Time saviors – Surviving as a new mom

The one thing I remember from being a new mom last time is the strange way your days feel.

On the one hand, they seem endless. Constant feeding, sleeping for short periods of time only and the frequent need to nappy change make your days feel like they never end. Maybe because they never end. There is no bedtime, no end-of work, no weekend. It is just the same stuff over and over again.

 

Time saviors - Surviving as a new mom
Time saviors – Surviving as a new mom

 

On the other hand, there just isn’t enough time. Even though you wake up at 5 am and don’t lay down until late, you never seem to get anything done. Except feeding and nappy changing, of course. But in the blink of an eye, the day is gone and you are still wearing yesterdays PJs and haven’t showered.

Now if you ask me, it is non negotiable to get showered immediately and change into a new set of clothes in the morning to feel remotely human throughout these first few weeks, and with the loving support of your family you will accomplish that task, but what about the other stuff?

Read more


135 Comments

Getting back into shape Part II – My post-baby body: Success and a setback

If you have read Part I of my journey ( if not, click here), you may know that I have struggled a lot to loose my baby weight and return to my former sportive lifestyle.
At the beginning of this year I still had some stamina to regain and 4 kg to drop, and I was determined to keep going.

Getting back into shape post-baby

Working out when you are a new mum is hard, so I decided to stick to short and sweaty workouts, HIIT and strength instead of relying on long cardio sessions and hours at the gym.

The „Bikini Body Mommy Guide“ had been great for the first time, „Blogilates“ hadn’t been what I enjoyed, so I turned to „Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide“ next.

Other than the before mentioned programs it isn’t free, but retails for 44 € if you only want the 12-week workout plan.
It is recommended to get the accompanying „Healthy eating and Lifestyle plan“, but I knew I wouldn’t stick to that anyway, so I saved myself some money.

When purchasing this guide, you get 16 weeks of workouts, 4 being a „pre-training“ (highly recommended if you aren’t very athletic already) and 12 being the regular guide. There is HIIT strength three times a week as well as 45 minutes of cardio 2-3 times a week, with walking being the recommended exercise (great to get the stroller and get moving).

Now I have to say I didn’t experience the awesome transformations many of the other users share online, which is mainly because I didn’t stick to the meal plans but kept on eating pretty much like I was before: Healthy, but with the occasional slip and a big love for food.

But the results I got were amazing. I was toned, fit and completely sore four days a week, feeling great.

Then I got back to work and kind of lost my workout mojo, but as I missed it a lot I finally got back in the saddle in May and started the guide all over again.
Everything went well until July.

I was exhausted, wanted to sleep all day long and despite almost completely loosing my appetite (very unusual for me) I gained weight.
Not much, but after a few weeks my bras and jeans didn’t fit anymore and my waist had completely disappeared.

14 weeks baby bump

Now what had happened? You may have guessed it by now:

I am pregnant. 14 weeks today, and we couldn’t be happier.
Apart from loosing my shape again and being tired 24/7 everything was smooth sailing so far, so I will patiently watch my belly grow and my muscles disappear, knowing that I can get back into shape once again.

And it is true what they say: You start showing way earlier with the second one.


Leave a comment

Under Pressure – Breastfeeding

When you are having a baby, there are a million things you worry about.
You start reading books on what to eat during pregnancy so your offspring will be all set for winning the Nobel prize.
You spend hours researching the right kind of mattress for your baby´s crib.
You read debates on whether or not to carry your baby, while expert mothers of four fight battles against each other in the depths of the internet regarding self-soothing.

But there is one thing you can read wherever and whenever the topic comes up:
Thou shall breastfeed!
Exclusively!
And: Every woman can breastfeed. If you don’t, you´re just not trying hard enough.

With this being said, let me share my story.

I didn’t worry about breastfeeding at all.
Women have been doing it for centuries, I am healthy, I have boobs (average sized, two of them) and I can handle a little pain.

In the beginning, everything went all right. Little Bean started to nurse within minutes after she was born, it felt comfortable, easy and I was completely relaxed.
Apart from a little soreness there were no problems whatsoever.

Fast forward three weeks, things started to change.
She would want to nurse all the time, giving me only 20 minutes break, she was uneasy, crying a lot and would stay on the breast for at least 1.5 hours every time.
Of course I read a lot on that topic, talked to my midwife and we agreed that my supply was probably a little low. As I really wanted to keep on breastfeeding exclusively, I decided to „work on it“.
After all: Every woman can breastfeed!

The first attempt was increasing the supply by increasing the frequency of nursing. I was a little limited there, because I was already nursing so much, but for the sake of breastfeeding I quit anything else and stayed on the couch, Little Bean attached.
During the early evenings, where she would sleep for four hours straight, I would use a pump and pump every hour, to tell my body we needed more milk.

Sadly, this didn’t help at all, and Little Bean stopped gaining weight.
She had never been a chubby baby, but now she started to look very delicate.

