Posts tagged women's health
The 10 Best Gifts for New Moms
 
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Finding the best gift for a new mom should be a relatively easy task, however if you find yourself looking for the perfect gift for the new mom in your life, you may find that most new mom gifts are actually geared towards the baby, not the mother. At Duo Diary, our postpartum wellness journals are designed with mom in mind. We know that moms need to take care of themselves first, but somehow, this notion is still an afterthought. That's why Duo Diary is much more than just a baby feeding diary - there’s a page for baby….and a page for mom.

The ‘page for mom’ is missing in almost all postpartum products, which are mostly primarily baby focused. Mom is completely missing from the equation. Giving moms permission, access & tools to take care of herself is basically revolutionary at this point. So, we want to highlight other ‘revolutionary’ products that would make the best gifts for a new mom after she brings home a baby.

 

The 10 Best Gifts for New Moms

1. Postpartum Exercise Membership

There are a few women-led companies out there that are focused solely on helping women regain function after childbirth so that they can get back to their normal activities in a safe way. The catch is that most new mamas don't even know companies like this exist, so gifting a new mom with a membership (all programs are online and done at home) to one or more of these companies is a great way to ease her back.

Restore Your Core

Mutu System

Momma Strong

Abs, Core and Pelvic Floor by Natalie Hodson

 

2. Motherbees

An LA-based company, Motherbees offers LA- local food delivery focusing on foods for healing from childbirth like soups, teas, recovery and more. And for those who aren't local to LA, Motherbees founder Heng Ou wrote "The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother" filled with recipes and traditions and "the lost art of caring for a mother after birth" (available on Amazon).

 

3. Postpartum Subscription Boxes

Since subscription boxes are a thing these days, we're happy to see that some companies are taking 'pregnancy' subscription boxes into the 4th trimester. Many companies now offer boxes JUST for a new mom:

Alively

The Stork Bag

Ecocentric Mom

Bump Boxes

NaturAli

 

4. Mama Glow Glow Time Collection by Good Medicine Beauty Lab

New moms are often concerned about what they eat, but did you know that what you put ON your body is important, too? Aside from feeling incredibly luxurious and decadent, this line at Good Medicine Beauty lab was created just for mamas, and is safe for pregnant & nursing women.

 

5. Bone Broth Herbs

There's a reason the Motherbees book (#2 on this list) has lots of broth recipes- bone broth is warming, feels nurturing, grounding, and calming at a time when a new mother needs it most. Urban Herbs is upping the bone broth game through their Nourish The Mama herbs that can be added to bone broth, using a blend of Chinese herbs thought to help women recover from childbirth. Make sure you check with your healthcare practitioner/doctor before using these herbs. (And if you gift this to a mama, please, make the broth for her!)

 

6. Meal Delivery Service

Nourishment is so important for new moms, but making a healthy meal is damn near impossible when you have a newborn. Enter meal delivery services. Getting a new mom a gift card to any meal delivery service (NOT meal kits which require the mom to actually do the cooking) can often be EXACTLY what a new mama needs. Yes, you could just bake a lasagna, but lasagna isn't healthy or nourishing and many meal delivery services offer options for dietary restrictions and meals that can be truly healthy for a new mom. Try using The Google Machine to find local deliver services in your area that cater to moms (like Motherbees in LA or MaMeal in Chicago). Otherwise, consider gift cards to Doordash, Grub Hub, or Munchery.

7. Earth Mama Organics Postpartum Line

We love seeing companies that create products just for mom, and Earth Mama is a well known company that makes natural and organic products. While they have a large line of products for baby and pregnancy, they also have a postpartum line, made just for the new mama. 

 

8. Postpartum Doula

A new mom needs help, in any form, of any kind. Wondering what kind of gift to get a new mom? Consider gifting a gift card or certificate to a local postpartum doula, whose role is to help support the whole family's transition- not just focusing on baby. They may do a range of tasks from light housekeeping, meal prep, baby support, lactation support, to help with siblings. Find one in your area here

 

9. Postpartum Kits

Etsy is full of creative kits made with products to help soothe and nurture a new mom. You can find a plethora by simply searching for "postpartum" in Etsy, but here are a few:

SweetGum Botanicals

Plainville Homestead

Green Earth Naturals

 

10. Duo Diary Postpartum Journal

There are a million apps and baby journals out there that help new parents track all of their baby's feedings and diapers, but none of them take mom into account. Duo Diary knows how intimately intertwined mama and baby are, and we also know how common it is for new moms to lose track of her own health while she adjusts to focusing so much on baby. That's why our journals are designed with ample space for new moms to make sure they are healing OK, that they are getting the care they need, that they are eating, sleeping, drinking water, and other basic needs that seem to go out the window for new moms (showers, anyone?). We also offer an entire Resources area just to help mothers navigate the postpartum period and our blog is full of information like exercise for new moms, healing after childbirth, and interviews with cutting edge mama focused companies like Mothering Arts and Birthfit. You can buy our journals in the original one month journal or our new 3 month journal or 1 year pack. Go here to purchase one for the new mom in your life.

