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My Postpartum Wellness Journey

Let’s be honest. The LAST thing you want to do after giving birth is worry about your health and getting back to your “old” body. But that’s the thing – You will never have your “old” body back and you should be proud of that.

My pregnancy was filled with mountains of dessert and a huge lack of self-confidence. Right at the beginning of my pregnancy I had told Jay that I wanted to workout throughout pregnancy and eat as healthy as possible. Here’s the issue – I hadn’t set up good habits for myself before becoming pregnant so suddenly starting to workout while also growing a baby was never going to be successful.

Fast forward to delivering Austin, I knew I wanted to make a change.

before:after
1 month, 2 months, and 6 months postpartum

I should start by saying that every woman’s postpartum (or regular) health journey is different and every body is beautiful. We should be proud of who we are – stretch marks, cellulite, and all. There is no “quick fix” to a healthier lifestyle or weight loss – and if someone is telling you there is, it might be dangerous for your body.

My journey is just that – a journey. It wasn’t a quick fix, wasn’t a fast track to losing weight, and definitely wasn’t a quick change in mindset. It was and is a process to become the best version of myself.

Ways to Become a Healthier You

  1. Figure out your “why”. You can never achieve your goals if you don’t start with why you want to change. For me, I was uncomfortable in my skin and knew I wanted to feel healthy and fit. Also with a new son, there will be a day when I have to start chasing him around. What if I can’t keep up or I’m straight winded trying to catch him?
  2. Set a goal. My original goal was to lose my baby weight, which I’m proud to say I did in about 10 weeks postpartum. But even once I met that goal – I didn’t feel satisfied. I still felt uncomfortable with how I looked. I thought losing my baby weight would mean I would feel skinny and have a flat belly. Spoiler alert: I’ve lost more weight since then and my belly still isn’t flat. I think my problem here is that I set a goal that wasn’t what I truly wanted, or wasn’t necessarily achievable in the way I wanted. Now I have a new goal – to focus on non-scale fitness victories: hold my plank for longer each time, don’t give up during 45 seconds of mountain climbers, increase my weights every 2 weeks, etc. For me, these feel achievable and push me to be the strongest version of myself. Everyone is different and will have different goals, so be sure to pick something you can be devoted to.
  3. Change your mindset. As women, we need to stop worrying about what other people think of us. You are beautiful. Everything about you makes you you and that is worth celebrating. Right after giving birth I was SO worried about what other people would think about me and my body. Truth is – I bet everyone was too busy worrying the same thing about themselves. I am proud of my stretch marks, mommy pouch, cellulite, belly rolls, you name it, because I know it is evidence of a handsome little boy that I brought into this world. Whatever “flaw” you may see on your body – God put it there for a reason. We are made in His image and need to learn that hating ourselves is simply a waste of time. If you do have something you want to change – do it!! I never knew how strong I was until I tried.
  4. Start healthy eating habits. For me, this was the hardest part. I LOVE dessert and mashed potatoes. In an earlier post, 5 Steps To A More Joyful Maternity LeaveI talked a lot about different programs that helped me learn to make smart eating choices. This time around I chose to use Weight Watchers (now WW) for the first 3 months postpartum. This was huge in helping me learn how to make smart eating choices. You’d be amazed at how good you feel when you give your body the nutrients it needs and keep the unhealthy stuff to a minimum. You can find some of my favorite healthy recipes on my Pinterest. Tread lightly: You will also see lots of yummy, unhealthy dessert recipes for when you really want to indulge.
  5. Find a fitness program that works for you. Working out has improved both my physical and mental health, something that is so important for all women. I started the first 6 weeks postpartum with daily walks. This was a simple thing to do that got me and baby out of the house and my heart rate up. It made me feel a little normal and helped with the healing process as well. After I was cleared for normal activities from my doctor I was ready to try something a little more intense that would help me shed a few more pounds and combat some recurring anxiety. After a little searching and talking to some new moms on Instagram, I finally found a program perfect for me. It’s only 4 days a week, 40 minutes a day, and a mix of weight lifting and cardio. Y’all I have never felt more strong! There’s something so empowering about weight lifting and it is so fun to challenge myself each workout. Whatever your niche is – straight cardio, barre, HIIT, etc. – do it with a purpose. Your body will thank you and you will start to see changes if you stick to it. If you want to know more about the fitness program, you can go to my blog’s Instagram, here.
  6. Find an accountability partner. You will be so much more successful if you have people in your corner cheering you on. Jay and I do all of our workouts together. It makes working out so much more enjoyable to have him there each time. Whether it be your roommate, spouse, friend, or family member, have someone there with you each step of the way. If they can’t workout with you, make healthy meals together! You deserve to have a cheerleader every step of the way.
  7. Celebrate your successes! You are so strong, so beautiful, and so determined. Celebrate any success you have – avoiding sweets for a whole week, pushing yourself through that 3 minute cardio HIIT, fitting into some old clothes. Whatever your success may be, you should shout to the moon about it.

