How to get a flat tummy after giving birth

The fifty dollar question after being pregnant for nine months is ‘Will I ever have a flat stomach again?’
I questioned it more then once, especially in the later states of my pregnancy, it just felt so out of reach. But by the way, it’s not!

Just 12 weeks after giving birth to my beautiful baby girl, I’m back to flat and although I don’t have a raging six pack (not that I want one), I can see some muscle tone shining through. I’m happy with that, as it still looks feminine but also looks like you work out and look after yourself too.

postbaby 1 week – one week after birth

 post baby – 11 weeks later.

So how did I achieve this? Well for one I certainly haven’t been in the gym for hours on end. In fact I’ve been to the gym once since Lacie. I’ve been doing home workouts and lots of walking instead. This means I don’t have to leave Lacie and we still spend quality time together.

I’ve also be wearing a corset and compression gear a few hours a day to help my tummy muscles knit back together and help gently push my uterus back in. I started with the Gowri wrap, which I wore just a few days after the birth, then tightened as my stomach shrunk and I also wore MACOM, compression gear that is designed to provide the comfort and support needed to restore the abdomen’s natural shape. Basically by compressing the stomach, your muscles will  join together more easily, allowing for your natural shape to be regained at much faster than without it.

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I think breast feeding also helps a great deal when it comes to losing your mummy tummy. In the early days I could feel my uterus contracting as I fed Lacie. It was a really weird sensation and according to experts breast feeding can burns anything from 200 to 500 additional calories a day. Last year, an epidemiological study of 36,000 Danish women also found that the more a mother breast-feeds, the less weight she retains six months after birth.

There’s a few key exercises I’ve been doing too.

The first one is the cat/cow, which releases back tension, whilst helping to suck the abs back in.

And the other is superman, which gently works your core and helps restore your balance and help work your abs again but very gently.

As I’ve got stronger, I’ve also started doing the plank but on an incline or on knees to stop putting so much pressure on my abs. When doing a plank I’m really conscious of really pulling my belly Button up towards my spine as I do it, which helps activate your TVA and core whilst sucking all the muscles up rather than letting them all hang down.

If you need a hand with your Mummy Tummy, please don’t hesitate to get in contact. I have a list of goods that can help flatten your tum, whilst making you feel good and I can design personal workout programmes that you can fit in around the baby and do in your living room. My email address is miller82uk@yahoo.co.uk.

http://www.macom-medical.com/post-natal/post-natal

 

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The Diary of a Breast Feeding Mum

Breast-feeding can be pretty demanding. It can be so rewarding too, and I’m so glad I’ve done it and stuck it out for over eight weeks now.

During the first few weeks my nipples were so sore, which is pretty common and I had mastitis, which thankfully I managed to cure with warm flannels, ibuprofen & self-massage. It was a really painful time but the best thing to do is carry on feeding through it. It helps block the inflamed milk ducts.

Anyway I came out fighting and still feeding. It definitely gets easier, so this is how my day usually goes.

Wake at 5pm.
Lacie now goes from 10pm – 5am, which gives me 7 hours sleep. I always feed her in bed with me, and doze off. It’s so much easier than having to get up and make up a bottle.
Night-time feeding is definitely easier thanks to my Anita breast-feeding PJs, which are comfy and really easy to feed with. No fiddley straps or buttons, they have a chest opening for feeding. Great for ease and cold nights too, when you just really don’t want to strip off.

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Back to sleep until 8am
This feed is always followed by smiles and a bit of playtime. Our favorite story book at the moment is Wilson the Whistling Tree Frog, which is part of her Babycademy set. We read the book whilst doing the actions with Wilson the Frog. It’s great fun for both of us.

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Up at 9am
This is when I do my exercise. I pop Lacie straight in her pram and off we go. I either walk for an hour or jog around the park with her pram, stopping en-route at the children’s playground for some toning work with my resistance band and dumbbells. I will post one of my workouts soon.

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Back by 10:30am
Breakfast. This is usually a Be Skinny Me shake or a Slender Blend shake with Maca powder, a banana and some cinnamon. I also have a bowl of home-made granola, made by soaking oats overnight in apple juice and then mixing with seeds, nuts and dried apricots. I then bake it until golden brown. I love Maca powder because it helps balance out your hormones and help reduce the stress hormones caused by sleepless nights and being a new mum. 

