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.

This Woman is Bad.Ass.

Aside from this woman apparently being made of steel (strapping a 3 year old to your back while 35 weeks pregnant!? My joints hurt just thinking about it), one of the things that stuck out to me was this quote, given that she works in a male-dominated field. Kudos to those working with her who made her feel supported.

"“Fortunately, I currently work in an environment where everyone has been supportive and understanding of my roles.'"

How Did Your State Do?

The National Partnership For Women & Families just released its report card for each state on how they fair individually in supporting new families. The NPWF states that this is "the most comprehensive analysis to date of state laws and regulations governing paid leave, paid sick days, protections for pregnant workers and other workplace rights for expecting and new parents in the United State." Phew. 

Check out the infographic below and read the full report here. How did your state do?

Mutu Mamas!

We're big converts of the Mutu System here at Duo Diary, and encourage all postpartum women to care for themselves in healthy, healing ways! Check out this great article on how soon you can 'get back to it' after having a baby.

 

"..you cannot strengthen muscles that aren’t functioning optimally. If its not working, you can’t make it stronger. All that will happen instead is that other parts of your body – namely your abdomen, or pelvic floor, will take up the strain…Or not. Because when intra abdominal pressure is just too much for these non-functioning muscles to withstand… they blow. Leaking urine, prolapse, hernia, diastasis recti, a pooching mummy tummy… these are signs of a core not working right.

Mutu System for Postpartum Health & Exercise!

Mamas, if you've had a baby, ever, please check out the MuTu System, an entire body approach to healing and strengthening post-child (even if you had your baby 10 years ago!). This system is intended to help heal diastasis, improve pelvic floor function, and tone and strengthen overall. Wendy Powell also goes into detail in her videos about alignment and why moms get that persistent pooch (and how to get rid of it, hint, it's not more cardio, more cardio, more cardio). Check it out: http://bit.ly/2bo3esp

Diastasis Recti 101 Infographic

Ladies! Check out this infographic on a very common post-pregnancy condition called diastasis recti. So much changes in a woman's body after giving birth, yet we all wonder why our old workout routines aren't doing the trick to get rid of 'mummy tummy.' Here's some insight on what's going on and how to fix it!

The Happiness Gap for U.S. Parents

"They discovered the gap could be explained by differences in family-friendly social policies such as subsidized child care and paid vacation and sick leave. In countries that gave parents what researchers called “the tools to combine work and family,” the negative impact of parenting on happiness disappeared."'

Interestingly, the researchers also found that lower child care costs also affected the happiness of NONparents. Read the full article to find out why: 
http://nyti.ms/29k3itS

3 Tips For Making a Smooth Transition From Breastfeeding to Pumping When Returning to Work
How to pump at work

Guest blog post by Elizabeth Peters

Maternity leave has been wonderful and you have enjoyed having precious weeks to bond with your baby, but it’s inevitable that you will have to return to work soon. Preparing to return to work after maternity leave can be a stressful time. To add to the stress of worrying about having to leave the baby in childcare or with relatives, moms who choose to breastfeed exclusively also have the worry of making the transition from feeding at the breast to pumping into bottles to deal with when they return to work. While dealing with this change can be stressful, there are things you can do to prepare in advance that will make the transition a much smoother one.

Make the Transition to Pumping Before You Return to Work

Try not to wait until the day you return to work to begin pumping and offering your baby a bottle for the first time. As with most transitions there is bound to be a few bumps along the way and it will be much less stressful to get any kinks worked out while you are still relaxed at home rather than when you are also dealing with the stress at work. A good rule of thumb is to begin making the transition two weeks before you return to work so that your baby has become comfortable feeding from a bottle and you have had time to familiarize yourself with pumping. The transition will be much easier if you have both had a chance to get used to it ahead of time.

