BossMamas We Love

 
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Name? Erin McConaghy (who is one half of Curated Care along with fellow mama and partner, Marlene Veloso)

What’s the name of your company? Curatedcare.com 

What was the inspiration behind Curated Care? We were passionate about creating a childcare option that felt great for families to use, provided a better, cooler experience for kids and also created a new space for artists and teachers to share their passions and make good money doing what they loved. 

How many children do you have? One kiddo, Keira, 3 and sassy.

What did you do before starting your company? Managed a premiere children's facility in TriBeCa and helped found a Montessori-based drop off program for pre-preschoolers. 

Top three things, in your opinion, to think about when hiring a nanny or babysitter?

1) Do I like being around you? (is it easy and enjoyable)

2) Do you have enough experience with kiddos my child's age so that you can be fully present with them?

3) Do you light up when you articulate the reason you love working with kids?

What is your proudest moment? Birthing my child (which sounds like a cliche but it's a popular answer for a reason -  I still can't believe I got that child to exit :)

What is the most challenging thing about running your own business? Letting things go. I've always wanted to do a good job at whatever I've worked on, but when it's your own company and vision you take everything personally. 

How has being a parent changed you? When people ask me what it's like to be a parent I say "think of all the times during the day that you are sitting down...now remove all those" ha. Honestly, it's the hardest but most validating work I have ever done and you don't realize how huge your heart is until someone tiny and awesome makes it joyfully explode a little more every day. 

Where do you see your Curatedcare.com in 2023? Offering childcare-adjacent options - prenatal yoga specialists (FPC’s note: How about Pre and Postnatal Fitness Experts like ourselves?), lactation and sleep consultants or, on the other end, things like SAT prep, art portfolio prep, etc.

Where is your happy place? Paris

Tell us about your typical Tuesday. Little known fact - NYC families tend to make their family plans on Tuesdays. It's our busiest day on the site so I'm glued to my phone and computer from the moment I get out of bed. 

Lastly, name your top three NYC restaurants! For veg-friendly dining, abcV. For delicious Mexican fare and great mezcal,  Toloache, and for a giant, fantastic bowl of ramen, Kori TriBeCa.

Follow along on Instagram @curatedcare and visit their website for more info curatedcare.com 

 

Birth Like A Badass Part 2: Speak Up For Yourself!

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Contributed by Ashley Brichter who is a Childbirth Educator, Lactation Counselor, Postpartum Doula and Mom of Two

If you haven’t heard Serena William’s birth story, her daughter was born via unplanned c-section, and the morning after Serena nearly died due to a blood clot. Luckily, she suspected a the clot when she began feeling short of breath, and immediately pressed her doctors to give her a CT and heparin drip (a blood thinner). She knew her body and advocated for herself and saved her own life.

You would not expect in our first world nation that you would have to advocate for yourself in this way, but we know, among other things, the gender bias in health care is real and women are at a proven disadvantage when it comes to our healthcare system. Women commonly face being misdiagnosed or undiagnosed with it comes to gynecological issues. When doctors cannot pinpoint the cause of a woman’s pain, it often goes untreated and unquestioned. Black women are even more at risk of negligence. A recent NPR / ProPublica report showed Black women are 12 times more likely than white women to die during childbirth regardless of socioeconomic status.

It is an unfortunate reality that childbirth is not always on your side. It is always responsible to arm yourself with information, work with trusted providers, and consider a doula, but ultimately you should never trust anyone more than yourself. It’s so important to listen to your body and your intuition and to find the courage to speak up.

We’re passionate about making you the best advocate you can be during your labor and birth process which is why we’ve teamed up with Ashley Brichter of Managing Overwhelming Moments. Learn more with Ashley during her Childbirth Prep Weekend + Breastfeeding and Newborn Care at FPC.

The upcoming Sept 28-30th class is perfect for parents expecting in December and January.

To Plank or Not to Plank?

The Myth:

It's safe to hold planks during pregnancy. 

 
 

 

Why this myth exists

Women are often told by their care providers that it's safe to continue doing whatever workout they did before pregnancy.  For many women their pre-pregnancy workout included planks, pushups, planks holds, etc.  And if you aren't well versed in the topic of Diastasis Recti, it's not an exercise that you would necessarily think of as a contraindication so many women continue doing them without realizing the damaging they may be causing to their core. 

FPC's answer

Pregnancy and early postpartum is the time to train our bodies with the utmost attention to detail.  For us, that means fully integrating the inner core unit, aka what we call Pump & Kegel, (Learn all about it in our upcoming workshop here!) in EVERY single movement from the moment we find out we are pregnant...if not before!  

We perform what we call "moving planks" at FPC in order to fully integrate the inner core unit and protect the linea alba (the connective tissue connecting the two halves of our 6-pack abs together), from any additional outward pressure or strain.  Holding a plank potentially increases that outward pressure that we are trying to avoid.  When it can no longer sustain the pressure, it can stretch beyond what’s considered “normal” during pregnancy, causing what's called a diastasis recti.  

At FPC, we teach that you use your breath, with a properly engaged pump & kegel, to move in and out of a plank position.  This is the way to safely modify your planks during pregnancy and early postpartum.

 

* If you aren't able to maintain the core integration, if you feel outward pressure on the abdominal wall (pushing out) or if you ever see coning or doming through the abs, you should eliminate this exercise completely.  It's best to perform moving plank work under the watchful eye of a qualified trainer or specialist.  

 


Join us for our Pump & Kegel workshop on Wednesday, Sept 26 6:30-8Pm to make sure you are properly protecting your core during your workouts and every day movements from a potential diastasis recti.   

Birth Like A Badass Part 1: Grunt That Baby Down

Photo by Tim Bish on Unsplash

Contributed by Ashley Brichter who is a Childbirth Educator, Lactation Counselor, Postpartum Doula and Mom of Two

I’m late to the party here, but we really can’t talk about childbirth these days without calling upon Serena Williams. The thing is, I referenced Serena Williams in my birthing preparation classes long before she had a baby. I referenced her because as long as she has been in the public eye, she has been modeling how to use our bodies well! In my classes, preparing for birth is all about learning to use your body well. If you watch Serena Williams play, you know we exhale with effort. That GRUNT makes her so powerful! Since suffering with health complications after giving birth to her daughter, Serena Williams fortunately and unfortunately taught us another childbirth-relevant lesson: you are your own best advocate!


When Pushing, Exhale with Effort or Grunt That Baby Down!

Breathing is hands-down the most important coping strategy for labor and delivery. Being well oxygenated will allow your muscles—especially your uterus—to function properly. The best part of deep breathing as a coping strategy is that it is always available to you! Here’s how to use your breathe for pushing specifically.

