Oh baby! I’m not sure whether it’s the sleep deprivation or just the passing of time that makes a new mom forget what it was like to try to juggle life, family, work AND a new baby. Honestly, it’s not always easy to do it all, so I try to find tips, tricks, and products to help smooth these sometimes-rough waters ☺. I’m happy to be writing this today to share one of my new favorite secrets and latest discoveries that’s helping me balance it all — babywearing.
Now, let’s rewind about 6 months – you may recall a post I did about an amazing carrier that carried big ol’ Cashy boy in the Colorado mountains, while I was 6 months pregnant. If you don’t recall, long story short – while we were in Colorado filming Extreme Weight Loss, one of the crew let me borrow their Ergobaby Carrier for a hike with Cash. I was a bit skeptical, being 6 months pregnant, that the carrier would be all that comfortable with a 2 year old…especially one that doesn’t like to be contained. Much to my surprise, the carrier was a hit, and I was sold! I bet you can guess what my first purchase was when I got home…
Enter little Ruby, and enter amazing Ergobaby infant line. My two saving graces have been an amazing swaddle we received as a gift and my Ergobaby Wrap. I have learned how valuable wearing my baby can actually be with these wraps and carriers. Not only does babywearing give me the bonding time and closeness I crave with little Ruby (and she definitely needs with me), but it also allows me some hand-free time to FaceTime with Chris, return a few emails, fold laundry, and most importantly, keep being an active mom to Matix, Marley, and Cash.
Why am I so in love with this wrap? Unlike most “structured” baby carriers, the soft fabrics almost seem to mold to your body and to baby. The tight fit on my back and shoulders makes Baby Ruby feel lighter than when she was in my belly! I feel like I could carry her around all day and not get tired or achy. New moms – I’m sure you can relate – that upper back/shoulder tension you get from carrying a newborn and nursing all day long it brutal, to say the least. The relief has been very much appreciated ☺.
This wrap was made for multitasking, baby-snuggling moms…like me.
One of the biggest perks of all? This wrap allowed me the freedom and flexibility to begin moving around and burning off those “baby pounds” that added up over 9 months!
One of the most often asked questions is, “When can I start working out after having a baby?” While this answer is different for everybody (be sure to ask your doctor first), I figured I’d share some of my own personal tips to getting your body back while bonding with baby…through babywearing ☺
Safety first! Use a babywearing carrier, like the Ergobaby Wrap, that is properly designed for the age of your infant or toddler. Read the directions and understand the correct positioning and usage for your baby and at what age they can change positions.
Balance! Balance! Balance! Remember, you just had a baby. Just as you may have started to lose your balance and center of gravity before delivery, the same is most likely happening post-delivery. As your weight is changing and the muscles are retracting in your abdominal and leg/hip areas, your body needs time to adapt, once again. Think about it – for 9 months, you got used to carrying most of your weight on your front and center!! Bottom line here is that you must take it easy anytime you are carrying your baby, using your arms or the carrier, and ease into any kind of exercise. Baby’s safety is most important…don’t move too fast or too quick, wear supportive shoes, and make sure you feel stable with the baby in the carrier, no matter what it is you are doing.
Walk, don’t run! While you may be tempted to jump right into some pre-baby exercises like squats, lunges, and running… don’t! At least, not if you are wearing your baby. For all of the above-mentioned reasons, you should maintain safety first. The best news I can deliver is this: most weight loss happens while walking anyway!!! Yes, you read that right. How do we get 400 lbs individuals to lose 200 lbs in one year? By reminding them to simply walk! Walking is one of the best ways to stay active, maintain relationships (like playing with your kids and carrying baby), and burn many calories! Amazing, right??
Work that walk! Now that we know the power of walking is often underestimated, and that it can be one of the most effective calorie burners in your arsenal of exercises, it’s time to figure out the how. It’s easy…secure your infant in a wrap or carrier, set a timer for 30 minutes and get moving! Focus on alternating between slow and brisk walks to get your heart rate up (again, safety first). A couple ways to easily do this are:
Time it – 90 seconds fast, 90 seconds slow. Alternate between the two until your time is up.
Light Post to Light Post – Most neighborhoods and pathways have light posts or other items along the path that are evenly spaced. Use them as your goal for each round of slow and brisk walking.
Be a kid again – When exercise seems daunting, rest assured that simply playing is exercise in and of itself! Take the kiddos outside and engage in tag, ring-around-the-rosie, or even a little skipping. Play is a natural form of exercise for kids of all ages, and is great for mom and dad too!
