Monthly Archive for December, 2013

Gisele Breastfeeding on the Job

elle-gisele-breastfeeding-hGisele Bundchen, as beautiful as ever, recently posted a photo on her Instagram account which takes multitasking to a new level. As seen in the photo she is getting her hair brushed by a stylist, getting her eyes done by a makeup artist and her nails painted by a manicurist (who happen to wear coordinating striped tops) all while simultaneously breastfeeding her baby.

My reactions to this scene is first, yes, how gorgeous (and calm!) she looks in the midst of this primping whirlwind craziness while she lovingly breastfeeds her child. Quelle entourage!!

Also, how good of her to prioritize her baby by unabashedly breastfeeding her child without lurking off to some hidden corner or caring what others thought of her openly breastfeeding. Life goes on and she’s back to work, but her baby isn’t going to take second place to her high end job demands.

My other reaction was, isn’t this the royal treatment we all could use as overworked moms, especially moms of babies and newborns? Heck I would still be breastfeeding my five year old if I had this sort attention and pampering!

Despite a little bit of envy (and wishing I looked half as good a few months or ever after having my babies), I have to take my hat off to Gisele for finding a way to prioritize her child and show that anytime is a good time to feed a baby and anyone who judges can simply leave the room. (I would also wager a bet that the continual primping and styling surrounding you as a supermodel can get a little wearisome after a while and may not feel like the spa indulgence that us normal moms may splurge on occasionally). However I would also wager a bet that most of us would trade our 9-5 jobs for this one if we could!

In a 2010 interview with Harper’s Bazaar UK edition Gisele raised eyebrows with her strong pro-breastfeeding stance stating that a worldwide law should require all mothers to breastfeed their babies for the first six months of life. She went on the say, “Are you going to give chemical food to your child when they are so little?”

Although I wholeheartedly support breastfeeding and agree that it is without a doubt the best thing you can do for your baby nutrition wise, particularly for the first six months of life, I also appreciate that it is sometimes extremely difficult for every mom to breastfeed fulltime given work and other demands. Certainly breastfeeding on the job may be easier in certain professions than others, but I do like the fact (as so glamorously demonstrated in Gisele’s photo documented example) we can all get creative and try to figure out a way to pull it off sometimes.

For example, pumping milk for a caregiver to feed your baby is a good option when nursing is not possible with your job or life demands. Many a professional mom has found that pumping (often while on a conference call) is the key to continuing breastfeeding when you need to be away from your baby by day. Even nighttime nursing alone is highly beneficial to your child and helps in your mother-baby bond if you are limited in the time you can spend with your child. Additionally, nighttime nursing also helps stimulate your milk supply more than pumping alone. In tandem, nighttime nursing and pumping for daytime feedings can often meet all of your baby’s feeding needs when you need to be at work or away from your baby during the day.

Gisele’s more tactful follow up comments in her personal blog are far more helpful and supportive of moms in general than her initial comments:
“I understand that everyone has their own experience and opinions and I am not here to judge,” she wrote. “I believe that bringing a life into this world is the single most important thing a person can undertake and it can also be the most challenging. I think as mothers we are all just trying our best.”

My thoughts exactly. We are all trying to do our best as moms day by day and as part of this parenting community we should support one another wholeheartedly in this endeavor.

Selfies of Uber-fit Moms who show off bodies after Birth are Selfish

Personally I am tired of these moms coming out of anonymity to show off post baby ultra-fit bodies by posting selfies on Facebook while scantily clad to put the rest of us normal people to shame. Really, is there not any decorum and decency left? Of course I say “good to you” if you can find the time, means and let’s not kid ourselves, genes, to drop all your baby weight in mere days after giving birth and reveal something like a set of six pack abs. But in my opinion these photos reveal more about vanity than muscles.

However it does give me pause to wonder if they are forgetting about the baby or were more focused on their own body weight than a healthy pregnancy. If you are nursing postpartum, which is a fulltime job in itself, you should be consuming an additional 500 calories a day for a total of approximately 2500 calories a day to support milk production.

Many nursing women find that over time nursing does help them burn off a lot of the baby weight while continuing to eat a healthy 2500 calorie a day diet, particularly as the baby gets older and eats more. Personally I think nursing fulltime should be redefined as something of a contact or endurance sport as it does take a high level of skill, patience, strategy, quick reaction time and limitless energy to get it right. Of course the long-term benefits to your baby and to your own health are infinite and priceless (and yes it does save you money). However, any sort of weight drop from nursing is usually gradual and generally does not kick in for several months as the early day and weeks postpartum are really about revving up your milk supply and learning how to feed your baby successfully (and around the clock while trying to steal catnaps whenever possible and feel vaguely human).

So my message to the exhibitionists who are looking for instant fame and recognition through a viral Instagram or u-tube videos for their abnormal postpartum weight loss is, please keep it to yourself or between you and your husband. We may gawk at your photo and send encouraging messages, but really you are shaming the rest of us normal people with actual human bodies that do not react like yours.

Redirect the focus to your postpartum health and that of our baby and less on vanity. These early days with your new baby are a precious bonding experience which can set the tone for your relationship with your child for life. Savor them, expect them to be heartwarming as well as challenging steeped in sleep deprivation. Be sure to rely upon the kindness of friends and family who offer to help and cook a meal or watch the baby while you take a break or rest.

