Postpartum Fitness Plans

While I don’t plan on having a regular “body after baby” type of blog series, I definitely like to use this blog as a place to keep me accountable in terms of my fitness and my healthy eating. Much like before I was pregnant, I plan on sharing my what I have been doing for workouts, healthy recipes and snack ideas, and to be brutally honest when it’s really hard.

It's hard to be sad when you get to see this from your front door!

It’s hard to be sad when you get to see this from your front door!

Having a second kid really rocks your world, you know what to expect in how a baby acts and what his or her needs might be, but you don’t know how the other child will react or how to make sure he or she doesn’t feel replaced. It is a constant balancing act. One I am extremely grateful to be a part, but it takes some trial and error.

Worth every pound :)

Worth every pound :)

That being said, I was very excited when I saw Gina post about the newest DanceFIT challenge. The Back to Basics Fall Fitness and Health Challenge, otherwise known as #DanceFITB2B. Basically it is a 30 day challenge with fitness, nutrition, and wellness. It is 30 days (September 14 – October 13) of unlimited classes, and includes a manual full of recipe ideas, workout ideas, challenges, and information for having a healthy lifestyle. There is also a private facebook group where we all encourage each others daily progress, get recipe ideas, keeping each other accountable, etc… So you will see me post on Instagram a lot with the #DanceFITB2B tag. The best part is that DanceFIT has a virtual schedule, which means I can take classes from the comfort of my own home, which is helpful, while we all learn our routine as a family of four!

I will also be working on some sponsored posts with Acelleron Maternal Health & Wellness, they have offered me a free month of classes in exchange for blog posts about my experience with the fitness classes and mom meet-ups, and many other things. I will be including those workouts in my weekly round-ups, and at the end of the month I will have a discount code for all of those of you who are local and might want to give them a try!

With B1, I definitely didn’t feel the pressure for a while to lose the weight, but for this pregnancy, I do feel a little more pressure (from myself) to get the weight off faster. The first is that the sooner I get into a routine, the sooner I feel more like myself! Having a baby can sometimes do a number on your mental state, and while it is not as bad this time around, taking the time to fit in fitness is super important to me. THe second reason is superficial, and I will be the first to admit that. My husband and I are the koumbara for two friends that are getting married in January, while I am extremely happy and honored to be asked to do this, I also am thinking about how many pictures I am going to be in, stupid I know. So my goal is to get to a place where I feel comfortable. I am not thinking that I am going to lose a ton of weight all of a sudden, I just want to at least get back to my pre-baby size. I did however, order my dress in my current size, because stress will not help me at all, and I can always get the dress taken in!

The Dress, all black though!

The Dress, all black though!

I am excited for all the events that are coming up, and I am excited to just get back into my routine.

What are your favorite workouts and healthy recipes?

My Truth About Breastfeeding, Part 2

If you’ve been reading this blog for long enough, you might remember how difficult breastfeeding was for me when I had B1. I planned with B2 to try to breastfeed, and if it didn’t work out, then it didn’t work out. B1 had formula, and he is doing wonderfully. I naively thought that the reason my milk never came in with B1 was because of circumstance, not necessarily something that had to do with me. He was born a few weeks early, and he also was under the phototherapy lights so I had to pump.

A few weeks prior to having B2 I was contacted by Acelleron Maternal Health & Wellness, and honestly that email could not have come at a better time! While I definitely planned on attempting to breastfeed again, I hadn’t actually talked to anyone about how to go about things differently this time around. My only real plan was to make sure I had plenty of skin-to-skin time post-birth, something I didn’t do enough of with B1, and I wasn’t really aware of how great it is for baby and mom.

B2birth

Since I was able to do a Q&A with Acelleron’s Lactation Consultant I really started thinking about what I was going to do. When B2 finally arrived she was 10 pounds 1 oz, and there can be issues with having bigger babies. We did skin-to-skin, but after nursing for a bit the nurses needed to check her blood sugar, for babies that are larger they can not get enough milk and their blood sugar can dip or spike, and it is best to avoid that. Unfortunately, B2’s blood sugar did drop, and we gave her just a few mL’s of formula to avoid any complications. I was 100% on board with the nurses on this, my baby’s health is the most important thing.

After I was discharged from L&D I was moved to the Mom & Baby unit, and this is where the Lactation Consultant’s will visit you. With B1 I had a terrible LC, but great nurses who really helped me with nursing, and gave me tons of great advice. With B2, my initial nurse was not great, and not really around a ton, but the LC’s were awesome. After a long talk giving her my history she asked about any hormone deficiencies. Since I was diagnosed with PCOS after the miscarriage, I wasn’t aware I had it when B1 was born. The LC shared with me that most women with PCOS can’t exclusively breastfeed, because of the hormone deficiency your body just usually doesn’t create enough of a supply for the baby. While this was a bit of a relief, I wondered if I would be able to breastfeed B2 for any length of time.