So much you can do with that baby swaddled next to you, huh? Ruby is near 4 months now (already!!). I try to cherish every moment with her…time flies faster than I want it to. Thank goodness for the Ergobaby Wrap, I can love on my Ruby all day long, even with our crazy, busy lives ☺
So many people are asking me if I am working out yet, post-baby. The answer is yes with some fine print ☺. While I have done a couple structured bouts of movement that could be considered “working out”, I am not yet allowing myself to push at the intensity that I am wishing I could, just to be safe.
Most doctors and reputable sources recommend waiting 4-6 weeks post-delivery before Mom gets back into her regular workouts. However, the same reputable sources and doctors also say the most important thing is to listen to your body (we are all different!). They say if you worked out before pregnancy, and continued to workout through your pregnancy, there is a good chance your body may be ready for exercise much quicker than if you didn’t workout before and/or during pregnancy.
My own personal rules of thumb are these:
1. Get my doctor’s okay to begin.
2. If I am experiencing vaginal bleeding still, I am not ready to workout. If at anytime after I start working out, bleeding resumes, I will stop until it subsides and doc says it’s okay to begin again.
3. If I experience any physical pain (unrelated to regular muscular soreness that follows any good workout), I will stop working out or modify the movement to eliminate the pain. I believe that our bodies talk to us this way, and we should listen!
4. If my breast milk production slows down at any point after resuming exercise, I will slow down my workouts, or stop altogether, until milk production ramps back up. Side note: this may also be a sign my calorie consumption and water intake need to increase.
There you have it. As long as these 4 things are in check, I will begin my workouts.
With every baby, this time period has been different. With Matix and Marley, I waited nearly a full 6 weeks because I didn’t do much (if any) exercise during pregnancy. After Cash, I waited about 2-3 weeks, and after Ruby I gave my body 2 weeks before I started “working out”.
I use quotes because, once again, the workouts were so light compared to my usual, but I know just how important it is to start light. More than anything, this was my structured way to move functionally like all new moms (and humans, for that matter) do each and every day. Think:
squats – like sitting and standing from couch or toilet,
presses – like we do to help our bodies off of the floor or how we push the stroller, and
pulling – like we do to lift our babies and hold them to our chest
Nice and basic. Easy and functional.
Time to share the workout! It was one of my favorites and can be done at ANY level of fitness, from beginner to advanced. By choosing a workout that is scalable, I knew I would be able to throttle it up or down at anytime, ensuring I didn’t overwork my body the first time back.
Disclaimer: If you plan to attempt this workout, please make sure you have your doctors approval, as every body is different post baby. Some are ready sooner than others. Your doctor can help you decide if YOU are ready to begin workouts again.
And…a side note: Even if you are NOT pregnant or postpartum, this workout could be great for you – don’t be scared to rev up the intensity! Give it a try.
My 1st Post-Ruby Workout: 12 Minutes of Tabata
What is Tabata? Four minute rounds of exercise. You perform a move for 20 seconds, followed by 10 second rest, repeating 8 times, totaling 4 minutes. Go at your own pace. If you are only able to get ONE repetition of move in during the allotted 20 second time period, then only do one repetition.
Moves I Tabata’d (4 minutes each move. 3 moves, totaling 12 minutes):
Air Squats – My first round I got 20 in, but by round 5 I was slowing down to about 10 squats in 20 seconds.
*These can be modified to be done from a couch or chair. You basically sit down and stand up from the couch or chair to complete one rep.
Pushups – Oh…I struggled with these. Round 1, I did 12. By round 7 and 8, I was happy to get in 1 or 2 pushups. I slowed down once I realized my core needed some attention.
*Feel free to modify this to pushups from your knees or even pushups from your waist.
Bent Over Rows – I used a 45 lbs weight for both arms (not for each arm ☺). These felt good, but worked muscles I seem to have been neglecting for the last little while.
*These were great to end with. I felt like I got the harder moves out of the way first, and got to end with something a tad lighter.
Moral of the story – listen to your body and your doctor. Move when you are ready, and don’t be discouraged to see your fitness levels aren’t where they were pre-pregnancy. Day by day, with some patience, hard work, and perseverance, we can all become even stronger than we were pre-baby!
It is no secret that our family’s busy life has us jet setting more than the average family. While most of the time, these travels are easy and somewhat predictable, thanks to an awesome nanny and two older kids that are superstar helpers, we occasionally encounter periods of time and travel that aren’t as easy and predictable as we would like.
Example – traveling to Hawaii with a 2 week old. This was a hot topic of debate for many and understandably so. It was torturous for Chris and myself, as her parents, to figure out how we could make Ruby’s first trip as safe as humanly possible, and still accomplish the things that we needed to accomplish. I’m happy to report, the trip was a success on SO many levels ☺.
