The Serious Injury No One is Talking About: Diastasis Recti

by Nicole Nexon, MSPT

This post made possible by the generous support of Chunkabuns

 

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Sometimes I feel like exercise has become a dirty word in the mommy sphere. I can understand that.

We get this message that we need to do everything – work, raise babies, maintain perfect households, create Pinterest worthy projects, not burn dinner… and erase any shred of evidence that our bodies have created life. Society settled on the idea that skinny = perfect and the backlash from that led to a movement of pride in our bodies. Which somehow turned in to “ real woman have curves “ and all kinds of craziness about skinny girls and curvy girls and…

It’s out of control.

And what has been missed in all of this is the truth of the matter – it’s not about skinny. It’s not about having curves or not having curves. It’s not about “mummy tummies” or thigh gap or muffin tops.

It’s about being healthy.

And not “healthy” in a way that has been co-opted by people meaning “stop eating junk food you fatty!” Healthy in way that allows people to live their lives in a manner they choose. Healthy in a way that allows you to lift babies and chase toddlers and carry laundry wherever you need to carry your laundry. Healthy in a way that makes you feel confident, that lets you sleep well and go about your life.

What happens when you’re injured…and you don’t even know it?

When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I began to feel a pretty distinct pain by my belly button. It was so specific that I was fairly certain I was developing an umbilical hernia. I brought it up with my midwife and was told it wasn’t a hernia. I was developing a diastasis recti – a split between the muscles and muscular tissue that runs down the center of the abdomen. The pressure inside from an expanding uterus/baby was just too much for the abdominal tissue to handle so the tissue and muscles were separating.

With my first pregnancy, I worked in an outpatient clinic that was less physically demanding. With this second pregnancy, my current position required a lot of physical lifting as a physical therapist in a subacute center for patients who were not sick enough for the hospital, not well enough to go home. I already had work restrictions due to the physical requirements of my job; working with those restrictions AND dealing with a developing case of Diastasis Recti made the restrictions even more difficult.

It was in this position that I recognized a growing group of people in need of support, awareness, and healing of Diastasis Recti: new moms.

Here were these women, trying to juggle new responsibilities, healing from the changes their bodies went through during pregnancy and subsequent post-partum recovery and there was little to no support or even awareness about the problems that Diastasis Recti presented.

Diastasis Recti can affect your body in some pretty drastic ways.

  • -Incontinence
  • -Irregular bowel movements,
  • -Lower back pain, spinal or hip injuries due to your abdominal muscle’s inability to support your body when you’re lifting or bending
  • -Pain during sexual intercourse
  • -Increased chance of sciatica or disc issues
  • -Increased chance of umbilical hernia
  • -Postural instability due to poor strength of the abdominal muscles

The effects are numerous.

Now it was MY body that was going to need to be supported.

My body that was going to need help carrying a car seat. A baby. My toddler. The laundry.

My body that was going to be more prone to injury- that would need me to completely rethink how I went about my day. I worked out through my pregnancy because I knew what was ahead of me. I knew my core was going to be compromised. I wanted to achieve a VBAC and I knew I would need endurance (among other things) to prevent a repeated OR experience. I went back to my books and read studies on exercise efficacy. I reviewed exercise programs for pregnant women, post partum women, and people who had just had abdominal or back surgery. I had a plan, and I HAD to be as physically strong as I could when I returned from maternity leave so I could perform my job effectively.

I ended up with a VBAC, a baby girl, and a three-finger diastasis.

*when I say “three-finger diastasis” I am describing how many fingers I can horizontally fit across the tissue separation. To find this, lay on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift up your head slightly and contract your abdomen muscles gently. Find your belly button and make the “scout symbol” with your fingers…see how many you can fit in there. i.e. 1 finger, 3 fingers, etc. Check the same line down by your pelvis, and again up towards your ribs. Different points along your abdominal muscles may be different fingers of separation.

 


I feel blessed that my passion and my education allowed me to understand what my body needs to function well and heal from my condition. I am grateful for my colleagues and friends with whom I can discuss ideas or count on to help me with the hands-on techniques I can’t perform on myself. I know I am lucky to have access to the information that I have.

I want other women to have this valuable access to connections and resources that are out there for those recovering from Diastasis Recti.

I want women to know that sometimes “mummy tummy” can actually be caused by a medical condition.

I want women to know that the media are not medical professionals and there is a wide range of “normal” when it comes to our bodies.

I want other mothers to know that exercise and eating well are available to them.

I want women to know there are safe exercise routines that WON’T injure a body healing from Diastasis Recti. That recovering doesn’t need to be a series of scary, out-of-reach experiences. They don’t need to spend hours in the gym (Though you certainly can, if you enjoy it!).

Recovering means that you can take a walk, be it pushing a stroller or wearing a baby. You can do squats in your living room, jumping jacks, and eventually pushups and planks. (But until you’ve healed from your diastasis, it is best to do modified planks so that you don’t further separate your diastasis or have your abdominal muscles work against you or push on that separation while you’re healing!)

I feel sad when I hear people say “I can’t workout because…”

I feel sad because they are being taught that only the big efforts count.

That’s not true.

I work with people for whom sitting at the edge of their bed is enormous effort, and standing requires assistance of others. When you see the enormous joy on a person’s face brought by these small yet enormous victories, you begin to understand the true beauty of the movement our bodies are capable of. What may seem like a small victory may be an enormous triumph-a giant step towards hope and healing.

Misguided emphasis on skinny and perfect or the fear of never being _____ enough WILL STOP US in our tracks.

Enough.

You are enough.

It’s ok to start small.

