Disclosure: This post was created in partnership with MommyCon + UpSpring Baby, but all thoughts are my very own.
After having a baby every woman needs a little support. Carrying a baby for nine months changes you emotionally and physically. UpSpring Baby understands that new mamas body’s need a little support. They have designed a new Post Pregnancy Belly Wrap.
This new Bamboo Charcoal belly wrap will shrink your post-baby belly faster than any other belly wraps you may see on the market. This specific belly wrap includes bamboo charcoal fiber technology and a triple-point compression to help you shrink your uterus and make you slimmer.
The fact that this belly wrap shrinks your belly fast is great, but one common thing I hear from postpartum mom’s is how uncomfortable their stomachs feel after giving birth. Think about it. You have spent 9 months (or more) carrying around a baby and then all of a sudden one day you are not. Your body takes time to change and bounce back to the way it was. Wearing a belly wrap regularly is a great way to feel a bit more confident and supported. It also provides great support after a c-section and supports your lower back.
Get the Bamboo Charcoal belly wrap added to your baby registry!
Disclosure: This post was created in partnership with MommyCon and Living Fresh, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. #MyLivingFresh
As a postpartum doula I get a lot of questions about what I would recommend they have when their newborn arrives. There are so many great products and services on the market, it can be hard to determine what you may actually need when that sweet baby comes home. I always recommend a handful of things, including a good quality receiving blanket. Now, I do not recommend any receiving blanket, but I recommend Living Fresh’s Baby Receiving Blanket.
A receiving blanket is one item that is used from the day your baby is newborn through their toddler years and even longer. A receiving blanket becomes a comfort item for your child. It is the thing they are swaddled in as a newborn, lay across as they play on the floor, held while they are feeding, dragged around as they begin to walk, the item they take to daycare or Grandma’s house, and so on. Having a good quality receiving blanket, that is going to last, is a must!
Living Fresh Baby Receiving Blanket is just that. This super soft blanket is made from the purest of natural fibers. It is woven using botanical eucalyptus fibers. There are no toxins, chemicals, or dyes.
The receiving blanket measures 36 inches by 36 inches, which is the perfect size to swaddle. I regularly preach the 5 S’s from The Happiest Baby on the Block to my clients. The first and most important “S”? Swaddling. Another reason why a good quality receiving blanket is a must when you come home with your newborn. Looking to purchase a great baby shower gift? Purchase this receiving blanket + The Happiest Baby on the Block for them (include a free printable of the 5 S’s too!)
About Living Fresh
You may be familiar and have used Living Fresh bedding yourself! If you have slept in a hotel recently, the bedding you have slept in is probably from Living Fresh. They pride themselves in providing soft and luxurious bedding. Due to the fibers from Eucalyptus trees, their sheets literally cool you as you sleep. Their bedding also becomes softer every time you wash.
The postpartum period for every mother is a huge transition. Every woman deals with different emotions and struggles, but it is amazing how many other women are dealing with the very same things. I have created this series in hopes for us all to know that we are not alone. I have asked mothers to submit their stories, so other expecting, new, and struggling mom’s can feel some comfort in knowing they are not alone. Below is the very first edition to our series Postpartum: A Mother’s Story.
Are you interested in sharing your story? If you have questions or would like to share please feel free to e-mail me. These stories can be left anonymous if you wish.
Written by Amanda
My water broke the day before my due date and I labored 15 hours and gave birth the next day on my due date to my first baby. A beautiful 7 lbs 9 oz perfect little boy. I took birth classes and had my wonderful husband and mother there with me- I felt very supported and had a great experience. I was not prepared for how tired I would be after though. I was committed to breastfeeding and the around the clock feeding was very overwhelming to get used to. After returning home I experience two weeks of postpartum depression. I loved my baby so much-it was like everyone had told me- a love so fierce you can’t explain until you have your own kids. But I had this rising anxiety inside of me knowing that this little person depended on me for everything. I felt trapped and then I felt guilty that I felt that way. My mom and husband were great at keeping me even-keel and reassuring me that this was normal and my hormones, emotions and new life would all balance out. And that’s exactly what happened: after two weeks my hormones started to even out and I felt like I could enjoy my new little baby. I think a huge part of the overwhelming feelings I had were due to how unprepared I was to be sleep deprived. I’m not sure if you can prepare yourself for that. Up every 2-3 hours nursing at night, and then it takes time for baby to fall back asleep too. My husband had paternity leave, but I don’t know how moms do it without someone there around the clock like I had. It’s funny though how you so well adapt and just get used to the new routine of motherhood. Your mommy instincts kick in and you figure out how to make it work. And not only just make it work, but love making it work. Being a mother is the most sacrificial thing there is to do, and yet the most rewarding.
