Friday, September 28, 2012

Southern Savers

I went through an "extreme couponing" phase last year in which I memorized the coupon and discount policies for every grocery store in the tri-county area. I got over that as soon as I realized Publix doesn't double coupons in Florida. (Bummer, right?) However, I did still find Southern Savers to be an extremely valuable resource.
Yes, it is called Southern Savers, but the site includes national chains (like Target, Wal-Mart, CVS, and Whole Foods) as well. The ads are updated regularly and include "Deal Ideas" which group coupons together for the maximum savings.
If you are new (or just completely oblivious) to couponing, the site also offers an explanation of the system and strategies you can use to get the most out of your efforts.

I just wanted to share this blog with you guys because I found it to be not only extremely helpful, but also very easy to navigate. So, check out Southern Savers and utilize the information Jenny works so hard to provide on your next shopping trip!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New Mommy Rut

     If you read my last post, you know that I'm not having an easy time with the little one at the moment. I had my self-proclaimed pity party Monday, cried a little, then cried some more this morning when baby girl decided that 5 hours of sleep was more than enough for her. With a history of depression and anxiety, this is a dangerous road to start down. I could already feel my symptoms creeping up on me earlier this week. Things that wouldn't normally be a big deal made me really upset and took way too long to get over.
     Example, I went to Toys R Us to return a  fitted sheet I got at my baby shower because it didn't fit my playard. Well, they wouldn't take it because I lost the gift receipt and my shower was more than three months ago. That set the mood for the rest of my outing. Returning another item at Lowe's, the cashier rudely "reminded" me that they have a 90-day return policy, just, you know, "for future reference." THEN, I had the genius idea to try on skinny jeans at Old Navy. (Hey, they were on sale.) Do I really need to tell you how that went?
     Today, I decided I had enough and I really needed to make an effort to turn my mood around. I had to put on my BGPs and snap out of it. I mentioned Monday that I want to throw ninja stars at the people who suggest in parenting magazines to "make sure you get enough sleep." I can assure you, that is NOT possible in my house. But there are a few things I (and you) can do to get out of what I consider the New Mommy Rut.

  1. Stay hydrated. One study suggests that dehydration may cause mood swings, anger, and fatigue. When you're hormonal and sleep-deprived as it is, making sure you are getting enough fluids is that much more crucial.
  2. Get out of the house! Natural sunlight and fresh air can improve your mood almost immediately. Pop your baby in your Ergo (or stroller) and go for a quick walk. 
  3. Ask for help. Especially if you're having feelings of hopelessness, inadequacy as a mother, or inability to care for your child. (In that case, contact your OB IMMEDIATELY. You may be suffering from PPD.) If you just feel like you need a break, ask for one! If you don't have a family member or neighbor at your disposal, check Angie's List for trustworthy caretakers. Have someone watch the baby while you run errands (or treat yourself to a mani/pedi) or hire somebody once a week to do that one chore you can never seem to get around to, which for me would be laundry. I HATE doing laundry! I have two baskets full of clean clothes and a pile of dirty clothes sitting in my room as we speak. Diaper laundry, oddly enough, doesn't bother me...
  4. Exercise. Find a gym with child care you feel comfortable with or work out at home with a video while baby naps. You don't even have to buy any DVDs! I've discovered several short (as in under 15 minutes) but effective routines on Even taking a walk around the block can help you feel better!    TIP: Wear all black if you can, regardless of where you choose to work out. I find that it streamlines my shape and tends to hide the post-baby lumps and rolls (and lopsided boobies) really well. And I actually feel really confident in my body. :)
  5. Play with your baby. I can't think of anything that raises my spirits more quickly than snuggling up with my chunky monkey and kissing her over and over again on her belly. It usually makes her laugh, which makes me smile. 
  6. Remember that it doesn't last forever. If I do this, it helps me get through the tough times (like the times when Baby Girl treats me like an all-night diner) and hold onto the sweet moments (like when she starts hysterically laughing at the ceiling fan or carries on a full conversation with Sophie the Giraffe.) She'll only be a baby for a year. If I spend it wishing the bad parts away, I won't be able to enjoy the good ones. 
     I think I have made it pretty clear that I in no way have my you-know-what together, but these are the few things I know I can do. The hardest part for me has been asking for help. I feel like she is my child and if I leave her with someone else, it will seem like I can't handle my responsibility or that I am in some way a bad mother because I'm not able to simultaneously care for her and bake homemade cookies for the entire neighborhood. I know deep down that those feelings are irrational, so I'm working on it. One day at a time.

