5 Tips to Heal After Childbirth
 
 

There is a common misconception that after you have a baby, you’ll walk out of the hospital in your skinny jeans or white dress a la Kate Middleton and hop right back into your old life, just with a baby. In this magic world, there is no need to question how to recover from childbirth, things just sort of...snap back to normal...right?

Having a baby suddenly enter your life is a massive upheaval. There is the emotional and identity upheaval, but there is also the physical aspect- you have just gone through one of the most intense physical events a human being will go through, and the fact is, you will need some time to heal from birth.

Newsflash, Childbirth is Hard

Yes, healing. Childbirth is physical. Physical like training for and running a marathon. And, like a marathon runner, you need to rest and recover after the race. No matter what society tells you, those skinny jeans will wait for you once you’ve taken the time and space to allow yourself to heal and recover.

How to Help Yourself Heal After Labor

After a big change like bringing home a baby and childbirth, there needs to be a period of adjustment, of being kind to yourself, and most importantly, of healing.

Not really sure where to start to? Here are 5 things to help you heal after childbirth:

Rest

At this stage, the name of the game is to do everything you can to just...rest. Yes, this is a crazy but oh-so-necessary thing to suggest with in-laws visiting, a newborn, and maybe other children to take care of, but it's important. Which brings me to the next item on our list:

Ask for Help

Let me repeat that because modern-day women seem to have been socialized to carry the load all by themselves - ASK FOR HELP. It does not mean you are less than, can’t handle it, or anything else. It just means you are human and like every other woman who has ever given birth in that we ALL need help. If you live near family or close friends- ask them to help a bit for a few weeks while you regain your strength. Otherwise, do what you can- if you can afford to pay a babysitter for a few hours here and there so you can rest, do it. If that’s not possible, consider asking a friend to come by and give you a break for a bit. And if you don’t have any of this possible...

Find a Support System

Often a support system is in the form of local friends and family. But since many people now live away from family, we’ve got to get creative about where we find support. The key is to find people who can help you if needed, that you can vent with or get advice from- anyone who makes you feel like you aren’t alone in this new world. A few key tricks:

  • Local mommy & me groups: can often be found through OBGYN offices, local ‘pumping and breastfeeding’ stores, or a local kid or baby store.
  • Meet ups: meetup.com has tons of other moms looking to meet up with moms, often free and local.
  • Facebook Groups: Facebook moms groups are ubiquitous now- there is almost definitely a Facebook group for moms in your local area, often which can serve as a virtual support system and sometimes translate into real life meetups.
  • Apps: And yup, there’s an app for this, too. Check out these apps for moms to meet each other. 

Physical Healing

Do not jump right back into exercise! For the love of coffee, do not do this. At least not for awhile- let your body heal, listen to it, and do what feels good/OK and your doctor has cleared. Yes, you are itching to start moving and start feeling like YOU again after your body has been taken over for 10 months, but giving yourself some extra time will go a looong way. Jumping right back into exercise could potentially exacerbate issues that haven’t yet reared their head, like diastasis recti, or symphisis pubis dysfunction, or just not being ready. 

Nutritional Healing

Food can be one of our biggest tools for healing. Seeking out the advice of a nutritionist at this time in your life can go a long way (like a one-on-one phone session with a Flo Living counselor, which specializes in women’s health). There are also lots of bloggers out there aimed at helping moms be their healthiest. Not skinniest, not ‘fit -mom’-est, but healthy and nourished with recipes for meals for new moms. And companies like Motherbees, From Mother to Mother and Osso Good Bone Broth have recipes and broths to help nourish new mothers.

And, of course, using a journal to manage your postpartum health can be a huge help. Duo Diary's second edition is out now, head over to our shop to find out more. 

 

 

This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

This post may contain affiliate links.

Black Friday Roundup: The Best Black Friday Deals for Moms
 
http://annetteferrarophotography.com/

http://annetteferrarophotography.com/

 

It's Thanksgiving weekend, and you know what that means - it means in most cases, all you mamas have likely been busy prepping for Turkey Day here in the US (why do we know this? Because kin keeping), but we’re hoping you get some time to yourself this Black Friday. No, not to start checking off items on your family’s shopping list (cough kin keeping cough) but for YOU. Yes, YOU. What’s Black Friday without some good Black Friday Sales meant to help new moms in new motherhood, right? So here are the best Black Friday sales for moms- sales from companies that we love because they support postpartum moms in helping them to heal, feel good, or are just practical. Sales that have nothing to do with your partner or your baby or anything else but caring for yourself. The bonus? All of these companies are women-led. Happy shopping!

 

Duo Diary Black Friday Sale

Part of Duo Diary’s mission is to help women take charge of their health and to demand better care for themselves postpartum. To celebrate all you do, we’re giving you 40% off all orders now through Cyber Monday. Simply shop and save using code BLACKFRIDAY at checkout.

 

Good Medicine Beauty Lab

If you follow us on Instagram you may recall recently seeing a post about Good Medicine Beauty Lab’s new collaboration with motherhood maven Latham Thomas called Glow Time, safe for pregnant & nursing mothers. This line (along with a lot of their other nurturing, self-care inducing, natural, icky-free products) are on sale for 40% off for their Gratitude Sale (that has a much better sound than “Black Friday Sale” doesn’t it?) Simply use code “Gratitude” at checkout.

