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Blog Pumping

Mya Joy Comparison Review

Ameda Mya Joy vs. Medela Comparison Review by Christy

Christy is a mother of five, and until recently, she had only used a Medela breast pump so, we asked her to give the Ameda Mya Joy a try. This was her experience:

Initial impressions?

Aesthetics:

I enjoy the simple aesthetics of the Mya Joy and like the look, but I was concerned that it would not get powerful enough. With my Medela I felt that it often did not work well enough, and if I could make it more powerful maybe I could trigger more production. However, when my Medela was on high power levels I experienced more discomfort due to that power.

Power:

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that despite the Mya Joy’s fewer power levels, (and how I assumed that meant less power), I found this pump to be effective at achieving letdown without any discomfort. I think that this is due to the design of the pump; the flange worked great for me! It didn’t require any fiddling or moving around to get the position just right, (unlike my Medela, despite trying 2 types/sizes of flanges).

Connection:

I like how the Mya Joy breast pump connects. It works well and simply without all the extra pieces to have to fit together, and it is easy to clean. My Medela comes apart into more pieces which are easier to lose, and often require readjustment.

Price:

I did a quick Google search and found out that my Medela Freestyle was over $100 more than the Ameda Mya Joy.

Final opinion?

Both pumps look fine, but I like the look of the Ameda better. The Mya Joy was easier to put together, use, and get into the right place. The Ameda Mya Joy is also more comfortable AND easier to clean! With all that and considering the cost difference, I would 100% recommend the Ameda Mya Joy over the Medela Freestyle.

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Blog Skin & Body

Dimpleskins Naturals Baby Skincare Products

Dimpleskins Naturals Baby Skincare Products – A Brief Overview!  

At Mama Bear Club, we love natural products for babies’ delicate skin. Dimpleskins is one of our favourite companies for safe, gentle, low-scent and scent-free products that use natural ingredients and really work well!

We love that Bum Bum Balm uses a beeswax base and calendula, which helps to heal sore skin and diaper rashes. Bum Bum Balm also is zinc-free so if you use cloth diapers, it won’t interfere with absorption.

Sweet Cheeks is wonderful for chapped little cheeks and dry skin, and it’s incredibly gentle. It’s made with a delicious smelling combination of vanilla and lavender, paired with soothing cocoa butter that provides a ton of moisture for baby’s skin.

Boo Boo Goo is another great one from Dimpleskins. It will help soothe cuts and bumps without any stinging that you can get from other products. That means your little one will enjoy this product too and not be afraid to come running to you when those inevitable boo boos happen.

As with all Dimpleskins products, you only need a tiny bit. That means each tin will last a good long time!

Check out this vide from our friends at Mother’s Choice Products for more information about Dimpleskins Bum Bum Balm, Sweet Cheeks and Boo Boo Goo!

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Blog Pumping

CleanEase Steam Sanitization Bags

CleanEase: A Simple Way to Sanitize Your Breast Pump Parts  

As a pumping parent, you may be worried about how to effectively sterilize your breast pump parts between uses. Sterilization can be tricky, but it doesn’t need to be.

At Mama Bear Club, we love to use CleanEase Steam Sanitization Bags from Ameda. These reusable bags are great for quick and easy sanitization of your breast pump parts including flanges, flange adaptors, diaphragm, valves, and any other microwave safe, silicone products that you use as part of your breastfeeding or infant feeding regimen. If you use nipple shields or a Flexishield insert, you can also throw those into the bag.

Ameda CleanEase bags are made of food-grade Polypropylene, which is safe for use in a microwave, and each bag can be used up to 20 times.

Watch our quick overview video to learn how to safely use the Ameda CleanEase Sanitization bags or if you prefer to read the information, just keep scrolling to read our overview below.

How To Use Ameda CleanEase Sanitization Bags | Mama Bear Club

How to use Ameda CleanEase bags*:

*Shared from Mother’s Choice Products

1. Clean Your Breast Pump Parts: The first step is to give your pump parts a wash. Make sure to wash off all visible milk so that it doesn’t cook onto your pump parts when steaming.

2. Open your CleanEase bag: These bags open just like a Ziplock bag. Once you pop open the zip, they can easily be pushed open to stand on the table, ready for use.

3. Fill With Water: Add 60mls (2.02 fl oz) of water and then add your pump parts.

4. Add Breast Pump Parts to the CleanEase Bag: Put into the bag your bottle, valve, flange and diaphragm. Thre’s no need to put in your tubing or adapter cap as those do not need to be sanitized. Note: If you happen to be using a Flexishield Silicone flange insert with your pump, you can place that in your steam bag. Nipple shields can also be placed into the steam bag.

5. Zip Up the Bag: When you’ve added your breast pump parts into the bag, simply zip the bag closed. When the bag is closed, you will see a red section on one side. This is the steam vent. Caution: this red zone is the part of the bag here steam escapes, so be careful of this section when removing the bag after steaming.

