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Let’s Talk About Sex After Baby!

You’re familiar with the changes that go along with sex during pregnancy, but what happens to your sex life after giving birth? I’ve written about what it’s really like for Mom after birth and the many physical and emotional changes you’ll go through. Your sex life is certainly not exempt from these huge changes! Sex after baby can be daunting- and downright terrifying- but it doesn’t need to be.

And remember that most moms think they are the only ones experiencing whatever weird after-affects are happening. You’re not in it alone! So let’s dive in! (OK, bad joke.)  

sex after baby

You can’t have sex for 6 weeks.

You won’t want to, but just in case you have a husband who is pestering you (if that’s so, there is probably an entirely different article you should be reading…), your body is going to need time to heal. The risk of complications after delivery is highest in the first two weeks post-partum, but the body really needs more time to get back to semi-normal. 

Yes, you can get pregnant again, even if you are breastfeeding.

Some women are lucky and don’t get their period for a year or more after giving birth, but it IS possible for your first period to come as early as six weeks after delivery. The problem is you don’t know which camp you’ll fall into, and by the time you see that first period, you have ALREADY ovulated.

Since the return of ovulation is super unpredictable, it’s best to begin contraception to avoid another pregnancy right away. Breastfeeding tends to suppress ovulation, but it’s not a reliable source of birth control. (Side note: Research suggests it’s best to wait 18 months between delivering a baby and conceiving another, due to possible health complications for both mom and baby, but I’ll save that for another blog post.)

Sex might be uncomfortable (but it can also be great).

Hormones can mimic menopause in the first few months after having a baby, meaning a dry vagina, low libido, and hot flashes. If you tore or had an episiotomy, scar tissue could make things painful. Vaginal scar tissue is very common, can happen even after the smallest tear, and is not a sign of a bad surgeon. Unfortunately, it’s also pretty painful to the touch. There are lots of options for treatment, if you find it unbearable.

In most cases, sex can be comfortable again with a few changes to the foreplay routine, including using plenty of lube. 

My best advice for getting back into sex after your six week (or more) hiatus- take it slow. Make sure you’re ready, have a good amount of foreplay, lube at the ready, and girl on top! You want to be in control here, so you set the pace and make sure you’re comfortable.

You might be surprised at how pleasurable even that first re-entry to sex can be if done correctly!

For the same reasons, tampons may no longer be an option.

Sex after baby - Tampons

Of course, you shouldn’t use tampons within the first six weeks of having a baby, but even beyond that, they just might not work for you. You may find that tampons have become uncomfortable, that they slip out, that they are more difficult to insert, or that they leak even when they aren’t full. If any of this is the case, there is nothing wrong with you!

You might be a little looser, but not forever.

Pregnancy widens the pelvic rim, making things roomier below the belt. Pelvic floor muscles lose a bit of muscle tone, but should return to near normal after the first year. Unless you had a very large baby or traumatic incident during delivery, your vagina will pretty much return to the way it was before baby.

Keep in mind though, your vagina will change slightly with each delivery, so if you’ve had four kids, you’re definitely not going to have the same vagina you had before you had any!

Your lady parts change colors.

Your entire vulva will probably be darker after childbirth. (This includes your perineum, labia…the whole kit and caboodle!) This happens because of hormonal changes, but also due to the trauma of birth.

You might be gifted with permanent hemorrhoids.

That’s right. Hemorrhoids that popped up during pregnancy or while pushing during delivery may never go away. This seems to be a topic most moms really shy away from, but statistics show they are really common. They may shrink over time, but it’s entirely possible that they’ll be with you for life. (Of course, you can see a specialist if they really bother you.) Not everyone gets them, but if you do, it might change how comfortable you are in certain positions. 

Your breasts might leak during sex.

The same hormones that are responsible for your orgasm are the same ones that allow for milk let-down. If this is going to stress you out, wear a bra with nursing pads inside, keep a wash cloth handy, or just have sex in the shower.

You’re going to hear a lot about Kegels.

Kegels are exercises you can do to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. This will especially help with mild urinary incontinence (and perhaps prevent it, if you haven’t yet experienced it). The thing to realize is that you have to do three sets of 10 Kegels a day, using the correct muscles (which don’t include your abdomen, thighs, or butt), and you still might end up with issues. So I don’t blame you if you don’t add it to your list of things to worry about as a mom!

