A LITTLE Q&A WITH A LACTATION CONSULTANT

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For National Breastfeeding Month we wanted to hear stories from real moms and real professionals. I sat down with lactation consultant and owner of Blissed Out Mamas, Lisa Broderick-Cohen, to discuss all things breastfeeding. Check out her tips and info’ for getting help when nursing and pumping, and the personal journey that comes with both.

Make sure you share your stories with us too! [@motherhoodmaternity #mymomtruths] All of us at Motherhood® love being inspired from other real mamas out there. Enjoy!

  1. Tell us how you became a lactation consultant.

I really got into breastfeeding after I got pregnant with my daughter, now 16 years ago. I had difficulty getting her to latch and it was 5 weeks until I found our rhythm. At the time, I felt that there was very little to no support for women from hospitals, doctors or even older generations. It was truly my own experience that inspired me to pursue lactation consultancy. I found La Leche League where I have been a member and leader for over 15 years and studied at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. It took me 4 ½ years to become a lactation consultant. With my experience and years working with pregnant women and new moms, I wanted to create a safe place for everyone to meet and get answers or help. In 2015 I opened Blissed Out Mamas!

  1. How do you find your clients?

Mainly word of mouth. There are really great resources to finding lactation consultants. A lot of women find me through zipmilk.org. What I do want people to know is that I do accept insurance (and many other lactation consultants do too)!

  1. What is the first thing you do to ease new moms into breastfeeding?

Almost everyone who calls the first time is looking for help on feeding. A lot of times women are defensive and defeated, but I let them find that fear, so we can get to the root of the problem. Then we work together on a creating a goal and then reaching that goal.

  1. What is something you would tell a pregnant woman who may not be considering breastfeeding due to different personal reasons?

I would want to know what is exactly making them uncomfortable. In my experience, it is usually a lack of support, education on breastfeeding and past trauma. I believe, personally, that breastfeeding is a public health issue.

  1. Do you have any advice for milk production supply, especially for women who are returning to work and have to pump?

I like to have a back-to-work consultation to discuss meditation and relaxation techniques to reduce that underlying stress. Together we would need to be honest about how difficult that transition may be. I also encourage after work cuddle sessions with baby and a lot of them! Nursing as much as you can while you’re home helps to keep that natural supply up.

  1. Do you have any bra or clothing suggestions that help make nursing/pumping a little easier?

I recommend seamless/wireless styles to keep ducts from getting clogged. I love nursing camisoles; I tell all my clients to keep them in their closets. And when I was pregnant, I lived in those pants with that band that covers your whole belly! [Editor’s Note: Lisa means the Secret Fit Belly®.]

  1. What are the best practices for storing frozen breast milk?

Fresh pumped milk is okay at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours. It can stay in the refrigerator for 4-6 days and can remain frozen for 4-6 months.

  1. What are some suggestions for easing sore, aching nipples and breasts due to nursing?

Pain is common, but it needs to be addressed. If you have another common issue, like a closed duct, try a warm compress and massage to release the milk and soothe irritation. Nipple balms are not used to necessarily heal pain, but rather as a band aid to keep the nipple healthy.

  1. How do you help women who want to throw in the towel on breastfeeding after a couple days/weeks/months?

I let my clients know this is a safe, judge-free zone. I let them know that the goal is for baby to eat. We work on trying to preserve milk. I use empathy; I ensure her she is a good mother and that breastfeeding, or formula feeding is not an either/or. Formula can be used as a tool to help her reach her nursing goal. I encourage the bonding aspect of breastfeeding. I also let everyone know that you, as the mom, are the #1 expert on your body and your baby, so listen to your gut.

  1. How can our followers reach you?

My website is blissedoutmamas.com. My Instagram @blissedoutmamas; I am also on Facebook and Pinterest.

WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT BREASTFEEDING? HER SMELL.

MH BLOG RealMomsHappySmell 2019 TOP v2I’ve been writing a lot about the emotional state that breastfeeding and pumping can leave you in, but it’s an emotional pendulum – which of course, swings both ways. I love nursing my babies. I yearn for the smell of my baby’s head. She smells like lavender.  