I was again given a hospital grade pump to use in the hospital, and my insurance covered one for me to have at home, so I would pump after every nursing session, and I didn’t really get a ton of milk, and I hadn’t felt my milk come in either. On our second night B2 had to go in the photo therapy lights, since her jaundice levels were borderline and we wanted to avoid having to get re-admitted like we did with B1. This meant I only had 30 minutes to get her out of the lights, feed her, change her, and get her back in the lights every 3 hours. The nurses were super helpful, but it definitely felt like a time crunch. I ended up supplementing her with formula to make sure she would last the 3 hours. It was at this moment we realized that she needed more food than I could provide, she was eating almost an ounce at every feeding by the time we left the hospital.

acelleron

After we got home, I definitely had the baby blues, and the frustration with not being able to breastfeed well was getting to me. I ended up talking to Megan at Acelleron via email and the phone and she gave me tons of tips and advice. I think the most important thing she told me was that it’s okay to formula feed, it doesn’t make me any less of a great mom because I can’t exclusively breastfeed. As much as I knew in my heart that was true,  the martyr moms can be mean and really make you feel bad if you formula feed. It was nice to hear a LC say that it’s okay to formula feed, because my experience with the LC’s I had talked to previously, either didn’t help me at all with dealing with a low supply or they shamed me for using formula. Neither was a great feeling.

The best thing for me was trying a supplement called Motherlove more milk special blend. The blend included: goat’s rue herb, fenugreek seed, blessed thistle herb, nettle herb, and fennel seed. (I used the capsules not the liquid, because that’s what my Whole Foods carried, I have heard that the liquid can be more effective initially, but that the aftertaste is awful). I know that it is very expensive, and may not be affordable for some people, especially if you are buying formula to supplement as well. A few days after taking this I felt my milk come in, and while I wasn’t pumping a ton, sometimes only 1 oz, I was pumping more than when I had B1. B2 was also eating at the breast multiple times a day, and then I would supplement with formula.

motherlove

A few days after my initial talk with Megan, I went to Acelleron for a breastfeeding support group, and while it was a bit overwhelming that most people were suffering with over-supply issues, again Megan gave me great tips about pumping, and trying to make it easier on my daily life. With two kids it was hard to nurse, formula feed, pump, wash all the pump parts and entertain B1, especially since I had to do that cycle every 3-4 hours. It was overwhelming.

I am now two months post-partum, I am still nursing B2, it is mostly in the mornings and evenings, this is mostly due to school  and fall activities starting back up for B1, and the sheer lack of time, I pump when I can, but it is not as often. I am still taking the supplement, but I do feel like our time of nursing is going to come to an end sooner rather than later, and I am okay with that. I did the best I could for me and B2.

The biggest piece of advice I learned from breastfeeding this time around was that there are great LC’s out there, it just might take some time to find them. If you are in the Greater Boston/North Shore area I 100% recommend Acelleron, Megan was amazing!

 

Did you ever attend a breastfeeding support group?

Baby Essentials – The Second Time Around

I know every mom that blogs probably has a list like this, and everyone and every child’s needs and wants are different. I never made a list like this with B1, but after having another baby I feel like I have a grasp of what was essential to our family for the babies.

I will say that there were some major differences with my two babies. When B1 was born we lived in a condo, that was on the third floor of our building and no elevator. With B2 we live in a multi-level home with a garage below the house. Obviously with B2’s birth B1 was a consideration when figuring out what items we needed to have the second time around.

Comfort Items

ComfortMustHaves

 

I left out the obvious things like a crib, changing table, sheets, etc…

1. Summer Infant Classic Comfort Wood Bassinet – $140

Nick and I got this last-minute before B1 was born. Our crib wasn’t going to be available before his due date, so we knew we needed something. I knew I wanted a bassinet because co-sleeper beds freaked me out. I liked that this one was lightweight but sturdy, had a shelf, and was on wheels. I was able to roll B1 around the condo when I needed to get things done. I also kept the bottom shelf stocked with clothes, diapers, wipes, etc… That way at night I didn’t have to go into his room and get anything. It made nighttime wakeups much easier.

With B2, I love the height. B1 can see into the bassinet, but he can’t pick her up. Perfect. The downsides this time around are that it isn’t something that I can roll her around in, as it is her bed at night (until she moves into her crib) and so it stays upstairs. B2 has already grown 1.5 inches and is almost too big to be in the bassinet anymore, and so we won’t get too much time with her in it.

2. KACY Collection Morgan Nursery Swivel Glider - $450

We were supposed to get a glider when I had B1, but that never panned out. After Nick walked and sang B1 to sleep for the first 2 years of his life we decided we were going to make room in our budget for a glider this time around.

B2’s room is on the smaller side, so we needed something that wasn’t going to take up a ton of room. This one is super comfortable and the color matches her nursery perfectly. It’s small enough that Nick was even able to move it into our room while B2 is sleeping in there.

I cannot say enough that all new moms should get some sort of chair for the nursery. Your back and feet will thank you!

