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*We’ve partnered with Mountain Buggy to help you achieve your #fitmomintentions. Ask a new mom about her postpartum body and she may reluctantly admit she wants to shed a few of those baby pounds. Yet, many messages in the media make you feel ashamed for even mentioning weight loss; we’re supposed to be proud of our new body, no matter how uncomfortable we feel in it. While we’re all for embracing your postpartum bod, we’ve also got your back if you wish that bod was slimmer. So for Part 3 of our #fitmomintentions series with Mountain Buggy, we’ll show you how to lose weight while working towards a goal, using a 6-week workout curated by our fitness editor Roma Van der Walt. Meet Well Rounded reader Stephanie, who got real about her #fitmomintensions in an email to us: Before I was pregnant, I was coming off a high. I had completed an IRONMAN: 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running. I trained everyday for 8 months, and raised over $60,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. And then I got pregnant. High risk and high emotion, I ate my feelings and felt awful in my own skin. Which led to more feeling dinners and shower meltdowns. Did I mention that I got engaged while pregnant, and my wedding is in two months? Harper was born after over 24-hours of Labor and multiple epidurals. She almost died at birth and was in the NICU attached to machines when I held her for the first time. Once I started working out (which is almost daily), I would feel guilty because I was away from her. With 25 lbs and multiple diets that haven’t moved the needle, I cried out of sheer disappointment and embarrassment at every wedding dress appointment. I am looking for a running stroller routine that would enable me to work out and reach my goals, all while being with my daughter, and showing her the place I feel most strong and confident.

Well Rounded Reader Stephanie training with her Mountain Buggy Terrain.

