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TummyStyle Maternity & Nursing Clothes

Clothing for pregnant and nursing moms

  • Check out Bikini Thief's fantastic Maternity Swimsuits!

    Bikini-Thief-Purple-Montauk Bikini-Thief-Purple-Montauk

     

    Bikini Thief if one of our favorite brands at TummyStyle. This swimwear line is worn by celebrities across the globe and is now made for maternity as well! Whitney Anderson, the owner/designer of Bikini Thief, comes from a family of fishermen and boat captains on the scenic island of Martha’s Vineyard in Cape Cod.

    With this beautiful beach backdrop and idealic childhood summers to draw from for inspiration she was woven together a creative and vibrant tapestry of colors and patterns that will take your mind to your favorite beach destination. Not only is the stretchy fabric designed to fit and flatter your curves during pregnancy but they can often be worn post pregnancy as well do not stretch out of shape.

    Some of the celebrities who have rocked Bikini Thief styles include:

    Super Model Kate Upton in the French striped sailor style with thin sideways stripes. Actress Kate Bosworth is a big Bikini Thief fan. She was spotted knee deep in the ocean in their Sayulita Suit which features a sweet black and white strip design in the sweetheart vintage bikini top paired with hipster bottoms.

    Megan Fox was spotted seaside in the Bikini Thief Zuma Style which sports solid back bottoms with a thin black and white stripe bikini top with ruffle detailing.

    Mixing and matching solid bottoms with pattern or contrasting solid tops is a great way to get more variety and mileage out of your maternity swimsuit collection and have fun with your maternity swimwear fashions. It’s always a good idea to buy some basic black and chocolate bottoms to mix and match.

    Also, as you advance in your pregnancy and potentially move to the next size, you may only need to swap out the bottoms for a bigger size as your chest size may be unchanged after the first trimester.

    Bikini Thief Pieces Dream

    My favorite maternity Bikini Thief styles include the romantic Pisces Dream. This two-piece maternity tankini is truly dreamy in both baby soft pink and baby blue varieties. This style features a sweetheart cut top with center gathering and adjustable striped bottoms with matching striped adjustable straps in the tankini top. Very cute and original! The bra is fully lined and offers good support and the top has adjustable ruching with side ties. You can have both the top and bottom as tig ht or as loose as needed as your body changes with pregnancy for a perfect fit. Bottoms are fully lined.

    Bikini Thief Saint Barts

    Another very popular style and personal favorite is the Bikini Thief St. Bart’s two-piece maternity tankini. This pretty Asian infused style comes in both bright coral with black detailing and black with contrasting coral embroidered flower design. Either way, the colors and floral pattern are stunning. Both color choices are made with design and gathered center top. The comfortable and supportive shelf bra is fully lined and sports wide criss-cross straps in the back. Adjustable buttons are at the back of each strap in the back so that you can confidently swim with support and comfort in this suit! The bikini brief bottoms are a solid color and are fully lined with full coverage in the back. This suit will be your go-to maternity swimsuit throughout your pregnancy.

    Pregnancy is great time to have fun with fashion and sporting a pretty maternity swimsuit at the pool or beach is a fantastic way to enjoy your pregnancy even more!

  • Banana Blueberry Breakfast Loaf

    Banana Blueberry 1Spring is upon us and summer is fast approaching! Get into the mood with this Banana Blueberry Breakfast Loaf. This bread is a perfect choice for a healthy breakfast treat during pregnancy or nursing. There is no added sugar or oil -- just healthy goodness. Top it with greek or soy yogurt, fresh fruit, and nut butter to jump-start your day.

    Use fresh blueberries if they are available locally and are a good price. If not, frozen works just fine. Frozen blueberries are sometimes cheaper and don’t turn all the batter purple. Also, frozen fruit, unlike some fresh fruit, is picked when it is fully ripe. This can maximize the nutritional benefit, instead of possibly stunting the development and natural ripening process (which is a common practice for large-scale farms). By buying frozen, it is possible to get more nutrients out of your fruit than buying under-ripe fresh fruit.

    Banna Blueberry 2

    This bread has a base of ripe bananas, oat flour, and sorghum flour -- all sources of quality carbohydrates that keep you going through your day. EatingWell.com informed that:

    Researchers suspect that carbs promote the production of serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical. In a study from the Archives of Internal Medicine, people who followed a very low carbohydrate diet for a year—which allowed only 20 to 40 grams of carbs daily, about the amount in just 1⁄2 cup of rice plus one piece of bread—experienced more depression, anxiety and anger than those assigned to a low-fat, high-carb diet that focused on low-fat dairy, whole grains, fruit and beans.

    So don’t be fooled by the low-carb diet fads. Glucose (sugar) is the source of fuel for humans. Carbohydrates are converted into usable fuel faster and easier than fat or protein is. Without proper fuel, we have no energy. Having a stable, constant source of energy is essential for us to feel our best.

    Banana Blueberry 3

    According to The China Study, “a high-carbohydrate diet has been shown to reverse heart disease, reverse diabetes, and prevent a plethora of diseases.” This detailed and comprehensive book was written by T. Colin Campbell, an expert of human nutrition with over 40 years of research and a PhD.

    During pregnancy, your metabolism increases and but your energy can decrease with added weight and hormones. Blood pressure and blood sugar can also go up or down. This can lead to experiencing more fatigue. Whole fruits, vegetables, tubers, and grains (all edible plants, really) are the most nutrient dense and highest fiber foods we can eat. These are all good sources of carbohydrates and help keep blood sugar stable. Snacking on these high-carb foods will help fight fatigue throughout the day.

    Listen to your body when you are tired. Sometimes a nap helps, sometimes a bit of exercise rejuvenates you, and sometimes eating healthy snacks more often does the trick. As always, there is no magic formula or secret solution that works for everyone and the only way to feel improvement is through experimentation.