 

Mutu System

As an affiliate, it's no secret that we love Mutu and are so excited to see that Mutu’s programs are 33% off from Black Friday- Cyber Monday. Mutu System’s programs are a great resource for proper exercise and healing issues like diastasis recti for postpartum women (of any age or no matter how “post- the partum” you are); Use code BF33 to get discounts. 

 
 

 

Life in Play Company

Despite every new mom’s best intentions that she’ll never carry a diaper bag and will just use her favorite, fashion-friendly bag, reality sets in pretty quickly that your favorite trendy handbag can't handle the new load of stuff once the baby comes. And let’s face it, diaper bags typically look and feel shlumpy and those are words no new mom wants used to describe something she is wearing. Not feeling like yourself is a big deal for new moms, and small things like being able to wear your own clothes or use your own handbag sound trivial but can make a big difference in keeping a sense of normalcy in your now-upended life. Enter Life in Play Company, who created a simple-yet-genius idea to create a diaper bag insert that slips right into your favorite handbag. Enjoy 35% off your entire order using code SAVEBIG

 

Restore Your Core

There are a few different programs out there geared towards helping new moms heal their physical bodies after having a baby. Restore Your Core is another program aimed at helping to empower new moms to feel better.  It's a 12 week program made up of functional exercises aimed at healing your core after having a baby. The program is on sale now through Cyber Monday. (No code needed, just shop!)

 

Our second edition is out now! Shop now-->

This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

This post may contain affiliate links.

Confused About Postpartum Symptoms? This Can Help...
 
Take Charge of Your Health with Duo Diary
 

When you have a baby, you at some point become privvy to all the postpartum secrets that no one talks about- you know, what happens after giving birth. Conversations with other new moms are dominated by diapers, sleep, breastfeeding, nipple shapes (yours and the bottle’s), and mostly, all the postpartum symptoms that are now part of our new normal (like diastasis recti).

Or are they?

Common or Normal?

Recently, I was talking with a girlfriend who had a baby. She nodded in knowing recognition as I described pelvic girdle pain symptoms (also known as SPD or symphysis pubic dysfunction) and suddenly we were comparing brands of postpartum belts (I can assure you, postpartum belts were not in our vocabulary before having a baby). Like lots of new moms busy and focused on taking care of their new baby, she brushed off her symptoms and hoped it would go away. Luckily for her, it did.

Lots of women out there experience some really common symptoms that get ignored- by themselves or by their doctor. It’s as though we are led to believe that common means it’s normal. But most of the time, postpartum symptoms are not normal.

Take my friend. She was told she’d “just had a baby and it would go away.”

It’s also part of why Duo Diary was created, so that women can start to demand better care for themselves after they have a baby. Postpartum symptoms shouldn’t just be “a new normal.” They should be addressed. Just because lots of women experience symptoms after having a baby doesn’t mean it’s normal (remember, common ≠ normal). It actually probably means that in America, we’ve got a massive problem caring for postpartum women.

Dr. Google to the Rescue?

My friend and I talked about how we spent hours googling our issues, hoping to find any blog or website that would a)explain what it was and b)how we could make our symptoms go away. Depending on the symptoms, sometimes we could find answers and sometimes we couldn’t.

In my case, I began keeping notes in my first Duo Diary ‘prototype’ (= a notepad) about my symptoms, when I experienced them, what triggered them, what seemed to make them feel better. I googled the patterns I noticed in my notes, and finally marched into my OB’s office one day armed with my Duo Diary and a list of potential ailments I thought it could be. She patiently went over each one with me, listening as I rattled off symptoms that I had jotted down and the potential ailments Dr. Google had found. This helped us pinpoint specific issues that were getting overlooked.

How to Take Charge of Your Health

After that appointment, my OB gave me a prescription for a women’s health physical therapist (also called pelvic floor physical therapy) and I finally started to get the help I needed. (You can find a PT in your area through the links on our Resources page).

This is when I realized the power of journaling for postpartum women. The hard fact is, there isn’t a great safety net for postpartum women in the US, so it is up to us and those around us to be our own safety net. Is it unfair? Yup. But that’s why products like Duo Diary exist (and also why we love promoting other women-led companies that are just for mom)- to help us moms be our best, healthiest, and happiest selves. 

Our second edition is out now! Shop now-->

This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

This post may contain affiliate links.

How This Little Tool Can Help You Feel Better After Having a Baby
 
 

When I first had my baby, I imagined I’d take it easy for the first few weeks, then get right back into workouts after I was cleared for exercise at my 6 week checkup. At my checkup, I was cleared- and as a runner, boy I could not wait. I had felt incredibly off since giving birth and wanted to feel like "me" again after having a baby. So, I jumped right back in, anxious to lose the baby weight.

First, I started doing things like yoga and some simple weight exercises. Then, out of desperation to 'feel/look like myself again,' I had the genius idea of jumping into a hard core strength and conditioning program I had used for years that had always helped me lose weight. It’s also a program that is meant for athletes or people who are already fit.

Not so great for a lady who just had a baby.

 
postpartum exercise
 

It didn’t take long before the loosey-goosey feeling I had in my joints gave way to actual pain- in my hips, my back, my groin muscles...pretty much everything hurt. This time I chalked up the postpartum pain to the "I just had a baby, this is normal" explanation so many women give themselves, not realizing that none of it was normal. Common, maybe - but not normal.

How to Take Control of Your Postpartum Health

By this point, I was writing down a lot of health info for my baby, so I started jotting down my postpartum pain symptoms in the same journal. When I felt them, what seemed to trigger them, what kind of pain it felt like. 

