so they can sail into their new lives with confidence!

She is also the founder of the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep, an edgy non-profit organisation raising awareness for green, natural & holistic parenting alternatives, birth rights and postnatal mood disorders by offering a variety of inspiring social and educational events in Luxembourg

 

When your baby becomes a Bird

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Following our fun time in the Bugs class at The Little Gym a little while ago, me and Amelie (16 months) set off for some more SERIOUS FUN, as they call it.IMG_1080

Yes – we enrolled for the Birds class. Because she’s a big girl now…or at least, that is what I sound like when explaining it to my 3 year old.

Birds classes are suitable for babies and toddlers from 10 to 19 months.

What is the Little Gym, you ask? Take a peek at our previous time in the Bugs class where we explain just that.

Starting out

As with any baby class/activity, you have to remember to give your little one some time to adjust to the new environment as it can be quite intimidating to them. Don’t expect too much in the first class. Don’t force them, rather just let them be. Show them that you are having a blast and pretty soon, they’ll join in on the fun.

Our 3rd class - this time totally emerged here in some serious fun!

Our 3rd class – this time totally emerged here in some serious fun!

Our 1st class - note the hesitation in body language

Our first class – note the hesitation in the body language

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like with the Bugs classes, the Birds class starts out with parents sitting in a circle with their babies, singing the welcome song in French to the beat of little bell-shakers, a firm favourite amongst the little Birds. Everyone is introduced and the lovely teacher comfortable switches between French and English.

The class is only 45 minutes long because we all know the attention span of youngsters this age is rather short and sweet.

A couple of structured group activities to the tune of prerecorded American songs follow,IMG_1432 ranging from wheelbarrow walking, rolls (assisted of course) and probably the most popular part, the giant parachute held by parents in a circle and flapped up and down and round and round. You will get a pretty good idea of what it’s like by googling “little gym parachute”.  Several fun Youtube videos will pop up all over the world.

These activities are all aimed at developing social and motor skills founded on gymnastics and at the end of the class the instructor provides some examples of activities you can do during the week at home with baby to reinforce what’s been done in class.

Each class concludes with bubbles galore which never gets old in Amelie’s world.

What’s in it for parents?

It definitely seems that especially by the end of the semester, parents are very familiar with each other and details are being exchanged. So, it’s not only an opportunity for your little one to burn off some energy and learn new skills but also for you as parent to connect with other parents.

Free play

As with the other classes, the structured part of the class are followed by some free pIMG_1085lay. The teacher gives some suggestions like forward rolling, walking on the balance beams and swinging on bars. During our first class Amelie was mostly just observing, but by the 3rd class, she was almost pushing the other big boys away to make way for her escapades. She also let out some pretty loud grunts..   I had to remind her that she was after all a princess!

The Grand Finalé

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Immediately after the class we all received our photos. A lovely touch to a lovely class.

I was very lucky to attend the final class of the season, where all parents got to bring a guest. This is to celebrate the progress their little ones have made over the semester. There was even a little stage set up where we all posed for the class photo and received a medal.

During the free play, a photographer came around for individual pictures. The princess however was a bit annoyed that her acrobatics had to be interrupted by the paparazzi.

The facilities and staff

As always, the facilities are squeaky clean. There is a comfortable and spacious waiting area and space for people to sit and watch the classes going on through the big window.

Of course there’s a baby changing area with wipes and lots of high chairs in the kitchen area where you can quickly let baby have a snack.

The staff are always very helpful, friendly and genuine. And of course, they can all speak English and won’t be snotty about it.

More details

Remember to dress your little one comfortably. You don’t have to buy special gym attire though. It’s also best to take off their shoes so they can have a better grip and sensory experience.

An introductory class are always offered complimentary. You can book yours here.

Semesters typically run from beginning September to beginning of February and from beginning of February to beginning of July. They start from €468 and you have several availabilities for your specific group during the week to choose from. A membership fee of €55 for the year is also due. Sibling discounts are allowed on membership fees.

