Monday, November 27, 2017

Together We Box! My new Kool-Aid, Box Union.

By Cheryl Petran, CEO of The Pump Station & Nurtury®

Despite the craziness of the past weekend, I was fortunate enough to squeeze in 3 workouts at BoxUnion with instructors Sydney Rose, Deja and Kyle. What can I say, each special, each inspirational, each helped me find my “Intention.” On Sunday, however, Kyle helped me connect the dots, guiding me on how to try and approach my week which would be filled with work, Jury Duty and finally Inventory in both stores.

As we boxed he reminded us “No Stress. Nothing but gratitude. Find the Gratitude in everything you do,  not just because its Thanksgiving but because it’s going to motivate you, help you, drive out. It’s all about finding what’s special around you.” Kyle was spot on.

For 10 years while I’ve been part of The Pump Station & Nurtury®, I have found my village with the women I’ve met here. With that said, I’ve found it’s so important to have time where I get to be with me, time where I get to push thru it all. I encourage every new parent to find this space. Find your parenting village and then make sure to find your personal village, a place where you get to focus on you! BoxUnion is my new village… It’s my new happy place. Here are some of the reasons why…
  •  #Best45MinuteSweatInLA (my new favorite hashtag) Time for new parents is a commodity. This is by far the best 45-minute workout you can get! They provide a towel. I suggest you bring a 2nd - you’ll need it.
  • The BoxUnion Team – from the moment you walk in until the moment you leave you are surrounded by the positive energy of everyone that works there. They are pleasant, thoughtful, and welcoming to all. Make sure to thank them when you leave – they’ve earned that!
  • #SupportLocal –The founder of BoxUnion is a local mom who’s looking to create a welcoming space where people can support each other in reaching their fitness goals.
  • It’s dark! No makeup. Hair in pony-tail. Dress comfy and prepare to sweat. No one cares!  Heaven! Through the corner of your eyes, you feel the energy of the others around you. We Box Together! We Sweat Together!
  • The music - I love music. I love being surrounded by music. Even the genres of music I don’t love, I love when I’m there. Try the different instructors. They hand pick their music for 12 rounds of “Butt Kicking Wow!”
  • It’s dark! Did I mention that already? Just you, but no, you’re part of a pack. Jab-Uppercut-Hook-Jab, over and over. The music dulls. You hear your village all hitting the bags as one. They’ve got your back. You’ve got theirs. You are part of the community, a group of people all heading in one direction together, and it’s a positive one.
  •  It gets easier, really. Well, the boxing does – 1-6-3-2. The core exercises are brutal but they will help get you your pre-baby belly back. Wish this existed 10 years ago!
  • You set your bar. It’s not a competition. The instructors will tell you, listen to your body. They are not telling you what you have to do, they are just guiding you. Do what you are comfortable with. Don’t do anything more.
  • Me-time – 45 minutes of time for me and me alone. Yes, while I’m there I’m thinking about my daughter, my family, my life, my work but I’m doing it while I’m doing something amazingly good for me!
  • Endorphins - According to Dr. Jill Campbell, Curriculum Director for our Mommy & Me Program, exercise will boost the release of endorphins, a mood elevator that provides you with a sense of well-being. In addition, when you are doing something good for your body, you feel more in control and connected to your body. This helps you to be kinder and less critical of yourself. When you are doing something healthy for your body, you can’t help but feel better about it.
  • Set Your Intentions - Every day, we need to reset ourselves to what we want, what we need, what will make us happy. Gratitude for being here. Try to be mindful of every moment we live. It’s hard.
  • Community – We work so hard to build this at The Pump Station & Nurtury®. It’s embraced in this safe space at BoxUnion. Move at your own pace. Everyone in this room has your back. They are here to help and support. When you are feeling like you’re exhausted, tired, and spent, look to those around you to carry you…support you…empower you…1-6-3-2…

BoxUnion™ would love to offer The Pump Station & Nurtury® community 
a chance to try one of their classes. BoxUnion™ is a modern fitness experience that builds a fit body and a strong mind. It is designed for all levels with a total body workout that incorporates boxing drills with cardio and weights to the beat of the music! To sign up for one of their offered time slots this week, CLICK HERE! Space is limited so RSVP to grab your bag!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Baby's First Foods: Getting it Right From The Start

By Agatha Achindu, Mom, Wife, Founder, Entrepreneur, Washington Post Contributor, Expert Panelist at LA Baby Show 2017

The moment has arrived. Baby is securely fastened into that spanking new highchair, the chair that cost way too much. Baby is decked out in his cutest outfit, with a freshly laundered matching bib embroidered with "Mama's Boy" in bold lettering. The cameras are ready. Grandma and Grandpa have the still camera on a tripod, while Daddy controls the video. Mama is ready with the shiny new spoon. 