Sex after baby- no sex drive

Your sex drive might have driven off into the sunset.

Breastfeeding means you’ll be high on oxytocin, but low on libido, and sleep deprivation certainly doesn’t help things. It’s completely normal to have virtually no sex drive for a while. Eventually, you will want sex again.

Don’t look at your body or your circumstances and think, this is how things will be for the rest of my life. You will feel more and more like yourself again (in all aspects) after six months, after a year, and so on. Your child will eventually sleep through the night, go off to school, and leave the nest! You will get your sex life back. In the meantime, cultivate other types of physical intimacy with your partner. This leads me to the next point.

You’ll have to get creative in the bedroom.

Lack of physical intimacy in a marriage leads couple to feel like roommates, so sex is still important after kids come along. It will just have to happen a little differently. While lube will become your new best friend and quickies in the afternoon will be the norm (if sex happens at all), you might want to add a few other items and tricks to your arsenal.

Get creative and consider using toys as an alternative to intercourse. Beyond that, just being physically affectionate, taking showers together, and snuggling on the couch can be invaluable to maintain connection during this time. Don’t let kids take the spark out of your marriage– it’s critical to keep that connection going!

Sex after baby- keep the connection

What would you add to this list? How has your body and sex life changed after having kids?

Help! My Baby Has Their Days And Nights Mixed Up

It’s a common complaint from new moms in the days and weeks after coming home with their newborns: “My baby sleeps all day and stays up all night! Help! What do I do?” Read on to find out the simple solution to resetting their internal clock when your baby has days and nights mixed up.

baby has days and nights mixed up

Why do babies frequently have their sleep schedule flipped?

Remember when you were pregnant and the baby would stay still when you went about your day, but when you laid down to go to sleep he would party like it’s 1999 in there?

It’s extremely common for babies to develop the opposite schedule from us when they’re on the inside.

The reason? When you’re walking around all day, your movement gently rocks the baby the to sleep. Just like when they are born, they like being rocked, held, and gently bounced to sleep.

Then when you are ready to go to sleep, the movement stops. The baby goes through a period of alertness right when you are try to settle in for the night.

After birth, baby’s sleep patterns don’t change much. They still sleep about 75% of the day, and maintain their schedule of alertness in the late evening hours.

(Expecting a baby? Don’t miss these popular posts: what it’s REALLY like after birth and how to succeed at breastfeeding your newborn!)

baby has days and nights mixed up
Does this wide-eyed little guy look like your baby when you lay down to sleep?

Baby sleep myths: what not to do

So how do we fix this day and night reversal? First let’s talk about what NOT to do.

Turn baby upside down

I don’t know where this one came from, but it’s a doozy! Some cultures believe that the cure to baby having their days and nights confused is to FLIP THEM UPSIDE DOWN.

Please, don’t do this. I don’t care if Grandma raised 12 kids and swears by it. Just don’t.

Withhold naps during the day

Another well-intentioned but BAD baby sleep myth! Some people will tell you to not let your newborn nap during the day.

Before you go breaking out the pots and pans, let’s think about this.

During the newborn stage, babies are SUPPOSED to be asleep 16-18 hours per day. Not only is it wrong (and cruel) to try to force them to stay awake, it’s also not going to work.

Newborns will pretty much nap wherever, whenever when they are super tiny. Unless you were to pinch them or do some other horrible thing I don’t recommend, they are going to sleep during the day.

Hole up in your house

You shouldn’t force baby to stay awake during the day, but you shouldn’t hole up in your house and laze the day away either.

Get outside so the baby can be exposed to fresh air and sunlight. Go on errands where there will be different stimuli to attract baby’s attention in the colors, lights, and sounds.

Changing the environment can also help a fussy baby stop crying.

Another benefit of getting out of the house each day is to help new moms feel like themselves again. Just the act of getting dressed and leaving the house can reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. Once you have sufficiently healed from birth, get up and go do some errands or visit a friend or two!

Resetting baby’s internal clock

baby has days and nights mixed up
With a little effort, you can get your baby sleeping like this at night instead of during the day!

