Tag Archives: FitFluential

Today: Last week’s workouts | 002

Last week, I treated myself to an in-the-house only yoga mat (my other mat has spent some time outdoors, on the beach, and being run over by toddlers wielding doll strollers).  It only took one unrolling for Grace to claim it as her own.  She told me she’d share it with me and then demanded I do squats and “exercise with my feet.”  Lord, help me.

last week's workouts 002

I do appreciate that I am able to workout with both children at my side, as challenging as that can be at times.  I want them to see exercise as an opportunity to care for themselves.  I want them to feel strong, capable and proud of themselves and their bodies.  

And hopefully, down the road, they’ll have a much better understanding of how those bodies work.  For instance: They will know that before they were born, our belly buttons were not connected to one another by an umbilical cord (a fact I came to grasp just weeks before Grace was born… so that was special).

Anatomy aside, here are last week’s workouts. (I’m including FitBit stats this week for the heck of it). 

Last week’s workouts | 002

Monday: Class with Mama Beasts // FitBit: 16,065 steps, 6.71 miles

Tuesday: At home workout (for our Mama Beasts challenge) // FitBit: 12,121 steps, 5.06 miles

Wednesday: Class with Mama Beasts // FitBit: 11,517 steps, 4.81 miles

Thursday: Yoga and a little time playing around with my Stretch Deck (a great, portable reference for people who know they need to stretch, but are too lazy/tired to put much thought into a routine).  I signed up for a free trial with OneOEight and have been loving their online yoga classes and guided meditations.   You can select classes based on length, vibe, etc. // FitBit: 10,048 steps, 4.2 miles

Friday: More yoga. // FitBit: 10,056 steps, 4.2 miles

Saturday: At home tabata workout (for our Mama Beasts challenge) // FitBit: 7,073 steps, 2.97 miles

Sunday: Rest // FitBit: 13,509 steps, 5.64 miles

Also On Tap for Today:

How are you moving this week?

Today: Last week’s workouts | 001

In an effort to make good on my January goals (uh…three weeks into the month…), I’m sharing last week’s workouts.  This was my first full week back in the game, so to speak, having been cleared to exercise by my midwife the week prior.  

Also, to be clear, this “game” I speak of is basically dressing in lululemon, getting the babes packed up, searching for my phone/keys/sunglasses/wallets/extra change of clothes/keys again/extra package of wipes/and snacks (always snacks), attempting to leave the house, sometimes succeeding, always arriving with spit up in my hair, and occasionally participating in a workout.

I bought an 8 class pass with Mama Beasts and started back last Monday.  The timing could not be better, as the group’s winter team challenge kicked off mid-month.  We’ve been earning points for workouts, logging our meals, staying hydrated, making time for ourselves and occasional special challenges… like squat day.

I’ve also been making use of my home gym in a bin and “do anywhere” workouts found on YouTube and Pinterest.

last week's workouts

Last week’s workouts | 001

Monday: First day back at class with the Mama Beasts — this is also the day I realized how much coordination it takes to leave the house at a specific time with both Grace and Nick.

Tuesday: At home ladder workout… and 315 squats… because I mis-read the instructions for the aforementioned “squat day” and overshot by 100+.  Needless to say, I could barely walk after this.  All in the name of points.

Wednesday: Class with the Mama Beasts

Thursday: Random yoga flow (thank you, Pinterest*) and gymnastics class with Grace.  I fully participated in the warm-up and stretching… like, to the extent that it may have made the coach and other parents uncomfortable.  Regardless, it felt good.

Friday: Rest.

Saturday + Sunday: Plank weekend.  I totaled 17 minutes (in sum, not in a row) of planks of all sorts (high, low, side, modified) between the two days.  And um… that’s all I did workout-wise.  I can only hope my form was as good as Grace’s.

last week's workout planks

It would appear I haven’t cleaned under the sofa recently.  Or ever.

*Random aside regarding Pinterest: Am I the only one who finds Pinterest completely annoying lately?  I have to scroll through 800 sponsored or “picked for you” pins before I find anything that’s not junk.  Oh, and one of those “picked for you” pins the other day was “How to get a thigh gap.”  (It was recommend for my healthy living board….)

