Self Love, Mind-Body-Spirit, Parenting

Hypnosis for Children

I’ve had the pleasure of many amazing clients under the age of 18 (many of them under the age of 12) come through my hypnotherapy practice in the past few years, and after seeing similar issues come up over and over again (in my own child as well!) I decided to make a set of short hypnosis tracks to support children with the trickiest issues such as sleep, fears and phobias, potty training and bed wetting, and much more.

All recordings are under 10 minutes and follow a very specific formula geared towards offering children a clear, gentle, and effective experience.

If you’re interested, check them out here. (P.S. The page takes a few seconds to load.)

Here is a complimentary sample for you to check out 🙂

Childbirth, Pregnancy, Self Love

Serena Williams’ Photo Backlash Is A Sad Reminder That Pregnancy Body Shaming Still Exists

Fact: Pregnancy is related to sex and the naked female body. So, why are women being shamed for connecting to their innate sexiness and showing off their bare bellies?

Serena Williams recently appeared pregnant and nearly nude on the cover of Vanity Fair. Her beautiful image made me proud to be a woman, causing words like empowerment, courage, and goddess to float through my mind. But for others, words like “disgusting” and “trashy” floated from their minds and onto the internet, contributing to a disappointing trend of body-shaming pregnant woman who publicly display their pregnant form.

It’s not just celebrities who are being told to put their bare bellies away. When I was eight months pregnant, I went to the beach in a two-piece, trying to survive the triple digit temperature of the day. As soon as I plunked down into a beach chair, a woman rolled up to me and said, “Ma’am, please cover your belly. There are children at this beach.” I didn’t cover my belly.

I also recently received a tearful call from a pregnant girlfriend who had received negative comments from her in-law’s friends telling her the exposed-belly photos she had been posting on Facebook were “shameful.” She took them down.

Read more on Babble

Camping, Travel

The 7 Hiking Trails You Should Know in Ojai, California

When the downtown district of Ojai, California fills with shoppers, art enthusiasts, spa goers, and Los Angelenos looking to get out of the city for a few days, the hiking trails scattered in and around Ojai allow explorers to escape jockeying for a parking spot, swiping their credit card, and caring whether their vintage jeans are garnering envy.

If you’re such an explorer, head to Ojai to fill your schedule with swimming holes, wild flowers, water falls, nature-carved rock sculptures, an occasional skinny-dipper sighting, and so much more. You could spend a lifetime traversing these trails and not see it all. Here are the seven hikes that need to be on your radar next time you and your hiking boots tromp into town.

Read more on TripSavvy

Career, Parenting, Self Love

This 10-Year-Old Kid Reporter Is Following Her Dreams And Inspiring Others To Do The Same

If sports or socializing aren’t your thing, navigating school as an adolescent can be challenging.Avid reader Shayna Anne Rose, 10, discovered this truth in second grade when her teacher told her she could no longer read at recess and needed to interact with classmates.

To cope with this shift, Shayna started a class newspaper on the advice from her mom, Julie Rose, where she interviewed other students during recess. The paper was such a hit, classmates volunteered to help. Soon, Shayna had a “staff.”

As Shayna’s interviews grew in popularity, she reached beyond the playground and began interviewing teachers, police officers, and firefighters. The tipping point came when Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker agreed to be interviewed by the budding journalist. This interview was quickly followed by a chat with New England Patriot’s Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski, and two rather well-known people with the last names Clinton and Trump.

Read more on Babble

Childbirth, Reviews and Giveaways

ZenBands: A Fave Birthing Product

A major complaint I hear from birthing women who want to use headphones to listen to music or a relaxation recording (and in one case a salacious romance thriller audiobook) during birth is that the headphones hurt their often sensitive ears.

Solution?

I’ve been using a product called ZenBands (that I was not paid to promote) with my last few birth doula clients and they’re loving it. The ZenBand is a soft headband with flat builtin speakers, so you can have your private listening experience without sticking something in your ears. Check it out 🙂

http://www.bloomingwellness.com/product/zenband/

#childbirth #productrecommendation

Childbirth, Pregnancy, Press

A New Perspective On Self-Care {book excerpt}

Exercise does not have to be held together by laces, sweat-wicking spandex, and a Jillian Michaels playlist you found in a fitness magazine. Toning and stretching your muscles and livening up your heart rate can happen anyplace, anytime. Of the suggestions below, some are a few of the endorphin-eliciting quickies I partook in while my uterus was packing a baby, and some are ideas from the human-making babes I’ve worked with. I encourage you to try these, then work out your creative nature by thinking up new ways to get in a quickie.

