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TummyStyle Maternity & Nursing Clothes

  • Guilt-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Chip 1

    Some healthy recipes can taste, well, too healthy. Dessert should taste like dessert, but it shouldn’t leave you feeling sick, particularly at time when you are sensitive to morning sickness! Your meals shouldn’t hurt your body, they should help it, especially during pregnancy when you are literally eating for both you and your baby! Food can either be the slowest form of poison or the most powerful medicine to fuel your body and improve your health. When you supply your body with the right nutrition you will see feel the difference with more energy for your day. Healthy food can definitely be delicious, and here is one recipe where you the taste is as good as the nutrition it provides.

    These cookies are the reward for lots of experimentation in the kitchen. They have the classic taste of chocolate chip cookies but are a far healthier version than the classic store bought cookies or grocery store cookie mix we all know and love, but also know is not the healthiest choice for our bodies. This chocolate chip cookies recipe supports your pregnancy health while still satisfying your sweet tooth pregnancy cravings. They are chewy, soft, and slightly crispy on the edges. The sweetness of the agave is perfectly complimented by the nuttiness of the hazelnut oil and balanced with a bit of sea salt. No one will ever know these are free of white flour, butter, or white sugar!

    Chip 3

    These cookies are a bit high in fat, but it is from high quality sources (avocado and hazelnut oil), aka guilt-free fat! According to a study published in the March 2005 issue of the "Journal of Nutrition”, avocado oil increases the absorption of carotenoids (organic pigments that act like antioxidants within the body) from your food. Fat-soluble carotenoids rely on dietary fats to be properly used, but most foods that are high in carotenoids (think red, orange, and dark green veggies) are low in fat. Avocado is unusual because it contains high quantities of unsaturated fatty acids as well as generous amounts of carotenoids. In the study, “both high and low doses of avocado oil enhanced alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lutein absorption from a salad by as much as 15 times compared to a salad without avocado oil.”

    Hazelnut oil has a similar composition to olive oil, but it contains less saturated fat per tablespoon. It is a bit on the expensive side, but it only takes a little bit to add complexity and flavor to baked goods.

    Chocolate ChipIf you don’t have avocado or hazelnut oil, try mixing whatever oil you have on hand (like grape seed, coconut, sunflower--maybe even try olive oil and add some orange zest!). You can also experiment with adding shredded coconut, nuts, extracts, and different spices to customize. Have fun and make healthy cooking something you look forward to!

     

     

     

    Chocolate Chip Cookies

    2 ½ cups almond flour

    ¼ cup sorghum flour

    ½ tsp baking soda

    ½ tsp fine grain sea salt

    ½ cup agave syrup

    ¼ cup hazelnut oil

    ¼ cup avocado oil

    1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F on convection. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

    Whisk the almond flour, sorghum flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.

    In a separate medium bowl, combine the agave, hazelnut oil, avocado oil, and vanilla.

    Fold the wet and dry mix together. Bake for 10-15 minutes, rotating the pan about 6 minutes in.

    Nutrition Facts: (per cookie)

    Calories: 223

    Fat: 17

    Carbs: 16

    Protein: 5

    Sugar: 8

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

  • Make-ahead Healthy Muffins

    made ahead muffinWe all have those times when we find ourselves opening and reopening the fridge trying to find that little something to snack on. We get busy and want something that’s quick and delicious. But sometimes we don’t make the best choice. It’s common to make unhealthy choices when we haven’t planned out meals or prepared snacks for the day. You can make these healthy muffins on a Sunday and have a healthy choice waiting for you every day of the week. They are a quick on-the-go snack that is also a fun treat. These muffins are sweetened only with fruit and have just 5 grams of sugar each. The addition of walnuts also gives a fun crunch and a great energy boost.

    Almost everybody has noticed the boom in “Gluten Free” products. As you might know, this does not automatically make the product healthy. Most gluten free items are based off of white rice flour and potato starch--both of which do not do much for your health. These muffins are gluten free, but instead of using the standard blend of white rice and potato starch, they contain  amaranth, oat and brown rice flour.