Both my babies smell like lavender… because I use a lavender lotion on them haha!  The smell is supposed to make you tired and calm. It enlivens me. I try to soak in lavender salts and bath bombs. None of it is relaxing because I often share my bath with BOTH a 3-year-old and 5-month-old, who I am nursing simultaneously while making sure no soap gets into the toddler’s eyes. But to me, that scent brings me back home.  

It is said that breastfeeding releases oxytocin (the love hormone) into your system during the let-down of the milk. So, you are quite literally being filled with love when you nurse. Yes, breastfeeding is draining; yes, pumping can be stressful, but it is also beautiful, wonderful and happy. Don’t just take my word for it… 

Kim and Sarah are married, and both have given birth. Wait until you read this amazing story that Kim shared: “My milk actually started coming in when he was born. We have lots of babies in our life and that has never happened with another child. It was an interesting experience to have that happen from the very beginning. I did the first skin-to-skin with Theo while Sarah was getting stitched up and recovering. I think it created an instant connection between us, not just spiritually and emotionally, but physically, which is why I think my body responded (like that).” 

Thara, a yoga studio owner and model fondly looks back on nursing and the way it calmed not only her, but her life and her family. “A few weeks after I stopped breastfeeding my husband and I were sitting on the couch and he looked across at me and said, ‘You know what? I miss you breastfeeding.’ I was shocked for my husband to say that me, but he enjoyed the stillness it gave me. It forced me to sit down; it forced me to stop. Whereas now I am always moving; I am always doing something. I have to go somewhere, I have to clean up, have dishes I have to wash, I have to organize a closet, whatever it is, every moment I get free I find something to do. So, he kind of missed the stillness that it brought into our house.” 

Lifestyle Influencer and CEO of @bloggerhousecurvycloset, Darlene, speaks about the way in which nursing gave her back the control that you sometimes lose when a tiny human comes into the world and knocks you off your axis. “As a new mom, with a new baby, you constantly wonder if she’s OK…but breastfeeding was the one thing I could control. I could give her everything of me, and that meant that she was satisfied, and she was happy, and she was well in that moment and that’s why it meant so much.” 

Audra, a Photo Editor said, “I wanted them to be breastfed. It gives them the best nutrients, it’s good for their immune system, and it’s a beautiful way to bond with my babies. I feel like it’s a gift that I was excited to experience” 

Now, of course, breastfeeding is not the end all, be all. It’s not always a given either. I feel really blessed I never had any trouble doing it. But my beautiful co-worker, Alex, had a hard time with keeping her supply up. “I’ve experienced both breastfeeding and bottle-feeding. I mean, it’s different for everybody. There definitely is a special bond when you can breastfeed, and when it’s great, it’s great – but when you’re anxious and stressing out about it, that stress transfers. So, at that point you’re just happy to see the baby eating.”   

I want to leave you with some words from my boss’ mom, Annie, because at the end of day, this is the real mom truth about not only breastfeeding but finding what is right for you: “Women should be able to make choices for themselves without any pressure whatsoever. In this day and age women work; women work simply to provide for the children they are giving birth to.”  

Make sure you see new episodes of our video series Real Mothers. Real Stories. Real Life.

Here’s to all the moms making it work!  -Daina  

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MOTHERHOOD GETS REAL ON MOTHERHOOD: SARA KAUFFMAN

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This week we are featuring our real mom Sara, who is one of our senior designers. We first met with her last fall when she was expecting her baby girl Rae. Now as a mom of two she tells us about the differences between her first and second pregnancies, how she likes to spend time with her newly expanded family, and why it really does take a village. Read on for some sound advice from Sara!

Motherhood: Tell us a little about your new baby!

Sara: Rae is amazing. She is the happiest and most easy-going baby. Her big brother is the center of her universe. When they are together, she just smiles and laughs at what every he is doing which is usually pretty silly.

 

Motherhood: How has life changed since adding another child into the mix?

Sara: It takes us a while to get out of the house daily and when we go on trips. We are a family that likes to be out of the house and go on little and big adventures. I usually forget a few things. It is all worth it when I see the way Rae and Nate look at the new places we take them.

 

Motherhood: What has been your favorite nursing piece?