When you feel an urge to push (it will feel like rectal pressure because the baby’s final descent is very much like sh*%ing out a coconut), take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale with an open mouth as you push down into your pelvic floor muscles (finding a bulging sensation in your vagina). You can think about moving a french press from the top of your belly down to your feet with your exhale. You can make that exhale a grunt, Serena Williams style or you pretend you’re blowing out birthday candles across the room. The key is to make your exhale longer than your inhale and to NOT hold your breath. Holding your breath (a commonly taught and hospital-approved pushing technique) will deprive your uterus and baby of oxygen. Maternal oxygen can prevent non-reassuring fetal heart rate patterns. Always exhale on exertion. You want to give yourself permission to make some noise, just like you’re on a tennis court! FWIW, cuing into your pelvic floor muscles and coordinating exertion with your breath before labor can help prevent tearing!


Looking for Childbirth Education? Learn more with Ashley during her Childbirth Prep Weekend + Breastfeeding and Newborn Care at FPC.

The upcoming Sept 28-30th class is perfect for parents expecting in December and January.

FPC's Top Natural Beauty Products!

Skimping on beauty products is never a good idea but it’s especially important to be mindful of what you put on your body while pregnant or breastfeeding. Since you have enough to worry about we did all the research for you, mama.

 

This Indie Lee toner is hydrating yet manages to balance skin to protect it from breakouts. It also acts as a barrier for outside aggressors like pollution. And, it smells heavenly! 

Nervous about getting stretch marks? Use the Hatch belly mask to hydrate the stretched out skin.

Polish free nails during pregnancy is now a thing of the past thanks to the non-toxic Sundays Studio nail polishes. If you don’t live in New York, order the polish on their website and do an at home mani/pedi but if you’re in the city we highly recommend pampering yourself with a visit to their gorgeous studio. 

Our solution to chapped, colorless lips = Herbivore Coco Rose Lip Tint in Coral

The Kat Burki Vitamin C Intensive face cream is a total splurge but trust us, you are never going to be able to go back to any other creams. Anti-aging, all natural, super absorbent and it smells like a field of flowers. 

Did you know that traditional deodorants have all kinds of toxic ingredients? We recommend switching to an all-natural for life or at the very least for pregnancy and breastfeeding. Our friends at LymphCandy makes our favorite in "lemongrass". 

People keep talking about that “pregnancy glow” but all you got was your teenage skin back? Don’t worry, it’s more common than not and this Tata Harper face wash combined with a clean diet and lots of water might help combat the issue. 

Looking for a moisturizer that is lush, rich, creamy but also absorbed in a flash? The Basq Mega Moisture cream does the job! Pro tip: you can even use it on your baby. Pick up a jar after class, we stock them at the studio.  

See you soon beauties and don't forget to #pumpandkegel 

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How Doulas Work for You

 
 By Jennifer Mayer, Founder Baby Caravan

By Jennifer Mayer, Founder Baby Caravan

 

While doulas are becoming a more common addition to an expectant families birth or postpartum plan, many still aren’t quite sure what a doula actually does. Below is a brief overview of the ways Birth and Postpartum Doulas help the families they work with.


Birth Doulas

We recommend families start interviewing Birth Doulas during the second trimester of pregnancy. It can take a few weeks to line up interviews to find the perfect doula fit. Once hired, your doula is available to you for any questions you may have over email, phone or text. You can also expect:

Pre-birth: during the third trimester, your doula will schedule prenatal meetings. These are valuable sessions to help plan for the day of birth. Your doula will review any childbirth education classes you may have taken and answer any questions you might have. She’ll also help you make a few logistical plans for the day of birth. We never know exactly how labor will unfold, however having a few different plans for how labor may start can be particularly helpful.

Your doula will also help you practice different comfort measures for labor. This may be a combination of movements, breathing techniques, guided imagery, hypnosis, massage techniques and more. She’ll help your partner be prepared for when labor starts, with some guidance on helping you during early labor when contractions are mild.

 

Day of: on the day of your birth your doula will be on call and ready to meet you when you need support. She can meet you either at your home or hospital, whichever works best depending on how your labor is progressing. Your doula is your guide- she’ll help you manage contractions by coaching you through breathing and comfort techniques. She’ll encourage you every step of the way. For your partner, she’ll help normalize the experience and be a reassuring presence.

At the hospital, your doula will help you settle in and be as comfortable as possible. She’ll help you dialog with medical staff and make sure you have all the information you need to make decisions should they arise. If an epidural is requested, doulas have lots of techniques to help clients rest in different positions to help facilitate the baby’s decent into the birth canal.

Every step of the way during your labor, your doula is there for you and your partner, whether it’s gathering supplies, getting you a drink of water, or offering a massage.  

Following the birth of your baby, your doula will help you with the first latch, get you settled in with a high protein snack, take some family photos if you’d like, and help you be as comfortable as possible for those early bonding hours.

Postpartum: after you’re settled in at home, your Birth Doula will return within the first one to two weeks after the birth to have a postpartum check in session. This is a wonderful time to recap the birth experience together. This is also a good time to trouble shoot any lactation, newborn care or postpartum healing questions that may have come up. Your doula will be able to direct you to community resources if they’re needed.

 


Postpartum Doulas

Preparing for the postpartum period, aka “the fourth trimester” is incredibly important for the whole family unit. You’ll never regret setting yourself up with help so you can rest and focus on feeding your baby during those early weeks and months.

Postpartum Doulas are available to assist families either during the day or overnight. Daytime doulas spend a lot of their time focusing on guidance and education for the new family. This might include assisting with breastfeeding and latching, teaching newborn care such as bathing, swaddling, and soothing techniques.  

In addition to baby care, the postpartum doula can also run errands, prepare meals, tidy up the home, and attend to things that help the day move forward for the household. Your postpartum doula is your guide- she’ll help you develop and strengthen your parenting confidence so that when she’s not there, you feel secure with your baby.

Overnight doulas are typically hired so new parents can get as much sleep as possible. For moms who are breastfeeding, the postpartum doula can provide support during nighttime feedings if needed. Although mom will need to wake to breastfeed, the doula handles all the diaper changes, swaddling and soothing so mom can get some much needed rest in between feeds. She can also make you a middle of the night snack, and have breakfast ready for you in the morning.

Postpartum doulas typically work with families anywhere from the first 2-3 weeks following the birth, all the way up to the first 5-6 months depending on the family’s needs. We recommend families interview postpartum doulas in the third trimester of pregnancy, though many clients hire postpartum help after the baby is born.

 

What’s the difference between a Baby Nurse and Postpartum Doula?