My baby is now 9 months old and I can’t believe the time has gone by so quickly. I hope to have a few more kids someday. Becoming a mother feels like stepping into the thing I was meant to do.
Written by Kristina Grier
My name is Kristina. I had my first child (and only child so far) October 2, 2015. Her name is Olive, and is 17 months!
I went in on October 1 around 8 p.m. to be induced. I was already having contractions every 2 minutes on my own, but was still placed on pitocin & eventually got an epidural around midnight. I was able to sleep all night and started pushing at 6 a.m., had her at 0728! I didn’t have any tearing and did not need any stitches so thought it was going to be such a painless recovery. I was extremely swollen and sore from having such a strong epidural that I pushed for such a long time and didn’t really know what I was doing and was not pushing correctly from not being able to feel anything. I can remember those days in the hospital after she was born and bleeding quite heavily every time I stood out of bed or the chair from nursing her. I had to sit on a doughnut pillow for about a week from how sore I was. I made sure to ask for extra mesh underwear, the huge pads, and extra cans of that dermaplast and tucks pads to take home which I still used for 1-2 weeks postpartum to help with the pain.
My milk came in a day or two after we got home from the hospital. It was the worse than labor. I honestly can remember just sitting on the living room floor bawling because I was reading all these random Facebook posts about how I should not pump at all for the first few weeks so my milk gets regulated and to just keep putting the baby on my breast. Olive had a lip and tongue tie that made nursing the most painful thing as well. My nipples looked like fried hamburger and bled for the first several weeks. I hated showering because when I would step out they had such awful nerve shooting pain. I went to lactation consultants who encouraged me to take her to a pediatric dentist to correct the lip tie. The pediatric dentist told me her lip tie wasn’t that bad but she could do her tongue tie. She told me it was elective and might or might not help the breastfeeding pain I was experiencing from her. I declined the procedure because even though I wanted to breastfeed so bad, it wasn’t worth putting her through that if she did not need it.
For the first 2-3 months, I exclusively breastfed Olive and had tears over 50% of the time when she would latch on. I can remember bawling so many times that I wanted to quit and formula wasn’t all that bad (which it definitely is not), but I kept going. She is 17 months and still nurses. She is allergic to all dairy so it is a good thing I have be able to nurse this long and have a deep freeze completely full for those daycare days.
I really thought my maternity leave was going to be all fun, get dressed cute, and go out with her to show her off. We spent 90% of maternity leave in sweats, non-showered, and cuddles. What I would do to go back to those days. Actually…what I would do to go back to October 1 at 8 p.m. …. honestly, best 24 hours of a high in my entire life. The moment of her being held above me and her firmly placed onto my bare chest is something I cannot get out of my mind and heart. Ever. I can almost feel that exact moment still today & have a feeling I always will.
There are several great books that I recommend reading when you are expecting. It is hard to read them all though! One book that is at the top of my list is The Happiest Baby on the Block. When I was expecting my oldest, I was given this book as a baby shower gift. At the time, I thought “oh great, another book I need to read”. Let me tell you, if you decide to read just ONE book focused on calming and caring for your newborn, The Happiest Baby on the Block is the book to read.
First off, YOU will know what is best for your baby. YOU have created that special bond and are the only one that has already created a 9-month relationship with your newborn. But, caring for a newborn is hard and even when you know what is best, sometimes you need reassurance and support. You and your significant other may be exhausted and your hormones are going haywire! (By the way, a postpartum doula may also be a great option!) 🙂
There are no such books, classes, or workshops that will tell you how to parent. I like to think of all these options as resources for you to gain knowledge of why your newborn may be acting the way they are and tools you can place in your back pocket and pull-out when needed.
