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Postpartum

  • Crab Cake Recipe for Pregnancy

    There’s a new cookbook to feed your pregnancy symptoms away.

    Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    Every new mother-to-be gets a laundry list of things that she can’t eat when she’s pregnant. What about all the yummy things that she can (and should!) eat? Proper nutrition during pregnancy and after delivery is so critical — your body’s working so hard! Eating healthy foods not only makes sense, but also can lessen some major pregnancy discomforts, like nausea, water retention and cramping.

    Taking a “food-as-medicine” approach, Stephanie Clarke and Willow Jarosh, nutrition experts for SELF Magazine and registered dieticians, have released a cookbook designed to help you take the guesswork out of what you’ll need to fuel up pre- and post-partum. The best part about Healthy, Happy Pregnancy Cookbook is that it’s organized by what you really care about: relieving those less than lovely pregnancy symptoms. I totally needed “Chapter One: I’m Gonna Hurl…But I’m Still Hungry” when I was pregnant — in fact, I probably could’ve written a book with the same title. Other chapters include “My Chest Is On Fire” (heartburn) and “I’m Officially a Walking Snack Machine” (for nursing mamas).

    I’m not much of a chef, so I really appreciated the fact that all of the 120-plus recipes in this book require just a handful of easy-to-find ingredients, are fairly quick to make, and don’t call for any fancy equipment or advanced cooking skills. Here’s one of my favorite recipes:

    Barley Crab Cakes (serves 4)

    6 teaspoons olive oil, divided
    ½ cup shredded carrots
    ½ cup shredded zucchini
    ½ cup shredded onion
    ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
    ½ teaspoon ground turmeric

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  • Build Your Breastfeeding Wardrobe

    3 strategies to help you be your fashionable best when nursing on the go.

    Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    Now that baby is earth side, you’re probably eager to get back to your pre-pregnancy wardrobe. But if you are breastfeeding, you’ll probably have to wait just a little bit longer — especially if you plan on nursing on the go. Whether you want to be discreet or don’t mind putting your breast out there when baby needs to eat in public, wearing the right clothes can be a tremendous help in embracing this beautiful, natural aspect of motherhood comfortably and without sacrificing your style. So now is the time to get strategic about what you wear when strolling with baby. Here are 3 tips to make on getting a breastfeeding-friendly wardrobe to help your baby-nourishing breasts navigate between the comfort of your own home and the outside world as seamlessly as possible.

    1. WEAR NURSING BRANDS.

    Beautiful clothing brands, like Loyal HanaMitera and Kinwolfe, have developed their lines specifically with the breastfeeding woman in mind. With strategically placed zippers and layered fabrics, these brands are getting you ready to nurse wherever you go and be stylish, comfortable, and functional all at the same time. A few other brands that we love include Teat & Cosset, Fillyboo Maternity, Boob Design, and SeraphineGeBe for Asos launched this month!

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  • The Revival of Mom Jeans

    That’s right, high-waisted mom jeans are cool now!

    Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    You’ve seen the SNL sketch “mom jeans” — a parody on what mama wears post baby. You know, the one where the three women prance around in jeans that come up to their belly-button, concealing a newly acquired pooch? Well the joke’s on us because ‘mom jeans’ have hit the fashion scene hard, and are now legitimately cool.

    Flattering when styled in the right way, this is some seriously good news for embracing postpartum style. A clear throwback to the 80s, scoop up a pair of this figure-flattering silhouette once you make it through to the other side of pregnancy. You’ll own your newly found curves while looking fashion forward. Here are our 5 favorite high-waist mom jeans.

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  • Postpartum Wellness Registry Picks

    3 wellness experts share the wellness registry picks that will ease your postpartum journey.

    Articles & Photos courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    When you’re prepping for baby, there’s a whole lot of focus on, you know, baby. Which gear you need to make baby happy, to make baby stop crying, to make baby comfortable. But who’s looking out for you? We are! Because guess what, mama? That postpartum period is no walk in the park.

    The good news is there’s plenty of gear that will make your postpartum journey easier. And thanks to the personalized registry site Gugu Guru, which offers unique registry recommendations related to your unique lifestyle, you can actually register for it now. Because baby registries should be as much about mama as they should about baby, right?