Daddy roars, "Camera - rolling!" 

Mama gently lifts the spoon to baby's mouth. Baby opens his mouth, and in goes a bit of lovely pureed green beans. The room is silent as the camera rolls. Baby, who has thus far only dealt with warm flowing milk from a comforting nipple, suddenly becomes aware that there's something alien on his palate. His eyes grow wide, his face registers a split second of rage. And…SPLAT! Out comes the mush, all over the cute new outfit, the sassy bib and the high chair. Baby screams with anger and betrayal, and knocks the spoon to the floor. 

Daddy yells, "Cut!" Grandpa and Grandma look at each other in dismay. Mom, flustered, runs for a towel. Now what? 

Welcome to one of baby's most exciting milestones - the introduction of solid foods! Parents naturally experience a sense of satisfaction when a new challenge is met. 
The introduction of solid foods presents an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to train baby's palate, and set up a lifetime habit of healthy eating. That is why we want to choose first foods so carefully. First foods should always be pure - free from anything that might have the slightest potential to harm, such as chemical additives, preservatives, synthetic colors and artificial flavors. 

We also want to make sure that the food is bursting with nutrients which is needed for optimal growth and development - it needs to be delicious, because babies are just like adults, they too have good taste, I hear so many parents talk about not being able to eat their baby's food because it tastes so awful but yet feed it to their babies anyway, rule of thumb should be if it tastes that bad to you don't give it to your baby. Whole food, fresh, 
living food is the best -- unlike shelf stable foods, that are overly processed and stripped of beneficial enzymes, other nutritional components and flavor due to super-high heat treatments, cooking the life out of veggies, and allowing even certified organic food to sit for years in warehouses and store shelves. 

I recommend you skip rice cereal even though it is the #1 recommended baby's first food by pediatricians around the country, due to the fact that babies don't have the ability to digest starch and commercial rice cereal is overly processed, if you take out the fortified iron all that is left is starch. Instead of rice cereal try single ingredient Gluten free foods such as pureed organic carrots, avocado, potatoes, squash, pumpkin, peas, parsnips, apples, spinach, sweet potatoes and papaya are all excellent first food choices. with no added flavors, to easily identify allergic reaction. 

I always advise introducing veggies first, and occasionally add in a fruit as a snack, to help your child develop a fondness for both veggies and fruits. At this pivotal point in baby's life, parents can instill good eating habits by allowing baby to taste pure vegetables. Once baby accepts the taste of vegetables, it won't be necessary to sneak in the veggies when your child is older - the flavor will be familiar, and it will be something he or she loves. 

My youngest son, who is now 12 years old, easily accepts everything fresh - raw broccoli and cauliflower, okra, parsley, lettuce and more -- and has done so from the youngest age. I personally believe that when we allow our kids to fall in love with the fresh clean taste of vegetables, they develop a deep appreciation for those flavors, and will crave them throughout life. So, it is very important to let baby's palate acclimate, and not to mask the pure tastes of your child's first foods. Don't give up - offer a veggie over and over, until your child accepts, because they will accept it if you're patient and persistent. 

A word about setting the example: parents must realize that we pass on our eating habits to our children, so take a look at what you're eating. Baby might not like the taste of a certain vegetable if mom or dad shows distaste for it. If you are not a big vegetable lover, make it a point to venture out and try new things. Also, try preparing vegetables in different ways until you find a way that you like it. For example, you may hate Brussels sprouts, because you've only ever tried them steamed; but roasting gives them a completely different flavor and texture that you love. 

I believe with all my heart homemade food is the best food for baby, when you make food at home you use only real ingredients and immediately freeze it to lock-in nutrients, texture, flavor and taste. As a full time working parent I understand just how hectic life gets and sometimes as much as we want to make wholesome food for our precious babies there is not enough time or patience to make it happen. 

I am proud to say that Yummy Spoonfuls® is there for you. We take pride ourselves on making fresh delicious meals that both you and your baby will love, made just the way you would if you had time to make everything from scratch at home - nothing added, not even citric acid - then flash frozen for optimum flavor, nutrition and convenience. Even parents love the taste so much they end up using Yummy Spoonfuls' first foods in smoothies, and other recipes for the whole family. We have won a series of National taste test awards to validate this, as mothers we are also very concerned about harmful toxins, that is the reason why we make our meals with nothing else added to it. We weren't surprised at all when Yummy Spoonfuls® was recently awarded the highest score of any baby food sold in pouches by Clean Label Project- If you have not read the findings of this study where they tested over 500 different baby foods please click link 

Please know, we all can train our little ones to have a positive attitude towards wholesome nourishing food, and it's worth taking the time to do it right. After all, they're only babies once. 