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Baby’s First Shots: Cue the Tears

“It’s worse for mom and dad than it is for baby.”

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Austin is officially ten weeks (and two days) old and we finally feel like we’re starting to get the hang of this whole parenting thing. Each day brings new challenges but also new developments in Austin that are super cute and sweet. Austin loves to smile at us now and he has a couple of toys that are his favorite to look and coo at. I am loving this new stage he’s in and am so excited to see how he grows in the next couple of months.

Since he’s a little over two months old now, Austin had to endure his first vaccinations this past week. The majority of parents won’t actually know a baby’s “hurt” cry until his or her first shots. We thought we knew what sound Austin was going to make since he’s been colic for a while now. We felt so prepared and strong going in – but hearing those cries was so sad! Think about the saddest cry you’ve heard from your little one; mix that with a little bit of shock, scared, and a “my puppy just died” sound and you’ve got your match.

IMG_6830I think it was especially sad because there was literally nothing we could do and we knew how confused he must have been. Luckily our pediatrician told us to be prepared with a bottle afterwards and that helped tremendously. The next two days after his shots were off days for Austin. The first day, he slept almost the entire day. He would still flinch if you touched his legs and we could tell he did not feel well. The second day, he barely took any naps and wasn’t as interested in eating. Finally day 3 and Austin was himself again.

While the shots were painful for Austin, I have no doubt it was worse on us than it was on him. He was such a trooper and showed how tough he was. Meanwhile, Jay and I were trying to hold back tears when he heard him cry. Don’t worry moms and dads: your baby will survive the shots, he will be healthy and happy because of it, and you won’t be judged for your over-dramatic reaction in the doctor’s office.

Tips to Survive Newborn Shots

  1. Be prepared to feed.
    • Right after they hand your little one back to you, be prepared to let them eat! In addition to your cuddles, eating is very soothing for them and will help them forget about the pain.
  2. Have Children’s Tylenol on hand.
    • Money Saving Hack (thanks to our rock star pediatrician): Buy Children’s Tylenol instead of Infant Tylenol. These two medicines have the exact same ingredients. The only difference is that the infant version comes with a syringe and the children’s one comes with a cup, making the infant version much more expensive.
    • You can use a MediFrida Pacifier to give your baby the medicine. This paci is truly a lifesaver. It dispenses the medicine to your baby’s cheeks and bypasses his taste buds. Plus, you can reuse this for a long time, instead of just for the Tylenol.
    • **Be sure to ask your doctor for the correct dosage!
  3. Let your caretaker know.
    • If you’re working, be sure to let your caretaker know about his vaccinations. This way they can be prepared for different behaviors and can be sure to watch for rashes and/or fever.
  4. Give your baby a warm bath. 
    • A warm bath will do wonders for their sore little legs! Also, if your baby is anything like Austin, they will have so much fun in the water that they forget they’re sore.
    • Exercising your baby’s legs can also help with pain. We tried to keep his legs moving as much as possible so they wouldn’t get too stiff and sore.
  5. Snuggle that baby! 
    • Give him a little extra dose of snuggles and love over the next few days after shots. Cuddles will help baby’s legs and your emotions feel better!

Overall, if you’re worried about anything at all, ask your pediatrician. They are there to help transition you as a new parent and to take good care of your little baby. You’ve got this – just make sure you’re prepared with a little extra caffeine that day.

