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What Happened to My Booty?

It was 5 months after I had my first baby when I finally understood the term “Mom butt.” I tried on a pair of jeans that used to fit like a glove and the backside was loosely hanging. What happened to my booty? Did it get shriveled up and redistributed to my stomach? Did my husband not follow my washing instructions again?

It’s actually less of a mystery than that.

Think of the typical posture of a pregnant woman – the butt is tucked under, hips jut forward as we adjust to the weight of carrying a baby in front. The upper back in turn sways back. This shifts our center of gravity and we start to look like the woman on the right.

Then, we have our baby and it’s hard to turn off this posture. The butt and pelvis remain tucked under and it gets harder to reconnect to our abs. In addition, we are holding our babies and feeding them so often in the first few months that our upper back stays in a hunched over, shoulders rounded position.

The “mom butt” is actually the result of muscular imbalances. Basically, the back side of our body becomes overstretched and the front becomes shortened and tight. We stop using our booty muscles and our upper back muscles and they become weaker and harder to connect to.

Why do we need strong booty muscles? The glutes are the largest muscle in the human body and we need them to stabilize our pelvis (critical when pregnant), give us balance, and prevent pelvic floor muscle dysfunction such as pelvic pain and incontinence. We need our butt muscles to drive our legs forward as we walk and we need upright shoulder muscles to breathe well, otherwise we compress the space for our lungs.

Makes sense, right? So how can we stop this cycle from even happening? Strengthen your booty and shoulder blades while pregnant. Here’s 3 exercises that can help you.

1. Booty Buddy

I love monster walks; they are your butt and hip stabilizers (important for postpartum recovery) best friend.

Take an 8” resistance band loop and put it around your ankles. Keep feet wider than shoulder width and walk forward, knees bent. Walk till it burns. Build up to 3 sets, 1 minute each, 3 times a week.

2. Sexy Back

Take a standard 5 foot long piece of thera-band (any resistance level). Attach it to your doorknob and perform rows.

First, practice proper shoulder placement before you start this exercise. Instead of jamming your shoulders backwards, which thrusts forward your ribcage and chest, try this:

  • Lift shoulder upwards towards your ears.
  • While lifted, bring them backwards.
  • Drop them down.

Then, perform a row with your band by imaging squeezing a tennis ball between your shoulder blades. Do 3 sets of 12, 3 times a week. Engage your lower abs and pelvic floor as you do this.

3. Open Up

Addressing the front of the body simultaneously helps as those muscles get shorter and tighter, which in turns pulls on the back. We need to work on opening up the chest.

Lay on a large yoga ball and then drape your back over the ball as the arms are out to your sides. Relax into this for at least 30 seconds.

Alternatively, you can do a doorframe chest stretch. To do this, stand in front of a doorframe and place your forearms on the edges of the frame. While there, lean your chest forward. Stay here at least 30 seconds. I try to pick one doorframe in my house can do this every time I walk through it.

These exercises are gentle and can be done throughout your pregnancy. Start this week and we can fight “mom butt” together one exercise at a time!

Photography by 485 Creative.

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

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For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

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Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

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For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

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Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

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A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

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