1 Year Postpartum: Work it Out!

I was really hoping to “bounce back” after I had Mia.  It didn’t happen so easily or even the way I would have liked.  Yes, I tried to workout during the first few months that she was born, but I was exhausted.  I was on the verge of tears every time I thought about the fact that I had gained so much weight. I only gained 25 lbs during pregnancy, but my body was holding on to about 15 extra lbs for what I thought was no reason.  Looking back, I’m guessing my body was holding on to that weight to ensure I was able to adequately nourish my baby.

Fast forward, Mia is now 13.5 months old, just yesterday finished up her last package of breastmilk and has been drinking whole milk since around 11.5 months.  We started out mixing breastmilk and whole milk ounce by ounce.  Then one day I said let’s see what happens if I just give her whole milk & she slurped it down like a champ.  She’s easy that way.

Anyways! After we started sleep training, (thank you GOD for all the advice I received from the Precious Little Sleep blog & FB group) I started to get back into my workout routine.  Before Mia (now known as BM), I ran every Tuesday/Thursday & Saturday.  Tuesday/Thursday runs were short – generally 3-4 miles and Saturday was a long run – generally 5-6 or more depending on if was training for a race or just running for exercise.  I find it easier for me to get up in the morning before she wakes up and either hit the treadmill in the basement or run outside with one of the many running groups I’m associated with.  I am still working on establishing a good workout routine, but I must say I’m almost there.  Here’s what it looks like currently:

13.5 months postpartum – my current workout schedule
Monday – 30 minute kettle bell workout
Tuesday – 3 mile run (currently doing 1:30 Run / 1:00 Walk) intervals
Wednesday – Elliptical
Thursday – 3 mile run (currently doing 1:30 Run / 1:00 Walk) intervals
Friday – REEEEEEST which actually equates to run around with toddler
Saturday – 5 mile run (currently doing 1:30 Run / 1:00 Walk) intervals
Sunday – REEEEEST which actually equates to run around with toddler

While I’m sad that it took me almost a year to get back to my fitness routine, I’m happy that I’m getting started.  I’m happy to be back on the pavement with my group.  I’m happy that our jogging stroller has actually been used.  It’s been so hot in Atlanta lately that we’ve not taken Mia out for many runs, but as it cools off she’ll probably become one of my favorite running buddies!

What are you doing to get in shape after baby?

Pumping at Work

Warning!! Long post!

When I returned to work I was so apprehensive about whether or not I would be able to maintain my breastfeeding relationship with my then 3 month old daughter. I had read up on pumping while away, researched the best pumps and supplements to maintain milk production. Turns out my body knew exactly what it was doing to make the right amount of milk to keep my little bundle of joy nourished!

Here are my top 10 tips and links to products that I found so incredibly useful during the 12.5 months that I pumped (both at home and at work).

  1. First and most importantly, talk to your employer upon your return work about pumping and having a dedicated space to pump.  The bathroom should not be suggested as an option, it is a sanitary space to express milk.
  2. “Schedule” your pumping times!  This worked really well for me.  I would pump according to the times that my daughter took a bottle at home.  At three months, I was pumping every 3 hours which meant throughout my workday I had 30 minute recurring meetings scheduled at 9 AM, 12 PM and 3 PM.  We had a reserved room & I would use that room to express milk.
  3. Find milk storage bags that work for you.  I was a big fan of two kinds – first Kiinde mile storage bags and second was Lansinoh. I used Kiinde when I knew that I would be taking the milk home directly and adding it to my “freezer stash” and I used Lansinoh when I was traveling and needed to save space in my carry on milk container.
  4. Hands free pumping is awesome!  I was a huge fan of hands free pumping because sometimes I either had to work or take calls while I was pumping.  It wasn’t often, but often enough for me to know that I needed in some cases to have both of my hands free.  Other times I wanted my hands free to do massage to increase my milk production for that pump.  I love all of Dairy Fairy’s hands free pumping bras.  They have a wide variety, but my favorite (and the most comfortable) was the Arden All-In-One Nursing Bra.
  5. Massage, massage, massage! Looking to maximize milk production during your pump.  Try ‘hands on pumping!’ I was, in some cases, able to produce 1-2 oz more than my normal pump with hands on pumping.  This video helped me tremendously!
  6. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!  The more fluids you get into your body, the easier it is for you to maintain your milk supply.  I found that on days that I was drinking less water, my milk supply was meh, but on days that I drank lots of water I was a milk machine.  I found that electrolytes did wonders for my milk production so I started out my morning with a large gatorade.  I then sadly realized the error of my ways.  Gatorade had so much sugar and calories, I was sabotaging any potential for postpartum weight loss with the amount of Gatorade I was consuming.  I then switched to drink 2 liters of Smartwater while I was in the office – worked like a charm.  If you’re a member of Costco, they have Smartwater (both sparkling & still) by the case.
  7. Keeping milk cold was a big deal for me, specifically because a few times during my pumping months I had to travel & I didn’t want my milk to spoil while I was away from my daughter.  I could probably dedicate a whole post to traveling while nursing/pumping.  Long story short, I found that I needed a few things to help make traveling with breast milk easier.  I used an insulated styrofoam cooler and dry ice replacement.  All things that can be purchased from Amazon & boy were they lifesavers.
  8. Lactation bites were my BFF.  I loved making myself lactation bites, they were so tasty & gave me the extra little boost that I sometimes needed (especially around month 10 when I started to have my period again).
  9. Keep an extra set of pump parts at work – this will save you the headache of always having to remember to bring pump parts with you.
  10. Clean pump parts with pump cleaning wipes in between pumps.  Typically I pumped, stuck my parts into a large zip lock bag & put them in the refrigerator.  Keeping them cold means not having to sterilize until end of day.