Sara: Two items were my ultimate faves! One: I lived in Jessica Simpson Pull Over Side Slit Nursing Top during maternity leave. I hate when tops lift in the back when nursing, but the function on the JS top allowed great access to the front while staying put and down in the back. Two: I wore our Tummy Sleeve over all my pants for the first two months post-partum. I knew very little about shapewear after my first pregnancy. I learned more when I was on a panel to wear-test this very item. It really helped me start to get my waistline back and stabilize my post-maternity belly.

 

Motherhood: As a designer of our jeans, what styles have you kept in your new mom rotation?

Sara: I still wore my smock waist shorts and side panel denim for a while after I had Rae. The shorts were the most comfortable style during and after my pregnancy, and I still felt like I looked put together when I left the house. The side panel denim does not look overly maternity, so I felt like I could get away with them for a while until I got back into my regular jeans.

 

Motherhood: How has coming back from maternity leave been, especially with pumping?

Sara: I knew what to expect this time so it was a bit easier. It was still hard being away from baby at first, but I love designing and really like the people I work with, which is the bright side of it all.

 

Motherhood: What would you say the hardest thing about breastfeeding has been and what advice would you give to a woman considering nursing?

Sara: I could write/ talk about this for hours. Unlike my first child whom would not latch, took hours to eat and would not gain weight, Rae had been a whole world easier. She latched right away and is a fast eater. The hardest thing is finding the right balance for you, your baby and even your family. With Nate, I did my best to nurse him, but he was always supplemented with formula which let my husband help out more with the feedings. Rae got to be exclusively breastfeed or given pumped milk at day care until she was 7 months old. Breastfeeding her is faster than giving her a bottle and my husband gets to spend more time just hanging out with her. I found what was right fit for both kids and was very happy when we found our balance.

 

Motherhood: If you could have given yourself one piece of new mom advice, what would it have been?

Sara: Find your village. They say it takes a village and it does, especially when you are in the weeds of having a new born. You will need support. At night I had my family, but during the day I looked for groups and activities I could do with other mommies with new babies. I joined a nursing group which helped me work through any issues I was having that week with breastfeeding. I learned a lot from the mamas with older babies and got to help out the newbies. I also really enjoyed my time at baby music class and mommy and me yoga where I got sing and get active with Rae.

MOTHERHOOD GETS REAL ON MOTHERHOOD: ERIN DOWNING

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This story begins back in February 2017, when we got to throw our very first Gender Reveal party for an expecting mom in our corporate office. Erin was just finding out that she and her husband were having a baby boy. Pregnant and glowing, we threw them a sock monkey reveal party. Fast-forward to spring 2018, and this first-time mom has been back to work, raising baby Hudson [who is now almost 1!], and navigating the world as a working woman with a family. Erin is definitely the go-to girl for post-pregnancy style recs, as she is the one calling the shots! Read on to see how life has been for our Lead Merchandising Manager.

Motherhood: It’s been over a year since we threw you a gender reveal party. Obviously, you had your little boy. Tell us a little about him!

Erin: His name is Hudson, he’s 9 months old and the cutest little boy ever!  (Maybe I’m biased) He’s very active – crawling everywhere, pulling up to stand, walking might not be far off.  He loves animals, especially our cats and his nanny’s dog.  His favorite food is avocado.  He loves music and dancing.  Not a big fan of diaper changes or sleep!

Motherhood: How has life changed since becoming a new mom?

Erin: How hasn’t it?  I definitely get less sleep, I’m way busier, I spend a lot of time playing, and I have an adorable baby boy!  Priorities are the biggest change, I think. Life isn’t just about me and my husband anymore – it’s about Hudson and our family, but it’s been amazing and I’ve loved every minute (except maybe some of the sleepless nights.)

Motherhood: What has been your favorite nursing piece?

Erin: I never would have survived without our clip-down camis.  I have them in every color. I wore the seamless bras through my entire pregnancy as well – they are beyond comfortable.  BounceBack has also been a must for me.  I wear the tank and legging ALL the time.  Perfect for camouflaging any baby weight still sticking around!

Motherhood: As the Lead Merchant Manager of Motherhood®, what “maternity” styles have you kept in your closet and continue to wear?