Let’s start with the 6 ½ hour plane ride from Phoenix to Hawaii. This, my friends, was my biggest worry. The thought of exposing Baby Ruby’s new immune system to an airport, let alone an airplane with re-circulated air for 6+ hours kept me up at night for an entire week leading up to the flight. I read as many google searched articles and forums that I could find on the topic – looking up moms and dads that had flown with their babies at such a young age…hoping and praying their babies were safe. I searched and read nearly every doctor-written and recommended site to see how early was too early for an infant to fly. While I saw the recommendation was 4-6 weeks (to allow time for their immune systems to strengthen), they did say flying earlier could be done with proper precautions.
So…precautions were taken. Chris found the BEST carseat cover that we used the ENTIRE way to and from Hawaii – it was a lifesaver. While I’m not sure how much it actually protected Ruby from the potentially bad air, it sure made Mom and Dad feel better. She only came out of her little cocoon to eat and be changed twice on the flight. Every other minute was spent sleeping (thank you, Ruby!!).
Also, we found that the location of her seat could help her stay out of germs way. Immediately behind first class (yes, we fly coach) and off to the far side felt the safest. We did splurge and buy Ruby her own seat though. While the cost seemed high to me, the investment in a healthier space for her was worth it to us.
When in Hawaii, the fresh, ocean air was amazing. I found myself happy to be there, nearly pollution-free, for Ruby’s 3rd week of life, even over our home state of AZ. She got a nice amount of clean air, indirect sunlight (which is great for reducing risk of jaundice in newborns), and a happy and stress-free mom and dad. She ate well, and grew bigger over the course of that week. While I even like to think I saw her smile a few times, I know better than to think it was real. But, Ruby did seem to thoroughly enjoy that third of her life on the Hawaiian islands, I must say ☺.
Cashy Boy…dream come true. I don’t know how a child that was SO hard to travel with (and we have traveled with him a TON over his 2.5 years of life) has become such a breeze!!! I’m not going to question it too much, I’m only going to be grateful ☺.
Hawaii was beautiful and amazing (and SO wonderful to see three of our Extreme Weight Loss peeps conquer their 6 Month Milestone Challenges), but I am happy to be home with Matix and Marley again.
The Powell Pack is complete once again ☺.
Next up in our world of travel? I can’t tell you, but I will give you a hint:
Rumpelstiltskin + G + 8 + path over water. Guess below:
Have a baby. Four days later endure kidney stones and kidney stone removal surgery. Next up, the flu. Following this, a sinus infection…and Baby Ruby isn’t even two weeks old yet! On her two week birthday, I do my first workout. Two weeks and 2 days post baby, I wear a little blue (not black) dress for family pics. Same day, an exercise photo shoot for Family Circle Magazine (due out this March). Two weeks and 3 days post baby, we jet set to Hawaii for work commitments. Two weeks and 4 days post baby, you see me relaxed on the beach. And with ALL of this going on, I appear utterly and totally at ease with my life…in photos, at least…which seems to make people think I am Wonder Woman.
How do I do it, you ask? I have some major, MAJOR secrets to share with you all.
Secret #1 – I cry…a LOT. I am an average post-partum mommy ☺. Photos only show one bleep in time. They don’t show my ugly “crying face” that comes out to Chris, Kamala, and the kids nearly every day since Ruby was born…whining that life feels overbearingly tough sometimes. Ladies and gentlemen, I am human. When I am pregnant, I am moody as all get out. After I have babies, I am an emotional wreck that feels like life will never feel normal again. I have my good days and my bad days. I have happy moments and I have sad moments. I am a woman. With or without pregnancy and babies, I ride a monthly emotional rollercoaster. And I’ll venture to say that my emotions might be more volatile than most…but we can let Chris confirm this ;).
Secret #2 – Spanx, Baby. Yup, you got it. I don’t have the ripped abs back that I had pre pregnancy with Ruby. Not even close. I will admit, the exercise I did during my pregnancy has made “body after baby” bounce back a little quicker than before, but I am a ways from what the photos may suggest. Flattering clothes and Spanx are to thank for keeping my core activated (which is supposed to help abdominal recovery) and my belly minimized. This, my friends, is the only way I was able to appear somewhat back-to-normal in the exercise photos for Family Circle Magazine. Spanx works miracles.
All in the name of vanity? Maybe, but I don’t know a woman out there that wouldn’t take advantage of a modern, manmade miracle (called Spanx) to slim the figure for a national magazine shoot ☺. If you are one of these woman that would let it all hang out, you have my respect!!! I am still working on my own insecurity issues though.