Around 4 months postpartum I finally went to my OB because I had reached the point where daily function was really difficult, really painful, and my journaling didn't lie- I wasn't feeling great. I showed her my journal, and she suggested I go see a women's health physical therapist.

So I went.

It turned out I had a whole host of issues- some rare (osteitis pubis, common in hockey players and soccer players...and apparently the occasional lady who just had a baby), some common (diastasis recti). But what I gained from going was an education on what actually happens to your body after having a baby, how important postpartum care is, and the tools to start healing.

I now know there are many women out there who are unknowingly suffering because they just don’t know what is normal and what isn’t after having a baby.

This is why I started Duo Diary - I wanted to make sure other women were becoming more aware of their health after having a baby, too. (A little self care goes a long way!)

So how do you make sure that you are doing things that are healing and safe for your postpartum body? How do you know if you might have something going on that needs addressing?

This is where a Duo Diary can help you. Here are some tips on what to write down in your journal so that when you go to a healthcare professional, you know exactly what to tell them: 

Do you hurt after sitting, standing, walking, wearing certain shoes?

Are you in pain? What kind of pain? Throbbing, aching, stabbing?

What's your pain level? 

Do you feel sort of weak, or just not like your old self physically but can't really figure out why?

Pay attention and jot down what feels off, what specifically doesn't feel like "you."

Having this info is a goldmine when you walk into a doctor or physical therapists' office. These are all details that can help your providers figure out what your issue is and get you on track to healing. 

What have you noticed since having a baby?

 

This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

This post may contain affiliate links.

The Truth About That Post Baby Tummy Pooch
 
Photo by Jenna Norman on Unsplash

Photo by Jenna Norman on Unsplash

 

When most women have a baby, things aren't feeling anywhere near normal for a long time. That's normal. 

Many women also go months of not feeling good, of feeling "off," and of being told this is their new normal now that they've had a kid. 

That's not normal. Common, maybe. But not normal.

Listen, weird things happen to your body when you have a baby. That's not a surprise. What is a surprise is how little women are educated on what actually happened or is happening to our bodies. 

One really common, yet often overlooked condition? Diastasis Recti. 

What is Diastasis Recti?

A quick explanation: diastasis recti is a separation of your abdominal wall. And as we all know, your abdominals make up part of your "core," and without a strong and fully functional core, everything (and I mean everything) is off. 

According to Mutu System, a functional exercise program for new moms (of which we are so obsessed we are an affiliate), diastasis recti occurs when: 

"the linea alba (mid-line connective tissue) is stretched and weakened at the front of the abdomen...the 'gap' narrows naturally in the days and weeks following childbirth, but often doesn't come back together completely on its own, resulting in instability and weakness of the core and a 'pooch' stomach or 'mummy tummy'."

Confused? Here's a handy infographic, courtesy of Mutu:

In other words, your core muscles just aren’t functioning properly- and this can create many other often treatable symptoms that might otherwise seem unrelated to your core (no matter what Depends tries to sell you).

How To Heal Diastasis Recti

First things first, find a women’s health/pelvic floor physical therapist that specializes in postpartum physical therapy. (You can search the directory listed on our RESOURCES page). Second, there are numerous at-home postpartum exercise programs out there that aim to help women heal their diastasis recti through specific exercises.

Last, don’t panic. So if you’ve got a Duo Diary, start jotting down any symptoms that just don’t feel right and take your journal with you to your OB and postpartum physical therapist.

Then, you’ll get on the path to healing and feeling better in no time.

More resources:

http://www.pelvicpainrehab.com/diastasis-recti/2306/fix-diastasis-recti/

https://mutusystem.com/mutu-system-blog/diastasis-recti-its-not-just-about-muscles

https://mutusystem.com/mutu-system-blog/you-can-have-a-flat-tummy-and-a-small-diastasis-recti-i-have

This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

This post may contain affiliate links.

The Story Behind Morskap- A Postpartum Health Site
 
woman looking out.jpg
 

By guest blogger Yana, creator of Morskap, A Postpartum Health Site. You can find out more by visiting morskap.com

In the course of incubating a new human, I discovered a sea of helpful (though not ideal) resources on how to become pregnant, surviving pregnancy and labor, and taking care of a new human who is limited to a binary means of communication (to cry, or not to cry, that is the question). What I felt missing was a resource specifically focused on postpartum recovery.

Having gone through the biggest bodily and emotional change of my life, I had lots of questions:

  • How long before I heal given my mode of delivery?

  • What exercise can I do in the meantime?

  • What special postpartum exercises (kegels?) should I do and when? Are there helpful equipment for that?

  • Which things will never go back to normal?

  • What’s the most flattering and comfortable clothes to cover this beast in?

  • Is it normal to feel [choose your own adventure]? Is it normal to still feel that? How about now?

  • OMG breastfeeding! So painful and everyone talks about it as if it’s wonderful and beautiful. Can I skip it? Is it taboo to even ask?

  • How do you best split parenting responsibilities with my partner?

  • What are some things to think about when going back to work?

  • What emotions to expect around all of the above issues?