Regardless if you are making your own food or buying here's a list of some foods that you may want to avoid for the very first year, especially if your family has a history of allergies; AND a list of foods that work great as first foods. 

Avoid these foods:
Add these GREAT first foods:
Cow’s milk
Citrus fruits and juices
Egg Whites
Added salt

Add these GREAT first foods:
Butternut squash 
Sweet potato 
Broccoli, Zucchini , Cauliflower (9ms- this can be very gassy for some babies) 

Come see Agatha at the LA Baby Show this weekend! Go to and use code PumpStation50 to get 50% off your tickets!

Friday, September 29, 2017

How A Postpartum Doula Will Soon Save Your Day (Cape Not Included)

There’s a reason they say it takes a village. Because as a new parent – it really does.
Photo Credit: Klose Up Photography

Being a new parent isn’t easy, that’s been pretty well established. In fact, if you talk to any new parent, they will likely not hesitate to tell you that as AMAZING as it is to bring a new baby into the world and into your life, navigating through those first few days and months is anything BUT easy! Even the most experienced parents struggle with figuring out how to juggle it all: the sleeping, the feeding, the diaper changing, soothing, swaddling, the shushing, (lots and lots of shushing), oh, and wait: I also have to tend to my partner, too? It can seem almost impossible to keep it all together, no matter how many times you watch those viral videos of dads cooing their babies to sleep or double tap on those #motherhoodunplugged Instamom photos. 

So, what is the answer? Is there an answer; a solution? Or are we just left to dwell in the mucky, murky somewhat glistening waters of new parenthood? 

Ok, ok, perhaps we’re sounding a bit dramatic here, but the truth is, as rewarding and surreal as this baby adventure is, it can make you feel down right nuts!!! Before motherhood, many of us started each day in control, accomplished a million things easily, and had good energy levels (probably encouraged by loads of caffeine). Nearly every move throughout the day – we dictated. As a new parent … well, a lot of that changes. 

On top of that, the problem many families face is that even when they succumb to the idea of seeking out help, especially those first few weeks and months, finding that help can be a challenge. As Dr. Harvey Karp, founder of “Happiest Baby on The Block” and creator of the SNOO Smart Sleeper®, often points out, “We used to live in an age where our parents, or close family members were our neighbors, we had that village. But that’s just not the case anymore.” Most families in today’s societies do not live near their immediate family members, nor do they feel comfortable reaching out to their neighbors to ask for help, and friends, well even many of those have families of their own that are struggling to “keep it all together.” So where does this leave us modern day millennial mamas? Well, it leaves us feeling defeated, frustrated, tired, guilty, and often, sadly enough, even clinically depressed.

So again, we ask, what is the answer? What are your options? Do you want the good news or bad news first?
Photo Credit: Klose Up Photography

Let’s start with the bad news. Here’s the deal, YOU. CAN’T. DO. IT. ALONE! Let’s rephrase can, in fact, we know  most humans are capable of AMAZING feats, and MAMA’s, you are especially known to exhibit some serious super human powers,  but at what price; your mental health, your physical health, your child’s health, your relationship?

The good news? There are options, there are resources… and they’re pretty much a click away. As we mentioned above, we know that every day, all around the world, millions of mothers are taking phenomenal care of their newborn babies all on their own. We admire, commend, respect, and are truly inspired by them. But, if you live in the Los Angeles, or Orange Country area, we want you to know you have options, you have resources and we promise you, there is no better investment as a new parent, than the one you will make when you hire a postpartum doula

If in between the hormonal tears and the lack of sleep, you realize that your new baby isn’t going to just easily integrate into your existing life and your expectations of balancing it all – because you’re awesome – have fallen short, it’s ok to ask for help! Here at The Pump Station & Nurtury, we have an amazing team of postpartum doulas just waiting to meet you and pass along their knowledge and baby expertise. We’re here to lean on- to guide, educate & empower you so you can experience a new level of internal joy with your precious bundle. I mean, if you don’t believe us, just check out this screen shot from one of our doula’s daily logs.

And that’s just one day! Imagine the comfort of knowing that a trained professional who truly cares for the wellbeing of you AND your baby is available to help you day and night, as you begin your parenting journey? Can you feel the stress just dissipating away? 