Erin: I still wear my BumpStart and Secret Fit Belly® leggings, plus now of course my BounceBack ones that I bought after having the baby.  Also, my French Terry shorts, I fully intend to wear all summer and I lived in them before I had Hudson.  They are underbelly and are still great without a bump.  My baby shower dress was Rachel Pally from A Pea in the Pod. [Editor’s Note: This is Motherhood’s sister brand.] I actually just wore it on vacation in Mexico.  I had done my own little before and after!

Motherhood: You have since come back to work. Any suggestions on the styles you like for pumping at work?

Erin: I highly recommend our seamless bras and clip down camis.  They go under everything and are so easy to use.  I also think our dress assortment is so amazing. I wear a lot of dresses and it’s difficult because if you pump in a regular dress, you basically have to get naked in the pump room.

Motherhood: Where has been the weirdest place you’ve nursed or pumped?

Erin: Oh, man!  The strangest was probably the dressing room floor at Bloomingdales in Soho (NYC).  I had to go shopping for work for the day and had to carry the pump around with me and figure out where to pump. There is an amazing app I discovered called “Moms Pump Here” – it helps you find places you can nurse or pump based on your location.  I’ve also pumped on multiple airplanes.  And also, I had a wedding to attend 3 weeks after I had Hudson. We didn’t offer any special occasion dresses yet, so I had to strip down to pump in a friends hotel room at the wedding venue. I so wish we sold the black lace nursing dress I wore in the photoshoot then; it would have made my life so much easier and it’s so flattering on!

Motherhood: We’re getting real on motherhood. What has been the hardest part about being a new mom?

Erin: At first, breastfeeding was actually the hardest part.  It didn’t come as naturally as I thought it would; Hudson had a tongue tie that had to be corrected, I felt like I was permanently attached to the breast pump, and it was tough.  Being a new mom can be really overwhelming and emotional, but with the help of supportive mom friends, family, and an amazing lactation consultant we got there.  I can’t stress the importance of support enough – it truly does take a village! I think now it’s just the lack of sleep and the never-ending to-do lists (both at work and at home) that are the hardest parts… but I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

MOTHERHOOD GETS REAL ON MOTHERHOOD

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May doesn’t just bring us flowers, it’s also the month that lets us celebrate our favorite holiday: Mother’s Day! Instead of limiting our love for moms to just Sunday, May 13th, we are dedicating the entire month of May to strong and beautiful ladies. So, to honor the women that keep us going, we are highlighting our real moms like you all month long.

Back in September 2017 we did photo shoots and one-on-ones with some of our pregnant employees featuring our Five Fundamentals. We wanted to come full circle with their journey, because it doesn’t stop when baby arrives… it just begins! We welcomed them back into the studio, this time with their babies and all their new mom wisdom in tow.

From maternity leave to crazy nursing stories, we wanted our real moms to get real on motherhood. It’s not always pretty, but their babies further convinced us that it is pretty cute! Make sure you stay tuned all month long to meet our moms. And, as always, show us your mom-in-the-making and new mom looks @motherhoodmaternity #thisisgoingtobefun – we want to hear your stories, your advice, and of course see your babes. We’re ready for the good, the bad, the truth… come what MAY!

NEW TO NURSING

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NURSING STYLES
Our New Mom collection features nursing tops and dresses specifically made for you. With pull-down access, faux wrap tops, and lift-up layers… there’s a tank, cami, tee, blouse, or dress that will get you home from the hospital and back at work after maternity leave ends.

New moms also need all the sleep they can get without complicated nursing clothing or uncomfortable pieces. If you’ve been dreaming away in our maternity pajamas, then chances are you have a style that is already prepared for those mid-night feedings, featuring clip-down straps. Even our maternity sleep sets are made for new moms, with button-down fronts, stretchy V-necks, and underbelly pants that provide comfort for post-delivery bodies.  You can even repurpose your Snoogle as a nursing pillow!

NURSING BRAS
The question we always get is: “When should I buy nursing bras?” The truth is… from the first time you feel and see your breasts grow during pregnancy. Our maternity bras ARE nursing bras. All our maternity bras feature an accessible way to breastfeed or pump. Whether the straps are clip-down or the bra has a pull-over front, they all remain discreet and comfortable. Investing early on and finding the right fit will pay off for the rest of your trimesters, straight into motherhood and nursing.