Roma says: “Weight Loss postpartum is a loaded topic. After all, this is the time when we completely devote ourselves to another human being, their needs (and there are so many!) come first and our disheveled self comes second. However, in many instances we are also prepping to return to the world outside of our newborn bubble, whether that’s for work or otherwise. “Stephanie not only wants to trim down for her wedding, but she also signed up for multiple half-marathons, a 70.3 IRONMAN and a bunch of 10-milers and Olympic distance triathlons. I admire Stephanie’s commitment to going after her goals. The caveat is however, that these intense periods of training and life have to be no more than several months at most and then we have to give ourselves a break again.” Below is a 6-week program to help you get extra fit, fast, slim and stay sane as a new mom. It’s structured as training for a race of at least 10K (or a wedding!) at the end, but can be used for weight loss even if you have no end-goal. WEEK 1:
  • Find a coach. Just like in every other area of life, having a coach to oversee your progress and hold you accountable, is crucial.
  • Invest in a training journal such as the Believe Training Journal by fellow new mama (of two) and badass runner Lauren Fleshman or sign up for myfitnesspal to track your training and weightloss.
  • Sit your partner down and warn them. The next six weeks may be hectic, they will require some emotional leniency on their part and some understanding of your fatigue, desperation, elation, frustration and added piles of laundry.
  • Stock up your fridge and pantry with healthy snacks such as nuts, dried fruit, dark chocolate, coconut flakes, peanut-butter, Ezekiel raisin toast, pre-boiled eggs and good full fat yoghurt. Hell hath no fury like a hangry mother.
  • Schedule an annual physical and have your hormones tested, especially if you have larger fitness goals in mind. The female athlete triad is particularly scary for nursing moms, resulting in anemia and possibly osteopenia (brittle bones) and 25% of mothers get diagnosed with thyroiditis about 5-6 months postpartum. Thyroiditis most often follows a curve of HYPERthyroidism (yay weightloss, scary cardiac symptoms) followed by HYPOthyroidism (oy, it’s not your baby that’s causing the fatigue) and in another 25% of cases women will stay chronically ill with Hashimoto’s disease.
  • If you are aiming to do a longer-distance race down the line, sign up for a 5k and use it as a so called ‘rust buster.’ For more structured training, we need to know your current fitness to be able to build fitness. So, if you run the 5k in 30 minutes, your mile pace is about 9:45/ mile. This is valuable information for the coming weeks. Ideally schedule another 5k for 3 weeks later at the half-way mark of your training plan.
WEEK 2:
  • A good pre workout breakfast should include easily digestible carbs, so for example a piece of toast with banana, or oatmeal with blueberries. Plan to run out 3 days a week. If your partner doesn’t have to be out of the house too early, ask them to do breakfast with the kid(s) or take the baby in your running stroller.
  • Right after finishing a workout, is a crucial window to keep your body burning, so have a quick snack or shake and then nurse, shower, get ready and have a bigger meal later. The ratio should be 4:1 carbohydrate to protein, toast with a boiled egg, a shake with banana, almond milk and berries.
  • Set your schedule for the week: 3 medium cardio sessions running or swimming or biking and one longer session on the weekend where you possibly combine two of the above and train for at least one hour or longer. If you can fit it in, add one more day for a more intense workout during the work week.
  • Work on your core and back with this move for your deep core.
WEEK 3:
  • How is your weight loss progress going? Make sure to weigh yourself first thing in the morning after going to the bathroom. Either do it every day and you will quickly find that there are fluctuations or do it 1-2 times a week and watch more overall progress. The best way I have found to lose weight is to eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. So work your way from carb richer meals to low / no carb at dinner. Please don’t eat salad for lunch, you will find yourself hungry within hours and starving by dinner time. Your body burns more carbohydrate during the day when you are active but needs more protein and good fats for repairs of muscle tissue at night. Also, carbohydrates bind water which will make you “heavier” on the scale the following morning.
  • If you don’t have diastasis recti, it’s time to chisel your midsection. Incorporate a plank on your elbows into your week at least 3-4 times for 60 seconds.
  • Don’t skimp on some strength work which will benefit your cardio. Try this routine with your little one.
  • Extend your weekend training, by adding a second day recovery run after you do the longer session the previous day. Maybe you can get your partner out with you, run to the playground or go swimming together. Make it fun for all. Your children take on fitness as a lifestyle if you live it and make it fun for them.
WEEK 4:
  • How is your sleep? I know that for many new moms that’s a difficult topic but sleep is the single most important recovery tool, health benefit and key for our adrenal health which keeps our metabolism running well. If you are a night owl who loves to scroll on social media, shut it down and head to bed when your children do, at least for a few nights per week.
  • Two weeks out from your race, it’s time to put the wine glas down. Alcohol contains empty calories and not drinking for two weeks will do wonders to your body’s definition. Your body metabolizes alcohol before anything else so when you drink wine and eat, many of your dinner’s components are literally put on the back burner until the body is done metabolizing the drinks. If the glass of wine is your reward mechanism, try and make that a few pieces of dark chocolate, a nice bottle of Kombucha, or a raw healthy dessert like avocado cacao mousse.
  • Time to increase your training load during the week, and add a long session on Saturday and an easy recovery on Sunday. Always start with a warmup of about 10 minutes before running faster portions and try adding strides at the end of your easy runs. Strides are acceleration runs to about 80% of your maximum speed over about 100 yards. Always recover fully before doing the next and do about 3-5 of them.
  • Race a second 5k if you’re up for it. I bet you that you will run at least 1-2 minutes faster overall.

Stephanie and Harper.