    Amaranth has the most protein, iron, magnesium, and fiber of all the gluten free grains. It is also a good source of calcium, Vitamin E, Vitamin B-6 and lower in carbs than most grains. It seems like the number one flour to use--so why even bother with oats and brown rice, right? Well, for gluten free baking, if you only use one flour, the flavor can sometimes be overpowering and the texture too dense.  You also miss out on the benefits of other grains. Quinoa is a grain similar to amaranth that also packs quite a nutritional punch, but it is about twice the price of amaranth.

    With all of these wonderful health benefits, you are sure to feel good about eating this treat.  If you want more of a dessert, you can reheat one and drizzle honey on top and enjoy with a cup of herbal tea.

    muffins

    Banana Nut Strawberry Muffins (makes approximately 11 medium muffins)

    3 small overripe bananas

    Juice of half a lemon

    1 tsp vanilla

    1 tsp cinnamon

    1 tsp baking soda

    ½ cup amaranth flour

    ½ cup brown rice flour

    ½ cup oat flour

    ¼ tsp salt

    ¾ cup chopped walnuts

    2 egg whites

    1 cup chopped fresh or frozen strawberries

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F on convection. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

    Peel the bananas and mash them in a medium bowl. I recommend using the head of a  whisk to mash quickly. Add in the lemon juice, vanilla, and egg whites. You can also put all these ingredients in a blender to speed up the process.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, salt, baking soda, amaranth or quinoa flour, and brown rice flour.

    Fold the dry ingredients into the wet. Add the chopped strawberries and walnuts. Fill the paper liners with batter almost to the top. You can also gently push in more strawberry slices if you see any bald spots. Bake for 25-30 minutes, depending on how big the muffins are.

    Let them cool completely before removing paper liner, and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

    Nutrition Information: (per muffin)

    Calories: 154

    Carbs: 23 grams

    Fat: 6 grams

    Protein: 4 grams

    Sugar: 5 grams

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

  • Try a Splash of Marsala, Color of the Year, for Your Maternity Wardrobe

    The official color of 2015 is Marsala, according to the Pantone Color Institute. In case you are wondering, Marsala is a rich red-brown burgundy color much like the fortified wine that its name is derived from. This hearty warm earth color is flattering against many skin tones which make it a great choice for fashion. Its rich and sophisticated shade also complement a palette of other hues such as camel, pumpkin, shades of blue, brown and black which allows it to coordinate well with many other colors in your wardrobe.

    Marsala also makes a great nail color, makeup blush for the cheeks, lipstick and clothing. Its stylish tone works well for home furnishings and interiors and even industrial design. Yet our favorite use of the Marsala color is its beauty in maternity fashion. This color works for all seasons. In winter pair marsala with jewel tones for a statement color. When springtime comes, try marsala with cool pastels for a fresh look.

    A number of maternity clothes at TummyStyle incorporate this yummy earth hue in both prints and solids. Here are a couple favorites:

    Maternal America’s Wine Scoop Neck Dress.

    Maternity America Wine Scoop Neck Dress

    This chic maternity dress is fitted on the top with the black lycra scoop neck design and elbow length sleeves. The sash and skirt of this pretty empire waist style is wine colored shade of Marsala. The mid-thigh dress length is youthful and fresh.

    Another take on the Marsala shade is Maternal America’s Nursing and Maternity Cami-Cardigan.

    Maternal America Cami-Cardigan

    This very versatile two piece cardigan sweater is made for both nursing and maternity. Its rich color, in the Marsala family hue, is sure to be a hit this season. Pair it with jeans, black slacks or a skirt for a dressier look. Ultra comfy and pretty with all skin tones and hair colors, you are sure to love this nursing cardigan for days to come.

    So add some variety to your maternity wardrobe and add a splash of Marsala (the color not the wine that is!) to enjoy this year’s special color and you are sure to be on-trend.

  • Snack on these Valentines-Themed Beans!

    Brownie pic

    As Valentines Day fast approaches chocolate is on the brain. Pregnancy is no time to lose all your vices, or at least not the healthy ones. Who knew that a yummy brownie desert, that looks and tastes truly decadent, could be so healthy? Well there are a few secret ingredients involved, but no one will ever know the difference (not even you when you taste them!)

