Friday, August 22, 2014

How I lost the Baby Weight Part 2: The first weeks (or months)

When I had Aisley, due to complications, I was given over 17 lbs of IV fluid.  I left the hospital heavier than I had walked into it at 42 weeks pregnant.  I had such fat cankles that I was unable to walk up and down stairs, I looked 7 months pregnant, and even with my baby finally home, I was devastated.  I heard about the girls that are back in their skinny jeans weeks later, and I hated them.  Realism isn't on the favorable side of postpartum women.  Here are the steps I took to losing weight in the first weeks.  For me, this "few weeks" was closer to 2-3 months.  Why?  I have an exhausting baby.
  1. Relax- You get home from the hospital, and no doubt cringe at every mirror.  Give up the stress.  Sit on the couch with your baby, and make sure there are no mirrors visible from your favorite nap spot.  I really needed time to recover from a semi-traumatic birth and to bond with A.  I did this for at least 2 months, and still lost around 25 lbs.  Seventeen pounds of fluid and 5 more of god knows what.  All I did during this first 2 months to lose weight was.....
  2. Breastfeed- Whether or not breastfeeding actually helps weight loss, I was determined to do it for Aisley's health.  I feel strongly about breastfeeding (read more here) so I did it.  And for the sake of this post, lets say it helped.  After all, while eating crappy and laying around, I still lost 22 lbs.
  3. Don't get discouraged at plateaus-After the initial 25 lbs, I plateaued out every. five. pounds.  It was so irritating to be doing so well for a couple weeks only to spend a couple weeks where the scale would not budge.  Instead, make a small change at each one.  
During this initial bonding time, I chose NOT to worry about my weight, and instead bond with my new baby (and let's be honest: I slept.) The first few weeks are easy.  Everything is new and exciting.  Uteruses slowly retreat to their proper position while they realize that there are ENOUGH babies right now, and (if breastfeeding) you can live guilt-free about "one more bite" of dessert.  

I truly think that if I had stressed myself about my body and tried to whip myself back into shape I would have experienced mommy burnout and eaten take out every night for two weeks.  I think if I hadn't gotten the extra sleep, that my metabolism would have held onto my fat stores like a lifeboat.  And I think I had to have done something right, because I shrank fairly quickly, even if I held onto a fair amount of weight, and yes, even if loose clothing and disguising tops became my best friends.  I felt good.  I took time to bond with my baby.  We took naps together, stared at each other, and had a strong start to breastfeeding that's still going on without a hitch.  And it made me a better mom.

Let's take a nice look at what "recovery time" did for my worn-out-just-had-a-baby-body, because like I said....we're being honest with ourselves.  I DID pic the pictures with more flattering angles, but I also Instagrammed pictures the first 4 weeks postpartum.  I figure thats the borderline between bravery and embarrassment.

1 week

This is how I "worked" on weight loss at first-in a maternity top and my husband's gym shorts...because that's literally all that fit.  

Only 1 week postpartum!  I'd like to thank this dress A LOT.  

2 weeks

2 weeks PP, and now only looking 4 months pregnant!  BONUS, I left the house with no shame and still in maternity clothes:

3 weeks

3 weeks, and extreme bravery

1 month

4 weeks, and my birthday!  I was HAPPY with how I looked!

Thursday, August 21, 2014


In other words, the most boring important post here :)

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission released new rules for disclosure compliance.  These rules are set in place to ensure that readers or viewers of web media (blogs, Youtube videos, etc) know if the blogger/presenter is sponsored, endorsed or partnered with a different company. In blog terms, the readers need to know if the blogger is making money by sharing a link, product, or service. I write this blog with my family in mind and with no compensation, so I offset my time and costs in the following ways:
In compliance with the FTC guidelines, please assume the following about links and posts on this site:
  • Any of the links here may be affiliate links. This means that if you click on the link and buy certain items, I may receive a small commission. However, for you, there is no difference in price or quality of service! Thank you for your support.
  • If I post an affiliate link to a product, it is something that I personally use, support and/or would recommend regardless of affiliate links.
AMAZON DISCLOSURE: I participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties.  
This means that if you click an amazon link of mine and buy ANY item (even if its not the item linked) I receive a small percentage and can further contribute to supporting my family.  Having said that, I would never share a link for commission alone.  All items linked are items I personally use and love.  If you would like to use an affiliate link of mine for your normal amazon shopping and browsing (which TREMENDOUSLY helps my family) I've provided a link below that redirects to Amazon's home page itself, but will point sales commissions my way, and autoship some diapers to A's little bum.  :)">Name Your Link</a><img src=