Monday, September 24, 2012

You're Cordially Invited to my Pity Party

     I'm wearing the same grey sweat pants for the third day in a row without washing them. My hair is absolutely disgusting. But my child is FINALLY asleep! Yes, it's 1:00 in the afternoon. To say we had a late night would be an understatement. Here is how bedtime typically plays out in our house:
8:00pm - Dinner (My mother-in-law works late.)
8:30pm - Bath time.
8:45pm - Story time.
9:00pm - Bedtime nursing.
9:15pm - Brief snooze.
9:30pm-12:00am - Feebly attempt to get the baby to sleep.
12:00am-10:00am - Constantly get up do feed the baby and/or get the baby back to sleep. If you want a more detailed description, it goes something like this:

     After she wakes up at 9:30, we lay in bed (in the dark, of course) for about 1-2 hours. Then I nurse her again, and she sometimes sleeps for 2 hours, sometimes for 10 minutes. Every time she gets up, I try to rock her back to sleep, but that's never enough, so I whip out the boob. Usually that works. When it doesn't, we are back at square one. She's up at least once every two hours, and I almost always have to nurse her back to sleep. This goes on until somewhere between 8:30-noon depending on when she officially went down for the night. Then she wakes up with a smile (which is when I know she's up for good because she isn't crying) and I have to accept that this is all the sleep I will get, force myself out of bed and make a cup of coffee. Luckily, I have a Keurig so I literally can do it with my eyes closed. If I have no obligations that day, I will probably spend it feeling like a complete slob. No shower, no makeup, PJs all day.

     I try not to make this my personal diary, because I know it gets old hearing people complain. I promise I'm not just complaining, though. I'm reaching out. Crying for help. I need to know I'm not the only one who sits with their infant until 2:30AM and wakes up sobbing uncontrollably (mama, not the baby) when she realizes that this is it. That nobody else is there to get up with the baby and she is just going to have to get through another day on 4-6 hours of light and heavily-interrupted sleep. That she will be too tired to cross anything of importance off of the To Do list, be it laundry, cleaning, e-mails, or phone calls. I need to know that somebody else out there has a baby that doesn't sleep. That there is anyone else in the world who rolls their eyes when the Parents newsletter in their inbox insists that "you need to take care of yourself" and "make sure you are getting enough sleep." Or that "Baby should be sleeping through the night now!" (Maybe I'm the only one who rolls my eyes and then imagines punching whoever wrote that article in their well-rested little face, but I'll take what I can get.)
     Most nights, I am OK with the fact that I will be getting up all night to nurse the baby back to sleep. It's nights like last night, though, that make me wonder how anybody does this alone. I miss my husband terribly as it is, but his absence is much more noticeable when I need his help. When I know the baby isn't hungry but she's awake again anyway, I can just picture him rocking her and singing her back to sleep. Instead, it's me. Falling asleep sitting up while my daughter uses me as a human pacifier.

     I'm sure one day, I will reflect on this time and actually miss getting up in the middle of the night, five times a night, every night. Just tell that to the bags under my eyes.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Yankee Candle Giveaway!

I am participating in the FREE Yankee Candle giveaway event hosted by Real Mom Reviews.

One super lucky reader will win three large jar fall fragrance Yankee Candles!

Cost: Free with announcement post or 3.00 with out.  

Giveaway Open to: US and Canada.  

The event dates: September 28th-October 19th.  