    The main super healthy ingredient hidden in this brownie mix is black beans. Just a half cup of cooked black beans is packed with essential vitamins for your healthy pregnancy diet. Here's the break down in vitamins and minerals for the half cup of cooked black beans:

    30% recommended daily amount of folate (aka folic acid, very important!)

    15% recommended daily amount of magnesium

    16% recommended daily amount of manganese

    10% recommended daily amount of iron

    8 grams protein

    8 grams fiber

    Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart! The combination of protein and fiber helps to steady the digestion processes and regulate blood sugar. This is very important as pregnancy is often a time when blood sugar spikes and expectant mothers are often prone to gestational diabetes. Healthy snacks like these actually help you maintain a steady and lower blood sugar.

    It is always important to include lean protein in your diet, but even more so when you’re pregnant.  The amino acids in protein are the building blocks of our bodies.  During pregnancy, these amino acids are providing the same cell-building tasks for your growing baby. The magnesium in black beans also helps with this synthesis of protein.

    Protein is also responsible for red blood cells--which as you probably know transport nutrients and oxygen to and from cells.  Red blood cells also control blood clotting, particularly those in and around the uterus and placenta.

    They hold a variety of phytonutrients (both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory) which help fight cancer, decrease risk of heart disease, and reduce effects of aging.  In fact, black beans have more antioxidant activity, gram for gram, than any other bean. The flavonoids found in this “magic fruit” prevent the adhesion of platelets in the blood, which can help lower risk for heart attack and strokes.

    They also provide a great base for healthy brownies!  You can’t even tell these have a whole can of beans in them.  They are moist, fudgy and loaded with antioxidants and minerals from the cacao.  Notice that is cacao, not cocoa.  Cacao is the less processed powder and is much higher in nutrients.  Cocoa is more processed, but less expensive and still contains valuable nutrients.  Whichever one you choose (cacao or cocoa) you will be sure to enjoy this very yummy desert!

    black bean brownies

    Almond Bean Brownies (16 servings)

    1 15 oz. can rinsed and drained black beans

    about 13 pitted Medjool dates

    ½ cup of unsweetened almond milk

    ½ cup almond butter

    ¼ cup maple syrup

    ¼ cup coconut oil

    1 tsp vanilla

    1 egg

    ¾ tsp baking soda

    ½ cup cacao or cocoa powder

    ½ tsp salt

    1 3.4-4 oz bar of dark chocolate

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F on convection.  Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.  Put the beans, dates, almond milk, almond butter, and vanilla in food processor or blender.  Blend until super smooth (approximately 3-5 minutes).

    While this is blending, whisk together the cacao/cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  Set aside.  Melt the coconut oil and maple syrup.  Add the maple syrup and coconut oil mixture to the food processor and blend to combine.  Add the egg and blend until combined.  Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Chop the chocolate bar in small pieces and add to the batter.  Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 50-60 minutes.

    Nutrition Facts (Per serving)

    Calories: 198

    Protein: 5 grams

    Carbs: 24 grams

    Fat: 11 grams

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

  • Benefits of Broccoli!

     

    We knew broccoli was good for us but we had no idea just how good. Broccoli is an excellent vegetable choice to add to your prenatal diet as it is packed with essential vitamins and minerals.

    One cup of cooked broccoli has about…

    250% of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin K

    40% the recommended daily amount of folate

    140% recommended daily amount of Vitamin C

    Vitamin K does not receive a lot of publicity and is sometimes referred to as “the forgotten vitamin” but it is important for many functions, including preventing blood clots. It is also a key partner to vitamin D in building strong bones. If you are deficient in vitamin K, then vitamin D does not work optimally in your body. These two vitamins complement one another and you need to have a sufficient amount of each vitamin for them to work effectively in your body.

    We all know folate (aka folic acid) is a top priority for all expecting mothers, particularly in early pregnancy. Once you are pregnant, everyone from your doctor to your next door neighbor is encouraging you to increase folic acid in your diet. It has been proven that folic acid can actually prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida in your baby which is ample reason to increase your intake.