It’s ok to fail.

It’s ok to not be perfect.

It’s ok to be YOU.

It’s not about meeting someone else’s standards.

It’s about taking care of yourself, teaching your family that our bodies are a great gift and we should treat them well. It’s about understanding that you are worthy of the time and energy it will take to begin, to HEAL, and to build healthy habits that facilitate that healing and well being.

Let’s get moving, because moving not only transforms your body, but it transforms your mind, no matter what size jeans you wear.

Some Exercises to Get You  Started:

Some Other Tips to Start Healing:

  • Sitting with the best possible posture: (Pull your belly button in towards your spine. Keep breathing while doing this. Pull your shoulder blades onto your back. Keep breathing!)
  • Kegels/pelvic floor exercises (contracting the pelvic floor muscles-the ones you use to stop your pee, if that makes sense!).
  • Standing on one foot while brushing your teeth while pulling your belly button in towards your spine.
  • Stretching before you get out of bed.
  • Taking a walk or parking further from the store.
  • You can climb your stairs.
  • Swim.
  • Dance.
  • Work out with a DVD program or take a class.
  • If pregnant, getting an abdominal/belly support band to help support your abdomen and relieve pain you may be experiencing.
  • If in post partum recovery, gently binding your belly to help pull the muscles together and support you in those first few weeks of initial birth recovery.

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Where am I now? I’m down to a one finger split at my belly button. I am confidently back to work full time with no restrictions. I’m still doing pelvic floor exercises and modifying my workouts to protect and strengthen my abdominal muscles so I don’t re-injure or reinforce the Diastasis Recti. I’m teaching my daughters that exercise and eating well are ways to treat your body with respect, to give it what it needs so when you need your body to work for you, it will. I’m teaching them that strong is beautiful, that healthy allows you to follow your dreams, that food is a tool and a pleasure and size is just another physical trait that varies from person to person.

Final thought… can we all agree to stop using the words “mummy tummy” ? Please? Your tummy is awesome, mommy. Growing a human is beautiful. A body that shows the results of growing a human is also beautiful!

For more information on Diastasis Recti click here.

*You are strong, and Chunkabuns knows it. Check out their “Mom Strong” Tee-shirts (and matching “Strong Like Mommy” shirts for baby! ♥♥♥) and other clothing options for mom and baby at www.chunkabuns.com

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nicole nexon image
Nicole Nexon is a mother of two, working full time as a physical therapist. Nicole has her master’s degree in Physical Therapy, and has been working for 9 years in both the inpatient and outpatient fields of physical therapy. She is a complete nerd when it comes to the human body and wants to encourage others to take the opportunity to treat their bodies well at whatever stage of life they are in. She is also a Beachbody coach and has found it to be a great platform to spread her mission of health and wellness. In her spare time, Nicole enjoys traveling and snowboarding. You can follow her at www.facebook.com/nicolerosenex )
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A Move Toward Health, for Family, for You – #TLBMoves 2017

You might think that with expecting a baby for the 7th time there would be very little left to surprise me about the pregnant life – that there wouldn’t be anything new for me to figure out. That’s what I thought.
 
But I find myself fairly well stumped about what to do about a condition that I have never experienced in previous pregnancies: feeling well. Well enough to do more than my typical pattern of laying down, bathroom run to puke, laying down, bathroom run to puke, ad nauseam (pun intended).
 
So here I am, not throwing up all day long, eating better than I have since, well, possibly ever, and feeling like I could go for daily runs with Jeremy, who isn’t running daily but did start running several times a week a couple months ago. Of course, I can’t actually run, what with my belly and boobs bouncing and flopping, but more importantly because, well, I’m actively saving all my running energy for when I’ll need it most: when we’re past some cataclysmic event and living in a glorious post-apocalyptic era – and also, I hate running. Not to mention I stopped running last fall and it’s not a good idea to start a new high impact physical activity over halfway through pregnancy (if you are a runner before you are pregnant and can continue into your pregnancy, that’s great!)
 
But I am wanting to get more active because I know that being active is good for me, looking through Pinterest to find inspiration, browsing YouTube for activities that I would enjoy, while I know that at this point a 20 minute walk completely wears me out – the upside being that I nap really well right now!
 
How on earth are we supposed to focus on our health while growing a baby? Especially when the information out there is so polarized? It’s either do/eat whatever you want or start Zumba and hot yoga and stick to green protein smoothies.
 
And how on earth are we supposed to think about being physically active with a newborn? Or an infant? Or a toddler? Or all of the above? And be a stay at home parent? Or a working parent?
 
I don’t know.
 
But once a year I encourage The Leaky Boob community to think about it and find small ways to inch ourselves toward being more healthy. For the 4th year in a row, we are taking a few weeks of summer to take a good, non-shaming, look at ourselves, and determine what steps we can each take to be just a little healthier than we are.
 
I’m not dogmatic about how babies are fed, and I’m sure as hell not going to be dogmatic about getting fit. You won’t find me pushing my Leakies to join a gym or a 6 AM boot camp. Just like for infant feeding, I look forward to sharing thought-provoking information, personal stories and anecdotes from our community, and encouraging the support of one another in TLB’s various platforms.
 
#TLBmoves is a campaign where everyone is welcome, couch potatoes to triathletes, fitness experts to exercise loathers, women and men and children, because no matter who you are, taking care of you is one of the ways that you take care of the ones you love.
 
I bring no agenda, no program, no exercise routines, no weight loss plans, or anything like that. Just a desire for Leakies to support each other as we each figure out what’s right for us. It could be adding a 10 minute walk to your day, cutting back on sugar, trying the squat challenge, really anything that seems achievable to you right now. Try it out, assess, and change your goal when you need to.
 