NURSING ACCESSORIES
We carry a full range of nursing accessories to help you transition into motherhood. Try our nursing scarves and cover-ups for discreet breastfeeding to keep busy moms on the move. There are also nipple balms and nursing lotions to help soothe and smooth sore bodies. With nursing pads, a hands-free bra for efficient pumping, as well as diaper bags to throw everything in… we want to be your one-stop-shop for everything motherhood related. It is our name after all!

BOUNCEBACK COLLECTION
This postpartum line includes post-pregnancy leggings, denim and pants and features two different compression belly panels that aid in helping new moms rediscover their pre-pregnancy bellies, possibly even quicker than they would without them!

Unlike girdles and other full post-pregnancy support bands, the BOUNCEBACK panel is sewn directly on to the pants so there is no extra bulk, fuss, or discomfort. We offer two different styles: the Power Mesh Band, designed to sit lower on your waist and provide medium compression, and the Seamless Compression Tube, which has a higher rise and stronger compression. In addition to providing a seamless and smooth effect under clothing, they help hold in your post-pregnancy belly with light pressure, ensuring you feel in control and confident. They are an easy and effortless way for you to feel like yourself again. You aren’t just bouncing back, but rather bouncing forward to being the best new mom and new you!

FIT TO PRINT

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We always say that we want to be your source for all things maternity, so we put our money where our mouth is and created an Info & Inspo tab on our website. Go to Motherhood.com, then look to the right on the top navigation… there she is: the tab that ends all tabs (when it comes to pregnancy styling, sizing and surmising!)

What to expect? There are the answers to your questions concerning what and when to buy for your maternity wardrobe, what makes us the experts in pregnancy fashion, and other burning inquiries about dressing the bump.

We feature and highlight our monthly Style Guide, Wear Now and After campaign, and the Five Fundamental fashions to help you get started with shopping for all your new curves. This is the one time in your life that redoing your closet is necessary; so, it’s all the fun without any of the guilt!

We included our Trimester Checklist to keep your shopping priorities easy and efficient, as well as the Maternity Fit Guide showcasing the fit and function of how our pieces work through all trimesters, even into motherhood. It includes different pant styles, tops, dresses, and how to do a bra fitting at home. (But remember, bra and bump fittings are always free in your store too!)

We completed our tab with hospital bag suggestions, and an entire section dedicated to all our new moms, including nursing mamas who need support and style for breastfeeding and pumping. This Info & Inspo section comes full circle by adding our Perks Page. Working with some of the finest family and parenting partners helps us in making sure we are here for you the best we can from the beginning of your journey, to post-baby, and then beyond!

As always, keep getting inspired and inspiring us @motherhoodmaternity – we love seeing you in our clothes! #thisisgoingtobefun

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WORK (OUT) MOM PART V

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We are wrapping up our collaboration with Amy Kiefer of Expecting and Empowered this week!  From workouts to making mamahood work, she has been giving us and you a whole lot of information and inspiration. Being a clothing company, we at Motherhood® wanted to learn more about Amy’s fave fashions. As a mom, a nurse, a trainer and a woman who has been through two pregnancies in less than three years… she knows which pieces make maternity and motherhood comfy and stylish. See what she has to say below.

“I love the ease of the nursing camisole with the clip down feature. It is perfect for middle of the night nursing sessions. I’ve lived in it! I wear it as pajamas or for my days that I’m at home. I just throw a zip up over it and I’m all set.”
Clip Down Nursing Cami

“This is an easy staple! It’s so comfortable during pregnancy and it also transitioned so well into the postpartum phase. I found it to be very flattering after birth, covering my 4th trimester belly. I wear this everywhere and always.”
Zip Front Maternity Active Jacket

The following are Amy’s new maternity/ new mom musts from our latest collection of clothing!  The underbelly is one of our more current waistlines, and perfect for post-pregnancy.
Under Belly French Terry Straight Leg Maternity Lounge Pants

Plus, for a workout mama, the sweatshirt dress takes effortless chic to a whole new level. This is one of our favorites for spring too!
Super Soft Maternity Dress

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WORK (OUT) MOM PART III

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The workout starts with flexibility movements and then transfers into strength training exercises.