 

We are often asked what’s the difference between a baby nurse (also called a night nanny, or night nurse) and a postpartum doula. This is a great question, as the services offered are quite different.

A baby nurse is hired to care exclusively for the baby, while a postpartum doula provides care for the entire family. For example, a baby nurse is in charge of feeding, bathing, and diapering the newborn during her time with a family. A postpartum doula on the other hand, “mothers” the mother, so the parents take care of the newborn, while the doula takes care of the parents. If the parents need a break, a nap or shower, the doula is more than happy to care for the baby.

A baby nurse typically lives with a family for a duration of time, while a postpartum doula comes for her shift and doesn’t live with the family. Depending on sleeping arrangements this can be a big consideration for some families. Postpartum doulas have additional training in breastfeeding support. Depending on a family’s feeding preferences, this can be particularly helpful in those early weeks when breastfeeding is getting established.

 

If you’d like to learn more about birth and postpartum doula services, or have questions about your particular situation, feel free to reach out to Baby Caravan: info@babycaravan.com.

 


 

About Baby Caravan

Baby Caravan provides holistic support for families, from pregnancy through returning to work postpartum. Founded in 2014, Baby Caravan’s mission is to provide families in New York City with exceptional birth and postpartum knowledge, guidance and resources through our network of professional Birth & Postpartum Doulas. We connect families with vetted doulas, to best meet their needs during this special, yet challenging time. In addition to doula services, Baby Caravan coaches moms returning to work following maternity leave to help smooth the transition back to work.  

 

Watermelon & Mint "Steak" Salad

 Contributed by Pre/Postnatal Health Coach, Nisha Malani

Contributed by Pre/Postnatal Health Coach, Nisha Malani

It’s safe to say we all love to eat. Pregnant or not, it’s important that sitting down at the table is an enjoyable, satisfying experience. Otherwise we leave feeling unfulfilled and find ourselves looking to snack on unhealthy comfort foods (*cough* cheese). During pregnancy, what you eat actually shapes your baby’s preferences and tastes, so it’s important to choose nutrient-dense foods. Instead of using the old adage “eating for two” as an excuse to eat twice as much, use it as a reminder to think twice about what you choose to eat.

In the final days of this heatwave we call summer, it’s good to have nutritious, satisfying, and impressive (hello, unexpected guests!) recipes on-hand. This simple yet beautifully sweet & savory recipe is an absolute stunner – for both the eyes and the palate.

Watermelon & Mint “Steak” Salad  

Serving size: 6-8 for medium-sized watermelon 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 Whole Seedless Watermelon (approx. 6-8 rings once sliced with rind on)

  • ½ cup Organic Pasteurized Feta Cheese

  • 2 Tbsp Chopped Mint

  • ½ cup Diced Pistachios

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Olive Oil

Instructions (This is a dish worth presenting individually! Your guest will truly be impressed): 

  1. Slice Watermelon in 1-inch rings (keeping rind on)

  2. Sprinkle Salt & Pepper to taste

  3. Top with Diced Pistachios, roughly chopped Mint & Crumbled Feta

  4. Drizzle with Olive Oil

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BossMamas We Love

 
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Names? Jessica Canetti, Marisa Vera, Melanie Haber.

Name of your company? Milx

Inspiration behind starting your company? Jessica: As a new, stressed mom, I tried every nursing and pumping bra on the market and hated their guts. They were flimsy, non-supportive, ugly, and inconvenient. One day, in a fit of rage, I cut holes in a beloved sports bra and made a DIY hands-free pumping bra that changed my life. I proudly sent topless selfies to Melanie and Marisa, and just like that - the first ever Milx prototype was born. The three of us quickly realized that every single mom we spoke to had the exact same gripes with nursing/pumping bras on the market and we needed to make a change!

Do you have children? Name(s) and age(s)? Jessica: Daughter Layla, 3, and pregnant with #2 due in October. Melanie: Son Jack, 3 months. Marisa: Daughters Malena, 2, and Cora, 2 weeks (!).

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What did you do before starting your company? We all still work full time in addition to running Milx. Jessica and Marisa both work at Google in Ad Sales and Marketing. Jess is a Business Lead for Specialty Apparel Retailers and Marisa works in Integrated Digital Marketing Solutions. Melanie is the SVP of Brand and Communications for a publicly traded healthcare company in the addiction space.

Your proudest moment? We are always the most proud after receiving positive feedback from moms about how Milx bras have improved their lives. It truly brings tears of joy to our eyes after years of hard work trying to accomplish this mission.

What is the most challenging thing about running your own business? Finding the time to spend on Milx, our passion, on top of our day jobs and mommying!

How has being a parent changed you? Jess: Being a parent has made me realize that ultimately the only person whose opinion of me matters is my daughter’s. Mel: Three months into mommying, I’m feeling less productive, more disheveled, but also so much more in love than ever before.

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Tell us about your typical Tuesday. Mel: I’m currently on maternity leave from my non-Milx job, so my Tuesdays this summer are spent with Jack! Our day involves lots of diapers, feedings, bottle washings, long walks, tummy time, dancing, and snuggling in no particular order. While Jack naps and after he goes to sleep, I squeeze in Milx e-mails and calls. And I’m always always always (like every day) wearing my maternity jean shorts and a big t-shirt (over my Milx bra, of course). Jess: Wake up (no alarm needed with a 3 year old), and start to get Layla ready for her day with breakfast and getting dressed, (plus, if she slept in her own bed all night she gets to watch one episode of a kids’ TV show of choice!). Then I rush to Google, usually run around to client meetings, and sometimes go to a workout at 5:30pm that I have to leave early from so that I can get home by 6:30 to relieve my daughter’s nanny. Once I’m home it’s all about Layla-  play, give her 2nd dinner, play more, snack on things that are bad for me because I’m starving, bathtime, read two books (one is usually Frozen), tell her a story (usually about Anna and Elsa), scarf dinner with my husband while always being annoyed about how late we’re eating, do Milx work/get on calls for Milx, and pass out!

Where do you see your company in 2023? We see Milx as a lifestyle brand that helps modernize motherhood. In addition to creating products that will make the lives of moms easier, we want to help educate women on what to expect as they become mothers, make breastfeeding and pumping less taboo, and create a supportive community of moms who are all just doing their best!

Where is your happy place? At our future Milx headquarters in Hawaii on the beach :) Or seriously, when we find the time to work all three together on Milx in person, that’s pretty amazing!

Lastly, name your top three NYC restaurants! Kyclades, Minetta Tavern, and ABC Kitchen.


