The Secret to Infant Sleep with Melissa Gersin

Tuesday, August 21, 2018


The Secret to dreamy Infant Sleep with Melissa Gersin


Hey Tranquility Tribe!  Welcome to this week’s episode of the Tranquility Tribe podcast!  In this episode, Hehe speaks to Melissa Gersin, a maternity nurse with over six years of experience and the creator of Tranquilo Mat.

About Melissa

Through her experience as a maternity nurse, Melissa has developed a strong passion for soothing crying babies.  Melissa has undergone multiple trainings on calming little ones, including Happiest Baby training and Infant Crying Specialist training through the Department of Public Health.  All of this knowledge has allowed her to teach many of the colleagues and families that she works with about the techniques that she has learned, and has also earned her the nickname of “baby whisperer.”

Melissa came up with her product when she was about three years into her practice.  Late one night, she found herself alone at work with three crying babies (and only two hands!).  While she managed to soothe all three little ones, she realized that there must be an easier, more versatile, and less exhausting way to apply her calming techniques.

The Tranquilo Mat

And that’s when she came up with the Tranquilo Mat, a portable mat with various settings that are meant to soothe babies by mimicking the environment of the womb.  Melissa describes the mat as similar to a yoga mat, but thicker.  It comes in two sizes – the smaller size is roughly the size of a piece of paper, while the larger size is about two-and-a-half times bigger.  There are multiple settings, including very slow, slow, medium, and fast vibrations and slow and fast heartbeat that can be set to shut off after one hour or run continuously.  The Tranquilo Mat runs on batteries and can last for around 60 hours at a time. 

As Melissa points out, the mat is primarily useful for children between zero and six months because at this age, tiny humans have little autonomy or ability to self-soothe and often cry for no real reason.  However, the Tranquilo Mat can really be used for any age, from babyhood all the way up to adulthood!  Melissa has been amazed at the countless uses that the families that buy her mat have come up with.  Thanks to the mat’s portability and multiple settings, the possibilities are truly endless!

The Tranquilo Mat can be used to address many different issues that tiny humans may have with sleep.  One of the most common problems that the mat can help with is the transition from arms to crib – if you’ve ever tried to put a little one down for a nap, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of them fussing as soon as they leave your arms!  One of the great things about the Tranquilo Mat is that it can be molded however you want, so you can hold your tiny human with the mat and then use it for an easy transition to their bassinet or crib when it’s time for them to go to sleep.

As Melissa points out, the Tranquilo Mat can also help with naptime on-the-go – just stick it in the car seat or your diaper bag, and you’ll be able to use it to soothe your tiny human no matter where you are!  The mat is also helpful to induce a calming response in colicky babies; colic can cause your little one to cry uncontrollably, which can be frustrating and exhausting and can even affect bonding between you are your tiny human.  By recreating a womb environment, the Tranquilo Mat can help soothe your baby and give you some much-needed time to rest.

Some other uses that Tranquilo Mat users have found for the mat is to decrease fussiness during doctors’ appointments (especially on vaccination days) or when your tiny human is teething, has gas, or is feeling sick.  The Tranquilo Mat has also been used to help with period cramps, indigestion, pain, anxiety, or trouble sleeping in older kids and adults.  While everyone will have different experiences with their new little ones, the versatility of this mat makes it likely that you will be able to find at least one impactful use for it!

If you would like to learn more about Melissa and the Tranquilo Mat, visit tranquilomat.com or find her on Facebook at Tranquilo Mat or on Instagram at @tranquilomat.  Melissa also posts educational videos and funny pick-me-up posts, so be sure to check it out!  And if you are thinking about investing in a Tranquilo Mat, Melissa is offering a 10% discount for all listeners – just use the code Sleep10!

Don’t forget to join our private Facebook, The Tranquility Tribe Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe!

"Welcome to the Tranquility Tribe"



Written by our Guest Blogger, Kyra Shreeve. She is a Biochemistry, Health Policy, and Music student at Brandeis University. 


Sugar Detox and Fueling Your Body with Food


Sugar Detox and Fueling Your Body with Food

Hey Tranquility Tribe!  In this week’s episode, Hehe talks to sisters and business partners, Erika and Tiffany Brown, about their passion for food and the major impacts that what you eat can have on your life.


Who are Erika and Tiffany?

Erika has always had a passion for food and a desire to run her own business.  When her son Tristan was one, she went to culinary school and decided to start her own personal chef and cleaning company.  She was hired by a holistic lifestyle coach, who taught her about the paleo diet and how to cook with whole foods rather than using processed options.  When Erika’s son was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of five, she decided to change his diet in an effort to avoid medication.  She removed gluten, food dyes, sugar, and preservatives, and began to cook more whole foods from scratch, which ended up leading to a huge change in his behavior.  As Erika became more knowledgeable about the foods she was using, family and friends began asking for help with meals, so she decided to start Fitness Foods.  At the time, Erika’s sister Tiffany, was involved in finance, so Erika recruited her to help create a website, take care of customer service, and keep track of the bookkeeping, and their business took off! 