Here is what you CAN do to reset baby’s sleep schedule.

Differentiate day from night

So we established already that we aren’t going to stop baby from napping during the day. What we can do is make their daytime environment less conducive to the deep, restorative sleep we want them to get at night.

How do we do this? We keep daytime light, bright, and loud.

Take baby out with you for errands. Wear him while you do your household chores (with the lights all on, and TV or music playing for noise). Let the older kids make kid noises all around the baby. Don’t tiptoe around the sleeping baby and don’t put them in their own dark room. It is daytime and it should feel like daytime.

I personally don’t tend to swaddle baby during the day, but this one is personal choice. Instead I would wear the baby, put him in a baby seat, in the swing, or on the floor. I saved the swaddle for night time as another way to promote night time sleep.

When night time comes, make the transition obvious with a bedtime routine.

It doesn’t need to be a full-on bath, pajamas, book, and song bedtime routine like you’d do with a toddler. Just maybe a diaper change, PJs, swaddle, and last feeding in a dark environment bedtime routine.

I’ve found few babies can resist the combination of being swaddled, fed, and laid down to sleep in a dark room with white noise playing (here is the sound machine we own four of because all of my kids like their white noise!)

Keep night time dark, quiet and unstimulating

When baby wakes up in the night to feed, you can confuse them by turning all the lights on and making it look like day time. I used a small bedside lamp so that I could see what I was doing for night time diaper changes and feedings, while keeping the room fairly dark.

I don’t talk to the baby during night feedings and actually try to avoid eye contact. The less stimulation the better!

Then when morning time came (for us a 6:00 waking was the morning one), I’d make a big production about turning all the lights on and cheerfully saying good morning. The chatter, brightness, and walking around gives a pretty obvious cue that it’s not sleep time anymore.

How long does this sleep reset take?

Every baby is different, so your mileage may vary. Most parents see improvement in a matter of days. It isn’t going to be an instant cure, but a gradual readjustment.

Around 6-8 weeks of age, you can expect your baby to start sleeping in longer stretches at night. And by 4-6 months, many babies are sleeping through the night or waking just once to eat.

Setting sleep patterns and getting baby used to a night time routine is the first step in gentle sleep training. Putting in the effort and being consistent will yield positive results and more sleep for everyone in the family.

Did your baby start out with their days and nights confused? What did you do that helped?

Let me know in the comments!

And don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest:

 

11 Things No One Told Me About Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a very primal thing. It’s something our bodies were made to do, but we forget that even though walking is second nature, we still had to learn how to do it!

Before having a baby, you might think you’ll deliver him, he’ll latch right on, and the feeding shall commence… simple as that!

More often though, there’s a steep learning curve, some pain, and maybe a few tears along the way. Don’t let this scare you! Knowing is half the battle. (And it’s important to remember that everyone’s experience is different, so yours may be different from mine, from your sister’s, and from your friend’s.)

Things no one told me about breastfeeding

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click one of the product links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

As with most things, you’ll feel more confident if you’re prepared. Here are 11 things no one told me about breastfeeding:

Yes, breastfeeding hurts.

But the pain won’t last forever! Often it’s said that if it hurts, you’re not doing it right. Statements like these make new moms feel defeated.

Even if your baby is properly latched, breastfeeding is going to hurt in the beginning (think two to three weeks). This is a very sensitive part of the body, after all!

If breastfeeding is unbearably painful, however, don’t try to go it alone. Contact a lactation consultant to help diagnose and correct the problem. 

You might feel a rush of emotions (good or bad) at the start of each session.

The hormone responsible for breast milk let down sends a surge of chemicals to the brain, almost as if you’ve taken drugs. Not every woman feels it. Some feel like they’re falling in love, while others experience really negative feelings.

If you are overcome with negative emotions or visions, make sure your support system knows and talk with your doctor.

The more you prepare ahead of time, the greater your chance of success.

Did you know that the more a pregnant woman is educated about breastfeeding, the more positive her outcome will be?

According to the World Health Organization:

Systematic review of the available evidence suggests that breastfeeding education is effective in increasing both the rate of breastfeeding initiation and breastfeeding duration.