  • Squats: While you’re doing dishes, scrolling through your phone, or engaging in any other stationary activity, squat into it. A squat is an excellent way to prep your birthing muscles and get comfortable assuming the most effective birthing position, which is . . . a squat. Play around with the squat until you find a position that you feel secure in while it’s causing your glutes and thighs to tighten. No need to assume a full squat; bending your knees a bit and lowering your tush a few inches is effective. Squat for as long as you feel comfortable, and upgrade the benefits by dropping some Kegels into the mix.

Read more on SarahMaclaughlin.com

Childbirth, Guilt & Forgiveness, Pregnancy, Self Love

How I Stopped Being Ashamed of My Reproductive System

When a large cyst was found in my left ovary, a cyst that might be the first whisper of endometriosis, I felt shame: shame that I might not be able to conceive again, shame that this cyst had grown without my knowledge, shame that I must be broken.

Shame sauntered into that examination room, handed me a cold platter of pity, and said, “Infertility issues, huh? You should probably feel like less of a woman.”

And I did. As I walked out of the clinic I felt like a shaving of the whole woman who had walked in an hour prior. I eyed the other women in the waiting room, wondering what messages shame was feeding them.

After two hours crying in my car, and being the life of a raging pity party, I called bull.

Read more on circle & bloom

Childbirth, Pregnancy

Essential Questions to Ask Care Providers When Considering a VBAC

If your last baby was birthed via a cesarean section it means your chances of a vaginal birth are dashed forever, right? Wrong.

There is a prevalent misconception that a cesarean birth should beget another cesarean birth. But, what if a vaginal birth after a cesarean birth (a VBAC) was actually safer for many women? An American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) bulletin says, “A VBAC avoids major abdominal surgery, lowers a woman’s risk of hemorrhage and infection, and shortens postpartum recovery.”

Despite this statement by a trusted organization, many care providers are hesitant to support a VBAC because of their fear of the mother experiencing a uterine rupture, but according to ACOG, if you had a previous cesarean with a low transverse incision, your risk of uterine rupture in a vaginal delivery is .2 to 1.5% – aka it’s a very low risk.

So, if you have dreams of a VBAC know that that can be a very real and safe possibility for you, as long as you have a care provider who fully supports your desire.

To begin the process of finding such a care provider, reach out to friends in your area who have had a VBAC and ask for their care provider’s information. If referrals are not an option, do some online research, or ask your current care provider if they have any recommendations (if they are not willing to support a VBAC.) Then, create a list of a few care providers you would like to interview.

Before you sit down with a care provider, call ahead to confirm they’ll agree to attend a VBAC – don’t waste your time with a NO care provider. You want a YES man, or woman.

When you’re meeting with the candidates, make sure to ask them the questions below – these questions are not just intended to elicit information, they provide you with the opportunity to read the body language, tone of voice and overall vibe of the care provider as they answer your queries – these signs might just be more telling of whether they are a good fit for you, than what they’re actually saying.

As you move through these questions, keep in mind that you’re looking for a care provider that openly expresses their authentic enthusiasm for not only VBACs, but enthusiasm for supporting your unique body and baby through a VBAC.

You also want to be sure the care provider is willing to work with you on the emotional aspects of a VBAC, or at the very least embrace the presence of a birth doula who will support you in this way.

Do you feel comfortable with VBACs? The most authentic piece of the care provider’s answer to this question will likely live in their initial reaction. If they immediately seem enthusiastic, that’s a good sign. If they seem ambivalent, but then say they would be willing to support you in a VBAC, be wary of their initial timidity.

How many VBACs have you attended? What were the outcomes? You want the care provider to have attended many successful VBACs. If they’ve attended multiple VBACs, but most ended in cesarean, take this as a potential sign that this care provider supports VBACs at face value, but really feels most comfortable with a repeat cesarean birth.