WEEK 5:
  • In a 6-week plan, this would be your hardest week with the biggest time commitment, especially if you have a larger race upcoming. It’s also the week when recovery plays a crucial role. So book a massage to treat yourself before race week. Don’t book it too late in the week because a good deep tissue massage is quite draining on the body, too.
  • By this week, you should be eating very clean, tried out your outfit for the big day and feel good in it (whether that is your race kit or wedding dress!).
  • Now it’s time to work on some mental mantras. Big events always bring about jitters, but call on your mama experience to calm yourself; I remind myself that I pushed a baby out after 25 hours of labor. No marathon takes that long…
  • Plan your logistics for the big day because it will be here before you know it. Visualize portions of the race before going to sleep at night or how excited you’ll be and how you’ll deal with little snafus of your big day. Most importantly, think about the joy you will feel sharing your big day with your loved ones.
WEEK 6:
  • Whether it’s a social or a sporting event, I like to do a fat load before a carb load. Well maybe not before a social event... Meaning that for 4-5 days, I eat 70% of good fats and protein or more and keep carbohydrates to a minimum. That excludes sugar, most fruit, juice, bread, pasta, rice, even sweet potato. It leaves full fat yoghurt, nuts, seeds, greens, lean meats, fish, eggs, avocado and more. The result is that I can see my body getting more defined and it mentally puts me in “GO” mode.
  • For a sporting event, the last 3 days before, you would reverse and eat about 70% carbohydrate to fill up your carb storage. Make sure to eat your biggest dinner not the night before but two nights before and the lunch on the day before because most of the time, race nerves kick in at dinner the night before and don’t allow us to eat much.
  • Get some “me time” before the big day. Pamper yourself with a pedicure or go for a walk and be alone. As a mom, when have you last been alone? It’s important to hone in, to listen to your inner voice, to really feel all the emotions that the day inspires without the constant noise that is so prevalent in a new mom’s life.
  • Get out there and after it. If it’s a race, break it down into manageable chunks. Tell yourself, you’ll catch that one person ahead of you, then another and don’t give up. If it’s an event, think about getting through each detail. As a new mom, you’ve created life, birthed it and then juggled the most difficult season of your life postpartum. Not many can say that.
  • Soak in every moment! It goes by way too fast.

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We spend a lot of time prepping for the arrival of a baby. But when it comes to the arrival of our breast milk (and all the massive adjustments that come with it), it's easy to be caught off guard. Stocking up on a few breastfeeding essentials can make the transition to breastfeeding a lot less stressful, which means more time and energy focusing on what's most important: Your recovery and your brand new baby.

Here are the essential breastfeeding tools you'll need, mama:

1. For covering up: A cute nursing cover

First and foremost, please know that all 50 states in the United States have laws that allow women to breastfeed in public. You do not have to cover yourself if you don't want to—and many mamas choose not to—and we are all for it.

That said, if you do anticipate wanting to take a more modest approach to breastfeeding, a nursing cover is a must. You will find an array of styles to choose from, but we love an infinity scarf, like the LK Baby Infinity Nursing Scarf Nursing Cover. You'll be able to wear the nursing cover instead of stuffing it in your already brimming diaper bag—and it's nice to have it right there when the baby is ready to eat.

Also, in the inevitable event that your baby spits-up on you or you leak some milk through your shirt, having a quick and stylish way to cover up is a total #momwin.

2. For getting comfortable: A cozy glider

Having a comfy spot to nurse can make a huge difference. Bonus points if that comfy place totally brings a room together, like the Delta Children Paris Upholstered Glider!

Get your cozy space ready to go, and when your baby is here, you can retreat from the world and just nurse, bond, and love.

3. For unmatched support: A wire-free nursing bra

It may take trying on several brands to find the perfect match, but finding a nursing bra that you love is 100% worth the effort. Your breasts will be changing and working in ways that are hard to imagine. An excellent supportive bra will make this so much more comfortable.

It is crucial to choose a wireless bra for the first weeks of nursing since underwire can increase the risk of clogged ducts (ouch).The Playtex Maternity Shaping Foam Wirefree Nursing Bra is an awesome pick for this reason, and because it is designed to flex and fit your breasts as they go through all those changes.

4. For maximum hydration: A large reusable water bottle

Nothing can prepare you for the intense thirst that hits when breastfeeding. Quench that thirst (and help keep your milk supply up in the process) by always having a water bottle with a straw nearby, like this Exquis Large Outdoor Water Bottle.

5. For feeding convenience: A supportive nursing tank

Experts recommend that during the first weeks of your baby's life, you breastfeed on-demand, meaning that any time your tiny boss demands milk, you feed them. This will help establish your milk supply and get everything off to a good start.

