health

An Effective Postpartum Diet

There are a lot of conflicting sources of information regarding postpartum diet. What works for one person may not work for someone else. Breastfeeding adds a whole new factor into the mix. While you want to lose the baby weight, you don't want to lose your milk. There are also still some dietary restrictions for breastfeeding moms. Therefore, I thought I'd share my diet with you which has helped me lose most of the baby weight at approximately 5 months postpartum. Hopefully, this can help you as well.

Breakfast

On work days, breakfast is pretty simple. Since I like to workout most mornings,  after I feed the baby I'll judge my energy level. If I feel I need a little something before working out, I'll have half a tablespoon of peanut butter otherwise, I hold off til breakfast. For breakfast, I generally have one of 4 combinations: Cheerios and yogurt, Cheerios and a protein shake, oatmeal with raisins and yogurt, and oatmeal with raisins and a protein shake. I like to keep it quick and easy on work days. On the weekends I may get fancy with a veggie omelette or homemade waffles. Finally, I have coffee pretty much everyday.

Lunch

Lunch during the week is PB and J more than I would care to admit. I mean it's organic strawberry spread, natural peanut butter, and wheat bread, but still PB and J. With it I will often have some apple sauce, a sparkling water, and some pretzels. Other entrees include Amy's lentil soup or vegetable lentil, organic Mac and cheese, madras lentils, and maybe once a week, a chicken and vegetable wrap or panini. Other sides may include greek yogurt, organic chips, a fiber one brownie, or a vegetable squeezy. On weekends if we are out pizza or a salad might be had.

Dinner

This is where it gets tricky in our house. I get out of work at 5pm and my husband usually has work at 6pm. So I get home at 5:15 and have to feed the baby, making it my husband's job to cook. My husband is no cook.... So on nights he has work it's usually turkey burger and fries, pasta and a vegetable and turkey meatballs, Mac and cheese and a vegetable and nuggets, ravioli and a vegetable, and quesadillas and a vegetable. The meatballs, nuggets, ravioli, and vegetables are generally from frozen. Take out generally happens at least once a week. When the hubs doesn't have work I try to mix it up with pork chops, or chicken stir fry, or steak with rice or mashed potatoes and a vegetable. Other times we'll do tacos or grilled chicken.

Evening Snack

In order to get through studying after the kids go to bed, I usually require a snack. This generally consists of hot chocolate and pretzels, or skinny pop popcorn, or string cheese and crackers.

Every once in a while a cookie or dessert creeps in to my diet. I try not to have them on a regular basis so I don't feel guilty when I do indulge. I generally don't do soda or candy so keeping sugar down is easier. I take my coffee black. I keep my calories intake at about 2000 calories daily and I exercise 5-7 days a week for about 30-40 minutes. I do a mix of weights and cardio.

While there is not huge variety in my normal diet, it helps me stay consistent as far as calorie intake and calories burned. In general, my philosophy is to eat when hungry but try to make healthy choices. I also continue to take my prenatal vitamins and vitamin D. I also use the myfitnesspal app to keep track of everything. Definitely check that out in the app store.  It syncs with a variety of devices including Fitbit which I also use.

I hope you find this helpful. This is the result at about 20 weeks postpartum. Cheers,

Emily

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Why Daily Exercise is So Important

I have always been one of those people about whom others say, "I don't know how you do it all."  I definitely fill my plate. It's no different now. Between 2 kids, a full time job, 2 graduate math classes, the blog, and teaching dance, I have a lot to get done each week. And yet, I make it a point to exercise almost daily.

You might think it's because I want my pre-baby body back. I do, but that's not the real reason. I've been espousing daily exercise for years. I love being able to throw on some clothes and know that they will look and fit well. But still, this is not the primary motivation behind my exercise routine. My reasons for exercise, which have little to do with my physical appearance are as follows:

1. Energy: Some people refuse to exercise because they think "I barely have enough energy to get through my day now; I can't waste my energy on exercise." The thing is, exercise doesn't deplete energy, in fact, it increases it. Exercise increases your endorphins which gives you a boost in energy. This boost increases as you make exercise a part of your routine. It can actually become addicting. This makes exercise a great was to start your day. If you are dragging, exercise can give you the boost that you need.

2. Clarity: Exercising in the morning can actually increase you mental clarity throughout the day. It clears away the cobwebs of sleep and allows your mind to focus. Suffering from mom brain? Exercise can help!

3. Efficiency: You might think that taking a half hour to exercise daily takes 30 minutes away from everything else you have to do. Well, as far as actual hours in the day, yes, you will have 30 minutes less. However, exercise helps you become a ton more efficient. You can get more done in less time. Your brain can work on problems while you workout so that when you start your tasks, you can jump right in. No need to stop and think about it.

4. Confidence: Working out is a huge factor in increasing confidence. You don't even have to be at your goal weight yet. Just the fact that you workout enables you to carry yourself differently. You look at yourself more positively, your posture improves, and you feel stronger. Feeling strong and attractive is a huge factor in confidence.