Curious to hear more from the women of Milx? Come hang with them in person at our August 22nd New Mom Support Group at 1pm. They will also bring Milx bras to try on and buy at a discounted rate! 

 

Postpartum Anxiety

 Contributed by The Motherhood Center

Contributed by The Motherhood Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At The Motherhood Center, we provide support and clinical treatment to pregnant and postpartum women that are experiencing perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs), otherwise known as postpartum depression. Treatment ranges from a Day Program for new and expecting moms with acute PMADs with an onsite nursery, outpatient therapy and medication management for women with mild to moderate symptoms, and support groups. We hear the following comments from new and expecting moms on a daily basis:

‘I just couldn’t get out of my mind. My body was tense, all day, every day, I had an ongoing feeling of nausea and I couldn’t eat for most of the day; I could not pull myself out of it, to focus on myself, my baby, or anything else. I was paralyzed’.                                          

- Rochelle

‘Every time I tried to do something for my baby, I was sure I would hurt her. Did I put detergent in her bottle? If I walked near the window, could she fall out of the window? Did I leave something in her diaper when I last changed her?’             

- Alex

‘I was so overcome with worries all the time. I couldn’t leave the house. What if my baby started crying in public? What if people think I am a bad mother?        

- Bethany

 

Postpartum Anxiety: What is it?

Anxiety is a normal emotion for which humans are hardwired to experience. We needed and still need the ‘fight or flight’ response to know how to deal with fearful and life-threatening situations. With anxiety disorders, however, this normal response is the system over-reacting, becoming over-stimulated and developing into an illness which inhibits you from functioning normally in your personal and/or professional life. Women are especially vulnerable to anxiety during the postpartum period, when there is a major shift in one’s sense of self - their identity as an individual, a partner and as a professional. Additionally, there is a now a tiny human being who is fully dependent on her for all his or her needs!

According to Postpartum Support International (PSI), approximately 6% of pregnant women and 10% of postpartum women develop anxiety. By comparison, approximately 10% of pregnant women experience depression and up to 15% experience it in the postpartum. Often, anxiety can be experienced on its own, however, it is common for anxiety to be experienced together with depression. It is important to note that almost 50% of postpartum depression and anxiety disorders existed before or can develop during pregnancy, so we prefer to use the term “Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders” which refers to both depressive and anxiety disorders before, during and after pregnancy (ie: the “perinatal” timeframe.)

Postpartum anxiety is not as widely discussed in popular culture or medical sources as is postpartum depression. A Google search of postpartum anxiety yields an ad for postpartum depression as the first hit and a quick Amazon book search of postpartum anxiety yields 4 books specifically geared to postpartum anxiety versus the numerous books that cover either postpartum depression alone, or both postpartum depression and anxiety together. There is even a Postpartum Depression for Dummies book, but not one for postpartum anxiety. The less commonly discussed postpartum anxiety disorders are often missed as women who have only heard of postpartum depression and don’t identify as being depressed, don’t realize they may be experiencing postpartum anxiety.

What are the signs and symptoms of postpartum anxiety?

Physical symptoms can include feeling jittery, dizzy, and/or the sensation of a racing heart. You can have thoughts that are characterized by relentless worries, such as ‘what if my baby cries and I can’t console him/her; what if I am not feeding my baby enough; what if my baby stops breathing.’

Common behaviors that accompany these thoughts and feelings are incessantly asking for reassurance, obsessively researching the internet or calling the pediatrician out of fear that there is something is wrong with the baby. Isolation from friends and family can occur when there is resistance to going outside with the baby.

Other signs and symptoms of postpartum anxiety may include, irritability, panic attacks, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, muscle tension (sore neck, back, jaw, clenching/grinding teeth), trouble concentrating and focusing, memory lapses, frequent episodes of crying for no reason, or thoughts of harming yourself or the baby.

Who is at risk of developing postpartum anxiety?

Top risk factors for postpartum anxiety include a personal prior history of anxiety, a family history of anxiety both in the perinatal and non-perinatal periods, or medical issues such as a thyroid condition. History of trauma, such as physical or sexual abuse, a difficult/traumatic delivery, are significant risk factors as well.

 

Is there effective treatment for postpartum anxiety?

Yes! Postpartum anxiety disorders (like postpartum depression) are highly treatable. Treatment for postpartum anxiety starts with recognizing your symptoms. Often, a family member or close friend may recognize these before you do. A full psychiatric evaluation by a mental health professional, which can rule out other medical causes of anxiety (such as thyroid imbalance), is recommended. From the evaluation, recommendations for therapy and/ or medication may be indicated.

Maximizing your sleep, ensuring adequate nutrition and exercise (in moderation and according to what your Ob/Gyn recommends), and engaging in mindfulness/meditation/yoga are other interventions that can help to decrease anxiety. You can work closely with your perinatal therapist on defining which of these measures is right for you.


To learn more about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, visit The Motherhood Center:

https://www.themotherhoodcenter.com/perinatal-mood-and-anxiety-disorders/

Meredith Weiss, MD, is a Psychiatrist at The Motherhood Center, and a clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan.

Dr. Weiss graduated from the Albert Einstein School of Medicine of Yeshiva University and completed adult psychiatry residency at Montefiore Medical Center. Dr. Weiss completed a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital. She then completed the Sackler Infant Psychiatry Fellowship at Weill Cornell Medicine where she developed expertise in parent-infant relationships and early childhood development. She has published articles and book chapters, presented at national medical conferences and received training and teaching awards. Dr. Weiss is board certified in both adult psychiatry and child & adolescent psychiatry. 

 

 

Are you prepared to push? (An interview with Chantal Traub)

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We interviewed Chantal Traub, our educator for the upcoming "Prepare to Push" workshop to find out what inspires her and find out, what are the most important things she wishes all women knew for their births?


 

FPC: What inspired you to get into this work and how long have you been doing it?

Chantal: I was teaching prenatal yoga in the late 90's when some of my students invited me to attend their births. To deepen my knowledge and to better serve these women, I studied and became certified as both a childbirth educator and a doula.

While attending hundreds of births, I noticed that women were often under-prepared to push. I realized that was due in part to a lack of understanding of and limited preparation for optimal pushing. I became passionate about helping my clients Prepare + to Push effectively.

I've been assisting births full time since 2003. The work in itself is rewarding. I meet people from all over the world and their strengths and vulnerabilities that come out during the labor process move and inspire me.

 

FPC: What is the one piece of information about pushing that you wish more women knew?

 

Chantal: To release and let go of the pelvic floor muscles and let the baby OUT.

 

FPC: In your opinion, what should a women be doing during pregnancy to “prepare to push”?