A comprehensive breastfeeding course, whether in person or online, will help prepare you for potential pitfalls in the breastfeeding relationship, help you troubleshoot problems, and boost your confidence in feeding your child.

The best course I’ve found online is the Ultimate Breastfeeding Class from Milkology, which is extremely thorough and comes with some amazing bonuses like the Common Breastfeeding Issues Troubleshooting Guide, and Tips From Pumping Moms in the Trenches.

I love the video format- it feels like you’re learning from a guru in person, while you’re at home and comfy in your PJs. At $19 you can’t beat the price point for what you get.

breastfeeding success

I heard there is a new second class all about how to pump so you can go back to work. This one I haven’t taken myself, but if it’s anything like the first class I’m confident it will cover all the bases with specific plans of action. (If you try it, please come back and let me know how you like it!)

Even if you plan to breastfeed exclusively, you might need to pump.

There are many reasons a new mom might use a pump to express her milk instead of nursing the baby, but it’s rarely discussed before the baby comes. It’s as if pumping is a taboo topic, only brought up if a mom plans to go back to work.

In reality, almost every nursing mother will want to pump now and then for a variety of reasons. You might want Dad to be able to feed the baby, or be able to go out on a date night and have another caregiver feed the baby. Or even just to have some in the freezer in case of emergency.

If you don’t already have a pump, check out this post about how to get one for free.

Pumping is still breastfeeding!

When you feed a baby breast milk out of a bottle, you are still breastfeeding. You and your baby are both still reaping the many benefits of breastfeeding, whether the milk is delivered straight from the tap or via a pump and bottle.

While pumping comes with its own set of challenges, some mothers find it to be easier, or more convenient, or less painful than nursing.

Stock up on comfortable nursing bras.

about breastfeeding

Your breasts will likely feel heavy and sore at first. They might feel better if they’re supported in stretchy nursing bras or nursing tank tops round the clock.

This also protects the nipples, which might be raw and coated in lanolin or some other cream. These nursing tanks are not only more comfortable, but make breastfeeding really easy. Slip nursing pads in the cups to keep from getting milk (or lanolin, which stains fabric, by the way) on your shirts.

Although I never slept in a bra in my life, when I started nursing I found it much more comfortable to wear a sleep bra. It keeps everything in place while you sleep and stops you from leaking on the sheets!

Supplementing with formula is a thing.

Moms who choose to breastfeed tend to strike the word formula from their vocabularies. In reality, many moms give their babies both breast milk and formula. Your lactation consultant or doctor can help you decide whether it’s the right choice for your baby, but many new moms don’t even know it’s an option.

If your baby isn’t getting enough breast milk, don’t take it as a failure on your part. Any amount of breast milk you can provide gives the baby valuable antibodies. Just remember: fed is best!

Stress will seriously affect your milk supply.

The first year of a baby’s life can be hard for many reasons. Financial stress, career stress, and marital stress only make things more chaotic than they already re. It’s important to make time for self-care, if for no other reason than to keep your supply up.

This post has lots of tips on how to keep your supply up (whether breastfeeding or exclusively pumping).

You will feel hungry and thirsty all the time.

Ok, so maybe someone did tell me this ahead of time. But I didn’t quite get it until I actually lived through the feeling of constant, insatiable hunger that only nursing moms know!

You may have heard about how breastfeeding is a great way to lose the baby weight, and for many people it is. But you should be aware of the possibility that breastfeeding will cause you to eat constantly and can actually keep some pounds on until you eventually wean.

Your baby will want to nurse more when she is sick.

Just expect this. On the bright side, your breasts will produce milk that provides the right antibodies to help your baby fight off the cold or virus it has, based on biological information in the saliva left behind by the baby. Cool, huh?

You can actually catch the milk that leaks during let down.

It used to be that when you start feeding the baby on one side, milk would leak out of the other side during the let down. You would need a pad or towel to stop the milk from dripping and getting on your clothes.

Finally some genius got smart and invented a way to catch this milk so it could be stored and used later, rather than wasted.

The Haakaa Breast Pump works on suction so there are no cords or anything to mess with, and it collects the milk the flows out of the non-nursing breast while you feed. It might not collect many ounces per feeding, but when used consistently the small amount that you get at each feeding can definitely add up!