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5 Steps to a More Joyful Maternity Leave

“When I look at you I can feel it. I look at you and I’m home.” – Dory

Let me start off by saying I am no expert in this. I’ve only been a mom for two months and let’s be honest.. who can figure out this whole parenting thing in just nine weeks? At the beginning of my maternity leave I was already feeling my anxiety creep in and was feeling completely lost and exhausted. I was also dreading the day my husband was going back to work just a week and a half after bringing little Austin home. Part of me was sad we’d never have this time together again just the three of us and the other part of me was scared I’d fail as a new mom. 

When Jay left for work I told myself I was going to make a conscious effort to find joy in this time. I started focusing on taking care of myself in addition to Austin, instead of putting all of my energy and effort into this tiny human. These simple changes I made in my day-to-day routine helped tremendously. It’s amazing how much better you feel when you put just a little effort into yourself.

5 Simple Steps to a More Joyful Maternity Leave

  1. Take time for yourself.
    • Take at least 10-20 minutes for yourself every single day. Make yourself a healthy breakfast, put some makeup on, or just take time in peace and quiet. Now this is of course easier said than done (currently typing this with one hand due to a hungry baby). When you have a newborn you feel like you have to watch them like a hawk, even when they’re sleeping. However, if you spend just a few minutes every day taking time for you, it’s amazing how much more energy and motivation you have to take care of that sweet baby.
  2. Give yourself time to heal. 
    • As much as you want to be super mom right off the bat, you’ve got to give your body time to heal. You will not feel normal right away.  It will hurt to sit, use the bathroom, and sleep. You will not drop all of your pregnancy weight in two weeks. All of these things are normal. Take it easy, ask for help from your spouse or friends, and slow down. Your body was meant to do this and it will go back to “normal” eventually.
  3. Start healthy habits now.
    • If you’re anything like me, you treated your whole pregnancy as a “treat yourself” day. I definitely over-indulged in the sweets while I was pregnant even though I told myself at the beginning I wouldn’t. Enjoy your time celebrating over the first week or so and then hit the ground running. Find yourself a meal plan that keeps you accountable and follow it! You can also start some light exercise to encourage healing and kickstart your metabolism again.
      • My personal favorite meal planning apps are MyFitnessPal and Weight Watchers. MyFitnessPal is a free app that helps you count your calories and set weight loss goals. You can also connect this app to many fitness tracking apps, such as FitBit, to help track your activity as well. Weight Watchers is a paid program that helps you track your food on a point system. You are allotted a certain number of points per day based on your weight loss and activity goals. The cool thing about Weight Watchers is that a lot of healthy foods are zero points, which encourages good snacking. While it is a paid program, there are usually good deals to help with the cost.
    • Starting healthy habits has helped increase my confidence in myself and feel good overall. I’m now a full believer of everything in moderation and eating real food. Of course I’m still going to enjoy ice cream and cookies, maybe just not every day.
  4. Get out of the house.
    • You heard me. Do not be a person who is so scared of germs that you never leave the house until your baby gets their first shots. You will go crazy if you lock yourself away for six weeks. We got out of the house within the first four days of being home and it was so good for us and our baby. Our favorite places to go were Target, the mall, and a walking trail. If you’re not comfortable taking your baby in public, start taking walks around the neighborhood. A little fresh air will do wonders for you. Now I make a point to leave the house every day. Not only is it good for helping keep me happy, but it also has gotten Austin in a routine to be ready when I go back to IMG_6494.jpgwork.
  5. Enjoy the in-betweens and ask for help.
    • If you’re as lucky as we are, you were granted the most beautiful gift from God: a colicky baby. Colic is hard, especially when you are home alone. The crying seems to never end and the headaches seem to get worse. Remember: you were designed to do this. God is giving you this trial for a reason and you will be better for it. Enjoy the moments where your little one is happy and content. Put down the screens and cuddle with that wonderful little miracle you have created. If you feel like the in-betweens never come, check out my previous blog post for tips on soothing your baby.
    • If nothing seems to work, ask for help! There is no shame in admitting you need a break. Call a friend, a family member, the doctor, or a colleague. Anyone you love will come running to your aid if you need them and they should be more than happy to help.
      • If you feel constant depression, anxiety, or feelings of failure, you should talk to your OB. Postpartum mental illness is real and it is important you discuss it with a professional to get the help you need. Again, there is never any shame in admitting you need support.

