Interview with Dino Cocea, from YogaSix Littleton

June 17, 2021 by Jane Chevalier

Tell me about your business.

We are a vinyasa-based yoga and fitness studio where we connect students with breath and movement. Our six core classes fulfill every need, whether someone is looking for a relaxing stretch or a challenging workout that leaves them in a puddle of sweat. Whether you’re a first time guest or a seasoned yogi, our goal is to have everyone leave every class feeling better than when they walked in. At YogaSix we don’t take ourselves too seriously and no matter what your fitness level or yoga experience is we welcome you into our community.

How long have you been in this field and what’s your background?

My wife and I are new to yoga and to owning a small business. My wife is a physician and practiced as an Oncologist at Cedar Sinai in Los Angeles for over 20 years. I have a background in corporate finance and worked in media companies for most of my career. My wife was born and grew up in Colorado and we decided to move here in a few years ago to be near family and to have a chance to spend more time with our kids. We also wanted to have a better work-life balance and spend more time in the outdoors.

What inspired you to create this business, and what makes you different from other ones in your field?

Both my wife and I were athletes in our younger days and understand the benefits of exercising on a regular basis. We wanted to play a small part of offering this opportunity to others as part of a small boutique studio. We chose yoga because it offers a low impact form of exercise that can be practiced by students of almost any age. We were attracted to the smaller size fitness studio because it can offer a more personal experience to our students than the larger fitness gyms can deliver.

How does your business help new parents?

We are helping new parents by giving them an opportunity to have a break from their busy schedule and to exercise both their body and mind. We hope to connect our members with like minded individuals and hopefully contribute to relief some our daily stress.

My Top 5 Things That Got Me Through the Trenches of Immediate Postpartum

June 16, 2021 by Jane Chevalier

Let’s face it – the postpartum period is something that calls for planning, tools and asking for help! Although a lot of planning is needed towards your last weeks of pregnancy to prep for the birth of your baby, so is the time immediately following; the postpartum period.

There were many things and people who got me through my postpartum experience, such as an amazingly supportive partner, family in town and experienced mom friends. But there were 5 major things that I recommend EVERY mama has planned out ahead of time in order to make the most of her postpartum period immediately following birth.

  • Postpartum Doula
  • Mayan Abdominal Massage
  • Benkung Belly Bind
  • Meal Train
  • Cocooning the First Week

Postpartum Doula – Must-have assistants for mama, dada and baby!

  • They are experienced with newborns, so when you need help or a break, they are all over it
  • Most are great cooks (depending on who you hire) and know all the healing meals to make to help you recover from birth
  • Some are lactation consultants (depending on who you hire), so they may be able to assist you with nursing (if you are)
  • They clean – dishes, vacuuming, making the bed, laundry. So you can focus on things like sleeping or bonding with your baby while having an uncluttered space
  • They are angels from heaven – they understand the postpartum ups and downs and may carry healing potions to help with the emotional rollercoaster (mine did!)

Mayan Abdominal Massage – Postpartum nourishment for mama!

  • Gentle abdominal massage that helps your womb (organs, uterus, etc.) get back to feeling “normal” quicker and back in “place”
  • Breast massage included to help with engorgement and clogged ducts
  • Helps bring the nervous system down to a parasympathetic response (calm) from sleepless nights and transitioning to becoming a new parent
  • Helps you feel taken care of after constantly taking care of a new being

Benkung Belly Binding – A must for putting your body back together!

  • Helps “lift” the womb space to assist in organs returning to their pre-pregnancy spots (other belly flatteners do not lift the organs properly)
  • Flattens belly naturally and effortlessly
  • More comfortable compared to other belly binds, but does take time to “bind”, a partner is needed
  • Can purchase off of Etsy like this site where I got mine

Meal Train – Assign a close friend or family member to create a meal train!

