Nadine Richardson, She Births® founder and doula, offers some hot holiday tips for pregnancy and parenting this festive season. Over to you, Nadine...
The summer holidays are here, and this year you might have to do things a bit differently, especially if you’re living in Australia. Bushfires and higher temperatures mean that our time outside will most likely be limited. Time indoors combined with your in-laws and extended family, extra cooking and cleaning and the kids getting cabin fever could result in your holiday not being the downtime you planned on.
So, here’s our top parenting and pregnancy tips for a healthy and happy holiday. We hope it helps to make your time together joyful.
Pregnant over the holidays?
There is one thing you really need if you are pregnant over the holidays: oxytocin, oxytocin, oxytocin. Oxytocin is the hormone for connection and the hormone of labour, so if it’s been a busy year, reconnect to your partner. And remember, the way the baby got in is the way the baby gets out! So, kiss, be intimate, rest, find joy and laugh.
Here are some more great things you can do to get you into the best space you can be during your pregnancy.
1. Do your labour practice at home
Take time to set up labour stations and have some run-throughs using our videos. Making sure your environment is feeling comfortable, cosy and familiar will help you feel secure and safe when labour starts. Yoga, breathing and visualisations are all evidence-based skills to use not only in birth but in everyday life! They encourage the body to come back into balance and allow healing and regeneration.
You may want to try some of these sleep hacks to help encourage a better quality of sleep and support you going into labour. Replace your lounge and bedroom lights with warm or red globes. Reducing blue or cool light will help your circadian rhythms, improve quality of sleep and boost oxytocin production.
2. Read more, stream less
It can be so tempting to fall into the streaming rabbit hole with so many great shows to choose from these days. However, remember that reading trumps TV when it comes to relaxing your nervous system and getting you into a better sleep zone, which will only benefit your unborn baby in the long run. Reading also reduces your heart rate and builds empathy, which will support you when managing high holiday emotions.
3. Eat more stews
Our bodies usually have a stronger digestive fire during summer, but with pregnancy, we can often become constipated, and during the postpartum period, we need to be eating grounding and nourishing foods and drinks that will replenish our depleted stores and give us our prenatal vitamins such as folic acid.
Soups and stews are the best way to keep your digestive fire (Agni) strong while ensuring you feel good and have the most healthy pregnancy possible. They might also assist with the healthy development of bub’s neural tube and prevent birth defects (but always seek medical advice from your doctor).
Make sure no more than 30% of your meal is cold. Here is our recipe for the Indian staple and super healing kitcheree – an essential for pregnant women.
4. Control your emotions
Don’t take the arguments seriously. With the extra heat, tempers can rise a little faster. Make sure you have times just for you alone and spend time in nature, which is always relaxing and calming. And if you get cranky with each other, drink a big glass of water, then respond. Not only is this a great social skill, but will make you a good parent and role model to your children.
Child behaviour is very influenced by parenting skills, so for positive discipline and positive parenting, take a calm and collected approach to your parenting style. Your children will thank you for it in the long run.
One of the most common times people argue is when they are on holiday because as we relax stress releases from the nervous system, just the same principle in a very busy mind during meditation.
Parenting over the holidays?
The summer holiday period can come as a massive release for children. The built-up exhaustion from school and daycare or the daily routine (or lack thereof) with baby can wear us all down. And for adults, by the time we get the gifts bought and wrapped and the celebration meal cooked and the family over, it can feel like a marathon that we only just survived.
So, when we finally sit down and shift into holiday mode, the lack of structure can be so freeing. There are more hands to tend to children and every day is filled with possibility for doing something or doing nothing.
5. Get lots of family time
Family time has to be one of our number one top tips to parenting over the festive period. It seems obvious, but there is actually a lot going on when we spend time together, especially for children. Quality time is the first step to raising happy children – it bonds us together and gives children a sense of identity and belonging.
The memories that we make are formative sacred moments, little pearls that string together and can be called on throughout life to reconnect, anchor and bring us joy. Family time can be spent in nature swimming or exploring rock platforms, playing games or watching cricket. It doesn’t matter too much what it is and if you think back to your childhood it’s usually the long lazy feel of holidays, the unremarkable moments and memories that are the ones we treasure.
6. Create your own traditions
Many of us approach the holidays with traditions that stem from our own upbringing. Whether it’s the food we look forward to every year, the present opening or the influx of family in the house, it’s a time where it works best to meld the old with the new. Traditions can be very emotional and it is a time to ask what traditions you want to create for your children while respecting the traditions that have meaning for partners and their family.
7. Let yourself get bored
You’ve been busy all year so don’t just let yourself do nothing, let yourself get bored. Boredom has been shown to boost creativity in adults and kids. This doesn’t mean you should ignore your children, just tolerate a bit of flopping and moaning and nudge them in the right direction.
Allowing the mind to wander off develops initiative and helps to problem solve. It also lets the nervous system recover and take the foot off the accelerator.
From our family to yours over this holiday period, we hope you have a wonderful and relaxing time with your nearest and dearest. May this pause be bonding and enriching, filled with experiences and moments of connection, rest and joy.
Nadine Richardson, mother, yoga teacher, doula, Director of The Birthing Institute and Creator and Founder of the world’s only scientifically verified childbirth education program, She Births® and host of The She Births® Show (Podcast & YouTube).
Nadine is an inspiration to all parents, female entrepreneurs and people passionate about making birth better. We are delighted to have her as an ambassador for Boody.
Start your preparation for birth today by downloading the She Births® App, access lots of free resources and enjoy listening to The She Births® Show Podcast. We have a special gift for the Boody community – 10% off the Full Online Program with the code boody10. Follow She Births® on Instagram now!