Free Link Option: Facebook  

Optional Paid Link Options: $2.00 for Twitter or Pinterest

To sign up for this event click here!

     ***You guys know I am working hard to find sponsors for the Merry Fluffy Christmas giveaway, and I'm in the process of reviewing Make It Paleo, but in the meantime, I'm participating in this giveaway, so MARK YOUR CALENDARS! (If you are trying to declutter like I am, this would be an awesome gift. Just in time for the holidays!)***

Friday, September 21, 2012

My life in boxes...

     I know I haven't posted in a few days. I think I am trying to hard to come up with something informative or useful, more like a news article. Well, that's not gonna happen today. For anyone who knows me, you know that I am a newly initiated Army wife and my husband just got orders, so we will be moving in less than two months. Since he's still at AIT, the responsibility of sorting and packing our things falls on me. 

Everything I own, besides my clothing and furniture!

     Right now, all of our bulky furniture is at the condo (which we are feebly attempting to sell) and everything else is packed away in my in-laws' barn. (Storage barn, not animal barn.) This week, I have decided to start going through things, and I'm pretty proud of myself for being able to get rid of things I don't need. Seriously, how many occasions require champagne flutes? What about the cake stand? I've made one cake in my entire adult life. And the wine glasses? We don't even drink wine! (I'm a rum or beer girl when I'm *not* pregnant or breastfeeding...) Thanks, wedding registry. Don't even get me started on how we were pressured into registering for things we didn't want or need because "people are going to buy you things anyway." That's another post for another day.
     My other priorities at the moment are finding sponsors for the Merry Fluffy Christmas giveaway blog hop and waiting anxiously for my copy of Make it Paleo to review. :)

     Tomorrow, I will be attending my first ever babywearing group meet up, so I'll have pictures and such to share. Until then, it's back to the boxes! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Make It Paleo Review *coming soon*

I'm ecstatic to announce that I will be receiving a copy of Make it Paleo (from Bill and Hayley at The Food Lovers Kitchen) to review for you guys! I know I cannot wait to try out some of the 200+ recipes and share my experiences here.

In the meantime, check out their website (linked above) which is incredibly user-friendly and helpful for those of us just venturing into the Paleo world. If you have an Android phone or iPhone, you should also download their myKitchen app. It makes shopping, cooking and meal-planning ridiculously easy. From their website:
myKitchen is the easiest way to take your favorite Paleo, Primal, and Gluten-free recipes with you wherever you go. You can save your favorite recipes, create daily meal plans and unique menus, and even generate shopping lists.
It's true. So easy and it's FREE!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Why I Wear My Baby

Ignore my WTF face. The sun was in my eyes. Focus on the adorable sleeping baby.