When I first read The Happiest Baby on the Block, within the first ten pages I had an epiphany! The Fourth Trimester. What?! Why was this the first time I had heard of this? The Fourth Trimester is becoming more known and talked about, but not all parents’ still understand this period of time.
The Fourth Trimester is described beautifully in The Happiest Baby on the Block. So, what is it? In short, our babies are born super early compared to other species of newborns. They are born early, so they can fit through our birth canal. When your infant is born, they cannot walk and speak (this is a duh!), but think about giraffes who are born and quickly are able to stand up and walk around. Our newborns rely on us to provide their basic needs, and the only way they can communicate discomfort and/or concern is through crying. I highly recommend reading chapter 1 of The Happiest Baby on the Block, which will explain this much better and YOU will have your “aha” moment.
Now that we understand there is a forgotten Fourth Trimester, what do we do now? The Happiest Baby on the Block will walk you through the 5 S’s which will help turn on your newborns calming reflex.
Swaddling. There can be an art to swaddling and it does take practice! The Happiest Baby on the Block does a good job breaking down why swaddling is great and several different ways to swaddle.
Side/Stomach lying. This position is a “feel-good” position for your newborn. It sounds strange and you may be thinking “I thought they needed to be on their back”. When done safely, this is another step in calming your newborn.
Shushing. When your newborn is in your womb they constantly hear the “shhhh” sound. Whether it is white noise or you saying “shhh” this is another comfort to them and allows your newborn to calm down.
Swinging. Any rhythmic movement is very soothing. Even as adults swinging can be a great way to relax and calm us. Whether you place your newborn in an actual baby swing or if you create a rhythmic movement while carrying your baby around, this is another great way to calm your newborn.
Sucking. Sucking is usually the final step that seals the deal. Whether it is nursing (another great benefit to breastfeeding) or a pacifier, the sucking motion creates calm almost instantly. The Happiest Baby on the Block does a great job going into detail about all the different ways you can help your newborn create the sucking reflex and why it is so important.
The Cuddle Cure. The Happiest Baby on the Block explains that The Cuddle Cure is that special mix of 5 S’s that calm your baby. I wish there was an exact recipe for each baby, but there isn’t. One baby may like a thumb instead of a pacifier for sucking, and one baby may hate the swing while the next baby LOVES the swing. It may take some time to figure out the “just right” mix of S’s for your newborn, but when you do it will be amazing! 🙂
The Happiest Baby on the Block has some great, detailed information that every expecting parent should read. It’s understandable there is a lot on your plate preparing for your newborn and when your baby arrives, taking time to read is not a priority. I love to share with parents and families I am supporting, the 5 S’s in calming a newborn. Since I believe they are so important I have created a printablefor YOU to print and post on your refrigerator or in your bedroom. Put it somewhere, so when you are struggling with calming your baby, you can glance at this printable and be reminded of the 5 S’s.
A strong passion of mine is supporting and connecting families with resources, whether this be details about events and activities, product and service reviews or information about my personal experience on certain topics. I feel the more information we are given and the more opportunities that are available to us, we can make the best decisions for ourselves and families.
Since the beginning of my postpartum doula journey, I have envisioned a place where mothers can come together in a safe and open place to share their concerns, thoughts, laughter, tears and just feel loved.
Beginning in February 2017, I will be hosting Bellies, Babies & Beyond twice a month. This group will be just that. I will be there twice a month to chat with you, answer your questions, and give you additional resources if needed. Do you not have any concerns or not sure what you want to talk about? That is okay too! Just come and be with us! This is a great opportunity to get out of the house and be with other mothers in the same place as you.
I will be holding Bellies, Babies & Beyond twice a month:
The 1st Thursday of the month; 9:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. at the Iowa Doula Agency located at 120 5th Street, West Des Moines.
Feel free to come to both each month! This will be an open house style group. Feel free to come late and if you need to leave early, that is okay too! Registration in not required. Newborn babies to 12 month are welcome!
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me here!
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links!
After having a child, it can be harder to create alone time, or what some like to call “me” time. During your postpartum period it can be even more crucial as you are adjusting to life with a newborn, or with more children. Your “me” time allows you to relax, re-set and refocus on you. When you are finished with your “me” time, you can return to your children and family refreshed and happier.