  • Don’t have to worry about preparing a bunch of meals ahead of time when you are 9 months pregnant
  • Have healthy foods dropped off by family and friends is supportive
  • Various kinds of meals made by different people is refreshing

Cocooning the First Week – I’ve seen too many times where moms rush to Target the day after they have their baby, not giving their body what it needs – REST!

  • Stay in bed as much as possible the first week – you AND your partner
  • Gives you space, time and energy to bond as a family
  • Gives your body and mind the true restoration it needs (as much as possible with an infant)
  • Snack stations on night stand and meals dropped off by doula, family or friends is a must
  • Netflix on demand via TV or laptop is a must
  • Save the walks for after this week is over, or take small, short ones if you need fresh air

Interview with Cynthia Tinajero, from Mamistad

June 15, 2021 by Jane Chevalier

Tell me about your business.

Mamistad was created to honor and celebrate the journey of first-time pregnant and brand new moms by helping them find others like them to share it with. The goal is to connect first-time pregnant moms, and moms of newborns with others whose babies are (or will be) born within the same 3-4 month range and who will be either stay-at-home or “office” moms. In 2021, Mamistad is now connecting moms outside of the Denver Area as well! All moms are invited to join “My Month” Mamistad Groups and be connected to moms of varying locations who will be delivering their first baby during the same month!

How long have you been in this field and what’s your background?

I have been working with new moms since I started Mamistad in 2006. More than 3000 members later, we have grown to include moms in several Virginia cities as well as moms in Texas and of course, Colorado! My background is in Marketing and I was working with an investment management company in CA before I met my husband and moved to the DC area. I have always adored babies and now, as a mom, I’ve discovered my love for new moms.

What inspired you to create this business, and what makes you different from other ones in your field?

I was inspired to create Mamistad when I was pregnant for the first (and only) time and feeling very alone and isolated. As newlyweds, my husband and I were new to the area and I found it very hard to make new friends, much less pregnant ones! I felt scared and surprisingly unprepared to have a baby. I needed friends to RELATE to! I went online and after a lot of time and effort, I was able to find several other moms who were pregnant with their first baby too. The rest is history. I realized immediately what a gold mine our pregnancy group was for me, and the other moms in my group felt it too. I knew I had to share this experience with other moms to help them feel less overwhelmed, less afraid, less nervous, or even just help them find a place to celebrate and be understood. Mamistad is unique in that I meet every new mom (either virtually or in-person based on their location) before they are placed in a group. There is a spirit of sisterhood to this group that I need to share with moms before I connect them. That way, they all join their groups knowing that their fellow mamas have all agreed to share this spirit of love, support, nurturing and non-judgement.

How does your business help new parents?

First, Mamistad helps new moms feel more empowered to face new motherhood because they are armed with an arsenal of mom friends who know and support them. They go through pregnancy together and basically graduate from “Mommy Bootcamp” together when their babies are born. At that point, they face their next adventure together as new moms. Many groups go on to share their second pregnancies as well. Mamistad helps dads by helping mom feel more at-ease. The new dad community gets nowhere near the attention it deserves, but in Mamistad, we make sure to include dads in the group experience so that they inevitably bond based on their shared experiences as well. When moms AND dads have friends they can both relate to, a Mamistad Community is created. Babies are born into loving and happy environments and this benefits all of us!

To learn more about Cynthia or to find your Mamistad group, visit here.

Benefits of Mom Communities

May 15, 2021

By Gloria Lee


During the first few months of your baby’s life, joining a support group, whether in person or online, can be quite beneficial. Support from other women can be vital to succeed as a new mom or as a mother of multiple children during the early days with a newborn.