6. Put in Microwave & Steam Away: When you’re ready to go, simply place your CleanEase bag into the microwave. The time that it will take in the microwave, is dependent on the wattage of your microwave. Generally, it will take between two and five minutes.

7. Carefully Remove CleanEase Bag from Microwave: When your microwave is done, you’ll want to carefully remove from the bag, avoiding the steam vent, and pour the remaining water into your sink. When all the hot water is removed, carefully open your bag. And that’s it! Now you can take your pump parts out and place them on a paper towel or a clean tea towel to dry. Once dry, they are fully sanitized and ready to use again.

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Blog

10 ‘Essential’ Baby Items to Skip

10 ‘Essential’ Baby Items to Skip

Non-Essential Baby Gear

Parenthood is a journey that is incredibly joyful – but can also be completely overwhelming at the same time. From essential baby gear to knowing how to change a diaper, first-time parents have much to learn! Many new parents create a checklist of baby stuff that they believe they need – but a lot of the ‘essential’ baby gear that people swear by is just marketing hype. 

Instead of an ‘essential baby gear’ list, we’ve got you covered with a list of all the things you don’t need when it comes to newborns – go ahead and remove these items from your registries now (and thank us later)! Plus, we’ve included a couple items that really will make all the difference in those hazy, exhausting first couple months.

The ‘Don’t Need It’ List  

1. Wipe Warmers

Wipe warmers are unnecessary and can cause health and safety issues. The warm, wet environment can encourage the growth of bacteria and fungi to grow, leading to the development of severe diaper rash. Alternatively (depending on the brand), wipe warmers can dry out wipes, which can harm your baby’s delicate skin.

2. Swaddle Blankets

Swaddle blankets, while beautiful and very popular, are often difficult to wrap when it is 3am and your little warrior has fought their way out of it for the 6th time in 2 hours. Velcro swaddle wraps and swaddling sacks are genius inventions which make turning your little one into an adorable burrito much faster and easier. If you absolutely need colour-coordinating swaddles, start with three and see how much use you get out of them before buying 10+. Who knows, your little one may hate being swaddled anyways!.

3. Bottle Warmers

A bottle warmer, while convenient if you’re heating bottles every day, is totally unnecessary if you only need it occasionally. Instead of a bottle warmer, boil water, put it in a mug, let it cool a bit, and place a bottle with milk in it. This is a fuss-free, save-more approach which results in you having significantly less counter-clutter! 

4. Changing Tables

If you want to save some space in the nursery (and a headache later when your little explorer starts pulling everything out), you can ditch the changing table completely. What you need on your newborn checklist instead is a changing pad that you can put on top the dresser – after all, you will always need somewhere to put their clothes! You can get a padded one with raised edges or you can opt for a flat, foldable one that you can take on-the-go.  

5. Bath Toys with Holes

Newborns won’t get much enjoyment out of bath toys until about 6 months, when they’ve developed more hand-eye coordination and better head control. Once they’re engaging with toys though, make sure to skip bath toys with holes. Holes mean that water can stay trapped in the toy, which becomes a breeding ground for mold, no matter how often they’re cleaned. Babies may develop eye infections or allergic reactions to water squirted from one of these bath toys and, if ingested, it may cause vomiting or diarrhea. Trust us, the last thing you need is a baby with an eye infection! Choose bath toys that are designed without holes instead and be extra cautious in at the pool (this Mama has personally found mold in duckies at the pool and It. Was. So. Gross.). 

6. Baby Food Processors

Whether you call it a baby food processor, a baby food maker, or a baby blender, the bottom line is that you don’t need it. Most kitchens may already have a hand-held blender which will work perfectly for your baby food. 

7. Moses Baskets

Moses baskets fall under the classification of bassinets for Health Canada standards and should only be used to sleep your little one if it meets all the safety requirements for bassinets including having properly labelled weight and/or age limits, a sturdy bottom, breathable sides, and a firm, snug mattress that doesn’t have any gaps between the edge of the mattress and the sides of the bassinet. Most Moses baskets have mattresses that are too soft, and one was recently recalled by Health Canada as it was deemed unstable and could easily tip over. Safety comes first with newborn sleep, so unless you’re buying a Moses basket specifically for the ‘Gram, and not for sleep, you can skip this one!

8. Baby Nests

Speaking of Instagram, baby nests from brands like Snuggle Me and Dock-a-Tot are superstars in baby photoshoots. As photo props or a spot to put your baby on the floor, baby nests are fine (although unnecessary). However, many parents nap or overnight sleep their children in baby nests, which is unsafe (and against Health Canada recommendations). Even more dangerous is if they’re left unattended on raised surfaces in their baby nests, such as a parent’s bed or on the couch. Sleeping your baby flat on their back in a crib or bassinet with a tight fitted sheet is the safest option. 