Why get involved?

Erika and Tiffany’s clients come to Fitness Foods for a number of different reasons.  The foods that you eat can affect countless aspects of your life, from your weight to your energy level to your skin and even your susceptibility to diseases such as diabetes and cancer.  Cutting out certain foods can lead to noticeable differences in your mood and your overall health.  Although it can be difficult to make sudden changes in your diet, Erika and Tiffany recommend trying to be as strict as possible with new diets for at least three weeks to really see an impact.

The food that you eat is especially important if you are pregnant, because you’re not just eating for yourself anymore!  If you struggle with morning sickness, Erika recommends ginger drinks, which can help settle your stomach.  Erika and Tiffany also advise taking iron supplements, increasing your water intake, and eating foods like red meat, nuts and seeds, and green vegetables to ensure that your tiny human gets all the nutrients they need.  It’s also important to eat lots of healthy fats like eggs and avocado, which help you stay full, deal with cravings, and support your baby’s brain development. 

Your postpartum diet is also important to consider, as the postpartum period is a time for healing and rebalancing hormones.  This can get even more complicated if you are breastfeeding, because the food you eat can impact your new baby as well.  Erika and Tiffany recommend trying to continue eating as healthy as possible through your postpartum period by sticking to whole foods – some of their favorites include avocados, cheese, nuts and nut butters, eggs, and pasteurized meat.  Try to stay as hydrated as possible by drinking water and eating foods such as fruit rather than saltier options.  And if you’re noticing changes in your hair and nails, Erika recommends fermented cod liver oil to keep those parts of your body healthy and strong.

Erika and Tiffany’s tips and tricks

Erika and Tiffany are also full of advice for feeding your little ones as they grow older.  When your tiny human is ready to start eating real foods, Erika recommends healthy options like mashed avocado and banana and egg yolk.  And if your little one is picky, sometimes tough love is all that’s needed to help them get past their distaste for certain foods, and other times you may need to adapt and find foods that they will eat just to get through the day.  But regardless of what you decide to feed your child, the most important thing to keep in mind is to follow your instincts – figure out what works best for you and stick with it!

For parents, Erika and Tiffany emphasize the importance of making time for yourself when you need.  Don’t be afraid to lean on your partner and the rest of your village for support.  And keep in mind that sometimes you just have to let things go – remember that you’re doing the best you can and don’t take life too seriously.  After all, it’s the good times that you’ll remember the most!

If you want to learn more about Erika and Tiffany, you can find them on Instagram at @fueluptv and @fitnessfoods and online at tiffanderika.com.  You can also check out their series FuelUp TV on YouTube!

Don’t forget to join our private Facebook, The Tranquility Tribe Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe!

"Welcome to the Tranquility Tribe"



Written by our Guest Blogger, Kyra Shreeve. She is a Biochemistry, Health Policy, and Music student at Brandeis University. 



To Perineum Massage or Not to Perineum Massage?


To Perineum Massage or Not to Perineum Massage? 

That is the question. 


Hey, Tranquility Tribe!  If you’ve ever wondered about your pelvic floor health and whether or not you should see a pelvic floor physical therapist, this episode is for you!  Today, Hehe talks to Mandy Rempfer-Kuncio, a pelvic health physical therapist and a doula from Canada, all about the ins and outs of pelvic health.

Why pelvic health physical therapy?

As Mandy explains, physical therapists are dedicated to the science of human movement and function.  The pelvis plays a very important role at all times during a person’s life, and especially during the pregnancy, birth, and postpartum periods for women.  Did you know that by the age of 60, one in two women who have had a baby will have bladder leakage or develop some degree of pelvic prolapse?  These pelvic issues are common, but that doesn’t mean they are normal or optimal!  It is very important to prepare your pelvis for birth and maintain good pelvic health throughout your life, and a pelvic floor physical therapist is a great tool to help you do so. 

You may find that the support of PFPTs by other providers varies.  PFPTs are often a controversial subject because the majority of the existing scientific studies that have been conducted do not show obvious benefits for seeing a PFPT.  However, much of the research is focused on the prevalence of perineal injury during birth, rather than many of the other potential benefits that seeing a PFPT can offer, and studies have indicated very little risk from receiving perineal massages and doing other pelvic floor work.  At the very least, seeing a PFPT can help you get more in touch with your body, which can bring benefits to anybody, especially women who are expecting. 

According to Mandy, there are three most common types of pelvic floors that she sees when working with patients.  Some patients have normal pelvic floors and just need to work on maintaining the balance of strength and relaxation in their pelvis.  Others have weak pelvic floors and often experience bladder leakage or an inability to control gas.  The third group have tight pelvic floors that hold extra tension even when they are at rest.  Mandy explains that those individuals with tight pelvic floors can benefit the most from seeing a PFPT, especially if you are pregnant, because your pelvic floor needs to be able to relax during the birthing process.  Your pelvic floor type can also influence your sex life – if your pelvic floor is too tight, sex might be uncomfortable or even painful.  Massaging and stretching your pelvic floor can help prepare you for birth and sex and enable you to maintain a healthy life in general.