If you only want to use it occasionally, using it during the first feeding of the morning should give the best results. This is when your breast are most full, so the non-feeding side will have plenty to give.

Breastfeeding is cheaper than using formula, but it isn’t free.

There are plenty of really good reasons to choose breastfeeding over formula feeding, if that option is available to you, but don’t go into it thinking you won’t have to shell out a penny.

When you consider the costs of a pump, a lactation consultant, nursing bras, nipple creams, nursing pads, and pillows, you could end up spending $1,000 in the first year. Of course many of these aren’t likely to be repeat expenses for each baby you have.

Formula feeding can cost up to $1,500 during the baby’s first year. Add bottles, sterilizers, bottle brushes, etc. and the cost can really climb. (You might need some of those items even if you go the breast milk route.)

Basically, if you make the decision to breastfeed for financial reasons, you might end up unpleasantly surprised. 

What did you feel unprepared for when you started breastfeeding? 

Let me know in the comments!

For all things pregnancy, baby, and parenting, be sure to follow me on Pinterest!

How to Lose Weight After Baby When You Have No Time or Energy

how to lose weight after baby

Wondering how to lose weight after baby when you have approximately 0 time to yourself and are running on fumes? You’re in the right place!

The postpartum experience can be so jarring. For 9 months your sole focus has been taking care of yourself, and then suddenly you are given a helpless tiny being that sucks up 100% of your attention. Each time I gave birth, I found myself wishing for my old body back. Somehow I was supposed to accomplish this goal with no alone time, no gym membership, no sleep and no energy.

Despite these overwhelming obstacles, I managed to lose all the baby weight each time.

And since I love myself and don’t practice things like fat-shaming or self-loathing, I did it in a relatively painless way.

Here are my best tips for those who want to know the easy way to lose weight after baby.

How to lose weight after baby

The First Six Weeks Postpartum

Ladies, listen to your doctors or midwives. For the first six weeks after having a baby, you should be doing nothing.

When I say “nothing”, you’re doing tons of things (getting to know your new baby, figuring out breastfeeding or bottle feeding, keeping up with their health and appointments, recovering from birth both physically and emotionally, fighting to get sleep whenever you can, keeping a household running, possibly caring for older children, trying to remember you have a spouse, and more!)

But you should be doing nothing when it comes to weight loss.

You are healing. You shouldn’t be exercising, and you don’t have time to focus on meal planning. If people bring you casseroles, eat them. If you need to order pizza, do it.

After you get your six week clearance, start making slow and gradual changes.

Slow and steady progress is the way to be here. Remember it took 9 months to put the weight on, so give yourself 9 months for it to come off. Be kind to yourself and don’t compare yourself to others.

People who go around talking about how they fit back in their skinny jeans when they left the hospital are either lying or are are unicorns!

Easing Back Into Exercise

When it comes to exercise, ease back in gradually. Build it into your daily routine, and go easy.

Being home with a baby can be boring so it helps in general to make a daily routine. In addition at scheduling naps and feedings, your routine can include daily walks. It soothes babies to be outside, so outdoor walks with the baby in a stroller or baby wrap is ideal. If it’s bad weather, the mall is a good backup plan.

A brisk walk is an effective form of exercise (try to get yourself breathing a little harder than normal, you don’t want it to be a stroll unless it’s in the very beginning!) Once baby is old enough and you’re ready to kick it up a notch, try jogging with a jogging stroller.

In addition to cardio, you’ll want to incorporate some strength training into your routine. This is relatively easy to squeeze into your day when baby is still immobile. While baby plays on floor or in a bouncy chair, do some body weight exercises or hand weights. You can even do lunges, squats, and calf raises while holding the baby. Bonus: fussy babies tend to love that up and down motion!

When exercise starts to feel lonely or boring, I like to mix in some YouTube workouts. Two of my favorites are Jessica Smith TV and Body Fit By Amy.

The Right Mindset for Food

Know what never works? Writing a list of “banned” foods you are not going to allow yourself to eat and taping it to the fridge.

Just like toddlers and teens (and just about all humans), when we are told we can’t do something, our immediate response is to want to do it.

