Pregnancy, Family

9 Months In + 9 Months Out :: The Post-Baby Body

December 16, 2015
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I had been meaning to write this post a bit sooner, closer to when Ainsley was 9 months old. She’s now almost 10 months, but the thoughts remain the same. Before having Ainsley I was really worried about the physical transformation of pregnancy and the toll it would take on my body. Having been so outspoken about our trouble having a baby, I didn’t voice many of those concerns for fear that it would sound shallow and silly in light of the gift of having a baby.

Now that Ainsley has been in this world as long as she was in my stomach, I thought I would talk a little bit about my experience with my new “mom bod.” (Is that a thing? It should be!)

1. Your body’s adaptation to pregnancy and how your body transitions after the fact is largely based on genetics, height, weight before getting pregnant and fitness level during pregnancy. Your husband’s cousin’s wife’s experience has very little (if anything) to do with your own experience. It’s best not to compare, like in all aspects of life.

2. You might look 4 months pregnant after you have your baby, and you might not. I was very prepared for a giant bump after having Ainsley (thank you, Princess Kate!) but my stomach was relatively (key word being relatively) flat.

3. Weight loss was fast, then slow, then slow and steady. Lots of weight was lost during those first few weeks. I was SO encouraged and excited and maybe a little naive and arrogant. And then at around 3 weeks postpartum the weight loss came to screetching halt. It stayed that way for weeks on end, despite my best efforts at eating healthy and going on short walks with Ainsley. Since I wasn’t ready to diet or exercise yet (for the sake of breastfeeding and recovery) I stayed the course and reminded myself time and time again that it was just a phase. I quit breastfeeding around 4 months and hoped that I would lose the rest of the baby weight, but it stayed put. Then, around 7 months postpartum I switched back to a vegetarian diet and got a little more consistent with my workouts and the rest of that pesky baby weight melted right off.

4. Buy some jeans in a size or two larger. Just do it! The first week I had Ainsley, my mom and I went to Old Navy and bought some jeans for me. I was so excited to wear real pants and needed an excuse to get out of the house, but my old jeans weren’t going to fit and I wasn’t about to wear maternity jeans. I purchased a pair of cheap boyfriend-style jeans and wore them while my body continued to change and adjust. It was such a wise decision! I didn’t feel disheartened trying to squeeze back into my old jeans and was better able to appreciate my body in its current shape and size. Sure, I still wore a lot of sweats and leggings, but having some real pants to put on that actually fit made a big difference.

5. Weight is just a number. I was a member of a new-momma group during the first 8 weeks of Ainsley’s life, and I can tell you from my experience and the experience of the other women that just because you return to “pre pregnancy weight” doesn’t mean that your body is back to where it was before baby. Going through the postpartum phase reminded me that weight is just a number, not an indicator of fitness or health. Toss that scale if you need to!

6. Your body will be different, but it can be better, too! I had a lot of people tell me, “Oh just you wait! You’ll never have a fit, lean body after having a baby!” And it was so discouraging. Sure, my body is different. Despite being as fit as I’ve ever been, some of my clothes just don’t fit the same now that I’ve had a baby, and I’m okay with that. You might need to re-examine your wardrobe and find new, flattering clothes but don’t feel like just because you’ve had a baby you’re bound to hate your body for the rest of your life.

Lastly, I want to share a few of my favorite resources for getting back in shape after baby. 
*Online Workouts! Getting to the gym with a baby is practically impossible, and I find these days I have to workout smarter and manage my time wisely. I am a huge fan of working out at home these days and have been doing the 21 Day Fix videos 4 or 5 days a week for the last few months. Check out my sister-in-law’s online boot camps if you’re interested! 

*Grab-and-Go Nutrition. I drink a smoothie almost every day for lunch. My favorite is Vega Protein & Greens, which is safe for pregnant women and nursing moms and really affordable for a high quality protein and veggie powder.

*Prenatal Vitamin. It’s key to keep taking a prenatal vitamin throughout the postpartum period, both for breastfeeding and for your own recovery. Treat your body gently and give it the nutrition it needs to recover.

Other mommas out there, what bits of advice would you have to share about the postpartum period and your mom-bod?

Madison

PS: I wrote this post about pregnancy and body image 2 days before Ainsley’s arrival! The comments are great if you’re looking for more insight into the subject.