3. Graco Pack N Play Bugs Quilt TotBlock – $120

If you don’t need a Pack N Play that your baby can sleep in, I would recommend this one. Once B1 was more alert I would put him in this so I could cook, clean, do laundry, etc… but he would be container so I could turn my back for more than 20 seconds.

This would also be great to put out in the yard. Now that more of my friends have kids, or multiples, spending time outside happens a lot, but it is hard to chase after toddlers and watch babies. This will be super helpful for that.

4. Graco Pack N Play Yard with Cuddle Cove Removable Seat – $180

This is something that we got for B2, well my MIL graciously purchased for us. She was going to stay and help out for a good chunk of the summer. Unfortunately, due to some unforseen circumstances she had to leave early, and she bought this to assist me. The bed part is high enough that again B1 can’t pick the baby up. It also has a changing area and since B2 isn’t using the bigger sleeping area, I put extra clothes, blankets, and burp clothes there for easy changes. It also has pockets for diapers and wipes. It has been one of the most useful items we bought this time around.

Honorable Mentions

Bright Starts Bouncer – $30 – Both my kids LOVED this bouncer. Many people have a very strong preference for what type of bouncer or swing they love, and I swear by this one. We also have a swing, but neither of my kids really loved it that much.

Boppy Pillow – $30 - I use this every day. For nursing especially. I like that there is a gap between the pillow and the body, I think adds more skin-to-skin contact.

Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets – $50 - FYI You can find these for MUCH cheaper at TJ Maxx or Marshalls! I didn’t really use these for B1, and B2 doesn’t love being swaddled, so I only do it overnight. They are great for the summer time in general though, because they are so lightweight. I drape them over both kids car seats when I am parked in the sun, to avoid the seatbelts getting super hot. I also use it to drape over B2’s lower body when she is in the car seat or stroller.

UppaBabyVistaUbbi

5. Uppababy Vista Stroller System – $850

I know, this stroller system is extremely expensive, but I don’t regret it one bit. We were able to get ours for about $250 cheaper because it was a store model. It wasn’t actually used in the store, although you can buy those for a discount usually, ours was the window model, which means it was basically brand new, it just sat in a window for a few months. Also, it is still in great condition after 4 years of use.

What I love about this system, you can use it from birth until the toddler years. This system comes with a bassinet, but you can also buy an attachment to put your car seat in it (more on that below). It has a toddler seat that can face toward the parent or away. You can also buy an extra seat so you can put two kids on the stroller. There is also a ride along board, so if your kids doesn’t want to sit in the seat they can ride on it while you push the other child, or you can have two seats and a ride along board!

Other pros: A huge basket, I can do a ton of grocery shopping just using the stroller. The core rubber wheels which are puncture proof, that was essential for me living in the city. When you fold the stroller, it can stand making it easy to store. Super easy to fold, adjustable handlebar, easy to manuever, and a very easy click tight system. When you put in the adapter, bassinet, or seat the area where you click those items in shows a green sign when you’ve done it correctly and red if it is incorrect. It is very easy to get those items in and out.

Cons: It is big, it takes up a lot of space in the car when it is lying down. You can’t fold it when the bassinet is attached, you have to detach and attach whenever you use it. You can fold it when the adapter is in place but you can’t unfold it. Only when the seat is attached can you fold and unfold it. The tires are big, so it takes time getting used to those.

6. Ubbi Diaper Pail – $80

Again, not cheap. We originally registered and received a plastic diaper pail that took regular garbage bags. Registering was overwhelming to me and finally I was like F IT, I don’t need a fancy diaper pail. It lasted about 3 months, even with taking the bag out every other day, the pail STANK. We did some research and found the Ubbi diaper pail. You can use regular garbage bags and the smell doesn’t escape. We’ve had B1’s since he was 3 months old and haven’t had any issues. We bought B2 her own because B1 still wears a pull up at night, and we only empty his pail every few weeks. Plus I don’t have to go into his room at night to throw a diaper away. I mean honestly these kids can just use them as garbage cans when they get older.

Carriers + Nursing

CarrierFavs

7. Ergobaby 360 Front Facing Carrier – $160

I haven’t used this a ton yet, some girlfriends gifted me one and I am super thankful and excited to use it. B2 is too big for the infant insert but too small to be in it alone, so I have used it around the house, but that’s about it. I can say it is very comfortable but does take some getting used to with all the buckles.

8. BabyBjorn Baby Carrier Original – $90

I have the mesh carrier, which is actually cheaper now since it is an older model. The mesh is super breathable for a summer baby. I use it now since B2 can be worn in this carrier now. The downside is that it does put a lot of pressure on my back. It is easy to put on, put the baby in, and take off.

9. Medela Symphony Breastpump – 

Most insurance companies should comp a rental of a breast pump. The Symphony is a medical grade pump, which you do have to get a “prescription” for from your doctor. Because of milk issues, I was able to get that prescription for both babies. The downside, this pump is a beast, if you have to carry it around just be aware!