A more positive approach is to make a list of foods you want to eat more of, like water, protein, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. The way I explain it to my children is: these are your GO foods.

White carbs like bread, pasta, rice, pizza, muffins, and high sugar foods like cookies, cakes and packaged snacks are WHOA foods. We aren’t going to ban them, we are just going to proceed with caution around them.

Limiting the portion size and only having them once in a while helps to not feel deprived, but still see the number on the scale go down.

how to lose weight after baby

Make Healthy Food Convenient

One of the biggest obstacles to weight loss for new moms is not having time to cook 3 decent meals each day. When we are short on time, we grab whatever is quick and easy which tends to be junk food.

This is where we need work smarter, not harder.

Here are some ways to get more healthy meals made in less time:

  • When you are making something healthy, make enough for it to last several meals (soups, stir fry, etc).
  • Make use of your slow cooker or Instant Pot! There are tons of healthy recipes on Pinterest, and these make it easy to throw food in when you have time earlier in the day instead of having to cook during your baby’s dreaded “witching hour”.
  • Prepare some healthy food to keep in the fridge and grab when you need it. Hard boiled eggs, cut up veggies, grilled chicken, and cottage cheese are easy things to keep on hand.
  • Try batch cooking on the weekends when your spouse is home to help with the baby. Make 2 or 3 dishes that will keep in the fridge or freeze well for later in the week.

A goal of mine is to include a protein and a fruit or vegetable in every meal I eat. It takes 5 minutes to make scrambled eggs in the morning and pair it with avocado on toast, or just plain with a piece of fruit.

For lunch I like to throw together a wrap with grilled chicken, hot sauce, a sprinkle of shredded Mexican cheese and some lettuce.

By dinner time I usually have some help from my husband, who loves to make salmon or another fish- just throw it on some foil and bake it! Or we just eat something from my slow cooker (chicken tortilla soup is a favorite.)

Another really easy dinner that is full of superfoods is this version of a Cobb salad:

  • raw spinach
  • cucumber
  • tomato
  • bell pepper
  • black olives
  • hard boiled eggs
  • avocado

Throw it together with a little balsamic vinigraitte. I could eat it every day! And I don’t feel bad at all if I need a piece of chocolate or something sweet after to top it off.

Breastfeeding Benefits and Pitfalls

Breastfeeding tends to help women lose weight, but it can be a bit of a double-edged sword.

The most obvious benefit is that it burns up to 500 calories per day, which is the equivalent of a good workout you can do without even moving!

However, many people find themselves ravenous when they’re breastfeeding and they find it difficult to control their eating.

This is compounded by the way Moms tend to get busy and lose track of time. If you are breastfeeding and go several hours without eating, you’re looking at a total rage feast coming your way.

To combat this, be proactive about keeping your food and water intake evenly spaced throughout the day. Some people say to “sleep when the baby sleeps”, but I think better advice is to eat when the baby eats!

Let’s say you are nursing every 3 hours. Every time you feed, make a point to drink a big glass of water (this is necessary for your milk supply too) and when baby is done eating, eat a snack or small meal.

Keeping your blood sugar up with stop you from binge eating later and it will help keep your energy level stable.

Another note about breastfeeding and weight loss

I largely credit breastfeeding for helping me get back to my pre-baby weight, and many women do too. However, it’s also normal for some people to hold on to a little extra weight while they’re still breastfeeding.

The body is smart: it knows how much energy goes into making breastmilk. It’s a natural reaction to keep some fat reserves as a safeguard for mother and baby.

If you are doing everything right and find your weight loss after baby has plateaued, it might be due to breastfeeding. Have patience and see if you can shed those last pounds after you’ve weaned.

Don’t Drink Your Calories

Raise your hand if you are guilty of the Mom stereotype of drinking coffee all morning, then switching to wine at night.

via GIPHY

Believe me, I do it too.

I love myself so I’d never make myself quit coffee or wine, and I won’t ask you to do it either.

Instead, just try to make a deal with yourself. If you have 3 sugary coffees per day, try to cut down to 1 or 2.

I tried to cut down one, but never could quite make it, so I compromised with myself to 1.5. To this day, I drink 1 and a half cups of coffee everyday.