Family

Favorite Baby Items :: 6-9 Months

December 15, 2015

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1. Fisher-Price Baby Grand Piano
I bought one of these when Ainsley was around 4 months old and it’s been such a hit ever since! She continues to play with it at 9+ months and loves to stand, play with the keys and play music. It’s one of the least annoying music-making toys she has. 😉

2. VTech Sit to Stand Walker
We don’t have this exact version (we have an older one from a garage sale…) but Ainsley has really started taking to the walker in the last couple weeks and wants to go everywhere with it!

3. Nalgene Grip-and-Gulp Water Bottle
Ainsley is getting one of these for Christmas! She tried her cousin’s water bottle that was very similar and did well with the straw-type mechanism, so we’re hoping this will be a hit.

4. NeilMed Naspira Snot Sucker
I know everyone loves the Nose Freida, but when ours broke we bought one of these from Target and love it so much more! It functions both as a snot sucker (like the Nose Freida) AND as a bulb syringe. Plus, it seems easier to clean and more sanitary than the Nose Freida. Great for cleaning out those little noses when they have a cold!

5. Pony Tails Book
This is NOT a literary masterpiece, but Ainsley loves the soft, shiny and silky tails attached to this book. It’s a great distraction when we’re out and about and she gets fussy!

6. Zarabees Baby Immune Support
I’m not sure how well this works, but during cold and flu season, I like knowing that I’m at least doing something to help keep Ainsley healthy. We just recently started using it after Ainsley’s most recent cold, so I’ll report back! For now, it’s sure making me feel good giving it to her.

7. Old Navy Baby Clothes
This is our go-to place for baby clothes. They’re cute, durable and comfortable and they fit Ainsley really well. We have a Banana Republic credit card so we use our rewards dollars to buy Ainsley’s clothes, meaning we hardly ever pay for baby clothes and almost never pay full-price!

8. Similac Advance Formula
I put this in here becaues around 6 months we started feeding Ainsley exclusively formula and I get a lot of questions from people about what formula we use. We’ve been using Similac Advance since around 7 months and really had no complaints! I know there are cheaper formulas out there, but I figure it is only a year that she will be drinking formula, so we have continued to buy the name brand. We started with Similac Sensitive because I was worried formula would bother her tummy. Once I saw no tummy issues, we transitioned to Similac Advance and now get it shipped regularly from Amazon.

9. Bows from A Little Lady Shop
This is one for all the girl moms out there! We LOVE our bows from A Little Lady Shop. They are so well made and beautiful, and they come in lots of different patterns, colors and styles.

10. Kidscounter Shampoo, Bodywash and Conditioner
I can’t say enough wonderful things about the smell and quality of these kids products. They are all-natural and free of any harmful chemicals or additives. Did I mention they smell amazing? Sometimes I use them for myself, true story! Ainsley has fairly sensitive skin and has done really well with these products.

*Affiliate links used as appropriate. 

Family

Work + Motherhood :: During Cold + Flu Season

December 14, 2015
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The Hofmeyer family has been having a rough go at it lately with illness. I have been told that the first winter with kids is ROUGH – a non-stop merry-go-round of passing around crud from church nurseries and play dates and shopping carts. (PS: I was reminded by my friend Laura not to look for someone to blame when she shared this article!)

Over Thanksgiving in Florida with my family Ainsley spiked a high fever from an ear infection. After a round of antibiotics and (thankfully) flying home without much issue, Joe started to feel sick. Sore throat, congestion, etc. A few days later I came down with the same symptoms. We figured we were getting Ainsley’s cold that led to her ear infection, and so we weren’t super worried about Ainsley getting sick. As it turns out, we both ended up getting the worst cold ever, which morphed into chest congestion and a sinus infection and plenty of drugs for the both of us. And, you can probably guess where this story is going…We didn’t get Ainsley’s cold, she got ours, and now we have a sick little baby again.

Despite our best efforts at keeping her healthy and warding off this cold, we were back at the doctor today for another round of antibiotics for Ainsley and a lot of rest and cuddles at home with mom for another day. Meaning that work schedule of mine? Well it’s been a little wonky lately and I’ve been feeling the pressure.

Don’t get me wrong, I love caring for that sweet little baby, especially when she is sick, but the push and pull of being a work-at-home mom with a flexible schedule means you’re most frequently the default parent who stays home with the baby when she’s sick. Selfishly, when I’m not the best version of myself, I get a little bent out of shape when my schedule gets tossed up in the air. (Ainsley usually goes to a friend’s house three days a week, meaning I get solid, uninterrupted hours to focus on work each week) I want to dive deeply into the tasks at hand while also juggling the responsibilities of caring for a sick baby at home – to be fully present in both spheres of my life.