Creating “me” time can be as simple as 10 minutes to 1 hour a day or it could be a few hours one afternoon, once a week. Allowing yourself time to re-set is important for your health, just as exercising and eating healthy is. If you are a planner and have a family calendar, carve these days out in your schedule. If it’s on the schedule then you and your significant other will be prepared and it is more likely to happen.
Are you not sure what to do during your “me” time? Check out this great list I put together!
Take a Hot bath, Epsom Salts & Lavender Essential Oils. This is my favorite and the most simplest way to have some alone time. Grab your favorite book and some hot tea. Of course, if you are newly postpartum you may need to wait a few weeks until your doctor approves you to bathe. Epsom salts are a great way to relax your tense muscles from carrying and nursing your baby. Add a few drops of Lavender Essential Oil to your bath. Lavender Essential Oil can help relieve nervous tension, enhance blood circulation and much more. Plus, it just smells amazing!
Spend an afternoon at a local coffee shop or book store. Grab your favorite book, a journal, or go look for a great book to read while taking your hot bath. Every new parent needs coffee right? Treat yourself and get a fancy, specialty drink and relax. Read your book or people watch. Both can be equally entertaining 🙂 Check out some great, local coffee shops here!
Spa Day! What woman doesn’t love a spa day? It doesn’t need to be an entire day, but you can go get a manicure and pedicure or an hour long massage. If someone is wanting to get you something postpartum, ask for a gift certificate! You just gave birth and are juggling life as a mom, you deserve some pampering. Do you live in Central Iowa? Check out some great spas in the area here.
Sign-up for a yoga class. Yoga is a great way to relax and to get your body moving. It does not have to be a sweaty workout, but it can be an opportunity for you to become re-centered. Yoga is a great time to meditate too! I know whenever I leave a yoga class, I am refreshed and ready for the world. If you live in the Des Moines area I highly recommend checking out The Family Tree Yoga. They offer several great classes and workshops for pregnancy, postpartum and more. They also offer massage too! 🙂 Check out Power Life Yoga, also! They offer several locations in the Des Moines area.
Take a class. After becoming a parent, you easily can forget to do things you love to do! Find something you want to learn or something you have always loved, and take a class. Are you artistic? Paint some pottery or canvas at Glazed Expressions! There are several places to do canvas art in the area. You can also take a cooking class! The Des Moines Public Library offers an Adult Coloring Time weekly.
Get adjusted! This seems simple and actually does not take much time at all, but can easily be added to your afternoon break before you head to the coffee shop or book store. After giving birth, whether it be vaginally or via c-section, your pelvis and entire body experiences changes. Not only from child birth, but from nursing positions, carrying your newborn, and carrying that hefty car seat! Getting adjusted regulary by a chiropractor you trust and is experienced with prenatal and postnatal adjustment is highly recommended! Check out Dr. Jennifer Thompson at Balance Chiropractic & Wellness.
I found out I was pregnant on the coldest day in January, during the particularly cold winter of 2014. I had my suspicions about being pregnant, but the test was negative that morning as I left to drive my husband to work. I got home, went to throw the test away, and saw the faintest little second line. WHaaaaa….?!? My husband (a surgery resident) was doing a rotation in electroshock anesthesia at that time, and texted me before he started his next case: “I’ll be done at 5, are you pregnant?” I responded, covertly: “Sounds great! See you then.” Phew…dodged that bullet. I’ll tell him in person tonight, I thought. Ding! “ARE YOU PREGNANT??” Not sure how else to respond I typed the three words that would change life forever: “I think so!”
New to the area, I had no idea who to request for an OB so I took the first available, and ended up with a doctor who would punch me lightly on the arm and say “Everything looks great, champ!” Every time he finished giving me a pelvic exam. It was awesome. Throughout the next months I scoured the internet for any and all information I could find on delivering at the University of Iowa Hospital – and other options for OB’s.
I really just wanted to know what to expect (Do they encourage skin to skin? Will I have to fight to avoid an episiotomy?) and how would it be delivering with this doctor? Luckily I had a different OB for delivery, and my experience was great. But it gave birth to the idea for my blog (sorry, I had to). I started with the vision of collecting thousands of birth stories, and with that, details of thousands of health professionals and birthing facilities. I wanted a woman to be able to find a birth story from someone who used her hospital or doctor. To be able to see how that doctor responded to a complication, what that hospital’s policies were for rooming in, or how the nurses responded when she didn’t want to breastfeed. Real life accounts are hard to find, especially for a specific practitioner or facility, and I wanted to be able to provide that.