    Banana Blueberry 4

    Ingredients: (makes 8 pieces)

    3 overripe bananas

    1 tbs ground flax

    1 tsp vanilla

    1 cup sorghum

    ⅔ cup oat flour

    ½ tsp baking soda

    ½ tsp baking powder

    ½ tsp ginger

    ½ tsp cardamom

    ½ tsp allspice

    ¼ tsp cloves

    1 tsp cinnamon

    1 ⅓ cup fresh or frozen blueberries

    1 ⅓ cup almond milk

    Lightly grease an 8 inch by 8 inch pan with coconut, olive, or avocado oil. Pre heat your oven to 350 F on convection.

    Mash the bananas in a large bowl. It can be faster and easier to use a whisk.

    Add in the vanilla, ground flax and almond milk. Try to get all the chunks smooth. Set aside.

    In a medium bowl, whisk the sorghum flour, oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cardamom, allspice, cloves, and cinnamon.

    Fold the dry mixture into the wet and add the blueberries.

    Pour batter into pan. Bake for approximately one hour, or until edges are golden.

    Nutrition Facts: (per serving)

    calories: 180

    protein: 4 grams

    carbs: 37 grams

    fat: 3 grams

    sugar: 8 grams

    All Original Content. Copyright Athena Byers 2015, All Rights Reserved.

  • Washing Guidelines for Maternity Clothes

    If you are like most people, doing the laundry is not your favorite pastime. You may notice that it tends to pile up more in the warm weather, when we are actually wearing less clothes, than the winter months. I think we are more active in the summer and with the warmer weather, more sweaty, causing us to wash the clothes more often. If you are pregnant, chances are that you are perspiring a bit more than normal as the weather heats up and your hamper is filling up faster with bigger clothes. The bad news is that this pile of laundry is just going to increase when your family increases (although who doesn’t love putting away cute baby clothes?) But the good news is that we may not need to laundry as often as we do which can conserve water, energy and our own time and energy.

    So, just how often do we need to wash our clothes and what clothes warrant more frequent washing than others? As Americans we shower more than any other culture and we a wash our clothes more frequently. So, as a first rule of thumb we can assume that if we are mostly clean when we are wearing our clothes, and we are changing our clothes every day, then if they are not undergarments and we have not worn them to work out and they pass the smell test and general visual review test, then they are good to wear again.

    Maternity Underwear: The one piece of clothing we absolutely recommend you change and wash after one wearing is, of course, your underwear. If only for health and hygiene issues panties generally should be thrown in the laundry basket and changed every single day. The same goes for socks as our feet are known for their sweat and stink.

    Maternity and Nursing Bras: However, maternity bras and nursing bras may not need to be laundered daily. If you are working out or wearing a workout bra or nursing sports bra, then we can probably assume you worked up a sweat and yes, you should change and launder your bra. However, have not had a very active day, then you can go a couple of days before washing your bra.

    Nursing Pads: If you are nursing and wearing nursing pads under your bra for cushion and to help with leakage, make sure you do change those pads at least daily, but if the bra underneath is clean and did not get leaked on, you are probably good for another 2-3 wears Since bras do not generally come in direct contact with our underarms they actually do not need to be laundered as frequently as our close fitting tees and maternity tops. Also, it’s a good idea to rotate bras every day to give them a chance to recover. A 24 hour rest period as well as less frequent washing allows them to last longer. NOTE: Washing instructions on bras are very important. Most should be washed on the Delicate Gentle Cycle and it is generally a good idea to put these delicate in a washable mesh laundry bag so they do not get tangled up with other clothing in the washer and are more protected. Also, most nursing bras should be line dried. If you do put them in the dryer makes sure it is on the Cool Delicate Cycle.

    Maternity Camis/Nursing Tanks: Other intimate type clothing that is hugging your skin such as camis and nursing bra tanks can be worn 1-2 times depending on perspiration and smell test and how long you were wearing them. Again, these items should be treated delicately and washed on the Gentle Cycle and either line dried or tumbled dry on the Cool Delicate Cycle.

    Maternity Jeans: Denim is an incredibly durable fabric and usually looks better on us as it molds to our curves while wearing them. If you wash your demin too frequently then the heat and detergents can fade your jeans and make them look older more quickly. Maternity jeans in particular have a lot more spandex stretch to them than your regular prepregnancy jeans, so they are more sensitive to heat and detergent. Jeans can be worn up to five times before they need to be washed. When you do wash make sure the heat is not too high and you are better off opting for a more gentle cycle in the washer unless they are truly soiled. Also, be careful with drying as spandex can shrink if you overheat and over dry.

    Maternity Pants/Dress Slacks/Maternity Skirts: If you work indoors in an air conditioned environment, then you can usually wear these items 3-4 times before washing if you haven’t spilled anything on them. To stretch the days you can go between washings it is best to change out of them as soon as you get home and hang them up so the wrinkles fall out. Simply getting into the habit of taking off work clothes/nice days clothes at the end of the day at home and not lounging in them will extend their wear.

    Maternity Sweater, Jackets and Blazers: These are all second layer items that are not in direct contact with our skin and not clothes that we wear to work out in so naturally they require the least amount of cleaning. Make sure you check your fabric labels so that you dry clean or hand wash and line dry as directed. If there is no visible stains and the areas that are closer in contact to the skin such as the sleeve cuffs and collars are clean, then you are good to go 6-7 times. If you have a suit you wear frequently make sure that you get both the suit jacket and slacks cleaned together to prevent uneven fading.