 

Chantal: The pelvic floor is designed to stretch significantly during the pushing stage, but factors such as your activity, lifestyle, posture, and mindset can substantially affect this potential. Our nutrition affects our energy and our muscle strength and stretch. Making positive changes towards eating well during pregnancy for birth, postpartum and beyond helps both mom and baby. It is important to build body awareness, strength and stamina and stretch and lengthen the muscles that attach to the pelvic floor.

 

FPC: What kind of support system should a woman have in place to help with the pushing stage?

 

Chantal: The Provider – the OB or midwife that you choose plays a big part in protecting your pelvic floor.

The Partner or support Person can encourage, reassure, cheer and re-energize the mother. They can also help her calm and focus.

 

FPC: Is there anything you’d like to add?

 

Chantal:

  • It is valuable to invest in the preparation for childbirth and postpartum.

  • Self awareness can transform the nature of the experience.

  • The only muscles to tighten during pushing are diaphragm and abdominal muscles – NOT legs or buttocks.

It is so important to keep the big picture in mind. No matter which way your baby comes, it is about your personal experience and the birth of your baby and when you hear your baby cry or see or touch your baby for the very first time, it is a huge moment and a very moving experience and it puts you on the other side of birth and at a new beginning in your life. Enjoy your baby!

 

 

 

Birth Stories: Joanie

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Contributed by FPC co-founder, Joanie Johnson

My daughter turned 2 this week and the story of our birth is one I’ve tried very hard to forget. Thinking about it always brings up feelings of anger and makes me wonder,  what could I have done differently? 

We practiced hypnobirthing and with complete respect for that technique, Im giving warning that this is not a “beautiful birth story”.  If you’ve had a peaceful birth, hopefully this brings you closer to every woman that has struggled with hers. And if you have struggled, know that you are not alone and I encourage you to speak up, share and seek out help in order to grow and heal. 

Friday, July 29, 2016, 7:30AM: My "due date"

I woke up on my due date, shuffled my way to the bathroom and discovered my waters were leaking.  I had no other signs that labor was starting but knew that it had to start soon or I wouldn’t be able to have the no intervention birth I had planned. Taking matters into my own hands, I called up my friends who are acupuncturists and walked myself to their apartment for a treatment to get things started. After that, I started having painful but manageable contractions. The treatment seemed to get my labor started and I felt grateful for all the holistic healers in my life.  My midwife asked that we come in to check my fluids and the baby’s vitals. Everything was fine so we came back home to labor through the night and into the next day.

Saturday, July 30, 4:30PM

Contractions continued to get stronger and we were directed to go to the hospital to check on the baby via sonogram.  Her fluids were good, so again, we drove home to continue laboring, stopping the car along the side the road with every contraction because I couldn’t bear to be in motion while breathing through them.

When we got home, we sent a text to our doula that we were ready for her to come over as the discomfort and exhaustion was starting to weigh on both my husband and me.  She arrived and I was grateful for her comforting doula magic throughout the entire night and into Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, July 31

By mid afternoon, we had taken 2 more trips to the birthing center thinking I was getting close to start pushing.  Both times, my contractions were coming just a few minutes apart and sometimes lasting as long as 4 minutes. My labor had been going on like this for 2 days.  I was mentally and physically exhausted.  I hadn’t eaten (I couldn’t) or slept for more than a few minutes at a time for nearly 48hrs.  After being told for the second time I was only 2 cm dilated, I asked to go to the hospital. I had reached my breaking point, the pain had become unbearable and I wanted an epidural.  We arrived at the hospital sometime Sunday afternoon, I got the epidural and then fell into the deepest, most grateful sleep of my life.

Monday, Aug 1, 11AM

I woke around 11am Monday morning and my midwife told me I was fully dilated and we could start pushing.  In retrospect, I remembered feeling so relieved to have finally dilated that I never questioned that someone outside my body had decided it was “time to push”.  I started pushing around 11:30AM. I pushed in every position and with the strength of the Incredible Hulk for 4 hrs. I could reach down and feel the hair on my baby’s head and she was “stuck”.  Or that was the only explanation anyone could give us.  

Around 3pm My midwife had to give in to the pressure of the hospital.  I remember a doctor coming into the room and sternly saying, “Enough is enough”.  My midwife looked up at me and apologized that I would have to have a C-section.  She assured me I had done nothing wrong, my pushes were strong, but she couldn’t buy me any more time.  A wave of gratitude washed over me for having her as such a strong advocate when someone else would have given up hours ago.  A cesarian birth was my biggest fear and there it was unfolding in front of me.  I was helpless and remember feeling angry at my body for betraying me every step of the way. Another part of me felt grateful for modern medicine and relieved that this was all about to be over. 

As they prepped the OR, my body continued to push without my help.  A nurse told me I could stop pushing and I remember telling her that stopping wasn’t physically possible.  I remember closing my eyes, blocking out what was about to happen and feeling one last glimmer of hope Maybe I could get this baby out by myself and this nightmare would all be over?  The contractions at that point were at their strongest and I remember feeling that hope even as they wheeled me into the OR.  

5:10PM

A full 73 hours and 10 min after my first contraction, my daughter Adina, a healthy 7lb 11oz baby girl was born via cesarian birth.  It was an out of body experience that will forever be etched into my brain. Lying awake, knowing your body is cut open, feeling your lower extremities being shaken from side to side and then being handed your baby.  It all felt slightly disjointed and overwhelmingly emotional. I remember crying for weeks afterwards as I tried to process all the emotions of what had happened while also struggling to navigate the exhaustion and overwhelm of new motherhood.  Those same emotions of anger and betrayal bubble to the surface even now, 2 years later, but then I look at my bubbly, 2-year old and feel grateful for every minute of every day with her.  

Our birth story was my biggest fear come true.  With my occupation and specialty, I knew what it meant to recover from major abdominal surgery.  A recovery journey I'm still on.   But I'm grateful because in the end that makes me an excellent trainer.  

Whenever I share this story, the response is often “Well at least you can be grateful you have a healthy baby”.  At some point, I even found those words coming out of my own mouth because I felt an incredible amount of guilt for not feeling that way.  I’ve learned I can be angry AND be an amazing mother full of gratitude for having a healthy baby.  The anger has nothing to do with gratitude towards my child and everything to do with the need to be human and openly express my emotions in order to heal.   

Births happen in all different ways and it’s absolutely OK to be angry about your birth experience.  What's not OK is that so many of us don't acknowledge our feelings because we're ashamed for not feeling grateful. Feeling and acknowledging that anger is the only thing that can bring us to a place of healing.  