On one hand I was like, that’s not okay.  And on the other hand, I was like, Bahahahaha.  That ship has sailed.  And I’m waving it off in my maternity leggings, which I refuse to give up. Like, ever.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Taking the Jeopardy! online test.  I have a snowball’s chance in hell of passing, but a girl can dream.
  • Painting (I made an appointment with myself and my art cart)
  • Sort of meal-planning and definitely food shopping

What are your favorite at home workouts?

Today: Currently | September 2015

We’re more than half-way through September and my fellow old folks and I are left to wonder, Where has the time gone?  I’ve been feeling a bit in limbo (but physically unable to actually limbo) lately.  

Part of me wants this third trimester and all its grouchiness, discomfort and ill-fitting pants to fly by.  And part of me has always wished the calendar went Winter, Spring, Summer, Christmas.  But most of me wants to freeze time… or at the very least, slow it down a bit.  Even if that does mean being surrounded by fall decor (a.k.a. the worst) a bit longer.  Pants and faux pumpkins aside, here’s what’s currently going down.

Currently | September 2015

Currently feeling…

  • A little adrift and a lot disorganized.  Which is unsettling.  I usually have my act way under control, but I’m finding myself losing track of my keys, doctor’s appointments, and days of the week.  I’ve resorted to using Google Calendar (I’m usually paper-and-pen only), my regular planner and a dry erase calendar.  I’m making more lists than usual.  I’m triple-checking my handbag before leaving the house.  And I still forget something.
  • Like I sort of miss the back-to-school rush.  Sort of.  I love being home with Grace (and I know this was the right decision), but this is first year I haven’t been swept up in that new year’s feeling that used to come with September.  I did treat myself to some new school supplies paint, though.  Which brings us to…

Currently watching…

  • Paint dry.  I put together a new watercolor palette this morning and keep peeking to see how it’s setting up.  (I’ll probably let the paint sit overnight before using it.)  I’ve been using a pre-filled palette for ages, and am excited to see how limiting my colors and being selective will affect my creative process.  Then again… 18 shades is not really a limited selection.

  • Grace, Clark and mini-plastic-Clark snuggled up on the sofa.  They melt my heart.
  • Football… but only because it’s on.  And hockey is not.

Currently reading…

A little doodle from earlier this month

  • Articles about potty training.  Because Grace decided a few months ago that diapers are weird.  I don’t blame her.  And while I appreciate her enthusiasm for forgoing the diapers, I wish she were a bit less interested in testing out every, single bathroom available to her.  From her new gymnastics gym to Target to the Chatham Fish Pier… we’ve seen and experienced ’em all.
  • Mindy Kaling’s new book, Why Not Me?.  Because she can do no wrong.
  • A Nest is Noisy — fascinating for me and the little one.

Currently creating…

  • A gold leaf and shell homage to summer
  • A pre-baby check list (which I will likely lose and/or forget about… see above).

Currently enjoying…

Apparently this is what Grace thinks my workouts look like… she’s not far off.

  • Outdoor workouts and lots of stretching.  
  • Making plans with friends.  
  • Rediscovering old favorites on Spotify, including Patty Griffin’s “Heavenly Day” and basically anything on the 90s Pop Radio Hits playlist.

bulu box

  • New mid-workout treats.  As a Sweat Pink Ambassador, I had a chance to check out last month’s Bulu Box for free.  I’m a sucker for monthly boxes — they’re such a fun way to find new products. I think a Bulu Box would make a great gift for the athletes on your list this holiday season (Too soon?  Nah…).  The August box was sort of hit or miss for me, but I suppose that comes with the territory.  I loved the movit energy gummies and racefood fastbar — both were perfect for a mid-bootcamp boost. I received a weight loss supplement, which (even if I weren’t pregnant) is not really my jam.  Similarly, I’ve cut back on the caffeine, but I have a feeling the Runa tea included last month will come in handy soon enough.  I’ve loved other Runa drinks I’ve tried and look forward to brewing a nice hot cup once our little guy arrives.  I (thankfully) haven’t had occasion to use the fourth item included in my Bulu Box — an anti-itch cream — but hey, you never know.  If you’re interested in your own Bulu Box (or one for a pal), use the discount code SWEATPINK to save 50% on a three month subscription.

Alright, time to go peek at that paint again.

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you subscribe to any monthly boxes?  Which are your favorites?

Today: Ginger and mint lemonade.

I’m one of those people whose feelings end up in their stomach.