    Maternity Sleepwear: Although you may shower nightly before changing into your maternity or nursing sleepwear, you still shed skin cells at night and you sweat in your sleep. Even if your sleepwear does not seem very dirty we still recommend washing it every 2-3 wearings. For items that are not super dirty but still need to be washed you might consider colder water and less detergent so that you are keeping your clothes clean but not wearing them out or overexposing your skin to chemicals.

    Hopefully the above recommendations are good news to reduce your laundry list and save you more energy for your house, family and self. Along the same lines we are getting more and more feedback from medical research that we really don’t need to be showering as much as we do. Less frequent showering leads to more hydrated skin and healthier hair. Overall less water usage and washing leads to an easier and less expensive way of life which is what we all want in life!

  • Advice to New Moms -Be Yourself!

    link to Art Docent Program Home PageIf you are about to become a first time mom or if you are a new mom, here is my hand me down mom advice for you. Don’t cringe, because it’s advice you’re going to like, not critical unsolicited advice that by virtue of being a mother you will be sure to get a lot of anyway. Here’s my advice, do things your way. Don’t crumble to the pressure to be perfect, or try to be your own mother re-incarnated. You may not be wired to be just like that neighbor or friend who “seems” to do it all perfectly while sewing her kids’ clothes and posting cute Pinterest quality DIY birthday invite, party favors and everything in between. It’s easy to drive yourself crazy from pregnancy onwards trying to figure out how to live up to what you perceive is the perfect mom because, really, no one really is. We can only be our own best version and that’s usually much better than copying somebody else’s version.

    My advice to you and my younger self of 10-12 years ago is try to simply be the best mom you can be without driving yourself crazy. Being the best mom for you might mean that you splurge on a biweekly housekeeper to help you keep your sanity. It also might mean that your husband is the main cook in the house and you all do not fall in the traditional role criteria for Mom and Dad – that’s just fine too. Maybe you are the main breadwinner and both you and your husband work fulltime, so you child is in fulltime daycare. There are many excellent daycares our there that work out wonderfully for families (just be sure to vet them and be willing to pull the plug and change if for any reason you feel you should). It might mean that you hire a babysitter on your day off so you can recuperate and feel human again.

    Yes, being a mom takes sacrifices that 95% of the time you are glad to make. The hard part I find (and in talking with other mom friends it seems to be a theme), is feeling the need to live up to all of the mom standards that seem to be imposed upon us. As your kids get older to preschool and elementary school age, you will find there is tremendous pressure to volunteer. Now volunteering is a good thing and a tremendous benefit to not only your child but other children and can be very fulfilling. But if volunteering becomes an obligation that crowds our calendar out of other priorities and the energy we need to be a good mom at home with our own children, then the balance has tipped too far. Sometimes as moms we feel that it’s okay to sacrifice ourselves to the breaking point and the truth is that when we are totally burnt out and spent and even ill, we are of no use to anyone, including our families. So, it is okay to say no and to ignore the guilt when we feel we do not need to give more if we are not going to giving cheerfully.

    Also, you might find there are certain areas that you enjoy volunteering (and perhaps more gifted at) than others. I have found I enjoy teaching my kid’s reader’s workshop and some art classes, but I get antsy chaperoning for every field trip. My kids whine and complain when I don’t go on many of these field trips, but I tell them there are other moms that do that type of volunteering, but I do the other sort of volunteering in their art classes or reading workshops. The opportunities are endless for volunteering in the class, on the playground, on the soccer teams and for playdates of course. Don’t overcommit yourself or you will become bitter and there’s nothing worse than an unhappy volunteer or an unhappy mom. Choose how you can best contribute and leave your guilt on the doorstep.

    In addition to busyness the other area we need to stand up for as moms (this goes for moms of older kids too), is the right to embrace our own identity. Once a mom, always a mom and that is beautiful thing. In the beginning it’s a new and novel identity that we can revel in or sometimes feel we haven’t quite deserved (don’t worry, that feeling will pass soon!) But, as we give more of our time and selves to our children and families, it is easy to get lost in the shuffle and forget that we have needs too. So, it is important, no matter how silly it may seem, to set a discipline early of not only taking couple time with our partners, and girl time with some friends, but also time alone to do something we really want to do even if it’s read a magazine and have a cup of coffee somewhere where no one will bother us for an hour or taking a little time out each day to walk or hit the gym. By doing this on a regular basis we will reconnect with our inner selves and have a renewed enthusiasm for our family and loved ones.

    Fashion is also a way to connect to our inner selves and something that we can choose to express who we are. A famous fashion icon (can’t remember who) once said something truly revolutionary- it was “if we change the way we dress, we can change the way we think.” The gist of the message was that if we truly dress to express our identity, not necessarily the trend or please our partners (which is not always a bad thing from time to time on a date night), but play with and develop a style that suits our personalities, than that fashion statement becomes a means to expressing our unique personalities in our lives. This is why actors and actresses wear a costume or dress the part for a play or a movie, because not only does it communicate to the audience who they are in their role, but it allows them to fully embody the identity they are portraying. It is the same with fashion and quite liberating and fun as well to experiment with our style and give ourselves permission to change our style, until we find something that truly makes us feel alive and show our truth.

    Pregnancy is wonderful opportunity to experiment with our style and go outside our comfort zone. The pressure is off because when you are pregnant, people are excited for you and your growing bump. The pressure to be thin becomes irrelevant (and should be). Also, you suddenly need to shop for a wardrobe of maternity clothes because you have outgrown everything in your closet. As your body changes, we can suddenly experiment with enhanced cleavage styles and empire waist designs that you might have never tried before. Have fun with it and play dress up on your new form with new styles and colors! Try out that maxi maternity dress or bold prints that were out of your former fashion comfort zone.

    Motherhood is a wonderful time in life but it can also be busy. Focus on the beauty of your children and don’t second guess your instincts. Follow your gut in making smart choices for your child and for yourself. But remember to embrace your unique identity and have fun expressing yourself in your maternity fashion choices.

  • Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

    We all know exercise is important for our health, mind, body and soul. Some of us enter pregnancy in tip top shape and in no mood to slow down while others have had more of a sedentary life, perhaps due to the type of they work do and simply being busy. We all know we should take time to exercise regularly, but if you haven’t been an exercise buff before you were pregnant, chances are you are not super inspired to start exercising once morning sickness and/or pregnancy weight gain and fatigue set in.

    Prego Maternity Empire Tank Maternity Swimsuit Prego Maternity Empire Tank Maternity Swimsuit

    The good news is that you don’t need to embark on exercise full throttle and begin extreme sports or sign up for marathons once you are expecting, but you can begin a gentle exercise regime that could do wonders for your health and energy. Pregnancy is a great time to try low impact sports such as swimming or water aerobics. Staying cool in the pool becomes a more attractive option as the weather heats up and with your basal body temperature naturally higher you are probably feeling even hotter than normal. The weightlessness of swimming and pool exercise can relieve achy joints and the back strains of a growing tummy. Even just a few easy laps in the pool if you are not a regular swimmer is a great way to start off. (BTW it’s a good idea to buy a maternity swimsuit if you plan to do any lap swimming. Don’t even try to squeeze into your pre-pregnancy swimsuit because it will not fit well and it’s not healthy for your body to be minimized or restricted while you are pregnant).

    Other low impact exercises include yoga and stretching. If you are doing yoga for the first time, then go slow and do not try a hot yoga class as they can crank the temperature up to as high as 106 degrees for 90 minutes which is not safe for pregnancy – your baby is cooking enough at your regular temperature as it is! Some gyms do offer a prenatal yoga class, so ask around for any local pregnancy exercise classes. Sometimes these specialty classes are advertised at your OBGYN office and of course you can google it for your zip code. Classes like these are fun as you get to meet other expecting women and you have the same body changes to work around and feel less self-conscious about exercising in a group class. You can laugh together while you stretch out the kinks and adjust yoga poses to your ever evolving pregnancy physique. These same women may end up being your stroller buddies and mom friends down the way after you have your baby.  (Do be careful to not do anything awkward or unusual that you are not comfortable with and take into consideration that your balance is altered with your shifting center of gravity).

    A new study showed that even light cardio (such as power walking) and hand weights in short bursts of up to five minutes about five times a day was even more beneficial than one long intensive daily routine and allowed for better recovery. Apparently this is a long held celebrity training secret that we just got in on! Simple five minute intervals up to five times a day can do wonders for lowering and regulating blood sugar which can climb during pregnancy and cause gestational diabetes. Regular light exercise can also lower blood pressure and resting heart rate which is also subject to rise during pregnancy.  Many women experience preeclampsia for the first time when pregnant due to the extra weight and physical stresses on their body as they progress in their pregnancy. Studies show that exercise can reduce the risk of developing complications such as preeclampsia and improve your overall circulation as well as reducing leg cramps, varicose veins and swollen ankles. Additionally, exercise helps strengthen back muscles that support your belly and helps alleviate aches and pains overall which is a huge benefit to your overall wellbeing and comfort.

    Although exercise can make you feel less energetic initially, if you stay consistent with it your body will adjust and you will eventually have more energy. Equally important, exercise will allow you to sleep better at night as your muscles will be more fatigued and that legitimate physical tired feeling will allow you to get to sleep faster. As a result of better rest you will feel sharper and more alert in the morning and less stressed so you can enjoy your day. It’s a complete 24 hour healthy loop cycle!

    Usually the first association many of us have to exercise is a means to sweat off extra pounds and rev up our metabolism so we can effectively lose weight without starving ourselves. While this is true and often a good goal for non-pregnant women, it is not the goal for pregnant women (although a slightly faster metabolism to help burn extra calories we are craving beyond the recommended weight gain is not a bad thing help keep weight gain in check). Pregnant women are supposed to gain weight and usually do so naturally without consciously trying to eat more. You definitely should not obsess over the scales while pregnant unless their doctor puts you on alert.  Weight gain during pregnancy is not always linear – you might lose weight in the first three months with morning sickness and food aversion and then find your belly has suddenly “popped” as well as your chest and appetite over the next four weeks in the second trimester. BTW expect a second “pop” in the last month of pregnancy, about the time you don’t think you can get any bigger, you do!

    One of the major ways exercise can provide an immediate benefit to everyone, but especially expecting women, is by increasing serotonin levels and balancing out mood swings. As we know hormones are in full swing when you are pregnant and often affecting everything from your diet and feelings of morning sickness to your self-image, mental outlook and emotions. By engaging in regular exercise you gain a sense of control over your body, emotions and positive emotional and mental outlook that may otherwise feel completely out of control. This sense of stability gives us a sense calm and balance which is priceless when you are experiencing daily physical and overall life changes at a breakneck speed.

    Achieving and maintaining a level of fitness during pregnancy also really aids in our postpartum recovery. The ability to stay within our healthy weight range during pregnancy and toning our muscles in the process with supervised light resistance training allows us to regain our energy much quicker postpartum and feel more like our pre-pregnancy selves. If you are tipping the scales with your pregnancy weight do not fear! Unless your doctor has prescribed bed rest or you have a high risk pregnancy then it’s not too late to start a low impact moderate exercise program from which you can continue to reap huge health benefits both during and after pregnancy.

    Do be sure to get your doctors sign off on any out of the ordinary exercise you plan to do during pregnancy (remember no horse riding, downhill skiing, bungee jumping, etc) and it’s recommended to run your exercise plans by your doctor in your prenatal visits, particularly if you have any elevated health risks. But, if you have the green light from your doctor, then get your blood pumping a bit and remember to hydrate!

