Can I work out and when can I do so?

Pregnancy is life-changing for every woman, and to stay in a good physical form, you can try different workouts even now. If you have decided to start working out immediately after giving birth, then you should definitely consult a specialist. I have asked for some advice from a personal trainer and nutritionist Janika Koch-Mäe  ( and here are the four most frequently asked questions I get.

Q: Can I work out during pregnancy? How much and what kind of exercises should I do?

During pregnancy you can most certainly work out unless the doctor has stated otherwise. If you have been active before pregnancy and have been working out regularly, then you can continue doing so but keep the workouts lighter. This means, it would not be wise to add weights or increase intensity, but maintain the form you have reached.
If the soon-to-be mom has not been working out regularly prior to pregnancy, then it is not wise to start with intense workouts or to pick up a new sport. Working out during pregnancy should not include jumping around, sudden movements or fast exercises for the core. Additionally it’s not recommended to keep the pulse over 140-150 beats per minute for a long time.

Q: Who to consult with if you wish to work out during pregnancy or after giving birth?

I would advise to check this with your doctor or with your maternity nurse, and with your personal trainer.

Q: How much and what kind of workouts can I do after giving birth?

If there have been no complications during giving birth, then you can start working out after around 1 month, vaginal muscles can be exercised immediately after giving birth. It is also a very good exercise to take your baby out for a walk.
In regards to caesarean, you will need to wait at least 2 months. I would strongly recommend to consult with a doctor beforehand, as every person is different.

Q: Will working out lessen the amount of milk I produce? Or can it be a cause of no milk-production?

Working out should not influence the production of breast milk. It is important to ensure that you get enough energy from nutritional food and to keep your meal times regular.

Separately, Janika would like to stress on something specific: ‘Before you start training your stomach muscles on your own, I would advise to consult a personal trainer. Depending on the pregnancy, you can have diastasis recti (abs separation) and in this case it is not a good idea to do regular stomach exercises as these will only make this worse.’

Wishing you a sporty week,


The whole truth about removing wisdom teeth in London!

Let me begin from when I booked the appointment. I actually went to two different hospitals as every practice does not offer this service. After having experienced wisdom teeth extraction in Estonia, I do think that this procedure should be done by a specialist with enough power as this strength is going to be well spent!

It was clear from the beginning that one wisdom tooth was a little too close to a nerve, which meant that I may feel pain, and in case the removal damages the nerve, I could be left with feeling uncomfortable until the rest of my life. Quite promising, if I my add.

On the first visit to the hospital, I was offered to either have a local or a general anaesthetic. They did not have to offer me the latter twice! As my fast life tempo would not give me a chance to have two different surgeries (and I wouldn’t want it either), I queried if they could remove two of them in one surgery so that I could get it over with and wouldn’t have to spend a whole month slurring soup. The dentist agreed, as these teeth were positioned diagonally from each other.

The week leading up to the extraction I was feeling really nervous, had nightmares and experienced loss of appetite. Evening before I did some groceries to get a couple of kilos of yoghurt to survive the weekend.

I had to be at the hospital at 7.45am, I was told not to eat anything from the midnight before and no drinking after 6am. So before the midnight I ransacked my kitchen and chucked down a couple of bananas as if I could never eat again.
I woke up at 5am to drink a litre of water – mentally I was already exhausted.
My other half came to the hospital with me for support. The drive there took about an hour and we didn’t talk much. What’s there to talk about if I could feel a litre of water going around in my stomach.

Got to the hospital, took a lift to the correct department and then I felt like crying. It was just one big space/corridor filled with around 12 beds, which were only separated by what looked like a thin curtain. I didn’t know where to run as there was no privacy at all!
Then I was given a set of those ugly surgery clothes. I pulled the curtain around the bed for that tiny bit of privacy I could get and put on the gown which was quite simple (same ones as used during giving birth). It was a completely different story with the knee-highs. I couldn’t get these on at all no matter how much I tried and it took me a while only to understand that these disrupted my blood flow from the knee down which left me with numb legs. To which they got me a size bigger which was a completely different story.
A nurse came around to measure the blood pressure – I only wanted to lie down but of course they asked me to sit up. Even the nurse laughed a little saying that it looks like I have never been to a hospital. I had to agree that not in this way indeed.

