Mommy Guilt

You may or may not have heard of this before or never paid too much attention to it. And why would you? Unless you've experienced it personally, there's really no need to care too much about it. As a new mom, everything is a new experience. Even things you've done your whole life are completely different now that you're a mom. And inevitably, someone, anyone, will try and make you feel guilty about the way you do things.

My goal in writing this is not to put anyone down but merely to educate and give others a different perspective about this sensitive issue.

So let's first go through the types of mom guilt that I've come across. Now when I say "guilt", I'm referring to other people voicing their comments to in turn try to make you feel guilty for your actions. You moms out there know what I mean…

1. The stay at home guilt– whether you decide to stay home permanently, a year or a few months, you should never, I repeat, never feel guilty for it. It's a decision to be made by you and your spouse, if you have one, and no one else. I have a hard time with this one since I'm currently staying home with my baby, who's about to turn one next week. I have definitely felt the guilt for this one. Whether it's someone saying "wow you got to stay home that long! I had to go back to work after 6 weeks!" Or "what do you do all day? I mean babies sleep a lot right?" Or even your spouse who may not entirely understand everything that goes into being a stay at home mom. Add in the "wife" duties like dinner and laundry and cleaning….it can take your sanity and throw it right out the window. In fact, I find myself so delirious at times that I become easily aggravated and short tempered. I can't help it. I can't control it. It just bubbles out of me. Every other day I feel like what I'm doing doesn't matter to anyone, when in reality it's one of the hardest and most important jobs anyone can have. Raising a child is hard and not just raising any child but a well adjusted, decent and nice human being. I'm not throwing shade on working moms. I'll be one soon and we all know them and love them (see #2 below 👇🏽) and I know not everyone is able to stay home. Lots of moms have to go back to work sooner because of the enormous financial impact having kids puts on families. I consider myself and others who were able to stay home extremely lucky and I think we all know it. That doesn't, however, give others the right to project their jealousy onto the stay at home mom. I think if it came down to it, given the choice, all mothers would pick staying home with their babies for an extended amount of time over going back to work. Every. Single. Time. So until we have a health care system that enables family leave as a necessity versus a luxury, let's uplift and support our stay at home moms rather than tear them down because they can do what others can't.
2. The working mom guilt– on the flip side I know there are moms out there who feel like they should be at home with their babies. For whatever reason they can't be and they feel like they're missing out. I applaud those who juggle both, because it's hard to even get out of the house to run to the store much less get up and have to look presentable for work. Moms who work are no better or worse than those who don't. It's a choice that not everyone gets to make and it has to work for your situation. We also shouldn't feel bad for those that have to work. Lots of people don't want to stay home. They feel bored (I don't see how that's possible) or they miss their work. Whatever the reason, supporting the decision of moms and their rights to pick either option should be the only thing we talk about.
3. The breastfeeding vs. formula guilt– ok this one seems to be one that lots of moms are facing these days. I think about 50% is how you were raised and the other is random circumstances that happen once you try to nurse i.e. once you try to nurse the baby has trouble latching or there's some medical reason that hinders the natural ease of breastfeeding right at birth. In my situation, I was breastfed until I was 2, my sister nursed both her boys until they were 2 and 3 so I just assumed it would be super easy for me. Well it wasn't, and it was way more challenging than I thought and in the early days, that first week, I had to supplement with formula and I felt like the worse person in the world. Why? I have no idea. As long as your baby is eating it shouldn't matter. Well the guilt rears it's ugly head again. I abandoned my preconceived notions about formula vs. breastfeeding and came to the realization that as long as you're doing your best to make sure your baby is getting the nutrients he or she needs, don't listen to anyone else. No one should feel guilty for breastfeeding and no one should feel guilty for using formula. It's easier said than done. I know.

As a mom you do what you have to do. And I've found that things almost never go the way you planned when it comes to pregnancy and beyond.

What challenges have you faced with having a newborn? I would love to know I'm not the only one out there!

Healthy snacks for the breastfeeding and the non-breastfeeding 

It may seem weird that I’m posting about breastfeeding tips as my little one is almost one and pretty much weaning himself off of breastfeeding, but it’s never too late, right? Plus some of these recipes can carry me over even when I’m done nursing and wanting a healthy snack. 

I find myself needing these tips because the more he eats regular food, the less milk I seem to be producing. He mostly nurses at nap time and at night but I still have to pump for when my mom watches him. And maybe it’s my stress about pumping and nursing that’s slowing my flow but I find these tips really help and felt the need to pass it along. 

I’m starting to work out more and gearing up to go back to part time work, so as I said before some of these are perfect healthy snacks for anyone.