  • Friendly Tips for your Pregnancy Journey

    Melissa Rycroft PregnancyIf it’s your first time to be pregnant, you may feel surprised by the enormous change and rate of change that your body, mind and hormones are going through. Maybe you have been trying to get pregnant for years of maybe it happened by surprise or all of a sudden. Either way, it’s an enormous change to life as you have known it, even though it may be thrilling and exciting at the same time. Fortunately we have a good eight months (from the time we find out) to get used to the idea that we are adding a member to our household and to do all we can to make the necessary practical and emotional preparations to add a baby to the family.

    As a mom of three children in the maternity clothes business, I have talked to hundreds of moms over the years. There were a number of things that I wish someone told me when I was pregnant (each time!). Here are my learnings that are not meant to be judgmental or preachy, because you get enough of that when you are pregnant and as a mom, but just meant to help you along your path and to put in your back pocket for when you need the encouragement:

    First, don’t worry about everything being perfect. It’s admirable to strive high and create the perfect nursery and have your complete six months of clothing and gear ready to go for your child before it’s born. But apart from the bare necessities of a safe sleep area, diapers, blankets, sleepers and some onesies, you are going to be just fine. Remember there is online shopping when you do need that new nursing bra because the ones you bought during pregnancy don’t fit and you are too tired to leave the house. There is also diaper services if you opt for cloth diapers but don’t want to deal with cleaning them.  Fortunately for these hectic times in life we do live in a day and age when answers can be at our fingertips. However, don’t forget to let real live people help you too. Call on your neighbors, friends and any nearby family if you need them. Now is the time to cash in on any goodwill that people are willing to offer you, you do need it and deserve any help you can get and most people are happy to help out.

    Do make sure you do have a childcare arrangement in place before you hit the nine month mark. Fill out all the necessary paperwork for FMLA/maternity leave and inform managers and coworkers of your leave. Have a plan in place at work to cover for your absence and let people know your timeframe for leave, even if it is subject to change.  Whether it be an extended maternity leave or grandparents pitching in when you return to work, it does give you some peace of mind to have at least have a plan in place for the first few months for your baby’s care. It’s also stress relieving for yourself and those around you to have a clearly communicated leave plan so you don’t leave tasks hanging or yourself and others panicking the minute. This brings me to my next point and one that many women struggle with:

    There is no right or wrong answer to what you decide on with the BIG decisions of returning to work or staying at home with your child fulltime. It is a difficult decision and if you are not sure, then maybe opt for something in between – look to have a longer maternity leave if you can negotiate that or return part-time or set up a work at home arrangement or flexible work hours. Even with large corporations it often boils down to what you can work out with your manager and generally if you can bring it up a number of months in advance you will get a more favorable response than to spring it on them a few weeks before your maternity leave. Choosing a longer leave or a more flexible hour work week is often a good stepping stone before making a more definite fulltime work or fulltime stay at home decision. You may find something in between that is just perfect for you for a period of time. Although many people will have a lot of ideas on this subject, and it may be helpful to hear their ideas and personal experiences, it is ultimately your choice to make in harmony with your partner and your financial goals. Many fathers also take FMLA and extended leave for their newborns. Some Dads decide to stay at home or work out a more flexible work schedule. Explore your options fully and just go with the best decision for you and your family (and don’t worry about making the perfect decision). Do not let anyone guilt you about your decision to stay home or not stay home. They are both equally valid choices.

    There are many solutions to caring for your newborn from a fulltime nanny, daycare, grandparents pitching in or some combination of everything. If you are looking at caregivers it is a good idea to start interviewing in advance of your due date. If you are looking at daycare arrangement then embark on your tours of these facilities well in advance and go with your gut if you are not comfortable with a particular place or caregiver. Many daycare businesses have a waiting list, so it may be a good idea to get on the waiting list early, even if you find a better plan later an and drop off the list.  Remember you are allowed to change course at any time. No one is holding you to your decision and if they are, then they should not be as this decision is yours and your partner’s alone. You can be a good mother and work at the office, you can be a good mother and work at home, and you can be a good mother and stay at home with your child. There are good nannies and not so good nannies and some grandparents are excellent fulltime caretakers for their grandchildren while some do not have the energy, abilities or desire to take on this more involved role. You can navigate these steps and arrive at the best solution. Life is not perfect and it's not supposed to be - how boring would that be?!! We all do our best and our best is typically more than enough for the health and wellbeing of our baby, selves and family, even if it is not perfectly perfect. Children have turned out well with all varieties of paths for early caregiving.

    The next point of advice is the one that is often most ignored by both new and experienced moms. Don’t forget to take care of yourself. This advice extends to pregnancy. Now is a time when your body is under tremendous change. Every day you will probably notice something different about some part of your anatomy whether it be a tighter bra, a bigger belly, snugger shoes or a new food aversion or craving. The body you used to know so well is evolving into something totally alien that you are trying to understand anew each day, let alone dress! It’s difficult to even know what to eat! You may find your energy is a bit lower but then you may also find you have bursts of energy in your second trimester. Get used to tuning into your body and listening to what it tells you. What used to be normal is no longer normal when you are pregnant and that’s ok. Be kind to yourself and cut yourself a little slack. Go ahead and get that pregnancy massage and let your partner rub your feet at the end of the day. Buy some maternity clothes that are comfortable and make you feel pretty. Try to find time to take small naps when you are tired, even if it’s just on the weekend if you work. Do something nice for yourself each day, even if it’s something small.