9. Baby Shoes

Baby shoes are cute. Tiny little loafers, miniature high-tops, itty-bitty boots – all extremely cute. No argument here. But your baby does not need expensive shoes that they will outgrow in a month. Until they’re learning to walk outside, save some money and opt for footies or fuzzy socks.  

10. Diaper Genies

Unfortunately, there is nothing magical about a Diaper Genie. They create a lot of unnecessary plastic waste, don’t do much to contain the smell, and the plastic poop sausages it creates are prone to breaking open under the slightest stress as they’re very heavy. If you’re doing disposables, a plain old garbage pail with a lid and a bag will do the job just as well, if not better, and if you’re doing cloth diapers, then a large reusable wet bag is all you need.  

The Essential Baby Gear You Truly Need

So, what should you add to your registry? There are true new-Mom lifesavers out there worth investing in, we promise! Anything that frees up your hands or your time is golden – here are a couple of our favourites.  

An Electrical Breast Pump

Breast pumps have come a long way baby. Electric breast pumps can help with milk supply, engorgement, feeding issues (for example, if your little one is too weak to suck at first, you can still feed them breastmilk with the help of a pump), and give a breastfeeding Mama some freedom – whether that means working away from baby or having a night off while keeping supply up. The Ameda Mya Joy Breast Pump is our favourite pump – quiet, super-efficient, and created by a brand that has been trusted by hospitals for decades.  

A Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Motherhood means multitasking. If you’re using a double breast pump, you can free up both your hands with the PumpEase Hands Free Pumping Bra. Hands-free pumping bras hold the breast pump flanges against the breast so that moms can use their hands to do other things (and the list of things to do is endless, we know!). The PumpEase is the original hands-free pumping bra and is designed to be used with any pump on the market.  

A High-Quality Diapering Salve

Your sweet little baby’s perfect little butt is probably going to get rashy, for one reason or another. Some babies only have the occasional flare up, while others are constantly red and irritated. A high-quality diaper salve like Dimpleskins Bum Bum Balm can provide relief and healing to your little one’s painful tush. Made with 100% non-toxic, safe natural ingredients, Bum Bum Balm is also zinc-free, which means it’s safe to use with cloth diapers! It comes in two sizes, a larger one for home and a smaller one for the diaper bag.  

Prioritize Useful, Time-Saving Baby Gear

Don’t buy a bunch of stuff for your baby that you don’t need. Focus instead on the things that make your life easier and more comfortable. Most importantly, don’t buy items that are unsafe or use items in ways that they were not intended to be used – no matter how many ‘essential baby gear’ lists they show up on.  

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Blog

Making Space: Favourite Non-Busy Baby Activities

Serene's Favourite Non-Busy Baby Activities

Making Space: Favourite Non-Busy Baby Activities

Before I became a mother, I was a nanny and childcare worker for 10+ years. If you had asked me then what my favourite baby activities were, I probably would have given you a 10-page list of amazing no-cost craft activities, the best local kids’ music camps, and a detailed ranking of all the local parks. Now that I am a mom, the things I enjoy doing most with my child are completely different than I expected. Instead of burning off energy or entertaining him for 2 hours, I am obsessed with watching him learn something new every day and discover ants for the first time.

Every Baby Is Different 

That being said, my son has only just learned how to walk. Give me 6 months and burning off energy might be the absolute #1 priority! Your relationship with your little one(s) is going to change as you both learn, grow, and have new needs. Make space for that. Just like your child’s sleep schedule is likely to be different from one month to the next, the activities you enjoy (and need to do every day) are also going to change.

Final disclaimer before we dive into my favourite baby activities – every child is different. Last weekend I was at the park with a good friend. While her little was training to be the next Ninja Warrior, my son was sitting in the middle of a patch of daisies and telling me that they were flowers every 20 seconds. It was a totally different park day for the two of us.  

Favourite New Toddler Activities 

My little one is almost 18 months now and his world is unfolding on many levels. Here are a couple of my favourite Mama and baby activities for a newly minted toddler, both indoors and outdoors.  

My son loves his book time with his Grandma too!  

Book Time 

My son has gotten really into books in the last couple months – he has his favourites and recognizes them by the cover. He brings them to me on the couch, we snuggle together under a blanket and read a bunch (sometimes he wants the same one over and over). He cares about the characters, knows when the story is being told ‘incorrectly,’ and recognizes drawings of real objects in a book (like a flower). I never really thought about how complex the mental processes needed to engage in a board book were until I watched the dramatic shift in my son, and it continues to blow my mind.  

Beach Explorations 

My son has a personal mission to pick up every single rock he comes across on the beach, and I can’t wait until he discovers crabs. He has not quite grasped the concept of the ocean yet so sometimes he just walks directly into the ocean in his rain suit and boots, and I have to stop myself from laughing long enough to drag him out.  

Baking 

While I can’t trust my little one to measure things, stir effectively, or not eat raw batter, I still love baking with him. We recently got a learning tower for him, and it makes him so happy to be a part of the action. I am hoping that seeing how his food is made will encourage him to throw less of it on the floor, but even if we are unsuccessful there, I love sharing one of my favourite ways to de-stress with him.   