Birds classes are on Monday afternoons, Wednesday mornings, Friday afternoons as well as Saturday mornings.

For further information, check out the website here.

More about Luxmama

DSC_0538

As mother of two darling babies, Certified IMPI Holistic Sleep Coach, Baby Planner and Happiest Baby Educator, Marise Hyman provides worldwide maternity coaching for expecting/future/new parents through Marise Hyman Maternity Coaching – setting them up for success, so they can sail into their new lives with confidence!

She is also the founder of the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep, an edgy non-profit organisation raising awareness for green, natural & holistic parenting alternatives, birth rights and postnatal mood disorders by offering a variety of inspiring social and educational events in Luxembourg

 

Gare shopping, baby! – Part II

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When shopping for your growing bump or baby in and around Luxembourg, specialised baby & maternity shops, scattered all over comes to mind.

To name just a few:

Orchestra Premaman in Howald with probably the most disappointing level of customer service, Abitare Kids in Junglinster offering the best versatility and taste when it comes to nursery decor, Baby Center, by far probably the most expensive baby shop in the Greater Region and a hidden gem with a great variety and friendly service, Studioland in Contern.

A lot of parents decide to jump borders and shop at Baby One in Trier (DE) offering a huge variety at best prices, while others opt for Bebe9 in Thionville (or Mont Saint Martin) (FR) and lastly not to forget DM in Germany for your baby staples.

If you’ve already completed mission stroller, car seat and nursery furniture, you’d be surprised at just how much you’ll be able to find in the baby section of other non baby specific stores.

Boutique style with hefty price tags for sure is what you’ll find in the city center, whereas making a day trip to the Gare may just surprise you…IMG_0380

If you’ve missed Gare Shopping, baby! – Part I, hop on over right here.

Other than Hema and good old H&M’s baby section (discussed in Part I) there are a few other interesting offerings when it comes to shopping for baby in the Gare.

Veritas in Avenue de la Gare mostly offers women’s accessories but if you scoot over to the IMG_0379back section on the left you will find cute hair accessories for baby girls, arts and craft items (to liven up the baby nursery) and swimwear, sunglasses, hats etc for baby boys and girls.

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I have to add that there is a little boutique called Z, a few shops down. The prices are also more in line with boutiques in the city center.  Each time I’ve been there I promise myself never to return, as the service or lack thereof is appalling. There is just something about a cashier continuing a personal phone conversation, regardless of customers lining up and ready to pay, that gets to me. But maybe that’s just me.

Then just around the corner, a French department chain Monoprix ,opened its doors early 2014 in Rue du Fort Bourbon. I won’t discuss the details of how my innocent baby shopping was side tracked by their clever marketing displays in the women’s section in front and how they tricked me into buying a few items (think bags!) but I will rather guide you to the baby section in the back of the store, on your left.

It’s refreshing for a change to see French baby clothing styles other than Petit Bateau. They IMG_1023completely had me with their Africa inspired leather summer sandals for older babies.

Price wise, DM, Baby One or sometimes even Amazon DE or Amazon UK will beat Monoprix but there’s nothing like seeing and touching products in real lifeIMG_1029 without having to drive 45 minutes.

Bodies

Bodies

Other than clothing you will also find baby food, infant & follow on formulas, diapers, wipes, 100% cotton fitted cot sheets, baby bath essentials, even an Ergobaby baby carrier (€119) and a travel seat (€20) for babies that can already sit unaided. (Not the very best in quality but for €20 what do you expect. For superior quality, durability and sleek design you can buy an In the pocket baby for €45.)

Comfy soft shoes

Comfy soft shoes

We all know that mama’s cooking is best for baby when it comes to variation in taste but baby foods in Europe are strictly regulated, so a good option when you’re “on the go” or on hectic days when cooking isn’t an option.