Support from Other Moms

Peer support, in which individuals with similar experiences connect, has been shown to be extremely beneficial and essential in sustaining breastfeeding and navigating the transition to motherhood for new families.  (Dennis, Hodnett, Gallop, & Chalmers, 2002). Breastfeeding goals can be met with positive encouragement and reassurance from other mothers, especially if we don’t have enough family support at home. There are also moments when we are unsure of what our newborns require or what their cries are attempting to communicate.  Sharing experiences amongst women undergoing similar life events can assist individuals in coming to terms with their own experiences that will, in turn, enable them to support others (McConville, 1989). You’ve fed, changed, and swaddled your baby, but he’s still grumpy. Getting support from other moms might help you deal with your frustrations.

New Friendships

Joining a group while your child is a baby could also have long-lasting social benefits. “Increasingly, new mothers no longer have access to extensive social systems and a growing body of research has shown that social support is necessary in promoting maternal confidence and optimizing parenting skills” (O’Connor, 2001). One of the most valuable aspects of support groups is the opportunity to meet new moms and form new friendships. It can be a lifesaver to get yourself and your baby out of the house and socialize with other moms. Your babies will be around the same age when you join a support group, and you may be able to raise them together. A new mom support group can have a long-term impact on your life in a variety of ways. When a local group isn’t available, organizations can help new moms with many of the same issues. We strongly encourage you to connect out to other parents in your community, whether in person or online, to form a supportive community around you and your baby. Your child will be used to being in a group and participating in activities in a community by the time he or she is ready for school and the transition will hopefully be simple. As parents, you’ll benefit from social support and connections with other parents. (Coles, 2017)

References

Kruske, S., Schmied, V., Sutton, I., & O’Hare, J. (2004). Mothers’ Experiences of Facilitated Peer Support Groups and Individual Child Health Nursing Support: A Comparative Evaluation. Journal of Perinatal Education, 13(3), 31–38. https://doi.org/10.1624/105812404×1752 

Coles, B. (2017, November 29). The hidden benefits of joining a mothers’ group | Live Better. Medibank Live Better. https://www.medibank.com.au/livebetter/families/new-parents/the-hidden-benefits-of-mothers-groups/ 

Interview with Katie Rennon, from Labor of Love

May 25, 2021

By Jane Chevalier

Tell me about your business.

The Labor of Love Co. is focused on maternal wellness! As a Certified Childbirth Educator, my goal is to prepare parents with all the information they need to make informed birthing decisions in partnership with their care providers. From pregnancy nutrition & fitness, to labor & delivery, to the postpartum period, our classes cover everything parents need to know so they can be confident and equipped with knowledge. As well, The Labor of Love Co. offers pregnancy and postpartum Care Packages to ensure mama is getting the care she needs. Filled with natural & organic goodies, these trimester-specific packages are sure to nourish & pamper mama during this precious season!

How long have you been in this field and what’s your background?

Prior to The Labor of Love Co., I worked in finance & investments–worlds away from being a birthworker! I continued to work in finance after the births of my children, but always had an entrepreneurial spirit. The Labor of Love Co. was born in 2017 after having worked closely with ecommerce and learning about this wild west of business, and I received my instructor certification in 2018!

What inspired you to create this business, and what makes you different from other ones in your field?

Growing up with a mother who is a naturopathic doctor, I was taught so often about the incredible functions of the human body and have always trusted in its abilities and resilience. I birthed both of my children at a freestanding birth center here in Denver, and we took birth education courses for both births. Through these classes I became enamored with pregnancy and childbirth, and knew it was something I was destined to have a hand in. I first created the retail side of the business, but received my certification from Birth Boot Camp in my desire to be more deeply involved with birth. The birth world is composed of so many incredible individuals. I’d say my company is unique because of the wide variety of products and services offered. My vision is that friends and family members are able to gift either Care Packages or classes to their loved ones in an effort to give Mama something that will set her off on the right foot.

How does your business help new parents?

While we all love baby clothes and toys, after a while too much can be unnecessary and overwhelming. A Care Package from The Labor of Love Co. is a special way to ensure Mama is practicing self care; she’s important too! A happy, healthy mama makes for a healthy, happy baby. Classes from The Labor of Love Co. help parents gain the confidence they need to make informed birthing decisions in partnership with their care providers. This confidence carries all throughout their child’s life!