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11:30 Feed then playtime
My feeding app ‘Nursing Time’ really is my bible. It times between feeds, times how long she feeds for, from what side she’s fed and also records all her feeds for the day. Great to look back on. Especially when baby brain kicks in and you can’t remember which side you fed from last.

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11:30 is also playtime
Lacie either goes on her playmat, in her Fisher Price Infant to Toddler Rocker, which comes with comes bright and colourful fabrics to stimulate her little brain and a vibration unit to calm and soothe your baby or simply on her blanket on the floor. She loves having a kick around.
Whilst this is keeping her entertained, I’ll have a snack of sliced chicken pieces, 1/2 avocado and cucumber. Protein is essential for maximising your milk flow, whilst the good fats in the avocado will help improve her  growth and development. I find that I’m really thirsty also when breast-feeding so the cucumber helps keep me hydrated.

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2pm: Lunch
This is usually homemade tomato and lentil soup, which is full of iron and vitamins, followed by some fruit.

2:30: Out and About 
I find this feed the hardest as I’m usually out and about with my NCT friends, mother in law or  mum or sisters, so I need clever clothes that allow me to feed discreetly. I’ve found the Breast Vest to be über helpful, which makes any top a breastfeeding top. It works by  sitting  just under your nursing bra, so when you feed it covers your tummy and doesn’t interfere with your bra straps.  Babes with Babies is another great clothing line, which make stylish clothes especially for nursing mums. I have the Cloud 9 Nursing T-Shirt, which has an elegant scooped neckline and soft draped pleats that flatter a postnatal tum.

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4pm: Juice Time
I’m always tired and hungry in the afternoon so I always have a juice to pick myself up. I love Plenish Juices. They come in handy little bottles, are cold-pressed and full of vitamins, minerals and nutrients to help keep my milk quality high. I also love making my own juices. I tend to do a batch on a Sunday night and freeze. My favourite at the moment is one beetroot, one apple, 1/4 inch of cucumber and 1/2 lemon. I add this to 1/2 a litre of water and sip throughout the afternoon.

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5:30: Feed
Feed time again. If I’m out and about still, then I’ll take some expressed milk, which I’d expressed earlier using my Medela Swing Breast Pump. I love it. It’s so quick and easy – and not stressful. I always thought I’d hate expressing but it really isn’t that bad. I like to give Lacie a bottle every three days just so she’s not fussy and I know she will take a bottle, which is especially important for when the grandparents have her and mummy and daddy want to pop out for some dinner or a spot of shopping. My breast pump came with a Calma bottle, which enables Lacie to maintain the natural feeding behaviour that she’s learnt on the breast. I don’t want her getting confused when going from bottle to breast and back again.

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6:15 : Core Workout 
My hubby usually arrives home about now, so I hand her over for daddy time, whilst I head to our home gym and get some core work in. Just 20 mins is enough to help heal my recti diastasis, which is abdominal separation caused by pregnancy. It’s all about consistency, so I do my exercises little and often. I need a strong core again before I start running any sort of distance or start lifting heavy weights.

7pm: Dinner
Protein & vegetables for us. If I’m extra hungry I’ll have a sweet potato too.
Dinner is usually followed by a chopped apple and almond butter.

7:30: Bath time
Bath time. Lacie usually goes in first. Now her skin isn’t so sensitive I love adding some special Cussons Mum & MeSleep Tight Baby Bath‘. It’s infused with lavender to help her sleep and most importantly its hypoallergenic and paediatrician approved. I always finish her bath with a massage. I wrap my hands around her legs, then gently pull my hands down to her feet before tracing circles on the soles of her feet with my thumbs. I use the Sleep Tight Balm for this. She loves it – and it makes her really relaxed and sleepy.
I’ll have a bath after her whilst she sleeps on daddy. My fav products are also from the Mum & Me range. Especially Calm & Soothe Bath Soak and the New Mum Firming Butter, which contains Oat and Marine Algae Extracts, helps to leave skin feeling tighter, firmer and more toned.

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8:30: Feed
Milk time again. This tends to be a long, relaxed feed, to full her tummy for the night. She’ll then sleep again either on daddy or in her crib downstairs with us, which allows is to get a few chores down or spend some quality time together.