 

What are your favorite gifts to give a new mom? 


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.

10 Self Care Ideas For Busy Moms
 
Photo by  Dominik Martin  on  Unsplash
 

Self care is such a buzz word at the moment, which isn't a bad thing- its about time something that revolves around stress relief and taking care of yourself is a 'thing.'  But sometimes, self care ideas either don't serve us in a positive way, or they are unattainable or unrealistic. And while we all love a good glass of wine and a nice warm bath, not all self  care looks like a Pinterest photo. It can take many forms- from recognizing your worth to demanding better to taking a break- it's all important to our overall mental health and wellbeing. 

As mamas, self care is incredibly important. So here are ten tips that can have big affects on your wellbeing - a self care plan for the modern mama.

1. Say NO

For whatever reason, women are socialized to be people pleasers. An act of self care is to start training yourself to say no to others in the interest of serving yourself.  Bottom line, start making room in your schedule for you, not for others. 

2. Go to bed early and on a schedule

Research shows that an early and consistent bedtime and wake time have profound affects on our health. Consistent good sleep habits affect emotional health, problem solving, irritability, productivity, weight, and many other chronic and serious health conditions. The common knowledge is that our circadian rhythms dictate a 10pm-6am window as optimal, but some sleep scientists say genetics plays a big role, as does age. So play around with times and find what works for you. 

3. Demand more from your partner. 

Like "self care", "emotional labor"  or "mental load" are current big buzz words that have gained a lot of traction this year. And with good reason - new research shows it is oh so real and has a measurable affects on women. This one is hard, because it is one of the most important on this list, but that also means it's one of the most difficult to implement or change. The bottom line is that as a mom, you are now taking on significantly more, and these responsibilities (both actual and mental load-type of responsibilities) should be shared as much as possible. Every family is different and dynamics play a huge role but consider some small steps you might be able to take to start sharing this load with your partner in a more equal way. That may mean having some difficult conversations, but this is your health, and sometimes difficult conversations can lead to big changes. 

4. TAKE time for yourself.

Ever notice how some people just seem to have boundaries set firmly in place for themselves, they don't seem to be beholden to anyone else's expectations, and they just take time they want or need? Be like them. Unapologetically take time for yourself. Don't ask permission from your partner, don't make sure all your ducks are in a row first, just go and take some time. This might start off with leaving the room for 15 minutes to read a magazine article or something. You shouldn't need permission to take a break. Just freaking take it. 

5. Turn off screens an hour before bed.

This goes back to #2. Those blue lights our phones and ipads and TV's emit? They are oh-so-bad for our sleep - not to mention the anxiety created from scrolling through the latest political news on Facebook. Turn screens off an hour before bed to give your brain a chance to chill out before hitting the pillow and do something old fashioned like reading a book. With pages. 

6. Exercise for your mood

This means listen to your body, not your exercise calendar. Are you having an extra busy week? Not sleeping great? Fighting a cold? This might not be the best time to go out and do that 5 mile run that's on your calendar. This also depends on where you are in your menstrual cycle. Try using the Flo Living myFlo app to track your periods - this app also tells you how your hormones at different times in your cycle affect exercise. 

7. Drink a lot of water

Dehydration is super common, especially for moms who are pulled in a million different directions throughout the day. But it can have real and immediate consequences like fatigue, hunger, and sluggishness. Hydrating throughout the day is key- carry a water bottle (preferably glass or stainless steel) and keep track of how much you are drinking in your Duo Diary to make sure you are getting enough- particularly if you are breastfeeding!

8. Get off Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or your social media drug of choice

There is some research suggesting that social media usage may lead to less happiness and life satisfaction. But you already knew that. So don't bother reading Great Uncle Earl's latest political diatribe or the 'my life is perfect' post from that person from high school you haven't talked to since high school. Cutting out social media is harder than it sounds- the research also suggests that it can show addictive qualities - so try weaning yourself off, or going cold turkey on a 'digital cleanse.' 

9. Stand Up For Yourself and Your Health

As mamas, particularly when you are a new mama, you come into contact with LOTS of people who have you and your child's best interest at heart, but whose advice may not really serve you in the best way possible (such as the common "you just had a baby, this is normal" advice). If something doesn't sound right, feel right, or most importantly- resolve your issue or give you an answer- keep demanding more. This goes for any healthcare practitioner you come into contact with after having a baby! They see a ton of people and are overwhelmed, (we can all relate to the 'rushed doctor appointment') so you'll need to demand more if you aren't getting the information you need to be healthy. 

10. Journal

The health benefits of journaling are well documented, and a little can go a long way. No, you may no longer have 30 minutes of uninterrupted writing as a mom, but even just jotting down the one nagging thought that's bugging you can help. This is why Duo Diary is designed with a big ol' notes section on the page for mamas- journaling for yourself is part of your health. So grab your Duo Diary and get writing!

 

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.

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.

The Story Behind Morskap- A Postpartum Health Site
 
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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.

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. 

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?

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