If I’m feeling nervous, excited, anxious, worried, anxious, afraid, unsettled, or irritated, my stomach has its own corresponding dance.  Your feelings may turn into headaches or that weird eyelid twitch, but regardless, our emotional things almost always manifest themselves as physical things.

With so much to see and do and wrap and taste and smell and feel (so much exciiiiiitement!) during the holiday season, I start to notice a pattern of my stomach feeling off more days than it’s on.  Once I’ve spent at least an hour on WebMD ruling out a very rare and very deadly parasite, I find that a cup of tea and little quiet time often does the trick.

When that’s not enough, I hit up nature’s medicine cabinet.  

Side bar: That would be such a cute name for a store. I would sell flowers and tea and make people happy. Except… never mind… “nature’s medicine cabinet” might be the name of a medical marijuana dispensary I saw on 60 Minutes.  Who knows.  

Back on topic: A little ginger, some citrus, a bit of mint… et voila

Ginger and mint lemonade - a delicious and refreshing drink perfect for soothing upset stomachs

Ginger and mint lemonade

While this ginger and mint lemonade serves as a fantastic stomach soother (and it’s sort of the perfect antidote the entire bowl of M&Ms I ate last night), it’s just as delicious and refreshing on those days when all is right in your world and in your body.

Oh, and (you know this already): Numbers are not my strong suit, so don’t worry too much about measuring.  As with just about every recipe I share, you’ll get by with some good estimating and tasting along the way.

Recipe yields approximately 4 servings and will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup loose mint tea leaves (I used organic spearmint from David’s Tea)
  • 1/3 cup freshly chopped ginger
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (approximately 2 lemons)
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon slices for garnish

Directions:

  1. Mix tea leaves, agave nectar and grated ginger in a large bowl.
  2. Add boiling water and allow mixture to steep for 30 minutes.
  3. Strain tea mixture using a fine mesh strainer* into a large measuring cup (or bowl with a pouring spout thing) and press firmly to extract as much liquid as possible.
  4. Add lemon juice and cold water.
  5. Divide and store in covered glass jars.
  6. Refrigerate and shake well before serving.

*As you can see in the photo above, I used a fairly loose strainer and some errant tea leaves snuck in (all good in my book).  If you’d prefer to not have the feeling that something’s stuck between your two front teeth all day, I recommend a fine mesh strainer for Step 3.

Okay!  Back to the candy bowl excitement!

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your home remedy of choice?

Today: Baby’s first 5k.

Yesterday morning, I ran around our condo trying to remember what one wears for a December 5k in New England.  I haven’t run much at all since starting physical therapy in September, and haven’t run in the cold since last November.  Totally off my game.  I couldn’t find a hat nor gloves, but did locate pants and shoes– and those seem like the critical elements.  Fortunately, Grace was better prepared and better trained (she’s been sitting for, like, months).

We got to my brother and sister-in-law’s house five minutes before we needed to head to the starting line, and we reached the starting line two minutes before the race started.  Just typing that sentence made me anxious.  Yesterday, though, there was nothing to be anxious about.  My expectations for any sort of quality athletic performance were nil.  I hoped to run as much as I could (and pain-free, at that) but ultimately, girls just wanna have fun I just wanted to enjoy my first 5k with Grace and our family.

Smiling is my favorite.

My parents took that photo of me about half-way through the race and as you can see, I’m all smiles.  I took a short walking break after Mile 1 and again at each hill, but was able to run most of the course.  Being able to skip the water stop because I had a bottle in my handy stroller console thing sort of offset the challenge of actually, you know, pushing the stroller.  Sort of.  Being able to see Grace and how much she was enjoying herself made up for the rest.

Grace waved and blew kisses to all the girls in purple sweatshirts and tutus, running their first 5k with Girls on the Run.  I loved listening to the girls chat with their coaches and be cheered on by volunteers on the course. I encourage you to learn more about the great work GOTR is doing in Greater Boston (and likely, in your community, too) and how you can get involved.

By the time the finish line was in sight, Grace was sound asleep (strollin’ ain’t easy), but I was still smiling from ear to ear.  As I ran from the finish line back to meet my family I couldn’t help but think, I’m baaaaaaaaack.

This has been an incredible and wonderful year, but it hasn’t been an easy year.  From sheer exhaustion and an overflowing of emotion, to broken toes and back pain, to managing work life and home life… there have been stretches during this first year of motherhood where I’ve felt like I’m doing the best I can, but simultaneously waiting for the next mini-crisis to crop up.  It’s easy to get a little lost in all of that.