     I've seen comments on forums and Facebook that babywearing is just "trendy" right now and that it will die out. (Which is hilarious, considering it's been a practice in cultures on almost every continent for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, but I digress.) So, maybe there are people who do it just because it's cool. That's probably true. Ask any mom why they do it, though, and they will probably have a story. Mine isn't heartbreaking or mushy, and as evidenced by the comments I get from my parents and grandparents about holding my baby "too much" it doesn't appear that I am passing down a family tradition. The reason I love wearing my baby is actually pretty selfish.
     See, I have anxiety. (This also explains my ongoing obsession with decluttering, but again, I digress.) Most of the time, this is triggered by large crowds, heavy traffic, or going someplace I've never been, but ever since I got pregnant, I get anxious thinking about all the terrible things that could possibly (but probably never will) happen to my child.
     Now, I have to admit, I got curious about babywearing because I thought wraps were pretty cool. Turns out I am not a naturally talented wrapper, so we are working with a Maya Wrap RS and an Ergo Performance at the moment. But the reason I've stuck with it, even when my daughter was not a big fan, is that I want her close to me. In public, babywearing prevents strangers (at least in my twisted brain) from being tempted to touch her, or worse, abduct her. Hey, it's happened! 
     When she's strapped to me, the only place people can touch is her feet, and good luck getting her out of the carrier unless you plan to take me with you. It makes me feel like she is safer. Any time I have taken her out in the car seat and had to put her down in public (like the grocery store or the post office) I have a mini-panic attack thinking that someone could just swoop in and grab her. Is that crazy? Yeah. It is. That's why they make Ativan. Since I'm breastfeeding and medication isn't an option, wearing her is clearly the best solution.
     I also hate strollers. I hate pushing anything in front of me at the store because I want to be able to move freely through aisles and racks of clothing. (Anxiety, again.) I always get a little basket when I go shopping if I can because I just feel less tied down. Strollers are the same as shopping carts for me. They create bulk and awkwardness, and I hate it. Pop Baby Girl in a ring sling and grab a little basket and we are good to go!
Other reasons I babywear:
  • She is at about my eye-level when we walk, so she can see what I see.
  • I don't get bruises on my thighs from dragging around the car seat.
  • My Ergo and RS are much easier to fold up than a stroller, and they take up much less space in the car!
  • I can nurse her in public with complete discretion. (Remind me to write about this!)
  • I get a better workout when I take her for walks. And she's cuter than a 15-lb weighted vest.
  • I have my hands free to do diaper laundry, cook, unload the dishwasher, or blog! :)
  • There is nothing better than having a sweet little sleeping baby snuggled up to your chest. (And I think she likes the sound of my heartbeat.)
Seriously. Look at that face! (July 15, 2012)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

An Open Letter to Those Who Love My Child

Dear Loved Ones,

     I am almost hesitant to pen this out of fear of seeming ungrateful. Please be assured that is not the case, and I also do not wish to offend or alienate anyone. This is just how I feel about the childhood I want my daughter to enjoy.
     I know baby toys are cute, and baby clothes are immeasurably cuter, but these things in general are fleeting. Babies outgrow clothes every week, and toys are only good until they are no longer developmentally appropriate. I know my little monkey is only four months old, but soon she will be old enough to enjoy experiences. And ask your children how many of their toys were important enough to remember. There are very few in my memory.
     What I remember are trips to Skate Mania, Uncle Donald's Farm and Silver Springs. I remember sleepless nights before going to Disney World and getting to see NSYNC live. Some of my favorite memories don't involve things at all, but spending time with people I love. Even if we weren't doing anything special. Even if we sat around the dinner table long after it had been cleared and just talked (but especially if we were also playing Scrabble or Checkers or War.)
     That is the childhood I want for my daughter. I want her life to be full of experiences, not objects. If you love her, please spend time with her. In our home, money and objects do not equal love and they do not come for free. They must be earned. I'll spare you my "that's what's wrong with the world today" speech and give you the Cliff Notes: I do not want my child to ever anticipate, expect, or even worse, be led to believe that she is entitled to a gift. Instead, shower her with experiences that will become wonderful memories.
     If you are unable to spend time with us, and you'd like to show your love in some other way, books and learning toys are always welcome as are cards and phone calls just to say hi. Thank you for respecting my wishes, and most of all, thank you for loving my child.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Are Cloth Diapers a Gateway Drug?

When I began researching cloth diapers, I'll be honest, I was not really concerned about being environmentally friendly or conserving waste. I was more interested in the money-saving aspect. I realized I could save at least $500 my first year of diapering, so I started to wonder how much more I could save if I used cloth wipes. I bought Kissaluvs Diaper Lotion Potion and filled an empty wipes container with extra washcloths I got at my baby shower. The best part is I have less of a mess with poopy diapers because I can just wash the wipes with the diapers. Easy peasy!

