Five Habits to Continue from Pregnancy to Motherhood

Five Habits to Continue from Pregnancy to MotherhoodAs the life-source of your unborn child, your body becomes a sacred vessel during pregnancy. What you put in your body and on your body, your health habits and outside exposures are constant concerns as a mom-to-be because you want only the best care for your little one in the womb. Many of these recommended health practices during pregnancy are excellent to carry over into motherhood. Today we’re sharing five habits to continue from pregnancy to motherhood.

Eating a Healthy Diet

Clean, green and natural are usually among the top priorities in an expectant mom’s diet and it’s great for motherhood too. Your baby may no longer get wholesome nutrients delivered through the umbilical cord but she’s getting it from your breast milk. Plus, a mom who eats healthier and has more energy is going to better meet her baby’s needs. Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, walnuts and flax are great, as well as green leafy vegetables, fruits chock full of antioxidants, lean proteins and whole grains.

Oh, and remember those small meals you were eating during pregnancy because they kept you from vomiting and reduced your acid reflux? That’s a good idea to continue now too to keep your blood sugar levels stable. Breastfeeding takes a lot of energy and requires extra calories so keep your nutritious meals coming throughout the day.

Taking Prenatal Vitamins

Along with a healthy diet you’ll want to continue taking your prenatal vitamins. They’re good for you, of course, but they are also stupendous for your baby who’s getting that folic acid, vitamin D, calcium and many other fantastic nutrients in your breast milk. Although your hair may lose the prenatal fullness you enjoyed during pregnancy (thanks a lot, hormones!), prenatal vitamins can keep your remaining strands lustrous and your nails strong.

Eliminating Vices

Among other things, smoking, spending hours in the sun, and drinking a few cocktails at a time were probably vices you eliminated during pregnancy. You may want to keep them at bay because they just aren’t good for your health. After breastfeeding, moderate consumption of alcohol may have its benefits but otherwise, leave the unhealthy vices to your past.


If you followed your OBGYN’s advice and exercised during pregnancy, you probably reaped some terrific benefits like more energy, the release of feel-good hormones and keeping your weight in check. Guess what? All those benefits exist in motherhood too. And now you can incorporate your baby into exercise as well with mommy-and-me yoga, walks in the park and frequent dance parties.


The exhaustion you may have felt during pregnancy is probably only rivaled by the exhaustion you feel as a new mom. When you were expecting you probably made yourself rest and relax because it’s what your body really needed. Now, even with your little one around, you still need some down time. Sleeping as much as possible, seeking help with chores that others can do, and just chilling with your baby are productive ways to recuperate your energy after nine months of pregnancy and many more months with an infant.

When you’re not sure how to take care of yourself in motherhood, think back to the way you treated yourself during pregnancy and continue these healthy habits.

Why Kids Are Worst When Mom is Around

When you became a mom you may not have been completely informed of your job description. It’s hard to cover 18+ years of 24/7 parenting responsibilities. One of the most shocking and hard-to-understand roles of being a mom is the dumping ground you become for their emotions, and many other things as well. Today we’re exploring why kids are worst when mom is around.

Why Kids Are Worst When Mom is AroundDoes this sound familiar: You are excited to pick up your baby/toddler/children from daycare/preschool/school or return home after the babysitter/nanny/grandparents have been watching your kiddos. As you kneel down with outstretched arms and a huge smile waiting for that moment you’ve longed for all day – a warm hug, kiss from your kids, the simple words “oh mommy, I missed you!” – you are unexpectedly met with a full-on meltdown of tears, kicks, nasty attitudes and maybe even the release of  bowels. What happened?!?!

Your caregivers (and even dad sometimes) say they were perfect angels until you showed up. Surely they must be lying. This doesn’t just happen out of the blue, does it?

Moms around the world experience this phenomenon to be true but still wonder why kids are worst when mom is around. The answer is rather simple and, although often an unpleasant experience, should be flattering.

You are the safety zone, the one comfortable spot in this great big world where your kids can release it all. Every emotion, every moment of fear, anxiety, anger, overwhelm, excitement and more, is also vomited on you the moment your kids see you after being away.

While you are grateful that your kids were well-behaved for your caregivers, it feels painful in the moment. All you want is happiness as you reunite and finally get to spend time together. When it is marked with utter disaster you can’t help but feel sad, disappointed and unsure if you should ever leave your kids again.

You should. You should go to work, or volunteer, or get your hair cut or have a date with your husband when you need it. Your kids need to experience a range of emotions as uncomfortable as they may be for everyone. This is how to raise emotionally intelligent people. Be their safe space. Absorb their every emotion. Let them know it is OK. All the while, take peace in the fact that you are the only one in the world they trust enough with these raw feelings.

By now you’ve probably witnessed the extreme highs and the extreme lows of your children’s behavior. Lucky for you, that is one of the phenomenal gifts of being a mom. Yes, you have to deal with all the deplorable tantrums, inexplicable quirks and ridiculous messes you never would have imagined possible. But then you get to see your children in their shiniest moments of brilliants, creativity, silliness, curiosity and kindness – the ones you wish that you could broadcast to world…except no, you want to hold them in your heart as your own special secret.