What is your cesarean birth rate? You want this number to be low.

What is the general VBAC philosophy of the hospital I would deliver in? If for whatever reason your VBAC-supportive care provider isn’t able to attend your birth, you want to be certain that the hospital you’ll be delivering in is supportive of VBACs, and has a low cesarean birth rate.

Am I a good candidate for a VBAC? I placed this question after the fore-mentioned ones because it’s important to gain a sense of the care provider’s philosophy on VBACs before having them assess if you would be a good candidate. If it seems clear that they do not fully support VBACs, this may skew their assessment of your candidacy. If it’s clear that they’re in favor of VBACs, you’ll likely receive a more unbiased evaluation.

Common reasons a woman won’t be a good candidate for a VBAC are the presence of twins, a breech baby, placenta previa and fetal distress.

Take comfort in knowing that, according to the American Pregnancy Association, 90% of women who have had a cesarean birth are candidates for a VBAC.

How confident are you that I’ll have a successful VBAC? While there is no way for a care provider to guarantee that you will have a VBAC, your experience will be more positive if they express confidence in your body’s ability to move through a VBAC, and their ability to ensure you stay safe.

By asking these questions you are being a strong advocate for yourself and your baby, and increasing the chances that you will move into your VBAC with a care provider who is also one of your greatest advocates- this is not a privilege, it is your right. You want to feel as though you’re in a partnership with your care provider.

Claiming your right to have a supportive care provider will ensure you experience the birth you’re meant to have. You got this.

Childbirth, Mom Humor, Parenting, Pregnancy, Press

Fun Interview on What Matters Most with Paul Dolman!

“What a joy to interact with Bailey Gaddis (find her on Twitter!), a dynamic and inspiring woman who is clearly on a mission to brighter the world with the vast knowledge she has acquired through her many experiences.”

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Childbirth, Pregnancy

Should I Take A Childbirth Class If I’m Going To Have A C-Section? You’re Still Giving Birth

* A piece by Shannon Evans on Romper I was quoted in.

After a long conversation with your OB-GYN, you’ve decided together that this baby of yours will be born via C-section. Whether it took you a while to make your peace with it or was your preference all along, women who plan to give birth non-vaginally often wonder, “Should I take a childbirth class if I’m going to have a C-section? Or is it just a big waste of time?”

Childbirth preparation educator Bailey Gaddis says she often has moms planning C-sections in her classes, which she always strongly encourages. In an interview with Romper, Gaddis says, “These women say they enjoy the classes because although they won’t have use for birth positions, or understanding the common phases of a vaginal labor, they can utilize almost every other tool I teach to have a calmer experience during their surgical birth. For example, many of them say the breathing techniques, affirmations, relaxation recordings, and other techniques I offered them in class were incredibly useful before, during, and after surgery.”

Additionally, Gaddis explains that she has her C-section moms create cesarean birth preferences during class to help them feel more empowered during birth. According to her, some of the most frequent preferences she sees identified are choosing to not have your arms restrained, choosing the music to be played in the delivery room, and requesting that the medical staff limits their conversation to strictly be about mom and baby. These are simple enough, but a woman might not think of them ahead of time were she not in a childbirth class empowering her to do so.

Read more on Romper!

Airplane Travel, Parenting, Travel

Mom Bloggers Share the 18 Things That Are Lifesavers While Traveling with Kids

*Reader’s Digest family travel article, by Lisa Marie Conklin, I contributed three tips to.

Sing a soothing song

Even if you can’t carry a tune, your kids can be lulled into quiet time or sleep with a song. “A week before you leave on your trip, choose a soothing song to sing to your child every night at bedtime that they associate with calming down,” suggests Bailey Gaddis, author of Feng Shui Mommy. This go-to methods helps mom and kid settle down after a weary day of traveling. If you have a fidgeter, Gaddis suggests telling your child to close their eyes, watch your face or have them focus on a calming object so they don’t get distracted.

Scavenger hunt

Sightseeing can become boring for kids which usually leads to meltdowns. Gaddis gives her son a scavenger hunt to keep him engaged. “I make a list beforehand of common plants, animals, structures, or objects we’re likely to come across as we sight see. I then read him the list on the way to get him excited about the activity,” says Gaddis. If the kids run through the list before you’re done sightseeing, just add more on the fly.