Then they checked my details and put bracelets on me which stated my name and my date of birth. I still had enough spice left in me so I dropped a joke that at least they will know who to send my remains to if any of the interns accidentally removes a leg or an arm.

And after I had said my goodbyes with my lovely partner who promised to pick me up after work, it was time for the extraction.

The operation room was small, not like in the movies. Far from it.
I hopped on the operating table and then had two people meddling with things around me. One of them tried to get a cannula into a vein on my arm and that was the moment when I literally shouted ‘SHEEP!’ over the room (the doctors did say that it’s a room where you can freely swear). Why did I decide to go for a ‘Sheep’? It’s one of the agreements with the children that we do not swear, but if you do hit your toe, you can say ‘Sheep’ instead. Of course I felt that the cannula was not inserted properly but they did not listen to me.
Then I kept chatting to one of the doctors and asked if I was already getting anaesthesia, maybe they could also wipe off the wrinkles and touch up on my butt and breasts. Just to use my money as a taxpayer to the maximum of course. They did not seem to get my humour as the dentist had previously worked in a private cosmetic and plastic surgery clinic, saying that I should not let a dentist do anything more than approved in their papers as otherwise the results will be horrendous.
Then I remembered another little thing, ‘Please keep my teeth, I really want to have these for the teeth fairy.’ You see, I had promised the children that we would see if we get more money for bigger teeth.
They said I will not be able to have these (and no one had actually asked for this before), but on this occasion they were not able to grant this little wish of mine due to hygienic reasons. They did promise to put it in a plastic bag so I could take a picture for the children after the operation.
Then I felt the anaesthesia kick in.

When I woke up, I was being taken back to the ward/corridor where I had been previously. They said everything went well, only that there was a little incision to my cheek which they had to stitch up. I didn’t really understand this part while I was drowsy (only later at home I understood that they did not only stitch the part that was left open from the extraction but they had made an actual incision to the inner cheek as well). I didn’t feel any pain and asked if they were sure that they removed my wisdom teeth? And there was the plastic cup with my teeth.

I asked for lunch immediately as well which I received soon enough. Only thing that I had to keep in mind was that I was not supposed to eat anything hot, and so I waited for the food to cool down. Half of my face was completely numb and I could feel nothing. When I finally started eating, I mashed everything together as if feeding a little child. My lunch took around 45 minutes and in-between the nurse dropped a couple of comments about me really enjoying my lunch – which of course I did as I was not in a hurry! Then they also gave me a bag with antibiotics for the next five days and a whole box of pain killers. I asked whether I should take the painkillers if I’m not in any pain which surprised Mrs. Nurse, and she said that if I do not feel any pain, then I can leave it.

The only thing that was painful was the cannula in my arm! But that was not removed before I was released from the hospital just so if anything happened, they would not have to insert it again.

I spent the whole day in bed, but I was still not able to get used to the chaos around me with no privacy. There were signs everywhere forbidding mobile phones, but you could still hear constant ringing over the room and everyone had heaps of visitors throughout the day – far from everything I had previously imagined!

To kill some time, I had taken my knitting with me (Mrs. Nurse dropped by once in a while to check if I would be able to finish the sweater by the evening), but the room itself was quite stuffy. No windows could be opened and there were numerous signs saying it was due to squirrels who seemed to love dropping by.

Amidst all of this, I had received numerous messages to ask whether I look like a hamster, or how the soup and yoghurt taste like. I enjoyed this humour. What a shame though, as I had to send back pictures of me nibbling on the better stuff.
By the time I was to be released, they removed the cannula in my arm and it was clear that it was inserted incorrectly as my whole arm was blue and blood splashed everywhere, literally. They taped my hand with a huge ugly plaster which I couldn’t get off later!

In the evening everything was peachy and I had some yoghurt only because I had already stocked up on it.