Moms, look, you are still able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. But you don’t need to prove you’re a superhero to ANYONE! That perfect mom you see sashaying down the lane with her quiet, beautiful baby just cooing away in her pricey pram … she isn’t doing it alone. She’s got a village behind her. And chances are, she’s leaning on a doula to help prop her up. 

Click here to see just some of the resources and wisdom our amazing doula team can bestow upon you.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

10 Reasons for your Baby to do "Tummy Time"

By Marilee Hartling, RN, MFT
Did you know that Pediatricians and physical therapists are concerned that babies are spending too much time on their backs when they are awake? Parents are encouraged to get their babies to spend at least 30 minutes a day on their tummies while they are awake. We call this "Tummy Time". Parents sometimes forget how important it is to have their infants spend time on their tummies!  However, it's often difficult to get babies to play in this position. Babies generally resist "Tummy Time" and may protest loudly when parents turn them over. Babies who have not been put on their tummies from the very beginning may experience this as an unfamiliar position and babies don't particularly like positions that are unfamiliar.

 The Top Ten Reasons for your Baby 
to do "Tummy Time"

l. "Tummy Time" gets babies off of their backs and provides a break for the posterior occipital area (back of the head). This lessens the chance that your baby will develop positional plagiocephaly (a flat or asymmetrical head), which might require helmet therapy.

2. "Tummy Time" lessens the chance that your baby will develop acquired torticollis which involves neck muscle shortening when a baby's head maintains primarily one position. Sometimes babies may need some physical therapy for a while to correct this condition.

3. "Tummy Time" promotes the development of strong head and neck muscles by allowing your baby the chance to hold his head up against gravity. This paves the way for your baby to push up, roll over, sit up, and crawl later. "Tummy Time" is related to faster achievement of these developmental milestones.

4. "Tummy Time" is great for stretching and giving the abdominal organs a sort of "massage" which then stimulates normal bowel functioning and can help to eliminate baby gas.

5. "Tummy Time" enhances posture and coordination.

6. "Tummy Time" helps to develop your baby's visual system including tracking.
As your baby lifts his head while on his tummy he looks to both sides. This helps the coordination of 2 eyes together as he follows movement and looks for interesting toys positioned in front of him.

7. "Tummy Time" helps to develop your baby's throat and mouth area muscles as your baby looks up and moves his head. These are some of the muscles needed for speech and language development later.

8. "Tummy Time" reduces any tightness in the head and neck muscles. For your baby's brain and nervous system to function at their best the head and neck muscles need to be as free as possible from tightness.

9. "Tummy Time" helps babies to develop both near and far vision. We call this "visual organization" which begins while they are on their tummies. "Visual organization" is especially important later on when your baby grows and finally goes to school. He will need this organization as his eyes switch back and forth from blackboard to desk.

10. "Tummy Time" simply promotes good health and prevents problems related to motor development and learning later. Prevention of problems is always better and easier than trying to fix problems after they happen.

Learn how to get your baby to LOVE "Tummy Time".  We will give you ideas and activities you can utilize at home, some of which we will actually practice during the workshop, to make sure your baby gets enough "Tummy Time" throughout the day. Our "Tummy Time" activities are enjoyable for both babies and parents. You and your baby will have fun! For more information about "Tummy Time” or to ask questions about the content in this blog, contact: 
Marilee Hartling, RN, MFT at (323) 655-5580 or visit

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Join a Mommy & Me Group and get 20% off...

by Jill Campbell, PsyD, Mommy & Me curriculum Director at The Pump Station & Nurtury®
  1. This class is a great way to bond with your baby and learn about all things related to your baby’s development such as how your baby matures emotionally, cognitively, socially and physically. We incorporate songs and developmental play into every class.
  2. We’ve all heard the expression that it takes a village to raise a child. The Pump Station & Nurtury’s Mommy & Me Program is the place where you come to grow your village of support. Here you will meet other women with babies the same age as yours. Being a new mom can be very isolating, but when you become part of our mommy & me community, you are sharing this experience with other new moms. We have created a safe haven where you will not feel judged. Many women develop life long friendships in these classes.
  3. You will learn practical and useful information on topics such as infant sleep, language development, renegotiating your relationship with your partner, introducing solids, empathic limit setting, and so much more! 
  4. Based on a mindful parenting philosophy, we teach new moms how to be attuned to their child’s inner world. We will support you in learning how to trust your intuition and parent in a way that honors your authentic self. Women gain confidence and trust in themselves in this new role of being a parent.
  5. Our mommy and me facilitators are all trained licensed therapists with backgrounds in child development.
For more information on our Mommy & Me/Parent & Me Groups email or visit the following resource links below.