Bottles & Bottle accessories

DrBrownFavorites

When Nick told people at work that I was pregnant, a lot of his coworkers told him about the Dr.Browns Bottles. They are great for babies that have gas issues, as both of ours have. They may have a lot of parts but they are easy to put together. We have both the standard bottles and the wide mouth bottles.  A 3 pack goes for about $15.

Bottle Warmer – $45

You can get this for a bit cheaper on Amazon. I like to make a few bottles at once, so a bottle warmer is essential. I also usually put a bottle in the warmer, change the baby’s diaper, and then usually the bottle is ready. I like that it remembers the length of heating that you used for the previous bottle. You do need to make sure that you follow instructions and keep the warmer cleaned out, because if you don’t it will get moldy. We had to through the one we had for B1 away due to this.

Formula Pitcher – $17

Again, I like to make multiple bottles at once, and this is how I do it. It helps to eliminate the bubbles from the bottles, aka so the baby doesn’t get gas. You can make up to 4, 8 oz bottles at once.

Drying Rack – $18

I had a different drying rack for B1’s bottles but it had layers and water got trapped, and it got moldy. I like that this one is slanted so water gets collected in one area nad you can easily dump it. It also folds for easy storage when you aren’t using it or you have guests.

Car Seat

ChiccoUppaBaby

11. Chicco Keyfit 30 Car Seat – $210

A car seat was something Nick and I spent A LOT of time on. The chicco keyfit was at the top of the safety list for Consumer Reports, and it fit into our ideal stroller. It is lightweight and easy to install. It is also very durable as we used it for B1 and we are now using it for B2.

12. Chicco Keyfit 30 Uppababy Vista Adapter – $45

Honestly, I didn’t use this for B1. I just used the bassinet seat, but the bassinet seat takes up space in the car, and also doesn’t allow me to use as much of the stroller basket as I’d like. I have been using this for B2 ever since I dug it out of its storage area. It was super easy to attach and detach, and it was easy to snap the car seat in. Life with two kids is more on the go than when I had just one, so this has been perfect for our busy schedules.

Now that I’ve shared a few of my essentials, what are yours? Anything you were surprised you absolutely loved or hated?

 

Lactation Support Groups & a Giveaway

If there is one piece of advice that I could give any mom is that nothing ever goes as planned, ever. If it did, I would’ve already had B2, I fully anticipated she would be a June baby based on my conversations with my OB, but June came and went and she is still in utero. With B1 the plan was always to breastfeed, but with some medical complications post birth and the fact that after 2 weeks of trying my milk still hadn’t come in, I ended up not breastfeeding. It was such a hard decision, mixed with the post-partum hormones, and the guilt that I felt for not feeling good enough to provide for my baby, I hibernated. The only lactation consultant I saw basically told me to give up, it was an extremely difficult decision for me but at the end of the day, I needed to provide nutrients for my baby and if I couldn’t do that then I was going to find an alternate solution.

Third Trimester

More than ready for baby girl :)

With B2 I plan on trying the breastfeeding route again, I will be more willing to see a (different) lactation consultant immediately for help and pray that my milk comes in this time. Fortunately for me I was contacted by the team at Acelleron in North Andover, MA. Not only can you order medical products (like breast pumps, etc…) through them, they also offer many pre and post-partum services for moms. Things like fitness classes, doula services, new mom support groups, and lactation support groups. Since I didn’t go to one when B1 was born, I sent Megan at Acelleron a list of questions that I had about lactation support groups. I know I personally am very intimidated to go to any type of new class whether it be fitness, education, or something like lactation, my type A personality doesn’t like the unknown.

For the benefit of you and I, I posted our Q&A session below, and at the bottom is the info to enter the giveaway that Acelleron and I are having!

1. What is the benefit from attending a lactation support group?

There are so many great benefits! First, it is a great time to connect with other new moms! You get to see that your relationship and struggles are very common and you are not the only one going through them at 3 am. Second, you get professional advice and opinions by someone who is trained and educated in the field of lactation support. There are so many myths and bad advice out there surrounding breastfeeding. This is a great time to come in and get your questions answered by someone with professional and personal expertise.

2. When should mom start attending a lactation support group?

As soon as they can get out of the house! They can even come to a group while they are pregnant. I have had moms come with 3 day olds and moms come in with 12 month olds. It’s never too late or too early to join us.

3. How long should I attend the lactation support group for? How long does the average mom stay in the support group?

It totally depends of the kind of support mom is looking for. Moms are welcome to drop in once to get their questions answered, or come every week for their whole maternity leave. It is great when moms come for a few weeks and really build a bond with other moms. We are all about community and supporting each other, so it is great to watch that happen. On average, people stay in the group for 3-4 months.

4. Do moms actively breastfeed during the support group?

Yes. There are moms nursing throughout the meeting. It also gives me a chance to check positioning and latch.

5. When would a mom need a private session instead of being part of the group?

Moms would need a private session for a few different reason. If a baby is not gaining weight appropriately, lots of pain or bleeding on mom’s nipple, mom needs help creating a plan for going back to work. I always suggest starting out with the support group and then deciding from there, unless it is a more emergent situation.