Start a Routine Pumping Schedule

When you start pumping at home, think about what times you will have available for pumping throughout your work day and try to pump at those times in the couple of weeks before you return to work so that your body gets on a routine. Make sure to stick to the routine on the weekends too, it is important to stay on schedule seven days a week to keep your milk supply ready to be expressed at the times you need it to be. Sticking to a schedule will help ensure that you get the most out of your pumping sessions when you go back to work.

Talk to Your Boss About Your Plan to Pump as Early as Possible

Showing up for your first day at work with a pump on hand and springing it on your boss that you will need breaks for pumping throughout the day isn’t a good idea. Let your boss know before you return to work what your plan is and what your needs will be. The thought of having this conversation can make some women uncomfortable, but know that the law is on your side here. The “Break Time For Nursing Mothers” law requires employers to provide new mothers reasonable breaks to express milk for the entire year following birth and that they must make available a place, that is not a bathroom, that is shielded from co-workers where this can be done. This means that you have the right to be able to pump at work, and you should inform your employer of your needs ahead of time so they can in turn make a plan to accommodate you. Giving them some advance notice will make things go smoother for everyone.

Pumping while working can take some work, but with proper preparation and determination it can be a smooth and successful endeavor.

Elizabeth Peters is a freelance writer who specializes in the parenting/family niche. When she is not writing for clients she can be found blogging about parenting on her own blog at TheMommyVortex.com. She currently resides in Alabama with her husband and two young children. Connect with her on Twitter: @themommyvortex

Interested in guest posting? Duo Diary is a great way to reach new moms! Contact us at info@duodiary.com

Here's to Feeling Good....


This quote really spoke to me- I think this is especially the case in postpartum women who may chalk up their symptoms as 'normal' (or, as in many cases unfortunately, they are told this by their healthcare practitioner). If you aren't feeling well (mentally or physically) please ask your OB/GYN for referrals -from women's health physical therapists to mental health professionals who specialize in postpartum health, there is a network of help out there! Check out our Resources page for more help!

Feeling good quote
Breastfeeding in Public: 5 Steps to Nursing With Confidence While on the Go
Breastfeeding on the go

By Elizabeth Peters

While the decision whether to formula feed or breastfeed is a mother’s personal choice, it is estimated that 75% of new moms choose to breastfeed their newborns, with many making the choice to breastfeed exclusively. But breastfeeding exclusively comes with its own sets of issues, one of which is that you are your baby’s one and only source of food, meaning you have to be available for a feeding whenever your baby needs one, even when that time may not always be the most convenient for you – such as when you are out in public. Many women cringe at the thought of nursing in public, with strangers around, and that is understandable - but locking yourself at home for four months to avoid having to breastfeed in public isn’t healthy for you, either. The fact is, nursing mothers are going to find themselves in situations where they have to be in public with their baby during feeding time, but nursing in public doesn’t have to be a scary experience. First, know that you have the legal right to nurse in public, by law, and that nursing mothers are exempt from indecent exposure laws. Most states have laws that give nursing women the right to nurse in public at any place that the mother and child have the right to be, which covers most all public places. You can see a full explanation of the breastfeeding laws surrounding your state online here. Even with the protection of the law behind them, many women find themselves cringing at the thought of nursing in public for the first time. If the thought of breastfeeding in public has you coming down with a case of the jitters, follow these five simple steps to becoming able to breastfeed in public with confidence.

Pick a Spot in Advance

When breastfeeding in public, odds are you will be somewhere that you are familiar with or frequent often, such as the coffee shop where you meet up with friends, or the grocery store where you buy your groceries. To make your feeding experience more comfortable, and to ease your mind, when you are at these places look around and decide where you would be most comfortable feeding, such as a booth in the back, a bench tucked into a corner of the store, or a dressing room in your favorite department store. Knowing in advance that you have a comfortable spot available for nursing will help ease your mind about going to those places with your baby when you may need to feed.

Dress for Success

Dressing in clothing that provides easy access for feedings with minimal exposure can go a long way toward making you feel more confident during public feedings. Button up and wrap around shirts work well for this, or you can purchase nursing blouses made with hidden built-in flaps made specifically for breastfeeding.