My husband, Jeremy, started running again a couple of months ago. He walked to our neighborhood park and set for himself the goal of making it around the park 8 times, running as much as he could handle and walking the rest. The park is ⅓ mile around. I don’t know why he picked 8 times. The first time he tried, he mostly walked. Now, 2 months later, after going to the park 2-3 times a week, he is up to 13 times around, 10 of which are running. He slowly increased how much he ran and also the number of times he went around, based on how he felt each day he went out. He has no goal other than getting healthier and losing a little weight in the process. After the first couple of weeks, he made a startling discovery: he had more energy overall. Yes, exercising still wipes him out right after he goes for his run, and he still hates it, but he feels more awake and “with it” than he did before he started moving more.
 
#TLBmoves is about getting started together. You can make it into becoming an Olympic athlete if you want. Or you can focus on being better able to keep up with your toddler. It’s up to you. Will you join me? 
 
It’s time for #TLBmoves!
 

 
Find support and inspiration in our closed group #TLBmoves here.  And join me on The Leaky Boob Facebook page, here; The Leaky Boob Community Facebook group, here; BeyondMoi.com and the Beyond Moi Facebook Page, here; and the Beyond Moi Community Facebook group (where we talk about just about anything and everything- particularly relationships), here.
 
#TLBmoves 2017 runs through the end of July, though a meaningful focus on how we get moving with our families is never really limited to a set of dates. We will be focusing on what inspires us in health and fitness, sharing meaningful experiences, opening up, posting ideas, and a lot of humor. All of this through the sharing of information, support, and most importantly, The Leaky Boob and Beyond Moi communities in action teaming up with you, our communities, and a few select brands we trust: Contours, Joovy, The Vintage Honey Shop, and Chunkabuns.
 
Be on the lookout for the hashtag: #TLBmoves (and start using it too!), Leaky guest posts, a vocal presence across social media (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook), posts from our campaign ambassadors, relevant information and interactions on our sister site, BeyondMoi.com, inspiring support within our community, involvement from our campaign sponsors, giveaways, and informative articles.
 
Let’s explore health and moving together, with #TLBmoves. Oh, and enter our giveaway here

 

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Meet Our Ambassadors

We’ve assembled a small team to provide a little daily inspiration and some real-life experiences as they focus on the love present in their relationships. Here are the four mamas (apart from myself) that will be sharing their #TLBmoves experiences with us this for the next month:

 
 

Dominique Gallo

I am a Hampton Roads native currently residing in Roanoke County. I am a wife to a  L.E.O (Law Enforcement Officer) and mom to two beautiful girls, an energetic little boy,  and two fur babies. I was called to birth work because of the birth of my oldest. I had no support and was not able to make informed decisions– or any decisions for that matter!. I felt bullied and scared. From then on with a little helpful nudging from friends and family I decided to become a lactation consultant and a doula to make sure that mothers did not have to experience what I experienced. I have an undergrad degree in Community Health Education from Virginia Commonwealth University (Go Rams!) and currently finishing up a master’s degree in Health and Wellness: Lactation Consulting to further my knowledge in lactation. I am an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) , a professional doula trained by toLabor, and a child birth educator trained by Lamaze International.  I am the Director of Marketing for the United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA), and I also host a podcast, called Mocha Milkies Cafe, to help bring knowledge and awareness about breastfeeding and positive birth practices to African America women in my spare time. 


Ambar Gingerelli

Ambar Gingerelli is a wife + mama, life coach for new moms, and the creator of Mama Bird Well Nest, a blog dedicated to supporting mothers in creating happy and healthy lives. She helps mamas who are struggling to find balance learn to put themselves first so that they can have a positive experience of motherhood and feel deeply connected to themselves and their children. Ambar believes that true health comes from nurturing ourselves fully in mind, body, and spirit, and that it is vital for us to take great care of ourselves so that we are better able to care for our loved ones. You can connect with her on her blog, www.mamabirdwellnest.com and on her Instagram page, www.instagram.com/mamabirdwellnest. Check out her free yoga video series – an easy way to get moving!

 


Ashley Martin

Ashley Martin is a breastfeeding educator from the Chicagoland area. She the mama to one busy bee toddler and currently waiting on the arrival of her second seed.  Ashley is also the creator of Mommy & Moon, a blog dedicated to encouraging moms to cultivate a positive space for self love. She believes the key to motherhood is being resilient.

There is so much beauty in the resilience of a woman, both physically in mentally! We are strong! 

You can connect with Ashley on Instagram and through her blog, www.mommyandmoon.com

 

View More: http://yourstreetphotography.pass.us/martinwebberfamily1Jessica Martin-Weber

Drawing from a diverse background in the performing arts and midwifery, Jessica Martin-Weber supports women and families, creating spaces for open dialogue. Writer and speaker, Jessica is the creator of TheLeakyBoob.com, and co-creator of BeyondMoi.com. She co-parents her 6 daughters with her husband of 20 years and they are all looking forward to the addition of a new family member sometime this Fall.

 

 

 

 

Sara Smith

Sara Smith is a wife, mother, breastfeeding and education advocate, and community volunteer. After struggling to nurse her first child due to a lack of knowledge and community resources, she decided to continue her post-graduate education as a breastfeeding peer counselor and aims to provide breastfeeding support to families in her county once certified. Sara believes that evidence-based information is greatly empowering, especially when it comes to the health and well-being of new mothers and the babies that depend on them.  When Sara is not wrangling her two toddlers, she volunteers as the Co-Vice President and Co-Chair (and blogger) for the Arizona Breastfeeding Bag Project/Arizona Breastfeeding Bag Project – Mohave County, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing breastfeeding support bags to new and expecting mothers in Arizona. Follow her personal adventures with #TLBmoves on Instagram

 

Brianda Traylor.