And so something like finishing a race– something that used to seem so easy and insignificant– feels like a huge win.  One that I really needed.  One that I really appreciate.

We haven’t seen the end of sleepless nights or foggy brains.  There will likely be more broken toes (if there is a toy on the floor, I will trip over it — I think there is a reason my parents did not name me Grace), lost keys, forgotten appointments and wonky back pain.  There is no such thing as work/life balance (sorry, but there’s just not), but it’s still worth trying.  And I may never be as thin or fast or fit as I used to be.  And that’s okay.

It took me nearly 40 minutes to reach the finish line, but I felt like I had won the whole thing (for the record, I am fairly certain Grace did come in first in her age group). Having our beautiful girl with me made this victory all the more worth celebrating.

We’re in this together, baby.  You’re stuck with me.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • 5 tips for running with a stroller via Active
  • Making my list (but, um… there’s no time left for checking it twice)
  • Getting my act together with two more giveaways this week (promise)

What little victory are you celebrating?

 

Today: With a little time and a little space.

I used to be a morning exerciser.  I’d wake up before my alarm rang, head to bootcamp or the gym at our old condo.  It would still be dark and quiet when I returned from my workout, and I’d be ready to take on the day.

Fitting in fitness when you have a little time, and a little space

And then I traded morning workouts to become an evening exerciser.  I’d rush home and get changed, and Nick and I would head to CrossFit Southie together.  Like my morning workouts, evening workouts became part of our routine.  

And then I became a parent, and the only thing routine about our routine… is that everything changes from one day to the next.  There have been countless days when I’ve thought, “I’ll get up early and workout before work,” only to find myself up most of the night, nursing Grace and singing made up words to made up songs until she fell back to sleep.  There have been just as many days when I’ve thought, “I’ll workout when I get home.”  But when six o’clock rolls around, what I really need is a nap. 

These days, plans to workout don’t always pan out.  In fact, it seems they rarely do.  What does work, though, is fitting in a little fitness when I can, where I can.  I may not be able to count on an hour at the gym each night, but I can count on a 15 minute walk during lunch, some yoga in Grace’s room while she plays with her Little Tikes piano (not exactly ambient music, but I love it), a little balance work in line at the grocery store, and five minutes of weights while dinner cooks.  

Fitting in fitness when you have a little time, and a little space

Things I love: a little understated flair on my running tights and some pink laces.

I’ve been seeing a physical therapist for a few months for back and hip pain, and she has given me a series of exercises that, as she says, you can do pretty much anywhere and not look like a weirdo.  I like not looking like a weirdo.  And like a quick yoga flow in the nursery or some squats in the kitchen, they require only a little time and a little space.  

Fitting in fitness when you have a little time, and a little space

I’m no longer a solid morning or evening exerciser.  A workout is only going to happen if it’s easy and accessible.  (And if I don’t find or make excuses, but hey.)  In the interest of ease and accessibility, I’ve started laying out my workout gear again and even put together a little home gym in a bin.

CS by City Sports for women

City Sports recently sent me a few items from their CS by City Sports fall line, including the See Me Go 1/2 zip top (on sale for $38), Sporty long sleeve (on sale for $18), and Dual Fashion tight (on sale for $38).   I’ve always loved City Sports and used to walk down to the Chestnut Hill store (which got even better when it reopened last March) when I was in college for new running gear.  Their CS line is an affordable, well-made and well-designed alternative to, welp… the alternatives.  

The See Me Go top is great for layering (and it has thumb holes, yaaaaaasss!), as is the long sleeve tee.  I’ve worn the tights for both workouts and for running errands (paired with a black tunic and ballet flats).  CS by City Sports comes extended sizes (something I think all fitness companies should get on board with), and their apparel is flattering, functional and unfussy.  In other words: exactly what I’m looking for.  

CS by City Sports for women

Speaking of functional and unfussy, here’s my home gym in a bin.  I pulled together the things I use most often, or that could motivate me to fit in a quick workout without much (or any) planning.  

Home gym in a bin

In the bin (which, for bonus points, is paisley and adorable):

Other home gym essentials that didn’t fit in the bin, but that hang out nearby:

  • Foam roller
  • Yoga mat
  • Exercise ball (which doubles as the most amazing way to soothe or rock bounce our baby to sleep — seriously, all parents should have one)

While this little home gym in a bin is cute enough to leave out, it fits perfectly in our front hall closet (safely tucked away from curious babies and Frenchies) and can be pulled out whenever I have a few minutes to fit in a quick workout.  Easy and accessible, functional and unfussy.  