So the midwife suggested, I probably didn’t eat enough. She hinted young mothers would focus on loosing weight too much and thus reduce the calorie intake.
And even though I hadn’t really lost much weight since giving birth, I obeyed and ate even when I wasn’t hungry.
I ate all the recommended foods: Oats, dairy, nuts, and I ate a lot of them.
So much that I actually gained weight.

But my supply wasn’t increasing.
Little Bean was six weeks then and she wouldn’t sleep at all during the days, she would cry a lot and nurse, nurse, nurse.

I started taking fenugreek pills, a homeopathic treatment I didn’t believe in, because I was desperate.
No improvement.

So I was sitting there on the sofa, sore from nursing non-stop, with a crying baby refusing to sleep or let go of me, beating myself up because I obviously was such a failure as mother that my own baby was starving at my breast.
And that while, as you know: Every woman can breastfeed!

The midwife called and had a final tip she wanted to offer:
She told me I should try and relax, because the pressure I was putting on myself was most likely the reason my supply was low.

I had a total breakdown.
Mr. Loca took Little Bean from me, fed her some formula and she immediately stopped crying and went to sleep.

That, of course, wasn’t the end of the story.
Whenever Little Bean got hungry, I´d breastfeed her for at least 30 minutes and then offered her formula. To prevent my supply form decreasing further, I kept using a breast pump every hour during daytime.
Little Bean gained weight and stopped crying, everything was fine.

Or could have been, if people would keep minding their own business.
One day I was out with a friend for brunch as it was her birthday. I nursed Little Bean and then, after 30 minutes of nursing, offered her some formula.
A woman, sitting a few tables apart, rose and came up to me.
„If you offer formula, your supply is going to decrease. You should breastfeed your baby exclusively.“
I should have told her to back off, but I was still blaming myself, so I tried to explain that my supply was too low and that I was trying.
Her answer: „Well, maybe you´re not trying hard enough. Every woman can breastfeed!“

So now, one year after this incident, I am writing this post to tell you: That isn’t true!
Yes, the majority of woman can breastfeed. But not all of them, and not all of them exclusively. Some woman lack breast tissue (not to be confused with cup size), so there won’t be enough for even one child while others can easily feed twins. This is why there were wet nurses back in the days.
Sometimes you can try as hard as humanly possible and it is not going to change.

I nursed Little Bean until she was five months old and refused to drink on my breast any longer. Looking back at these months now, I don’t understand why it was so hard for me to accept the fact that my supply was low and why I kept feeling like a total failure.
If we have a second child, I will try to breastfeed again for sure.
But I will never again put myself and the people around me under that much pressure solely for the purpose of doing so exclusively.


68 Comments

On my plate – Vegetable Hot Pot

In the life of every parent comes the moment when you decide to start feeding your child the same food you eat on a day to day basis.

In my life, this was a moment of truth.
I looked at what I had been eating for the last few weeks and suddenly realized that it had been neither wholesome nor nutritious and for sure not the kind of food I would want Little Bean to have.

And if your diet is that bad you wouldn’t want your child to eat that way, you´d better make some changes!

Nutritious, quick and suitable for children was my mission, and being that talkative person I am, I decided to take you with me and share some recipes.

Greens for Spring

First one on the menu: A Vegetable Hot Pot.

Please keep in mind: I don’t believe in following a strict diet. Neither do I do Low-Carb, cut out dairy completely, feel the need to eat gluten-free nor do I count calories. 
I am a part-time pescetarian due to the fact that most of the meat we get is full of antibiotics and that the animals suffer to keep up with the obscene amount of meat the western world consumes everyday. Part-time because my husband is a hunter, and I gladly eat the meat he brings home, for I know the game he gets me roamed the woods freely and wasn’t fed growth-inducing hormones.
Feel free to adapt the recipes to your own dietary needs and preferences.

When I grew up, my mother claimed I wouldn’t eat anything green. Of course that was a major exaggeration, but I was kind of picky with my vegetables.
One thing that I always loved though was sweet corn, so it was an obvious first choice as the main player in my Vegetable Hot Pot.

The ingredients:
– Sweet Corn
– Peas
– Green Beans
– Potatoes
– Feta Cheese
– Vegetable Broth
There are no indications of quantity as I usually just eyeball everything, but if you need reference, two big potatoes for any adult and two handful of each vegetable along with one 250 g feta cheese will get you some leftovers.

Delicious!

How to:
1. Peel and cut the potatoes
2. Boil the potatoes in the vegetable broth
3. About five minutes before the potatoes are done add the sweet corn, peas and beans
4. Another five minutes later (longer when the vegetables are still frozen) add the cut up feta cheese.
5. The cheese will melt and form a creamy, cheesy sauce with the not evaporated Vegetable Broth.

I usually make a big pot of this and take the leftovers to work the next day, as it tastes extra delicious heated up.
This recipe is gluten-free, contains no processed food but contains dairy/lactose.

If you serve this to small children, make sure you mush the peas and sweet corn so they don’t choke on them!

