Get our free updates by email and never miss a thing!

Life With a Newborn

Moms – Get Your Body Back After Baby!

Newborn Babies
Disclaimer: This article was not written by a licensed medical professional or physical trainer and is meant to be informational only, not advice.  Always consult your physician for medical questions or advice about your fitness activities.

How to Get Back Your Body After Baby

Now that the marathon of pregnancy and birth has come to an end, you are probably ready to start working on getting your pre-pregnancy body back.

The shape of your body after baby is very different from what it was before, and now that your giant belly is out of the way, chances are you are focusing more on the changes that were overshadowed before! A squishy stomach, extra weight, stretch marks, cellulite and sagging skin are the most common complaints by post delivery moms.

You wonder if your body after baby will ever return to the way it was before. The answer is yes…and no. While you will be able to eat healthy and exercise to shed the extra pounds, pregnancy permanently alters the shape of your body. Some things, such as larger feet, less fullness in the breasts and wider hips, are unavoidable. Just view them as the necessary battle wounds of giving birth!

Those that maintained a healthy diet and workout plan during pregnancy will have an easier time getting back their pre-baby figure. If you are in the category of moms who could hardly find the energy to make it to the supermarket, let alone the gym, you may take longer to shed those extra pounds, but it can be done.

Creating a Post-Baby Workout Routine

Don’t expect to lose all of the weight in a month. It took 9 months to gain the weight and will probably take close to that long to lose it. You will want to start out slowly, implementing a workout routine that fits into your schedule and is easy enough for you to stick to. Charging full speed ahead can leave you exhausted and increase the chance of you throwing in the towel on fitness altogether.

Start by incorporating cardio activities into your daily routine at least 3x a week. A brisk walk around the block with baby in tow is a great starting point. Start out with a 30 minute walk at a moderate pace 3x per week. After 2 weeks you can increase time to 45 minutes and aim for 5 days per week by the 8 week mark. If you have the time, some moms prefer to join a gym and utilize the treadmills, exercise bikes and cardio classes.

Getting Back Your Six Pack Abs

New moms are usually most concerned with flattening their bellies. Sit-ups (also called crunches) are great exercises for strengthening the abdominal muscles. Keep in mind that you could do 1000 sit-ups per day and you still will not have a nice flat stomach if you do not do enough cardio exercise. What you will have is rock solid abs that are hidden underneath a layer of jiggly fat. Cardio will melt the top layer of fat, revealing the well defined abdominals below.

Sample abs routine: For sit-ups, do 3 sets of 12-15, 3x per week. For lower abs, try a reverse crunch, in which you start out in the sit-up position but place your feet just near your buttocks, then raise your hips into the air. These should also be done in 3 sets with 12-15 reps per set, 3x per week. After 4 weeks you can increase to 5x per week.

Strengthening and weight bearing exercises will not only help you tone up, but are good for preventing osteoporosis later in life. Pilates is a great way to use the resistance of your own body weight as a means of building muscle. Lunges and squats are excellent for working the glutes and buttocks, and can be done in the convenience of your own home.

Remember to Stretch

Be sure to always stretch after exercising. This will increase the amount of calories you burn and will help prevent soreness and muscle injury. Yoga and deep breathing are great ways to relax and get the deepest stretch possible. In addition to local yoga classes, there are several good DVDs with varying yoga styles. You may also want to pick up an exercise ball which can help maximize your workout.

By exercising and eating healthy, well balanced meals, staying hydrated and eliminating excess sugar from your diet, you will be well on your way to getting back that pre-pregnancy body.

We originally published Moms – Get Your Body Back After Baby! on November 3, 2009.  Read more baby articles here or check out more of the Life with a Newborn column.  This article is linked to Works for Me Wednesday, where you can find more great tips for moms!

Adding Baby Cereal to Newborns’ Bottles

Tiffany is a sleep-deprived mom to a teen, a toddler, and a newborn. You can catch her blogging over a cup of coffee at Lattes And Life.  You can also find her Twitter feed @give_me_a_latte.

Adding Baby Cereal to Bottles

By the time your baby is a few weeks old, chances are someone has suggested adding cereal to her bottle to make her sleep longer at night. In fact, many parents swear by this method and encourage everyone they know to follow suit.

Yet, there is no scientific evidence to back up this claim. The medical and parenting communities actually say this practice can be harmful! Let’s take a closer look.