Obvious disclaimer: I received complimentary apparel from City Sports.  As always, thoughts and opinions shared on these items are my own.  Oh, and here’s something timely: City Sports’ Black Friday deals include 30% off CS apparel.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your workout style? 

Today: Staying hydrated on the go with 16 Water.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of 16 Water. All opinions are 100% mine.

I know you’ve heard it before, but… you should probably be drinking more water.  And by you, I mean we.  And by we, I mean Americans (but I’m guessing we’re not the only ones).  According to WebMD (AKA the site that hypochondriacs like myself should be banned from visiting), Americans still consume more soft drinks than water.

Stay hydrated on the go with 16 Water and On Tap for Today

When I was pregnant with Grace, our doctor repeatedly stressed the importance of doubling or tripling up on my water consumption.  “If you call the office and say you’re not feeling well,” she said, “a nurse is going to tell you to drink a tall glass of water and then call us back.”  Pregnant ladies are not the only ones who mistake dehydration for other things (hunger, some sort of mysterious universal mood altering force, etc.).   A well-hydrated body performs better.  A well-hydrated body feels better.

Stay hydrated on the go with 16 Water and On Tap for Today

I’m usually pretty good at drinking up while I’m at home or at my desk, but I often fall short when I’m on the go.  In my ongoing quest to get out of my own way when it comes to making healthy decisions, I’ve started stashing a bottle of water in my handbag, in my glove compartment, in Grace’s diaper bag, and frankly, anywhere else with pockets or secret hiding places.  Having a bottle of water waiting in the car for my commute home means I’m less likely to sneak an afternoon coffee, less likely to become an out of control snack monster before dinner, and less likely (…usually) to arrive home cranky and out of sorts.  Good commuting jams help, too.

While I tend to drink from a reusable water bottle during the day, sealed and disposable (by which I mean recyclable, obvi) bottles lend themselves to being stashed for later.  I recently received several bottles of 16 Water to review, straight from Jeju, a volcanic island off the coast of the Korean peninsula.  I was this close to Googling, like, all the words in that last sentence when the package from 16 Water arrived, but I was too busy scrolling through my Twitter feed.  And then this appeared.

And that, folks, is the Law of Social Media Attraction.  Ask and the Twitterverse shall answer.  That pretty place makes for some excellent tasting water (and for those who think all water tastes like water… welp… agree to disagree).

16 Water is naturally purified and filtered through 16 layers of volcanic rock (hence the name) and is newly available in the US… and in my glove compartment.  Interested in stocking up on your own stash? Get your 16 Water on Amazon now.

Visit 16 Water online or like16 Water on Facebook to learn more.

Also On Tap for Today:

How do you stay hydrated on the go?

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Today: Dill, lemon and garlic kale chips and snack prep.

A few years back, when eating small meals throughout the day came into vogue, I was like… Duh.  Been doing that for ages.  (I think that was the only time in my life I’ve been ahead of the curve and/or a tiny bit hipsterish.)  For better or for worse, I’d much rather graze than eat an entire meal of food.  Except at dinner time.  It’s nice (and, I think, important) to make time to sit down as a little family.

Meal planning and prep, for me, is really more snack planning and prep.  I whipped up a few especially good snacks this week, including the dill, lemon and garlic kale chips below.  One look at our fridge will tell you that kale is in season in New England.  And that I can’t resist a farm stand deal.

dill lemon and garlic kale chips recipe

Dill, lemon and garlic kale chips

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of kale, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 heaping teaspoons fresh dill
  • zest of 1 lemon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
  3. Wash your kale and blot it dry with a paper towel.  Remove stems and cut or tear leaves into small pieces.
  4. In a large bowl, combine kale, olive oil, garlic, dill and lemon zest.
  5. I hate when people say massage the kale, but um… massage the kale, and make sure it is evenly coated in oil and that your other ingredients are well distributed.
  6. Artfully (just kidding…) arrange kale on your baking sheet and bake for approximately 15 minutes (or until crispy, but not… burnt).  Let your kale chips cool before eating.