They have some great organic (“bio”) options if your baby had enough of German brand Hipp’s organic jars of food (huge selection available at Auchan).

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Top tip: if you plan to have lunch, come 11:30 to get the best spot

By now, your bump and/or baby in tow must be famished, which is why we are heading next IMG_1030door to Exki

We all know organic is best for bump and baby, well everybody actually and that’s just what you’ll find here.

Cafeteria style (meaning no reservations possible), scrumptious and healthy soups, salads, sandwiches, quiches, tartelettes made from fresh, natural organic produce in season.

Their range of coffees and teas are also not to be forgotten and for those that drink on the job, wine is also offered. (It counts as 1 of your “5 a day” doesn’t it?).

There is another branch in the city center as well as in Auchan but what I love about this one is that it’s attached to a book/gift shop.

If you need to breastfeed your baby, I would head upstairs, where it’s more private, comfortable and spacious, complete with comfy soft chairs. The ambiance is also much more relaxed and if you’re like me, not keen to flaunt the nursing episode, once upstairs and facing the upstairs seated area, choose a window table in the corner to the left and seat yourself facing the window, with your back to the audience. This will give you plenty of opportunity to quench baby’s thirst without making eye contact with onlookers.  I have to say though that the crowd at Exki, normally are quite tolerant of babies, regardless of the volatility they most often bring to the table…

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You can safely leave your stroller downstairs in a corner (remove all valuables though). I would just ask the staff to keep an eye.

There is a restroom upstairs but to change diapers you will have to do the deed downstairs in the refreshingly clean disabled/changing restroom. (Ask for the key at the counter.)

The setup is self-ser

ve and with baby on your arm plus a tray of food you simply have to ask the staff whom will gladly offer to help IMG_0140you carry your lunch to the table. Remember to be good and clean your table when you leave.

Once baby can sit unaided

(around 6 months) you can use your fabric travel seat to secure baby safely to a comfy chair so you can have both hands free for a change.

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Want to connect with other mamas/mamas-to-be like you? Come and join us at one of our next events.

 

 

 

 


 

More about the author

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As mother of two darling babies, Certified IMPI Holistic Sleep Coach, Baby Planner and Happiest Baby Educator, Marise Hyman provides worldwide maternity coaching for expecting/future/new parents through Marise Hyman Maternity Coaching – setting them up for success, so they can sail into their new lives with confidence!

She is also the founder of the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep, an edgy non-profit organisation raising awareness for green, natural & holistic parenting alternatives, birth rights and postnatal mood disorders by offering a variety of inspiring social and educational events in Luxembourg

Luxembabies!

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Our guest writer this month, Katie Nail gives us her take on “Giving birth in Luxembourg”.

It was a dark and stormy night, and I had been having contractions since 6:00 am that morning. I was a day past my due date and desperate to not be pregnant anymore. The night of the 19th I walked around my living room breathing, watching The Apprentice, and waiting for my contractions to hit five minutes apart. There was a huge thunder and lightning storm that night but it didn’t bother me at all. I was totally focused on having my baby!

My experience of being pregnant in Luxembourg was short and chaotic. I moved here when I was 7 months pregnant and immediately had to find a doctor, hospital, and pre-birth class in addition to buying furniture, filling out a million forms, and trying to learn a new city (if only Luxmama had been there!).

The best group I attended was Mums, Bumps and Babies. They were really welcoming, answered my questions as best they could, and joining the group was an easy way to make new friends. A year later I am still so thankful for that group.

I was also able to take a hospital tour and have a better understanding of how the delivery system worked in Luxembourg (I moved from the UK where it’s very different). I was happy to have that information, as I don’t speak any other languages and was nervous about delivering in a non-English speaking hospital. The Mums, Bumps and Babies group gave me instant connections with other mums and made me feel like less of an outsider.

When my contractions hit 5 minutes, we phoned the Bohler clinic to say I was coming, and when I arrived my midwife was waiting and had a room for me. I found out later that the storm sent many women into labor and I got the last available delivery room.