To learn more about Labor of Love, or to purchase a postpartum care package, visit here.

Interview with Jill Jones, from Fit4Mom

May 20, 2021

By Jane Chevalier

Tell me about your business.

FIT4MOM is the nation’s leading company for pre and postnatal health, wellness, and fitness programs for every stage of motherhood. From pregnancy through postpartum and beyond, our fitness and wellness programs help make moms strong in body, mind, and spirit. By providing mom with the support, community and self-care she needs during pregnancy, postpartum and throughout every stage of her motherhood journey, we believe these moms will raise healthy, strong families. FIT4MOM is more than a fitness franchise; we believe in building communities through connecting with local families, businesses, entrepreneurs, and neighborhoods.

How long have you been in this field and what’s your background?

I have been a part of FIT4MOM for over 8 years. I started as a member when my oldest was 8 weeks old. I needed a mom community and a way to safely move my body. Shortly after becoming a member, I knew I was called to do more. I needed to pay the support I received forward, so I became an instructor. I loved the connection, the community and the safe space I was able to facilitate for my local moms. Then 5 years ago I bought the business! I am a group exercise certified instructor. I am certified in FIT4BABY, Stroller Strides, Run Club, Stroller Barre, 360, Body Ignite and Body Well.

What inspired you to create this business, and what makes you different from other ones in your field?

As a new mom I was lost, and needed to find a community of local moms that understood what I was going through. I have always been active so finding a group that was active was so important to me. So when I became a member and saw first hand how this group changed me, I knew that I needed to continue to do this and be a part of this. I needed to help moms find their community, and also teach them how to move their “new” bodies in a healthy way. Whether sleep deprived, post partum, prenatal or where ever they are in in their journey, we are here to provide support and care.

How does your business help new parents? 

FIT4MOM is more than a fitness business. Yes we help moms move their body in every stage of motherhood. But even more so we give them a community of moms and support. A place where they can talk about things that they encounter. Where they can ask questions. And where they can find friends, and also their little ones first friends. Along with that FIT4MOM helps teach moms and little ones that fitness is fun, and moving our bodies in a healthy way is fun!

To learn more about Fit4Mom or to sign up for your first Fit4Mom class, visit here.

Interview with Dr. Rebecca Campbell, from Integrated Physical Therapy

May 1, 2021

By Jane Chevalier

Tell me about Integrated Physical Therapy.

We are a woman-owned and run physical therapy clinic specializing in all things pelvic health (for both women and men), TMJ, and general orthopedics. We are also an all-doctorate practice with many specialty trainings under our belts, including Functional Dry Needling, courses for urinary and bowel health, and even therapeutic Pilates, to name a few.

We take a truly “Integrated” approach (see what I did there?) by looking at the person as a whole, not just the body part in question. This reinforces healing which understands that the body’s systems (muscles, nerves, digestive, immune, etc.) are not only all connected, but that the body and mind are inextricably tied as well.

How long have you been in this field and what’s your background?

Our clinic has combined experience of over 40+ years, with much of that coming from our owner– Dr. Lori Buxton– who was a pioneer in bringing pelvic health to not only Littleton but Colorado at large. She continues to be an incredible mentor for the next generation of therapists such as myself and my colleague, Dr. Cynthia Huang.

Prior to this I personally worked in developmental rehab for kiddos with cerebral palsy and other neuro-diverse presentations, but ultimately knew I was more interested in working with the parents—especially the mothers. On the other end of the spectrum, Cynthia came from an engineering background, and together I think the 3 of us offer unique but complementary approaches that ultimately produce an evidence-based, holistic practice where you feel like you’ve known your therapist for years (and sometimes you have!).

What inspired you to create this business, and what makes you different from other ones in your field?

