Saturday, February 25, 2012

The popularity of postpartum weight loss


This is more of a vent post than anything so feel free to vent right along with me.

Being pregnant is an amazingly beautiful thing.  It's spectacular what your body does to prepare for birth.  Postpartum, it's nothing short of a miracle that your body knows how to produce a substance that your baby will survive on for months, if not years.   I could go on and on about the beauty of our bodies.

Of course, being pregnant has it's drawbacks too.  For me, the morning sickness and headaches in the first trimester were nearly crippling.  I also tended to have some "skin issues" throughout my pregnancy that was less than pleasing (that glowing preggers skin just doesn't apply to me).  And of course, there's the whole baby weight gain issue.

I remember post-birth looking in the mirror and not recognizing what I saw.  I was no longer pregnant so the beautiful belly I saw for many months was no longer there.  It was replaced by kind of a puffy, stretch-marked bloated gut and my legs were nowhere near the toned legs I had pre-pregnancy.  But I knew through the mutual benefits of breastfeeding, my uterus (and belly) would shrink, my body would become a milk-making machine and slowly but surely, some of that baby weight would come off.  Would my body be "the same."  No...but I would never be the same after becoming a mom and that's what's beautiful about growing into motherhood.

But now, NOW we're faced with Jessica Alba, Beyonce, Pink and all the other celebrity moms our age who are having babies and through the magic of Hollywood and great photo editors, they lose their baby weight in 2 months.  No, I don't have a fan site dedicated to these famous moms.  I don't peruse the internet reading up on the latest gossip about these celebrities.  But I grocery shop.  And as I'm waiting in the checkout lane, my eyes glaze over all of the tabloids, gossip magazines, etc., and the pictures of these celebrity moms wearing skin-tight dresses 3 weeks postpartum kind of pop out.  Blazing headlines reading "See Beyonce's plan to make her baby-weight melt off" and others scream at you as your load your groceries onto the conveyer belt.  Now, personally, I don't let it get me down.  But I know there are a lot of moms out there who just had a beautiful bundle and they see these headlines wondering what the secret could be.

The secret is not a eating 5 small meals a day.  The secret isn't cutting carbs out of your diet (in fact, dieting should be the last thing on your list if you're breastfeeding).  The SECRET is that these famous moms have a team of nannies, private chefs, makeup artists, stylists, professional photo editors, personal trainers, million dollar home gyms, dietitians, psychologist and every other professional as part of their entourage to make them look and seem pulled together 2-weeks, 3-months, 1-year postpartum. Most of us don't have that "luxury."  In those first months of breastfeeding and late night diaper changes, most of us are lucky if there's a meal on the table at night and clean clothes in the drawers.  

I worry that we're going to see a new breed of eating disorders out of brand new moms who will starve and exercise because the new "expectation" is to lose all of your baby weight and be swimsuit ready in a matter of months.  That's not real life.  That's not normal.  That shouldn't be an expectation.  We should be in awe of our bodies for what they're able to do pre-conception, during pregnancy and postpartum.  We should love our body because it knew what to do when the time was right.  It knows how to nurture a human being for months (if not years).  Wow.  So, if you're reading this and you've felt even a tinge of envy for those celebrity moms, just stop.  Give yourself a break and remember that your body, no matter the shape or size, is amazing beyond words.  And then go eat a cookie--your baby will thank you for it :-)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Potty Training Update

UPDATE***Potty Training was a wonderful success!!!  My daughter sleeps through the night, goes throughout the day and can even leave the house and run errands with us and NO accidents!  It went so much more smoothly than I thought it would.  One thing I know helped was using the cloth trainers.  Okay, I may be a bit biased because I do sell the trainers but honestly, they feel SO different from a diaper that the child feels different if he/she wets in them.  A disposable trainer (i.e; Pull-Up) will feel no different to a child from a regular diaper and that's why parents I know who have used those types of trainers are literally buying them for months, if not years, because the child continues to have accidents.  Okay, off my soapbox.  Here are some things that helped us reach this goal:

1)  Plenty of diaper free time in the beginning
     -This is where some of the cloth trainers come in to play.  If you aren't interested in the possibility of having puddles all over your kitchen and living room floor, the cloth trainers will absorb and accident.  The little one's pants may get a big damp but no puddle!  The trainers also give the child an idea of how undies feel different from a diaper.  Guess what kiddo--when you go pee-pee, it feels wet!

2)  Ask often but don't expect the response you want
     -Most of the time, when you ask your child if she needs to go potty, she'll say no.  At least my daughter did.  Why?  It's not fun to stop playing with your toys!  So while it's okay to ask because she may say "yes" and maybe it gets her thinking about the urge to go, I found that if it had been a while, she didn't have a choice.  I'd snatch her up and plop her down on the potty.  She may complain but then within seconds, we'd hear a tinkle and then celebrate!

3)  Pooping on the potty is hard
     -This is also where some of the snap-release training pants come in to play.  My daughter mostly had poopy accidents because at the beginning, she wasn't patient enough to sit on the potty and wait.  But then if she waited too long, she didn't recognize that the poop was about to fall out of her :-)  It took about a week and a little bit of constipation for her to get the timing right.  The snap-release trainers are great for these because if kiddo has a poopy accident, you can lay them down, unsnap the trainer and change it just like a diaper.  A poopy accident in a regular pull-on trainer is not fun.

4)  Reward and praise
    -For some parents I've talked to, they had to give their little one a small toy or trinket after the child went potty.  For my daughter, I tried a sticker approach but that didn't really seem affect her.  Although, it may have initially helped her with the thought process of "going potty on the potty is a good thing and good things will happen if I do it..." or something of that nature.  Regardless of whether you give a toy, sticker, have a potty chart, etc., I do think it's important to reward and/or praise your child for taking this big step.  I found that ultimately just singing my daughter's praises and making a big deal out of going on the potty was great for her.  It made her feel proud, special and it encouraged her.
               **We also rewarded her with super big girl undies--so after a week of no accidents, we went to a store and purchased cotton undies with her favorite character on them.  Now she can't stop showing people her undies--she's proud of them!

5)  Have a pee-pee party
     -Have you child watch you go potty and watch others go potty.  So to clarify, in the beginning, when we went to our weekly play date with friends similar in age to her, all of the moms would make a big deal about how "so and so has to go potty and let's all go watch her go potty and see what a big girl she is!"  This actually helped a lot because my daughter would see her friends (most of whom are about 6 months older) go potty in the big potty and then she would want to go to show off and then all the kids would sing each other's praises.  It was really cute and it definitely helped because my daughter doesn't have an older sibling to copy.

So last weekend, I did my last load of cloth diapers :-(  I was a bit sentimental because this is a big step from no longer being my baby.  When we were at the home improvement store, we purchased a plastic bin and then my daughter helped me pack away all of her clean diapers into the bin.  We said bye-bye to them put them away in a closet.  Sentimental indeed--