How to Focus on Self-Care during Pregnancy

And what manspreading has to do with it.

How to Focus on Self-Care during Pregnancy

Pregnancy is one whirlwind roller coaster, and moms-to-be often see their needs falling by the wayside as they’re prepping for baby. But pregnancy isn’t just about baby -- it’s about mama too, and it’s a time when some self-care is essential for emotional wellbeing. Because we all know: a happy mama makes a happy baby.

That is why we hosted our Tips by Trimester event -- to treat some of New York City’s expecting mums to an indulging evening of conversation, healthy foods, delicious drinks and some much-deserved prenatal pampering.

Since we know there’s no shortage of questions when you are expecting, we gathered some of NYC’s foremost pregnancy experts for our guests to get a little pregnancy p(r)ep talk! Arielle Fierman Haspel, nutrition and lifestyle expert, talked about some of the foods that helped her cope with pregnancy discomforts. Kate Lynch Bieger, a psychologist with the Seleni Institute, addressed mental wellness during pregnancy. And Natalia Hailes, from Our Brilliant Bodies, advised attendants on how to get the birth of their dreams. Here are 3 noteworthy tips we got from them:


1) When you’re pregnant, eating in bed is fact, it can help fight morning sickness. “I kept a stash of healthy snacks near my bed in case I got hungry. I’d keep a few almonds on my bedside stand or have a hard boiled egg. It helped stabilize my blood sugar and prevented me from throwing up. I was so tired during my first trimester, I also made sure to eat every 2 to 3 hours, even if I wasn’t hungry. Not only would it help ward off nausea, I would stay energized. My favorite snacks? Apple or sprouted pretzels with almond butter, almond flour crackers with an organic mozzarella stick, a handful of almonds, and smoothies with chia seeds.” Arielle, from Be Well With Arielle.

2) Loosen your expectations of what childbirth and motherhood is “supposed” to be.Be gentle with yourselves. Women often feel a sense of loss when childbirth and the early weeks of postpartum don’t match the cultural expectation of a natural and joyful time. Women’s real birth and mothering stories are much wider than this — they may include feelings of fear and inadequacy, loss of an old identity and anxiety about what will takes its place. I encourage women to make room for whatever mix of emotions and experiences arise, remembering that mothering is not about being perfect and getting every moment right. We are better mothers when we are gentle with ourselves.” Kate, from the Seleni Institute.

3) Take the time to prepare emotionally for labor. “We tend to spend a lot of time in our heads and keep busy checking off items on our to-do lists. But it’s important to slow down, connect with our bodies (and the little people growing inside them) and find tools that can help us cope with what’s ahead. These are of course different for everyone, but can include sounds and music, massage, visualizations, meditations, breathing exercises, or a candlelit bath. Whatever it is that quiets your 'monkey mind,' start using it and PRACTICE. The more you practice, the more effective and helpful it will be during labor.” Natalie Hailes, from Our Brilliant Bodies.

Bonus tip: If you’re in third trimester, “manspread” as much as you can. “You want to create lots of room in your pelvis for baby to get settled in a good position and engage in your pelvis before labor starts. Manspreading (aka sitting with your legs spread wide apart) and leaning forward both help do that.” Natalie Hailes, from Our Brilliant Bodies.

Our Tips by Trimester event, which took place at Second Floor of Hotel Eventi, provided the perfect opportunity to mingle with other mamas-to-be while also getting a peek at some of the best pregnancy and baby brands. Among them were Bugaboo, Bamboobies, City Family Legal Planning, NYDJ, Ergobaby, Teat & Cosset, Babyganics, Icon, Ubbi and SNOO.

As they scouted around for products that would make their lives easier during and after pregnancy, guests filled up on wholesome, tasty bites from Meisterdish and treated themselves with scrumptious sweets from Sprinkles Cupcake. Little Spoon concocted delicious pregnancy mocktails using organic baby food ingredients and Balance Water ensured everyone stayed hydrated. And for those who weren’t getting enough me-time at home, the gals at Earth + Sky Healing Arts came to the rescue with their relaxing touch. Head and upper-back massage, anyone?

Of course, we wouldn’t let all these wonderful mamas-to-be leave empty handed. Our guests had the opportunity to try on NYDJ maternity jeans and got to even snag the pair that fit them best. They also received a LeSportsac bag filled with goodies from event sponsors, as well as some extras from Bebe au Lait, Munchkin, Nine Naturals, Baby Brezza and June & January.

We are so thankful for our community of Well Rounded mamas and for everyone who stopped by. What, you missed it? Check out some photos below, and et your ticket to our next pregnancy event, The UNshower, on April 24! Register here.

Photography by Stylish & Hip Kids for Well Rounded.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.

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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 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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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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