I love the combination of lemon and fresh herbs (and who can say no to garlic?), and while I will always have a thing for actual chips, these kale chips are a great way to green up my afternoon snacking.

snack prep

While the kale chips were baking, I chopped up some vegetables for salads and baby food purees and scrolled through the new fall edition of the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan for some snack prep inspiration.  I purchased the plan a few years ago, and love when new updates are released to members.  There are so many vegan recipes that I am looking forward to making from the fall edition. I started with their spicy roasted chickpeas, frozen yogurt blueberries and Heart Beet juice (pictured above). Each recipe only took a few minutes to prepare, as I (miraculously) had all the ingredients on hand.

One shortcut (I’m all about the shortcuts, ’bout the shortcuts, no longcuts) I’m willing to pay a bit extra for these days are packaged, cooked organic beets.  Same goes for butternut squash (for safety reasons alone, it’s worth the price — you do not want to be see me wrestle a squash while wielding a sharp knife) and other tough produce that Grace seems to love.  I’m finding that so many of the snacks and meals I’m planning for the week can be seasoned and then pureed or mashed for her to enjoy, too.

Speaking of that lovely baby, we have had a rough couple of weeks sleep-wise.  I suppose we needed to make progress in order to regress (some good ol’ parent spin zone talk for you), but we’ve been firmly in the grips of a sleep regression lately.  As much as I want to reach for the Diet Coke (like, a hundred of them) in times like these, I know that more caffeine is probably not the answer.

I’m making good on my October goals by getting out of my own way, and ensuring I have better choices on hand: lots of iced green tea (I brew a pitcher and divide it up once it has cooled), fresh juice, and plenty of water to pair with all those meals snacks.

Also On Tap for Today:

Are you a snacker or a full meal type of person?

Today: Feeding baby, Part I (and a Delta Labs giveaway)

Sort of obvious disclaimer: This post is about breastfeeding.  If Google brought you here because you searched for “breasts” and now you’re sorely disappointed and regret clicking through, that’s okay.  You do you, boo… no judgement.  

Slightly less obvious disclaimer: I am not, like, a breastfeeding specialist.  I am grateful to be able to breastfeed my daughter.  It is what I hoped for, and it is what works for our family.  With that said, it is not the only way people care for and feed their children.  And I feel like that’s important to acknowledge.  Something I think all parents need to hear more of: You are doing a good job.  You are making good choices. In other words: You do you, boo… no judgement.  

Real talk of the day: Being a parent means being on a permanent learning curve.  (I guess that’s true for all humans, though, right? Life is one long learning curve.)  Now that we’re past the newborn phase, I figured I’m semi-qualified to share a bit about what I’ve learned along the curve.

I was very fortunate to have access to great lactation consultants when Grace was born.  Expectant mother friends, if you have access to lactation consultants while you’re in the hospital, I think it’s totally worth meeting with them.  I was hesitant, I thought it would be weird, and I kind of just wanted to stay in my Craftmatic adjustable hospital bed.  It wasn’t weird.  It was actually quite, well, normal.  They taught me very helpful things like how to hold my tiny baby like a football (but first, I needed to learn how to hold a football), how to tell if she was actually eating, and what hunger cues might look or sound like.

Someone’s ready for their 22nd meal of the day.

It didn’t long for us to establish a BF relationship (in this case, I like to think BF stands for both breastfeeding and best friends… but I guess that last part is sort of up to Grace).  Because Grace was born with jaundice (I initially thought she was just super Portuguese…) and lost weight rather quickly, our pediatrician encouraged us to feed Grace at least every 2 hours during those first weeks.   Needless to say, by the time she was a month old, I felt like a seasoned BF pro.  I also felt like my bum was permanently attached to the rocker in Grace’s nursery, but hey.

I rarely had time to pump when I was on maternity leave, so when I went back to work, I felt acutely aware of being on that learning curve again.  I stared at the woman on the package of my pumping bra and wondered, Who the H looks that casual and yet perfectly put together while pumping?  Why is there no spit up in her hair?  Why does she look so well rested?  When did she have time to get a manicure?  And those were just my questions about a bra.  You can only imagine the inner monologue about the actual pumping process.

If this is what it looks like to pump “in style,” I can only imagine what the pumping while frumpy version looks like. Also: Thank you, Obamacare.