6. What would you say to a mom that could not breast feed her first child but wants to try to breastfeed a second child?

Every pregnancy is different and every child is different! The best thing to do is educate yourself. Learn from what happened the first time around, and find a support system that will help you get breastfeeding started early on.

7. Are there foods or a diet that boosts breast milk supply?

Some moms will report a boost in their supply when they eat things like oatmeal, lactation cookies, coconut water and Gatorade. It is all really anecdotal as there is no research that proves any foods can increase supply.

8. What can a mom do to encourage better milk production or for her milk to come in?

The best advice is to breastfeed the baby early and often! As the baby suckles it tells your body to make more milk. It is all about supply and demand. The more the baby nurses, the more milk your body will make. In those first few days the baby does not need a lot of milk to fill up their tiny tummy. They need to be at the breast at least 8-12 times in 24 hours. This will help encourage your supply.

9. What would you tell a mom who’s milk has not come in more than one week post-partum?

If your milk has not come in after more than one week post-partum mom should be working directly with a lactation professional. Milk usually comes in around day 3 for a vaginal birth and can take up to 5 days to come in for a c-section.

10. For moms that don’t want to exclusively breast feed, when is it best to introduce a bottle?

The best time to introduce a bottle is around 3-4 weeks. If you wait much longer it might be harder. If you do it too soon it could have some negative effects. When deciding to introduce a bottle make sure to do some research on Paced Bottle Feeding. You can find some great video’s on YouTube. This method helps simulate a breastfeeding type experience and will help the baby easily transition between bottle and breast.

Megan O’Neill is the Director of Lactation Support at Acelleron Maternal Health & Wellness in North Andover, MA, which provides the resources and supportive community parents need to become empowered in the process of growing their family. Megan has over three years of breastfeeding experience with her two little boys and holds her Certification in Lactation Counseling and is also certified by the Academy of Lactation Policy and Procedure. She holds a weekly free drop-in breastfeeding support group on Wednesdays from 11:30-12:30pm: http://acelleron.com/maternal/support/lactation-lounge/ or you can email her at: moneill@acelleron.com. More info about Acelleron Maternal Health & Wellness can be found at: http://acelleron.com/maternal/, Facebook or Twitter.

 

Acelleron is offering to giveaway a Simple Wishes hands free bra to one lucky reader. This giveaway ends Friday, July 10, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST

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Did you attend a lactation support group? What was the best thing about it?

Third Trimester Updates

It’s hard to believe I am already part way through the third trimester, but at the same time I feel like once I got to the third trimester time just stood still.

Third Trimester

33+ Weeks on the left, 25+ Weeks on the right. 

This non-maternity Stitch Fix (affiliate link) t-shirt has been one of the most comfortable things for me to wear this pregnancy.

These last few weeks haven’t been great, if I am being honest. I’ve said it before, I haven’t had “easy” pregnancies. With this pregnancy, the second trimester really was the only time I felt okay, and even that had its issues.

I haven’t felt dizzy or faint in a while, but to avoid any disasters Nick and B1 come and do the grocery shopping with me on Sundays. I hate doing grocery shopping on the weekends, but it has to be done then, and we make a fun game of whether or not Nick & B1 can find items in the store faster than it takes me at the meat & deli counters. Spoiler: they usually win!

Nursery

Baby Girl’s room

My MIL came and painted the nursery, she is a pro and doesn’t even need the painters tape and it looks amazing! The crib and changing table are set up, and most of the big items we needed are purchased. There is still a lot of organizing to do, but I can’t do a lot of it so I have to wait when I have help on the weekends. I am trying to not go nesting crazy, but I don’t think it is working.

B1

B1 is super excited! I showed him how to swaddle Mickey, and he put him down for a nap. Precious!

I am back on a modified bed rest of sorts, I can do a few things, but I’m advised not to stress out my body, and to keep my feet up as possible. There are a few reasons for that, baby girl is measuring about 2 lbs bigger than is normal for this gestational age. She is also in a weird position, her elbow and shoulder are digging into my pelvic area, which causes so much pain for that area and also for the lower part of my body. We are trying to avoid stressing out my body and the baby. So, that means no long drives, exercising, lifting heavy objects, etc…

I’ve been monitored a bit more than normal, but mom and baby are healthy and that’s what matters. I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed, my weight gain jumped a lot the last few weeks, and a large part of it is definitely due to the fact that her weight gain jumped a lot. I have been trying to eat as healthy as possible, but I know that I have been eating more carbs than I usually do. I am also feeling like my stomach is extremely heavy, so I invested in a belly band at the request of my doctor and that helps a little bit, but I do notice after walking around for a bit my stomach and pelvis are really sore, and my feet start to swell.

This means I have been sitting a lot,not ideal, but again, you can’t predict how your pregnancy will go. The end goal is a healthy baby and mom, so I am trying to mentally let myself be okay with that. One of my other goals is to make sure I get in at least 120 oz of water a day. With the heat coming and natural swelling, I need to make sure I am well hydrated.