The midwives were awesome and made me feel very at ease. The experience wasn’t nearly as ridged and scary as I thought it would be. My doctor arrived at the end. And with his help, my son was born the morning of June 20th.

The aftercare was excellent, and I felt like the midwives were so friendly and helpful. They showed me how to bathe, diaper, and clothe my son, and most importantly, they gave me a boost of confidence. I had a midwife come to my house a few times in the following weeks, and I was so glad that I did. When I doubted myself about breastfeeding, sleeping, anything, she made me feel better and gave me some excellent tips.

All around, was my experience in Luxembourg different than the US or UK? Probably. However, would I recommend the services here? Absolutely. The medical care, ease of service, and friendly staff were a pleasure to work with. A year later I have a healthy and cheeky boy and lots of mom friends from my baby group. Now I need to plan a first birthday party!

More about Katie:

Katie Nail is a294336_2285063159729_1043398041_32643207_1910351867_n freelance writer living in Luxembourg. When she’s not taking care of her 1 year old and husband, she is writing for the EIB Institute, The Impactory and Your Living City Luxembourg. If she’s not writing, she’s watching Nashville and drinking coffee.  For more information go to her Linked-in profile.


More about Luxmama

DSC_0538As mother of two, Certified International Maternity Institute Baby Planner Consultant and Maternity & Child Sleep Consultant student, Luxmama provides personalised baby planning consultation services (maternity coaching) for future/new parents & parents-to-be – setting them up for success, so they can sail into their new lives with confidence!  Also on offer is a variety of social and educational events through the Luxmama Club designed so you can make the most of becoming and being a new parent in the modern world today.

If you would like to share your birth story, signup here!

Luxmama reviews the PEKiP class @ Initiatif Liewensufank

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The “Prager-Eltern-Kind-Programm” aka PEKiP translates as a parent-child program from Prague created by child psychologist Dr. Jareslav Koch Zuruck in the 60’s.

He believes that “in each child a tremendous potential for development is hidden and that it is the parent’s role to unlock this potential in their movement, thoughts, behavior, speech, feelings and much more by an accumulation of life experiences and playing. It is then also the first experiences that are vitally important to the child’s development and that lays down, to a certain extent the foundation for how the child will process future experiences.”

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As my babies already blew out their first candles, I brought along 6 month old “Riri” and her yummy mummy to test the waters. All 3 of us, including Riri don’t speak German.

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The original program (for babies from 6 weeks to 12 months) is based on movement, sensory exploration and singing with a few key principles for development based on each baby’s immediate needs. That explains why during the class each baby is basically doing their own thing.

The room is very cosy with plenty of heating so babies can go almost naked and thereby intensifying their sensory experience.

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The class is not nearly as structured as other parent & baby classes and can be better described as free play, with mothers chatting away and the instructor suggesting a few moves here and there and passing on different toys for each baby to explore. There is plenty of time for mamas to nurse their babies in between without missing a thing.

Every now and then, mamas break out in song, all the while exchanging meaningful glances with their babies or moving them about rhythmically. All in German. By the end, we were even humming along and singing a few basic words.

The class instructor very friendly welcomed us in English before the class started but as all the other mamas were German, the rest of the proceedings and exchanges all took place in German. Used to other much shorter baby classes (normally 45 min max) we were surprised that it lasted 1.5 hours.

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During your 1st class, you will receive a handout in German explaining the principles of the program, details about development of baby’s hands in the first year as well as numerous German songs used throughout the program.

One of the key principles of the program highlighted in the handout is the importance of allowing baby to learn the skill of sitting on his own, when the time is right and not to force it prematurely as “crawling before sitting is better for development”.

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The course is given in German, consisting of 9 weekly classes either in Itzig, Betzdorf or Beles (upon request) at a cost of €179. It is also possible to do a single class, though understandably the strength of the program builds up over the span of the course. There is even a special PEKiP course for daddies in Itzig.