    To help guide your postpartum picks we asked 3 postpartum wellness experts to fill us in on their registry must-haves for mama. 

    SARA JANE MERCER, Clean Living Expert
    “Staying hydrated is incredibly important. If you are nursing you need tons of water to produce breast milk (breast milk is mostly water). Proper hydration also helps your body balance all those postpartum hormones, reduces swelling from pregnancy and any IVs you may have had during birth. Keep a large bottle of water with you at all times and aim to refill it at least eight times a day!”

     

    SARA’S CLEAN LIVING REGISTRY PICKS
    1. Baby Bump Balance/Birth Ball
    After nine (ok let’s be honest 10) months in the womb babies are used to motion and are born wanting to be rocked and bounced all the time. A yoga ball is a great way to calm a baby and help get them to sleep while mom gets a great core workout. I used my yoga ball as a desk chair at the end of my first pregnancy, labored on it and spent many, many hours bouncing my newborn daughter to sleep on it!
    2. Baby K’tan
    Newborns love to be close to their moms. Babywearing in a wrap or a carrier can help calm a fussy baby,promote bonding and give mom’s arms a much needed break. I love the Baby K’tan because there is no complicated wrapping technique to learn (it’s all pre-done) and it can be used from birth. You can even nurse while your baby is snuggled up in a K’tan.
    3. Daily Harvest subscription
    Figuring out how to keep yourself properly fed while taking care of a newborn can be almost impossible. Smoothies are ideal for new moms as they can be made and consumed with one hand leaving the other free to hold a baby! Daily Harvest provides frozen, ready to blend smoothies that will make sure you are getting all the protein, greens and healthy fats you need to recover from birth, produce breast milk, and get your strength back. No chopping or prepping, just add a liquid base like almond milk or coconut water, blend and enjoy.

    Melissa Paris, Anja Pierrce - founders of BYOB FitnessMELISSA PARIS & ANJA PIERRE, founders of BYOB Fitness
    “Take it day by day, be nice to yourself, but know that working out makes you feel better emotionally and physically. Get out there when you can. It is worth it!”

    MELISSA and ANJA’S FITNESS REGISTRY PICKS
    1. Breastfeeding Extra Parts Since we’re moms on the move (we don’t have an office) we need breastfeeding supplies that travel well. A battery pack, extra cones, spare parts, wipes to clean those parts in a pinch, a breastmilk cooler set, vehicle charger, and freezer storage are critical.
    2. The Babybjorn: As city moms and co-founders of a baby wearing strength class this item is a MUST HAVE! Hands free and durable!
    3. Bugaboo Runner: This runner allows me to continue my workout routine with my baby in tow! Super durable, technical, and meant for high speeds.

    AIMEE RAUPPwomen’s health and fertility expert
    “As a women’s health and fertility expert, I have worked with thousands of women on their path to motherhood. And, now being a new mom myself, I can speak to postpartum mental wellness personally. The bottom line is: you need to ask for help. You need to put yourself and your health and wellness FIRST– yes, even ahead of your baby- so that you can nourish your family from a place of ease and love. If you put yourself behind all your other family members, the family unit suffers. And your health and wellness really suffers. Start off motherhood on a well-rounded (pun intended) foot and prioritize self care. One of the best ways you can do this is to ask for help: do things like hire a baby nurse, have family members prepare meals, ask your partner to share duties. Delegate and take it easy on yourself.”

    AMY’S MENTAL WELLNESS REGISTRY PICKS
    1. Massage gift certificate for YOU. To use AFTER baby is born. As I said– prioritize your wellness first.
    2. Hands free pumping bra. I couldn’t live without this! And, rent yourself a hospital grade pump (someone can pay for a month or two of this rental on your registry) it’ll make all the difference in breast milk production.
    3. Gift certificate to a lactation consultant. Go BEFORE you give birth, this way you can gather the correct information on how to breastfeed, when to start pumping etc. I did this and she talked to me about hand pumping/self expression which made such a difference for me in the hospital when my baby didn’t latch right away. I knew what to do (I hand expressed into a bottle and was able to give him the colostrum).

    This article is by Jessica Pallay courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.