Use a Mirror

If you are nervous about exposing too much skin while breastfeeding in public, practice breastfeeding your baby in your selected blouse while standing in front of a mirror so you can see firsthand how exposed you will, or won’t, be. Practice different positions until you find one that you are comfortable using in public. Seeing firsthand what the public around you will be seeing can go a long way in easing your nervousness about public feedings.

Bring a Blanket

Baby blankets work great as a covering to shield your feeding baby from the view of passerby. Carry one in your diaper bag and lay it across your shoulders and over your baby’s head when breastfeeding in public.

Stick to Your Feeding Schedule

Don’t deny feeding your baby in public at his scheduled feeding time just because you’re too nervous or you are busy at that moment. The hungrier your baby becomes, the more fussy and loud he will get, which will not only draw a lot of attention when you finally do stop to feed him, and it will also make the experience much more stressful than it needs to be for both of you. It is best to find a quiet, semi-secluded spot and feed him at the right time when you will both be calm and relaxed.

Remember that practice makes perfect. Breastfeeding in public may seem scary at first, but follow these steps and after completing a few public feedings you will be breastfeeding in public like a pro!

Elizabeth Peters is a freelance writer who specializes in the parenting/family niche. When she is not writing for clients she can be found blogging about parenting on her own blog at TheMommyVortex.com. She currently resides in Alabama with her husband and two young children. Connect with her on Twitter: @themommyvortex

Interested in guest posting? Duo Diary is a great way to reach new moms! Contact us at info@duodiary.com

 

Pssst.... Breastfeeding is Hard!!

I recently stumbled upon an older HuffPo article, but wanted to share as the message is still ever so true. It is a common misconception that breastfeeding is easy (or "free"), which can leave a bad taste in the mouths of moms who struggle or have struggled with it. Maybe breastfeeding was once easier when women lived in close proximity and shared in the knowledge of new motherhood and breastfeeding, but nowadays a new mom is mostly sent home with little or no instructions. So, in the interest of self-educating what the real deal is with breastfeeding, I give you:

10 Things I Learned The Hard Way About Breastfeeding

(via Huffington Post Parents)

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. What did you learn the hard way about breastfeeding?

23 Self Care Ideas

If you are a parent you may occasionally and suddenly find yourself with 15, 20 minutes, or even a half hour of free time. As the realization kicks in that you've suddenly got the equivalent of 40 ounces of gold in time, your mind starts to race through your to-do list trying to find one or two things you can knock out in 20 minutes. What is most likely NOT on that list are things like, 'take a bath' or 'call a friend' or 'read.' In other words, things we like to call 'self care activities.' That is, activities that serve absolutely no purpose other than to calm your nerves, be enjoyable, and get you in touch with what makes you tick (reading, music, other hobbies?).

This article sums up how we confuse 'self care' by doing things that are not actually caring for ourselves, a la 'I'm going to sit down and enjoy a glass or three of wine." These types of non-care 'care' activities are needed, but in small quantities. What our bodies really really need as deprived parents is actual TLC. This list is a great start. So start brainstorming and think about what you would do for self care. And next time you find yourself with a magical 20 minutes on your hands, maybe instead of knocking off a to-do item, knock of a self-care item. 

Read the full article here and let us know what you'd add to this list!

"Why Mark Zuckerberg is the Kind of Dad America Needs Now" -from Mashable

"Zuckerberg hasn't acknowledged the influence of his leadership as a CEO and father, but it has the potential to shift our collective notions about work and family in profound ways."

We all know our culture is in dire need of a 'collective shift' on the way we view work and family. If you are reading this chances are you've had to deal with the concept of maternity and paternity leave, and are now well aware of the woefully inadequate ways that both fail to support new families. Paid leave is (and should be) a hot button issue this political season, and this article highlights some of the ways Mark Zuckerberg's small but potent peeks into his life as a father may help keep this conversation at the forefront of the minds of new parents, and hopefully, our policy makers and company heads. 

Read the full article here