    According to Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson, when broccoli is lightly sautéed in oil, it loses almost none of its water-soluble nutrients because it is in contact with oil, not water (as opposed to steaming). They also absorb the phytonutrients in oil and garlic. This is an excellent opportunity to add double your nutritional value by cooking in olive oil, a very healthy fat.

    Indole is also formed when broccoli is cooked. According to research in The Journal of Nutrition, this organic compound helps kill precancerous cells before they turn malignant.  Vitamin K, folate and Vitamin C are all essential for a healthy pregnancy and broccoli is a great source of all of these!

    Basic Broccoli Method:

    2 medium bunches of rinsed broccoli

    1 tablespoon olive oil

    1 tsp thyme

    3-4 cloves garlic, chopped

    Desired amount of salt and pepper

    Put a large pan on medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and chopped garlic. Chop the broccoli and set aside in medium bowl (makes approximately 6 cups).

    Once the garlic has lightly browned in the oil, add the chopped broccoli and stir. Add the thyme, salt, and pepper.  Cover the pan with a lid and check every few minutes until it is as cooked as you like.

    DSC_0030

    You can either eat it just like that, or make a delicious quinoa salad!

    Quinoa Broccoli Salad (1-2 servings):

    1 cup cooked broccoli

    1 cup cooked quinoa

    ¼ cup pasta sauce

    1 cup chopped kale

    ½ cup garbanzo beans

    Toss all ingredients in a bowl and you’re good to go. This recipe can easily be doubled or even quadrupled for a family meal! The addition of raw kale adds even more of those essential vitamins for a healthy pregnancy.

    DSC_0251

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

  • Feature Product – The Betsy Maternity Bikini

    Prego Maternity SwimwearPregnancy is a fun time to experiment with fashion. Your body is changing, you are about to become a mother so you identity is about to be forever altered (in a good way!) So why not have some fun and enjoy that extra bit of cleavage as inspiration to try out some new styles you may not normally consider?

    A growing trend now going on a “Babymoon,” or vacation with your partner while you are expecting your baby. This is an excellent opportunity to bond as a couple before your little one arrives and catch that last bit of relaxed time with your spouse before you are on fulltime Mom and Dad duty. A Babymoon can be anywhere. It can be close by where you and your husband escape for a fun weekend or as exotic as a cruise vacation. Either way, it’s worth the time and investment and you will remember this special time together for years to come.

    If you are able, it’s fun to get away to a warmer climate or beach in the middle of winter. This gives you a chance to escape the winter blahs and break out a swimsuit and warm weather clothes. Many moms enjoy trying new styles in their maternity swimsuits when they are away from home where they feel less self-conscious. It’s a great opportunity time to show off your belly in a fun and festive maternity bikini. You can also bring a maternity cover-up to wear out to the beach or pool.

    If you want to really spice it up, try a tropical theme suit like The Betsy Bikini by Prego Maternity. The blend of cheetah print spots with a soft rose flower pattern make it one of a kind. The attractive keyhole halter top and stretch bikini bottoms feature a wide waistband that can be worn rolled up or down, perfect for your pregnancy belly for both style and comfort. Find some strappy sandals and the right accessories and you are ready for a fun day in the sun and the water!

  • Making Mistakes can Speed up the Learning Process with Breastfeeding

    A recent study by the John Hopkins School of Medicine showed that the brain learns motor skills faster by processing errors than any other way. In the past it was assumed that people learned and performed a motor task faster the second or third time around because they had more practice, but this is not the case. Although practice helps, the learning part comes from the brain's processing of mistakes. The brain, which never ceases to amaze and surprise us with its abilities and cleverness, stores memories of motor skill errors in performing a task which it then processes for making adjustments for the optimal outcome. We knew our brains were smart, but this shows that they are even smarter than we first thought as they can successfully automatically critique our every motor action to figure out what works best, sort of like self-coach we didn't even know we had.