(There is a small group of babies who pediatricians may advise adding cereal to their bottles: babies with severe reflux. Always follow your doctor’s advice).

1. Parents claim that adding cereal to the bottle makes baby sleep longer.

Many research studies have been conducted, comparing sleep habits of babies who had cereal added to their bottle and those who did not. Under research conditions, no difference has been found. Babies will “sleep through the night” when they are ready; each one reaches that milestone at a different rate.

2. Cereal is empty calories at this age.

Babies have definite nutrition requirements. Adding cereal to the bottle only adds empty calories to baby’s diet, which isn’t a habit you want to establish at such a young age!

3. Introducing solid foods too early can aggravate food allergies.

Many in the dietetic community feel that food allergies may be triggered by early exposure to the allergen, before the body is ready to process it. Exposing a baby to grains in the form of cereal in their bottle could possibly increase the chance they’ll develop a food allergy.

4. Baby’s feeding mechanisms aren’t designed for processing solids this early.

Young babies have a reflex that pushes their tongue against whatever comes into their mouth. This is necessary for the sucking required at the breast or bottle. This reflex naturally begins to go away around four months of age, making it easier to begin using a spoon to feed baby.

Also, some babies struggle to coordinate everything required in order to suckle properly. Introducing cereal to their bottles could aggravate this, causing them to choke (and potentially aspirate cereal into their lungs).

5. Adding cereal to the bottle alters baby’s fullness cues.

Babies have internal mechanisms that regulate feeding, so they only eat what they need. Adding cereal to the bottle interferes with these mechanisms, causing them to take in more calories than necessary. Researchers fear this can lead to a lifetime habit of overeating, and could contribute to the obesity epidemic we face today.

For all intents and purposes, it appears better to save solid foods until baby is four to six months of age and ready to accept food from a spoon. You can help encourage your baby to sleep better at night by following some of the tips I’ve shared in previous articles. In the meantime, try to snuggle your way through middle-of-the-night feedings with a smile. They won’t last forever, I promise!

Disclaimer: The previous article is not medical advice from a medical professional.  Always consult your physician for medical advice in the health care and treatment of medical concerns with your baby.

Newborns: How to Treat Cradle Cap

Tiffany is a sleep-deprived mom to a teen, a toddler, and a newborn. You can catch her blogging over a cup of coffee at Lattes And Life.  You can also find her Twitter feed @give_me_a_latte.

How to Treat Cradle Cap

Cradle cap is a condition that most mothers are well aware of. Somewhere in the vicinity of half of all babies have cradle cap in the first few months of life.

Although not pretty, and annoying to deal with, cradle cap isn’t harmful to your baby and can be easily treated at home. Here’s a quick rundown on this common condition and how to treat cradle cap.

What is Cradle Cap?

Cradle cap looks like dandruff on an infant’s scalp. It can also appear as yellow, oily, scaly patches of skin. The dry rash often extends to the area around the ears and the eyebrows.

What Causes Cradle Cap?

Medical professionals think cradle cap is caused by hormonal fluctuations after birth. Maternal hormones circulating in the baby’s system cause glands in the scalp to go into overdrive. These glands release a sticky substance, which makes it difficult for old skin cells to be shed, so they pile up on the scalp. Cradle cap is NOT caused by poor hygiene, infection, or illness.

How is Cradle Cap Treated?

There are many home remedies for cradle cap. Often it takes some experimentation to find which method will work for your baby. Some moms swear by rubbing baby oil on their baby’s scalp, letting it sit awhile, and then using a comb or soft-bristled hair brush to loosen the flakes. You could also use olive oil as a more natural alternative to baby oil. Be sure to shampoo after using this method, as residual oil can clog the pores and cause buildup.

Another home remedy is simply to wash baby’s hair. There are mixed opinions on this method; some people say more frequent shampoos help, others say less frequent. Regardless of how often you shampoo, be sure to use a gentle formula designed for babies. Don’t use dandruff or medicated shampoo unless directed by your pediatrician. Rinse well, and use a soft-bristled brush or comb to loosen the flakes.

There are also many products on the market today designed to treat cradle cap. Many of them can be helpful. If the cradle cap becomes especially bothersome, seek the advice of your pediatrician, who can prescribe medicated shampoos and other treatments.

If the dry patches extend to the eyebrows and facial area, apply a baby-safe lotion to those spots as needed.

How Long Does Cradle Cap Last?

Cradle cap usually clears up by the time a baby reaches six to twelve months of age. Rarely will it persist into the toddler years.