Now I was hooked. It was so easy, I started thinking about all of the other disposable products in my house. What about Ziploc bags? Paper towels? Napkins? How much money could I save if I had reusable versions instead? If  you think about it, you don't really have to go too far to find linen, cotton, bamboo, or hemp alternatives. Many Etsy stores sell unpaper towels for as little as $1/piece. Bear with me, as I'm not a math teacher... If you go through two rolls of paper towels a week, and a 12-pack costs $15, that's $1.25 per roll which would be $2.50/week. That comes out to about $130 a year. If you keep a stash of about 30, that's a savings of almost $100 just in the first year.
We pretty much hemorrhage Ziploc bags in our house, so I wondered how I could save by using reusable snack bags or Bento boxes for lunches. Planetwise actually sells snack bags in five different sizes/styles. (I'll have to get back to you on the math, but you could definitely replace hundreds of plastic snack bags every year.) And a Bento box is a great way to provide your kiddos (and yourself, if you bring lunch to work) with a waste-free lunch and save you about $250/year!

I personally love the idea of scratching these items off of my grocery list. It also helps to declutter the pantry. How much room does your bulk stash of paper towels take up? Do you have a drawer dedicated to five different types of snack bags? Wouldn't you love to use that precious storage space for something more important and less wasteful?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Four months already?

Dear Monkey,
     We're 1/3 of the way to your first birthday. Stop growing so fast! We saw the pediatrician on Thursday and you are 15lbs (75th percentile) and almost 24" (25th percentile) so you're a little short and a little chunky. I hate to break it to you kid, but I'm 5' 0" so you'll probably be short your whole life. It's not so bad. And you'll grow into those thunder thighs, I promise! You have a life full of fitness, health, and activity ahead of you, so while your genetics point to the possibility of being overweight as a teen and an adult, we won't let that happen.
     Well, I thought teaching high school came with a sharp learning curve, but you are putting my moody 17-year-old English students to shame! Every time I feel like we're getting into a routine, you change it up on me. Since I feed you on demand, you tell me whenever you're hungry, which apparently is every two hours. Even in the middle of the night! I'm going to have to buy some concealer to cover up the dark circles under my eyes. Since that is really the only complaint I have, I am going to count my blessings. Not every mommy is so lucky. And, really, is it so bad to have all that cuddle time with my little girl?
     I can already tell you are going to be too smart for your own good. Even at 18 weeks, I can't get anything past you! You are so alert and aware of your surroundings, it's a joy to watch you play. You flip the pages when Grandma reads you the peek-a-boo book, you grab everything in sight (and then of course, try to put it in your mouth), and you love blankies and toys that make crinkle noises. You've also discovered that you can make your own noises. You moved past blowing raspberries fairly quickly, and now you just prefer to screech whenever you get a chance. As long as you're happy while you're doing it, I don't mind. Every now and then, I'll catch you ranting and raving to Dolly (or really, any inanimate object who will listen) in a string of "da das" and "ba bas." Sometimes I wonder exactly what it is that you are saying, but I know soon enough you will tell me.
     It may not be a glamorous job all the time, especially after going 2-3 days without a shower and still smelling like dried spit-up. (You're welcome for the visual, by the way.) But it's my favorite job so far. I love being your mommy. I wouldn't trade you for anything in the world, baby girl.

<3, Mama

P.S. If you're wondering, I call you Monkey because of the silly noises you make when you get excited.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Good Makeup

I have been such a lazy blogger lately. Last night, my poor baby was waking up constantly until she finally conked out for a few hours at 8am. I am completely exhausted. I won't rant about the Army (not just yet) but it is really hard to take care of an unhappy baby at night when you are the only one who can get up with her. It's nights like last night that make me miss my tag team partner. :(