I frequently use Ebates to score a lot of things on the cheap for Aisley, which usually contributes to the lower cost of some of the links I provide.  If you'd like to know more about Ebates, click the following link.

How I lost the Baby Weight Part 1: The Facts

Today, exactly 5 months after the day I left the hospital, I've hit my prepregnancy weight.  Today, I'll also start a 3 part series to how I managed to lose 40 lbs and 9 months of indulgence in just five months, starting with the facts.

You WILL gain more than just your baby's weight.
It would be cool as hell if we all got to waltz out of the hospital in our favorite sexy LBD and full of energy and love for our new littles.  But thanks to old Tampax commercials, we all already know Mother Nature is not our friend.  Accept it.  Look at your baby instead of a mirror and move on.

Weight means nothing.  Weight is a number.  Weight is the amount of force with which gravity pulls down on an object.  Right after we have babies.....well gravity just wants to pull us a little harder.

It is worth it.  It will always be worth it.
I don't know a single woman who would trade her children for a killer body, so let's take time and remember than obsessing about out bodies is NOT the most important thing.  Our families ARE.

The media is not fair.
I did a quick google search on "losing baby weight," and was so beyond thrilled to learn that Beyonce, Chrisitina Aguilera, Kate Middleton, and JWOWW all lost the weight in a matter of as little as THREE WEEKS.  Seriously?  What the HELL?  It also helps that they "have no idea how they did it" and "it just happened naturally."  I smell bullshit.  Its statistically impossible for this to happen to ALL celebrities.

Our bodies will never be "sexy" like they were before.
Our bodies may not be the same, but that doesn't mean that we don't or can't look great.  My husband PREFERS my body now over my prepregnancy body.

We are powerless to change what our babies have done to our bodies.
We are never powerless.  Never.  If we had the strength to change our bodies once, we can do it again.

I don't intend to play the media game.  I didn't hide in my house with a head of lettuce and a personal trainer while a nanny and wet nurse raised my baby, nor did I have a night nanny so I could keep up on the sleep/energy to entertain that personal trainer.  I'm going to be totally transparent.


First trimester weight: 125 lbs
Final weigh in: 162 lbs

And when I left the hospital: 165 lbs

Yep.  I gained more than the recommended weight for pregnancy.  I also managed to GAIN 3 pounds in the hospital, even though I lost almost 7 lbs of baby and the average 5-10 pounds of baby lifeblood that took up residence in the previous 9 months.

The world may not be ready for honesty, but I'm not into lies.  When I left the hospital, I looked about 6 months pregnant.  I even have the photos to prove it.  But it was okay, because I also left the hospital with this:

Check out that not-baby bump.......

Friday, August 15, 2014

20 Uses for Essential Oils + My FIRST 3 uses and TOP 3 uses

When I was 8 or 9 months pregnant, I somehow stumbled my way onto the radar of Essential Oils.  I was first introduced to Young Living, and then doTERRA, but I just could not stomach the cost.  Part of me always believed that a significant part of their cost was the markup that comes with any multilevel marketing company.  Think about it.  Tupperware is more expensive than Rubbermaid.  Scentsy is more expensive than Better Homes wax melts.  I knew there had to be a better alternative, and shortly after my daughter's birth, I really started looking into it.  Enter Plant Therapy.  I came across their Facebook page, and their community recipe group.  I LOVE how open this company is.  I have emailed one of two certified aromatherapists at least four times, and every time, they will continue the conversation until you are confident you have the information you need.

I've tried other brands, but haven't found the same customer service anywhere.  I could ramble all day, but instead, without further ado, here are 20 uses for my favorite essential oils!