Hey! I’m Brianda Traylor I am a proud mommy of a two year old girl named Olivia and twin 5 month old boys named Owen and Benjamin. My house is always chaotic but I love every minute of it. I work full time and I am always on the move with my little dragons (khaleesi reference). I am so happy to be apart of the #TLBMoves campaign and I hope I bring some love and light by sharing my chaos.  

 

 

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Meet Our Partners

We are so grateful to partner with brands who value the mission of The Leaky Boob and we trust to share with our community. Leakies themselves, the brands below have made caring for families with quality products that we can trust a priority, and they believe in the importance for us all to get moving in and beyond #TLBmoves. Check out the giveaway they’re sponsoring over here!


Contours Contours is a family-owned and family-operated company that has been developing baby products for more than 70 years, and we know that nothing is more important than family. Life is hectic, kids grow up fast, and every moment counts. Contours products are designed to make parents’ lives easier. Our strollers, carriers, and everything in between bring balance to their active lives with convenience and adaptability. Check out the Contours Love 3-in-1 baby carrier!

 

Joovy – Joovy is a U.S. born, lifestyle brand that brings innovative design concepts to the growing and dynamic baby accessory market.

Since 2005, Joovy has been dedicated to making mobility easier for growing families. Our mission is to provide parents with products that are both fun and functional with an emphasis on durability, utility, and on-trend design. Each of the products that we offer also takes your child’s comfort and safety into consideration, making it a product that the whole family enjoys.

Joovy’s collection of products has grown to five categories: strollers, feeding, playards, walkers, bikes/trikes/toys and accessories. Its attention to innovative designs and high quality at an affordable price sets it apart from the competition.

 


The Vintage Honey Shop – We are a handmade teething & nursing necklace company in Nashville, TN. Our necklaces help keep mama from being scratched & pinched during feeding time and provide relief when teething! You can also wear our necklaces while wearing your baby as they provide a focal point for your baby, giving them something to play with and grab onto while being close to your heart. Check out their teething and nursing necklaces!

 

Chunkabuns – Like every great idea, Chunkabuns began with a mission in mind: to solve the Fluffy Bottomed Baby epidemic once and for all. Chunkabuns is the passion project of a cloth-diapering mom who struggled to find clothing that fit comfortably around cloth diapers while still looking good. After two years of research, redesign, and product testing, Chunkabuns is proud to offer a unique, quality solution for parents using non-disposable cloth diapers that will grow right alongside your baby! But that’s not all – they have also developed fun and inspiring shirts and other items of clothing for everyone in the family! Check out Chunkabuns tops here!

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Health- Not Just Boobs, Get Moving Too- #TLBMoves 2016

TLBmoves1
Big active giveaway here.

What if we had a community that didn’t judge to be a part of in pursuit of health for ourselves and our family? A community that understands life, fitness, and health isn’t one-size-fits-all. Wouldn’t that be a refreshing change?

This year we’ve loved, we’ve nourished, and now… we’re moving!

We’re not going anywhere in particular but we are journeying toward health, activity, and awareness. Not as isolated individuals, but as a family, a community. With each other and with our kids, we’re taking steps to get more movement in our lives. That movement may be a dance party in the living room, a daily babywearing walk at the park, hitting the gym, taking a Zumba class, playing Pokemon Go, including more veggies, setting up the blender for more healthy homemade smoothies, you name it, you define what #TLBmoves looks like for you.

It all began in August 2014 with the first ever #TLBmoves and it took off. Some of us got a little more movement in our lives, others got a whole lot more. We cheered on some working on (and succeeding) quitting smoking, others had step goals to hit, there were those that started yoga or crossfit or pilates regularly, and others started having salads once a day. Getting moving together brought us closer together and we discovered that thanks to the global village of the internet, we could cheer each other on and have fun in the process. When we found ourselves stuck, we could be honest about the challenges we were facing and there would be no judgment, just support and encouragement. It was inspiring and we all wanted to keep moving.

Many of us did, though our interactions weren’t as frequent with the start of school and as colder weather rolled in, many of us found ways to keep going. And here we are, nearly a year later, and we’re still moving. The push we all got from the month of #TLBmoves was motivating and we felt it was time to do it again and invite more to join us.

As parents, we have every reason in the world to be physically active; heart health, longevity, reduced health problems, strength, endurance, lower blood pressure, stronger bones, joint health, mental clarity, better sleep, and decrease in depression and anxiety to name a few. With having children though, juggling family, home, and for some, work, getting to exercise is often an overwhelming challenge. Between the media, “experts,” bloggers, friends, family, health care providers, and yes, even myself saying what is so important for children, there are just so many other aspects of a child’s development that require my attention. There is every reason in the world to not be physically active; reading to our children, providing quality meals, addressing their social needs, researching all medications/foods/education, shopping to have the “best” deals on the highest quality, spending quality play time with our children, limiting screen time, grooming them, keeping house, bonding, learning and executing proper child passenger safety (installing that perfect car seat that took 3 weeks of research and a small loan to purchase), and being sure every minute of their every day is filled with only the best developmentally appropriate activities. With all that’s on our plates, how do we find time to be physically active?

We also have perfectly legit reasons to not be moving and perfectly inspiring reasons to get moving.  It’s not easy sometimes but it’s definitely worth it.