Integrated Physical Therapy has been lucky enough to be part of the pelvic health and south Denver community since 2001, and was originally opened because there was little to no rehab specializing in pelvic floor and TMJ in the area at the time. What began as an attempt to meet our community’s needs has turned into a lively clinic full of patients who seek our care knowing we honor not only what the science says, but also their experiences and what will work best for them individually.

Because we are a private practice, we have more flexibility around how our time is spent, and each of the 3 therapists who work here have sub-specialties at which we excel, such as prenatal/postpartum, male pelvic health, etc. We never use aides or techs—our treatments are always one on one to make sure you get the most out of your visit time. We are also highly collaborative in that we send visit notes and your care plan to whomever else on your birth or reproductive health team you’d like to be included in the process. As an interdisciplinary bonus, we offer massage therapy in-house to ensure you get enough hands-on treatment to expedite your recovery and promote overall well-being.

How does your business help new parents? 

Specializing in prenatal and postpartum therapies allows us to collaborate with new parents in their greatest time of transition. This is such an exciting time of life but can also be overwhelming for both mind and body. I love being a resource for what is healthy and “normal” vs. what warrants treatment, as we are often not told what to expect physically—especially after baby is born. Sometimes this means re-training a woman’s bladder to eliminate urinary urgency and frequency, helping dad learn baby-carrying and lifting strategies to reduce neck or back pain, pelvic floor rehab to curb urinary leaking, or hands-on treatment for hip pain while the body is learning how to grow into its postpartum changes.

Additionally, I work with so many women who have been told, whether by a friend, family member, or even a healthcare provider, that “these things just happen” after having a baby/reaching a certain age/etc. I am grateful to be in a career that allows me to disrupt that harmful narrative and get new parents the support they need and deserve.

To learn more about Dr. Becca, or to schedule an appointment, please visit here.

Benefits of Physical Therapy for the Pelvic Floor

April 24, 2021

By Gloria Lee & Jane Chevalier

What are Pelvic Floor muscles?

Pelvic Floor – it’s a buzz word you hear about during pregnancy…so what is it?

  • Set of muscles that run from the pubic bone in the front to the tailbone in the back, and from one sitting bone to the other, like a hammock (side to side)
  • It is a multilayered, dynamic structure that provides both active and passive support
  • Supports your womb, sexual organs, anus and bladder
  • You use your Pelvic Floor muscles during urination, sex, pregnancy and childbirth

How does the pelvic floor get impacted during pregnancy?

  • Throughout pregnancy, the weight and size of baby stretches out the Pelvic Floor muscles, and the pregnancy hormones soften them; weakening them throughout pregnancy
  • No matter the birth outcome (vaginal or cesarean), all mama’s Pelvic Floor muscles get impacted by pregnancy
  • A weakened Pelvic Floor makes it difficult to control urine function during and post pregnancy
  • Having a healthy Pelvic Floor makes it easier to bounce back from pregnancy

How does Physical Therapy improve Pelvic Floor health?

  • Strengthens and/or opens Pelvic Floor muscles in preparation for birth
  • Maintain Pelvic Floor health
  • Relieves discomfort, fatigue, and dysfunction
  • Prevent urinary symptoms during pregnancy and after

What to expect in Pelvic Floor Therapy:

  • A Physical Therapist (PT) conducts a Pelvic Floor exam
  • PT determines whether you need to contract or expand; not every Pelvic Floor is created equal (not every person’s Pelvic Floor needs Kegel exercises; your PT will determine this)
  • A tailored plan is created based on the state of your Pelvic Floor

Ready to start physical therapy? Check out The List for our recommendations.

References

Kahyaoglu Sut, H., & Balkanli Kaplan, P. (2016). “Effect of Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercise on Pelvic Floor Muscle Activity and Voiding Functions During Pregnancy and The Postpartum Period. Neurology and Urodynamics, 35(3), 417-422. 