The one thing that is incredibly important is that you don’t stress yourself too much.  Trust your body, I promise you that it knows what to do once you get a nursing / pumping routine established!  If you see a drop in your supply, don’t immediately assume that your nursing relationship is ending.  Make sure you stay hydrated and try not to stress!

Pump on mamas!

I’m baaaaack!

So life got in the way and I didn’t take care of my blog. It’s amazing how the first year of motherhood can really turn your world upside down. 

I’m back though! I have lots of topics I want to cover over the next few weeks so stay tuned! 

Here’s a sweet baby pic of the little bookworm to keep you going! 

6 Months Old

Boy has time flown by and so it seems that I’ve taken a blogging hiatus. 4 months have gone by and I’ve not written one post. So what has happened?!

Well Baby M has started rolling from front to back and back to front. She is fully sitting on her own now. She still enjoys mommy’s milk, but is starting on solids! Baby M is not yet crawling, but she’s definitely trying and scooting!

We have spent the last two weeks in Arizona for my job. Thankfully Baby M and our au pair traveled with me and we were able to score a 2 bedroom apartment for our 2 week stay! Baby M did so well on the 4 hour flights back and forth. I was quite proud and other passengers commented on how well she did. Guess she got the traveling bug honestly! 

During our two week stay in Arizona, the au pair and Baby M got to enjoy the awesome weather, visit the zoo, teach several German classes & hike in the desert. 

What have you been up to??

Two Months Old

It’s so hard for me to fathom that we are really parents. I couldn’t have picked a better husband or father to Baby M. C is super supportive of everything I do/recommend. The last 2 weeks have shown me that time is really precious! Baby M had grown so much. She went from a baby who is solely focused on having her basic needs met to a very interactive little miss!

We have reached the stage where she is cooing, laughing and discovering “her voice.” This week we traveled to Germany for Baby M to meet C’s family and so far so good. The flight over was in general a breeze. I nursed on takeoff and landing to help prevent ear pain. Baby M cried for about 30 minutes when going into the night time routine, but otherwise all was good. Our first night in Germany was rough because she isn’t fully adjusted to the time yet. Baby M wants to play….C and I want to sleep. Thank goodness for grandparents!

This trip not only marks her 2 month milestone, but also makes me realize I only have 1 month before I return to work. I’m ready though…the time off has made me realize I am not cut out to be a stay at home mom. More power to the women who chose that, but it’s just not for me. 

Here’s a two month shot of Baby M! Hope you enjoy! 

  

Deutschland 

Yep! That’s right…on Thursday C, Baby M and I are heading to Germany for Baby M to meet C’s side of the family. So far they have only “met” Baby M in Skype. We are also going to meet our au pair Ellie for the first time in real life. 

C and I decided that an au pair was best for Baby M. The main reason for that is the language. Because most, if not all, of C’s family speaks German as their first language it is uber important that Baby M be a fluent German speaker. We also wanted flexibililty in care for Baby M. C & I love our dinner dates and having an au pair will allow us to say hey I’ll take care of Baby M for half a day during the week if you’ll then be available 1/2 day on the weekend. Ellie will be with us for a year and I’m hoping that it’ll be a positive experience for us all! 

Another reason to be super excited about our trip is a visit to Oktoberfest!! This is a bucket list item for most people. Until very recently I wasn’t a huge fan of beer…probably cause I had no idea what to drink. C introduced me to some dark German beers and I’ve been in heaven ever since. I’m definitely looking forward to Oktoberfest!! 

So now you know what’s going on with me. What’s going on in your world?!