My motivation is my kids. I want to be around for a long time to be with my children and eventually my grandchildren and I can’t afford to wait to get started. They inspire me and not only for my own health, but for the health of my whole family. And now they’ve inspired me to share that motivation with you!

It’s time for #TLBmoves!

And I hope you’ll get moving with me for your own reasons.

Are you a runner? Walker? Cross-fit fan?  Couch potato looking to change? Or maybe you just want to be screen-free a little more often.

Whatever your goal, you can join us for #TLBmoves!  This is all about embracing an active lifestyle and making healthier choices, no matter where you’re starting from and we’re here to support each other completely free of judgment each step of the way.

Following the collective inspiration of #TLBloves, #TLBsafeKids, and most recently #TLBnourish, we are excited to share this moving experience with you, The Leaky Boob and Beyond Moi communities, that focuses first on strengthening the connection we have with our families and ourselves, through physical activity and health. Join us on our closed group #TLBmoves here; The Leaky Boob Facebook page, here; The Leaky Boob Community Facebook group, here; BeyondMoi.com and the Beyond Moi Facebook Page, here; the Beyond Moi Community Facebook group (where we talk about just about anything and everything- particularly relationships), here; and What Love Tastes Like, here.

#TLBmoves 2016 runs through the month of July, though a meaningful focus (and a fun giveaway!) on how we get moving with our families is never really limited to a set of dates. We will be focusing on what inspires us in health and fitness sharing meaningful experiences, opening up, posting ideas, and a lot of humor. All of this through the sharing of information, support, and most importantly, The Leaky Boob and Beyond Moi communities in action teaming up with you, our communities, and brands we trust including Title Sponsoring Brand ThinkBaby ThinkSport, a company that prioritizes making products that are safe including sunscreen and water bottles to help you get moving. Be on the lookout for the hashtag: #TLBmoves (and start using it too!), Leaky guest posts, a vocal presence across social media (Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook), posts from our campaign ambassadors, relevant information and interactions on our sister site, BeyondMoi.com, inspiring support within our community, involvement from our campaign sponsors, giveaways, and informative articles.

Let’s explore health and moving together, with #TLBmoves.

 

____________________

Meet Our Ambassadors

We’ve assembled a small team to provide a little daily inspiration and some real-life experiences as they focus on the love present in their relationships. Here are the four mamas (apart from myself) that will be sharing their #TLBmoves experiences with us this for the next month:

MommyCon presents WEAR: Babywearing Conference (TK Photography Photobooth) | wearconference.comLaTia Barrett.

LaTia lives in Maryland with her wife and daughter. She loves all things food and Disney, and tries to combine the two as often as possible. When not at Disney (or planning a Disney trip), she is a WAHM, babywearing educator, postpartum doula, and singer.

 

 

View More: http://yourstreetphotography.pass.us/martinwebberfamily1Jessica Martin-Weber.

Drawing from a diverse background in the performing arts and midwifery, Jessica Martin-Weber supports women and families, creating spaces for open dialogue. Writer and speaker, Jessica is the creator of TheLeakyBoob.com, co-creator of BeyondMoi.com, and creator and author of the children’s book and community of What Love Tastes Like, supporter of A Girl With A View, and co-founder of Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference. She co-parents her 6 daughters with her husband of 19 years and is currently writing her first creative non-fiction book.

 

 

IMG_0112Hannah Buckley.

I’m Hannah!  I’m from a small town in NE Texas, but I currently live in New Port Richey, FL.  I am an extremely busy work at home mom!  Aside from the everyday Mama duties, I’m a local photographer. We also own a web design and marketing company in Tarpon Springs, FL, so I stay very busy!  For the past (almost) 4 years, I have been married to my best friend, Brian.  We have 2 beautiful and energetic boys, Dayton (2 years) and Madden (4 months).  I love being outside, grilling and playing in the water with the boys. We take frequent trips to the beach and love to try new local restaurants.  I have recently started to really enjoy cooking and baking, and I’m having a blast with lactation recipes!  My life is hectic at times, silly, fun, hard, and busy… but I wouldn’t trade one single minute of it!

 

13383538_10157045234550038_1295936637_oBryttany Hyde.

My name is Bryttany, I am a work from home mom, blogger, and business owner from Woodstock, GA. I moved to Woodstock shortly after meeting my husband Cameron while now 6 years later we are proud parents to Killian (23 months) and AthenaRose (1 month). Coloring and reading are some of my favorite activities when I’m not wrapping babies and helping others learn about cloth diapers!

 

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Allyson Storey.

I am originally from California, moved to Delaware as a teenager, and am now located just outside of Portland Oregon! I am a stay at home mom but am starting a photography business. I love to go camping and rock climbing with my family. I have one daughter, her name is Savannah and she is 7 months old. I have been married for almost 5 years to my husband Richard. 

 

 

 

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Shannon DeLong.

Hey Leakies! My name is Shannon and I am a native Texan in the Houston area.  I am a work at home mom as the Project Manager for The Leaky Boob and I am currently working on my certification to become both a lactation counselor as well as a birth doula.  I am a busy, single-mom to my daugher Mirabelle (9), and my 2 sons Levi and Isaiah (6 & 3).  I love roadtrips, being outdoors camping, hiking, and making memories as a family.  Oh and coffee…I LOVE coffee!

 

 

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Meet Our Partners

Supporting our unique and diverse nourishment journeys, we are so grateful to partner with brands who value the mission of The Leaky Boob and we trust to share with our community. Leakies themselves, the brands below have made caring for families with quality products that we can trust a priority.