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  • 7 Ab-Rehab Tips Following Delivery

    While it may seem like you will never get your abdominal muscles back after pregnancy, your muscles are actually quite resilient! With the proper rehab, you can absolutely get your core back to its pre-pregnancy (or better!) state. The great news is you can begin your core rehabilitation process as soon as you feel comfortable following delivery, and it is most likely easier than you think.  The following 7 simple tips can help significantly speed up your recovery following delivery, and get you on the right path to safely and effectively rebuilding your core!

      1. Avoid any sort of crunching or twisting movements: These movements place excessive pressure on your already weak outer abdominal wall, which could potentially lead to Diastasis Recti (a separation of the outer abdominal muscle), or worsen it if you have it. So yes, this means absolutely NO sit-ups for quite a while!  Beyond this though, try to avoid these movements in your everyday life.  For example, sit up tall and avoid slouching.  If needed, place back support behind you when seated (i.e. using pillows or blankets) to keep you upright, yet comfortable.  This is especially important when feeding your baby given the sheer amount of time you spend in this position each day!  Another tip is to remember to roll to your side first when transitioning from lying down to sitting up (and vice versa).  Finally, if you need to bend over, do so by bending at the hips – pushing your butt backward and softening your knees to bend forward with a flat back.
      2. Re-connect with your “inner girdle”:To effectively rebuild your core, start by focusing on your largest and innermost abdominal muscle – your transverse abdominis (TVA). This muscle wraps around your entire mid-section from your spine to the front of your abs (like a girdle), and is responsible for basically “pulling everything in” (AKA giving you a lean, flat waistline!), and supporting and stabilizing your back.  One of the most effective ways to begin rebuilding this muscle is by performing these simple, but effective techniques of Belly Breathing and TVA Holds.
      1. Kegels! Kegels! Kegels!The muscles of your pelvic floor form the “floor of your core” and are extremely weak after 9 months of pregnancy and any type of delivery (vaginal or C-section).  Weak pelvic floor muscles can lead to incontinence, bladder or rectal prolapse, and overall core instability.  Kegel exercises can be an excellent way to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles – if, and only if, they are performed properly.  Learn the proper way to perform Kegels HERE, and try to perform several sets a day.  Performing one set each time you feed your baby will help you get in plenty per day!
      1. Consider wearing an abdominal splintIn most cultures outside the U.S., it is actually common practice to use an abdominal splint for the first 4-6 weeks following delivery. A splint wraps around your mid-section, and places the stretched out muscle tissue of your abdominal wall in the optimal position to promote fastest healing.  It also helps to support and protect your back while your core is still too weak to do so.  There are many manufacturers of abdominal splints.  We recommend ones from The Tummy Team because they have a variety of splints to fit different needs and body types, and are also a good blend of being appropriately supportive and comfortable.
      1. Squat on the pot!This one may sound funny, but it’s important!  Weak inner core muscles can lead to intestinal issues, which can lead to difficult bowel movements, which most likely leads to forceful and damaging belly-bulging “bearing down.”  If you are having any sort of constipation issue, try placing an 8-12” stool beneath your feet to place your body in more of a squatted position.  This position opens up your colon and allows for easier waste excretion.  The Squatty Potty® can be an excellent tool for this because it adjusts in height, blends in with your toilet, and pushes back under the toilet when not in use.
      1. Get checked for Diastasis Recti: Diastasis Recti is a common condition that occurs in about 30% of pregnancies in which the excessive outward pressure from your growing belly causes your rectus abdominis muscle (or “6 pack” muscle) to partially or completely separate at your body’s midline.  Diastasis Recti can lead to a number of complications, including low back pain, hip or pelvic pain, incontinence, bladder or rectal prolapse, and what looks like a “pooch” in your belly.  Everyone has a bit of a separation in the immediate aftermath of labor, but it should close for most women within 4 weeks following delivery.  So, it is best to wait for a few weeks to check.  Ask your doctor to check you at your postpartum visit.  If needed, you can also perform a self-check.  If you do have it, it is best to correct it as soon as possible to avoid further core damage or injury, and also avoid complications in future pregnancies.  Seek out a physical therapist who specializes in this.  PROnatal Fitness also offers PROnatal Ab-Rehab — a one-on-one rehabilitation program designed to correct Diastasis and strengthen weak core muscles.
      1. Transition properly into core exercises once you are cleared:Once you are cleared by your physician to resume exercise, it is important to follow a proper core exercise progression.  Your core muscles need to be rebuilt from the inside out, beginning with the critical inner core muscles of your TVA and pelvic floor.  Try following the progression of these 7 Moves for a Stronger Core, making sure to master moves in one phase before moving onto the next.