Next time someone opens up to you about how their birth unfolded, or you see them struggling as a new mom, choose your words carefully.  Take that moment to practice some gratitude that this amazing woman has opened up to you in order to heal.  It's the acknowledgment of her anger that will ultimately lead her to more gratitude and abundance.  All you have to say is, Im listening instead of "well at least you can be grateful...." 

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If you are looking for help: 

The Motherhood Center provides supportive services for new and expecting moms, including a range of treatment options for women suffering from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

They offer support groups for new mothers, lactation consultations, therapy for birth trauma and individual therapy, offering something to every woman making the transition to parenthood.

 

 

 

Positive Language Approach for Parents

Curious about what it means to embrace a positive language approach? Here are 3 tips to help you use positive language during challenging moments:

 
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Negative language can be very confusing to a child. When you tell a child what not to do, you are not providing her with any information about what she should be doing. In my experience, as both a teacher and a parent, nearly everything you want or need to say can be expressed through positive language. Everything. For many families, meal times are especially challenging. (My son is approaching 2 years old… I get it!) Smile. Try to appear calmer and more patient that you actually feel. Offer clear, positive statements that help your child understand exactly what’s expected of him or her.

 
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Physically demonstrate specific actions to help your child understand that safer, more appropriate alternatives exist. The next time you witness hitting, offer the same simple suggestions. Repetition is incredibly helpful when providing a child with positive alternatives to negative behavior. This approach can help children develop a clear understanding of the many positive ways they can interact with others. Looking for a place to practice? Seek out a communal sandbox. Shared spaces provide endless opportunities for young children to experience and resolve social conflict!

 

Speaking of sand...

 

 
 

Physically demonstrate specific actions to help your child understand that safer, more appropriate alternatives exist. The next time you witness hitting, offer the same simple suggestions. Repetition is incredibly helpful when providing a child with positive alternatives to negative behavior. This approach can help children develop a clear understanding of the many positive ways they can interact with others. Looking for a place to practice? Seek out a communal sandbox. Shared spaces provide endless opportunities for young children to experience and resolve social conflict!


Rose and Rex is online toy boutique and play resource that promotes the importance of imaginative, open-ended play in early childhood development. We aim to change the way people perceive play. Play is not frivolous. It is a valuable, essential tool for developing the key cognitive, physical, social and emotional skills that children will carry through school and into adulthood. We specialize in responsibly made, creative toys that spark engagement. In addition to being a toy boutique, we aim to be an accessible, imaginative and refreshing resource for all things related to play-based learning. Our current offerings include toys, content and workshops for parents and caregivers.

Rose & Rex is thrilled to partner with Fit Pregnancy Club for an upcoming Positive Language Approach workshop. We believe that the way we speak to and around our children directly impacts the way they feel about themselves and how they interact with others.

We hope you’ll join us at our positive language workshop on

Wednesday, August 8th at 6 PM. 

The one thing you can do (beyond FPC) to change your birth outcome

We all have dreams of having the perfect birth experience.  Some of us write birth plans, others hire doulas, others send lots of easy birthing juju into the universe and hope for the best, but did you realize there is one major thing you can do to change your birth outcome? 

It's education.  Knowledge is power and FPC stands behind this 100%.  Imagine if our founders hadn't spent countless hours forming relationships with PT's and women's health specialists, and getting the best education and certifications to create the most comprehensive pre/postnatal workout there is?  There wouldn't be an FPC. We are confident we have you covered when it comes to having a strong pregnancy and complete postpartum recovery but we know there is more to your birth story than just empowering you physically.

You also need to empower your mind.

That's why we sought out the most comprehensive childbirth education class and best educator in all of NYC and asked her bring her course to FPC!  

Meet Ashley Brichter.

We are honored to present the first of many of her Childbirth Education courses at FPC starting Aug 3, 4, and 5th.  If you've been debating whether or not you need a course, this is your answer.  And in true FPC form, we want to give you everything in one easy swoop.  The 3-day weekend also includes breastfeeding and newborn care to set you up for complete success for those first few weeks postpartum.

Spots are limited.  Sign up ASAP!

 

And if you still don't believe us, read some of these testimonials! 

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How to Prepare for a Cesarean Delivery

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Art by Catie Atkinson

Contributed by Erin Williams, DPT

Whether you are planning to have a cesarean delivery or not, every pregnant woman should be well informed regarding cesarean procedures. Being well informed will reduce anxiety and make an expectant mom feel prepared if plans suddenly change from a vaginal delivery to a cesarean, and will ultimately set you up for an efficient postpartum recovery.

Since a cesarean delivery is a surgical procedure, there is minimal damage to the pelvic floor and little that can be done to prepare for it, right? WRONG!

Studies have shown that strain and dysfunction to the pelvic floor muscles often occur from the weight of a growing baby, which challenges the integrity of the pelvic floor for 9+ months, creating more stress on the pelvic floor than a vaginal delivery itself. Opting for a cesarean does not mean you will preserve your vagina in perfect condition.

Here are 3 actionable steps which can help prepare you for a cesarean delivery.

  1. Practice a safe and effective strategy for getting in and out of bed now while pregnant that you can implement post-cesarean. This can help decreased intra-abdominal pressure, pain, and strain on the abdominal muscles that are involved with a cesarean delivery. Think “log roll” by rolling fully to your side, swing legs over the bed and use your arms to press yourself up to sitting while exhaling to protect the incision site at the lower abdominal muscles. 
  2. Train and improve awareness of your pelvic floor now as it is part of the “core team” along with the diaphragm and abdominals. Due to the abdominal incision site of a cesarean surgery the pelvic floor muscles work extra hard post surgery to compensate for the abdominal muscles while they heal. A good starting point to increase pelvic floor strength and awareness is to try Fit Pregnancy Club’s Pump and Kegel class as well as to invest in 2-3 Pelvic Health Physical Therapy sessions to dive deeper into engaging the pelvic floor correctly with daily activities. 
  3. A cesarean delivery is a major abdominal surgery, so much like individuals prepare for an ACL surgery by strengthening the knee muscles as well as surrounding hip and ankle muscles it is a good idea to strengthen the core as well as quads, glutes, and trunk musculature to allow for a safe and efficient recovery post-cesarean. Where to start? Hire a pregnancy/postpartum coach/personal trainer or physical therapist to take you through guided safe full-body exercises. Try all of Fit Pregnancy Club’s safe and full-body workout classes! 

There is so much that women can do to mentally and physically prepare for a cesarean delivery regardless if it is your first choice of delivery or not! It is always better to feel prepared, confident, and knowledgeable about all possible labor and delivery options to set yourself up for the best success possible during labor and postpartum!