Meditation

Gaddis spends a few minutes every morning meditating on how she would like the trip to play out and attaches those positive emotions to positive outcomes. “This will send you into your trip exuding a positive attitude that will be absorbed by your children,” says Gaddis. While traveling, Gaddis meditates with her son each morning. They close their eyes and visualize how they want the day to go. They share what they visualized, including the emotions, challenges, strengths and family bonding. “My son tells me what flavors of ice cream we’ll eat at the end of day!” To further appreciate the travel experience the pair often meditates during the day. “We also have meditation moments throughout the day, where we take a moment to really take in how beautiful a flower is, how interesting a piece of tree bark is, what our hand feels like in a cool creek or ocean, and anything else that helps up slow down and be present in our vacation,” says Gaddis. “I’ve noticed that this also helps prevent us from feeling like our vacation flew by—in a good way!”

Read more on Reader’s Digest!

Childbirth, Pregnancy

All The Gross Stuff About Birth That Other Moms Will NEVER Tell You

Two words: Poop particles.

When you wipe away the romantic veneer of bringing a new human into the world, you’re met with blood, sweat, and tears (of all kinds), for many hours. But few women will get into specifics of the messiness of childbirth because it makes for stomach churning chitchat.

While it’s not pleasant to discuss, it’s important to be aware of the grime that comes with birth to help fortify your grittiness: an essential ingredient to pushing a human out of your vagina. So, I’m going to be your inappropriate girlfriend and fill you in on the gross stuff that happens during birth and all the ickiness you can expect from a vaginal birth.

Warning: This article is not to be paired with a meal.

Childbirth, Pregnancy, Press, Reviews and Giveaways

Review of Feng Shui Mommy on Peace to the People

“I genuinely recommend this book to any future mama or any woman curious about pregnancy, motherhood, or learning more about this ultra-transformational time in mother’s lives. Feng Shui Mommy is an intelligent blend of scientific understanding melded with an intuitive trust of ourselves, our desires, and needs as wise and knowledgeable women.”

Read more on Peace to the People!

Family Entertainment, Parenting

Fresh Idea for Summer Fun With a Preschooler

The summer is long, so long – especially when you have the task of keeping a preschooler, with an attention span shorter than the nail on their chubby little pinky finger, entertained and educated. Oy vey.

My little nugget has been especially interested in colors lately, so, the following activity from Education.com helped us splash some learning cloaked in fun onto our summer.

(Hudson enjoys his custom made flash cards so much he takes them on road trips and pairs the colors with passing vechicles, road signs, plants, or random food particles scattered throughout our car.)

 

What You Need:

  • Card stock or other sturdy paper (index cards work well too)
  • Scissors
  • Markers in a rainbow of colors

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What You Do:

  • Begin by talking about color with your child, using the markers as a guide. Take each marker out of the package one at a time and ask him to name the colors as you go along.

 

  • Cut the card stock into 5″ x 7″ rectangles. If you’re using index cards, move on to step 3.

 

  • Have your child draw a picture of a flower, plant, or other spring thing on the front of each card, using only one color for each card.

 

  • Now turn each card over and write the name of the color you used on that card on the back using the same color marker. For some handwriting practice, try writing the words lightly in pencil first, then having her trace over the letters in marker.

 

  • Now it’s time to play! Take the cards outside. Choose one card and ask your child to name the color, then turn the card over to reveal the color word.

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  • Now look around outside and find something natural (like a tree or flower) that’s the same color as the card.

 

  • Once you’ve found something, turn to your child and say, “I spy something with my eye that is the color_____”. Encourage him to try and find the object you chose. Give him descriptive word clues to help point him in the right direction. If he guesses another object that is the right color, let him know that his pick is also correct.

 

  • Continue playing by repeating steps 5-7 for the rest of the color cards. Once he finds all the colors, he wins!

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During the course of the game, invite your child to select unique adjectives to describe each color. Encourage him to get creative with his word choices and use his imagination 🙂

Uncategorized

The Feminism Being Woven Into Commonly Male-Centered Media

When I walked out of my bathroom last Halloween, dressed as Marvel’s Black Widow, the first thing my son said was, “Wow mama, you look strong.” And I felt strong.