As From Belly To Birth has grown and evolved, the birth stories coming in have ebbed and flowed. So I started sharing more of my own journey (and mishaps) as a mother and young woman navigating these years that so often revolve around babies. I definitely don’t have any accreditation as a mom, but I love sharing what works for me, and more often what doesn’t. Because it turns out, we’re all in a more similar place than we realize. I also love posting stuff that might make you smirk, or at least roll your eyes, because I feel like so often the stuff I scroll through makes me feel like I’m not good enough, life is hard, and the world is evil. So I hope I can make you to feel like you’re not alone in your shortcomings, life is pretty damn funny, and the world is good.
You’ll find birth stories from around the Midwest (and beyond), my favorite Pinterest recipe board, Friday Funnies every week, updates on things like Zika, and much more. I’d love it if you’d consider sharing your story to help empower women in your community. I think we all have more to give than we realize and what better place to start than with our stories of loss and birth, of heartache and life’s miracles.
World Breastfeeding Week is always celebrated the first week in August and runs August 1st through August 7th all over the world!
Every year we celebrate women, their children, and their breastfeeding relationship. I get super excited this time of year because it can be such an empowering week. Many women will share their personal breastfeeding stories and pictures throughout social media. Not only does this help normalize breastfeeding, but also gives confidence to many women who may be struggling.
Not only is breastfeeding important for mom and baby, but this year’s World Breastfeeding theme is “on raising awareness of the links between breastfeeding and the Sustainable Development Goals. By recognizing that breastfeeding is a key to sustainable development, we will value our wellbeing from the start of life, respect each other and care for the world we share.” This statement is so true and I am so happy that this has become the theme for this year.
During this week, communities all over the world hold different celebrations to help spread the word about breastfeeding. One common event held in Central Iowa is the Big Latch On. Check here to see if there is one near you!
The Kiinde Breastmilk Storage Set is an AMAZING set! It includes twist pouches where you can directly pump into, the adapters where so you can connect the pouches to your pump and is compatible with ALL major pumps, a squeeze natural feeding bottle, and much more! BONUS: There is also a Foodii Toddler Feeding Gift Pack inside!
The Ameda Store ‘n Pour Breast Milk Storage Bags are also great! When pumping milk you want to make sure that precious “gold” will not leak out! These bags have an easy-close zip seal so they will not leak. Freezer safe and no BPA and DEHP.
Breastfeeding does not strictly mean your baby exclusively nurses from your breast, but it includes those who work and pump, or who may exclusively pump. As a mother who breastfed two children 18 months and beyond, I know the challenges of working full-time and providing breastmilk and breastfeeding to your child exclusively. Having reliable products to ease the pumping and feeding is crucial!
Enter to win below! The giveaway ends Sunday, August 7th and I will announce a winner next week!
When you discover you are expecting, it is an exciting time! If you are a first-time mother, or you already have children at home, there are a lot of things that go through your mind. A lot of times creating a baby registry is the exciting and fun part of pregnancy. Picking out all the cute baby swings, bedding, clothes, high chairs, strollers, is fun, but also making sure you add breastfeeding necessities to your list is important.
Every mother should make a decision whether they will want to breastfeed or attempt to breastfeed early on in their pregnancy so they can begin preparing for breastfeeding. There are several different items to add to your baby registry, classes you may want to take, create a resource list, and research support groups in your area to help you prepare for breastfeeding.
If you are a first-time mom you may be thinking, “what more do I need then my breast and the baby?” Luckily, in our day and age there are several tools and supplies that can help and guide you in a successful breastfeeding relationship. Adding these items to your baby registry, so your loved ones can purchase them for you, is a great way to prepare for breastfeeding.
Nipple Cream – When you begin nursing and when your baby is a newborn, there will be a lot of frequent and long feedings. Your nipples may become sore and cracked. This is a common reason many women end their breastfeeding relationship. My personal favorite nipple cream is Natural Nipple Butter from Earth Mama, Baby Angel. This specific nipple cream contains no preservatives or additives and it does not need to be removed before breastfeeding. It is completely safe for your baby.