Eventually, I figured out how often I needed to pump in order to have enough milk for Grace while she is at daycare.  I (mostly) learned how to avoid spilling milk all over myself five minutes before a meeting.  I even managed to pump in an airport bathroom while a work colleague tried to engage in conversation (I have a strict no talking in the ladies’ room policy).

And so, of course, just as soon as started to feel comfortable pumping, it was time to introduce solids.  I think solids warrant a post of their own (Cliffhanger! Just kidding… but seriously… stay tuned.), but I will say this: I was terrified of feeding Grace anything that didn’t, like, come out of my boobs.  Everything new is scary.  It’s been about two months now, though, and our little lady loves to eat.  And we’re having quite a bit of fun with it too.  OK.  But back to best friends breastfeeding.
I am really happy that I was able to exclusively breastfeed Grace until she started solids at approximately 6 months.  (I am still nursing her, but we started supplementing with one bottle of formula a day at 8 months, just a few weeks ago.) I was worried I wouldn’t make it to 3 months, so when we made it 8 months I nearly erected a breast-shaped statue in my own honor.  For the most part, I’ve had a very good supply.  There have been days, though, where I’ve had to pump at home in the early morning or late evening (when I’d much rather be doing, well… anything) in order to have enough milk to send to day care.  Without fail, those have been days when I’ve slacked on water, eaten like a bird, stressed too much, or slept too little.

I am obsessed with Ball jars. Like, I would live in one. If I could fit in there.

Which brings me to this:

How I’ve kept my supply up

  • Drink water.  And then drink some more.: It’s so important to stay hydrated while breastfeeding.  Your body needs fluids to, you know, make fluids… plus it needs fluids to perform its normal functions. In other words, you need to drink more.  I keep a giant mason jar on my desk (complete with an adorable drinking straw #targetdoesitagain) and refill it every time I pump and every time I get up from my desk.  At home, I make sure to drink up after nursing Grace.  It’s helped to associate the two (feed the baby, hydrate thyself).
  • Eat more, not less.: While I’ve felt the same pressure I am sure most new moms have felt to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight, restricting calories seems like a surefire way to decrease milk supply.  I’ve tried to focus on eating healthy, quality food, but I am still eating more rather than less.  One day, I’ll fit into my skinnies again.  But in the meantime, I’m busy taking care of my girl.
  • Nurse often.:  We’re fairly scheduled on week days.  We’re like a cellphone plan during nights and weekends, however: unlimited texting and minutes breast milk!  It’s the best.  Come Monday, I definitely see an increase in how much I am able to pump.
  • Think positively.: I find that when I focus on Grace and the health benefits we both receive from breastfeeding, that milk flows like water.  (Or is it wine? How does that saying go?)  When I worry about having enough milk, however, not so much.  I’m no scientist, but I don’t think this is a coincidence.
  • Supplement with herbs.: This may sound a little hippy-dippy, but several people recommended herbal supplements when I first started breastfeeding (the facilitator of our moms’ group swears by fenugreek).  I worried that my supply would drop off when I went back to work and stumbled upon Delta Labs Postnatal formula during some late night Instagramming.

In addition to fenugreek, their postnatal formula also contains glucomannan, white kidney bean, and marshmallow extract (herbs proven to help enhance lactation, and in a combination safe for babies and mothers as determined by the FDA’s current Good Manufacturing Practice guidelines). An added bonus: The capsules also contain decaffeinated green tea, CLA, L-Carnitine and vitamin B6 to safely and naturally increase energy and promote weight loss (though it’s not a substitute for a healthy diet and exercise… if only obvi).

I’ve used this product for several months (and was running low when Delta Labs kindly sent me a complimentary bottle) and would definitely recommend it for mothers looking to increase or sustain their supply.

Giveaway: Delta Labs Postnatal formula 

Fellow new moms: Would you like to try Delta Labs Postnatal formula for yourself? I’m happy to be hosting a giveaway, thanks to Delta Labs and FitFluential.  One winner will receive a bottle of Delta Labs Postnatal formula.  This giveaway is open to US residents only (sorry, neighbors to the North). To enter, please leave a comment below AND Like @DeltaLabsUSA on Instagram.  A random winner will be chosen and contacted on October 20th.

Delta Labs Discount Code 

Use code FitFluential to save $5 on any item from Delta Labs (one time discount; no expiration date).
Also On Tap for Today:

Got BF (best friend or breastfeeding, depending on your area of expertise) advice to share?

Today: October goals.