Post-nap Snuggles

This is when my son is at peak snuggle. He is a little dazed when he wakes up, so we have a quick snuggle, open the blinds, say hello to the chickens and have a cuddle until he realizes he is conscious and wants to play. I’m fully aware that all too soon he won’t be interested in snuggling with his Mama, so you better believe I soak up as much as I can.  

Puddles 

Puddles are endlessly entertaining and getting wet and muddy is fun. I have no idea what tiny, interesting worlds my son sees in puddles, but I am here for it. 

Bath Time 

Bath time is always fun – bubbles, warm water, pouring, and exploring a new environment is always a good time. My son is totally absorbed in discovering how water works, and how his body works in a new space. He is usually so sleepy by the end of the bath that he snuggles in close, wrapped in his fluffy towel and puts his wet little arm around my neck. It is a wonderful way to end the day. 

Favourite Baby Activities 

Although it already seems like a lifetime ago, the newborn to 6-month stage had its own beautiful, quiet activities. My best advice for new Mamas, as cliched as it is, is to just pause. Soak it in. Learn how to live on less sleep. Don’t start a new diet or exercise routine. Don’t try and win the award for ‘Cleanest House’ or ‘Best Dressed Baby’ (the judges will never be impressed, and the prize money is non-existent). Get some fresh air, eat the food that makes you feel well, recover, and cuddle your little one as much as you can. You will never get this moment back, but you will relive these hazy memories for the rest of your life.  

Skin-To-Skin  

We had been told about the benefits of skin-to-skin when I was pregnant. It was actually the first real bonding moment between my husband and son – my son was a little cold about 3 hours after he was born so the nurse suggested some skin-to-skin. I was exhausted and didn’t feel safe holding my baby in case I fell asleep with him in my arms, so my husband took his shirt off and snuggled with him and warmed him up. Seeing the two of them together while I drifted off to sleep is one of my first powerful memories of my son. He was born 2 weeks before Christmas, so we spent the entire holiday period cuddling skin-to-skin on the couch and I miss it terribly. 

Neighbourhood Walks 

We used to live in the city and didn’t have a vehicle, so we walked everywhere. Most of the time my son was in his bassinet on the stroller and he absolutely loved watching the trees pass over his head and birds flitting around. It was winter/spring so he usually had the rain cover over the bassinet and he looked like The Child from the Mandalorian, being shuttled around in a pod. Now that we live in a more rural environment, we walk with him in a backpack, which is great, but I miss him in his little bubble, floating through the world. Starting at around a month old, my son and I would leave my hubby at home and trek around all day, transiting through the city, walking for hours. He still loves the fresh air, and I think it has a lot to do with spending 8+ hours outside a day as a younger baby. 

The Spoon Trick 

When my son was first born, like most babies, he would need some encouragement to continue eating before he fell asleep. Our midwife recommended using a cold spoon on his cheek to ‘wake him up.’ He was always so shocked when we put the spoon on his cheek. It is one of my favourite newborn stories because it reminds me how small he once was – now he attacks the boob/bottle like a little beastie!  

Child-Led, Mama-Loved 

As you can see, my favourite baby activities as a Mama are vastly different from my days as a nanny, making cornstarch goo. I find great joy in the small moments in life, in watching how differently my son approaches something compared to just two weeks ago. Don’t get me wrong – I love the park and crafting. For me though, intentionally making space for exploration and messes and purposefully not overbooking our schedule means that I can take an extra 5 minutes to snuggle my son or spend an hour reading with him. Life is so busy – 10 years from now I don’t want to look back and regret not spending more time letting my son show me what he is interested in.  

Okay Mama, It’s Your Turn! 

What do you love doing with your baby or toddler? What activities do you look forward to? Are you a full-schedule Mama or a play-it-by ear Mama? Something in-between? Let us know – maybe we can help other Mamas find inspiration and new favourite activities to try out with their children, making space for growth and change along the way.  

Serene Giles

Serene is one of our awesome Mama Bear Club writers who is the proud mama of an 18-month-old. Check out Serene’s thoughts on the Mya Joy breast pump and how she found the PumpEase pumping bra to use during her breastfeeding journey.

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Blog Tenscare

Why You Should Get The Eboo Squeezable Nightlight For Your Baby

Why You Should Get The Eboo Squeezable Nightlight For Your Baby 

The debate over the pros and cons of nursery nightlights is still ongoing, and the truth is… there is no wrong answer! We think a soft nightlight glow can be a miracle to both babies and parents. Add in a super cute and squeezable option and whoa, you’ve got something special! 

Here’s why we love the Eboo Squeezable Nightlight!

Parents, we know you want to check on your baby, and when there is soft illumination, it just makes things easier.  