So last night, when it became obvious that Ainsley wasn’t going to child care and was headed back to the doctor? I did my little huff and puff routine. I fretted and fussed and ranted a bit as to why I had to be the default parent. (For the record, Joe took off work Friday to care for both a sick wife AND baby.) It was a little ugly.

And then I adjusted my sails and my attitude and decided to just deal with it and be thankful that I have a job that allows for creatively managing a schedule so I am able to do both. I woke up a few hours early to get a little work done and I’ll probably go to bed a few hours later to finish up my work for the day, but what a blessing, right? Instead of giving into the feeling that I’m not doing anything really well these last couple weeks, I’m choosing to look at what a gift it is to be able to play the role of default parent.

This season of new motherhood and freelance and flexible schedules is a challenge and a gift. Some days I feel like I’m not doing anything truly well, and other days I feel like I can do all the things. So, work-at-home momma, if you’re feeling the same way know that you’re not alone. Keep up the good fight of juggling responsibilities and having a hand in about a thousand different things. We’re in this together!

Madison

Family

Holiday Gift Guide (for him)

December 8, 2015

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1. Nest Learning Thermostat
My husband loves to save money and he loves tech-y things. The Nest combines the two! This thermostat has gotten rave reviews from all our friends who have one, and I’m dying to purchase one when our home remodel is complete. It learns how your live, and then adjusts your thermostat automatically, saving your money and keeping your home a comfy temp.

2. Cell Phone Case/Wallet
This cell phone case has a pocket inside that holds credit cards and cash, so your husband doesn’t have to walk around with both his wallet and phone in his pants pockets.

3. Ugg Men’s Slipper
I know slippers sort of seem like a cop-out gift, but these Ugg slippers are amazing. Durable, semi-acceptable to wear out of the house (you know they will wear them out at some point…) and comfy!

4. Bluetooth Headphones
Joe has been asking for a pair of these, and although I think they look a little sci-fi-ish (maybe that’s a good thing?) I can totally understand the functionality.

5. High-End Crew Sweatshirt
My dad, when not dressed for work, is almost always wearing a crew-neck sweatshirt. I bought him some upgraded basics this year from Everlane, and hope to eventually transition Joe’s entire wardrobe to Everlane, if he’ll let me!

6. Expensive Protein Powder
My husband loves Advocare’s Post Workout Recovery, but now that he’s not playing college football it’s a little hard to justify spending that much on protein powder. You can never go wrong with upgraded basics, even when it comes to protein powder!

7. Manmade Essentials Grooming Kit from Kiehl’s
How fun is this men’s grooming kit? I *wish* my hubby would take better care of his skin. Maybe if I bought him a really man-specific kit like this I would have a better chance?

8. Qalo Men’s Silicone Wedding Ring
I’ve seen a few guys I know wearing these rings, which are more durable and suitable for wearing during exercise and other outdoor events. Some guys even swap their regular ring for this one instead! Bonus: If they loose it, it’s only $20 to replace.

Family

The Daddy-Daughter Connection

December 7, 2015
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When we told people we were having a little girl, I got a lot of comments from friends and family about the daddy-daughter connection that our baby would have with her dad. I’m super close to my own dad, so I was hopeful that Ainsley would feel the same connection with Joe.

Over the last 9 months, it’s been so fun to see their relationship develop and grow. Joe will be the first to tell you that the first three months weren’t his favorite and that bonding with a baby that doesn’t smile and cries quite a bit is sort of challenging as a dad. They don’t have the benefit of carrying a baby for 9 months and bonding along the way! But over the last 6 months, Joe and Ainsley’s relationship has flourished.

Although I would love to lay claim to being the favorite parent, I have to admit that Joe totally wins that game. The smiles and the giggles and the little love eyes she gives him are out of this world! And while I jokingly give Joe a hard time about being the “favorite” I couldn’t be more thankful that Ainsley loves her dad so much and I have an amazing partner to do this parenting thing with.

This photo of the two of them over Thanksgiving in Florida makes my heart swoon a little. Okay, a lot. I think it may be my favorite photo of all time. Her sweet little bare feet and Christmas dress and Joe holding her little hands? Be still my heart!

Madison

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