Thinkbaby_favoredby

Thinkbaby  Thinksport.  At Thinkbaby and Thinksport, we are continually expanding our mission to provide safe products by identifying consumer product categories with known human health issues. Specifically, we target products that contain high levels of hormone disruptors and carcinogens. We then work with leading scientists worldwide to create safe alternatives.

 

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Belabumbum.  Belabumbum’s Ultra Smooth Nursing Sports Bra offers medium-impact support with wireless microfiber cups lined with cotton and removable spacer pads to provide coverage and wick away moisture. The bra’s side cup is made with breathable stretch mesh and elasticized for fit. Ventilated side panels transfer moisture and heat away from mom.

 

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Tula. Prance is a Tula Coast carrier with a whimsical, spirited print. Fields of flowers and happy, prancing unicorns fill the design that is paired with a fun purple canvas and mesh center panel. Prance is the ultimate wish come true!

Tula Coast is designed to bring a cool breeze to your day! This line of Tula Baby Carriers offers a reinterpretation of our original framed panel design using breathable mesh material which creates a ventilated carrier perfectly suited for active lifestyles and warm weather locales.

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#TLBMoves: Kelsey’s Story-Changing Her Life to Inspire Others

by Kelsey Daniels

*Editor’s Note: I have had the pleasure of being close friends with Kelsey and her family over the past few years as our two families have grown! I hope that her story inspires you, Leaky. She has been instrumental in encouraging me to  jumpstart taking care of myself with #TLBMoves. If you’d like to continue being inspired by Kelsey and her journey to health, check out her Instagram feed @kelseyjdaniels and Join our Private Group on Facebook!

 

When I became a mom, it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. But to be honest, I kind of lost myself.

I devoted 100% of my time into taking care of my three little boys.

I completely forgot to take care of myself.

 

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Beginning and Current: Kelsey’s Journey!

 

I used my kids as an excuse for not taking care of my body.I was too busy, too tired, and felt too far gone to do anything about it.

I was surviving motherhood, and not enjoying it at all.

Finally, I decided it was no longer okay for me to use my kids as an excuse to be 50+ lbs. overweight and 11692749_10152852661372100_6381956419378480368_neat nothing but junk. It was time for change. I started eating well, working out daily, and had a killer group of friends to hold me accountable to my goals.

I quickly fell in love with taking care of my body, and my kids quickly took notice! I now feel good about what I’m putting in my body, and I don’t feel guilty when I nurse my little Samson, because I know he’s getting the very best things from me. It’s been just over three months and I’ve lost 25lbs and over 23 inches.

It’s so wonderful to know I’m making my way towards a healthier me, but the best part?

I’ve found myself again.

I matter.

And my family is benefitting from me being well cared for!

I’ve found time in my day just for ME, and it’s amazing how thats affected being a mom, wife, and friend.

I am now the example to my kids that I feel good about.11137182_10152859116892100_8961811249812096667_n

They are my reason why, not my excuse!

 

I did it.

I’m still doing it.

YOU CAN DO THIS.

Together we can change!

From This Leaky To You,

-Kelsey

 

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Kelsey, her husband, and their 3 amazing boys live and work at a youth camp in McCall, Idaho. Kelsey is also a stay-at-home mum and is a coach for Beachbody Fitness! Some of her family’s favorite activities include watersliding, hiking, watching Avatar The Last Airbender, inspiring youth to live enriched lives, and playing pirates with their boys! To follow Kelsey and be inspired by her journey to better health, follow her Instagram @Kelseyjdaniels

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#TLBmoves Playful Fitness

by Bryan Jarrett

To express ourselves through movement we can help heal, strengthen and maintain the integrity of our physical bodies. Staying active is not just about burning calories and shedding unwanted pounds—it’s about the overall impact it can have on our lives. Even as a fitness coach, I love to keep my workouts varied and, most importantly, playful! Here are four ideas that will get you moving without the use of dumbbells, barbells, or treadmills!

1. Raid the toy aisle at your local drugstore! The other day I was at my local drugstore to buy charcoal for the grill. I spotted all of these summer toys for the backyard on clearance. My intuition drove me to say YES to a $4 Skyball game and the result was a lot of fun! Any game will do for this idea (Badminton, Horseshoe/Ring Toss, etc.) Play a few rounds for 20-30min. Then say hello to your elevated heart rate, improved coordination, and have fun!

2. Walk to your local park and add a sensible workout: The walk to the park can be part of your workout. The other part can be a resistance band workout once you get there. All you need are a couple of resistance bands and something secure to wrap your band around. Circuit these four exercises as one round. Aim to perform 2-3 rounds.

  • Wide Grip Rows: These are awesome for our posture and alignment of the spine. First, secure the band. Then, take the handles and walk the band back until it is tight. Pull the handles apart and bring the elbows to the side into a table top position. Make sure the shoulders stay down the entire time to minimize neck tension. Do 15-20 reps.TLBmove Bryan Jarrett Resistance bands
  • Chest Press: Place the band in the same position as the Row. This time face a way from the handles. Start with the band at shoulder height with elbows flexed into a table top position. Then push the handles together while keeping your shoulders down. Do 15-20 reps.TLBmoves TLBmoves Bryan Resistance Bands stretch
  • Core twist: Insert one handle into the loop of the other. Pull one handle away from the pole to create a knot in the band. Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Facing to one side, grab the handle and hold it away from the body with the elbows flexed. Then twist to the side. Control the band as your arms come back to center. Limit your range of motion if you have any limitations in your back/spine. Do. 8-10 reps on each side.TLBmoves Bryan Jarrett
  • Bicep Curl: Stand with feet together on the band for lighter resistance. Stand with feet shoulder width apart for heavier resistance. Keep your elbows tucked into the sides of the body while maintaining a strong grip on the handles. Do 15-20 reps.TLBmoves Bryan Resistance bands arm curls

3. DANCE. A simple step-touch can put you back in touch with feeling good. You owe it to yourself to play your favorite album, lower the blinds (or not), and just dance. Challenge yourself to dance with no judgment for at least 15-20 mins. You don’t need to be great. Participation is the new winning!! Also, video dance games (ie: Dance Central) provide great opportunities to laugh and move together with the whole family.