What does this mean for your life? You will be breastfeeding A LOT. Nursing tanks, like the Loving Moments by Leading Lady, make this so much easier. They have built-in support to keep you comfy, and you can totally wear them around the house, or even out and about. When your baby wants to eat, you'll be able to quickly "pop out" a breast and feed them.

6. For pain prevention: A quality nipple ointment

Breastfeeding shouldn't hurt, but the truth is those first days can be uncomfortable. Your nipples will likely feel raw as they adjust to their new job. This will get better! But until it does, nipple ointment is amazing.

My favorite is the Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter. We love that it's organic, and it is oh-so-soothing on your hard-at-work nipples.

Psst: If it actually hurts when your baby latches on, something may be up, so call your provider or a lactation consultant for help.

7. For uncomfortable moments: A dual breast therapy pack

As your breasts adjust to their new role, you may experience a few discomforts—applying warmth or cold can help make them feel so much better. The Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Pack is awesome because you can microwave the pads or put them in the freezer, giving you a lot of options when your breasts need some TLC.

Again, if you have any concerns about something being wrong (pain, a bump that may be red or hot, fever, or anything else), call a professional right away.

8. For inevitable leaks: An absorbing breast pad

In today's episode of, "Oh come on, really?" you are going to leak breastmilk. Now, this is entirely natural and you are certainly not required to do anything about this. Still, many moms choose to wear breast pads in their bras to avoid leaking through to their shirts.

You can go the convenient and disposable route with Lansinoh Disposable Stay Dry Nursing Pads, or for a more environmentally friendly option, you can choose washable pads, like these Organic Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads.

9. For flexibility: A breast pump

Many women find that a breast pump becomes one of their most essential mom-tools. The ability to provide breast milk when you are away from your baby (and relieve uncomfortable engorged breasts) will add so much flexibility into your new-mom life.

For quick trips out and super-easy in-your-bag transport, opt for a manual pump like the Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump .

If you will be away from your baby for longer periods of time (traveling or working outside the home, for example) an electric pump is your most efficient bet. The Medela Pump In Style Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump is a classic go-to that will absolutely get the job done, and then some.

10. For quality storage: Breast milk bags

Once you pump your liquid gold, aka breast milk, you'll need a place to store it. The Kiinde Twist Pouches allow you to pump directly into the bags which means one less step (and way less to clean).

11. For keeping cool: A freezer bag

Transport your pumped milk back home to your baby safely in a cooler like the Mommy Knows Best Breast Milk Baby Bottle Cooler Bag. Remember to put the milk in a fridge or freezer as soon as you can to optimize how long it stays usable for.

12. For continued nourishment: Bottles

Nothing beats the peace of mind you get when you know that your baby is being well-taken of care—and well fed—until you can be together again. The Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle Newborn Starter Gift Set is a fan favorite (mama and baby fans alike).

This article is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.

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A viral video about car seat safety has parents everywhere cracking up and humming Sir-Mix-A-Lot.

"I like safe kids and I cannot lie," raps Norman Regional Health System pediatric hospitalist Dr. Kate Cook (after prefacing her music video with an apology to her children."I'm a doctor tryin' warn you that recs have changed," she continues.

Dr. Cook's rap video is all about the importance of keeping babies facing backward. It's aptly called "Babies Face Back," and uses humor and parody to drive home car seat recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

"Switching from rear-facing to forward-facing is a milestone many parents can't wait to reach," Dr. Cook said in a news release about her hilarious video. "But this is one area where you want to delay the transition as long as possible because each one actually reduces the protection to the child."

Last summer the AAP updated its official stance on car seat safety to be more in line with what so many parents were already doing and recommended that kids stay rear-facing for as long as possible. But with so many things to keep track of in life, it is understandable that some parents still don't know about the change. Dr. Cook wants to change that with some cringe-worthy rapping.

The AAP recommends:

  • Babies and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat.
  • Once they are facing forward, children should use a forward-facing car safety seat with a harness for as long as possible. Many seats are good up to 65 pounds.
  • When children outgrow their car seat they should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle's lap and shoulder seat belt fits properly, between 8 and 12 years old.