    Although it is important to get your rest and scale back on activities when you feel tired, it is also helpful to take some form of physical exercise, even if it’s just walking around the block. It’s necessary to keep up your strength up during pregnancy and to maintain your health, blood sugar and to help with delivery (unless you are on bed rest of course).  Maintaining fitness will also help you bounce back that much easier after pregnancy and give you the energy to care for your baby (which can be a bit of marathon in the early weeks particularly if you are nursing around the clock).  In addition to the added benefit of helping you look good, exercise will help balance your serotonin levels and allow you to achieve a more positive mental outlook so that you feel happier, more joyful and peaceful as well as sleep better at night. Do be careful not to engage in any risky physical activities (remember your balance and stamina are not the same) and listen to your body at all times when you exercise so that you don’t overextend yourself or get dehydrated. Remember you are pregnant, so don’t try to break any records running marathons or playing tennis tournaments!

    Finally try and take some time out and smell the roses. This is a special time in life that you will always remember. Get some pretty photographs done while you enjoy your shape (sometimes we are so enormous in the last few months of pregnancy that we don’t want a camera anywhere around us!) Spend some time to bond with your partner and indulge in some date nights or a Babymoon if you can find the time, even if it’s something special nearby. You will always remember this special time together before you had your baby and the memories you created.

  • Mother's Day Coming Soon - May 10th!!

    Mother’s Day is literally around the corner, Sunday May 10th.  As a Mom to be or a new Mom to be you will quickly discover that this Hallmark Day is well worth celebrating and actually relish it. As a mom of three kids ages 6, 10 and 12, I can tell you that the best way to enjoy Mother’s Day is to set the expectation high and well in advance for the type of Mother's Day you would most enjoy. Tell your husband and loved ones exactly the type of day you would most like rather than holding your breath and hoping they will figure it out on their own.

    I have learned over the years that Mother's Day is most enjoyable when everyone has had fair warning about a thing or two I might like and the gentle reminder to get reservations early if they plan to take you out. Here are some general guidelines to a wonderful Mother's Day: Setting Mother’s Day Expectations:

    • There is a small chance your husband may not realize that Mother’s Day does in fact kick in when you are carrying your firstborn. So, getting your expectations out there in the open go a long ways towards improving your overall Mother’s Day experience now and for years to come.
    • If you really enjoy dining out for a brunch, lunch or dinner, then tell your family well in advance the type of meal you would really enjoy. Take it from me, it’s good to plant the seeds early rather than last minute because Mother’s Day brunches will book up at your favorite restaurants weeks in advance. So encourage your husband and family members to get their reservation in well in advance.
    • Homemade artwork and kids personally made crumbly toast in bed is priceless and special and all the more enjoyable when you know you will have a nice quiche brunch with your family out of your bed later in the day. You will love their school artwork and cards but you will love it all the more when your husband books you a facial or pedicure at the spa. Trust me, it may sound selfish or super self-absorbed, and maybe it is, but your husband will appreciate your honesty in letting him know exactly the type of Mother’s Day treat you would like if he is new at this game.
    • Remember, most husbands are not mind readers, so better to err on the safe side and spell out what you would like. The end of the day we all know that you will treasure all of the homemade gestures and cards for years to comes, as will your kids. However, it’s proven over the years that our Mother’s Day mood will be drastically improved with a yummy brunch or a spa treat that makes the day or week extra special.
    • If you are expecting, now is the time to give him your wish list of maternity clothes or transition and nursing clothes that you would really like to have. Believe me, you are really doing him a favor and he will appreciate the specific advice that takes the weight off of him for getting you that special gift that you will just love (and if he does get you that surprise gift it’s all the more unexpected after giving him your specific list).
    • Remember: If he forgets to get anything off your specific list you are encouraged as part of the Mother’s Day tradition to get something or somethings from that list for yourself as your personal treat to yourself anytime during the month of May. Being a mom is a big job, and you deserve a few pick me ups to make you cheerful during this month of celebrating moms for all that they are.

    Olian Maternity Hearts Nursing Pajama SetHere are a few Mother’s Day gift suggestions if you need a few to stimulate your gift suggestions ideas: A gift you will enjoy both before and after you have the baby is an Olian Maternity and Nursing Pajama Set including Robe and matching Baby Sleeper. The Hearts Themed Nursing Pajama set is simply adorable and very cozy for both Mom and Baby!

    If you have already had your baby a few months ago, then check out these wonderful loungewear nursing pajamas by Japanese Weekend that you can wear around the house and feel marvelous in! They come in a variety of colors including black and pastels.

    Majamas Cozy Nursing DressIf you want to go a little sexier loungewear wise, then check out Majamas Cozy Nursing Dress. You can literally wear this dress out the door and feel every bit the Sexy Mama even long after you have weaned your baby! This nursing dress is comfortable enough to sleep in and wear for an entire Saturday!

    Really anything you really like is a good Mother's Day gift idea, just send to your husband and loved ones as excellent Mother’s Day ideas. Also, they always appreciate the size suggestions as most men who may have an inkling of their wife’s size before they were pregnant, generally have no idea once she is expecting!

    Most important, enjoy your Mother’s Day!!

  • Spring Cleaning Fever is Intense for Pregnant Women!

    clean clip artIf you feel the sudden urge to clean out your pantry and re-organize your closet, you are not alone. Spring is in full swing with new foliage on the trees and flowers in full colorful bloom, we often feel the inspiration and indescribable need to re-order our houses, manicure our lawn bushes and change out our winter wardrobe. This time of year we are surrounded by Spring Cleaning and Declutter magazines at every turn of the grocery cart. What you may feel as an expecting woman, however, is this Spring Cleaning incentive is especially super charged as it is coupled with your innate desire for nesting as you approach your due date.