I showed some serious restraint in not naming this post Goaltoberfest.  This month, I am committing to some much needed life adjusting.  With fall and the back to school rush being one of my busiest times at work, I’ve found myself feeling spread more thin than usual.

I’ve caught myself cutting corners (I ate a donut for breakfast the other day and barely lived to tell that sorry tale) and I’m only slightly exaggerating about the effects of gluten on my fragile digestive system.  I could eat bread by the loaf (and sometimes did) while pregnant.  These days?  No.  I’ve been making convenient choices rather than good choices.

There are days lately when I feel particularly sluggish and slow, both physically and mentally (not a shocker: the donut day was one of these days).  Case in point: Last week, I drove all the way to daycare before realizing that I had left Grace’s bag (and bottles and food and extra onesies and a love note and whatnot) at home.  I don’t forget anything. Like, anything.  (I know what you did last summer and in the summer of 1988.) The security guard saw me whip a safe-ish u-turn and jokingly asked if I had forgotten the baby.  I almost cried because Oh, my Lord! What if I had forgotten the baby?  I’m still recovering from that panic.

Even my dreams are telling me I need more sleep (just in case the dark circles under my eyes weren’t sending the message loud and clear). In the wee hours of Saturday morning, I dreamt that Nick and I decided we should skip Grace’s swimming class and sleep in a bit.  When my alarm went off, I silenced it.  When Nick’s alarm went off, he wondered why everyone else was still in bed and not running around the condo yelling “Swimmy time!”  Fortunately, getting ready for parent and baby swim class requires little more than a diaper change for Grace and shimmying into a bathing suit for me.  No hairdos.  No makeup.  No six hundred outfit changes.

Oh, and that pesky back and hip pain I was feeling after each run?  Apparently that’s not normal.  So instead of enjoying three blissful runs each week, I’m hauling my sorry ass bum to PT until that’s resolved.

Are you regretting attending my pity party?  I wouldn’t blame you.  And at the same time, I’m making a concerted effort to not blame myself.  With so much pressure to have and do it all, it’s easy to get wrapped up in a quest for that ever-elusive balance.  Being a wife and a mother and a friend and a career lady with cool outfits is both incredibly fulfilling and incredibly challenging.  Lately I’m seeing (more than ever) how important it is to take care of myself in order to take the best care of everyone else.  I feel like I’ve said that before.  Many times.

Simply put, my big goal for October (and like, for life… because LBS, important things usually take longer than 31 days) is to get out of my own way.  When I think about what would make my days more blissful and less stressful, it’s clear that I am often my own worst enemy.

  • If I want more peaceful mornings, I need to change my evening habits.
  • If I want to spend more quality time with my family, I need to make plans and stick to them.
  • If I want to make better food choices, I need to have better food ready and available.
  • If I want to reap the benefits of physical activity, I need to commit to what I can do and stop bemoaning what I can’t do.
  • If I want more space in my life, I need to make the room.

Don’t things seem so simple when you free them from the chaos of your busy brain and write them down?  Man.  After thinking about what I want and how to get it, the practical, smaller steps came easily.

  • I will pack our bags (and meals) the night before.
  • I will not wait until I have a smidge of gas in the car to fill my tank.
  • I will plan several dinners at home with Nick each week, along with a few weekend plans to look forward to.  Oh, and we will dance every day (we forgot to do this for a little bit and my moves have seriously suffered).
  • I will not let the laundry back up to the point of becoming an international underwear crisis.
  • I will embrace the fall weather and take more frequent walks with my favorite little lady and our favorite little Frenchie.
  • I will practice more yoga (even if it’s for 10 minutes between meetings in a dress and control top pantyhose).
  • I will carve out time each day for religious practices that are important to me and central to my wellbeing: prayer, reflection and gratitude.
  • I will ask for help when I need it.

You may have been expecting something more along the lines of “Do 3 workouts a week.” Or “Go leaf peeping.” (I love the expression leaf peeping. Love it.  It sounds both creepy and enchanting.  Also: I accidentally typed “leaf peeing” and laughed so hard that I almost left it.  Almost.)  Or maybe you saw me walking into work yesterday with my fly unzipped and thought, “This lady needs to get her act together before she even thinks about working out or leaf peeping.”

Either way, there you have it.  My grand October life plan.  Octoberlifeplanfest!

Also On Tap for Today:

What grand plans are you working on?