When your baby wakes up in the night, it’s a lot less stressful for them if they can see their environment and have a comforting squeezable toy. The act of squeezing a toy they know and love can be very soothing and calming for young babies and can even help them back to sleep more quickly on their own! 

Soft illumination can also help during those groggy midnight diaper changes without waking you up so much that it makes it harder for you to return to sleep.  

Children’s nightlights are for parents too! 

A nightlight’s main function and purpose is to assist young kids with a fear of the dark, also known as nyctophobia. Whether they wake up from a nightmare or unrelated causes, a warm illumination emitted from the device, can help reduce stress without the need to turn on a bright room light. Having this reassurance tends to soothe babies back to sleep as they come to feel the sense of familiarity with their environment. A squeezable night strengthens the comforting sensory experience by giving the child extra touch stimulation and feedback.  
 
Parents, that means more likelihood that you won’t have to get up to soothe your baby as often – and more sleep for everyone is a good thing!  

Our favourite nightlight is the EBoo Nightlight from TENSCare because it is tactile, comforting and has the perfect amount of light for those nighttime visits or wakeups. 

The Eboo is soft and squishy and emits a delicate soft light that won’t interrupt sleep but will help you see enough to avoid obstacles. Unlike the bright lights of usual lamps, the dim light of the Eboo children’s nightlight doesn’t alert your brain to become active, therefore it won’t jar you or your baby awake. The eBoo is a portable, battery-powered squeezable nightlight, that both baby and parents will love. 

Purchase the Eboo here

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Blog Tenscare

Wrinkle Reduction from the Comfort of Your House – Safe and Natural

Safe & Natural Wrinkle Reduction from the Comfort of Your House  

Plastic surgeries, lasers, chemical peels – there are millions of procedures people undergo to hide the signs of aging. These are often invasive, costly and, unfortunately, don’t do a lot to solve the actual problem.

Thankfully, if we listen to our body and the natural world around us, we’ll discover many natural solutions to address wrinkles and signs of aging without surgery or costly procedures.

As we get older, our skin gradually loses the protein that gives it that tight, smooth surface – collagen. As time goes by, we all end up getting wrinkly. With continuous loss of collagen and thinning of our dermal layer, it may seem that wrinkle reduction is a losing battle, but don’t give up just yet. 

While the process of aging cannot be stopped, there several things you can do to slow the process and keep your skin and body healthy in the process.

Here Are 7 Non-Invasive Ways To Promote Natural Wrinkle Reduction At Home:

  1. Vitamin C: Growing up you have most likely heard that vitamin C is essential to boost one’s immunity against colds. That is not the only benefit. In fact, vitamin C is crucial for your skin too, according to the National Institutes of Health. Keeping yourself replenished with vitamin C will help you with fine lines and discoloration caused by sun damage – all you need to do is either get some oral supplement or an exfoliating topical vitamin C face mask. Or simply rub some fresh lemon juice into your face – be mindful of the amount, though: too much of it can cause dryness or flaking. If that happens, a daily moisturizer will help you. 
  1. Microcurrent Treatment: Human body is full of electric signals – from blood flow to nerve signals that are responsible of us feeling sensations. And thus, adding gentle stimulation to your skin will aid wrinkle reduction as well as lift and tighten your soft tissues. Don’t you want to find something that helps with not just wrinkle reduction but also other signs of aging using this method? The muscle stimulator Perfect BEAUTY is a medically approved device that will help you to reduce the signs of aging.   
  1. Silky Dreams: You might be surprised to learn that quite a few of our wrinkles come from sleep – a process we think of as the time our body regenerates. According to American Academy of Dermatology, sleeping on your side will increase the number of wrinkles on your cheeks and chin, and sleeping face-down results in a furrowed brow. In other words, the only way to reduce wrinkles is to sleep on your back, right? Unfortunately, we do not control our position when we sleep. However, the way our skin resists or creates wrinkles can be influenced not by just our sleeping position but also on what we sleep on. Invest in pillowcases with high thread counts such as satin or silk – they are known to aid wrinkle reduction.  
  1. Banana Mask: Bananas are rich in potassium when eaten, but they also work miracles on your face when you put them on it! Mash up a banana with a teaspoon of plain yogurt and a teaspoon of orange juice, apply it to your face and keep it on for 15-20 minutes. The potassium will hydrate and moisturize skin cells, while the vitamin A will fight dark spots and blemishes. Vitamin B is the one to prevent aging, and vitamin E will boost your skin’s resistance to UV damage. 
  1. Face Massage:  Working in a similar way to the microcurrent procedure, you can give yourself a face massage using nothing but your finger. With your index and middle finger massage 20 rotations between your brows, then apply light pressure to each temple and jaw joints for 10 seconds while clenching your teeth. This will relax your muscles, stopping them from making the micromovements that cause tension and stress and result in wrinkles. 
  1. Juice Cleanses: You have probably heard that the condition of your skin strongly depends on your diet – and this is true. Vitamins, hydration and minerals are three components the wellbeing of your skin relies on, and most can be found in various fruits and vegetables. So, one course of action is to give your skin and body a three-day cleanse that consists of all these goodies.  
  1. Superfoods: If juices are not your thing, we have good news – there are plenty of foods that provide great replenishment to your skin by giving it water, fats, and proteins. These foods are so rich on useful nutrients that they have been labeled as ‘superfoods’ and they mostly include berries, nuts and veggies. For example, blueberries are full of collagen-protecting vitamin C and high concentrations of antioxidants. Tomatoes contain lycopene that improves the vascular system, in turn giving your skin a natural glow through extra blood circulation. And almonds are packed with skin-plumping and hydrating fats – what’s not to love? 