Dressing up like a female character that needed little saving, and instead claimed her power to protect herself and heal her own emotional wounds, made me have a highly coveted proud mom moment.

 

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I never thought much more about superhero gender roles (a course that should be offered in universities?!) until I recently previewed the new Marvel Universe Live Age of Heroes show brought to life by family entertainment juggernaut Feld Entertainment.

What I discovered was a feminist sub-culture in the Marvel Universe, full of butt-kicking, norm-hacking, damsel-in-distress rejecting badass chicks showing the boys how it’s done.

This show included Marvel women (that even I was privy to) like Black Widow and Guardians of the Galaxy’s Gamora, but new (to me) female empowerment heroes like the witty Wasp, and sexy villains Black Cat and Nebula were also present. And, when mixed with a fleet of popular male characters, guess who was keeping their cool when the boys were lashing out with often-ineffective action? That’s right – the ladies.

 

Black Widow
Photo Credit: Feld Entertainment

 

While the existence of these characters is no surprise to Marvel devotees, they were unknown to me: a fresh Marvel enthusiast who now plans to dress up like a different female superhero every Halloween, and maybe every birthday as well, because why not.

But, more noteworthy than the feminine characters (who are writing a new definition of feminine) are the female fighters, dancers, motorcycle wizards, and more who are bringing them to life. These ladies are just as buff and skilled as their male counterparts, and are so savvy in conjuring the essence of heroes that many play some of the male characters. These women left me slack jawed and inspired to learn some motorcycle tricks… or maybe just take a kickboxing class.

 

 

There’s even a performer, Louie Musselman, who is such a savant she can play every female role in the show, which translates into countless kicks, jumps, motorcycle flips, and more. I wouldn’t mind being her when I grow up.

 

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Lou Musselman (Stillman Valley, IL) – Female Super Swing

 

I would assume that an action heavy show such as this would be brought to you by men, but no, a petite powerhouse, Juliette Feld, is the force behind the show, working with her sisters Nicole and Alana Feld to run the largest family entertainment business in the world, which includes other productions I used to equate with super charged testosterone: Supercross, Arena Cross, and Monster Jam.

Beyond Marvel’s team of women, there are other female superheroes stepping into public glory – ever heard of a little movie called Wonder Woman? It seems brands that commonly focus on the men have finally come around to the realization that women are just as capable, and often more complex and interesting, than the dudes, making them prime candidates to be the stars of these multi-million dollar franchises.

With the increasing unease I’ve felt with the American culture, I’ve been heartened by the fortified power and sense of purpose women like this (both fictional and real) are unapologetically splashing into the world. Members of this phenomenal gender are creating this change through words, images, acting, business decisions, and a multitude of other ways they’re allowing their intricate, ballsy (or “womby”?), and paradigm shifting roars be seen, felt, and heard.

You go girls.