Nursing pads – As a breastfeeding mother, leaking nipples is very common. It is also even more common at the beginning of breastfeeding as your body is still getting used to a cycle and rhythm of breastfeeding with your newborn. To help contain leaking breast milk, using nursing pads are recommended. There are several different varieties available and there are also ways you can make your own!
Breast pump – If you are planning on going back to work or even being away for the baby a few hours or days at a time, investing in a breast pump is important. There are several different types of breast pumps available. A very popular breast pump is the Medela. Most health insurances cover the purchase of a breast pump or give you a credit to use towards a breast pump. You can also rent a breast pump too. Make sure you contact your health insurance early on in your pregnancy so you can make sure you have it before the baby arrives!
Breast pump shield – If you are purchasing or renting a breast pump, you will need to get some breast pump shields. These are what hook up to the breast pump tubes and cover your nipples as it suctions breast milk out of your breasts. There are different sizes available and it depends on how big your breasts are. Purchasing these before the baby arrives may be a bit difficult, but you may be able to gage what size you need.
Bottles – Yes you are planning to breastfeed, but if you know you will need to pump then you will need to purchase bottles to pump in to. I recommend buying bottles that are the same brand as your pump. For example, if you purchase/rent a Medela pump, purchase Medela bottles and caps. You will know they will fit properly. These do not need to be the bottles you feed your baby with. Once the baby arrives you can figure out which bottle and nipple to use. Sometimes it takes several to determine what your baby will like.
Breastfeeding cover – As a new mother, it may an awkward and little uncomfortable to breastfeed in public. Adding a breastfeeding cover to your registry is a great idea and will help you feel comfortable when breastfeeding in public. They have lots of fun prints and come in all different sizes.
Nipple shields – There are a lot of products on the market such as nipple shields that are used to help with a baby’s latch. I highly recommend to NOT purchase these items. Some of these products can really cause issues with breastfeeding. If there is an issue, contacting a lactation consultant is recommended. Your lactation consultant may recommend one for you at that time and set-up a plan on how to use it.
Alright, so you have some of the necessities prepared for breastfeeding, but it is also extremely important to learn about breastfeeding and meet/introduce yourself to someone who will be available to help, if there are issues.
A lot of local hospitals offer basic breastfeeding classes that discuss the anatomy of the breast, stages of breastfeeding, when your breast milk will come in, the types of breast milk, how your baby has an effect on your breast milk, cues to look for when breastfeeding your baby, and much more. There is a lot of information and having a little background will help you feel a bit more comfortable when you behind this journey with your newborn.
Introducing and meeting a lactation consultant is also important or even just having their contact information. A lactation consultant is a trained professional with lots of education and hours of experience in breastfeeding. If there are any issues or questions at all, contacting this individual will help you tremendously. A lot of lactation consultants will even make home visits.
A lot of communities have breastfeeding support groups available. Do your research and find out what support groups are available in your community and the dates and times they meet. Breastfeeding support groups, such a La Leche League, is not only a place to ask questions about breastfeeding, but is also a great place to socialize and meet other mothers traveling the same breastfeeding journey as you.
There are lots of aspects to preparing for a baby when you discover you are pregnant, but preparing for breastfeeding is extremely important too! Make sure you do your research and be prepared before your new bundle of joy arrives.
If you are located in Central Iowa, check our local Business Directory for lactation consultants, breastfeeding groups, where to rent and/or buy a breast pump and more!
Have you heard about Hike it Baby? For those of you who haven’t, we are an organization dedicated to developing communities that get families outside with children from birth to school age. There are branches in cities all over the world! Iowa has four branches: Des Moines, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and Davenport. An Ames branch will be starting soon, too!
Come celebrate Des Moines’ one year anniversary with us! We went from an inspiration to an entire branch with over 800 Facebook members and hundreds of hikes on the calendar in a year! We have some fun things planned, including an amazing giveaway filled with donations from local businesses.
When: Sunday, June 5th at 2:30pm at the Ewing Park Children’s Forest and Nature Trail. We will meet at the Ashley Okland Star Playground and hike the Nature Trail at 3pm then have time to play on this AMAZING playground. Bring your own chairs, a picnic basket, and join us!