4. The Fitness Toy Chest: Try these fitness toys to get your heart rate up. You could even circuit these items for a fun and treadmill-free cardio workout!

Gliders: These look like giant furniture movers! You can slide around your house as your do squats, lunges, and core-training work. I recommend the ones here.

Hula hoops: Go ahead and dig it out of the garage and get those hips moving!!

Agility Cones and Ladders: These are great and inexpensive. Although, you could use anything around the house as distance markers to create your own challenge course.

Jump Ropes: These are very effective at getting the heart rate up with very little equipment. Jump in!

However you do it, get moving and model for your children how being active can be fun and healthy. Taking care of your health is an important part of taking your family, they deserve to have you healthy!

If you want encouragement in your own journey of developing and maintaining healthy active family habits, join the #TLBmoves Facebook group and don’t miss out on the Joovy, ThinkSport ThinkBaby, and Tula giveaway to help you get moving!

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What fun ways do you find to fit some fitness and physical activity into your family routine? Any playground or at home workouts you enjoy?

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Bryan Jarrett is a certified personal trainer through the National Council on Strength and Fitness. He is a Corrective Exercise Specialist and a Sports Performance Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He also holds a Pre-Post Natal certification from the American Council on Exercise. You can follow him on Instagram @BryanJarrettNY.
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Motivation to Get Moving: #TLBmoves Prizes!

Are you moving yet, Leakies?! We’ve been getting our move on during the month of August. Breastfeeding here, there, and everywhere, and making sure we get outside and get active while we’re at it. We’re rounding the bases into the homestretch of World Breastfeeding Month. We’re SO proud of all the Leakies (and their families) that have gotten more active with #TLBmoves! In fact, we think you deserve a reward. How about some #TLBmoves swag?!  Our brand partners – Joovy, Thinkbaby/Thinksport, and Tula Baby Carriers – have been amazingly supportive of our efforts (and yours!) and they’ve also been generous with their products! We’ve got some fantastic prize packs to give away. (US residents only; winners drawn at random during the first week of September.) GRAND PRIZE: (up to $699.00 total value) tlbmoves grand prize

$350.00 to put toward the stroller of your choice from Joovy! Tula’s limited edition Star carrier (your choice of standard or toddler)! (Yes, really!) $150.00 in Thinkbaby/Thinksport sports bottles and sunscreen!

Yeah, it’s pretty awesome! First runner up: (up to $269.00 total value) tlbmoves first runner up

The Gray Zig Zag Tula Baby Carrier (your choice of standard or toddler)! $100.00 to spend any way you’d like on Thinkbaby/Thinksport sports bottles and sunscreen!

Second runner up: (up to $219 total value) tlbmoves second runner up

Tula’s Chloe carrier (standard or toddler) $50 to spend on Thinkbaby/Thinksport sports bottles & safe sunscreen!

Our brand partners have been amazing throughout #TLBmoves. They’ve been as excited as we are about families getting healthy, every step of the way! A huge thanks to each of them for their support. (And for making such awesome products that support us in reaching our #TLBmoves goals!) Joovy’s Qool, Zoom 360, TooFold, and Caboose VaryLight have logged a lot of miles so far this month, with a lot more to come! We’ve worn our babies while walking, dancing, doing chores – you name it – thanks to Tula’s carriers and woven wraps. Thinkbaby/Thinksport has kept us in sunscreen and water bottles, and speaking of… Here’s **20% off Thinkbaby/Thinksport** that you can use right now! (These water bottles are amazing. AH-mazing. No freaky metallic taste in the water and they have kept ice solid overnight!) Print PLUS! WAIT! We’ve got Thinkbaby/Thinksport sports bottles and sunscreen to give away through the end of August! Just post on the #TLBmoves hashtag on Instagram. We’ll be choosing TEN winners at random. All you have to do is share a pic! We’ll choose ten people who’ve shared pics on the #TLBmoves hashtag to win sunscreen and water bottles. (US only) ENTER to win one of the three prize packages above!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Baby Weight Workout

I hear often from moms wanting to get back in shape after having a baby but concerned that exercise and dieting could harm their milk supply.  IBCLC Star Rodriguez helped clarify the questions we see frequently from moms on breastfeeding and fitness in this article here.  Be sure to check that out and don’t forget that it is always best to work with your health care provider in determining a healthy activity level and nutritional plan.  