1. Allergy relief- Equal amounts lemon, lavender, and peppermint inhaled will send allergies running for the hills.

2. Febreze- Sniff some bottles, find some you like, mix with witch hazel and spray everything in sight.

3. Repurpose your Scentsy- Put a spoonful of unrefined coconut oil in your warmer, then about 3 drops of EO to brighten up the smell of your home.

4. Bites and burns- Diluted lavender provides CRAZY relief to itchy bites and painful burns.

5. Lice prevention- Use a few drops Tea Tree oil in your kids' shampoo or detangler to ward of lice at school or day care.

6. Overactive children- Use Calming the Child on the soles of children's feet or in a diffuser for a calming effect.

7. Digestive "issues"- I'll spare you the details of what this can *ahem* stop...but Digest Aid blend can stop stomach discomfort in its tracks.

8. Stretch marks!- I use a blend of coconut oil, vitamin e, evening primrose oil, frankincense, lavender, and grapefruit and I've seen tremendous improvements in my stretch marks.

9. Laundry Stink- I add a couple drops of lemon to my husbands nasty motorpool uniforms.  It could also be used to rewash clothes that pick up a musty smell after you forget them in the washer.  (Not me.  I'm ALWAYS on top of laundry....)

10. Mopping- A Drop of spearmint or peppermint and a drop of lime can up the cleaning power of your mop water AND make your house smell like mojito!

11. Bug Spray- Make your own with natural ingredients, like Lemongrass.

12. Perfume- I find its great to rotate a couple floral oils that I love.

13. Sleep Aid- Roman chamomile, lavender, or vetiver can be an AMAZING sleep aid.  Move aside, unisom....

14. Pain Relief- Things like Bay Laurel, black pepper, clove, and peppermint can be great topically instead of conventional medicine that must be taken orally.

15. Boo-Boo Spray- A quick blend of tea tree, lavender, and frankincense can promote healing and ward off infection.

16. Tic Removal- Tics hate EOs.  A couple drops of almost any EO can have a tic tasting nasty blood and backing itself out almost instantly.  No more concern about where the little bugger's head went.

17. Mood Enhancement- You can use EOs to combat depression, anxiety, almost any mood condition.  But hey, if you wanna take it as *wink wink* mood enhancement, it can do that too.

18. Energy and Focus- Citrus oils, among others can promote alertness and mental focus, as well as providing adrenal and physical energy.

19. Colic Calm/Gas drops alternative- I use an EO blend similar to gripe water.  Instead of A having to digest anything non-nutritive, I just rub in on her tummy :)

20. Disinfecting Spray or Wipes- Some tea tree, a little castile soap, and water makes a great disinfecting spray.  For Wipes?  Remove the roll from the middle of paper towels and soak them in it.

Alright, so these are some of my favorite general uses.  I'm not even getting into what we go through when someone is getting sick or how much I love a bottle of Patchouli.  But what was it that really got me into EOs?  Here are my FIRST three uses, that changed my husband from skeptic to fanatic.

1. Migraines- My husband suffers from major major migraines.  They last about a week at a time.  I mixed 1 drop Birch, 3 drops eucalyptus, 3 drops lavender, and 3 drops peppermint.  Bye Bye headaches.

2. Aforementioned Digest Aid- A particularly troubling stomach incident 30 minutes before work?  Digest Aid made for a pleasant rest of the day.

3. "Baby toes"- A blend of my own that I sometimes use for inhalation and sometimes shamelessly massage into A's feet.  She'll go from screaming to calm and cuddly (while admittedly still needy) in a minute flat.

While these were my first 3 successes, they still aren't what I use most.  After 6 months of steady use, here are the ones I use DAILY:

1. Roman chamomile- We rub this on Aisley's feet every night before bed.  It helps relax her and prepare her to go to bed(read: knocks her out).  She is now SO used to it that she anticipates it and relaxes and plays on the bed.

2. "Red Bull"- I usually need at LEAST 2 cups of coffee to get going in the mornings.  And while I'm not giving up coffee, a few citruses, mints, or other aromatherapy adds a little pep to my step while that damn pot is still brewing.