I still feel like I have one hundred things to do, including making a bunch of freezer meals since we just got a new upright freezer for the garage. If you have any suggestions send them my way!

For Two Fitness Mother’s Day Giveaway!

 I am thrilled to partner with For Two Fitness for an amazing post-Mother’s Day giveaway. I have been wearing For Two Fitness apparel throughout my pregnancy with B2 and they quickly have become some of my favorite maternity fitness pieces. For Two Fitness is running a phenomenal giveaway for the new mom or mom-to-be. Read the details below and make sure to follow on social media! 

This year, we are celebrating Mother’s Day all week! We are so thankful to YOU — our community, customers, friends, moms and moms-to-be. To express our thanks, we are hosting a huge giveaway this week in partnership with some amazing brands and our ambassadors. The Grand Prize is valued at more than $1000.  We have phenomenal prizes, from Joovy, Garmin, Feetures, Sara Haley and us, For Two Fitness – all facets of your fit mom lifestyle are in this prize pack!

joovy

Prizes are brought to you by our wonderful brand partners, sponsoring ambassadors and of course, us here at For Two Fitness. Here are more details about the grand prize – everything you see below:

 garmin

 

Grand Prize Giveaway items:

 

 Feetures sarahealey

 This contest runs from Monday, May 11th through midnight on Friday, May 15th.  Please follow all of our contest co-hosts on Instagram:

 

 ForTwoFitness

 

Thanks for celebrating Mother’s Week with us!  Good Luck!!

 

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My First Maternity Stitch Fix: April 2015

I still owe you all a Stitch Fix (<–referral link) review from October, but I cannot find the paper with the clothing information on it anywhere. Maybe once I finish cleaning my desk I will be able to get that out to you all.  After that last fix I found out I was pregnant and so I decided to put my fixes on hold. I wish I hadn’t since plenty of people received maternity items before it was made public that they were carrying those items. Oh well, you live and learn.

Because I was pregnant with B1 around the same time as B2 I thought that I would be fine with the clothes that I already owned, maybe buy a few tanks and t-shirts, but not much.  I was so wrong. I lost a lot of weight when I was pregnant with B1, and could wear workout clothes comfortably until week 30, and by that time I could wear maxi dresses and skirts, I bought one pair of maternity jeans, and maternity shorts, and of course tanks and t-shirts.

I was definitely a bit delusional thinking it would be the same, with B2 I didn’t lose as much weight, thankfully, and I am carrying her much lower than I carried him making even some workout clothes uncomfortable. I ended up purchasing some leggings (capri & ankle length) from Motherhood Maternity because they are cheap and comfortable. I also bought some t-shirts, tanks, and long-sleeved shirts at various places like Kohls & Target.

As soon as Stitch Fix mentioned they were carrying maternity & petite clothes I decided to give it try. I told the stylist exactly how far along I would be when the fix arrived. I said that I wanted layering pieces as we are transitioning into warmer weather, and I also mentioned that I have bridal and baby showers coming up and I wanted something to wear to those events. I mentioned no heavy winter types of items like jackets or heavy cardigans. So how’d we do?

First, I am very frustrated that I scheduled my fix for the earliest possible date (April 2nd) and as I checked the website it wasn’t even being put together as of April 1st. This is the second time this has happened to me, and considering the fact that the last time was 6-7 months ago is ridiculous. If they are having problems with fulfilling orders then they shouldn’t be accepting as many orders. I emailed customer service and received a rude email in response, telling me that the date a customer picks is the ideal date, but that they have 7 days to get the fix to the consumer. I combed through all the information online and I couldn’t find that specific information anywhere, not exactly the best customer service.

Now, on to the fix. When I read the card from the stylist the first thing I noticed was that they had zero options to send me in regards to my request for dresses and skirts. I don’t really understand that since they are everywhere during this time of year in the stores in MA. I do think that the stylist nailed my style in terms of colors and types of clothes though.

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Seriously love the packaging!

Romolo Connor Hammered Oval Link Necklace – $38

Romolo Connor Hammered Oval Link Necklace

I need to take necklaces off my okay to send list. I have only received one that I liked, but also this necklace is extremely heavy, and I think it is silly to send a long necklace to someone who will have an infant in a few months. If someone is breastfeeding, that necklace will only get in the way. Status: Returned

Rune Kile Maternity Ankle Zip Leggings – $58

Rune Kile Maternity Ankle Zip Leggings

When I pulled these out of the box, I was like crap, I wasn’t planning on buying any more pants, but I LOVE the look, and the fabric was super comfortable. Unfortunately they were too long. When I updated my style profile I also added myself to the petite selections, because I am very short. I pulled the maternity band of these pants all the way underneath my chest and they still bunched around my knee. Status: Returned