What’s Been Going On

Baby M is growing like a weed! She’s now 7 weeks old and 11.1 freakin pounds!! Her pediatrician asked so what exactly are you feeding that baby?! She’s only getting breast milk, but boy does she have a healthy appetite. 
C and I are finally getting the hang of this parenting thing. I’m better able to handle Baby M on my own now & we’re both happy she has become more interactive. She’s doing a lot of smiling and cooing. We finally got her out of our bed and sleeping in the Rock and play!!!!!!!!!!!! I need my bed to be (and stay) kid free!

While I could dedicate a whole post to what I’m about to write, I want to focus on the positive in the situation. My father suffered a massive stroke on Friday, August 28th. He was sitting in his truck in the parking lot of a restaurant when a patron noticed that his arms were flailing and he was seizing. The guy got into the truck with my dad and asked if he was okay to which my dad responded no and the man thankfully dialed 911. My family and I have been trying to piece together what happened that night and thankfully we were able to obtain the 911 tape to find out what happened. It seems that he had a seizure followed by a stroke, then another seizure. He was taken to our small local hospital and later transferred to a larger teaching hospital with a neuro specialty. They initially told my mom at our local hospital that it didn’t look good, but the specialist confirmed that yes he did have a massive brain bleed, but he was by no means dying. 

My father has spent the last week in neuro ICU, he had a tube draining fluid from his brain, but is more alert than he was 1 week ago. While he is able to speak to us, the stroke really damaged his speech so he will need speech therapy. Additionally, he has good motion on his right side, but limited motion and feeling on his left. He will also need rehab for that. He’s a strong man, the strongest that I know. He will recover from this and be around to see his grandkids grow up! We all know how much they love and need their “papa.” 

Again I don’t want to dwell on how bad the situation is. It’s bad, but he’s strong and he’ll push through! He is loved and supported by so many including me, we’ll make sure he has everything he needs to get back on track!

I’m bad ass!

  
I was very active both before and during my pregnancy. My first love is running, my second is spin and my third is kickboxing. Around the 30th week of pregnancy all three activities started to get really tough. I had horrible pelvic pressure and pain to the point that even walking a mile left me nearly in tears. 

Fast forward to 5 weeks postpartum….still not released from my doctor, but very antsy to get back into a fitness routine. So this morning while Baby M and C were hanging out I went out for a 3 mile run around the neighborhood. I felt great both during and after the run and that’s when I had the revelation that not only am I bad ass, but it will be totally possible {with the right support and determination} to be a relatively fit mother and wife.  

Travel…Someone’s Gotta Do It!

One of the toughest things for me has been adjusting to life with a newborn. Add to that the fact that C is an exec of a company and is back at work 100% of the time & his job quite often calls for a fair amount of international travel. 

I gave up the “glamorous” life of travel a year or so after C and I got married. I had spent the last 7 years of my career traipsing the globe from North America to Southeast Asia. C had been doing similar travel between North America, South America and Europe. We knew that we wanted a family and sadly (or maybe not sadly) that meant one of us had to give up our exec position. I was ready and willing at that point to throw in the towel anyways so it was quite the natural transition. 

We always knew that C’s travel would continue, but damn I didn’t expect him to be hopping on a plane to Brazil and leaving me with a 1 month old for a full week. The week has been tough…tougher than I could imagine. Baby M and I have struggled through MOTN feedings that C typically took in stride with a bottle of pumped breast milk. I’m exhausted yet it seems that Baby M never reaches that point. Her day time naps are super short this week leaving me a super frustrated and overly tired zombie.   I’m lucky that my mom is here to help this week otherwise I’d be a very angry zombie. 
As I type this my eyes are slowly closing. It’s sad and funny all at the same time. 

Anyone else dealing with the stress of a traveling significant other?

We Survived Month 1

Baby M was born exactly one month ago today. Her first month has been both rewarding and very tough for C and me. I can count the number of days I DIDN’T cry (trust me there weren’t many). We had our fair share of breastfeeding woes, blowout diapers, sleepless nights and mild disagreements, but we powered through and I believe the three of us are stronger than before. 

I am so thankful to have awesome friends who check in on me to make sure I still have some semblance of sanity. I’ve been trying to get out of the house more and more do I don’t feel quite as “homebound” as I have in the past. 

We took Baby M on her first road trip yesterday. A two hour drive from our house to visit my parents. Saying she did well is relative. She screamed for the first 15 minutes, basically any time the car stopped moving and once we were on the interstate out of traffic, she was fine. She started to fuss the closer we got to my parents house and that’s because she’d had enough of her wet diaper. We’re spending the remainder of the day visiting with family and friends as we celebrate her grand entrance 1 month ago. 

I know times seem rough right now, but I’m sure we’ll look back on these first few days and laugh. I’m convinced that life as a family of three will only get better from here on out.