This workout, as well as our comprehensive pregnancy fitness guide, Expecting and Empowered, includes exercises to prevent common aches and pains throughout pregnancy, decrease unnecessary weight gain during pregnancy, ease labor and delivery, expedite postpartum recovery, and most importantly, keep the baby safe.

There are many incorrect, ineffective and unsafe ways to exercise during pregnancy.  It can be frightening for mamas-to-be to wonder if they are harming the baby or themselves while exercising.  This structured workout session and the week-by-week workouts from Expecting and Empowered alleviate this concern. It begins with the week of the positive pregnancy test all the way to week 40 and beyond. Each workout session only takes 30-45 minutes, and it removes all the guess work for women. Additionally, exercise has been proven to boost energy and mood during pregnancy!

WORKOUT (repeat the workout for 3 sets)

Part 1: FLEXIBILITY

  1. SL THORACIC ROTATION WITH ADDUCTOR ACTIVATION

SETUP: Start in a side lying position. Bend both knees toward chest.

MOVEMENT: Slowly lower your knees to the left side of your body. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale reach your right arm open until it makes contact with the ground behind you. Hold for 10 breaths. Repeat on other side.

PREGNANCY TIP: This is a great night time stretch!

  1. DOWNWARD DOG

SETUP: Start on all fours.

MOVEMENT: Move to an inverted V position with your elbows and knees straight. Get your heels as close to the ground as possible, shifting weight into your feet. Set your shoulders by pretending to rotate your hands outward through the ground. A good visual: pretend you are pushing your hands into the ground and rotating the whole arm outward like a screwdriver, but your hands stay in the same place. This should allow you to feel your shoulders turn on. Hold this position, feeling a stretch through your back and legs. Slowly inhale and exhale. Repeat for 10 breaths.

PREGNANCY TIP: Keep your neck relaxed (dangling). Keep your heels as close to the ground as possible.

  1. KEY HOLE ARM STRETCH

SETUP: Start on all fours. Left arm is bent bracing you upright while your right arm reaches under it and across your body. Right arm is lying flat on the mat with palm up.

MOVEMENT: Slowly lean forward, as you lean forward draw your right shoulder down toward the mat. At the same time push your right hand into the mat (as if you are following through a back- hand in tennis). Hold for 10 seconds. Switch sides. Repeat for assigned number of repetitions.

PREGNANCY TIP: You want to feel a stretch between your shoulder blade and spine.

  1. STANDING HIP FLEXOR STRETCH

SETUP: Start in an upright position. Place left leg behind you in lunge position and right leg on the ground with your knee bent.

MOVEMENT: Keeping your back straight, slowly shift your weight forward. You should feel a stretch in the front of left hip. Hold for 10 seconds. Switch legs. Repeat for assigned number of repetitions.

PREGNANCY TIP: If you tend to get round ligament pain, focus on stretching with breath.

Part 2: STRENGTH TRAINING

  1. ONE SIDE WEIGHTED SQUATS (DB) x 24 reps (12 with weight on one side, switch)

SETUP: Start in an upright position with your feet shoulder width apart. Place a DB on one shoulder, holding it in place.

MOVEMENT: Squat, bending at your knees and hips. At the bottom of the movement, your knees should be close to a 90-degree angle. Straighten your legs and squeeze your butt at the top of the movement. Repeat for assigned number of repetitions. Switch weight to other side.

PREGNANCY TIP: Make sure you tuck your tailbone underneath you so that your low back is not rounded.

  1. PLIE SQUAT (DB) x 24 reps

SETUP: Start in an upright position with feet in a wide stance, toes pointed outward. Hold onto one DB. Arms hang straight down in front of your body.

MOVEMENT: Squat, bending at your knees and hips. Exhale and squeeze your butt as you return to starting position. Keep your back straight, weight in heels, and do not allow your knees to collapse inward.

  1. TRICEPS EXTENSION (DB) x 15 reps

SETUP: Anchor the resistance band in the top of a doorway. Stand facing away from the door. Take a step out, so that the band is taut. Hold onto the RB with each hand. For DB version, hold onto the end of one DB behind your head with elbows bent.

MOVEMENT: Bend your elbows as you bring your hands near your forehead. Straighten your elbows, pulling against the RB. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat. For the DB version, straighten elbows.