Continence Foundation of Australia. “Pelvic Floor Muscles in Women”. Retrieved April 26, 2021, from https://www.continence.org.au/who-it-affects/women/female-pelvic-floor-muscles

Stoker, J., Halligan, S., & Bartram, C. I. (2001). “Pelvic Floor Imaging”. Radiology, 218(3), 621-641. https://doi.org/10.1148/radiology.218.3.r01mr26621

Interview with Jessie Miller, from Foundations Family Medicine

Tell me about your business. 

Foundations Family Medicine is a family Naturopathic clinic that focuses on preventative medicine, acute and chronic care. Naturopathic doctors focus on getting to the root cause of disease by using both conventional and functional labs, physical exam, and a detailed health history. We use many diverse therapies with an emphasis on lifestyle factors such as nutrition, stress management, movement, as well as herbs (I love to use herbal medicine) and individualized supplements as needed. FFM is a small, relaxed clinic that is open to all walks of life, but has a focus on kiddos and their parents, especially people in their perinatal times. I work adjectively with other healthcare providers as I truly believe a team approach is what healthcare is missing today.

How long have you been in this field and what’s your background?

I spent 4 years getting my undergraduate at CU Boulder in Integrative Physiology, then went on to Seattle for 5 years to get my doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine. While working and schooling, I had job helping in PT clinics, shadowing doctors in low income and diverse communities, as well as focused educations in women’s health, pediatrics and digestive health. I decided to move back to sunny Colorado and open my on clinic, where I am loving helping patients for the past 3 years and counting!

What inspired you to create this business, and what makes you different from other ones in your field?

I saw the need in the healthcare system for doctors that are able to spend more time with their patients (90min first visit) and really focus on the individual instead of just the protocol out of the book. I really believe in the bodies innate ability to heal if given the right environment, and that we can support our health using lifestyle/nutrition as well as therapies that have been on this earth for thousands of years. I use a research-based approach and like to say that I bridge the gap between alternative and conventional medicine. As an ND I can order labs, imaging, refer, and diagnose so that we can get a clear holistic picture of what is going on.

How does your business help new parents?

There is a LOT going on as a new parent and I love to support families in this time. Whether its optimizing conception, supporting the pregnancy with safe and natural therapies, education around what to expect and postpartum preparation (this is very important!), or being there to answer postpartum questions related to both mom and babies health and well being, I can help with it all! Our current society just doesn’t support the perinatal time like it should, so I can fill in the gaps, answer all your questions about what herbs are safe to use, if this is normal or if it needs to be checked out, and just stop the googling of everything! I also love to do functional testing of nutrients to see how to individualize your supplements and nutrition in all stages of parenthood.

To learn more about Jessie or to connect, contact her here.

Tip Tuesday: Hospital Birth or Birth Center?

March 17, 2021 by Jane Chevalier

Hospitals & birth centers: what are the major differences? I personally have experienced both, as I intended on having a birth center birth, but ended up in a hospital. My care was at a birth center until I was 39 weeks when I then had to transfer to an OB due to my baby being breech.

Birth Center:

  • Size – Smaller; fewer rooms & smaller birth teams
  • Atmosphere – “Cozy”; comfy beds in rooms that make you feel like your “home”
  • Amenities – Hot tubs, birth balls, labor chairs, hammocks and more
  • Support – Most moms go home the same day they give birth
  • Staff – Midwives & nurses
  • Extras – Some birth centers have lactation support & limited meals

Hospital:

  • Size – Larger; more rooms & larger teams (most likely will have different nurses throughout)
  • Atmosphere – Sterile; you will definitely feel like you are in a hospital
  • Amenities – Limited; but more and more now have hot tubs, birth balls and more
  • Support – Most moms stay at least 1 night, maybe more depending on health status & birth
  • Staff – Midwives, OB’s, nurses & lactation consultants 
  • Extras – Lactation support, meals, extra support from nurses and pain management

Many Hospitals such as UCHealth and Rose have BOTH – a birth center within the hospital – best of both worlds!