When I have these lazy days in which I barely make it out of my room, let alone the house, it makes every little bit of clutter that much more obvious. It's easy to see the pile of clothing or the stack of boxes, but the hidden clutter needs attention too. (Kind of an oxymoron, no? Hidden clutter?) When you attack the clutter you can't see, you make space for things you actually need.
My biggest weakness is my makeup trunk. Yeah, trunk. Once upon a time, I LOVED dressing up and wearing bright red lipstick with crazy eye shadow. Then I got a real job where I had to dress more conservatively. (It's sort of frowned upon to show up as a high school teacher looking like a student.) Then I had a kid and had absolutely no time for putting on a face. Now I have two gorgeous eye shadow palettes and three cosmetic cases full of designer product.
The Kiersten that put her big girl pants on today says, "You don't use it. You don't need it. Get rid of it." The louder, more emotional side says, "BUT! It's so pretty! And it was so expensive! And it doesn't really take up that much room." That last sentence is total denial on my part. My train case full of makeup takes up 40-50% of my counter space, depending on how much time I've had to put things away. I hate to see it go to waste, which is another reason I've held onto it for so long. Instead of just tossing it in the trash, I am going to put it up for adoption. I know a couple people who would love to give my Alice in Wonderland and Naked palettes a home (*cries*).

When you have an item you know you should get rid of, but don't want to throw it away (and you probably couldn't sell...) consider giving it to someone who could get better use out of it. My loss is my future sister-in-law's gain. :-D

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Eating Healthy (with an Infant...)

*whew* It's been a long day! My little girl had her four-month well visit today, which meant two more shots and she is not handling it well. Grandma got home a few minutes ago and has been entertaining the baby so I just now have had a chance to sit down and write.

Needless to say, it's really hard to take time to think about yourself when you have a baby to take care of, especially if that baby is sick or just generally needy (like my precious angel.) The best way to make sure you are taken care of is to plan ahead.

1. When you go grocery shopping, don't fall victim to the allure of "convenience" foods. You won't have a lot of time for meal prep, but there are better ways to get around that than picking up a value pack of Cheez-Its and DoubleStuf Oreos to satisfy your midnight hunger. (Which you will have if you are up every two hours to feed your baby, and if you don't get up during the night, you can just keep that to yourself, thanks!) Instead, pick up no-fuss snacks like veggies, fruits, and nuts. I normally have a banana and a handful of almonds around 1 am and that keeps me going until the morning.

2. Make meals in bulk if you can. If you are baking some Paleo muffins in the morning, make extra and freeze them. If there are two of you, double the recipe so you can have dinner and then lunch for the next day. One of my favorite tricks is to mix a whole batch of chicken salad (or you could use tuna) for the week and then eat it a different way every day for lunch. (On a bun, in a wrap, with crackers, on a bed of mixed greens, etc.)

3. Get familiar with your slow cooker. Most recipes have four or fewer ingredients and most of the time, you can take chicken breasts straight out of the freezer without thawing ahead of time. A slow cooker is great with tip #2 as well. I have a 7-quart slow cooker and double recipes whenever I can to get an extra meal out of it. I have a ton of easy crock-pot recipes pinned on my Food Board, but here are a couple of my favorites:
Crock-Pot Chicken with Carrots and Sweet Potatoes
Honey-Sauced Chicken

4. My number one tip for eating healthy, regardless of how many munchkins you have running around or requiring your attention at any given moment: SURROUND YOURSELF WITH GOOD FOOD! If you only keep fresh, whole, healthy foods in your fridge and pantry, that is what you will eat. Same goes for junk. If that's all you have, that's all you will eat. Make that choice before you get to the checkout line and you will be good to go. ;)

Sorry it's so late, but for what it's worth, this concludes the three-part "Staying Healthy with an Infant" series. :-D

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Staying Active with an Infant

The irony of the timing of this post is that today has been one of those lights-out, in PJs until noon, snuggled under the covers kind of days. Luckily, my father-in-law came home about an hour ago so I could make some coffee and take a shower to snap myself out of it. Anywho...

Staying active with a toddler is probably not too difficult. You get to chase those buggers around all day long! With an infant, it can be a little more difficult. Lack of sleep aside (if your baby is sleeping through the night, you can just keep that to yourself lest I stab you with a fork through the interwebs) your baby probably requires a lot of attention. It can be difficult to feel motivated to go to the gym when you've been peed on, puked on, and cried at incessantly all before breakfast. Luckily, your body doesn't know if you burned those calories on the treadmill or your living room floor. In honor of my gym membership expiring at the end of the month, I've come up with a short list of things you can do with your baby to burn calories and even build a little bit of muscle.