    The nesting urge is a very normal instinct in many animals including cats, dogs, birds and even hamsters. We humans are no exception to this primitive survival instinct to prepare in advance for a safe and thriving environment for our baby to ensure their health and comfort. We intuitively know that we will be completely swamped and physically recuperating from our baby’s delivery in the days and weeks following our baby’s birth. If you have other young children this “nesting” affect may be multiplied to see to it that their living spaces, logistics and meals are all in order as well. There is no accident that pregnant women are often considered a little hormonal or neurotic as their due date approaches and luckily society cuts us a little slack to indulge our cravings and open a few doors for us and smile kindly at our nesting urges, even if our boss thinks we should be doing overtime to make up for the maternity leave we are about to embark on.

    So what do you do to deal with the nesting cravings and elevate your swollen feet at the same time? For one, delegate. There is a lot you can do on the phone and computer to rally the troupes for your days and weeks ahead when you will be busy with your newborn and recovering from your delivery. Go ahead and do that grocery shopping for non-perishables and cook ahead anything you can freeze as you get close to your due date. Soups and stews, chili, meat-loaf and lasagnas are all great choices to make ahead.  It really will make life easier.

    An added benefit is that literally anything will taste good, that’s right, anything. If you were plagued with morning sickness for nine months of pregnancy, you will find it dissipates pretty much the moment you have your baby. Suddenly those scrambled eggs look and taste good and your body is in need to all the protein it can get to strengthen you. If you are nursing, you may find that you have double your appetite but the good news is that you are burning through those extra calories with your milk production. So, enjoy it while you can!

    Dear Johnnie Lucy Dear Johnnie Lucy Delivery Gown

     

    Another bit of advice is go head and tell your friends and neighbors your due date and any specific help you might need to those who offer. If you have younger kids that need carpooling, then by all means get those rides setup and all those contacts on your phone (and on your husband’s phone and emergency list with notes about who does what). Gladly accept any meals offered to you during your recovery and if someone wants to help with the tidying up, check your pride on the doorstep and let them help, particularly if they are not the judgmental type. Generally most people will cut a new mom and dad a lot of slack on pickup and house cleanliness in the weeks and months after a newborn is brought home, particularly if they themselves have kids.

    If you can afford a cleaning service then treat yourself to one before your due date and book one a few weeks after you have your baby (you can even tell them to quote you a price on skipping certain rooms if you don’t want to wake the baby or leave your bed). It is well worth the extra money for your peace of mind.  If you need help on meals, look into a meal service or nearby take out and delivery restaurants, put together a list for yourself and your husband. It’s not your new way of life, just a way to allow you to focus and save energy on what’s important, your baby and your health.

    Olian Maternty Nursing Pajamas Olian Maternity Nursing Pajamas and Baby Sleeper

    Finally have your hospital bag packed well in advance with everything you will need for your stay including an outfit for the trip home and a baby sleeper for your newborn. Remember you will most likely need to wear maternity clothing home as you will not be in your pre-pregnancy state days after having your baby! You will also want something nonrestrictive in case you have a C-Section and plenty of room in the bust as that part of you will likely only get bigger. If you are nursing, you will want to pack a nursing top with plenty of belly coverage as it takes a little while for that postpartum belly to subside.

     

    By all means do your Spring Cleaning with zeal and joy but do not go climbing up any ladders or test your balancing skills to get to those hard to reach places. You can outsource that dusting of the top of the kitchen cabinets to your hubby or any tall person who happens to be visiting your house in the next few weeks, they will understand when they see your nine month belly!

     

     

     

  • Nursing Clothes – The Smart Choice!

    When you’re pregnant it’s hard to even think ahead to having your baby or to imagine a day of not being pregnant. It seems that every day you roll out of bed (since rolling is the only way you can move at times), you are a bit bigger than the last time you checked in the mirror or tried to count your toes. Meanwhile you are quickly determining that your pre-pregnancy extra loose clothing will no longer adequately fit your expanding belly or simply looks ridiculous on your now very pregnant body. Welcome to the club!

    The idea of spending a lot of money on maternity clothes is not always highly appealing, although you do need new clothes to comfortably fit your shape (fast!) since losing weight is not an option, nor should it be. For most of us it’s the first time in our life that we have our Doctor’s permission to steadily gain weight and eat more to be healthy, this should be outstanding news, right? On the surface this task seems super fun in so many ways, but it can suddenly become a very inconvenient feat in that we quickly find out our wardrobe options are dwindling fast and our belly shows no sign of slowing its runaway expansion march!

    My advice to expecting women who would like to look stylish while not spending a fortune on a huge new wardrobe of maternity clothes is this:

    1. Invest smartly in a number of everyday items that you can mix and match in your maternity wardrobe. Definitely invest in a good pair of maternity jeans with a lot of stretch, crops and yoga pants and a few casual skirts that can go with everything in your casual wardrobe. Also get some great basic tops in a variety of colors with varying sleeve lengths depending on the season you are in or approaching. ¾ sleeves are a great option as they work year round and are comfortable inside and out unless it is truly hot outside. Also, pregnant women run a little hotter, so ¾ sleeves work well in cooler months too.
    2. If you need a business wardrobe for work, then also look to find some staple skirts and dress slacks that you can wear over and over. Blacks and taupe or khaki colors can work for any time of the year with a light stretchy rayon/spandex mix and plenty of room for an expanding belly. Dress pants and pencil skirts are not the thing that people remember, so you will need to buy less in terms of slacks and skirts than blouses and tops.
    3. For maternity tops, go light on patterns as they are easy to remember and opt for more solids as they can be interchanged more easily. However it’s important to find at least a few prints you do enjoy wearing – remember pregnancy is a time where you can dress up more because you’re pregnant.  After all, a pretty maternity dress can provide comfort with style with little effort. Maternity dresses will generally easily fit an expanding belly without troubling waistbands and give you a beautiful polished look in just a minute! You can sport a print wrap maternity dress to the office, PTA meeting, out to Saturday lunch with friends or date night with your husband. Just make sure you like it!
    4. Invest in a number of really good nursing bras and maternity underwear. Now trust me this is not an area where you want to skimp. There is nothing more uncomfortable than a too tight bra when you are pregnant or restrictive underwear. Your rib cage is expanding fast while you are pregnant in addition to your bra cup size. Your pre-pregnancy bras, even the sports bras will only take you so far and as your bust will grow before your belly. A great way to economize with your new bra collection is to invest in nursing bras (instead of just bigger bras or maternity bras) that fits you while you are pregnant. This way you can wear it both before and after and even nurse in it. Which brings us to the next point….
    5. Buy maternity clothes that double as nursing clothes and transition wear. You will find that once you have your baby, unless you are truly a super freak (and there are a few out there that literally walk out of the delivery room minus the basketball and practically into their pre-pregnancy wardrobe), you will most likely not fit back into your pre-pregnancy wardrobe for some time. If you choose to nurse, and we sincerely hope you do, then you will be grateful for clothing in your wardrobe that is specifically made for nursing, no fuss involved. This is particularly useful in the early stages of nursing when both you and your baby are on a steep learning curve and generally anything that makes nursing easier makes life a thousand times easier. Also, transition wear clothing that is made to stretch where you need it and look good on you after you have your baby will help camouflage a postpartum belly. All of these factors add to your quality of life before and after you have your baby and can help stretch your dollar with your maternity clothes investment.