5. Health: Increased health is of course a positive consequence of working out. Having a healthy strong body and healthy weight can decrease your risk of various diseases. It can also help you body defend itself better against infection. You will get sick less, and when you do get sick, it's easier generally to bounce back.

6. Role Model: Aloowing your kids to see you exercise helps you to be a good role model for them. It shows that you value your health and yourself. Exercise shows your kids that making time for yourself is important. It can also can help increase their level of activity. Let them workout with you!!

7. Keep Up with the Kids: Lastly for this list, working out can help you with running after the kids. You will have the strength and energy to play and keep up. You will have the ability to get down and play at their level. You can work to eliminate excuses on why you can't get down there.  Your kids will appreciate it.

Now the best way to ensure that you get the most out of exercise, is finding an exercise that you love, especially your cardio. Use that to motivate your weight training. For example I love dance as my cardio. Since I want to be able to do some more difficult moves, it motivates me to weight train as well. If you like softball, you can join a team and use that as your exercise. You can use this as motivation for weight training to improve your game. Another way to motivate yourself is to set a goal. Sign up for a 5k or half marathon and workout to prep for that. Find something you enjoy so that you keep doing it.

Have a great weekend!

Cheers,

Emily

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Postpartum 10 Week Update

So it has now been just about 10 weeks since Hailey girl was born. She is doing really well.  Her hypothyroidism appears to be in control and as of her last appointment last week we are down to monthly endocrinologist appointments instead of every other week.  She is also back on track with growth and weight gain. She's still teeny, but her rate of growth is now on track.

Now that she is on track with weight gain, it's time for me to get on track with weight loss. Pre-pregnancy, I was working out almost daily. About 1-1.5 weeks ago I started really missing my workout routine. I started to workout a few days a week. Nothing crazy, mostly cardio. I started Yoga Booty Ballet routines. These are fun easy workouts that combine cardio and strength. I'm not so into the meditation part of it, but the the routines are fun and light.

I hope to be able to keep this up and build on it in the coming weeks. Next week I go back to work, so I will again be adapting to a new routine. I hope to stick with working out while I make this transition.

As far as weight, I am now at 134 lbs. Pre-pregnancy I was around 120 lbs so I have a little ways to go. So far there has been little progress since the last update at 2.5 weeks, but also little effort so there's really no surprise. Plus, with breastfeeding you can't really decrease your calories too much. Now that I'm back to working out progress should be much faster.

As far as belly size, I'll let the pictures do the talking. This is the picture from last time at 2.5 weeks post partum.

This picture is from today at almost 10 weeks postpartum.

Definitely going in the right direction. Now to make it go a little faster. To get the skin tighter, I have been exfoliating and using a cream from It Works for stretch marks. However, there is only so much you can do. These things take time. I still regularly forget to use the belly bandit... Oh well.

I plan to do the next update in 4 weeks at just under 14 weeks postpartum. I hope to be down another 2-4 lbs by then.

What did you do to lose the baby weight? Do you still have weight to lose?

Cheers,

Emily

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Update on Life With a Newborn 

If you read the last post, you know that Hailey was diagnosed with congenital hypothyroidism. Since then, Hailey has had several more appointments and blood draws.  Based on the adjusted dosage, her thyroid hormones went from being too low to too high. Having too much of the hormones can also be an issue. Thus we had to adjust her dose again. As of her last appointment on June 15, her hormone levels are officially in the normal range. Yay!!!

Because Hails is so small and growth at this age is so quick, we will be at the endocrinologist regularly to make sure that her hormone levels stay normal and adjustments in dosage can be made.

On June 16, we had Hailey's one month checkup with her pediatrician. In most respects, she is doing well. She had grown half an inch from her birth length and has good muscle tone. The pediatrician was however concerned about her weight. At 5 weeks old, she still wasn't even a full pound above her birth weight. While this can be because of the instability of her hormone levels, the pediatrician wants to make sure that she is now growing on track. Therefore, on the 29th she will be weighed again to make sure she is now growing at the correct rate.

Thus, our goal at the moment is to help her put on weight and keep up with her endocrinologist appointments. As far as milestones, she had been picking up her head for a while and even rolled over from belly to back. The fact that the surface she was on isn't 100% flat may have helped.  She loves hearing T talk and playing with her toy monkey.  Here she is at 6 weeks!

Hailey at 6 weeks

Hailey at 6 weeks

In other news, T is adapting well to having a baby in the house. Some days he is vying for attention, but in general he has been a good boy and is super affectionate with Hails. He loves to help with pamper changes and doing tummy time with the baby. Whenever he sees that she is awake he will constantly talk to her and show her his toys. He also makes sure everyone else talks to her as well. He loves copying all the sounds that she makes. When she cries, he repeats what we have said to her to try to calm her down. Hearing my 3 year old say, " it's ok baby girl, I know I know, mama, just calm down and it'll be ok" is priceless. All in all he is being a helpful big brother.