Secret #3 – I can be wimpy. I hear so many people giving me a pat on the back for my toughness. While I did have a baby (or two) natural, with no drugs, my “toughness” ego was brought down a few notches when kidney stones set in. Boy, oh boy. For someone that has always prided herself on “no drugs or pain killers for anything”, I sure realized it was okay to make the occasional exception. The doctors and nurses in the hospital with me will tell you…I was anything BUT tough those days ☺. I was in so much pain that I was willing to take whatever it was that they would give me. I’ve never experienced such desperation for relief before.
Side note: Ever wonder which is more painful, childbirth or kidney stones? Having experienced both within 4 days of each other, I have my opinion. Without a doubt, kidney stones. Just an opinion though ☺
Secret #4 – Do what you gotta do, no matter what anyone else says. Yes, I know flying with a 2 ½ week old is not ideal. I get it. As conflicted as some of my readers were over this, I assure you that I was more conflicted. This sweet baby Ruby is MINE…no one in this world cares more about her than we do. No one. Unfortunately, there are certain situations and circumstances in life (such as contractual obligations to a show that shoots year round) that do force us to make the best decision in a scenario that may not have ANY ideal choices. Without going into too much detail, I assure all of you that on SO many levels, the choices we make for our children are in our entire family’s best interest. I appreciate the care and concern of so many, but rest assured that we would never make a choice for our children that wasn’t in the best interest of their well being. Just keep in mind though – judgment is tough to make when you are only seeing the cover of the book, and you are unable to dig into the meat of the chapters to see what is really going on in the story.
Accepting that everyone will have their own ideas of how life should be lived, and knowing the truth that there is no “right way” has been a life saver to me. “Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter” are words I try to remember ☺
Secret #5 – I have help. You see me making life, a clean house, and parenting while traveling and working seem easy. What you don’t see are the little helpers I have behind the scenes. We have the most amazing family and friends there to support us, help us out of binds, watch the kids last minute, sit by my side at the hospital, help Ruby take her first bottle of formula when I couldn’t be there to nurse her, clean my house when I’m in too much pain to get up, and make me smile simply because they love us so much. Without them none of this would be possible. They help our family function and allow us to keep doing the things we know will make this world a better place.
My secrets are out. But the real secret seems to be that there is no secret to Wonder Woman at all. In fact, Wonder Woman doesn’t even exist. I am simply a woman, just like you (or your wife or mother), trying my darndest to make the best life possible for my sweet family.
If there is one thing though that does make so much possible for me, it is that I refuse to give up. No matter what life throws at me, no matter the comments that are made, no matter the fullness of my plate, no matter the pain I am in. I. Will. Not. Quit.
Maybe, just maybe, this creates Wonder Women and Super Men…
Day 11-15: Thankful for Magic Hands…and for Little Miss Ruby :)
POSTED ON November 20, 2013
This post was created about 30 minutes before my water broke at home last Saturday morning :). Because a trip to the hospital was in order, it was clearly never posted. But I really do think this may have done the trick! It’s funny to read this post, knowing so much was just on the cusp of happening…and at the time I had no idea.
Blog post, typed just hours before Ruby was born, below.
PS – I am counting this as Days 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15 that I missed during labor and recovery. Little Miss Ruby has given me so much to be thankful for in this Month of Thanks, I believe this is warranted :).
I don’t get them often, but when I do get a massage, I sure do appreciate it :).
Yesterday’s was amazing.
Once I realized that no amount of physical activity, hiking, jumping, or sex (sorry if TMI, but many of you suggested it!) could put me into labor, I decided to take a shot in the other direction with some much-needed “rest and relaxtion”. “Maybe THIS will do it for me,” I thought.
I called our amazing massage therapist and she made it to our home within 3 hours to do the job :). It. Was. The. Most. Amazing. Massage. Ever. Maybe because my body has been in need for so long, or maybe because I was so tired…or maybe because Jenn has magic hands! I don’t know, but I will tell you this…I am SO thankful for yesterday’s massage.
Let’s hope the R&R did the trick! The clock is ticking…no baby yet…
Six days in on this Month of Thanks thing. I’m a little late today…but no less grateful.
Today, I am grateful for another day…another day with just 3 kids. I am over the moon excited about Little Missy’s arrival, but considering we are at the tail end of our 3rd move in 4 months (yes…I’m serious), I couldn’t be more grateful that our bun decided to stay cooking in her oven for just one more day.
So much to do to get the family (and me) ready for her to come and play. All of this getting ready would have been much harder with 4 in tow…especially with one of them as a newborn.