10:30: Last feed
I like to give her a little top up before bed. If I’m really tired, I’ll go to bed at 9ish, then set my alarm to give her a quick feed. She’s sleep 7 hours at the moment so I know if I give her a little top up now I won’t have to wake again until 5:30ish.

Breast feeding – why new mums need Coconut oil and breast feeding

I’ve made it pretty clear in the past that I’m a big big fan of coconut oil. Not only have I used it for fat loss, cooking and on my skin in the past, I’m now using it to help me produce the best breast milk possible for little girl.

Coconut oil, especially my fav brand Lucy Bee contains large amounts of lauric acid, a powerful anti-microbial fatty acid that protects the immune system of my newborn and increases the quality of my breast milk.

The fact is a healthy balanced diet contains mixtures of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, whereas the composition of human breast milk contains about 45 to 50 % saturated fat, about 35% unsaturated and 15-20% polyunsaturated.  Lauric acid and capric acid comprise about 20% of total saturated fatty acids found in breast milk and have potent antiviral, antibacterial, and parasiticidal (kills parasites) properties that support the immune system. These fatty acids offer our babies protection from illnesses, viruses and bacteria.

Coconut oil is also extremely easy for an infant’s immature digestive system to absorb and utilise, whilst providing energy in the form of medium chain fatty acids to help the baby grow and develop properly.

According to the research, when a lactating woman adds foods rich in lauric acid like coconut oil to her diet, the amount of lauric acid available in her breast milk increases substantially to levels three times the original level and nearly double the amount of capric acid.

Pregnant and nursing women also tend to store fat to aid breast feeding, and any lauric acid and capric acid in the diet becomes part of the adipose fat stores. The milk fat of a lactating mother is made up of these stores as well as her current diet.

What this means is that a mother’s diet while lactating directly affects how quickly she sheds pounds once she stops breastfeeding. And since nursing mothers especially need fat in their diet, the trick is making sure it’s the right kind of fat.

To make sure I get the right amount I start every day with a hot cup of water with lemon and teaspoon of Lucy Bee coconut oil, which is an excellent source of fat since it is a medium chain fat as opposed to animal fat which is long chain and much harder for the body to break down.  Long chain fat stores will linger a lot longer on our thighs and hips than medium chain fats like coconut oil, which quickly convert to energy.

So before you do anything in the morning, make yourself a cup of hot lemon water with a teaspoon of coconut oil. Even if you don’t have time to eat before 11am (yes that’s what happens with a new born) you would have kick started your metabolism with the lemon and you’ve have a healthy dose of good fats to get your milk flowing (literally!)

Here are just a few more of my fav coconut products!

Lucy Bee
Lovely and creamy, and nothing else but high quality coconut oil, I wont use anything else when it comes to coconut oil. Not only do I put it in my morning hot water, but I also use it on my skin and baby’s skin too – it’s great for making you super soft with no hidden nasties!

CO YO
CO YO is a gorgeous creamy coconut yogurt made from nothing else but coconut milk. It’s dairy free, vegan and sugar free too. Again it’s perfect of you need a quick snack to help keep your energy up and top your milk producing calories up. It’s estimated that you need an additional 300-500 calories a day to support breast feeding.

Coco face
Coconut water is gorgeous. It’s full of potassium and great for rebalancing your electrolytes and keeping you hydrated. Have you ever noticed how thirty you get when breast feeding? I love that it comes in a coconut – fresh from the tree. No packaging required!

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The in’s and out’s of Breast Feeding; Does breast feeding burn calories?

At 37 weeks pregnant, things are starting to feel very real now. I’m full term and starting to get very organised for the birth and beyond.

One thing that I feel I need to be really prepared for is breast feeding. I think you need to go into the hospital with a plan of action, as it’s more than likely that the midwifes will be very keen for you to breast feed or at least TRY and breast feed before you leave for home.

One thing that really appeals to me is that breast feeding can really help you to get your pre-pregnancy body back.
According to  WebMD, you can burn up to 500 calories a day through breast feeding. The exact number of calories depends upon how frequently you breast feed and how much milk your body produces, plus as you wean, the number of calories you burn through milk production will also decrease.

Medela.com also reports that breast feeding releases a hormone called Oxytocin, which is  responsible for the contraction of the uterus and therefore helps to decrease the size of the uterus after birth. Well needed after 9 months of being stretched I’m sure!