    This science can be applied to almost every area of life figuratively and directly to physical areas that relate to motherhood, such as breastfeeding your baby. As we know all babies are different. So although it may be easier to breastfeed the second or third time around, what worked before on one baby (one particular hold or technique for latching) may not be as effective on a different child. It takes trial and error to find out what works for both your baby and you in the breastfeeding relationship. It also takes trial and error to figure out the times of day, amount of time and a multitude of other factors for optimal results in breastfeeding.

    For example, maybe your baby needs to be woken up a little first by having its diaper changed or a layer of clothes peeled off so they are not too hot and more awake. Maybe you need to play with your baby a little first to get them more stimulated. There may be a certain hold that works better at nighttime than daytime. Perhaps you nurse better an hour after dinner or a big glass or water as your milk supply is full. For some moms their best nursing sessions are first thing in the morning when they've had more sleep and restful time for their body to fully replenish their milk supply. There are so many factors involved in finding success in breastfeeding, particularly early on.

    One of the encouraging facts about this study is that your baby’s brain. which is amazingly wired, is also processing the trial and error information and figuring out how they can best feed. That’s one of the reason why its easier to breastfeed a baby with each additional week of life and experience that you stick with it. However, it is helpful to have an expert, such as a lactation consultant, to observe and offer advice on holds and techniques for breastfeeding your baby early on and especially if a problem arises. They can help speed up that learning process by using their expertise to narrow down on what might be going wrong or what adjustments you can try.

    The key is to stick with it and not give up hope when things don’t seem to be going well. With your brain and your baby's brain working together, breastfeeding will get easier. There will come a point when your baby knows all of your queues to nursing without you needing to spend fifteen minutes preparing a nest of pillows and props and mirrors to make sure they are positioned just perfectly. Before you know it you will only need to barely lift your shirt or nursing top ever so discreetly and your baby will know exactly what to do without you needing to pause for a breathe as you talk to a friend.

    Trust in the miracle of your brain with trial in error (and any additional professional help you may need) and nursing will be a piece of cake in no time. Also with all of those calories you burn nursing you can treat yourself to that occasional piece of cake without any guilt!

     

  • My Life as a Mom - Part 3

    I nursed my third baby nursed for 15 months until about the time I started feeling he was going to outgrow me. Looking back on it I realized I did succumb to a bit of social pressure or perceived social pressure. If I had it to do again I would have nursed him as long as I liked. Of course my husband believes our six year old would still be nursing if I didn’t wean him in that second year. However, the idea is to nurse him as long as I, the mother, would like and am able and not someone else tells me he is too big to nurse and should order for himself at a restaurant.

    I was actually quite surprised with how easy the weaning process was for all three of my kids. It always seemed so daunting when I would hear about people weaning their baby in a hurry before returning to work. What I discovered with the process is to do it gradually makes it easier for all, particularly my own body which was used to producing huge amounts of milk. I found that it is a lot less traumatic for the mother to emotionally and physically adjust to the reduced amount of nursing when it is stretched out over a longer time horizon than trying to power wean over a weekend. When weaning is done gradually over time, the baby barely notices and you might even find you want to hang onto that last nighttime feeding a little longer as you bond with your baby before he falls asleep and as you sometimes fall asleep yourself . One of the perks of nursing is that it does help you relax and fall asleep. It is remarkable how smart and flexible babies can be to new schedules and how fast the body can regulate to new supply and demand updates. Nature has made us elastic with our babies’ needs and babies are amazingly adaptable learners to new modes to feeding – although it may not feel that way at first because they have a lot to say about it.

    Looking back today as my youngest is 6, my middle child is 10 and my oldest 12, I am truly glad I was able to nurse all of my children for as long as I did. The first two I was able to continue to nurse after my maternity leave ended and I was working fulltime. It is amazing how you can make things work when you really want to do so.  Once we made it through the very rough first couple of weeks and even months it was a very fulfilling experience (and it did help me lose a lot of baby weight!) It provided me with a lot of bonding with my children and forced me to take my own “time out” of my busy day and evening to unwind with my baby. This was particularly nice when I was working fulltime and our caregiver would feed my baby my pumped milk during the day. The evening feedings when I was at home could be done in person and I could truly bond without a pressing commitment to my baby or hooked up to a machine.  I did find that keeping some interesting magazines around my go-to glider were a must have for daytime nursing. It also feel gave me a sense of competence and completeness that I was enough to continue to provide life and nutrition and comfort to my child. I was equipped with the goods as a mother. However I also know that having the support from my husband and caretakers when I was working fulltime was a big part of that equation as well, particularly when multitasking with other children and work responsibilities.