Some of these questions I’ve talked with other moms about, but I found that the answers varied based on things like preexisting health, how each pregnancy and labor went, the personality of the mom, her partner, and the baby. I live in a city where women often don’t have children until they feel like they are in a good place in their careers. So my network of moms wasn’t large enough to cover each possible scenario. Some things I just wasn’t comfortable discussing in person. In the beginning, I didn’t feel like talking with anyone. I felt like I didn’t have the time to do it. Searching for answers online seemed like a good idea, but it turned out to be too time consuming. There was sooo much noise!

So I created a consolidated resource for questions around being a new mom: morskap.com. This resource explains why new moms may be sweating a lot at night, why running may not be a great idea if experiencing pelvic pressure, and lots of other things that I and some of my friends were curious about after birth. I thought that it may be helpful to other moms that don’t have the time or inclination to search for the best answers. New moms are grappling with caring for a little one, possibly trying to go back to work, and generally staying optimistic (remember: every fifth mom suffers from postpartum depression!).

Hope you find Morskap helpful and feel free to reach out to me at yana@morskap.com if you have feedback.

5 Companies That Love New Moms
 
Photo of a pregnant woman
 

When you have a baby, the whole world seems to conspire to make sure you have everything you'll need in pregnancy, and everything you'll need for your new baby to arrive.

What they don't seem to have covered is what you'll need for YOU.

It's no secret that postpartum health care in the United States is...well...lacking, to put it nicely. The baby industry is just another symptom of that massive problem- postpartum health for moms is overlooked once the baby arrives. But the baby care industry is a $10.8 billion dollar industry.

But what about an industry for the mom?

What about moms that are dealing with postpartum health issues or struggles of any kind? This is a huge purpose for Duo Diary. Of course new babies need to be cared for, but guess what? So do new moms! 

So we wanted to give a huge shout out to other companies that focus JUST on mom. Companies that have not forgotten about YOU. You are, after all, the one who did (and are still doing) all the heavy lifting, not to mention probably trying to recover from the single most traumatic natural event a human body can go through- childbirth.

Here are 5 businesses focused on mom's postpartum health after baby. Got a company you love that loves moms? Leave it in the comments!

MotherBees: The First Forty Days Book

A book about how new mothers can help themselves heal (or how those around them can support them) from birth through nourishing food and traditions. It's subtitle says it all: "The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother." Yes, it IS essential! Inside you'll find recipes, ways that you and those around you can care for you, and tons of great info all about caring for new mama. It's an excellent baby shower gift for any first time mom. 

Mama Mio Skincare

This skincare line has it all - decadent feeling creams for every phase of your pregnant and postpartum body (you can literally shop by trimester and postpartum phase), from oils to belly butter rubs. Safe for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding, it's all free from yucky stuff like parabens, phlalates, xenoestrogens, and petrolatum. The best part? This stuff works. 

Oh Baby! Fitness

Starting or getting back into an exercise routine is often a big need and want for moms after they are cleared for exercise, but the challenge is: how the heck do you exercise with a baby? (This question could be applied to anything post-baby: "How the heck do you (insert any task) with a baby?") Oh Baby! Fitness has figured out a way to enable pre and post natal women to exercise, safely and properly for whatever phase they are in, without having to worry about childcare because baby is incorporated into class. A national organization (check to see if Oh Baby! Fitness is in your state), they've got mama's wellbeing at the top of their list: classes are led by pre and postnatal certified instructors, and medical clearance is required to participate. Did we mention they have an OB, PT, RN, experts in pelvic issues, counselor, dietition, and pediatrician as advisors? This is a company that has thought through all the details for new mom exercise. 

The Motherhood Center of NYC

Yes, this is only in NYC, sadly, but hopefully this type of center will catch on. The Motherhood Center is exactly what it says- a center for mothers, with day programs for women with PMADs (perinatal mood and anxiety disorders), counseling, classes and support groups that range from support, breastfeeding, postnatal fitness with focuses on the unique issues that affect postpartum women’s bodies, and tons more. All with an on-site nursery, because one of the hardest things about a new mom taking care of herself is that she often doesn’t have someone to help care for her baby while she does. This center is lightyears ahead and as far as we know, one of the only ones like it in the country. 

Birth Fit

Located in Venice, CA but with Regional Directors across the country, Birth Fit is truly dedicated to changing the game for women who are trying to get pregnant, women who are pregnant, or women who have had a baby. Their four pillars- fitness, nutrition, chiropractic, and mindset- help women rock each of these phases in a healthy, fully functional way. You can sign up for a consultation with a Regional Director to discuss your situation and goals, check out their free webinars, podcast, blog and tons more. 

Of course, don’t forget that Duo Diary is an integral part of your healing from childbirth, and a great way to get some focus back on YOU.

What companies do you love that love mommas?

This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

This post may contain affiliate links

Rachel McFarlandComment
New Journals are Here!
 
 

Like most new products, Duo Diary was created out of a need- a need for me as new mom to track my own health while I also tracked my baby's. A need to be able to somehow, someway take care of my own health while I learned how to take care of my tiny little human. A need that I could not find anywhere. 

So I created it. And the original Duo Diary was born- the first wellness journal for new moms to get themselves started on healing, recovering, and managing their postpartum health while also monitoring their baby's health points like feedings, diapers, and sleep. 

Duo Diary has gotten tons of great coverage from top mommy bloggers and tons of great feedback. This also helped me realized that the idea of helping new moms heal and recover after childbirth is just not a common concept. A pregnant woman is the recipient of the best society has to offer - love, adoration, help, assistance, encouragement, wishes and tools for health and feeling well. But once the baby comes, the focus shifts solely to the baby and mom is sort of forgotten. There is no safety net for the health of a new mom the way there is for the newborn. Unfortunately, this happens at the most vulnerable time in her life, the time in her life when she needs nurturing the most. 

