After Baby

16 Minute Club: Breastfeeding Support Box {Review & Giveaway}

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I was so excited to receive one of the Subscription Boxes from The 16 Minute Club, founded by IBCLC Wendy Wright, and named after the average length of a breastfeeding session (16 minutes). Each of the available boxes are designed to specifically meet the needs of you and your baby at every stage of breastfeeding. You can choose to subscribe to all of the boxes, which will automatically come to you just when they’re needed, or start with the box most relevant to your baby’s age. Successful breastfeeding comes easier for some mothers than others, so having a little help from experts come right to your doorstep is pretty great.

From Knocked-Up Fitness: 16 Minute Club Box

First let’s talk about how cute this package is–I mean, getting a present in the mail is awesome, but even better, this box feels like a care package from a (really educated) family member, and it’s pretty, too! So let’s get right down to it…

When I opened up the package the first item on the top is a personalized little note and a binder filled with an introduction, words of encouragement, and information about the stages of breastfeeding & baby development (keeping in mind that all babies develop at a different pace). The 16 Minute Club offers several different boxes, and since my baby is nearly 3 months old (wow, time flies!!) I received box #3. This box particularly identifies growth spurts, soothing techniques, and building up a sufficient supply for your ever-growing babe (see what I mean about relevancy– my baby is growing like a weed!). You can see in the picture, there are tons of awesome goodies in this box, a lot of which are items I have talked about wanting to try, but either didn’t know where to find them, or didn’t know how to tell what products are the best. That’s another reason I really love the idea of these boxes, I feel a lot more confident in using the products knowing a professional has hand picked them.

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Okay, since I loved everything in this box, naming favorites isn’t realistic.. so this is what The 16 Minute Club included in my Box #3:

Lactation Cookie & Birds and Bees Tea: Both products are included to help mom make sufficient supply during growths spurt. Quality products made with natural, safe ingredients (LOVE that!) for nursing moms. Plus, who can complain about a snack, am I right!?

Bella B Nipple Nurture Butter & Motherlove Green Salve: Again, two products made with natural ingredients so I can safely use them on myself and baby– and anyone else! Actually, I used the Motherlove Salve on a dry patch on my three year old’s face before picture day, cleared it right up! The Bella B cream is a great alternative to other nipple creams because it’s lanolin-free, it also smells great and is PERFECT for avoiding irritated skin when baby seems to be eating 24/7!

BabyBabyOhBaby Infant Massage DVD & Susan Brown’s Botanical Body Massage Oil: Okay, I said I wasn’t picking favorites, but I lied. I love love LOVE the combination of these two products. Here’s why: Babies (especially small ones) get bored– but you can’t exactly take them outside for a bike ride. Enter: Infant Massage. Not only do I now have the softest baby on the block thanks to the massage oil, but he is happy! The DVD teaches you different techniques to massage baby, and I can vouch for their belly massage tactics really helping with gas related fussing!

Baby Bits wipes solution & Breast Assured nursing pads: These are both things that were on my personal list of things I wanted to try but never seemed to get around to picking up, and are now regular use items. The nursing pads are perfect for during the day, discreet and absorbent and stay in place unlike the disposables that seem to get lost half the time (I still use disposables at night, as they didn’t work as well while laying down, but for the day, I give them an A+ for comfort and effectiveness). The wipes are a great alternative to pre-soaked throw-away wipes, and are especially soothing for when baby has an irritated bottom.

Also Included:
Green Sprouts baby toy, aka probably the most baby-friendly toy out there–made from cornstarch, PVC & BPA free, if your little one loves to chew on toys, this is probably one of the safest ones!

The Milk Charm, a helpful little ‘necklace’ for your pumped bottles, so busy moms can keep track of when the bottle was pumped to ensure it’s fresh for baby.

And, milkscreens. Okay, now I’m going to confess to a guilty pleasure: the first time I saw this product, it was being used by Kourtney Kardashian. These test strips detect the presence of alcohol in breast milk. So for the sake of science (!!!) I enjoyed a glass of wine, and they really work! While I’m not going to make a habit out of drinking and testing, it’s serves as a great reminder that what you consume, baby consumes. They might also be useful when baby is eating less frequently, so you have a chance to enjoy a drink without worrying about feeding soon.

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Finally, the package also contains special offers, coupons, and information booklets on the products and companies represented in the box.

I think the best part of these boxes is that the products included identify your current breastfeeding and baby needs. It isn’t just one box with a bunch of random items that I may or may not even remember that I have in a few months when they are relevant– it’s full of products that I might not have even known about, but are absolute life savers at this particularly trying period (seriously, will this baby ever get on a schedule?). I really would recommend a subscription to these boxes to support anyone who is expecting!

So here’s your chance to enter to win one of three boxes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Big Thank You to Wendy from 16 Minute Club for sending me such a lovely care package! Contact them online to order for you or a pregnant/new mama you know!