Pain is not normal

In today’s society, people are often encouraged to push through pain and even ignore the fact that something may be wrong with their bodies.  As we have adopted an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, Mandy says that the number of people with tight pelvic floors has gotten higher and higher.  Society’s belief that pain makes you stronger makes it hard for you to be in touch with the natural processes that your body goes through during birth because you aren’t as used to listening to your body.  Having a tight pelvic floor can further complicate things by causing you to feel pain throughout your pregnancy, during your birth, and even in the postpartum stage, which many women feel pressured to ignore. 

But as both Mandy and Hehe point out, pain is never normal!  Pain can be natural, but regardless of its cause, it merits further investigation.  You do not need to power through pain; rather, you should see pain as an indication that something is up with your body and reach out to friends, family, or practitioners for support. 

The inside scoop on seeing a PFPT

When Mandy meets with a patient, she is focused on figuring out how their pelvis integrates with the rest of their body.  Most often, patients often come to Mandy because they have pain or functional issues such as leakage, or they are dealing with diastasis recti.  As Mandy explains, the vast majority of the exam is external – it is important to understand how parts of your body such as your spine interact with your pelvis.  However, because the pelvic floor is an internal structure, an internal exam is necessary to really see how it is working.  Many PFPTs use their fingers to do the exams rather than a speculum, which allows them to go at a pace that keeps their patient as comfortable as possible, especially for those who may not be very familiar with that area of their body. 

For those who are pregnant, Mandy recommends first seeing a PFPT around 20-24 weeks to establish your pelvic floor baseline and identify challenges that need to be addressed.  Women should visit their PFPTs again around 32-36 weeks to focus more on specific birth preparation.  Perhaps most importantly, Mandy also recommends women to check in with their PFPTs 6 weeks postpartum, even if they are not having any issues, just to see how their pelvic floor is doing after the birth.  In many women, pelvic floor symptoms that stem from giving birth may not arise until menopause, so even if you are symptom-free at 6 weeks postpartum, it is important to visit your PFPT. 

If you are going to see a PFPT for the first time, Mandy recommends going alone rather than bringing your partner.  Because it’s often a new experience for people, it is important to start physical therapy on your own so that you have a sense of the amount of pressure required to give your pelvic floor a sufficient but not painful stretch.  However, as Hehe points out, once you have a good understanding of your own pelvic floor physical therapy, having your partner help you with perineal massages and other PT can be good practice for developing communication skills that will come in handy during your birth. 

If you are thinking about seeing a PFPT but are still on the fence or feeling a little uncomfortable, you can do your own mini pelvic floor exam at home!  As Mandy explains, you can get a sense of your pelvic floor health by inserting one finger vaginally and doing a kegel.  According to Mandy, you should feel a squeeze and a lift, rather than pressure down towards your hand.  If you feel pressure, that may be an indication that you should visit your PFPT.  And even if you feel that squeeze and lift, you should still go see your PFPT to make sure that everything is in good shape (especially because PFPTs are specially trained to support pelvic health)!

Mandy’s postpartum advice

Mandy is full of pelvic floor advice, especially for those of you who just had a baby!  She points out that although incontinence can be a sign that your pelvic health needs some attention, it is entirely normal to experience some incontinence during the first 4-6 weeks postpartum.  After all, your bladder suddenly has much more space to bounce around than it did when you were pregnant!  In order to help get your bladder back to normal, Mandy stresses the importance on peeing often (every 2-3 hours), rather than holding it in.  And if you aren’t noticing that your incontinence is decreasing over time or you are still experiencing incontinence by 6 weeks, that’s a sign that you should get it checked out. 

As far as the hot topic of postpartum kegels, Mandy says they aren’t for everyone.  While some women find that their pelvic floor is weaker after birth, others may develop tightness in their pelvic floor, and doing kegels will only increase that tightness.  It’s important to check in with your practitioner before doing any sort of exercise after birth.

If you want to hear more from Mandy, visit her practice website at nurtureher.ca, where you can find her blog, online classes, and even a video explaining how to do a perineal massage!  You can also find Mandy on Facebook at Nurture Her as well as on Instagram at @core.believers.

Prepping your body isn't the only thing you need to focus on when planning for a baby! Grab your Birth Bag Checklist here so you can pack what you need and leave what you don't! 


Don’t forget to join our private Facebook, The Tranquility Tribe Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe!

"Welcome to the Tranquility Tribe"



Written by our Guest Blogger, Kyra Shreeve. She is a Biochemistry, Health Policy, and Music student at Brandeis University. 


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