PREGNANCY TIP: Exhale as you straighten your arms. Keep elbows and ribs from flaring out.

  1. WALL SIT x 60 second hold

SETUP: Find a stable wall. Sit in a squat with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Head, shoulders and butt should all be touching the wall.

MOVEMENT: Hold position and think about anchoring your feet into the ground.

PREGNANCY TIP: Do not arch your back on the wall. Do not rest your hands on your lap. Add weights to make harder if needed.

  1. BICEP CURLS (DB) x 15 reps

SETUP: Stand in an upright position, holding DBs in both hands. Start with arms downward with palms facing forward.

MOVEMENT: Bend your elbows, lifting DBs toward your shoulders. Pause at the top of the movement. Slowly lower. Repeat.

PREGNANCY TIP: Squeeze shoulder blades, pulling them down and back towards opposite butt cheek.

  1. BICEP CURL TO OVERHEAD PRESS (DB) x 15 reps

SETUP: Stand in an upright position, holding DBs in both hands.

MOVEMENT: Bend your elbows, lifting DBs toward your shoulders. Next, rotate hands so your wrists are facing forward. DBs are at shoulder height. Press the DB overhead. Slowly lower back down to starting position. Repeat.

PREGNANCY TIP: Do not shrug your shoulders during motion.

  1. FRONT RAISE AND LATERAL RAISES (DB) x 15 reps

SETUP: Start in an upright position. Hold a DB in each hand with arms hanging in front of you. Palms face you.

MOVEMENT: Keeping your arms straight, raise the DBs to shoulder height. Slowly lower to the starting position. Next, move the DBs to the side of your body with palms facing each other. Keeping your arms straight, raise DBs to the side until they are parallel with the ground and aligned with your shoulders. Repeat.

PREGNANCY TIP: Pull your shoulder blades toward one another during movement.

  1. BENT OVER ROWS (DB) x 15 reps

SETUP: Start in upright position, then hinge forward at the hips. Arms hang towards the floor with a DB in each hand, palms facing you.

MOVEMENT: Pull both arms upward, bending at your elbows. Bring the DBs toward your armpits. At end point of movement, elbows should be aligned with your shoulders. Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Slowly lower. Repeat.

PREGNANCY TIP: Keep your back straight as if someone were pulling the crown of your head (ponytail) upward. Retract your neck.

  1. BENT OVER REVERSE FLYS (DB) x 15 reps

SETUP: Start in an upright position, then hinge forward at the hips. Arms hang toward the floor with a DB in each hand.

MOVEMENT: Pull your arms apart and back until the DBs are aligned with your shoulders. Maintain a very slight bend in the elbows. Focus on elbow drawing toward opposite butt cheeks so you feel a squeeze between your shoulder blades. Caution: do not al- low your shoulders to draw upward towards the ears.

PREGNANCY TIP: Keep your back straight as if someone were pulling the crown of your head (ponytail) upward. Retract your neck. Lower the weight slowly down, fighting gravity

  1. RDL (DB) x 24 reps

SETUP: Begin in an upright position with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width and a DB in each hand. Keep a slight bend in your knees during the movement and keep your back in a straight line.

MOVEMENT: Lean forward, bending at your hips to reach down. Lower the DB down along the front of the thigh and shin. Next, lift back up to standing by engaging your back and thigh muscles. Repeat.

PREGNANCY TIP: You should not feel this in your lower back. You should feel it in your hamstrings.

  1. SIDE LYING LATERAL LEG RAISES x 30 reps each leg

SETUP: Start by lying on your side. Bend your bottom leg, but keep it on the floor. Your top leg is straight.

MOVEMENT: Slowly lift your upper leg toward the ceiling. Your top leg should only lift 6” from neutral. Do not lift it high! Lower it back to the starting position. Repeat for assigned number of repetitions. Switch to other leg.

PREGNANCY TIP: Keep your hip, knee, and ankle in one line. Do not allow your hips to roll backward or forward during the exercise. You should feel a deep burn in the hip.

 

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WORK (OUT) MOM PART II

 

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We’re back for day two of our blogger edit with Amy Kiefer. Check out our last post to learn all about her and read on to find out about her fitness program designed specifically for mamas-to-be, Expecting and Empowered. And get excited – next week we jump into a pre-natal workout routine!