As far as mommy care, things are progressing slightly. We have a specific sleep schedule that helps us parents try to maximize our sleep.  If my husband is home, after Hailey's 9pm feeding, I change her, put her in her pjs and pass her to him to get her to sleep. If he's at work I try to get her to sleep myself. Once he gets home however, he's on duty if she wakes up. Then after her midnight feeding, it's his job to get her back to sleep. I immediately put myself back to sleep after I feed her. For her 3am feeding I'm on duty again and hubs can stay asleep. Then I have her from 6 am on. My assistant, the T monster is usually up between 7-8 am to help. The hubs is able to stay asleep usually until around 9:30-10ish unless we have somewhere to be earlier. This works for us since a) the hubs is a night person and I'm a morning person (he is generally up late anyway catching up on shows), and b) his work schedule generally has him going in later in the day except possibly on weekends. I am also sometimes able to take a nap during the day if the boys entertain themselves and Hailey is napping. We are super lucky to be able to switch off like this.

Other than some weightless arm and leg exercises and some walking, I haven't really been exercising. I just had my 6 weeks checkup however and I am now cleared for everything!! Yay!!

In the past few weeks, we have been able to take the kids to the zoo and the park and a local fair. They have also attended a baby shower, gender reveal party, and a baptism. We'll be attending another baptism tomorrow. We have had two bbqs at the house including one for Father's Day. We also had Tyler's dance recital. This was an absolute blast.  While Tyler did little to none of the choreography, he never stopped moving.  He definitely doesn't have stage fright.  He also loved watching the other classes.   Thus, at only 6 weeks, Hails has had a pretty busy social calendar. Here are some shots of the past few weeks.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

bath time

bath time

T at the local fair

T at the local fair

T sharing his prize with hailey

T sharing his prize with hailey

gender reveal party

gender reveal party

A day at the zoo

A day at the zoo

1 month old

1 month old

Father's day

Father's day

father's day

father's day

Check out the Multitasking Mom Facebook page for a clip of T from dress rehearsal for the recital. He definitely has spirit!!

I think that brings us up to date! Check out the blog next week for a 4th of July craft and tips on getting things done with a newborn/baby around.

Have a great weekend!!

Cheers,

Emily

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When Perfect Isn't Perfect

On May 12, 2016 my daughter was born. She was perfect. The doctors said she was perfect each time they checked her out. I saw her and all I saw was perfection. Then 5 days later we got a call from her pediatrician.  

Her doctor told us that the hospital had contacted him with the results of her last blood test. Her TSH levels were very high. He had made an appointment for us for the next morning with an endocrinologist to check her out and let us know how to proceed. I am always a researcher. I have to know all the facts about a situation.  So I fired up my fingertips and did some searching. Based on the limited information we were given, I.e. Elevated TSH levels, I determined that their concern was that Hailey had congenital hypothyroidism. There are a variety of ways that this can manifest. The thyroid can be deformed or in the wrong place or underdeveloped causing it to produce less hormones or no hormones at all. The hormones produced in the thyroid are essential for proper growth and brain development. This is especially important in the first three years of life.

On the bright side, if caught in the first few weeks of life, and properly treated, the child's hormone levels should return to normal and they should develop properly.

So, on Hailey's 6th day of life she saw an endocrinologist, had blood taken, and began taking a pill that she will likely have to take to rest of her life. The endocrinologist stated that based on her levels, it appeared that her thyroid was not producing the T3 and T4 hormones at all. A week later her blood was retested and her hormone levels were already on the rise. Her hormone replacement dosage was modified and another appointment was scheduled for two weeks later.

perfect

Tomorrow is her next appointment where they will check her growth and determine if her hormone levels have returned to normal. She feels bigger and stronger, but having the confirmation from the doctor will do amazing things for my peace of mind.

Finding out my perfect baby wasn't perfect was heartbreaking. After being told she was perfect multiple times in the hospital, we felt almost cheated. If we were told immediately we wouldn't have been lulled into this false sense of security. Not knowing if the condition has already had an affect on your baby is also scary. The odds that she will develop normally are good, which is reassuring to the math major in me, but nothing is certain.

On the other hand, treatment is pretty simple. You just take a small pill each day much like a vitamin. Giving the pill to an infant is a bit of a process since you have to crush it, dissolve it in water, and then get her to swallow it. I am well aware that there are much worse conditions. Having seen the affects that diabetes has had on my brother (blindness, amputations, kidney failure, etc.) I know that there are far worse conditions. But as a mom, any health issue with your baby can be overwhelming. Watching her give blood breaks my heart every time. Especially since it involves pricking her heel, then squeezing it multiple times to get the blood out drop by drop.

The conclusion is, at least at this point, is that when perfect isn't perfect, you just get stronger. It doesn't mean you don't feel the concern or worry or fear for your baby, you just learn to look on the bright side and try not to assume the worst. Sometimes I fear I will over analyze her development, but I try to take everything day by day. No matter what happens, she's still perfect in my eyes and in the eyes of her family. She is loved.

Cheers,

Emily

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