A couple of days later it was clear that I had to take out the stitching thread from the inside of my cheek, as it kept pulling during the night and was so painful! That was the only time when I took a couple of painkilles (on my fourth night back home).
How did I remove this? That was an acrobatic exercise on its own, trying to get the knot out with tweezers. It was very unpleasant and it took quite a number of tries in between of which I slept an hour or two. After my little nap the knot seemed to have given in and I could pull the thread out.

At the end of all of this, I can say that if they offer you a general anaesthetic, then I would advise to use it. It’s less stressful and you will not have to feel like they are trying to pull out your eyeballs with the extraction.

If you do need to do this procedure, then enjoy the hospital experience to the fullest!

Hospital food in London!

Surprisingly enough, this is quite a popular topic nowadays. A couple of weeks ago I had a chance to experience this on my own skin. And imagine my surprise when instead of a regular canteen (which I was expecting), they brought my lunch to bed!

First thing in the morning, I queried to find out what’s for lunch and whether I will be back from the operation before this. If not, I asked if they could save me a portion somewhere on the side.

Mrs. Nurse gave me a look as if she was not sure whether to take my question seriously, and then said that there are no specific lunch times and that everything will be brought to bed.

Me being me with my lovely sense of humour, I asked if it was going to be fish and chips as it was Friday – this amused Mrs. Nurse quite a bit before giving a couple of kind words of acknowledgement for my way of thinking. A little bit later she returned with an A4 paper, an actual list of foods I could choose from – actually, let’s be honest here, it was a menu where I had to choose a lunch and a dinner from (with dessert!).
For lunch I chose vegetables with salmon, for dinner a lasagne, and both were finished off with yoghurt for dessert.

So how was the food you might ask? You know, I have never been so hungry in my life and on that day I enjoyed every single bite.

What was a little bizarre, were the people around me who only went for a sandwich or just a yoghurt. I then tried to find out why that was the case, and Mrs. Nurse advised that the hospital food was not to people’s liking. Honestly… I don’t know what people usually eat…

I concluded that people are quite picky about food, but I am happy with how my money as the taxpayer is being spent on the hospital food!

Bon Appétit!

Children and Presents: Why you should not overwhelm children with gifts.

Hollywood’s star couple Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher have decided to take a radical step and leave their children without presents this year. But why would they do so?
The actors have decided to stop with the gift-giving due to the previous Christmas, when their two children received way too many gifts from their grandparents. ‘Wyatt, who is 3 now, is not even happy with the gifts anymore, and no longer appreciates these. Not to mention having something he would wish for from the bottom of his heart’, spoke actress Mila Kunis in an interview.

Avoiding this gift-shower is also approved by scientists: researches have shown that children who receive a lot of presents grow up to have a more materialistic view on life and place emphasis on owning things. Being so dependent on materialistic things, they also show a bigger likeliness to get addicted to gambling, shopping and the like. Additionally different researches show that there is no correlation between receiving presents and the level of happiness – children who had less things but had a loving family grew up more confident and more able to deal with stress.

Scientists point of view is also supported by baby counsellor Kadi Leppik. ‘December is a festive month, which is very family-oriented and is supposed to be peaceful. For some reason this has grown out to be a month of chaos with Christmas craze that starts months ahead of time! From all over the world people start buying huge amounts of gifts and the more expensive, the better,’ she mentions. International research Christmas Barometer 2016 done during the holiday season by Ferratum Group shows that the biggest spenders during this time in Europe are the Germans, whose Christmas presents take up to 807 Euros. But Estonians are not much off as Christmas presents take up to 571 Euros. The biggest spending point goes to toys.

‘Over these past five years, I am very grateful for being able to witness that children actually do not need any kinds of presents. I am working with a family who has three children aged 7, 5 and 2,5 years, and they have been taught that Christmas is the time of giving. With this in mind we get crafty and make our own presents. We have picked up cones from a park which we decorate on our own, and we have also bake cookies which we give away as presents,’ says Kadi.

