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Comparing Ourselves to Supermodels Postpartum

A personal trainer shows us how to set realistic fitness goals postpartum.

Comparing Ourselves to Supermodels Postpartum

It’s that time of year again: the cold sets in and we become less active. And a certain underwear company holds a big fashion show in which women wear very little. While many of us choose not to watch, we are all exposed to it through social media, regardless of whether we want to or not.

One recurring theme of the past years has been the impressive weight loss that women achieve leading up to the show -- especially the models that are new moms. Their routines have been praised by the media.

Journalists love to highlight these supermodels’ postpartum weight loss and make comparisons to other women. Once 12 weeks postpartum seemed like a fantastic comeback...then 10 weeks...and now it can be as little as 8 weeks from delivering a baby to baring it all on the catwalk in front of cameras and the world.

As a personal trainer and coach, I commend my peers who coach these women through the rigorous routines which they must surely endure to achieve these results. But as a woman and somebody who has worked with hundreds of expecting and new mothers, I shudder at what message the media is sending and how this adds to the already full plate of a (first time) new mom.

Most women don’t get the green light from their doctors to work out until 6 weeks postpartum. This depends on their level of fitness before and during pregnancy and whether the pregnancy was high or low risk. The shortest I have witnessed has been 3 weeks, and even then, I advise new moms to get back to working out at their own pace before I restart my work with them.

What we must all keep in mind, is that women in the public eye make their living off of their appearances and, as such, treat nutrition and fitness as a full time job. They work out up to 5 hours a day, 7 days a week and have nutritionists watching their diet and assisting them in their healthy lifestyle. During those first weeks postpartum, many can focus almost solely on their goal event with the help of assistants, nannies and others.

While we all know this on some level, it’s hard not to get sucked in to wanting to look the same -- and as quickly -- postpartum. So here are a few pointers to keep in mind while you’re losing your pregnancy weight.

  1. Find other new moms to get active with. Whether you go for a walk or do a mommy and me yoga class, the accountability, camaraderie and motivation that comes from doing it with others, will get you out the door even in the winter.
  2. Acknowledge the changes in your body. Forty weeks of pregnancy will wreak havoc on even the fittest of women. It creates tension and loose joints, and you will feel more winded doing cardio. The immediate postpartum period can be overwhelming with nursing, insomnia and learning many new things as you adjust to keeping a newborn alive.
  3. The best foundation is building strength and balance in the body. It’s not about bulking up or building muscle, but rather about strengthening your core form the inside out. This will help you combat conditions such as diastasis recti, ensure a strong pelvic floor to avoid problems like incontinence, and create stability and strength in your upper body and limbs to avoid mommy thumb, shoulder and back pain. That new-found strength has a positive effect on your mental attitude too.
  4. Remember that some women lose weight because they breastfeed and others (the lesser known camp) lose weight when they wean. Accept that if you fall into the latter category, you may hold on to a few pounds around the hips that are there to ensure your baby has enough resources. It’s nature, and it’s unfair, but don’t be tempted to interpret this is a good reason to quit breastfeeding. Rather, think of it as a nice amount of weight loss to look forward to without much effort once you stop nursing!
  5. Take every opportunity that someone offers to watch the baby to get off the computer and get out and get active. The internet can suck you in -- and make you compare yourself to others. Especially when you’re feeling depleted and low and isolated at home, in your pajamas (because it’s just you and the baby after all). Part of the reason why celebrities “bounce back” quickly is because they are being watched 24/7. So don’t be shy. Go out! Make it a priority to leave the house and face the world.

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10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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Talking to kids can come so easily. They have thoughts about everything and stories for miles. They see the world in a completely different light, and could ask enough questions to fill an afternoon.

But sometimes finding the right words for talking to kids can be really, really challenging. When choosing how to respond to the marker on the wall, or the seemingly unending why-can't-I battle, or in simply keeping healthy communication open with kids who don't want to talk, the words don't seem to come so easily.

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