I must say, these 3 have been quite the helpers! Cash included :).
THANK YOU, Baby Girl…tomorrow will work perfectly for me :).
You see my posts all too often these days…I’m nearing D-Day and WAY too curious about when our little princess will actually come.
Of all parts that come along with pregnancy, I must admit that the hardest part for me is this game at the end…the waiting game.
If only I had a crystal ball…I could plan my days, my kids’ days, my weeks, my work, my blogs, my workouts with the peeps…I am quite the planner, if you haven’t figured that out yet ☺. Not knowing what to plan for it the hardest thing in the world for me!
I know induction is a possibility, but since I am doing another epidural-free childbirth, I’m not interested in a potentially more-painful process that comes with induction. The way it happens naturally is enough for me!
Bottom line, I just want to hold this little baby girl. I want to dress her, bathe her, play with her, and let the kids and Chris do the same. I can’t wait to meet her. Each day feels like 10, lately.
To make some fun of this crazy waiting, I decided to make a game of it for all of us! We’re going to play a guessing game!
Whoever can accurately predict Baby Girl Powell’s arrival dateand time wins a HUGE grand prize…a $500 Reebok gift card!!!!
Here are a couple tips for you, which may (or may not) help out your guesses:
1. My due date is November 16.
2. This is my 4th pregnancy/childbirth. Some say the more you have the quicker they come…although I am not sure I believe this
3. Matix and Marley (my two oldest) were BOTH 10 days early.
4. Cash, my youngest, was (are you ready for this?) 10 days LATE!
5. I have been incredibly active this pregnancy. They say the more active you are, the longer you carry babies.
6. I don’t feel close AT ALL right now. I feel like she might want to stay in this belly of mine forever, if she could. Cash was the same way.
7. Getting Cash to come out was a chore. Ten days overdue, I tried castor oil twice, and finally went into labor after lunging (with backpacks on my back), jumping rope, sprinting halls…all in the hospital. Finally, they broke my water for me to start labor. He was out within 28 minutes.
Hope this helps ☺
Here’s how to play:
1. Leave a comment on this blog, giving your guesses. Don’t forget date AND time. The first to pick it correctly (or the closest guess without going over) is our winner. You can comment/guess up to 5 times.
2. Like, share, retweet, repost, and/or rePin the Baby Due Date Guessing Game posts on my social media channels. Share your guess(es) with each post! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #BabyPowell and #HeidiPowell so I can find you.
3. Get guessing!
PS – This guessing game will go on until she is born…you may have 1 day, you may have 30 days. I’d place your guesses quickly!!! Winner will be announced shortly after Baby Powell arrives!
Good luck…to both of us! ☺
To help everyone in making their guesses, List the date first, then time, followed by any comments.
Example: November 7th – 2:34pm Can’t wait for her arrival!
If there is one thing I wish I had from day one of Cash’s life, it would be an Ergobaby Performance Carrier. With all of the hiking, trekking, moving, and walking the Powell Pack does, this sure would have made our life easier.
I was introduced to the Ergobaby Carrier this last summer in Colorado. A friend and I were taking our combined 5 kids (6, if you include the baby on board ☺) for a hike in the beautiful mountains of Canon City, CO, and Cash – bless his heart – was being the usual Cashy Boy…super rambunctious! I didn’t have any desire to pull him up those mountains with the risk of him running over a ledge. Nor did I feel like carrying him on my hip the whole way. I was 6 months pregnant for crying out loud!
Ergobaby to the rescue! Much to my surprise, the Ergobaby Carrier my friend lent me not only carried Cash’s 2 year old body on my back, but carried him comfortably for both of us. And until this point, Cash had NEVER been a fan of carriers!! EVER.
After doing some research of my own, I realized Ergobaby has a line specifically designed for active parents like us! I thought the one I wore was comfortable for hiking…I can only imagine how comfortable the Performance Carrier is. I can’t wait to try it out!
You can win one of these $135 amazing carriers for yourself!
Ergobaby has been kind enough to offer up a carrier from their Performance Carrier line for Baby Powell’s 12-week Baby Shower Giveaway for one of my lucky readers. Thank you, Ergobaby
Here’s what you had to do to win:
1. Comment on this post – tell me about your favorite hike, or how you plan to use the Ergobaby Performance Carrier.
2. Like, Share, and/or rePin my #BabyPowell Giveaway posts on as many social media channels as you can: Facebook , Instagram, Twitter, and/or Pinterest.
3. Follow Ergobaby on Pinterest and/or on Twitter.
Random winner was announced on Wednesday, October 23, 2013. Thanks for participating!