3. Pillow Spray- I spray a little patchouli, roman chamomile, lavender, and a touch of orange all over our bed and A's little security blanket in her bed.  We ALL sleep like babies (as in, really, really hard, and then up in 4 hours to eat.  In my case, to feed)

Honorable Mention- Aforementioned Boo-boo spray.  Aisley doesn't get boo-boos that need this yet, but Giordy get some gnarly cuts at work sometimes.  He uses this more than anything for the first couple days afterwards, then pretends it doesn't exist until he turns into a big klutz again.

I love my oils.  I love them to pieces.  There are very few medical conditions that can't be helped by them.  They're great for cleaning.  They're great for every day.  (Most of them) just smell damn good.  <3

I'm not gonna get all legal here.  Some oils need to be diluted.  Some oils are not appropriate for all ages, pregnancy, or nursing.  Don't take this post as the only info you need to know.  If you're interested in using one of these 20 ideas for yourself, do your research, ask your doctor/aromatherapist, or leave a comment below for the exact ratios I use.

Monday, August 11, 2014

All About Aisley!

Next week, Aisley will be 5 months old!  I can't even believe that she's approaching the six month mark, and I definitely can't believe the pee stick(s) told me "yes" over a year ago.  

We started giving Aisley about a tablespoon of organic oatmeal around the 4 month mark.  At first I was really against it for the sake of exclusive breastfeeding.  That's when a small voice in my head reminded me that no one gives you a badge for following AAP recommendations.  She needed the weight in her stomach for her reflux.  Medication alone wasn't doing enough, and I was fighting a losing battle to get a probiotic into her.  So I killed two birds with one stone, and gave her the damn oatmeal.  It instantly became clear she was ready.  So last week, I picked up some organic carrots, butternut squash, and bananas from the grocery store.  I cooked up all her food with breast milk, still adamant that I was just making it, not actually giving it to her.  The small voice instantly crept up again.  "She shows all the signs of being ready.  Just feed your kid."  For the past week, she's had an ounce of banana breast milk smoothie in her oatmeal, and sure enough, she was ready for that too.  Since adding the the cereal to her medication, she's removed herself from the skinny mini class of babies, and moved on to some ADORABLE thunder thighs.

Beyond that, she's made major leaps and bounds, literally in the past two weeks.  At her last doctor's appointment, she was considered developmentally delayed.  I chalk it up to her first three months of her life, where she learned nothing, but instead cried until she slept, followed by 20 minutes of napping and an hour of crying.  I truly believe if I took her into the doctor next week, she would be back on track.  That quickly.  Two weeks ago, she started mildly laughing, but it was like pulling teeth to get her to even smile.  The very next day, she witnessed her Ryry just being his stupid self, and well......I guess he's her favorite.  

That just left the "mini push up" and rolling over, and I was doubtful.  My doctor had explicitly told me to just put her on her tummy and let her figure it out herself.  She had no idea what she was supposed to be doing.  So last night, I gave in, and carefully put her up on her hands.  She almost immediately fell, but something clicked.  She cautiously pushed herself back up.  Annnd check.  Mini push up.  I was happy.  I wasn't going to push her any further, but then she pushed herself over onto her back.  I thought it was a fluke (she had rolled over twice accidentally at around 2 weeks old) and flipped her on her tummy again.  Five times in a row, she instantly flipped herself.  This morning, I left her on the floor on her back after changing her, and I returned to find her on her tummy.  She's done this twice now, and I truly believe she would do it consistently if her feet weren't constantly in her mouth.  In two weeks, my baby girl has literally managed to change her whole world.  

Looking forward, my daughter is well on her way to reaching milestones early.  Last week, before she could even roll herself over, she began sitting up unassisted.  we still helicopter her or use her nursing pillow for this but she's doing better than I could have ever believed.