‘Additionally we do not have that thing called ‘elfing’, where the elves bring you sweets overnight into a stocking or a slipper. Everyone does have Christmas calendars though, but this is more of a family event where opening these ‘windows’ is being done with the family to see the pictures hidden underneath the chocolate. I’m afraid Christmas is slowly losing its actual essence, when it used to be a time to spend with your family, where everyone cooked a lot and where the grandmother of the family finished her knitting just before the Christmas Eve,’ Kadi continues.

To bring this situation to life, she tells a story from one of her busy days at work. ‘One of the kids that was visiting us was very surprised to see that the children did not have a new robotic toy that cost around 300 Euros. I then had to get involved and said that we had different games we played. Then the little one said that this year’s present is going to be even more amazing! I then asked from the children under my care what was the purpose of Christmas and I was so happy and grateful to hear when they said: Christmas is the time of giving and the time to spend with their grandparents,’ Kadi adds happily.
‘Children do not actually care for things unless they have been taught to do so,’ she finds.

Kadi’s advice for this year: make it into a goal to spend some quality time with the whole family! ‘Go ice-skating, to a theatre, to movies, make delicious meals, read Christmas stories, go volunteer at a homeless care-house, get crafty and make presents with your own hands.

Teach your children the real purpose of Christmas and do not buy any presents this year.
With this kind of action you can be sure that when you are a grandparent, you will not be sent a pair of socks in mail, but that your children will come to enjoy the real essence of Christmas with you,’ she finds.

Why people tend to stay away from baby-moms?

To finish off a Friday afternoon, on my way to Viljandi to eat some pancakes at my grandma’s, I decided to do a quick update.

This time in Estonia I focused solely on home visits, during which I met a lot of families with babies and also with those couples who are expecting or planning one.

One topic that hurts a lot but is not talked about that often, are friendships after a baby. Let me tell you, you do not have to give up your friends. This time around I heard a lot of concerns where mothers or soon-to-be mothers are sad as their friends do not wish to meet up. And actually, I received a lot of honest responses from those friends as well so I completely understand both of these viewpoints.
If it does consoles baby-moms, then your friends do care and love you the same as before the baby, but at the same time they do wish to spend time with just you.

Q: What does this mean?
This means that it’s just going to be you and them, while the children preferably could spend quality time with their dad, grandparents or with a nanny who you trust.
When you do meet up with your friends without your child, it shows respect towards the friendship which your friends are very grateful for, and at the same time you will have your ‘own’ time which is a necessity for every mom.
Q: Why your friends do not wish to visit you?
The main reasons that I heard were that it’s just not the same – hanging out and chatting – as now the mother is running between feeding and changing diapers. And even if you do end up with a short discussion after rushing around for an hour, your conversation topics and interests are completely different due to your lives now being different.
Q: Why people without children suddenly start keeping distance?
This only feels like it, because even if you do not notice it, previously you were very socially active and now your life is more home-centered. Of course there are some friends who do keep their distance, but there may be other reasons behind it so let’s try to be understanding. For example, a reason that I heard, was that they wish to have children on their own but for some reason they have been unable to conceive one and it makes them sad to see a newborn’s mother as a happy parent. This does not mean that they are not happy for you, of course they are.
Second reason I heard was that the newborn’s mother only talks about the child, what he or she does and how they sleep.
Q: What do I recommend for both parties?
I would advise to speak about this, to agree how your friendship will go on after the child is being born, and discuss the fears and expectations. Most of us do not have psychic powers, so please do speak up.
On the picture above I am with a friend who has three children. We do meet up rarely, but after we get together over a cup of coffee or tea, we are both more energised and loaded with good vibes. We do have an agreement that we do not take any children with us when we meet up, and it works well.
Feel free to share this!

Have a nice Wednesday,

What is an eco-friendly potty?

I always have some extra things stored away for babies and toddlers, and for a very good reason – when I get news that one of my friends or acquaintances is expecting a baby and I would like to congratulate them with a present, I’m prepared.

Secondly, it makes my life easier when someone’s child is having a birthday, where for especially little ones it’s useful to get a really lovely potty, with which you can start potty-training.