Loveappella Maternity Plumeria Mixed Material Maternity Top – $48

Loveappella Plumeria Mixed Material Maternity Top

knew as soon as I saw Leslie’s Maternity Fix this morning that this shirt was going to end up in my fix, mostly because I didn’t want it too. It reminded me of a shirt I got in my 6th Fix (that I didn’t end up purchasing), but in Leslie’s photo it looked extremely long in the back…

Loveappella Plumeria Mixed Material Maternity Top

Not the best photos, but I feel like it also looks long on me. I know this is a maternity shirt, but I want the items I keep to be able to transition well in to postpartum wear and maybe even long-term wear. It doesn’t look like a typical maternity shirt, so I think it could transition well, and it was extremely comfortable. My reservations are with the back of the shirt. Is it too long? Does it look stupid with my lack of height? Status: Undecided

Pink Martini Morset Textured Cardigan – $68

Pink Martini Morset Textured Cardigan

When I first pulled this cardigan out, I was like what am I? 65? This is an old lady cardigan.

Pink Martini Morset Textured Cardigan

Then I put it on. It was so soft and so comfortable. I am not sure how I feel about the 3/4 length sleeves. I have plenty of shirts with them, so I don’t hate them, but I don’t have more than one or two cardigans/sweaters with them. It is also not a maternity specific piece, so I can obviously wear this postpartum, especially paired with a maternity tank and jeans or leggings, I will look more put together than I probably will feel ha. I just don’t know if it is worth the price tag. Status: Undecided

Loveappella Maternity Gonna Key Hole Detail Maternity Top – $48

Loveappella Maternity Gonna Key Hole Detail Maternity Top

As soon as I pulled this top out of the box I was in love. The deep cobalt color. The faux leather trim, the key hole. I definitely thought it was a keeper.

Loveappella Maternity Gonna Key Hole Detail Maternity Top

When I put it on, I loved how it felt and looked, but I am not sure of the length. I have a decent belly to fill out the front and pull the length up, but I am worried that post-partum it will be more of a sexy dress than a nice fitted tank. Thoughts? Status: Undecided

I have no idea what to keep. If I keep all three items that I am on the fence about it would be silly to not keep everything as it would only be $10 more.

 

What Should I Keep?

 
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The Second Trimester and Gender Reveal!

I am more than a few weeks into the second trimester, and I truly feel like this pregnancy is flying! I didn’t announce here, but some of you may have seen on Instagram

BABYGIRLB

We are having a GIRL! I am so incredibly excited!! I would’ve been happy regardless, but it will be nice to have a little girl and a little boy in our house! Also, the addiction to buying girl clothes is real. I have had to put my self on clothes buying ban until she is born.

This pregnancy has been vastly different from what I remember with B1. I definitely felt like by the second trimester the exhaustion wasn’t as bad as it was in the first, but I guess I wasn’t chasing after a 3-year-old.

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Typical dinner shenanigans

I had a lot of sciatic pain with B1, and it has been touch and go this pregnancy, but of course I have had other aches and pains and almost fainted in Whole Foods the other morning. That was scary, but apparently also completely normal. From what my doctor told me standing still for an extended amount of time (in the shower, long church services, a long deli line…) can cause your BP to drop and leave you feeling faint, it was scary, but now I know how to make sure that never happens again.

I also have felt the second trimester hunger kick in. When I grocery shop I don’t vary from my usual stuff, but as soon as I get hungry nothing I have prepared sounds good. I have been eating a lot of egg sandwiches, homemade chicken salad, chicken sausage, and salad. I really really wish it was watermelon season, because I could probably eat an entire one every day and be very happy.

PureBarreBaby

My new favorite sticky socks! I am back at Pure Barre regularly. It’s been great to see everyone and the staff has been so helpful with modifications, as I have continued to grow, some things that felt fine even a week ago feel uncomfortable now so it is nice to have someone show me other exercises that work with what the rest of the class is doing.

Even though she is due the same month as B the maternity clothing is completely different. I lost 20 pounds due to severe sickness with B so I was in regular clothes, mostly workout clothes if we are being honest, until week 30. So most of my maternity clothes are dresses and shorts and tank tops, I had a few cardigans and one pair of maternity jeans, and that was it for maternity clothes. I am going to write another post on what I’ve been wearing in every day and for workouts, but it has been crazy how different my body is this pregnancy. I am carrying baby girl MUCH lower than I carried B, and I started showing much earlier this pregnancy.

I also started feeling kicks much earlier this pregnancy, and I LOVE it. Somedays it feels like she is stomping on my bladder, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Were your pregnancies very different or similar? 

The Matheny Manifesto: How Parents are Ruining Youth Sports

This post was inspired by The Matheny Manifesto by Mike Matheny. St. Louis Cardinals manager Matheny shares his tough-love philosophy for children’s team sports that translate to everyday life. Join From Left to Write on February 12th as we discuss The Matheny Manifesto. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

TheMathenyManifesto

I know that my title seems a bit harsh, but I think it is 100% true. I am not saying that ALL parents are ruining youth sports, but I think a large amount of parents are doing more harm than good when it comes to youth sports.