A few essential that I’ve come across when searching for the best breast feeding clothes and accessories is this awesome set of pyjamas by Anita. The last thing I want to be doing during night feeds is getting cold and having to strip off. This pyjama top is ideal for breast feeding and the bottoms are really comfortable with a supportive and flattering waist band too. Every little helps!

PJS

I’m also a HUGE fan of the Anita nursing bras. This spotty number is really cute, soft and ideal for breast feeding, thanks to its adjustable straps and a double layered cup for extra support and comfort.
bra

Both of these items can be brought from www.anita.com – the website is well worth a visit!  

To Breast Feed, or Not? That is the question….

For most women it would be a no brainer – but I’m going to be entirely honest with you I’m slightly nervous about it!

Yes,

  • Breastmilk contains all your baby needs: proteins, fats, lactose, vitamins, iron, minerals, water and enzymes in the exact amounts required for the optimal growth and development.
  • Breastfed babies are healthier. Breastmilk contains substances which prevent harmful bacteria from growing in intestines and causing gastrointestinal and diarrhoeal infections.
  • Breastfed babies have fewer middle ear infections, fewer respiratory infections and a decreased risk of developing allergies, cancer, childhood diabetes and obesity.
  • Breastfed babies have a decreased risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Breastfeeding a premature baby decreases his risk to develop necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).
  • Breastmilk is clean, free from bacteria and has anti-infective properties.
  • Breastmilk has the right temperature and needs no preparation. It is readily available whenever your baby needs it.
  • Breastfed babies are less prone to develop diabetes, heart diseases, eczema, asthma and other allergic disorders later in life.
  • Breastfeeding enhances brain development. Research shows there is better visual development and visual acuity in breastfed children.

But what about me? I will find it awkward if my baby needs feeding when out and about with friends and family and what if it hurts? According to breast-feeding experts, Medela breast-feeding is not meant to hurt, although some nipple tenderness in the early days of breast-feeding is rather common.

After spending hours reading up on the Medela website (there’s so much information on there, which is great!), I’m adamant I’m going to give it a go. So to set myself up, I have got some breast-feeding essentials. In my mind, breast-feeding needs to be as comfortable as possible for me as well as my baby, as it’s too easy to give up when formula is so available and easy to get hold of.

Here is what I have got so far!
Medela Swing Breast Pump
According to experts at Medela, 82% of mothers use a breast pump, whether it is because of going back to work or to help overcome a temporary separation or problem. I’ve decided to get one to help with those awkward moments when I know I’m going to be out for a few hours and won’t feel comfortable to feed in public. It also means my husband can get involved with the feeding too, as I think this is important for father and daughter bonding time.
This award-winning pump is meant to be very quiet and boosts 2-Phase Expression Technology the breast pump simulates the natural infant sucking behaviour at the mother’s breast.
£129; from Mothercare

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Bravado Essential Nursing Tank
This tank not only has a built-in bra but is also long in length and unclips at the shoulder to give your baby full access to your breast, without you having to expose your tummy or too much flesh. As it will be winter when I have my baby, I will wear this under a jumper or poncho which will allow me to feed her discretely and comfortably. The fabric is also really soft and stretchy and comes in a range of colours to match any outfit.
£36; Bravadodesigns.co.uk
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Aleva Naturals™ Nursing balm
According to Medela, 73% of mothers get outside help for breastfeeding problems, which includes sore nipples, which is why a good organic nursing balm is essential to help moisturise nipples  and soothe painfully cracked nipples.
What I like about Aleva Naturals is that their cream is specially formulated with Plant based Edible Oils, which is safe for both Mom and Baby – the balm absorbs in within a few minutes after application.  Aleva Naturals recommended that you apply the cream after breastfeeding and because there is usually a couple of hours between feeds there shouldn’t be anything left over to be wiped off. It’s also not necessary to wipe off any trace amounts as they are edible oils!
£9.99; www.vitalbaby.co.uk 

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This is my essentials to start with. I am on the hunt though to find more, so when I do, I will of course share these with you, as I think every women should be confident to try breast feeding as the benefits are huge. I think like everything new, it will feel weird to start with BUT practice makes perfect and I’m not one to give up, especially as I know the benefits for my baby and MYSELF are so good.

Good luck ladies – please feel free to share your stories !