Today is my last official day of maternity leave. While I am so sad to see my time at home end, I’m cherishing every second I’ve had at home. Cheers to all of you SAHM’s out there. You are rock stars and your job is the hardest of them all.

 

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The Sunday Scaries: Colic

“Whoever tells me they are head over heels in love with their baby before 4 months old is a liar.” When our pediatrician told us this at our 2 week appointment, I thought he was just being funny. “What is he thinking? Being a mom is so magical,” I thought.  Fast forward to 5 weeks later, this is probably one of most honest things I’ve heard in my first seven weeks of motherhood. Of course all moms love their babies. You spend nine hard months growing this tiny human and then have to push him out with the tiniest ounce of energy you have left. But loving someone is very different from being in love with them.

Let’s face it – infants are 24/7 hard work. For the first few weeks, our little one slept about 22 hours a day and cried only when he was hungry. Two and a half weeks later when he hit his due date, everything changed. It was like a lightbulb went off that day and he was like, “Oh now I’m ready to be out”. Everything was different. He opened his eyes up wide, started being awake more, and even started to make different faces at us. All of these things were so exciting! Our baby was finally interacting with us and we were thrilled. However, something else that came with hitting his due date: colic. 

→ps. If you are sitting there thinking “this is me”, read to the end to see my tricks to battle colic with our little one.

There are some days where he is a little angel. He smiles, plays, and can sleep pretty much anywhere. Then there are the other days where he pretty much eats, sleeps, and screams. These days are the hardest days and are becoming much more frequent: aka every single day. I’ve never felt so many emotions at once. Part of me feels horrible he is hurting, but the other parts of me feel frustrated, tired, and sick of having a headache.

Something I’ve learned (or I’m trying to learn) is to find joy, simplicity, and grace in all of this. I am not perfect, nor will I ever be. I cannot expect myself to wake up every day with a huge to-do list and check every single thing off. Or expect that just taking one walk will make me magically fit. Things I can expect: setting a goal for accomplishing one thing each day, becoming more fit over time, and God will be with me through it all. This is just a small part of our story.IMG_5897

Austin will not cry continuously forever. He still loves us even when he cries and I am still a good mom. One day I know we will miss these moments – even the moments where he cries for hours on end. So here’s to loving every season of life and every minute we get to spend with our little one. Also here’s to a large iced coffee, my new Proverbs study book (thanks She Reads Truth) and stress relief workouts – mama’s gonna be needing it.

Tricks to Combat Colic

Always ask your pediatrician for their expert opinion!

  1. Gas Drops – We buy the store brand to save money, but any gas drops for infants will do! You can mix this in your baby’s bottle or give it to them right before or right after a feeding. We give our gas drops at the beginning of feedings to avoid Austin spitting them up.
  2. Gripe Water – Same idea as gas drops – given to baby right before or right after a feeding. Since this dosage is bigger than little gas drops, we got a MediFrida Paci to help him drink the gripe water calmly.
    1. I recommend choosing gas drops or gripe water, not both. Again, always ask your pediatrician first!
  3. Football Hold – Hold your baby across your forearm (head near your elbow and bum in your hand) and gently rock side to side.
  4. Baby Wearing – My favorite way to wear Austin is the Solly Wrap. This wrap is made with breathable fabric and is easy to wash when needed.
  5. Swinging and Swaddling – Babies are used to motion, especially in the “4th” trimester. Swinging and swaddling can help calm your baby in a way that feels natural to him.
  6. Tummy Time or Reverse Breastfeeding Hold – Think about it, when you have a bellyache, the last thing you want to do is lay flat on your back. Try tummy time (on a soft surface like your chest or belly) or holding your baby on his side away from your body.
  7. Anti-Colic Bottle – Try an anti-colic bottle. We personally like Advent but every baby is different!
  8. Call for help! If all else fails, call someone to help you before you get too frustrated.

 

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A Simply Joyous Time

Thank you for visiting my page!

I’ll be sharing my story of life as a new mom and how I keep it simple and full of joy.

Follow along to read my truths of first-time-motherhood and some tips and tricks of how I’m keeping my sanity during this new season of life.

“Love is taking a few steps backward, maybe even more…to give way to the happiness of the person you love.” – Winnie the Pooh