Same goes for wine (or beer or mojitos or whatever floats your boat). If you settle down at night with a drink or two five nights per week, try to cut down to only 2 or 3 nights per week. You might find you’re just doing it out of habit and are totally fine without it.

On the nights I’m not drinking, an iced seltzer water with a spritz of lime helps me to not feel like something is missing.

Moms Share What Helped Them Lose the Baby Weight

Suchot shares: I lost the baby weight by babywearing, going for lots of walks, and being patient. I put no time limits on myself to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. It wasn’t a fast or dramatic process but felt natural.

Brittni says: My biggest tip is to actually eat MORE rather than less. Specifically, eat more often. Especially if you are breastfeeding! This keeps your metabolism working throughout the day and prevents your body from holding onto the fat as a precaution from not consuming enough calories on a regular basis.

Melinda‘s best advice is: Make meals and freeze them before you have the baby so you’re less tempted to choose fast food when you don’t feel like cooking. Incorporate your baby into your workouts! You can do this when they’re awake: it keeps them entertained, and then later you have time nap while they nap instead of trying to exercise. Check out Youtube for mommy and me workouts, or just go for a brisk stroll around the block!

Beth shares her secret: The BEST thing I did was join Stroller Strides, an exercise group where you could bring your kiddos with you. The exercises are designed to keep the older babies entertained (like peek a boo pop-ups) and it was also a great way to meet some local moms and get out of the house.

Lindsey says, Using your baby as a weight! If they can hold their head up by themselves, it’s a great way to get yourself in shape while still bonding with you baby! My almost 10 month old loveeesss to be squat with. She thinks it’s the funniest thing ever!

Stay positive and be gentle with yourself!

Everyone gets back to their new normal after having a baby in their own time and in their own way. Focus on being healthy and active and not only will you get back in shape, you’ll be happier and feel better too!

What other questions do you have about how to lose weight after baby?

10 Ways to Calm a Crying Baby

Every parent has been there: the night from hell. Baby has been fed, changed, and swaddled up tight, but still won’t stop crying. For some, this happens on a rare occasion. For others, it’s a nightly occurrence (and possibly most of the day as well!) Either way, you will want to try these 10 experienced-mom tricks to calm a crying baby.

How to Calm a Crying Baby

Get moving

Remember when you were pregnant and the baby would sleep soundly while you were walking around all day, only to have a burst of energy when you laid down to try and sleep for the night?

Being in motion is soothing for babies.

Capitalize on the calming effects of motion by trying these while holding baby:

  • walk around your house while shushing/bouncing baby
  • bounce up and down on an exercise ball
  • rock in a rocking chair or glider
  • push baby in the stroller
  • put baby in a swing or mamaroo/rockaroo

You can even sneak a little workout in by holding baby while you do lunges and squats (my husband’s favorite baby hack!)

Try some music

Music has the power to completely change a person’s mood. It should definitely be part of your baby care arsenal!

If singing a sweet lullaby isn’t cutting it for your little one, thrown on a CD or play songs on Alexa. It doesn’t have to be annoying kiddie songs either- put on any tunes that you enjoy. Dance music, relaxing folk songs, classical, maybe some 90s rap- who knows what baby will enjoy.

Get outside

It has been well-documented that being in nature promotes relaxation for all people, babies included.

One of the main benefits of being outside is that fresh air reduces stress hormone levels.

Taking the crying baby outside is also great for the change in scenery: different things to look at and different sounds to distract the baby.

Get outside to calm a crying baby

Stephanie of Expect More Clean Less says: “When all feels lost, go outside! A change in scenery/weather is the easiest way to reset if naptime isn’t working, teeth are cutting, baby can’t stop crying. Talking a walk in the woods is good for parent & baby – and using a baby carrier often turns it into naptime without a fuss.”

Go for a drive

I think all parents have gone for a 4am drive with their screaming baby at one point or another. Something about being bundled into the car seat and the motion of the car works so well to make babies sleepy.

It also satisfies that urge you get to bolt from your house after dealing with a fussy baby for a long stretch of time!

Look for pain/discomfort

This is one I always do when the baby seems to be crying unusually hard for no apparent reason. I have read stories of babies who, unbeknownst to the parents, had a hair or a thread wrapped tightly around their toe cutting off circulation and causing them a great deal of pain. If your baby’s cry seems to be indicating pain, this is always something to check for.