 

Julianna

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After Baby

A New Reason to Keep Up With Those Kegels!

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Kegel Exercises are an important part of pelvic strength during pregnancy and after baby. A strong pelvic floor not only contributes to easier labor and reduced pain during pregnancy– but it can contribute to many other aspects of your life (better sex, less risk of incontinence, and a tighter abdomen… need I say more?)!

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Often there is concern that kegels, while doing their job to tighten ‘down there’, can increase your risk of experiencing tearing or a difficult labor– but an Obstetrics and Gynecological study on the effect of antenatal pelvic floor muscle training on labor and birth proves otherwise! Women who performed regular pelvic floor muscle training exercises were actually less likely to experience tearing during labor. Additionally, the study showed that women performing these exercises had a reduced rate of necessary episiotomy, vaccuum and forcep intervention, and cesarean delivery! All in favor of fewer complications– say I!!

In short, pelvic floor muscle training during pregnancy can make your delivery and after baby experience much more comfortable! To get started on pelvic floor training, check out how to perform a kegel, and The Knocked-Up Fitness Guide to Pregnancy Book, these will help you target the muscles that contribute to your pelvic floor! A strong pelvic floor is an essential part of the Prenatal and After-Baby Knocked-Up Fitness Program, because making your delivery, recovery, and long term fitness goals easier, accessible, and straightforward is what the program is all about!

Julianna

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Sources:

PubMed

After Baby

Prenatal Exercise & Postpartum Rewards

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Prenatal exercise is great for your body and mood during pregnancy, and research has shown that it can also contribute to your baby’s health and even your delivery– which is why Knocked-Up Fitness is so passionate about getting you active during your pregnancy & after baby!

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Although most mom’s think a pregnancy ends when your baby is in your arms, the ’4th Trimester’ is an essential part of your bonding time with baby, and a time when your body just begins to work its way back to your pre-pregnancy ‘norm’. The pressure to lose the baby weight doesn’t always come from others, often mom’s just want to feel more healthy, energetic, and back to themselves– which is why the challenge of losing the baby weight is such a huge topic, and why it’s so exciting to see that you can start working towards your goals safely– while you’re still pregnant!

The National Center for Biotechnology Information published a study in 2012, confirming what we promote every day– healthy activity during pregnancy (approved by your doctor!) can really help your postpartum recovery, and your journey back to your pre-pregnancy body (or better!). The results posted in the article, show that women who exercise with low or moderate intensity had lower gestational weight gain, and were as much as four times more likely to be within range of their pre-pregnancy weight at just two months postpartum!

Remember– it takes nine months to gain the baby-weight, and it can take that long to lose it and re-tone the muscles that changed so much to accommodate your beautiful baby! However, we all want to know that it is possible to lose that baby weight– and it’s clear that pregnancy and postpartum health go hand-in-hand. Remember to check with your doctor before beginning a prenatal exercise program– then check out the Knocked-Up Fitness Prenatal DVDs and Digital Programs to get started toning, preparing for labor, and gearing up to feel great after baby!

Julianna

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Sources:

National Center for Biotechnology Information

After Baby

5 Surprising Postpartum Body Changes

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After nine months of growing your baby (or babies!) you may not recognize the body you’re in after delivery. No matter how much you exercise and eat right during your pregnancy, you will probably experience a few (or many) unexpected post-baby body changes. The most important thing to remember is that your body has just done one of the longest, toughest 9 month full time jobs in the world– and one of the best things you can do to recover is to listen to your body! Wait until you’re physically ready for (and your doctor approves!) exercise, then follow your body’s cues as you ease into postpartum activity.  And since sometimes your body can send some pretty crazy messages, here are 5 postpartum changes  that you can expect from your body after delivery!

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After delivery belly. Many moms think that when the baby is out, their belly should go right back down to normal size, since there is no longer a baby pushing everything around. The reality is that baby was inside a very expanded uterus (it changes from the size of a walnut to the size of a watermelon during pregnancy!). It isn’t uncommon to leave the delivery room, or even leave the hospital, still looking several months pregnant. The good news is that this will reduce over time, especially quickly if you’re nursing or were active during your pregnancy! Remember to take it slow after delivery, until you’ve been approved to exercise.

Breast tenderness & leaking. Whether or not you’re choosing to breastfeed, moms will experience breast swelling and tenderness as your body prepares to make milk for baby. Breastfeeding will promote faster and easier recovery, and tenderness should subside once baby is on a feeding schedule that your body is used to.

Postpartum Incontinence. Many pregnant moms experience not making it the bathroom in time, or laughing a little too hard when baby is sitting on your bladder, but many don’t expect the problem to continue after delivery. Postpartum incontinence is quite common, since pelvic floor muscles are very strained during delivery. This will usually resolve in the first few weeks, and you can speed it along by maintaining a strong pelvic floor with pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy and starting your kegels immediately after delivery.