    Each stage of motherhood holds its own challenges and joys. As soon as you think you have one mastered, you enter the next. I have also found that each stage is less daunting than it seems from the distance. The terrible twos and toddler years can hold their share of stress but can also overwhelm you with joy and fun in firsthand experiencing your baby come into their own and literally start exploring and testing their world. The preschool years can be a big breath of relief as well as trepidation as you maybe for the first time drop off your child at school and leave them there for a period of time with people you have not personally hired and vetted. Even the older kid and tween years are an enriching time of seeing your child become more confident and independent and less in need (or desire) of constant handholding as they bond more with peers.

    Each and every stage holds its surprises and rewards. I have found and continue to find that reaching out for help when you need it is key. If you do not have family nearby (as we do not), finding a neighbor or mom at your school to help with carpooling, trading off on playdates and, if you can afford it, finding the occasional babysitter so you can escape on a date night is important in keeping some sanity and balance in your life. Everyone tells you to enjoy your kids while they are young. Sometimes it’s hard to enjoy every moment, especially when you are tired and sleep deprived. It's easier to enjoy them when you have the support you need to take care of them.  Just remember to be kind to yourself, patient with your kids and say “yes” to help whenever it is offered! You also deserve a mom time out, even if it's just a cup of coffee by yourself or a trip to the mall or bookstore. Treat yourself occasionally to a nursing top or something you like. It will make your whole experience all the better when you are not feeling deprived and your own needs are met. Remember to put your own oxygen mask on first, then are best equipped to meet the needs of your child!

  • My Life as a Mom - Part 2

    Now whoever says that having a 3rd child is no different than having a 2nd is clearly delusional as I was when I entered this pregnancy with that mindset. I observed blissful friends who handled 3rd and 4th babies with a cheerful attitude while flexing stronger biceps. I believed the adage of adding one more potato to the pot was all that was required for one more child to the family (in addition to a new college savings fund that cost more than a whole field of potatoes).  Like most parents of multiple kids, we generally felt we were prepared and experienced for this third time around the block.  We had the gear – strollers, cribs, car seats, clothes, blankets, sippy cups. We knew the drill – schedules, naptimes, feeding and diapering.

    What we forgot was that we were 6 years older than when we had our first and approaching middle age. I was pushing 40 at the time of my 3rd child’s birth and those extra years did make a difference in my energy and ability to bounce back after my pregnancy compared to my earlier pregnancies. Not to mention I had two younger kids to take care of and I didn’t have a nanny or housekeeper to help with everything. So, maybe there was more than age at stake in that extra wave of fatigue this final round.

    The biggest surprise was that nursing did not come easily. For some reason I just assumed it would be easy as I nursed my other two kids for almost a year each. Although I had problems in the beginning with each in terms of milk supply and every kind of lactation difficultly from painful latches to mastitis, I did eventually work through it with the help of a lactation consultant and my OBGYN for a fulfilling and successful nursing experience with both of my children. So to find I had the same exact array of problems with my 3rd was shocking. Once again I found myself at the mercy of baby scales and schedules and trips to the pediatrician’s office to check the baby’s weight gain. In all of my years of school, college and graduate school I never experienced the same degree of test anxiety as that of getting my baby weighed and awaiting my pass/ fail results from my pediatrician. I felt like I was always just barely getting by but working like crazy and pulling all-nighters preparing for the weighing in exam.

