Wombs of Wisdom: Dr. Paige Bourassa

Posted by Erin Pollard on

Dr. Paige Bourassa is Nationally Board Certified in Acupuncture, founder of Shen Medicine, and mama to baby Luca. 

Q&A with Dr. Paige Bourassa

Q:  Dr. Paige! You just birthed a baby boy! Tell us about your pregnancy journey in 5 words or less.
A:  Amazing, hungry, grounding, confident, cheese.

Q: Weirdest pregnancy craving? 
A:  Didn't have many weird ones, just like SO MUCH CHEESE. 

Q:  What kinds of Chinese medicine practices became important to you while growing a human!? 
A:  Blood building was extremely important to me because I know so much of postpartum has to do with blood deficiency so I became mildly obsessed with nourishing and building blood while I was preggers through diet, herbs, acupuncture, acupressure. Also meditation and calming your "Shen" (spirit) while I was pregnant can have a positive effect on the baby's neuro pathways and trying to make sure my blood wasn't always pumping with cortisol running through it (a little difficult in a pandemic!)

Q:  What about Postpartum? How are you taking care of yourself now that you're caring for a child as well?
A:  Slowing everything down is crucial. I used to run at 100mph in NYC and I found that just doesn't work with a bebe, you have to let go of expectations and be on their schedule. Also warm warm warm foods, this is a Chinese Medicine law, but I found it is EXTREMELY important in postpartum because I can actually feel my energy dip if I have a smoothie, iced coffee and then breastfeed, I'll need a nap STAT versus doing a warm breakfast congee with egg and a hot coffee. Also I nap when he naps, I try and get as much done around the house as possible but I nap during one of his naps a day. Herbs and acupuncture are super important when I can incorporate them and I really think placenta encapsulations have helped too!

Q:  Do you have any tips and tricks for moms to be that are seeking a more energetic, healthily pregnancy and postpartum experience? 
A:  YES! Self care your butt off. I did so much prep on the front end while I was pregnant that I am sure that's why my postpartum journey hasn't been too bad (knock on wood!). Get prenatal massage, eat blood nourishing foods, nuts, bone broth and spinach. Go to an acupuncturist, see an osteopath or chiropractor that specializes in prenatal care. If you can't access any of that then learn some  simple acupressure techniques and give yourself a little acupressure massage with coconut oil and essential oils before bed, just pamper and nourish yourself to the best of your ability, it will pay out big time on the back end. 

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Wombs of Wisdom: Courtney Corbin-Simon

Posted by Erin Pollard on

Courtney Corbin-Simon is a mother, former Alvin Ailey dancer and the founder of a very special infant-toddler movement program called Blooming BébéWe have long been obsessed with Blooming Bébé’s unique class offerings that nourish healthy baby minds, bodies and bonding. 

In today’s Wombs of Wisdom, Courtney shares her unique insights as a certified infant development movement educator. We hope you (not only) join her classes, but use these techniques to build baby confidence at home!

Q&A with Courtney Corbin-Simon  

Q:  We love the philosophies behind Blooming Bébé. Can you explain the connection of emotion and confidence through movement?

A:  The mind body connection is extremely powerful and is revealed though our early experiences with touch and movement. Touch and movement are our first experiences in utero. Imagine a pregnant woman in her daily patterns. Her unborn baby is being supported in a warm environment that is constantly in motion. That mother’s touch to her belly brings calm and a sense of security to her baby while in utero. Those early experiences continue as a child develops. The emotions experienced from appropriate touch are stored in our cells and influence the way we are able to interact with other people. In Blooming Bébé classes we do a tactile exercise where we squeeze, tap and brush different parts of our bodies while singing. Doing this promotes a sense of self, an awareness to the children’s bodies getting to the root of who they are. They become more aware in their movements as well and can understand “oh, I’m moving my shoulders or belly” for example. That sense of self while moving makes the children feel good about themselves and brings more freedom to their movement patterns. It is their bodily awareness that brings about confidence. 

Q:  What types of movement and music resonate most with babies and toddlers?  

A:  Movement and music is greatly influenced by exposure. If a child has only been exposed to Baby Shark they have limited exposure to the true power of music on development. Music can teach little ones about their feelings, help them decipher patterns and solve problems and bring a rich understanding of the world around them. Nursery rhymes are very important for children’s development as they were once considered the bread and butter of early literature. Beyond nursery rhymes world music is a wonderful way to expose children to culture and different rhythms. In Blooming Bébé classes we introduce music from around the world and have live music accompaniment to help the children further connect with music. Children in classes love to move to the sounds of the djembe. I can see a shift in their body tones as they move to the vibrations and rhythms of the drum. 

Q:  How do you adapt your program for different age groups?

A:  As a Certified Infant Developmental Movement Educator I am very mindful about age groups. I am aware that parents are sensitive to their child’s gross motor development at each respective age and try to help them feel confident about where their child is developmentally. Classes are broken into Precrawlers, Crawler and Walker groups. Our introductory class starts for little ones as young as 8 weeks. The precrawlers class is an educational platform where parents learn ways to hold, support and interact with their children for optimal development. Of course we always dance to music from around the world with our little ones in EVERY class but the approach is different for each respective class. The Crawlers have different developmental needs so we encourage continuing to work on postural control and exploring on all fours,  keeping the precrawler principles in tact. In the Walker/Toddler class we really push body control and confidence through movement choices. Each class builds upon the next one but the developmental movement principles remain in tact for each class. I gauge each group according to the children’s body tones, gross motor skills as well as the parents/caregivers emotional needs in classes. Our classes truly are welcoming as we are a community! 