Swelling. You probably knew to look out for signs of preclampsia during pregnancy, but might not know that swelling after delivery is also quite common. Postnatal swelling is usually how the body releases excess fluid retained during pregnancy and should subside within a week.

Mood Changes. Your postpartum hormones can trigger many mood changes– including ‘highs’ when you’re overjoyed and loving the newborn cuddles, to ‘low’ times when everything is just a little overwhelming– and both of these feelings are totally normal in the first few weeks postpartum! Hormone fluctuations are noted by The American Psychological Association, and AmericanPregnancy.org, as factors in postpartum mood changes, and if you’re experiencing mood changes– talk to someone you trust! And remember, exercise helps improve your mood, too!

Julianna

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Sources:

MarchofDimes

APA

AmericanPregnancy

After Baby

Pregnancy Side Stretch {Video}

This side stretch feels amazing during and after pregnancy (& beyond really). A great stretch if you have middle or low back tightness. Check it out and let me know what you think.

*Always be sure your physician has approved you for exercise before beginning any exercise program*

Keep up the hard work!

~Erica

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Check out this link for more videos too.

After Baby

Love Your Body!

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Enough Said!

~Erica

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After Baby

Fit Moms– Fitting in Exercise!

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Finding the time to make it to the gym every day can be challenging– especially if you’re working or have other children. It’s easy to make excuses to keep you out of the gym, but there are so many great exercises you can do at home to stay active during pregnancy! Need more incentive? Mom’s who exercise during pregnancy often experience fewer aches and pains, healthy pregnancy weight management, easier labor, fewer prenatal and postpartum complications, and healthier babies!

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And there’s even better news– you don’t have to spend hours a day exercising to reap all the benefits. Just 30 to 60 minutes a day, which can even be divided into a morning and evening session, is all the time you need to feel great and stay healthy during pregnancy. Try some of the Knocked-Up Fitness DVD’s and digital programs– some of the online videos take as little as ten minutes and can provide both strength and cardio components. Keeping up with cardio exercises might seem tiring, especially when you’re farther along in your pregnancy, but remember that you can exercise to the intensity that feels best for you! Including cardio is extremely important in pregnancy to help keep your blood pumping, your heart healthy, and your endurance up. Combined with strengthening and lengthening exercises, like these Pilates infused prenatal exercises will help prepare your body for late pregnancy, labor, and carrying around baby as she grows!
If you’re finding it tough to remember to exercise, don’t be afraid to schedule it in. Make an appointment with yourself and a prenatal DVD or your yoga mat while you’re watching the morning news or when supper is cooking. Take a fifteen minute break at work to walk around the building or climb stairs– you could even consider bringing the gym to your office with a few light weights or an exercise ball. It’s all about making your exercise routine work for you so you can stick to it!
Remember to always listen to your body and only perform exercises and intensity levels that feel comfortable for you. Stay hydrated not only when working out, but during the day too, to avoid dehydration– which is extremely important for you and your baby! Always get cleared for exercise by your physician and discuss your exercise routines to ensure you’re activities are suitable for you and your bump!

Julianna

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After Baby

Julia’s Birth Story: Welcome Baby Ezra!

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Ezra was evicted January 14th, 2014 and much like my first 2 sons, it was a pretty relaxed and easy delivery. I say evicted because at 39 weeks and 2 days I went in for a scheduled induction, out of fear of having a jumbo baby. They were concerned that he would be too large to labor naturally.
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When I went to my midwife a week prior with contractions, we agreed that if by that time next week he hadn’t come on his own we would politely ask him to leave. Sure enough, despite contracting all week, by Tuesday the 14th at 7:30am he was still snug as a bug in a rug!
At 10 am they started me on Pitocin, by 1pm I hadn’t made much progress and was still terribly comfortable so they broke my water. Oh and terribly hungry at this point, I mean if I’m gonna drink my lunch I’d prefer it be a smoothie not beef broth and lime jello.YUCK! I didn’t start having contractions that were uncomfortable until around 5pm at that point I was still only 4-5cm dilated. Thanks to all the prenatal exercise I was able to be up and walking for most of my delivery, even did a little dancing! I had informed the fabulous nurses and my amazing midwife that I usually am really comfortable until about 7cm dilated and then I go from 7-10 FAST! A sure sign I’m in transition is I throw up, once that happens we have about 15 mins until go time. And sure enough at around 7:45 I puked and informed my husband it was time for me to get in the bed and he to go get some nurses.
The next 25 mins was a bit of a blur. When the midwife came to check me, baby was already in the birth canal and ready to roll. And roll he did, he came so quickly that I had to call for someone to come catch him, cause he was coming whether I pushed or not! I am so glad I had been squatting and stretching because with not so much as a Tylenol and minimal effort out came an 8lb 12oz handsome little man. Seriously I mean he is so handsome, its stupid.
He just turned 3 weeks today and is a happy, healthy, chunky baby. His brothers love him and always want to help. I’m feeling really good and itching to start working out again!

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