Aging is a natural process everyone goes through. There is no way of stopping it, but there are ways of slowing it down. Surgery and injections are likely to remove visible effects for a short term, but they won’t address the underlying issue. Wrinkle reduction can be done from the comfort of your house – and it is less pricy than you would assume. Remember, nature if your friend! Try out these natural remedies and let us know how you get on! 

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Blog Tenscare

How TENSCare Can Help Improve The Appearance Of Aging

Perfect Beauty TensCare

Perfect Beauty: How TENSCare EMS Treatments Can Help with the Appearance of Aging

As we age, our faces can begin to show signs of sagging, wrinkles and decreased fullness. This loss of tone and definition is caused by a reduction in muscle mass and strength, and it’s perfectly normal and natural! However, if you’re feeling concerned about the appearance of aging, electrotherapy treatments can help reduce obvious signs of aging.  

Muscle Training & Toning with a TENS Machine 

Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) is a muscle training therapy that can help to maintain facial and body tone and appearance. The therapy involves the application of an electric current over the desired muscles, so that a muscle contraction is produced. With continuous contractions, the muscles undergo training and improve in strength and tone. In addition, stimulating muscle activity creates a demand for improved local blood flow, which helps clear waste products and provides nutrients and energy to the muscles and surrounding tissues. 

How Can TensCare Devices Help Improve Signs of Aging? 

TensCare has developed several devices to help with body and facial beauty. Our original is The Perfect Beauty – an EMS device designed to be easy-to-use at home. It comes with several specific programs that target different body areas, including the face, abs, buttocks, hips, thighs, bust, arms, and calves.  

Training of the facial muscles helps to re-gain firmness and lift, common aims of many beauty treatments. As a result, the face looks fuller, and signs of aging can be reduced. Each desired part of the body can also be targeted. Similar to exercise, EMS muscle training provides improved tone and tightness. 

How To Use The TENSCare Perfect Beauty? 

Placement of the electrode pads to deliver the electric current is important to ensure muscle contractions are produced. The optimal placement of the electrode pads is over the bulk of the muscle. If that’s not obvious, simply experiment with the electrode pad position until a full contraction can be seen or felt.  

Regular, continuous muscle training with your Perfect Beauty TENS machine is essential to see and maintain results. For use on the face, the recommended training schedule is one treatment daily, five days a week. For use on the various body areas, the recommended training schedule is three treatment sessions per week. Generally, results can start to be seen from 6 weeks of use. 

Lastly, keeping well hydrated, maintaining good nutrition, and allowing enough time for the muscles to recover are important when performing any muscle training. 

For more information on the Perfect Beauty from TENSCare, watch this video overview: 

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Blog Pumping

How Pumping Can Help Increase Your Milk Supply

Mother with her baby
Mother breastfeeding baby

How Pumping Can Help Increase Your Milk Supply

How To Increase Milk Production with a Breast Pump 

Now that you’ve put in all that hard work of bringing your baby out into the world, your body is gearing up to start nourishing and supporting your child’s growth in a whole new way. Breastfeeding and pumping are important to increase the milk supply that will stimulate your baby’s growth.

Breastfeeding has been scientifically proven as one of nature’s best ways to nourish and protect your growing infant and is recommended by the World Health Organization for at least the first 6 months. Babies who are breastfed for longer periods often have stronger immune systems and are less susceptible to infections. But just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean it’s easy.

What if your breast milk doesn’t come in right away? 

Milk production isn’t the same for everyone. For some, breast milk comes in right away and there is enough (or more than enough) for your baby. For others, building up your milk supply can take time. Especially if your baby was born prematurely, your milk may not come in immediately.  

Don’t panic! It is very possible to stimulate your milk supply and get things going while keeping your baby fed. While there are numerous ways to naturally help increase your milk supply, one of the best ways to quickly increase milk production is to use a breast pump. 

How does a breast pump increase milk supply? 

A good breast pump will mimic the natural suckling rhythm of your baby, naturally stimulating your body to produce milk. Regular and consistent pumping is one of the most natural and effective ways to stimulate milk production and increase your milk supply. When your breasts are full of milk, it’s a cue to your body that it has made enough milk. If you regularly empty your breasts of milk through feeding or pumping, your body will begin to produce more milk to keep up with demand.