Little Bean loves it, I enjoy the fact that except from peeling the potatoes there is absolutely no preparation necessary and the cheesy flavor makes it the perfect comfort food when it is rainy and grey outside without being to heavy.
Ticks all my boxes!

What are your go-to healthy recipes?
And what is your favorite vegetable?


45 Comments

Getting back into shape – Post Baby Body

My daughter is now ten months old (actually eleven when this post goes online) and I still have baby weight to loose.

This is a shocking confession in times of „What is your excuse?“ pictures found everywhere and Heidi Klum walking the runway for Victorias Secret eight weeks after giving birth.

Weights and weight

But I have come a long way since the Little Bean was born and even if I am not where I want to be quite yet, I have learned a lot about my body and working out with a little one around.
Before I got pregnant, I was at the gym about four times a week lifting (heavy) weights. Along with riding my bike to work and going for runs about twice a week that made up for an active life style.

Despite all this, I never had the „Perfect Body“ as seen in magazines.
I love to eat, and even though I try to eat healthy most of the time, I have a big sweet tooth and enjoy going out for dinner either with family or friends. Cutting back on that was never an option.

I gained 15 kg during my pregnancy, which is considered within the normal range (I am 1,73 m). When I left the hospital after I had given birth, I had lost 5 kg.

Breaking the bad news to all the new moms-to-be out there: Not every woman just magically looses the baby weight if breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding will increase the amount of calories your body burns throughout the day, but it won’t exceed 500 kcal (estimated), being a lot less in the beginning.
500 kcal might sound a lot, but during pregnancy your body will loose muscle mass, and this, together with spending most of your day sitting and nursing the baby will reduce the amount of calories you burn compared to before pregnancy.

Of course, every woman is different. There are even woman out there who had to stop breastfeeding because they lost too much weight, but in the end it all comes down to this:

If you struggled with keeping your weight before pregnancy, you will most likely struggle with loosing your baby weight afterwards.
If you, on the other hand, never had issues, you will probably bounce back easily.

Of course, there are way more important things being a new mom than your weight. And I encourage you to take your time and stop stressing about your belly, but instead focus on resting and nursing your baby.

But if you are like me, getting back into shape will get more important as time passes. Much more than my looks it was my loss in strength and stamina that worried me.
I started panting when taking three flights of stairs, I wasn’t able to carry the groceries in bulk, and when starting to work out, the attempt to do ONE pushup left me in collapsing on the floor.

So building up stamina and strength were what I focused on during the following months.
After some time of just taking the baby for walks, gradually increasing their length, and after getting the permission from my obstetrician and midwife (very important, as there are changes in your rectus abdomini and your pelvic floor that have to have healed before working out), I started .

The first thing I did, nine weeks after I had given birth, was a DVD called „The Mami Fitness Box“, featuring Pilates for New Moms. After looking at the exercises, I figured they wouldn’t challenge me enough, but decided to give them a go anyway.
For the next three weeks I was sore in every part of my body. I don’t know if you ever did Pilates before, but it is way more intense than it looks.

In May, three months after giving birth, I started a three months challenge, the „Bikini Body Mommy Challenge“ by Briana Christine. Apart from great exercises and and a meal plan (which I didn’t buy) she does hilarious YT-Workout videos, swearing, struggling and dealing with her kids while working out, making everything totally relatable.
And the best part: It takes 20 min every day, six days a week, but it is intense. Anyone can fit in 20 minutes of exercise.
I would work out when Little Bean was sleeping or even if she was around. She enjoyed seeing me workout, laughing at her sweaty mama.

Proud to say so!

I regained a lot of muscle mass and was even able to run 4 km without collapsing after the three months had passed, but didn’t loose much weight.
I guess this was down to hormonal changes, because once I had stopped breastfeeding after 5 1/2 months, the kilograms started to drop.

Looking for another challenge I signed up for the Blogilates monthly exercise plan.
If you are not familiar with her channel, go check her out. She is bubbly, sometimes crazy, very motivating and films short videos targeting special areas of your body. I still am addicted to her „Candlestick Dippers“, they worked wonders on slimming down my waist. Sadly, the whole concept didn’t work for me.
She adds a lot of variety, but I prefer to workout using weights instead of increasing the number of repetitions, and even though I could really see the difference after one month, it was a struggle to see it through.
You won’t need any equipment, but about one hour of exercise six days a week, and that was a deal breaker. I struggle with exercising in the evenings, I am exhausted and want to relax when Little Bean is finally sleeping. During the day, I don’t have one hour straight without her, and getting up an hour early was very hard, because she woke up at around 6 am.

So after one month, I quit. And with a holiday in France coming up, and a big exam afterwards, I haven’t managed to get back on track since then.

So here I am, at the end of November, trying to get back into a routine and loosing the last 4 kg.
I´ll keep you updated…

How about you: Do you struggle or do you loose weight easily?
Tips and experiences from fellow mums are highly appreciated.


14 Comments