 

Motherhood: What led you and your sister to start Expecting and Empowered?

Amy: Expecting and Empowered is our passion project.  There were so many women around us asking, “What can I do during pregnancy? What is safe?” We knew smart women who would believe the old lies that working out can cause a miscarriage. We also saw people doing dangerous things to the other extreme and not making proper pregnancy modifications. We knew that together we had the knowledge, experience and drive to produce something really special. My sister Krystle holds a doctorate in physical therapy and has taken specialty courses in obstetrics and pelvic floor health. As a personal trainer and nurse myself, we just knew we had all the tools and resources to make the best pregnancy guide possible.

I called her one day on my way home from the gym and pitched her the idea. It was easier than I thought to get her on board and we just started working! Little did we know how much work it would be, but we are thankful our business baby was born in October.

Motherhood: How does your program work and how does it differ from any traditional fitness regimen? What makes it pregnancy-friendly?

Amy: Expecting and Empowered is an instantly downloadable PDF. A really fun detail is that we were both pregnant during the creation, so we were able to model for our own guide! You will see me in my first and second trimester and Krystle as the third trimester model. Our pregnancy guide consists of three guided days of pelvic floor, flexibility and strength training exercises. There is a lower body day, upper body day and full body day. We also suggest two days of cardiovascular training and give you our recommendations for those days. All in all, we are hoping women get five days of exercises in a week to reap all the benefits.

Expecting and Empowered makes all the proper pregnancy modifications when necessary. For example, women should not be on their backs for an extended amount of time after the first trimester. Women should not be doing planks after the first trimester. Women should not be doing unilateral movements (lunges) later in pregnancy. E and E (as we affectionately call Expecting and Empowered) makes it easy, because we have only safe workouts ready to go for women. Because Krystle is a women’s health physical therapist, one element that makes our guide very unique is having an emphasis placed on pelvic floor health. This under-talked about subject can mean big issues postpartum for women, including incontinence and inability to return to a normal sex life. Krystle is incredibly passionate about preventative health and helping women avoid these common issues, so there are pelvic floor exercises included in every single day of the guide.

Motherhood: Beyond the actual exercises, what kind of community are you hoping to build?

Amy: So glad you asked, because this has been a favorite part of our business. When we were dreaming up this business, this was a pillar of it. We knew we wanted a place where women could connect and share experiences. We created a private Facebook group for customers. The women have made it their own! They share everything from positive pregnancy tests (some women start E and E before conception) to recipes, to energy tips, to morning sickness advice. It is a really awesome thing to be a part of and I look forward to meeting and cheering on more women. 

Motherhood: It’s hard staying motivated to work out. What is some advice you would give to women who want to work out while pregnant? And maybe more importantly, post-partum when time and energy is even harder to find?

Amy: I love this question! It is counterintuitive, but working out gives you a huge boost in energy and mood. One of my very favorite experiences as a personal trainer was to see someone START a workout journey and quickly become hooked and excited. At first, they were dragging themselves to the gym, but once they established a routine and experienced the positive benefits…they became hooked. I was able to see their confidence, fitness and dedication soar.

Take it slow postpartum! You are not supposed to be able to jump right back into it and most of your energy will go toward taking care of your newborn and recovering yourself. When you are a little bit further out, you can return to a regular fitness routine. The Expecting and Empowered postpartum guide that is currently being created really picks up at six weeks postpartum. Prior to that, we are just giving women exercises that will help them heal.

Motherhood: Since it is the first week of January, we can’t let you go without asking if you have any resolutions for 2018?

Amy: I am not a huge resolution gal, rather I love to continuously work on improvement. Most of the audiobooks and podcasts I listen to would fall into the self-improvement and positivity category. That way, I am always inspired.

Expecting and Empowered will launch a postpartum guide early this year. We are excited because we know that women have a lot of questions and make mistakes in this period. Krystle and I are excited to give women a guide that shows them how to safely return to a place where they are comfortable. Essentially, we will have women covered the whole way through their mamahood journey.

Stay tuned all month for specific workout tips and tricks from Amy! And as always, show us your 2018 workout goals with #thisisgoingtobefun @motherhoodmaternity – Happy New You!

 

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