Remember to give yourself a pat on the back for successfully bearing a child, managing your life and body through 9 months of pregnancy and having the guts to care for a newborn who does not always follow an instruction manual and seeking to make that new baby a priority in your life in the days, months and years to come. That’s the important stuff, six pack abs can wait.

Surprise Babies are Surprisingly Common

Although most pregnancy test news is welcome/expected/ long hoped far, not all are. In fact according to recent statistics it is estimated that almost half, 49%, of all pregnancies are unplanned in the United States.

Most American families want two children. The average American woman spends five years pregnant, nursing and postpartum or trying to become pregnant. The next three decades she tries to avoid unintentional pregnancy. By age 45 half of all American women will have experienced an unintended pregnancy and 30% will have had an abortion.

Personally I find these statistics very surprising. We all hear about unplanned teenage pregnancy, the “bonus baby” in the family with two kids or the “miracle baby” for the mom who suddenly gets pregnant in her 40’s after adopting two babies thinking she was not biologically capable of having a child with her husband. But who knew that what seemed like the exceptional unplanned pregnancy, is actually a normal and common occurrence, even if everyone is not admitting their child, or the timing/spacing of their child, was unplanned.

Being a mom of three children I often get the question, “was your third baby planned?” It’s usually posed by people I don’t know well or virtual strangers who believe it’s a perfectly OK benign question to ask. I suppose anytime you go over the average two kids per family, you are assumed to have a surprise baby. I am also continually amazed by how many people readily admit that their third baby was not planned and came as “on its own” or “out of nowhere.” I have yet to encounter a parent who says that they regret that surprise child or that it has not impacted their life in some positive and unexpected way although many will admit they “have their hands full” or “it took an adjustment period” to regulate their lives.

Although we welcomed every child in our family, we did not “plan” their exact birth timing (although all were born in November somehow) and were pleasantly surprised each time the test came back with a positive blue line. There are ways to be pretty bulletproof when you are really done having children and many couples over 40 who are “sure” they want to be done, have utilized multiple methods to insure they don’t have any more additions to their brood. Sometimes I think the ones that don’t use multiple foolproof methods may not be convinced they are truly done and are leaving a small window to fate or chance to decide if another child is part of their family’s destiny.

My advice to women everywhere who get pregnant unexpectedly and who choose to keep their baby, is to feel better knowing you are not alone in having an unplanned pregnancy and that having another child in your family can be a truly positive experience. Yes all babies are hard work and expensive, but hard work isn’t always a bad thing and you learn as you go, even when life throws you a curve ball. Half of American moms have experienced an unexpected pregnancy, although you may not hear about it. Also I would venture to guess that the majority of those moms are happy to have the surprise child (even if it was a shock initially and took a little warming up to) and grew to love them every bit as much as any “planned” children they might have had.

Life does not always go according to plan, but wouldn’t it be boring if “The Plan” never changed and was so predictable. There is always something good than can come out of a surprise or a challenge. A miracle baby may be just what you need in your life and future.

Exercise During Pregnacy to Make your Baby Smart!

As Holiday Season approaches many of us find ourselves munching on more cookies, eating more pie and indulging in bigger meals. It’s easy to do as the weather is cooler and you may be surrounded by friends and family and lots of yummy goodies. Although pregnancy is not a time to diet, it is perfectly ok and even recommended to exercise, especially when you need to offset some extra helpings of stuffing or pumpkin pie.

Not only is exercise good for maintaining a healthy pregnancy weight, it’s also good for your brain, nerves and self-esteem. More recently researchers are uncovering new benefits of exercise to the developing fetus. Two studies presented a few weeks ago at the Society of Neuroscience suggest that exercise during pregnancy gives unborn children a neurological advantage with “more mature and effective brain patterns.” Dave Ellemberg, a neuroscientists at the University of Montreal says active moms can give their kids “a kickstart even before they are born.” He continues, “What we found is that there’s this amazing transfer from what the mother does onto her child.”

What better motivation is there to exercise since not only are you improving your own body and mind during pregnancy but that of your unborn child’s at the same time. Another recent study performed at Dartmouth University found similar results with the potential for exercise to leave “long-lasting effects on the behavior and cognitive function of the offspring.”

Even as little as thirty minutes a day of moderate exercise can help with weight gain, mood and prepare mothers for labor, says Laura Riley, Director of labor and delivery and obstetrics and gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital. She continues, that pregnant women who exercise are more mobile throughout their pregnancy and report less aches and pains during pregnancy.

How much you exercise and the type of exercise you choose to do should depend on your fitness level. In general it is recommended that women should continue the exercise they already do and just adjust the level to their weight and abilities as the pregnancy progresses. Even just walking will do wonders for your body and your baby.

There are obvious safety precautions such as staying clear of contact sports or those that require advanced coordination, such as biking (maybe consider a stationary bike). Also steer clear of exercise that involves flat on the back positions that can cause back strain or cut off the blood flow. Also you should not do abdominal work since those muscles are stretched to support your baby.

Most importantly stay in tune with your body and take more frequent breaks. Also, be sure to hydrate more often as your body will need more liquids when you are pregnant. Finally be sure to be in close communication with your doctor on all exercise you pursue to make sure it is recommended and safe.