Lactation Smoothie

1 banana

1 cup of milk or almond milk

1/3 cup of rolled oats 

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp peanut butter

1 tbsp brewer’s yeast

1 tbsp flax

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp cinnamon

{To make it a non-lactation smoothie, take out the brewer’s yeast. I mix it up and add strawberries and other fruit to it and omit the peanut butter and cinnamon. It’s really good!}

Lactation Cookies 

{I used the same recipe that I posted about previously}

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. flaxseed meal 
4 Tbsp. water

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups all purpose flour 

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

3 Tbsp. Brewer’s Yeast 

3 cups quick oats

1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. 
2. Mix together the flaxseed and water and let sit for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, cream together the butter and sugars.
4. Add eggs one at a time and mix well.
5. Add flaxseed mix and vanilla.
6. In a medium bowl, combine together flour, baking soda, salt, Brewer’s Yeast, and oats.
7. Add to the butter mixture 1/2 cup at a time.
8. Once the dough is mixed together well, add chocolate chips.
9. Bake for 9-11 minutes.


Overnight Oats
1/2 cup of rolled oats

1/2 cup of milk, yogurt or kefir {whatever you want}

☝🏽That’s the base and you can add fruit or whatever you like from there. Mix the oats and the milk together and let sit in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, mix in whatever you like. Berries, apples, nuts, etc. Here’s a good link to check out: Overnight oats recipes

Some other tips for increasing your supply are things you should be doing anyway:

  • Drink lots of water 80-100 ounces. Just drink water as much as you can. 
  • Make sure you’re eating enough small meals throughout the day. 
  • Some healthy snack options: bananas, granola bars, Greek yogurt, trail mix, cottage cheese, pretzels, nut butters, fruit

Now for those that are breastfeeding the above works for you as well as these:

  • Pump!
  • Try the recipes in this post! 
  • Try some foods that boost your supply- asparagus, oatmeal, quinoa, fennel, flax, whole grains, berries, tomatoes, spinach, carrots, milk, cheese, chicken

I have to admit I’m a little late on trying these tips. Like I mentioned before, my son is almost 1 but this would have been a lot more helpful had I done these things from the beginning. So I’m passing this on to those who may need it! 😉

The Ever Changing Post-Partum Body

In an earlier post I talked about some of the things I was doing to workout post baby. Now that’s it’s 8 months later, some of those things have fallen by the waste side. I always feel like something else is in the way.  I blamed the holidays, Mardi Gras, the rainy weather. Not to mention when you live in Louisiana and there’s crawfish season and festivals approaching, procrastination is inevitable. 

However all is not lost. I’m making some progress…this is me at 6 weeks, 11 weeks and 6 months post partum ( I can’t look 👀):

This is me today. Compared to the other pics on the right.

I haven’t done a traditional workout in about 6 weeks but I am very active around the house and in my garden. I’m trying not to be discouraged! And for those that are breastfeeding, it really does help shed some pounds. It’s not as drastic as a cleanse or anything, but every week I drop another pound or so. However, I feel like I’m stuck in a rut, so I need to step my game up. Everything I do now is such a hassle though. Jumping in the car and going to the gym requires a week of planning…pumping, packing a bag for the baby if I’m dropping him off at my mom’s or making sure there’s enough milk and/or baby food. Whew. It’s enough to make me give up on leaving the house. So I’m coming up with some things to do at home along with some fun outings with the baby. 

Play date in City Park once a month with another mom friend

 

The main thing is finding my motivation and not giving up. As a “pre-pregnancy” fitness professional, how can I help others if I’ve given up and won’t help myself? Every time I put on leggings (because I refuse to buy jeans since I can’t fit the ones I used to wear), I think “ugh, it would be nice to switch it up”. And every time I put on my maternity jeans (yes, I can still wear them and it pains me to look at them now considering I’m NOT pregnant), I think “ugh I shouldn’t be wearing these”. So that’s my motivation. I’m taking each day as a new start. Summer is coming and it’s too hot in Louisiana for leggings. I’m not giving up on using my treadmill everyday either. It’s a goal that I haven’t stuck with because it seems so daunting. Our workout room has become baby storage center and it’s not very conducive for exercise motivation. The treadmill still works though and it’s been staring at me and giving me the evil eye. So I’m setting a small goal for just 30 minutes everyday where I can adapt as I go along. 

Being with my baby these past months has been amazing and I wouldn’t trade a second of it, but now it’s time to get back to my old body. If I can’t do anything about the giant breastfeeding boobs, I can lose the 5 month pregnant looking stomach, right? It’s not entirely unrealistic. You just have to be patient and take your time. It took 9 months to get there and you can’t lose it overnight. 

What are some things that have helped you lose the baby weight? I’m always open to hearing new things. 

Stay healthy!