5 Tips To Increase Your Milk Supply with a Breast Pump: 

1. Cluster Pump and Feed:

Combining cluster pumping (also known as power pumping) and nursing is a great way to utilize your pump to help boost your milk production and get a new baby get used to nursing. If you are not producing much milk, you will want to cluster pump (e.g., 20 mins pumping, 10-minute break, 10 minutes nursing, 10-minute break, etc) and feed alternatively in consistent intervals of time to get both you and your baby used to a feeding schedule.*  
 

2. Be Consistent:

The key to successfully increasing your milk supply is consistency. Pump at the same times each day, and for the same amount of time over an extended period. If you find you’re still needing more, increase the intervals and time of your pumping sessions. Over time, your body will begin to adjust the amount of milk it produces to meet the needs of the demand. 
 

3. Avoid using a bottle too often early on (if possible):

When your infant is getting used to nursing, try to avoid using a bottle for supplemental feeding too often. As it’s easier to get milk from a bottle, relying on bottle feeding too often, too early on, may discourage your baby from nursing. As an alternative, find a small plastic syringe to feed your baby milk in between nursing sessions. The goal is to help your baby learn to latch and feed successfully from your breasts and not to become used to the bottle (until you’re ready to stop nursing). As your baby learns to latch effectively, the natural suckling in addition to pumping will help produce hormones that tell your body to produce more milk. If your baby is low weight, helping get their weight up will also help eventually help them to nurse more easily.  

4. Get Comfortable:

Choose a breast pump that is comfortable and does not cause you pain. Ensure you select a setting and flange that fits well and creates a good latch. Ideally your breast pump will have a selection of flanges to choose from to ensure you get a good fit. Also, ensure your body is comfortable while pumping or nursing. Using a nursing pillow, a pumping bra, or resting an arm on a chair armrest can help. Whatever your preferred position, find a place that feels comfortable for you to increase ease throughout pumping or nursing sessions. 
 

5. Use An Electric Pump:

While a manual breast pump can be useful, it is much more time-consuming and laborious. A manual pump often does not yield the same results as an electric breast pump, which can more easily mimic a baby’s suckling motion. If you’re wanting to use a breast pump for the purpose of increasing your milk supply, an electric pump is the best choice. 

Remember, breastfeeding is a learned skill for both you and your baby. It can be emotional and that is 100% okay. Stick with it, keep pumping and snuggling your baby and you will see positive results.

 *Always speak to your doctor, midwife or lactation specialist before beginning a cluster or power pumping regimen. And don’t forget to look after yourself! While you’re working hard to increase your milk supply and provide for and nourish your baby – don’t forget to stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet yourself too! 

Need A New Breast Pump? 

If you’re looking to buy a breast pump, we highly recommend the Ameda Mya Joy.  

It’s portable, comfortable and effective, with a wide range of suction and speed settings pre-set for ease of use. It also uses hospital-grade technology to ensure safe milk collection. 

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Breastfeeding Myth-Busting

Breastfeeding Myth Busting. Manual pump in foreground.
Breastfeeding Myth Busting. Mama breastfeeding baby.

Breastfeeding Myth-Busting

Bringing a tiny human into this world, protecting them and feeding them is scary enough without being overwhelmed with the myriad of breastfeeding myths that manage to resurface over and over. You have enough to manage without second guessing how you’re feeling just because a complete stranger in the coffeeshop has opinions on your choices. The Mama Bear Club is here to help with some good old-fashioned myth-busting of some common misconceptions around breastfeeding that can lead to stress, frustration, and a reduction in milk supply.

1) Breastfeeding Myth: It Won’t Hurt.

It shouldn’t hurt and it doesn’t have to… but most Mamas out there do experience some discomfort when breastfeeding. This discomfort can range from slight irritation to full on bleeding nipples and searing pain. You are not a failure if it hurts! Pain means that your baby’s latch probably needs some work. 99% of the time it is fixable. It also can take time for your nipples to get used to the actual feel of breastfeeding. There are many awesome resources out there that focus on what a correct latch looks, feels, and sounds like (yup that’s right, a correct latch often has a specific sound).

If troubleshooting on your own doesn’t fix the issue quickly (within 2-3 days the pain should reduce significantly), don’t hesitate to reach out to a lactation consultant. They are fantastic at their jobs, can often fix latch issues in just one visit and are well-versed in the plethora of breastfeeding myths out there. Whatever you do, don’t hide your pain just because you’ve been told it won’t hurt or think it shouldn’t. Ultimately, the result could be a reduced milk supply or even a damaged breastfeeding relationship. Make sure to let your midwife, doctor, or support person know if you’re feeling discomfort so you can find a solution that works for both you and your baby.

Reality: There are times when it will hurt – if it does: Fix. The. Latch.