  • Play with your baby! This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are a few creative ways to turn this into exercise. My little monkey loves the "airplane" move, where I lift her over my head and then bring her back down to eye-level. Obviously, you want to do this in a safe place. God forbid you drop your child! Moving in different directions works different muscle groups. My chunkster is at least 15 lbs, which is much less than I normally lift, but it'll do. 
    • Lift her over your head while standing, that's an overhead press. Lift her while lying on your back? Bam! Benchpress! Do that for 15-20 minutes, and you've got a complete upper-body workout!
    • I'm not sure how to describe this, but I like to lay down on my back and pull my knees to my chest. Then I put Monkey on my legs and move left to right, until I am just about touching the floor. This is a killer oblique workout!
    • And, of course, you can always do squats while holding your baby. That one is pretty self-explanatory.
  • Take her for a walk. I prefer to wear her in a carrier or sling. It's more effective than trekking around your neighborhood wearing those silly ankle weights. You can definitely push a stroller if you prefer, but I find this to provide less resistance, and I like to get everything I can out of my workouts. Some towns even have strollercise/strollerobics groups if you'd like some company. If your area doesn't already have one, start it yourself! :)
  • Pop in a workout DVD while she naps. (If she naps... Mine does not.) Nobody says you have to finish the whole thing or that you have to do the 30 Day Shred from start to end. 
  • Just get moving. If you get 10 minutes or 30 minutes, it's better than zero minutes!
Next up, healthy eating tips!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Reaching Pre-Pregnancy Weight

As someone who was in pretty decent shape before getting pregnant, I have been extremely impatient with myself when it comes to exercising, my weight, and most of all my shape. I mean, I popped in the P90x DVDs when my daughter was two weeks old. And then a couple weeks ago, I attempted a Sugar Detox (as you may have read.) I operate in extremes. That is why things like minimalism and Paleo appeal to me. But as a breastfeeding mama, I have to remember that--even though her 41 weeks of incubation are in the past--I still share my body with my baby. I need to keep her in mind when making changes to my diet or routine. By trial and error, here are some things I've learned so far:

- Be too hard on yourself. YOU JUST HAD A BABY! It took 9+ months to grow a human. Nobody expects you to lose all of the baby weight overnight. You shouldn't either.
- Make excuses. Although you should pace yourself, don't use your baby and lack of sleep and time to yourself as an excuse to neglect exercise or eat poorly.
- Make any extreme changes right away. You can't pretend like your pregnancy never happened. Give your body some time to adjust before jumping in. This is especially important if you are breastfeeding since any major changes in diet or activity can negatively affect your milk supply. ( has some great tips for lactating moms interested in dieting.) Most importantly, do not cut calories if you are breastfeeding. In fact, you should stay about 400-500 above your maintenance calorie intake. But, of course, that doesn't mean hitting up the drive thru on your way home from the post office.

- Maintain flexibility. You may not get to the gym at the same time every day. You may not get to go as often as you'd like. And if you can't go at all, there are other ways to stay active when your day doesn't go the way you planned. (I'll expand on this in my next post.)
- Drink enough (not an excess of) fluids. Water and other healthy beverages will help get rid of initial post-partum swelling as well as keep you hydrated since you will lose a lot of fluids in the first few days. This is especially important if you are breastfeeding since dehydration can decrease your supply, but a good tip for overall health nonetheless.
- Continue to eat healthy. (I will elaborate on this in my next post as well.) Don't give up on your body! You will not be soft and puffy forever, but you may have to work a little harder to get to where you want to be. Throwing on some sweats any chowing down on a half-gallon of Edy's is not the way to do it. But you're not stupid. You already knew that. ;)
- Be patient and stick with it. Even with hard work, it may still take 9-12 months to lose all of the baby weight. Not only do you deserve the happiness that comes with a healthy and active lifestyle, but now you have a child that deserve a mommy that can keep up and (most important of all) set a good example!