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Postpartum Fitness Foundation

5 exercises that will get you started on your postpartum fitness journey

Postpartum Fitness Foundation

During the last few weeks of your pregnancy, you most likely lived in blissful ignorance, at least where your post-baby body was concerned. Keeping up a fitness routine became more difficult and other postpartum matters -- like having your household ready for the baby -- took center stage.

Now, six weeks post delivery, you technically have your doctor’s green light to work out again. But in reality, the days still feel really short, your body is uncomfortable and exercising feels like something you haven’t done in ages.

This is when you can start and incorporate the exercises mentioned below into your daily routine. You can do them at home with the baby around -- they don’t take much time and you can spread them out during the day or do them multiple times a day. Think of it as “exercise snacking” -- do a little bit here and there, and you will notice a shift in balance, strength, well-being and fitness quickly.

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Below, find 5 exercises that will build a strong foundation for your fitness routine. Then head out and take a class, go for a run or do a different physical activity that requires you to be able to exercise continuously for 30-60 minutes. These exercises also build strength in the upper body, core, hip and pelvic area, legs and feet.

    1. Upper Body, shoulders and wrists: swing your arms forward and backward 20 times in each direction, then interlace the fingers behind your back and bend forward reaching the arms over your head. Then get into downward facing dog and focus on spreading your fingers wide, engaging your upper arms, pressing your chest back towards your thighs (your legs don’t have to be straight, you can bend the knees deeply to focus more on the upper body).
    2. Core: lying on your back with the soles of your feet flat on the floor and knees bent, imprint your lower back onto the mat. Inhale as you relax your stomach, exhale and engage pressing the lower back into the ground. As you get better at these and up to 15-20 controlled reps, you can come onto all fours for birddog, extending one arm and the opposite leg while keeping the core engaged, to build strength in the lower back as well.
    3. Hips and pelvis: Glute bridges and clam shells. In the same position as in number 2, lift your hips to a full extension. Once you can do 15 repetitions with both feet on the ground, you can cross one ankle over the opposite knee and add on 10 reps on each side. For the clam shell, lie down on your side with your knees bent at 90 degrees and feet stacked. Lift the top knee and lower. 20 reps on each side.
    4. Leg strength: lunges in three directions: stepping forward with one leg, without pushing the knee over the big toe, stepping out to the side and stepping back. In all three types of lunges, the emphasis is on keeping the weight in the heel of the foot that steps forward and to the side and in the foot that stays planted in the backward lunge.
    5. Feet: The feet are often overlooked as a vital component of the foundation for strength and later cardio. Start by balancing on one foot with the other knee up at a 90 degree angle for 30 seconds on each leg. Then try the same with your eyes closed and ultimately shift your gaze - while balancing - from over your shoulder on your right to over the shoulder on your left, without losing balance.

All these exercises will set you up to be even stronger when you restart the cardio routine of your choice which will make you fitter, leaner and improve your overall well-being.

I would love to hear your postpartum fitness go-tos in the comments.

This year many of us have a tighter budget than usual given (looks around) everything that has happened. Coupled with the uncertainty of what Halloween might look like, many of us are reluctant to spend money on brand new costumes that our kids will outgrow by next year. I get it. But I also know that many, like me, love Halloween so much. I thought about skipping the celebration this year, but that just feels like too big of a disappointment in an already disappointing year.

That's why I started looking into alternative costumes—something my kids will be able to wear once the clock hits November, and maybe even hand down to siblings and cousins in the coming years. At the same time, I'm not a DIY person, so I wanted outfits that didn't require any sewing or hot glue. Last year I attempted using one to build my son's Care Bear costume, and of course, I burnt my hand.

So with some creativity (and the brainpower of my colleagues), we came up with these costumes that are both fun and practical, made with items that your children will be able to (and want to!) wear year around:

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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My 3-year-old is eating peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast (his request), and we are officially running late for preschool. We need to get in the car soon if we want to miss the morning traffic, but he has decided that he no longer wants the food that he begged for two minutes earlier. What started off as a relatively calm breakfast has turned into a battle of wills.

"You're going to be hungry," I say, realizing immediately that he could care less. I can feel my frustration rising, and even though I'm trying to stay calm, I'm getting snappy and irritable. In hindsight, I can see so many opportunities that fell through the cracks to salvage this morning, but at the moment… there was nothing.

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