Our second edition of Duo Diary addresses this. Inside you'll find many more tools to help you nurture yourself, to remember yourself in this process, and to encourage you to care for yourself while you care for your baby.

There is ample research showing the positive benefits of journaling. You may think you won't have time for it when the baby is here, but you'll soon find that you can't live without it. From not having to remember how many wet and dirty diapers your baby has had when the pediatrician asks (and they will ask!) to remembering the last time you ate, journaling in short bursts can have huge affects.

Still unsure? Consider that you can easily start feeling healthier for less than a cup of all that coffee you are suddenly drinking (the sleep deprivation struggle is real!). Duo Diary is an affordable, easy way to make sure you are the healthiest mama you can be, so that you can be the best mama you can be. 

Duo Diary is available in our original one month version and in our new second edition with more bells and whistles to get your self care recovery journey started. Check out our shop and get yours today.

This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

This post may contain affiliate links

5 Ways This Ancient Technique Can Help You After Having a Baby
 
Duo Diary Postpartum Journal.jpg
 

Up until recently, the whole world was obsessed with doing everything online - there is literally an app for everything - and the idea of writing things down seemed downright archaic. Pshaw, who writes with...pen and paper?

But lately you may have noticed, the good ol' pen and paper are making a comeback. The benefits of journaling are well documented, Bullet Journals are all the rage, walk into any Target or even Anthropologie and you'll see stacks of guided journals for everything from lists to worry journals to walls and walls of Moleskines

It's a thing now, in case you didn't know.

Why Writing Things Down is Making a Comeback

Apps are great and all, but it seems people are realizing that when things are put into an app, they stay there, hidden away in your phone. 

Not so with journaling.

Journaling has been around for thousands of years, from Roman Emperors to Middle East and ancient East Asian cultures. The health benefits of journaling are well documented, helping to improve everything from blood pressure to sports performance. 

It's also one of the easiest, most important things you can do for your health after you have a baby. Here's why:

How Journaling Can Help You Postpartum

  • Writing things down may help with memory recall and information processing. So, you know, when your pediatrician starts to drill you about the number of dirty diapers your kid has had in the last 24 hours you might actually remember, despite not having slept for 3 months.

 

  • Journaling is known to help anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. Since postpartum depression and anxiety affect a reported 11-20% of women who give birth each year (that's 600,000 women per year according to the CDC, and those are only the reported cases), journaling is something new moms should definitely consider doing.

 

  • Journaling may help with physical pain. Researchers believe that it can help strengthen your immune system. Given the sheer physical load a woman's body goes through in pregnancy and childbirth (and recovery and breastfeeding), regular journaling may have a profound affect on your physical wellbeing after having a baby.

 

  • Food journaling is shown to help aid in weight loss. And for moms who are dying to feel like themselves again, this can be a huge help. If you are a breastfeeding mom, writing down what you are eating can also help pinpoint potential food sensitivities (like dairy) that may be affecting your baby through breastmilk. 

 

  • It helps "clear the field." A simple to-do list or action items can get all the thoughts swimming around in your head out and onto paper, freeing up that mental space for all the other mental loads of parenthood.

I know what you are thinking, who the hell has time to write in a journal between poopy diapers and spit up duty? The good news is journaling doesn't have to be all or nothing - a few minutes or seconds here and there throughout the day can have big effects. So grab your Duo Diary and get writing - it's one of the easiest things you can do to feel great after having a baby. 

This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

This post may contain affiliate links

3 Women Owned Companies That Will Help You Regain Function After Childbirth
lose baby weight

Everyone likes to imagine that after you have a baby, your stomach magically shrinks back to pre-pregnancy size, you magically lose the baby weight, pop on those skinny jeans, and saunter out of the hospital feeling the same as you did 10 months ago.

Except, not.

Look, there is a whole lot of stuff no one tells you about how to recover from childbirth (we’ll save that for another post), most of all being that your body does not know what the heck just happened. And guess what? It doesn’t really want to figure it out. At least not for awhile.

You just spent the last 10 months not feeling like yourself, and have now entered...more time of not feeling like yourself. You are DYING to get back into your old clothes, and no, it’s not vain or caving to society’s unrealistic demands of bouncing back after baby. Let’s get real: you want to know what to do to lose the pregnancy weight because you want to feel like YOU again.

But we also know you can’t just jump right back into spinning classes or other workout routines. Getting back into workouts post baby takes time, and most importantly, function. 

Because one of the things no one tells you about having a baby is that you lost function. A lot of it. And if you want to start exercising again after having a baby, getting back that core function first is important, or things can get dicey real quick. There are, thankfully, a few fabulous women-led companies out there that are completely focused on helping you regain function.

So, once you are cleared for exercise by your doctor, here are 3 bad-ass companies that will help you get on track:

Restore Your Core

A system created by Lauren Ohayon. A gentle, practical program to help you reconnect with many of the areas you’ve probably lost connection with. Slower paced and thorough, she gives you the complete foundation you need before you even think about doing any other type of exercise.