More information and how to book: available here.

The conclusion – Did we like it?

If you speak German, this class is definitely something to consider if you are looking for a relaxed, unstructured environment where baby can explore and mamas can chat.

If not, this is probably not for you as you will miss out on interacting with the mamas and the key baby developmental take aways shared by the instructor. You will however improve your German singing if you make an effort, like we did…and quite frankly Riri had a blast!

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“Kommt eine Maus, die baut ein Haus. Kommt eine Mücke, die baut eine Brücke. Kommt eine Floh und der macht soooooooo…”

More about Luxmama

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As mother of two darling babies, Certified IMPI Holistic Sleep Coach, Baby Planner and Happiest Baby Educator, Marise Hyman provides worldwide maternity coaching for expecting/future/new parents through Marise Hyman Maternity Coaching – setting them up for success, so they can sail into their new lives with confidence!

She is also the founder of the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep, an edgy non-profit organisation raising awareness for green, natural & holistic parenting alternatives, birth rights and postnatal mood disorders by offering a variety of inspiring social and educational events in Luxembourg

 

 

St George’s school playgroup – fun galore!

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The English playgroup of St George’s International School in Luxembourg has been around for a while.  I always thought it’s just for parents with older kiddo’s.

However, I went to check it out with my little angel Amelie (then 10 months) and found it to be an oasis for parents with babies 0-3 years!

Except for school holidays, it is held every Tuesday and Friday morning from 9:30 to 11:30. €5 gets you in and it includes a little snack and water. 2017 update: Unfortunately – the Tuesday playgroup has been discontinued.

It’s just one of those activities provided by the School that really gives back something to the community as you won’t easily find similar elsewhere.

Tuesdays

2017 update: Unfortunately – the Tuesday playgroup has been discontinued.

These are held in the Hamilius hall.  For younger babies there is a spacious padded closed off play area, perfect for rollers, sitters, crawlers or even younger stationary babies with mama by their side.

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The hall is spacious and comfortably accommodates mamas and babies with various play area options on offer.

It’s a great place to meet other mamas while their offspring blows off some steam.

Older “babies” can take part in the craft activity for the day, be it card making, finger painting or clay squashing.  Needless to say, I kept Amelie away from the clay as she will stuff it down her throat in no time!

Instead we hopped on to the next play area where we found lots of walkers, puzzles (to munch on), books (to dribble over) until of course it was snack time and she settled for a piece of bread (she’s a “carboholic”).

The session is topped off with a friendly singalong greeting each baby by their name, led by the very talented teacher.

Fridays

The Friday playgroups are held in the magical music room.  The cost again is only €5 and many mamas & babies are coming to join in this fun-filled music and singing class where a snack & water is also provided.

Not as much free play is offered as in the Tuesday group because the class is more structured, though there is no denying that with singing and movement there are numerous benefits to baby.

Golden oldies are sung by eager participants and babies get to play with heaps of different instruments.

The boisterous singing extravaganza is followed by a trip upstairs to the library where the teacher mesmerises all with her story reading talent.

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To top it all off each baby gets a chance to borrow a book or two before we all go home looking forward to the next session.

For more information, you can directly contact the school at: reception@st-georges.lu.

More about the Author

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As mother of two darling babies, Certified IMPI Holistic Sleep Coach, Baby Planner and Happiest Baby Educator, Marise Hyman provides worldwide maternity coaching for expecting/future/new parents through Marise Hyman Maternity Coaching – setting them up for success, so they can sail into their new lives with confidence!

She is also the founder of the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep, an edgy non-profit organisation raising awareness for green, natural & holistic parenting alternatives, birth rights and postnatal mood disorders by offering a variety of inspiring social and educational events in Luxembourg

Luxmama sweating it out at HealthyLux by MammaFit

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Ever since I’ve recovered from the birth of my first baby in 2011, I have been looking for a place where I can seriously burn some calories AND take my baby in Luxembourg.