“That set the tone for hockey. Every game we went to, parents were yelling. They yelled at their own kids. They yelled at the other team. They yelled at the coaches. They yelled at the referees. I wanted nothing to do with all of that.”

-The Matheny Manifesto

Nick and I used to always joke around (prior to having children) that if our children played organized sports that I wouldn’t be allowed to attend any games because I have a short temper and a loud mouth.  Now that we have one child and another on the way my opinions have vastly changed. Part of my opinions had changed because of how I felt about being a parent, but there is a part of my mind that has been changed because of this book.

Growing up I played soccer in the fall, spring, and summer. Practices were attended by parents, but the basically associated with each other, and weren’t scrutinizing the coaches. During games they would cheer, but I don’t remember much booing or yelling. Now, our soccer team wasn’t exactly state competition level, but my sister was on the Field Hockey team that won states year after year, in fact they won all 4 years that I was in high school. I wasn’t at the practices, but I went to a fair amount of home games and I remember cheering and encouragement from parents, but again, not really a lot of yelling.

In between being in youth and teen sports and becoming a parent I feel like SO MUCH has changed. I have witnessed parents screaming and yelling at other parents, players, umps, refs, etc… at games AND practices. What’s just as bad is the parent who singles out their child shouting words of encouragement during a game or practice. These types of behaviors make the child feel incredible amounts of pressure to perform and succeed, and if they don’t…I can’t imagine how they would feel, probably like they let down not only the coach and the team but their parent(s) as well.

I think there are other factors at play as well, and Matheny talks about these in length in his book, one of the major ones is parents going behind the childs back and asking the coach “why isn’t my child playing this position?”, “why isn’t my child a starter?”, “why doesn’t my child get as much playing time as x,y, and z?” “my son/daughter is the best, why do you let the other kids hit so much?”, you get the idea. If we want our kids to respect coaches and figures of authority then as parents we also need to do that. Our actions speak much louder than our words, and frankly I would be mortified if I found out my parents spoke to my coach like that behind my back.

Another factor is trying to make your child a one sport superstar when they are very young. I have always said I would let my child do what ever they want to do, and if they didn’t like it then they would finish out the season, out of respect to their teammates, but they don’t have to go back to the sport or activity. On the flip side, parents see that their child is excelling at one activity and they push them to become better, even to the point of burn out. A lot of professional athletes participated in multiple sports, even in high school, and it helped them not burn out and to become great team players.

I am not saying I am the perfect parent, and I have it all figured out. I have a hard time observing from the sidelines during B’s soccer and swim practices and not saying “you’re doing great” and other encouraging behavior. I know that I do need to real it in especially if my children want to participate in youth sports in the future.

The best thing I can do for my children? Be 100% supportive, respect the coach, teammates and other parents. Let my children have fun and enjoy what they are doing.

If you have a child in youth sports, I highly recommend reading this book!

Do you agree or disagree, are parents ruining youth sports?

If I Fall, I Die: The Fear of Raising Kids

This post was inspired by the novel If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie,about a boy who’s never been outside, thanks to his mother’s agoraphobia, but ventures outside in order to solve a mystery. Join From Left to Write on January 22nd as we discuss If I Fall, If I Die. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

If I Fall I Die Michael Christie

I really loved this book, it was a frustrating read, just because you wanted the mom to get better for the sake of her son, but at the end of the book I understood her fears. She doesn’t want her son to go outside because of her own fears, and he admits to doing things to ease her anxiousness, but he does eventually go outside.

This is the quote that resonated with me:

“But the shadow that love can’t help but cast is fear: fear they won’t stay alive or around-fear they’ll be reckless, or doomed, or just walk away and not consider you ever again. With love, you’re scared it will disappear. With fear, you’re scared it never will”

When I was pregnant with B the scary pregnancy dreams were so intense I would wake up with tears in my eyes. Dreams that I wouldn’t be a good mom, that I would lose my child, that something bad would happen to him, you name it I dreamt it. After B was born I hoped the dreams would stop, but they didn’t. They were less intense and vivid, but they still happened. Eventually they slowly started going away, I’d have one occasionally, but it wasn’t taking such a toll on me.

In the past year or so they started coming back, not just dreams, but you know in those moments before you fall asleep, I’d have images of someone breaking into our house and harming him, carjacking us, etc… The worst things racing through my mind, and then I would be awake and completely unable to go back to sleep.

Now that I am pregnant again, the dreams are back in full force. I try to use meditation to calm myself down (the Headspace App is wonderful) and talk through what I would do if this situation was to actually happen.

I think what I wasn’t prepared for as a mom is the constant fear and worry. Are we doing the right thing? Did I pick the right pre-school? Is my kids getting bullied? Are we giving him the right foods? I can’t imagine that this is going to get easier as the kids get older, only harder. I don’t even want to think about driving or college!

I have to believe in myself as a parent. I have to raise my kid with love and respect, but also with rules and consequences.

How do you deal with the anxiety and fears of being a parent?