2) Breastfeeding Myth: It Will Feel Completely Natural

The way the media, your mom/aunt/sisters, and the ladies in the coffee shop talk, breastfeeding sounds like a magical bonding act that you and your baby will instinctively know how to do. New moms often believe breastfeeding will make you feel like a divine being full of light and grace. For some women, it can be like that. For most of us mortals though, the first couple weeks (or months!) of breastfeeding can involve pumps, feeding syringes or tubes, cluster feeding, engorged and/or painful breasts, breasts that shoot milk clear across the room, clogged ducts, mastitis, and a huge variety of other things that decidedly don’t make you feel like a Goddess.

Yes, eventually you will get into a rhythm, figure out what works best for you and your baby (or babies), and maybe even feel comfortable whipping out your breasts every couple hours but there is often a settling in period. Suddenly being completely responsible for feeding a tiny human (who needs to eat so, so, much) is a lot. It will take some getting used to – so don’t beat yourself up if it all feels a bit weird. Stressing over how you’re ‘supposed’ to feel instead of embracing how you do feel is a waste of time and energy that would be much better spent cuddling, sleeping, eating or showering.

Reality: It will probably feel weird at first and that’s okay!

3) Myth: Guinness Will Help Your Milk Supply

This breastfeeding myth is actually born of a very clever ad campaign on the part of Guinness! In reality, limited research has shown that barley hops, like those found in Guinness, can aid prolactin production, which helps with milk production… however alcohol has been strongly linked to a decrease in milk production, so any benefits are quickly trampled all over.

If you want to increase your milk production through your diet, there are other options that are fully beneficial, or at least won’t harm your milk supply! These foods/herbs/teas are known as galactagogues and include powerhouses like oatmeal (or oat milk), fenugreek (normally drank in a tea), fennel seeds (which make a lovely mouth freshener too), and products like lactation cookies or lactation teas. Diet can help your milk production, but remember – the very best way to increase milk production is to feed or pump frequently, drink lots of water, get as much rest as you can, and keep your stress levels low.

Reality: Hops might help but alcohol won’t.

4) Myth: Breastfeeding = Birth Control

Breastfeeding often delays the return of your period but not always. Sometimes your period can return as early as five weeks after you give birth, even while breastfeeding (because life just isn’t fair). Ovulation occurs before you have your period, so even if your period hasn’t returned while breastfeeding after birth, you could very well get pregnant again! Some breastfeeding women don’t even realize they’re pregnant again for a couple months as their period just never comes back. This happens more often than you would think, so if you plan on having sex and aren’t ready to get pregnant again right away, make sure to use some type of contraceptive!

Reality: Nope. Not even a little bit.

Mama breastfeeding twins. Breastfeeding Myth Busting

5) Myth: Breastfeeding Will Make You Lose Weight

I wish this one were true! While technically it should be true because making breast milk burns calories, I’ve yet to meet a Mama who managed to keep her diet the same (calorie-wise) post-baby and who lost weight through breastfeeding alone. Breastfeeding makes most women hungry all the time, because you’re making milk all the time. Women who never ate breakfast pre-baby wake up starving and a snack after every middle of the night feed feels like a reward you definitely deserve.

This myth feels particularly harmful because pregnancy and birth cause our bodies to change so dramatically that the promise of assisted weight loss after birth makes those changes feel temporary and more manageable. Discovering you’re not losing any of that baby weight due to breastfeeding can contribute to postpartum depression and stress – both of which majorly impact milk production. The best way to combat this one is to a) accept that it is unlikely breastfeeding alone will help you get back to a pre-baby weight b) spend a little bit of time honouring the amazing things your body did to grow and give birth to that beautiful baby, and c) eat healthy, nutritious food that will nourish both you and your babe.

Reality: Not unless you can stick to strict calorie counting (which is not recommended while breastfeeding).

6) Myth: If the milk doesn’t come immediately, switch to formula.

While for some new moms, breast milk comes in strong and fast, other moms need some help getting the milk flowing. It’s actually very common! If your milk supply doesn’t come in immediately, don’t give up and don’t panic! Using a breast pump (like the Mya Joy) between feedings will stimulate your body to make more milk and is a proven way to increase milk production (it can also help relieve pressure if you’re an over-producing Mama). If your baby was born early and is struggling to suck, pumping milk regularly and feeding with a syringe is a great way to ensure your baby is getting your milk, gaining weight and growing stronger while helping your body get into the rhythm of regular feedings.

Reality: With a little help, most Mamas can get the milk flowing.

You’re probably going to get a lot of advice, most of it unsolicited, and most of it unhelpful throughout your parenthood journey. Knowing how to spot when something feels off or untrue is a key skill to learn as soon as possible, and breastfeeding myths. Above all, remember that every journey in breastfeeding and parenthood is different and trying to compare them will always lead to feelings of confusion and/or disappointment. Trust your instincts, feel empowered to ask questions and, above all, ask for help when you need it.

Take care of yourselves Mamas! If you haven’t yet, be sure to join our community of awesome Mamas online at Mama Bear Club on Facebook or follow us on Mama Bear Club on Instagram.