Easier said than done.

Now finally – after I had my second I found what I have been looking for all along!

At the swanky Ellipse gym in Kirchberg, Alice Cappato recently set up HealthyLux, an organisation offering private and group fitness classes to…mamas-to-be and mamas with babies – right up Luxmama’s alley!

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Where was Alice 3 years ago when I was desperately seeking pregnancy exercise (other than pilates/yoga) and fat burning opportunities accommodating baby during adverse weather condititions?

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I immediately knew I had to take these classes for a test drive…

Location:

Sweating it out in style is what happens at Ellipse gym. You will not feel nearly half as glamorous crunching away in your own living room. The lavish interior will make you forget last night’s cluster feeding sessions (or 9 trips to the loo if you’re pregnant) and you will be transported from your “mombie” (mom zombie) world to a style extravaganza.

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Before each class, all “mombies” meet in the foyer downstairs and if weather permits the group proceeds to the park. However on a normal Luxembourg weather day you will head inside which is not a bad option at all as you will see…

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The class room is open and spacious, a place where you can breathe.  Not like the usual Luxembourg smelly gym rooms crammed in a stuffy basement.

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Pregnancy workout

The workouts offered during all pregnancy stages helps to activate blood circulation and draining of liquids.  The class focuses on breathing during delivery, mobility of the pelvis and pelvic floor muscles.  Classes are offered twice a week in the mornings.

Stroller workout

No one in the gym blinked an eye when we walked in with our strollers, babies sleeping soundly or curiously peeking out to see what mommy had up her sleeve this time.

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We began with stretching and worked our way up to various strength building exercises like squats, lunges and leg raises all mostly while pushing the strollers and utilising the ample space.  Of course, as with any postnatal specific exercise, the class focus on areas that undergo changes during pregnancy – like our lovely pelvic floors.

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The babies were thoroughly entertained and particularly enjoyed when we were squat-rotating around them, clapping hands to their delight!

It is important to know that the class offers flexibility whether you’re a new mom just easing yourself into the getting-back-into-shape journey, or if you’re like me, ready for something more butt-melting. Alice offers alternatives for level 1 or 2 mamas and constantly verifies your posture to ensure maximum safety.

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We also used props like resistance bands to perform some upper body training, which is probably the reason why my arms are numb today…

As we all know, babies become fractious after a while, which was easily remedied when we advanced to the floor stage on our exercise mats and Alice popped on some classical music putting them at ease right away.

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Planks, push-ups, sit-ups with baby. Name it, we did it. The babies that wanted to participate enjoyed themselves, while others were free to roam and explore the squeaky clean room while mama was focused on flattening her abs.

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And yes, you can do sit-ups with 2 babies on your lap.

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SPECIAL Mum&Baby Healthy Fit & Beauty

Every now and again Alice offers something special and out of the ordinary. And today we had just that! During the floor work, mamas had the opportunity to leave one by one for a relaxing short massage performed in-house in the Ellipse spa, just what the doctor ordered on a rainy Thursday morning!

Us mamas were then spoiled even further when we stayed for a coffee after class, “chillaxing” and chatting away in the plush lounge area.  I chose a coffee with Reishi promising many health benefits and we all indulged in Alice’s home baked bio carrot, nut & OJ muffins, made from kamut flour.

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My little Amelie of course thought the muffins were especially for her and sat there like a princess nodding to the conversation.

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What a great end to a fabulous workout! I can not wait to try out the baby carrier workout soon! Please comment to the post if you would like to join me..

Bottom line

As much as we all love “coo cooing” day in and day out over baby – some days can lend themselves on the mundane side.

This can be easily remedied by a weekly serotonin boost at one of HealthyLux’s classes. And if you can have that at Luxmama’s exclusive 10% discount by quoting HLLM2014 – there simply isn’t any reason why you should stay at home alone.