Other possible sources of discomfort include:

  • baby is too hot or too cold
  • teething (run your finger over the gums to see if you can feel anything)
  • fever (take baby’s temperature if you think they feel warm)
  • gas (try circling baby’s legs and gently massing their abdomen to help them work it out)
  • ear infection (usually comes with a fever so check for that, also note if baby is pulling on or grabbing at their ear)

The worst nights of crying with my babies almost ALWAYS indicated an ear infection, so I quickly learned that if they woke up screaming and had a fever I should give some baby Motrin and take them to the pediatrician the next day.

Put them in water

10 Ways to Calm a Crying Baby

This was a trick I learned from my second child’s therapist. She said, “when you need to change someone’s mood, just put them in water!”

It sounded a little too simple, but I thought about all the times going for a swim had cured my child of a horrid mood and decided it was worth a try.

The next time my son had a tantrum, even though it was nowhere near bath time, I put him in the bath. And the crankiness turned off as if by a light switch.

You can try this on a newborn too. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of the night or if they already had a bath. If baby is inconsolable, strip them down and put them in a warm bath.

You don’t need to use soap or anything, just let them feel the calming effects of the water.

Often times this will be like hitting the “reset” button on your baby’s mood.

Gripe water

I never had to use Gripe Water personally, but some Moms who have dealt with colicky babies swear by it.

It is said to relieve pain from gas, colic, and hiccups and has a pleasant taste (the sweet taste alone may be what makes babies happy, who knows). Just make sure to consult your doctor and follow the dosing instructions before giving any to your baby.

Sensory intervention

I discovered completely by accident with baby number 4 that when he was crying, if I stepped directly in front of the blasting air conditioner, he would stop crying.

Friends of mine have reported similar responses when they open the freezer and hold baby while standing in front of it.

Even if your baby doesn’t feel particularly hot, the sensation of cold is a jolt to the senses that can grab the baby’s attention.

Other sensory interventions could be:

  • holding something that crinkles or squeaks
  • hearing the sound of a rainmaker or bells
  • lightly brushing the bottom of their feet with a brush
  • chewing on a rubber toy
  • squeezing a squishy ball.

Just like older children who respond to sensory input when they’re having a tantrum, babies thrive on the right amount of sensory input. Having one sensory-stimulating object provides them the right amount to focus on without being overstimulated.

Do a hand off

Ways to Calm A Crying Baby

If it’s the middle of the night an you’ve been walking around baby’s room for the last hour while they scream, guess what: you’re frustrated.

Not only do I know you’re frustrated, but your baby knows it too.

Your baby can feel the tension in your muscles, your breathing and heart rate. Instead of making them feel safe and calm, your tension is adding to their own frustration.

This sets off a negative cycle of biofeedback between the two of you.

Break that cycle by switching off with someone else. (Most likely this would be Dad, unless you have one of your parents or another adult there to help you.)

When you hand off the baby to a new person, he or she will immediately feel the shift in energy. This person is “fresh”, they aren’t as stressed or tense as you are in that moment.

After you do the hand off, leave the room. Go do something that relaxes you. Even if Dad can’t calm the baby down, you can get to work on calming yourself down.

Change your mentality

Sometimes babies just cry as a release, without any problem that needs fixing.

Crying is a scary but normal newborn behavior. It is also a form of exercise for babies.

No, changing your mentality is not likely to make your baby stop crying. But it might make it less gut-wrenching for you to listen to.

If you have tried everything and baby is still wailing, just hold them and let them cry. This is in no way neglectful; they will know you are there for them.

Repeat a mantra for yourself like “Babies cry. This will pass.”

And truly, it will pass. The amount of time babies spend crying decreases at the six week mark and drops off significantly by 3 months of age. You will get used to the crying just when it starts to decrease and fade away.

If your baby continues to cry more than a typical baby (especially if accompanied by other symptoms such as poor weight gain), discuss your concerns with your doctor.

What is your go-to method to calm a crying baby?

I’d love to hear from you!

And for more on pregnancy, babies, beyond, be sure to follow me on Pinterest:

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