I never would have believed that she could change so much in just 2 short weeks, especially after all the doctor's sputtering statistics about how she would never recover her growth curve or catch up on her milestones.  So a little shout out to Aisley's pediatric team.  I'd like to very sarcastically apologize for trusting my baby...and Aisley over here?  She would like to tell your statistics, growth curves, and general bullshit guidelines to kindly f*ck off.  :)

Monday, August 4, 2014

What I've learned about being a First Time Mom

Like many others, when I was pregnant, I received a myriad of advice.  I was told to breastfeed.  I was told not to breastfeed because it was too hard.  I was told to co-sleep.  I was told to NEVER co-sleep.  I was told to put Aisley on a tight strict schedule.  I was told to not put her on a schedule at all.  I was told to never give rice cereal, and I was also told to mix rice in bottles starting at a couple weeks old. Car seats are of utmost importance, but our generation made it through with seats that were much less safe.  Put her to sleep however you can.  But don't rock her to sleep.  Or nurse her to sleep.  Or give her a pacifier.  Give her a pacifier so she'll be happy.  Vaccinate.  Don't ever vaccinate.  Vaccinate sometimes.
What's a first time mom supposed to do?  Before Aisley was born, I thought I had decided what kind of mom I was going to be.  I'd trudged my way through all the decisions and made them one by one, because everyone had told me that I needed to know what to do.  No one told me it was okay to wait.  But then I came out of the hospital with a sick baby.
Aisley has severe reflux, and for the longest time, we didn't know.  The "schedule" I planned on putting her on became doing anything at any time to make her stop crying.  Instead of waiting 4 weeks to introduce a pacifier, we made it about 24 hours.  I had to rub my nipples with flavored vitamin drops just to get her to eat.  And she was still tiny.  I let her sleep ON my boob.  If she went to bed in her  Pack N Play, great.   If not, I just brought her into bed with me.  We started out vaccinating and quickly realized that there's something in the vaccines that my daughter just CANNOT tolerate.  Every time I went back on a decision that I had previously made, I wanted to cry.  Even with everyone's conflicting advice, everyone had told me to make my decisions and stick to them.
Why couldn't anyone have come up to me and said "Relax.  Everything will be okay.  Your baby will trust you to know what's best for her.  You'll know her better than anyone and what SHE needs will just come naturally."?  Why?  Everyone knows babies are far from cookie-cutter.  They each come with their own little bodies and big personalities.
My daughter is 4.5 months old, and I've just had the epiphany that I'm doing OK.  When Aisley was 3 months old we started her on reflux medication.  I'm truly happy that I did anything to keep her happy before we knew.  I'm glad I comforted her through the pain.  I'm glad I never let her cry it out or kept her on a schedule instead of cuddling her when she was choking and sputtering.  And now?  I still do the same things, but with a MUCH happier baby.  I take cues from her as to how she's feeling, and she takes my guidance.  She doesn't have a "nap time" but I know that she'll get tired and rub her eyes sometime mid-morning, and she knows I'll give her a pacifier and rock her to sleep at my desk.  We both know she'll sleep alone in her swing in the afternoon, whether it be for 2 hours or 45 minutes.  She trusts me to not let her cry it out, and I know she isn't capable of falling asleep alone.  We both know that she'll happily sleep alone until 4 am, at which point she might stay in my bed, or she might go back to her own.  I know that some nights she'll sleep 7 hours straight, and some only 2, but she rarely wakes without needing me, and I won't deny her that.  And most importantly, we both know it's not always like this.  She knows at the first sign of a growth spurt or a fever, I'll let her be clingy.  I'll let her be a baby.  Because soon a day will come where she doesn't WANT me to cuddle her.
So new moms and soon-to-be new moms, I want to tell you all what no one told me.  You can't make a plan and expect to follow it.  You can't expect something to work for your baby because it did for someone else's.  And while all of us moms think we're being helpful with our advice, a lot of it will be useless for you and your baby.  When you hold your baby, you will know them.  You will love them.  And you will have enough insight from all that advice to know which things your baby will like.  That's all that matters.
Everyone wants to know what its like being a first time mom.  Third trimester preggos cling to the advice of "what you learned" as a first time mom.  Honestly, I've learned next to nothing about being a first time mom.  All I've learned is how to by the best mother to MY baby.
Ignoring all the advice, ignoring my own decisions, and trusting my baby has led me here:

A not-so-skinny baby who I know is happy, well-fed, and when she looks up at me, I know she loves me and trusts me to do what's best for her.