    Remember pregnancy does not last a lifetime, although it may seem like it at times. Why not enjoy this time in your life and dress in a way that is both comfortable and versatile for both during and after your pregnancy. It’s easy to look good and stylish with a few good staples and fun prints in your wardrobe. Enjoy the journey and shopping!

     

     

     

  • Changing Habits and Homemade Energy Bars

    Everyone seems to have a favorite energy bar, whether it be a Luna bar, Cliff bar, or Nature Valley crumbs-everywhere bar. They are a quick, easy and healthy choice...right?

    Store-bought granola and energy bars are often packed with excess amounts of sugar and unnecessary oil. The second ingredient in many bars is cane syrup or dried cane syrup--which just means processed, refined sugar.

    If you are not suffering the bouts of morning sickness, then pregnancy is the perfect time to consider healthy food options. There is always a way to make a healthier version of your favorite junk foods, comfort foods, or convenience foods. Oftentimes even morning sickness can be kept at bay by eating an opportune healthy snack between meals instead of going too long between meals.

    Yummy pregnancy oat and date barWhen it comes to convenience foods, like granola bars, packaged salad kits, chips or anything you would grab at a grocery store in the middle of a hectic day or busy schedule, there is that element of convenience and sometimes it is okay to purchase those not-the-healthiest-but-not-the-unhealthiest foods. But going for the pure junk food option is a slippery slope when craving those extra carbs when you are pregnant and can quickly become a habit if we indulge every last craving with an unhealthy food choice.

    Whenever you can, grab a banana, apple, some almonds, or veggies and hummus instead of the less nourishing choices that our brains and hands are self-trained to reach for. It’s all about changing habits. As you make changes in your diet and health, it will get easier and more satisfying the longer you work at it.

    eat oat and date bars whien pregnantYou might have heard the claim that “It takes 21 days to form a habit,” (originally introduced by Maxwell Maltz in the 1960s). It is a nice, neat number that is inspiring and believable. However, Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, conducted a study and found that it actually took anywhere from 18 to 254 days (about the time of your pregnancy!) for the study participants to develop a habit.

    It might be discouraging to find that it could take over 8 months to form a habit -- but try not to get disheartened! Instead acknowledge this fact and use it to reassure yourself when you do slip up that it is perfectly normal for a new habit to not get set overnight. However, if you are 18-21 days down the path of healthier living and better food choices, then you are well on your way to a better habit for life. Lally also found that "missing one opportunity to perform the behavior did not materially affect the habit formation process." So don’t worry if you slip up now and then, because you are still making progress and reinforcing those neural pathways in your brain! Forming healthy habits is not an all-or-nothing endeavor, so be patient with yourself and don’t give up.

    what to eat when pregnantThe Oat Date n’ Nut Bars (recipe below) are an easy to make healthy snack bar that you can whip up for yourself ahead of time for the week. These bars are a much healthier choice than your standard granola or energy bar, and are also a fun, dessert-y option as well -- so you won’t even miss those sugary store-bought versions. These oat and nut bars are sweetened with dates which are a great source of fiber, energy, and potassium. There is no baking involved, which certainly adds a convenience factor. Whip up a batch and start to strengthen healthy habits as you enjoy the great flavor in these bars! Your body (especially your taste buds!) will thank you.

     

     

    Oat Date 'n Nut Bars (makes 16 bars)

    ⅓ cup peanut butter

    ½ cup roasted salted sunflower seeds (shelled)

    1 cup tightly packed chopped dates

    2 cups rolled oats

    1 tsp cinnamon

    ½ tsp ground cardamom

    2 tablespoons ground flax

    Lightly grease an 8x8 pan with your preferred oil.

    Process the sunflower seeds with the spices in a food processor. Add the dates, peanut butter, flax and 1 ½ cups of the oats. Keep processing until you achieve a soft dough. Pulse in the remaining ½ cup of oats.

    Squish the dough into the pan, using the bottom of a large measuring cup to flatten if needed. Once you have shaped and flattened it, loosen the edges with a knife or fork and gently flip onto a cutting board lined with a sheet of parchment. Cut into 16 bars (or whatever size you like!) and wrap in foil or plastic wrap. Store in the fridge and grab whenever you need a convenient snack.

    Nutrition Facts: (per bar)

    Calories: 190

    Carbs: 35 grams

    Fat: 6 grams

    Protein: 4 grams

    Fiber: 4 grams

    All Original Content. Copyright Athena Byers 2015, All Rights Reserved.

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