    Finally after the help of a lactation consultant once again, a Medela hospital grade nursing pump to help with milk supply stimulation, my husband’s unwavering support with all the other baby responsibilities, and the help of herbal supplements and Reglan to promote milk supply and sheer persistence, we made it through to the other side of nursing the way it’s supposed to be, painless and brainless.  You know the side, where you can nurse anytime, anywhere and everyone is happy and dinner is always warm and on time. I used to be paranoid and modest with my nursing with my first baby, very worried that any bit of skin might peek out or I might offend someone with the sheer act of nursing my baby. Not so with my third baby.  I would nurse in open air at a park, in an airport, on an airplane next to any stranger, at a restaurant and not feel the need to retreat to the tiny bathroom stall for privacy and modesty. Armed with a good nursing bra and sometimes a stylish nursing top, I was good to go anywhere with my baby and feed on demand. Now at last I could enjoy my baby and the perks of not having to pack a bottle

  • My Life as a New Mom - Part 1

    Pregnancy and motherhood is a sacred time in our lives as women. The miracle of growing a human life inside of us is awesome. When I look at my kids and think that they somehow arrived here through my body and have now matured into the full personality individuals they are at 6, 10 and 12 year olds, it is more than I can wrap my head around.

    Pregnancy and motherhood is a journey and a process. You become a mother once you are pregnant, even before your baby formally arrives. Already you are thinking for two, eating for two, even dressing for two in your maternity clothes. You start planning nurseries and logistics around working or staying at home with your baby. If you plan to return to work you begin the process of looking into daycare or nannies or even reducing your hours or maybe working a more flexible schedule.

    I remember going through this whole process as a first time expecting mom more than twelve years ago before my son was born. We explored all options for our son’s care before and after he arrived but finally decided on a nanny once my maternity leave ran out. It was a challenging process of commuting to work, pumping milk while away from my baby and returning home again to care for my child. I missed my baby while at work but also enjoyed returning to my identity as a working person. I appreciated my job more and liked having adult conversations with coworkers and making decisions that did not involve nap schedules or baby feedings. But none the less it was challenging leaving my baby and pumping milk when I would rather be nursing my baby in person.

    When I had my daughter two years later I was able to mostly work from home while my nanny cared for both of my children. I was very structured about separating work from mothering and would literally close the office door to shut out any noise and to physically compartmentalize my professional world during working hours. The only thing that crossed the line was pumping milk, which usually occurred while on mute during a conference call. None the less, I kept my “double life” pretty quiet although I was open with my manager about my arrangement. Sometimes I was able to nurse my baby during part of a lunch break - which literally became my baby’s lunch hour with the rate that my methodical daughter nursed. But, it was a welcome break and a special time of bonding that I felt lucky to have while working.

    When my daughter was approaching two, I quit my corporate job to stay at home with my kids and focus my attention on my new online business. Although it first felt like a vacation to stay at home with my two young children and not have an outside work commitment, I soon found that life as a work at home mom without a clear work schedule, or a schedule that my two under 5 children were willing to go along with, was more challenging than I first thought.

    Joining the ranks of the Stay at Home Moms was not an easy process. Although most were friendly and welcoming at preschool pickups and drops offs, I often felt like a foreigner who was not savvy on the many activities, mommy and me programs, playdate calendars and volunteering that these women could rattle off in detail as part of their daily lives. I observed how they communicated at a faster quicker beat (often frequently pausing midsentence to respond to a toddler’s questions or address a baby’s needs) than work colleagues’ deliberate measured tones and corporate lingo.

    I marveled at how these women could pull off so much while pushing baby strollers, dealing with toddler demands and hefting babies in and out of car seats without missing a beat in conversation or their daily itinerary of playdates, errands, meal planning and even social outings. Often toddlers would troll behind them like ducklings with sippy cups or snack baggies in hand as these fit mamas, often sporting stylish gym clothes in what appeared to be perpetual workout mode, pranced a few feet ahead, always in motion and cheerfully conversing with those in their path. Somehow they were able to seamlessly integrate their kid’s schedules and naptimes into their daily life on the go. Often naptimes were incorporated into errand running while kids were strapped into their car seats or strollers or taken to the park on a "Mom" playdate with another friend with young kids. Meals and snacks were often packed ahead so there was no need to return home, ever.

    By the time I felt I was getting the hang of it to legitimately fake being part of this league of moms was about the time I learned I was expecting my 3rd baby. That's when I found out I was out of my league.

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