      Brittany Citron is a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor, and a pre/postnatal exercise specialist.  She is also the founder of PROnatal Fitness, which offers prenatal and postpartum group fitness classes, personal training, and Diastasis Recti rehabilitation — all developed with input from experts in the fitness, medical, and healthcare fields.  Brittany lives in Manhattan with her husband and 3-year old son, and a little girl on the way!

      Medical Disclaimer:  The above information is for a healthy postpartum woman with no complications or risk factors.  This content is for informational purposes only and not intended to offer medical advice.  Always consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

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    1. 4 Benefits of Breast Pumps — Ashland Health

      A breast pump, at its most basic function, is a way for women to provide nourishing breast milk to their babies when they are not able to nurse. However, the benefits of do not stop at just being able to feed baby when separated. Here are 4 benefits of breast pumps:

      1. Increase milk supply. Many mothers struggle with milk supply–breast milk is called liquid gold for a reason! By adding pumping sessions in addition to a regular nursing schedule can help increase your milk supply. Working mom and VP of Sales at Ashland Health, Caitlin McNeily, nursed and pumped for all three kids. She is currently nursing/pumping her youngest and shares:

      “I am currently trying to bulk up my milk supply for my 8 month old.  I work full time and my baby is getting bigger and hungrier, but I’ve been pumping the same 6 ounces since he was 3 months old. Having a low supply is new to me as I could have fed all the neighborhood babies while pumping for my older two children. We are 4 months away from whole milk for the little guy, and I want to avoid the formula purchase. I am using my breast pump to increase my supply and to keep the fridge stocked for my nanny by increasing my pumping frequency (every 2 hours) and time (adding 5 mins/session).  I’m determined to use this tool to keep the milk flowing!”

      1. Prevent/Treat Mastitis. Using your breastpump to help manage engorgement may also help avoid mastitis. Mastitis is an infection that typically occurs in the first six weeks of nursing and is accompanied by pain, swelling/tenderness in the breast, fever, chills, and flu-like symptoms. It is often caused by an abundant supply of breastmilk that is not  properly drained through regular nursing. Pumping may help avoid this issue.
      1. Gain some flexibility in your schedule while continuing to breastfeed. As new moms, we put immense pressure on ourselves to oogle at our little creation 24/7. This feeling can be especially intense if you are dealing with a limited maternity leave and want to squeeze in every moment of smelling and snuggling your baby. After the baby is born though, it can be difficult to lose freedom and flexibility to run errands, see friends and exercise while being at home caring for a newborn baby. This is where your trusty breast pump comes into play! Replace a feed with expressed breast milk from pumping so you can have a little more flexibility to be away from your baby without worrying about the next feed.
      1. Continue breastfeeding when you return to work and find camaraderie amongst other breastfeeding mothers. This may sound silly, but carrying around your pump bag does lead to more conversations than you may think. You may find a woman in your building who has found a secret place to pump at work when she sees you wandering around with your pump. You may sit down on the train after a tearful morning goodbye with your little one and find a supportive fellow pumping warrior who provides an ear, a smile, or a shoulder to cry on. On that note, if you see a mom with her pump bag, you have an opportunity to provide support, and you never know how much she may need it that day.  

      As expecting moms, we pour over our choices of gear–strollers, bassinets, cribs, bottles, etc. Be equally diligent about choosing a breast pump and see it as a tool not only for success in breastfeeding but also for taking care of yourself.  You are the most integral part of the new party at your home, and you deserve the best as a new mom. You brought a life into this world, and you are amazing!

      This article is by Caitlin McNeily, a working mom of 3 and VP of sales at Ashland Health. Ashland Health is a free nation-wide service providing insurance-covered breast pumps.

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