Q:  You have two gorgeous daughters!  Are they following in your footsteps?  Do you practice movement differently with your older girls at home?

A:  Thanks so much! Both Zahra and Naila LOVE to dance and share my husband's and my passion for music. I love watching them move as they are such different movers. Naila, the youngest, is more grounded and takes risks with her movements. Zahra is very flexible and enjoys long controlled movements. Their movement choices are closely linked to their personalities. 

I dance with them daily and often teach them little routines. If I notice that one of them is having a hard time learning something I immediately jump into action and have them do some developmental movement patterns without them even realizing it. 

Q:  Okay, I love busting a move at home, but I can’t do "baby shark"... do you have any more harmonious music recommendations for families who share the Beats Pill?

A:  Haha! I don’t play children’s music at home. I think children hear it enough at school, birthday parties etc. Music in our home is always changing. Here are a couple of songs from around the world that stay on our rotation: 

Courtney's Top Picks for Healthy Childhood Movement 

"When teaching movement classes I talk a lot about preventing restrictions in movement patterns. Part of those restrictions stem from not allowing enough barefoot, floor time and diaper free time for infants and toddlers. Movement requires freedom and Giggle offers so many incredible items that are suitable for movement. It was hard to narrow it down but here are my top choices:"

Miller Henley Jumpsuit:  If you have a child with sensory concerns this is a great outfit that is not only soft but also non-restrictive when playing on different planes - on the floor, crawling through a tunnel or jumping. 

Lyla Liberty Print Romper: This is a fabulous zero restriction outfit for climbing the monkey bars in the playground, cartwheels, jumping jacks or simply taking a moment to sit and meditate. 

Parker Cotton Play Set:  You can do anything in the Parker cotton play set. The material is soft which should make it calming to the nervous system. This outfit is perfect for getting down low and digging in the dirt or jumping and shaking it out to your favorite tune.  

"I love all of the toys where children can rock and bounce their bodies naturally which in turn stimulates your child’s vestibular system. This system is directly linked to a child’s sense of safety, survival, gravity, attention and arousal."

ROCKING: the Rabbit Animal Rocker is perfect for helping your child find balance, rhythm, build gross motor skills and stimulate their nervous systems which could result in a calmer more balanced child. 

BOUCING: the Sunnylife Unicorn and Tiger Hopper will help your child build muscle tone, stimulate the nervous system and help with coordination and balance. Think about how you naturally bounce a crying baby to calm them. When a child bounces themselves it has the same calming effect. 

PLAYING: this Magnetic Toy Train is perfect for working on a child’s fine motor skills, cross lateral abilities and hand eye coordination. When your child is playing on the floor encourage them to use one hand to push the train in front of them from the right side of their body to their left side of their body. Make sure they switch hands and sides. This will encourage your child to move across their midline - center of their body- which is important for connecting and activating both hemispheres of the brain. This will also develop their hand eye coordination.

To learn more about Blooming Bébé & Courtney's incredible class offerings, visit https://www.bloomingbebe.org/.  

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Wombs of Wisdom: Michael Krans & Matt Rice

Posted by Erin Pollard on

In our first installment of Wombs of Wisdom, we talk to fashionable fathers Michael Krans and Matt Rice. They met while working at men’s style magazine Details, married in NYC, and adopted Kaia and Josie shortly after. Michael and Matt give us their top picks for their adorable daughters.
Q: Tell us about your experience adopting 2 baby girls. 
A:  It’s a very long and winding story, but in short – the experience was fulfilling, at times harrowing, and filled with ups and downs. It was also a very fast and furious process for us. We worked with an attorney to adopt both of our girls, known as private adoption.  There are a few effective ways to adopt.

Q: What advice would you give to people considering adoption?
A:  Firstly, I strongly encourage anyone looking to build a family, to consider domestic adoption as a safe (and fast) option. There is very low awareness around how many children are born in the US every year that are either unwanted or cannot legally be taken care of by a birth parent or family member.  By adopting one of these children, you are literally changing the course of a human’s life and also helping to make the world a better place.  

Q: Your children are Native American. How do you keep their heritage alive at home. 
A:  My daughter Kaia (7) is 50% Native American and my daughter Josie (5) is Latinx (Mexican American).  We read books about their respective cultures and talk about them a lot. It’s just part of our normal day-to-day conversation. 

Q: It’s Pride Month!  Will you celebrate with the girls? Any recommendations for parents as they start talking to kids about the LGBTQ community? 
A:  We would usually take them to North New Jersey Gay Pride, which is hosted in our town (Maplewood), but it’s not happening this year due to the pandemic.  With that said, we sort of celebrate Pride all year around, because we talk about different families, LGBTQ families and of course, we are a house that loves rainbow everything.  In terms of parents talking to their kids about the LGBTQ+ community, I think it’s important to expose kids to media that depicts families and people of all different skin colors, gender identify and sexual orientation.

Q: Your family is very spiffy. Are the girls particular about what they wear?!
A:  Kaia is becoming more and more particular as she gets older – she loves anything with sparkle and that moves when she twirls. And Josie likes anything her big sister likes.

Q: Happy Fathers Day!  What are your plans?
A:  We’ll probably spend the day with the girls and do usual things. We actually celebrate both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in equal measure. With that said, we’re not really big “fans” of either holiday as they perpetuate heteronormative standards of what a “mom” and “dad” are and their roles in the home.   We’re all for combining the days and just calling it “Parents’ Day”! 
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