Where am I going with this you might ask?
Well, in Estonia I was doing a bigger cleanup and while sorting I found two potties, a pink and a greenish blue one. I took a closer look and found that they are actually eco-friendly potties.

I do know that now all environmentally aware moms and dads are very happy as this is a great solution to lessen your carbon footprint.

I tried to look further into this to see what this potty is all about. It was quite a discovery to find that after you do not need it any longer, you can plant it in the soil with some seeds in it. Within a couple of years this potty will disintegrate. I think it’s an excellent idea and is also environmentally friendly.

Let me know down below, what do you think of this kind of a solution?

Have a sunny morning!

Babies and feeding: What kind of a bottle to use?

I have done many many home visits and have held numerous workshops for groups. Everyone always seems to be surprised when I ask what kind of a feeding bottle they use. It seems that most of the people seem to prefer a bottle that imitates a nipple.
Honestly, I was surprised and not in a good way.

Why? It’s quite simple – even specialised bottletops will not take the exact shape of the breast when the baby is being fed. The breast goes easily to the baby’s mouth and his or her swallowing muscles are working. With the bottle that imitates the nipple, the baby only works with the jaws. Which in the future can be the cause of teething problems.

My recommendation?
You do not have to invest too much money in a proper feeding bottle for the baby, as a regular feeding bottle used 30 years ago will work fine as well (I mean the type, not the bottle itself!). If you would like to invest more, then I would recommend Philips Aventa and Medela bottles which are very good.

Medela also makes bottles for babies with special needs, for example for babies with lip and palate clefts.
I didn’t actually know much about this before April this year, when I did a home visit to one of the Estonian families where there was a baby girl with a lip and palate cleft.
I was shown how to assemble this special bottle and how to feed her. I am of course extremely grateful for this experience which is an incredible addition to my knowledge base.

It’s getting chillier outside so keep yourself warm!


Babies and Dummies: With or Without?

Under a dummy I classify everything that is put in a baby’s mouth when they cry with a purpose to soothe them. In my opinion, a dummy is not a solution to resolve the baby’s problem.

Q: Why are babies so attached to dummies?
This is only because they have been trained to use the dummy to calm themselves down. When they get older, they find it comforting and can only calm themselves down once they have the dummy in their mouth. In reality, sometimes the baby just needs to cry themselves empty so that they can be happy again.
Instead of a dummy I actually advise to use a small blanket instead as a soother. I advise to choose this blanket in a way so when you put the fabric against your face, it feels very soft and comfy. That’s the way you can ensure that the baby likes it as well. As I keep saying, this baby is your mini version, so always think before buying whether you would use it and whether you like it.

Q: Why a blanket?
Blanket will hold the baby’s scent and in this way baby will learn to calm themselves with it whether by sucking on it or cuddling it. If the baby is used to a dummy, and now you would like the baby to stop using it, then it is a good tip to drop some breast milk (if the baby is still young enough) on the blanket as this scent will calm the baby down. It is not going to be an entirely painless process but the parents have to remain consistent and need to have patience.

Why do I not favour dummies, is because in a longer perspective the children who have used dummies extensively, have found to visit the dentist more often with worries that there is not enough space in the mouth for new teeth to grow. Simple as that, and this is something we want to avoid.

Oh, and before I let you go – in regards to the blanket, please do not forget to wash it from time to time, otherwise it will start smelling quite bad (who has experienced this will know exactly what I’m talking about).

In conclusion, every parent has the option to decide what is the best for his or her child but hopefully I have given you something to think about

Good luck!

Babies and Toddlers: First Aid

A little while ago I talked about first aid for babies and toddlers, and tried to find out if there are any courses that are being ran in Estonia as well.

I will not get very specific as I do not have the teaching qualification for first aid but I would still like to share with you a couple of tips on how to make everything around the baby safer.

Q: How to make your home child-friendly?
First, get down and lie on the floor. Then take a look around as you will be able to see all the wires, plugs and other things that may be dangerous if the baby gets close.
If you have roller blinds with strings or chains, then these should not be somewhere where the child can access it as this is very dangerous if it gets around his or her neck.