Questions? Want to schedule a telehealth or in-person Pelvic Floor PT consultation with Erin? Contact information: erin@womenshealthnyc.com or visit her website at www.womenshealthnyc.com

Breastfeeding Superfoods

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By Carolyn Tallents

 

If there are two things you can expect to feel when breastfeeding, its hungry and thirsty! Even though you’ve been “eating for two” for over 9 months now, your body is creating a whole new food supply for your little bundle and it is hard work.  

Making sure to eat and drink regularly with a new baby can be a challenge - you’re exhausted, your hands are full (all of the time) and taking care of yourself may not feel like a top priority. However, since your body needs fuel to produce breastmilk and important nutrients pass through to the baby, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to what you’re putting in your body. Incorporating healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates in your meals and snacks can go a long way to aid in milk production, help keep your energy levels up and give your baby the vitamins and mineral they needs to get a great start in life.

Here is a list of 7 superfoods to replenish, recharge and nourish you and your baby while you’re breastfeeding:

Avocados – a source of healthy fat and B vitamins that will fill you up and keep you satisfied. Enjoy on toast, salads, sandwiches or eggs.

Eggs –high in protein, choline and other vital nutrients, enjoy for any meal or keep a few hardboiled eggs in the fridge for a grab and go snack!

Salmon – a great source of Omega-3’s and helps with brain function for both mom and baby. As a bonus it may help ward off postpartum depression.

Nuts & seeds – packed with protein, healthy fats and antioxidants, nuts and seeds are a great way to stay satisfied in between meals.

Spinach – everyone knows how important leafy greens are, but spinach is the winner for breastfeeding moms. It has what’s called phytoestrogens which aid in lactation and promote breast health.

Whole grains – healthy carbohydrates are critical for milk production and digestion. Enjoyed at any meal - try oatmeal for breakfast or quinoa or brown rice for a nutrient dense side.

Water – okay not a food, but it’s so important it needs to be included in the list. Water is essential for breastmilk production and experts say to have an 8oz glass of water every time to nurse to rehydrate.


Carolyn Tallents is an FPC instructor, pre & postnatal nutrition specialist, Women’s health coach, pre & postnatal personal trainer – and mom to a very active toddler.

For more information or to get in touch, you can reach her at Carolyn@CLTWellness.com.

Pregnancy Style

 
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As if finding something to wear isn't challenging enough without a baby bump, now you have to find something that also fits your growing mid-section. Since we always aim to make your life a little bit easier in every way, we took it upon ourselves to scour the market for pregnancy friendly summer clothing. Tag us @fpc.nyc in your cutest bump fashion. 

Did someone mention a jersey fabric maxi dress that is BOTH bump and breastfeeding friendly? Sign us up! Teat & Cosset just came out with the fabulous Athena dress and it's literally everything we always wanted in a day-to-evening dress.

It should come as no surprise that we are completely obsessed with everything from Hatch. Our summer go-to styles include the Nessa Dress, the Noa jumpsuit and the Sylvie dress. If you stop by their Bleecker street store and mention FPC, you should receive a discount too. 

Everyone should at some point in their life own a pair of denim overalls. We are crushing on this pair from Rosie Pope. 

If you are just looking for something fun that doesn't cost a fortune, check out the following pieces from Zara: Patchwork Print Dress, laminated print dress, and this winner from H&M. 

We look forward to catching you and your bump in all your best summer styles via instagram. Tag us @fpc.nyc for a chance to win a little something from Teat & Cosset

5 Things You Definitely Need to Think About in Preparation for Birth and Postpartum

By Nilma Black

 

Congratulations, you’re pregnant! Welcome to the most transformative, rewarding process of your life. Now that the dust has begun to settle from your big news, it is a good time to direct your attention to making preparations and setting yourself up to have the most blissful birth experience possible. Here are some things you should be thinking about ahead of time.

 

1. Find a doula to have your back.

Doulas are an invaluable resource for families during pregnancy, birth and postpartum. They provide physical, emotional and educational care; they free up your time and energy so you can positively engage with your medical team, your partner, and your pregnancy. A doula is your birth consiglieri, they are the person that is irrevocably in your corner. Think of this relationship as the bedrock on which you can build a successful birth plan. A successful birth plan is one that makes you feel in control and at ease.

 

2. Decide where you want to have your birth.

Whether you have your baby at home, in a hospital, or in the back of taxi, where you have your birth determines a ton of other factors. Making this decision early on will give you the peace of mind and confidence to create the rest of your birth plan. There are families that prefer to have joyful births at home and those that feel more comfortable having their baby in a hospital and those who would rather give birth at a birthing center where there is an environment that appeals to both sets of needs. The important thing is that you have all the relevant information. Discussing this with your Doula will help you arrive at the decision that is best for you.

 

3. Research your OB and/or Midwife

Once you’ve decided where you would like to have your birth, you can research the medical team that will be involved. Again, your doula will help you make sense of all the information and keep you from being overwhelmed by this process. Never feel as if you have to stay with a decision that doesn’t feel right. Keep asking questions. That is your right. If you picked a hospital for your birth; find out what their C section rate is compared to vaginal births, if family members can stay with you for the first postpartum night. Find out what their policy is on outside food. Research your hospital and make sure their values and practices align with your expectations.

 

4.Childbirth education

Seeking out childbirth education can have a major impact on the comfort and ease you experience during your birth. A good childbirth educator will help you learn hospital protocols, understand your body, the process of birth and know what choices are available to you. Knowledge is power and, in this case, power means safety, comfort, and peace during your birth.

 

5. Plan for Postpartum.

After you've given birth, you can expect your life to change. By thinking through some of the challenges and curating the right support network ahead of time, you'll be able to focus all of your attention on taking care of yourself and connecting with your baby during the transition. The goal for this period is to minimize your responsibilities to the outside world. Plan to put some of your regular commitments on hold for at least a month. A personal chef, a partner, a family member or a meal delivery service can take the pressure off meal planning and preparation.  Getting the proper nutrition is vital for your well-being and that of your baby. Book an appointment with a postpartum doula to help communicate your needs to your doctor and help turn your home into a postpartum sanctuary; Make sure this sanctuary will be a restful, comforting environment and decide ahead of time on what your policy will be with visitors.  

 

 

 
 Nilma Black is the mother of two beautiful daughters. She is a certified doula, a nutrition coach, an activist and the cofounder of Babu; a mobile and web-based platform that connects families with a network of knowledgeable providers, empowering them to make informed decisions about their pregnancy, birth and postpartum period.

Nilma Black is the mother of two beautiful daughters. She is a certified doula, a nutrition coach, an activist and the cofounder of Babu; a mobile and web-based platform that connects families with a network of knowledgeable providers, empowering them to make informed decisions about their pregnancy, birth and postpartum period.