Stay tuned for Life with a Newborn next Thursday for “The Real Deal with Cereal in Baby’s Bottle”.

Disclaimer: The previous article is not medical advice from a medical professional.  Always consult your physician for medical advice in the health care and treatment of medical concerns with your baby.

Baby’s First Year: Must Capture Photo Moments

Tiffany is a sleep-deprived mom to a teen, a toddler, and a newborn. You can catch her blogging over a cup of coffee at Lattes And Life.  You can also find her Twitter feed @give_me_a_latte.

 

Baby’s First Year: Must Capture Photo Milestones

What’s the first thing people ask when talking about babies? “Do you have a picture?” Babies are probably one of the cutest things to photograph. They change so much over the first year, you won’t want to miss a thing. By planning ahead you can be sure to capture all the important milestones on film.

Investing in extra rechargeable batteries for your camera means you’ll always have fresh batteries available when you need them (just remember to keep them charged!). On my personal blog I share some great tips on photographing newborns from Professional Photographers.

Here are some newborn moments you won’t want to miss:

1. Birth/hospital stay (Include any first meetings with relatives!)

2. Religious Ceremonies (i.e. Baptism)

3. First bath

4. First smile

5. Pushing up on arms, and later all fours

6. Crawling

7. Learning to sit

8. Starting solid foods

9. Pulling up/standing

10. First steps

Use your daily activities as a guide too:

  • If baby goes to daycare, include some shots of the building and his caretakers.
  • If it snows, capture baby’s first experience in the snow.
  • If you visit the beach, capture baby playing in the sand.

And don’t forget holiday pictures! You can dress baby up for Halloween even if she’s too young to Trick or Treat. Have your own photo shoot at home, with baby in her costume. Tuck her in an Easter basket for a great Spring shot. You don’t have to pay a fortune to get adorable holiday photographs. Use your own props and you’ll end up with much more personal memories!

By keeping your camera ready for action, and thinking ahead to the moments you want to capture, you’ll be sure to have a great photo collection of baby’s first year. Although you may still want to include some professional studio portraits, you can save time and money by staging your own photo session at home.

Stay tuned for Life with a Newborn next Thursday for Treating Your Newborn’s Cradle Cap.

Nighttime Tips for Sleep Deprived Moms of Newborns

Tiffany is a sleep-deprived mom to a teen, a toddler, and a newborn. You can catch her blogging over a cup of coffee at Lattes And Life.  You can also find her Twitter feed @give_me_a_latte.

 

Nighttime Tips for Sleep Deprived Moms of Newborns

When there’s a newborn baby in the house, it can be easy to lose track of time. Days and nights are whirlwinds of feedings and diaper changes, every two hours or so. It’s important to try and keep some sort of routine in the house though, especially if there are other children in the family. It can be difficult, but will pay off for everyone.

What helped our family was to focus on getting through each night as peacefully as possible. Nights seem to be the worst; everyone is tired, and it’s difficult to adjust to the lack of sleep. One of the best things we did was to prepare for each night ahead of time. By setting ourselves up for success, it made nighttime feedings much smoother.

3 Nighttime Tips

1. Get diapers and wipes ready.  We cloth diaper, so I make sure I have clean diapers stuffed and ready to go. For the first few weeks I used disposable diapers, so I made sure I had them stacked near my changing area. I also make sure I have enough wipes for the night, and set those next to the diapers.

2. Have bottles ready.  If you bottle feed, make sure your bottles are clean and ready. If you use powdered infant formula, measure and fill your bottles with water so all you have to do at night is scoop the formula in.

3. Keep lights low, limit noise, and don’t interact too much with babyMany babies get their days and nights mixed up. To prevent this, it’s helpful to keep the lights dim at night, and the noise level low. This sends the message to baby that night is different than day, and can help baby associate night with sleep. In this regard, don’t interact too much with baby. Feed, change diapers, and snuggle, but try not to play and arouse baby any more than necessary.

By preparing yourself and helping baby differentiate night and day, you can make your night feedings go fairly smooth. I think you’ll find this will help everyone transition into a better night schedule, and get a little more rest!

Stay tuned for Tiffany’s Life with a Newborn article next Thursday – “Moms of Newborns: Dealing with Sleep Deprivation”.  If you can’t wait that long, read How to Get Things Done When You Have a Baby: The Practical Parent’s Guide now!

Get more mom tips at Works for Me Wednesday.