Mutu System

This is probably our favorite (full disclosure, we are a Mutu affiliate because we are so obsessed). This program was designed by Wendy Powell after two challenging births and recoveries. She trained, researched, got certified, and now helps other women around the world understand what changes have happened to their bodies after having a baby and how to get back function. Includes a 12 week program complete with simple daily core exercises, along with ‘intensives’ done a few times a week to burn calories. Want to know how to lose the baby weight in your stomach? This program nails it.  

Momma Strong

A whole package of exercises for postpartum -exercise- cleared mommas who want a little more intensity. Her library is full of programs to help heal diastasis, get the core stronger, plus daily 15-20 minute videos of higher intensity workouts meant to burn calories, but not in a way that will re-injure or make things worse.

What postpartum programs have you tried and loved? Drop it in the comments below!

This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

This post may contain affiliate links.

How to Get Your Body Back After Having A Baby
 
Get Back in Shape After Baby
 
This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

If you Google, "how to get your body back after having a baby" you'll get a whopping 13,700,000 results. "Do this exercise to shed pounds!" "Eat this or don't eat that to get back to your pre-baby weight!"

Most likely, very few of these results will say "how to heal your body after childbirth" or "do these exercises to regain pre-baby function!"

Look, wanting to get back to your pre-baby weight is a real and valid concern. Women want and need to feel like themselves again after the life-changing upheaval of having a baby.

But what if, instead of revering celebrities who walked a runway 8 weeks after birth, we focused on allowing a woman to heal, then start exercising in a way that's appropriate for whatever hand she was dealt in childbirth so that ultimately, she can be even stronger. 

You will (WILL) get back to regaining your identity and pieces of yourself (physically and mentally), no matter how far off that may feel right now. But instead of pushing through pain and dysfunction to do it, let's flip the narrative so that "getting your body back after having a baby" means instead to regain function, heal, and re-learn how your new body works in the post-baby world.

So here's a NEW list- instead of "drop pounds now" lists, here are 4 ways to REALLY get your body back!

1. Find a Physical Therapist

But not just any physical therapist- specifically, look for a physical therapist who specializes in women's health issues, sometimes called a "women's health PT" or a "pelvic floor PT." You should be able to get a referral from your OB, but sadly this is often not the case- so if you aren't finding that avenue helpful, then check out our RESOURCES page to find some directories. You'll quickly come to understand why this is standard care for postpartum women in many other countries, like France. 

2. Eat For Your Nutritional Needs

First and foremost, work closely with your healthcare provider! The point is, your needs are probably different than they were before having a baby, particularly if you are breastfeeding. Try this, this, and this article for a helpful starting point. Some cultures even believe you should consume certain foods to help with the healing process - try checking out The First Forty Days by Heng Ou for more on this. If you can afford it, find a nutritionist to help you on this path (find one on our RESOURCES page).

3. Core City

OK, everyone knows you aren't supposed to exercise prior to getting clearance from your doctor, but what about after? How much, and what, should you do? You should discuss this with your healthcare provider, but there are many programs out there specifically tailored to postpartum women. These programs vary but all are focused on helping postpartum women regain function in their core musculature, healing diastasis recti, and restoring pelvic floor function - all important aspects that should be functioning again before you start 'regular' exercise. Try Restore Your Core, Mutu System, or Hab It. (Know of other programs? Leave a suggestion in the comments.)

4. Self Care

Say what now? You've got a newborn and probably haven't showered in two days, and now you are supposed to worry about self care? Look, self care doesn't have to mean taking 30 minutes to do a face mask in your bathroom (although it can). Self care can be really simplified - sometimes, it's about taking 5 minutes to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea while flipping through a magazine without feeling guilty or worrying about all the other things you want to get done while the baby is napping. Maybe it means taking 5 minutes to journal in your Duo Diary, or maybe it means calling a friend. Get creative- a few minutes here and there of YOU TIME can go a long way. (Here's a great list to get you started). 

How did you help yourself heal after childbirth?

 

This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

This post may contain affiliate links

5 More Mommy Must Haves

Last month we talked about 5 Mommy Must Haves that we wish someone had told us about when we were registering. But of course, there are way more than five amazing items to help a new mom's life be a little bit easier. Along with a one year supply of Duo Diary, these items would be great shower gifts for any mom-to-be in your life! So, here are 5 MORE mommy must haves!

 
baby registry gifts
 

The Sound Sleeper App

Last month we talked about the wonders of a sound machine for a baby that's sleeping. This app is a miracle for parents who are in the newborn/infant phase and need that "4th Trimester" white noise on a moment's notice. The beauty of the app is it's portability - you can lull baby to sleep on walks, car rides, etc. 

 
baby registry gifts
 

Fischer Price Rock N Play

The Fischer Price Rock n Play has a cult following in many mommy circles, and for good reason. The snuggly, slightly upright design seems to help even the most colicky babies sleep.

 

My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow

 
 

This pillow is just better than any other nursing pillow out there- it's made from a firm foam and covered in a removable and washable soft cover. There's also a belt that you can wrap around your waist so it sits snug exactly where you need it, and baby can rest on it while feeding. The firmness of the foam makes a huge difference - there's less fidgeting to get into the right position, and the belt allows you to hoist it up higher (unlike a regular nursing pillow that sits on your lap), which helps with not feeling so hunched over. Plus a little pocket to keep water or your Duo Diary, these folks thought of everything. 