Plastic bags (those small ones that you can put used diapers in) should not be left in the child’s reach, as there are numerous cases where children have suffocated due to plastic bags.

Every year there are also cases where the baby suffocates from eating grapes. Why? Because the child had been given a full grape, where in reality you should cut it in half or even into quarters.

Let’s talk a little about accidents as well.

Did you know that when a child has hit his or her head, they should not be forced to stay awake? Instead, they should be allowed to sleep as this is how the child’s body fights with stress. Obviously you will have to keep an eye on the child in case the health indicators worsen or the child throws up.

Q: How long should I keep the child under strict supervision?

No matter what has happened, the child should be supervised at least 72 hours after the accident. The best way would be to write down when and what happened, so you have all this information if needed. Many parents make a mistake that they offer something to eat or to drink immediately after the accident, hoping that it helps to lift the mood. Actually you should not give any food or liquid to the child before you have ensured that the child is alright. This is why it is extremely important to receive an official note from the school or the kindergarten if anything happens there and to take this very seriously.

Q: What is the difference in CPR for a child and for an adult?
First you have to make sure if he or she breathes. If not, then you have to start with the CPR. For an adult, you should call the ambulance first and then start with CPR. With babies and children, it has been advised to do CPR for one minute and then call the ambulance. Why? This is because the bodies of babies and little children lose oxygen faster than an adult does. Do not be afraid that you are doing something wrong. Are you afraid that you apply too much pressure and you break a rib? Honestly, that is the least of the worries, as breaking a rib is extremely difficult because they are quite resilient and flexible.

Q: What to do in case of a nose bleed?
Squeeze the soft part of the nose and let the child breathe through the mouth for 10 minutes (child can stand over a sink or sit over a basin). For the next couple of hours do not let the child touch his or her nose as this may start the nose bleed again. If you have done 3×10 minutes of squeezing the nose but the nose bleed does not stop, call the ambulance.

Q: What happens if a finger or an arm has been burned?
If there is no open wound, then hold the burned part under cold water for 20 minutes. Even if you feel that after 3 minutes it’s alright, then actually the burning process is still continuing under the skin and that is why after some time you will feel pain and the burned area will swell and get red. Keep in mind – 20 minutes!
In cases of more serious burns, it is necessary to go to a hospital to get it treated.

I definitely recommend a first aid course for everyone, as it will make you feel more confident when acting in an accident.

I hope you learn a lot!


How to relieve the baby from gas, constipation and the cries that come with it – all with the help of tummy massage.

There is nothing more stressful for the parents than a baby suffering from digestion problems. Most certainly not for a family who has emptied the whole local pharmacy of gas relief medicine in the middle of the night.

Q: How often should my baby poop?
To understand if the baby is healthy, they should poop twice a day – this applies to babies who are only on breastmilk. Many say that with breastmilk it is normal to poop once a week because everything is used by the baby’s body but this is not true. Imagine yourself if you do not go to the bathroom for a whole week.

Actually I have a very simple tip for you to help the baby’s digestion to ensure that everything is working properly.

Place the baby on the floor and first make circular motions with the right hand’s palm (not with the tips of your fingers) around the belly button clockwise. Clockwise because poop is usually stuck between 5 and 6 on the clock.
Then with both hands, push from between the hip and the ribcage towards the centre of the stomach into a triangle and then do circular motions around the bellybutton again in a clockwise motion.
Place your hands on the baby’s butt and then swing the baby from the hips to one side and then another, and then twist the baby’s butt upwards a little bit a couple of times.
In terms of strength do as you would like it.

This has been one of those magic techniques that I use when doing baby massage classes and home visits. After this massage babies have pooped numerous times in one day and there are always people whose problems are already solved during the classes.

Massage technique mentioned above is not only for the babies, I definitely recommend to use them on bigger children as well as to try it on your own if you are faced with
constipation after a bigger dinner.

Enjoy practicing tummy massage!

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