Parenting, Pregnancy, Sponsored Posts

5 Ways to Enjoy Sending Custom Cards or Invites

Sponsored Post: This post was sponsored by Basic Invite, a company offering high quality stationery and custom invites and announcements for weddings, births, graduations, and all of life’s other special moments. I don’t post many of these because I only accept sponsored post opportunities from companies offering services or products I already use, and have an ideology I can get behind. 
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My grandmother recently told me that if I can learn to weave spirituality into mundane tasks my life would grow flowers where there once was boring mud. Strangely, this made me think of the act of sending out thank you cards and “real” (versus digital) invites.
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My son’s birthday is coming up, and I know that every aunt, granny, and traditional friend that gives a gift will expect a handwritten thank you note in response. My usual response would be, “ugh, do I have to?” But, what if I tried to weave spirituality into this task? What would that look like?
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Here are some thoughts on how I’m going to make this task more enjoyable:
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1. Find joy in seeking out a beautiful card: I recently discovered that I love navigating card designs on sites like Basic Invite until I land on The One. And then, I easily while away an hour tinkering with colors and fonts until everything is just right. 
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When I begin to feel like I should be doing something “more important” I remind myself that I’m crafting something that will serve as a reminder to the recipient that I’m thinking of them, or want to share an exciting piece of my life with them. Speaking of which… my husband and I are thinking of creating baby number two, so I decided to begin manifesting that baby by ordering a sample of a baby shower invite from Basic Invite with her (I’m assuming it will be a girl) future name and potential birth date. Weird? Kind of – but it’s a fun and tangible reminder of the future.
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And I don’t know why I left the time as 8:30 PM – I will not be awake at that time when pregnant. #GrannySleepSchedule 
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2. Have fun with written messages: As easy as it is to scribble a generic message in cards that require a custom message, I feel the meaning and joy being sucked out of the card with every “Thanks for the birthday gift! My child loves it!” – blah.
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I don’t need to wax poetic about the toy I’m sending a thank you for, but it can be fun to think of a quick anecdote or witty comment to share about the gift and how it’s being enjoyed. 
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Basic Invite Stationary
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3. Connect to how appreciated the recipient might feel when they receive the card: Although I don’t hold it against someone for not sending a thank you card (because I’m usually that person!) I always enjoy receiving a real-live-non-email message in the mail.
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The card makes me think of the person who sent it, and evokes that warm and fuzzy feeling of connection. So, as I’m crafting a card I think about how the card will make someone feel, and use that idea to help me relish the process.
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This little nugget is now a giant 4-year-old, but it was fun to go back in time and create this sample announcement.
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4. Don’t burn out: I know folks who send a card to everyone down to their postman (or woman!) for every holiday, anniversary, or lost tooth (seriously) and then report a sense of resentment over this tedious obligation they’ve laid upon themselves. 
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Instead of sending cards for everything, I’m going to hold out for the special occasions when I feel inspired to connect with loved ones via an aesthetically pleasing card and a personal note (in the case of a thank you or congratulations).
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5. Have my son participate in the thank you card process: The first time my son cared more about the present portion of a package, than the cardboard or paper exterior it was wrapped in, he quickly ripped into one after the other with little regard for who gave it to him, or how special that gesture was. So, I’m now going to be one of those super fun moms who has my child pick out and write thank you cards with me so he can tune into the importance of acknowledging the love behind gift giving and receiving. You’re welcome son. 
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If you want a feast of gorgeous card options, like chic baby shower invitations and birth announcements, check out Basic Invite. And, if you’re like me and need to see something from every angle before making a decision, you can order samples. 
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Happy selecting, customizing, and sending!
Mind-Body-Spirit

5 Design Principles for a Peaceful Nursery

*Written by WHITNEY HARRIS (This is a piece I was interviewed for.)

Whether your design aesthetic is modern minimalist or shabby chic, it’s helpful to create a calm and peaceful retreat for your baby’s room. You’ll spend countless hours in there feeding, changing, playing with, and soothing your little one, so why not fashion a space that creates a smidge of sereneness for both of you?

We asked a panel of design experts to share their best tips for creating a nursery that soothes both baby and mamma alike—when the munchkin isn’t wailing like a siren, that is.

CHOOSE A CALMING COLOR

There’s a reason people often turn to soft pastels when decorating a nursery. Muted tones are best for soothing baby, and neutrals like whites and grays or soft shades of a single color are particularly calming, say Melisa Fluhr and Pam Ginocchio from Project Nursery, a site featuring DIY tips and advice to help parents design gorgeous rooms for their babies. When it comes to finding that one optimal hue, Pam says to follow your intuition. Each color has an underlying meaning—she says blue is serene, green is about health and renewal, yellow is warmth and hope, orange is inspiring and fun, pink is creativity and nourishment, purple is exploration, and light browns or beiges are nurturing. She warns to avoid red because it can be over-stimulating—save that for the playroom.

KEEP IT AIRY

Choose furniture in lighter finishes and let the rest of the room be open so light can bounce around, say Melisa and Pam. Empty space is a must for serenity and also encourages baby’s exploration, explains Bailey Gaddis, author of Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childhood and Motherhood. She recommends pushing the crib against a wall only if it’s directly behind the baby’s head, which can help promote energy circulation. She also suggests adding air-purifying plants to the room, like her favorite, the peace lily.

Read more on Babyation!