You can sign up here:  www.healthylux.com or here www.mammafit.lu or contact Alice at contact@healthylux.com.

A trial class goes for €15 which will be reimbursed if you enroll afterwards.  The best deal is to enroll for 10 classes which can be used during either 2 or 4 months.

Lastly:

1. Babies of all ages are welcome

2. Summer is around the corner (I keep telling myself) so best to get to work…

More about the Author

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As mother of two darling babies, Certified IMPI Holistic Sleep Coach, Baby Planner and Happiest Baby Educator, Marise Hyman provides worldwide maternity coaching for expecting/future/new parents through Marise Hyman Maternity Coaching – setting them up for success, so they can sail into their new lives with confidence!

She is also the founder of the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep, an edgy non-profit organisation raising awareness for green, natural & holistic parenting alternatives, birth rights and postnatal mood disorders by offering a variety of inspiring social and educational events in Luxembourg

 

Luxmama reviews Kindermusikwithhannah

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What a wonderful time we’ve had in the Village classes at Kindermusikwithhannah!

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Luxmama recently went to test drive the class a few times and severely enjoyed it. We spent some time in the Zoom Buggy and Dream Pillow unit. I’ve noted the next unit is called Feathers…mmm, I’m drifting off to la-la land already.

Haven’t heard of the Kindermusik concept?

Kindermusik actually spans over 70 countries, 1.5 million families and 5,000 educators worldwide they say. The Kindermusik company was born in the US in 1978, soon after expanded into Canada and from there spread all around the world.

“Psychologists, neuroscientists, and experts in early childhood development have demonstrated that music does more for children than bring them joy; it helps their brain cells make the connections needed for virtually every kind of intelligence. Kindermusik’s curriculum is built on this research.”

Our local licensed educator in Luxembourg, Hannah Fryer studied Theatre at college and sang in many school plays and local productions throughout her youth. With her magnetic singing voice, she engages effortlessly with the babies in our Village class based on song and movement for babies aged 3 – 18 months.

Each class starts with an enchanting greeting song “Welcome Starshine” where every baby is bounced, rocked, tapped and swayed ‘hello’.  This is normally where they start to realise something good is about to happen…

Then we usually continue with a little massage followed by a warmup…

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After which the full body workout begins!

Mamas and papas working those biceps and triceps as we sway around our babies on “Little Red Caboose“, “Rumble, Squeak, Bump” and “Zum Gali Gali” – just to name a few!

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As for the singing & dancing. No need to be shy. No need to have the X-Factor. The purpose is to strengthen the bond with your baby by losing your inhibitions and showing baby how fun it is to play, hum, skip, bounce and wriggle!

And then to be rocked during “Rocky Horse

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Or simply “peekabooing”.

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Hannah pulls various props out of her hat…like bell rattles, eggy shakers (almost certain that is not the correct terminology), musical balls and wedding veils.

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We experimented with all types of instruments…like uhm wooden block & stick tapping instruments… (It’s really obvious that my parents never took me to Kindermusik classes)

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And at the end of the 40 minute class, we try to have some quiet time.  The music is turned off and everybody sits and quietly watches the babies embracing the silence.

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Needless to say, Amelie had a ball of a time (she was of course the star student) and by our fourth class, already started smiling the moment we started singing.

All in all, definitely a must-do and all you require is a baby!

You can check it out at http://www.kindermusikwithhannah.lu

More about the Author

DSC_0538

As mother of two darling babies, Certified IMPI Holistic Sleep Coach, Baby Planner and Happiest Baby Educator, Marise Hyman provides worldwide maternity coaching for expecting/future/new parents through Marise Hyman Maternity Coaching – setting them up for success, so they can sail into their new lives with confidence!

She is also the founder of the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep, an edgy non-profit organisation raising awareness for green, natural & holistic parenting alternatives, birth rights and postnatal mood disorders by offering a variety of inspiring social and educational events in Luxembourg