Once you are certain that adding working out and increased physical activity is a healthy choice for you (and evidence supports that it’s healthy for most of us!) the challenge many parents face is when to find the time, space, and right activity.  Having children around it can be difficult to make some space for yourself and your health.  You are worth it though and your children deserve to have healthy parents, plus, when your children see you making physical activity and your own health a priority, you are modeling how important it is for them as well.  The best way for your children to develop healthy habits is for you to demonstrate healthy habits yourself.  Happy health to you and your family!  ~Jessica

 

Jennifer from Fit For Expecting has offered up a workout to help make it easier to find some time to take care of you.  Check out this Baby Weight Workout that you can enjoy WITH your baby.  I think it’s a great springboard for customizing and creating your own workout that fits your family’s unique makeup.  For more support, be sure to check out Jennifer’s website and like the Fit For Expecting Facebook page.  ~Jessica

Most moms know that exercise is good for them physically, mentally and emotionally. But, when life gets busy, exercise often gets put on the back burner. I designed a workout specifically for Leakies, that’s quick (5 minutes total) and incorporates baby into each exercise. I’m calling it the “Baby Weight Workout” because, that’s right, baby functions as the weight.
A few general exercise tips to keep in mind:
  • For your comfort and for a content baby, you might want to breastfeed before exercising.
  • Stay hydrated – drink water before, during and after exercising.
  • Eat a snack 1 1/2 – 2 hours before exercising.
Enjoy!
TLB Workout - Exercising with Baby
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Fitness and Breastfeeding

by Star Rodriguiz, IBCLC

fitness, fit moms, fitness for moms, walking, breastfeeding and fitness

Moms can burn 500 calories a day while breastfeeding.  So that’s all you have to do, right?  Just breastfeed?  And the weight will all magically fall off and you will look like Giselle?

Breastfeeding can absolutely help you to lose weight, but many moms find that they need to embark on a plan of diet and exercise, too.  (And, just for good measure, please let me remind you not to begin a diet/exercise plan without consulting a medical professional and all that jazz.  Also, don’t rush into physical activity right after having a baby, take the time you need to really heal and adjust to having a new baby, pushing your body too soon could lead to further health issues.  Most moms find they need to wait at least 6 weeks, often closer to 12 weeks postpartum before they start exercising.)

BUT WAIT!  There are a lot of things that people talk about with diet and exercise and breastfeeding that make doing it seem…well, like maybe not the best idea.  So what’s the reality?  Can you safely breastfeed and lose weight?  Or exercise?

I am so glad that I just asked that for you.  The short answer is yes!  Of course!  But the long answer is addressed below, as we unmask three very common breastfeeding myths…

Myth #1You need to eat A LOT to make milk, and drink A LOT, too.

Ok, so here’s the deal.  When you are breastfeeding, you should eat to hunger and drink to thirst.  So, if you’re hungry?  Eat something.  If you’re thirsty?  Drink something.  You may find yourself ravenous, or you may find that your appetite has changed little.  Listen to your body’s cues.  There’s probably little to no need to shove extra food in your mouth or force yourself to drink excessive amounts.  In fact, over drinking water has been linked to a lowered supply.  You may find yourself thirstier, and if you genuinely feel that you need to drink, do it.  Just don’t force a specific amount down your throat in hopes that you will increase supply.

Now, that doesn’t mean you should rejoice and eat whatever, whenever.  Eating a mostly healthy and balanced diet is important.  Few of us are going to be able to eat perfectly all the time, though, especially with a new baby.  So I always tell my clients to continue to take a multivitamin, like their prenatal, throughout the breastfeeding relationship.  Moms probably need some extra Vitamin D, too.  (See this study for more information.)  Most moms can safely take 4000-6000 IUs a day.  This will not only help you, but can help to increase the Vitamin D in your breastmilk, too.  However, you should check with your doctor before increasing any dosages or starting any new vitamins.

Myth #2- You can’t cut calories while breastfeeding.

Not entirely true.  You probably should wait to diet until at least 6-8 weeks, and you shouldn’t go from eating, say, 2500 calories a day to 1500 overnight.  But as long as you have an established supply, decrease your calories slowly, and go no lower than 1500-1800 calories per day as appropriate for your body type, you can absolutely work on losing some weight.  1-2 pounds a week is a pretty safe range of loss, whether or not you are breastfeeding.

Some popular programs have developed breastfeeding options to help moms lose weight safely while breastfeeding.  Weight Watchers and My Fitness Pal both have breastfeeding options.

Myth #3Exercising while breastfeeding will make my supply lower/make my milk gross or sour!

Let’s talk about exercise decreasing supply, first.  If you are constantly working out to exhaustion (and you’re probably not.  I did P90X for about a month when I was in the third month of breastfeeding my daughter, and it didn’t fall into the exhaustive, supply-diminishing category,) yes, you may see some reduction in supply.  Regular, moderate exercise, however, might actually increase your production, although that’s not guaranteed.  Even high intensity exercise when it’s balanced well with adequate caloric intake, is fine and many mothers experience no trouble with high intensity work outs.

Raise your hand if you’ve heard that your baby won’t drink your milk if you have been exercising, because lactic acid will build up and sour your milk.  The entire premise for this was one study with a whole lot of issues. Further studies have not been able to replicate this, and have, instead, pretty clearly shown that babies don’t refuse the breast after exercising.  Anecdotal evidence, while not “official,” shows that many breastfeeding mothers experience quite the satisfied customer in their breastfed baby following even intense work outs.

One thing you do need to worry about while breastfeeding and exercising is wearing a supportive bra that isn’t too tight.  Some sports bras can be really, really binding.  You want to avoid that, obviously, to keep from having issues with plugged ducts and the like.

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Have you heard any other breastfeeding and fitness myths?  Did you lose weight or become more fit while nursing?  Let us know in the comments!

 

 Star Rodriguiz, IBCLC, began her career helping women breastfeed as a breastfeeding peer counselor for a WIC in the Midwest.  Today she is a hospital based lactation consultant who also does private practice work through Lactastic Services.  She recently moved to the northern US with her two daughters and they are learning to cope with early October snowfalls (her Facebook page is here, go “like” for great support). 
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