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[Editor's note: Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.]

Suicide rates for girls and women in the United States have increased 50% since 2000, according to the CDC and new research indicates a growing number of pregnant and postpartum women are dying by suicide and overdose. Suicide rates for boys and men are up, too.

It's clear there is a mental health crisis in America and it is robbing children of their mothers and mothers of their children.

Medical professionals urge people to get help early, but sometimes getting help is not so simple. For many Americans, the life preserver that is mental health care is out of reach when they are drowning.

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg just released a plan he hopes could change that and says the neglect of mental health in the United States must end. "Our plan breaks down the barriers around mental health and builds up a sense of belonging that will help millions of suffering Americans heal," says Buttigieg.

He thinks he can "prevent 1 million deaths of despair by 2028" by giving Americans more access to mental health and addictions services.

In a country where giving birth can put a mother in debt, it's not surprising that while as many as 1 in 5 new moms suffers from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, more than half of new moms who need mental health treatment don't get it. Stigma, childcare and of course costs are factors in why women aren't seeking help when they are struggling.

Buttigieg's plan is interesting because it could remove some of these barriers. He wants to make mental health care more affordable by ensuring everyone has comprehensive coverage for mental health care and by ensuring that everyone can access a free yearly mental health check-up.

That could make getting help more affordable for some moms, and by increasing reimbursement rates for mental health care delivered through telehealth, this plan could help moms get face time with a medical professional without having to deal with finding childcare first.

Estimates from new research suggest that in some parts of America as many as 14% or 30% of maternal deaths are caused by addiction or suicide. Buttigieg's plan aims to reduce those estimates by fighting the addiction and opioid crisis and increasing access to mental health services in underserved communities and for people of color. He also wants to reduce the stigma and increase support for the next generation by requiring "every school across the country to teach Mental Health First Aid courses."

These are lofty goals with a lofty price tag. It would cost about $300 billion to do what Buttigieg sets out in his plan and the specifics of how the plan would be funded aren't yet known. Neither is how voters will react to this 18-page plan and whether it will help Buttigieg stand out in a crowded field of Democratic candidates.

What we do know is that right now, America is talking about mental health and whether or not that benefits Buttigieg's campaign it will certainly benefit America.

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[Editor's Note: Welcome to It's Science, a Motherly column focusing on evidence-based explanations for the important moments, milestones, and phenomena of motherhood. Because it's not just you—#itsscience.]

If you breastfeed, you know just how magical (and trying) it is, but it has numerous benefits for mama and baby. It is known to reduce the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, and cuts the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by half.

If this wasn't powerful enough, scientists have discovered that babies who are fed breast milk have a stomach pH that promotes the formation of HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor cells). HAMLET was discovered by chance when researchers were studying the antibacterial properties of breast milk. This is a combination of proteins and lipids found in breast milk that can work together to kill cancer cells, causing them to pull away from healthy cells, shrink and die, leaving the healthy cells unaffected.

According to researchers at Lund University in Sweden, this mechanism may contribute to the protective effect breast milk has against pediatric tumors and leukemia, which accounts for about 30% of all childhood cancer. Other researchers analyzed 18 different studies, finding that "14% to 19% of all childhood leukemia cases may be prevented by breastfeeding for six months or more."

And recently, doctors in Sweden collaborated with scientists in Prague to find yet another amazing benefit to breast milk. Their research demonstrated that a certain milk sugar called Alpha1H, found only in breast milk, helps in the production of lactose and can transform into a different form that helps break up tumors into microscopic fragments in the body.

Patients who were given a drug based on this milk sugar, rather than a placebo, passed whole tumor fragments in their urine. And there is more laboratory evidence to support that the drug can kill more than 40 different types of cancer cells in animal trials, including brain tumors and colon cancer. These results are inspiring scientists to continue to explore HAMLET as a novel approach to tumor therapy and make Alpha1H available to cancer patients.

Bottom line: If you choose to breastfeed, the breast milk your baby gets from your hard work can be worth every drop of effort.

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