 

Sleep Sacks & Swaddles

If you want to swaddle but can't get it to stay, sleep sacks (great for sleeping) and other swaddles are a SUPER easy way to keep baby swaddled. The Halo Sleep Sack is great for nights when baby is still too little to have any blankets in their crib but you still want to keep them warm. Want a swaddle that just wraps your baby without you figuring out how to fold, place, and tuck properly? Ziggy Baby, Swaddle Me, and the Woombie all have great options. 

 

Yoga Pants 

Yes, you may have dreams of being a stylish mom who looks put together and wouldn't be caught dead in sweats, but there is nothing better than having a good pair (or 2) of yoga pants on hand. And not pre-pregnancy ones, either- a brand new pair that is comfortable for your body now. There are a million brands out there now, from the more expensive Lululemon to the midprice range Fabletics to Old Navy. (Just trust us on this one!)

What were your mommy must-haves?

Rachel McFarlandComment
Don't Visit Your Friend Who Just Had a Baby Without Doing One of These
 
Postpartum Care
 

If you are reading this, chances are you've had a baby, or know someone who has. (Otherwise, you are really lost on the internet). Anyone who has ever had a baby gets bombarded with people who want to come visit and meet the baby. All well and good, except for the fact that during this 'visit' one of the parties is recovering from one of the most major events a human body can go through, and most likely doing so with a smile on their face. 

But sometimes visitors mean well and plain old just don't know what to do to help. If you've never had a child, how would you know what needs this person you are visiting has? You can't! I get it. People don't understand why having a baby suddenly means you don't have time to eat, shower, sleep or any other REALLY BASIC HUMAN NEED. But that's OK. You don't need to understand it, just know that it's real. Oh, it's so real. And when your basic sense of human-ness is missing from your day to day life, it is a really amazing thing to have one of those needs met. So here's a list of helpful things you can do when you visit a friend or family member who just had a baby.

1. Bring food. Lots of it. Frozen. 

Since sleep and feedings are now the absolute #1 &#2 things on the mind of the person who just had a baby, eating starts to fall somewhere down the list to, I don't know, #5 or #6. So when you open your freezer and find a meal that you can just microwave and shove down your throat before the baby's next feeding, it is THE greatest thing in the world. Chili is a really easy one to make and to bring- it cooks easily in your crockpot, then freezes easily in one or two cup servings that a new mom in your life can easily reheat for herself. 

2. Bring Snacks in Bags or Jars. 

Its a giant joke that nature has played on new moms- nursing moms need to eat a lot of healthy calories, but they don't have any time or energy to make any of those kind of calories. Also, sitting down and eating a meal becomes a bit of a foreign concept for awhile so snacking becomes a great way to keep a nursing mom's blood sugar steady throughout the day, while allowing more opportunities for healthy calories and fats. The catch? She doesn't have time to make snacks. Homemade granola is one of the easiest - you can put it in a mason jar or ziploc bag that a mom can just keep nearby. Another great option is trail mix- nuts, dried fruit, dark chocolate, etc. Or lactation cookies (they are real and they are fabulous). 

3. Bone broth

It's said to restore, warm the body, and help a new mom recover and heal. Bone broth is high in minerals and proteins and, as long as you are using pasture raised/grass fed bones, high in healthy fats at a time when a new mom needs all of these things in spades. Bone broth is also super easy to make- time consuming, since it needs to simmer for 12-48 hours, but easy (literally, throw some bones, veggies and an acid like lemon in a pot and that's it. Here's an official recipe from the good folks at Motherbees), so cook up a batch and freeze in individual cup size servings for the new mom in your life to reheat in a mug and easily sip. You could also buy bone broth from companies like OSSO GOOD, which happens to have a bone broth called "Nourish the Mama" with Chinese herbs. Need I say more?

4. Bring a gift FOR THE MOM

Most visitors who show up with gifts bring gifts for the baby, which is fantastic, but in the spirit of remembering to care for the new mom, try bringing a gift JUST for the new mom. Sometimes it's a gift to help feedings, to help her with something baby related, but in the end it's something that will make her life easier. A Duo Diary is one of the best gifts you can bring for a new mother because it is one of the only products out there that easily combines the baby's wellbeing with the new mom's. There are also gifts like the book from the aforementioned Motherbees, "The First Forty Days" which help guide a new mom's nutrition for the first 40 days postpartum. 

5.  Offer to watch/hold/feed the baby so she can go take a shower and maybe even a nap

What a new mom needs more than anything (whether she knows it or will admit it) is nurturing, being allowed to heal, and given some nourishment to get her through the hard first few months. Try doing one (or all!) God bless you. If you do all, God bless you. That woman is lucky to have you in her life!) of these items for a new mom in your life and see how much they appreciate it...whether they are too tired to show it or not. 

5 Mommy Must-Do's After Having a Baby
 
Mommy must do's after baby
 

Here in the United States, we are enamored with pregnant women. There are salves, creams, workouts, massages, drinks, foods and a whole slew of other products all geared towards the pregnant woman. Pregnancy and a pregnant woman's self care is a $266.6 million dollar industry. As it should be. There should be a ton of products and services available to make a pregnant woman's life easier and more comfortable, because despite the images of glowing pregnant women we are fed in magazines and in the media, pregnancy can be really, really hard and uncomfortable.

And then. Then you have the baby.

And this all goes away.

It seems that in our society, when a woman has a baby, she is left a little bit to fend for herself. The next industry is all about baby- nursing pillows, nursing cookies, bottles, swings and other devices, but there really isn't an industry that is focused on a postpartum woman's self care. Sure, she gets a 6 week checkup, but that number is arbitrary and often is the ONLY stop on the self care train for a postpartum woman. 