 

SoHo's Best Baby-Friendly Eateries

As our postpartum community continues to grow, we are constantly faced with the question: “where do we go to eat in the neighborhood with our babies?”. Here are our top picks!

1.    Spring Natural. Lots of outdoor seating makes this the perfect spot to grab lunch or dinner with a sleeping baby in the stroller. They have a wide variety of food with our favorites being the spinach-artichoke nachos, the veggie burger (with the vegan cheese!) and the rice and vegetable platter. Bonus points for magnificent cocktails! 

2.    Lafayette. Fancy a bit of french? Head over to this spacious restaurant which can easily fit a stroller next to your table (either in our outdoors). Order a glass of chilled Sancerre, a dozen oysters

3.    Dr. Smood. These guys are the self-proclaimed “healthiest café in the world” and we agree! This is our go-to place for a quick bite. Our menu suggestions: the oatmeal in the morning, avocado toast and kale salad for lunch and hummus/crackers for a snack. Also make sure to try their in-house made cashew mylk in your coffee or golden latte. 

4.    Bar Pitti. Who’s into a plate of seriously authentic northern Italian pasta? Head over to Bar Pitti on 6thavenue (address insert). They are generally pretty good about strollers and babies but we suggest going off-peak hours because it tends to get crowded.

 

Debunking Exercise Myths: Returning to Exercise Post Pregnancy

The Myth: It's safe to return to your pre pregnancy workout as soon as you get the "green light" from your care provider.

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The FPC Answer: Most care providers will give you the green light at around 6 weeks to resume exercise.  But what does that mean?

Did you know that the first 12 weeks post birth are known as the "critical healing period"?  (Read 12...not 6).  Many women return to their favorite workouts too soon and too hard and put themselves at risk of developing complications.  Even if you feel amazing, the exercise choices you make during those initial weeks can effect your body for the rest of your life.  We could probably write you a book on the topic, but you're busy so here are some important bullet points instead: 

Before returning to exercise post birth:

  • It takes 4 months after you're done breastfeeding for your body to stop producing the hormone relaxin.  As long as relaxin is present, the connective tissue between your rectus abdominis (6-pack abs) is still vulnerable.  Thats why we continue to offer safe "core" alternatives for all our newly postpartum moms.  

 

  • No matter how good that new mom, "yoga teacher", "fitfluencer" looks on instagram, when she tells you it's safe to do crunches at 3 weeks postpartum, it's important to remember that traditional abdominal work like crunches, twists, planks, etc. are absolutely out of the question during those first 12 weeks.  

 

  • If you still have ab separation at 12 weeks, you need to continue to modify your workout and also be working with a postnatal specialist that can help you heal.  

 

  • You can't trust YouTube or even an instructor with a general pre/postnatal certification to do a Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation) assessment.  They have a very limited knowledge of the topic and they may "assess" that you are fine when in fact, you are not.  Or tell you that a DR is present when they don't understand the true definition of what it means to heal it.  Find a specialist. Come see us at FPC, or see a pelvic floor therapist for a proper diagnosis.  

 

  • Don't go for a run just yet!  Regardless of the type of birth you had, vaginal or Cesarian, you have to continue to train with your pelvic floor in mind.  Damage to the pelvic floor doesn't usually come from the actual birth.  It comes from the months of weight and pressure on those muscles leading up to the big event.  After birth, those muscles need time to rest and recover.  If we return to high impact movements right away, you are putting your pelvic floor at risk of developing a prolapse.  

 

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to postpartum fitness.  FPC is passionate about educating every woman that walks through our door on how to make a complete recovery post birth.  If you are postpartum and looking to get back into fitness, join us at the studio!  

Postpartum Rehab and/or Pump & Kegel are the 2 best places to start! Check our schedule for times!  

How To Increase Your Milk Supply

 

I recently posted a video clip of my subzero freezer that is completely full of breastmilk on my instagram stories (It's Carolina by the way). Immediately I had ten messages from women who wanted to know how I was able to store away so much and still continue to feed baby Rags. Here is a post for you ladies who are curious to know what I do, personally, to keep my supply high. Just bear in mind that I am not an expert and to consult with a lactation counselor before making any changes. 

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1) Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. I cannot stress this enough. A dehydrated body WILL produce less milk than a well hydrated one. Aim to drink at least 8 ounces during every feeding or pumping session (I probably average about double that to be honest). Get a nice reusable water bottle and keep drinking! 

2) I know it is tempting to go on a diet to lose that "baby weight" that's lingering BUT just know that your body is wise and is holding on to an extra 5-10 pounds pretty much as long as you continue to breastfeed. This doesn't mean you haven't lost the extra weight you put on during your pregnancy; you have extra breast tissue, milk, and fat stores that are essential to your body producing an adequate amount of milk. Simply continue to feed your body nutritious whole foods. Every meal should contain protein, fat, fiber and complex carbs. If anyone is interested in recipes or snacks ideas we can put that in a separate post! 

3) Let your baby nurse as much as possible. With my first baby I was told by our pediatrician to almost immediately put her on a 3-4 hour feeding schedule, which I did. We were both miserable; she was hungry and I wasn't able to build up a milk supply that was enough for her and breastfeeding became really challenging. I quit after three months with her and decided to do not take advice from our pediatrician when it came to breastfeeding. With my third baby I try to keep him with me as much as I can and I let him snack whenever he wants to. We often do at least one daily marathon feed where we spend a couple of hours in bed together (my preferred feeding method is side-lying) and he eats, falls asleep, wakes up to eat again, goes back to sleep, and eats again. 

4) Pump after almost every feed the first few weeks. This will signal your body to keep producing more milk even after your baby is satisfied. It is a total pain but the rewards are huge. I would pump immediately after every feed for about 10-15 minutes. Once you have established a strong supply, you can go down to pumping only after the last night feed and after the first morning feed (I currently pump before I go to bed at 10pm and around 6:30/7am and keep the pumping sessions to 20 minutes). Get a handsfree pumping bra so you can tend to your baby, eat or do work at the same time. Disclaimer: Experts will tell you this will lead to an oversupply so don't do this unless you want to continue to pump and store milk.

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5) The jury is out on this one but I am convinced these lactation bars increase my supply. I still am waiting for them to sponsor me! I eat one every morning during my morning pump session as I drink at least 20 ounces of water. 

Breastfeeding is a commitment and it is a full-time job the first couple of months. Keep in mind that before you know it your child will graduate Pre-K and you will have no idea where the time went. Please ask for support when you need it and know that we are always here for you!