This gap is one of the HUGE reasons why Duo Diary was created. A new mom shouldn't have to fend for herself after bringing a child into the world, whether through birth or adoption. Bringing home a baby is a massive upheaval physically and mentally. At Duo Diary, we aim to help this transition be a little bit easier by encouraging new moms to take care of themselves. We also recognize a few areas of care that can help a new mother immensely in those early weeks and months. In fact, a Duo Diary can be a great compliment to some of these services. 

The catch? These all cost money. A lot of money. And are not covered by most insurance. Which is why most moms -even those that can afford it - don't splurge on services like this. In our view, these should be a given, not a special treat for those that can afford it. (Heck, most new moms probably don't even know these things exist!). But the below services can really help a new mom get on the right track with her health. So if you are looking for a unique shower gift, consider gifting one of these services (along with, of course, a year's supply of Duo Diary!) 

1. A Postpartum Doula

Postpartum Doulas help new mothers with the transition into motherhood by supporting a new mother with things like breastfeeding, bonding with baby, help and guidance with the new baby, and many even offer light housekeeping and will run errands. You can find a postpartum doula in your area (if available) here

2. An IBCLC

Breastfeeding is really, really hard. It can be a massive struggle for many women, physically and emotionally. An International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) can help a new mom navigate this process by teaching them techniques, checking latches and looking for tongue ties or other potential issues, and providing support in helping a new mom succeed at breastfeeding. Find one here.

3. A PostPartum Exercise Program

A new mom has very specific changes that have occurred to her body that also need to be healed properly- jumping right into a 'regular' exercise program as soon as you get the clearance to exercise just isn't a good idea as it can exacerbate conditions that may have arisen during pregnancy and labor, and don't address the structural changes that occur to a woman's body. There are quite a few exercise programs out there that are geared specifically to postpartum women and healing issues like pelvic floor function and diastasis recti. Mutu System, Restore Your Core, The Tummy Team, Hab It, and Fit2B are all programs dedicated to helping a postpartum mom heal. You can contact these companies about purchasing a gift program for a new mom. 

4. Moms Groups

Moms groups can help with the transition into motherhood by giving a new mom a safe place where she can discuss concerns, experiences, learn, and connect with other women having the same shared experience. This is especially vital and helpful for new moms that don't live near family. Many moms groups are offered at your local 'pumping and feeding' store, churches, hospitals, schools, or other places. Here's a great article on what they entail and how to find one.

5. A Pelvic Floor Specialist

Let's get real, your pelvic floor takes a beating during pregnancy and labor, and it is also one of the most important structures for your daily function. News flash: leaking and peeing when you sneeze or exercise are NOT NORMAL and CAN BE FIXED. Easily. Enter the pelvic floor physical therapist. A pelvic floor physical therapist helps 'retrain' your pelvic floor to function properly and can often address issues that affect other areas (like your hips or diastasis). You can find one here, or refer to this article

What services do you wish you'd known about when you had a baby?

This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

This post may contain affiliate links

5 Mommy Must Haves

As a first time mom, it's hard to know what products out there really work to make your life easier, and which ones don't. A lot of moms end up registering for a bunch of stuff that they never use, and as the months go on they realize that the things they use the most are the things they never registered for. So here's a list of the top baby products you'll wish you'd known about before bringing home baby!

Most babies and toddlers hate having their nails clipped or filed and this product will solve all of your nail woe issues. A battery-operated device with various file stages (i.e. softer file for when your baby is tiny and the nails are softer, a harder file for a they get older). Simply turn it on and place it on the nail, this little doo-hickey does all the work for you in half the time. 

This is the water bottle that you'll notice is ubiquitous in mommy groups and playdates during the period when your child is learning how to drink out of a sippy/straw cup. It's the only cup we found that holds up to being thrown around a lot and is toddler-tested to not leak. 

Once your baby starts sleeping, you'll pretty much do anything to keep things going that way, one of which is introducing a sound machine. Some sleep books say to introduce a sound machine to help your baby fall asleep. We say introduce a sound machine so that your baby will stay asleep. This sound machine is amazing at keeping random outside noises less jarring. 

This is the single greatest invention, ever, in the history of the world. OK maybe not, but anything that buys you a little extra sleep each night is worth it, and these diaper liners, which adhere to your baby's diaper (like a maxi pad) absorb extra wetness, keeping your baby comfortable and dry for longer at night (translation: they'll sleep longer).

Baby Logs and Journals

Baby logs can be a lifesaver for many a new mom, as learning how to breastfeed and/or pump can be overwhelming. Most new moms are also suffering from severe sleep deprivation, which is way more than just a cliche- sleep deprivation can make it hard to recall basic details like how long ago you fed your baby, which side you fed on, how many ounces they had in a bottle, or how many wet and dirty diapers your baby has had- all important questions the pediatrician asks at each well visit. Having a readily-available notebook like a Duo Diary can help a new mom keep track of all of this- with Duo Diary being the ONLY journal that also includes the mother's health! (Here's more on how baby logs can be helpful)

What are your mommy must haves??

How Work is Not Optional For Many

"When it comes to women and work, the largest myth of all is that working is somehow optional...The reality in the United States today is that earning money is an absolute necessity for the vast majority of women. And the sad truth is that we aren’t doing anything to support them or their families — not because we can’t, but because we won’t."

Read the full article here.