While you hold your breath through your children’s thunderstorms, soak up their rainbows. These are the true moments of parenting when your kids are sharing their souls with the one they love most.

Sources: Popsugar, Kate Surfs and Simple Most


The Job of Parenting

If you feel like the job of parenting has swallowed your time and energy, you are among the majority of working moms. And if parenting were a paid job, you’d probably be rolling in dough.

A new survey shows that most working mothers clock in around 98 hours a week between their paid position and parenting, leaving just around one hour of non-sleeping “me” time. On average, moms start their day around 6:23 a.m. and finish up parenting responsibilities by 8:31 p.m., a 14-hour work day. Yes, the job of parenting is endless, tiring, demanding and complicated.

One aspect of the survey highlighted the seemingly constant and indefinite list of tasks required in the job of parenting, much of which are repetitive, tedious and mundane. For example, preparing food, cleaning the house and doing laundry are never-ending tasks that nearly every parent faces. And it’s probably not going to stop for about 18 or more years.

The Job of ParentingAlthough the survey focused on parents with children 5 to 12 years old, the results certainly apply to moms of younger tots as well. In fact, the repetitiveness and physical demands of parenting may be even more stressful with younger children who need you for every aspect of their daily lives.

Breastfeeding alone can be one of the most challenging facets to being a new mom. From worrying if your baby is getting enough milk and latching properly, to being tethered to your baby (or your breast pump) for potentially years on end. Add sleep deprivation to the mix and you’ll really understand why they say parenting is the hardest job in the world.

Of course there are also many other parts of parenting that make it extremely difficult too. The responsibility of molding a human being into a productive member of society, for example, is not something most parents take lightly. And the constant worry about your children’s safety, health and wellbeing is always on the top of your mind.

Despite the hardships, exhaustion and selflessness involved in the job of parenting, the paycheck, as it could be called, is priceless. Everyday may not feel like you’ve hit the jackpot but you are the winner. You GET to be the mom of your amazing children. The heart-stopping, overwhelming, extraordinary love you feel and you receive in return is your reward.

The survey rings true for many moms around the country – the job of parenting is HARD. But it also yields the most powerful reward you could ever imagine – LOVE.

Sources: Working Mother, The Bump, Huffington Post and Motherhood and More


Millennial Moms

Millennial moms are officially taking over motherhood and it’s pretty exciting stuff! Millennials (sometimes called GenY or Next Gen) are those who were born between 1980 and 2005. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that nearly 90% of new moms in 2015 were Millennials. We’re sharing facts about the new wave of moms to see how they are embracing and advancing motherhood.

Millennial moms are having kids at an older age. In 1970, the average age of a new mom was around 22. In 2000 most new moms were approximately 25 years old. Now the average age of new moms is over 26. This may be due to higher educational goals, postponing marriage, rejecting marriage altogether and a greater focus on career.

Millennial moms care more about health and breastfeeding. Fast food and junk food are on the decline now that millennial moms are in charge, but healthy well-balanced meals and breastfeeding are on the rise.

Millennial MomsMillennial moms take pride in parenthood, find it rewarding and think they’re good at it. Perhaps not surprising, this generation of moms who were always given a pat on their backs give themselves kudos about their parenting. They find it to be a big part of their identity – even more important than their marriages – and they enjoy motherhood.

Millennial moms are not afraid of screen time for themselves or their kids. This group of women grew up using email and the internet and social media is a daily part of their lives. In fact, millennial moms spend on average over 17 hours per week on social media. And they also allow their kids to use media more freely than previous generations.

Millennial moms have a variety of parenting influences. Because they are social and online, millennial moms have seemingly endless resources for parenting advice. Moms from all cultures and walks of life exchange tips and ideas regularly over the internet. Also, millennial moms are more likely to incorporate moral causes into their lifestyles – such as green living or buying fair trade products. These alternative ways of parenting diversify the tools that moms have at their disposal and make moms open to a variety of parenting styles.

Millennial moms work differently. Unlike Gen X that strived hard to forge new paths for women in the workforce and challenged male authority at every turn, millennial moms are more satisfied with their jobs. It’s not that they are less smart – more millennial moms are college graduates than any other generation. It’s just that they would rather achieve more work-life balance and enjoy a healthier corporate culture than be paid more. And many millennial moms are choosing more traditional roles by staying home. Others are becoming their own bosses by starting businesses or monetizing hobbies.

Millennial moms like to engage and then disengage. They’re engaging with their kids on new levels due to the vast resources the internet has to offer. Technology is a big part of family life now. Also, millennial moms expect dads to be present and involved. This allows moms some “me time” that is sacred to this generation.

Each new generation brings fresh perspective to parenting and we love what we see from millennial moms!

Sources: Pew Research, Time, Romper, Working Mother, and PopSugar


Second Time Motherhood: Mom-Judging Myself

When I was a first-time mom my business-minded type-A personality was my approach to motherhood. After all, I was coming off a corporate job where deadlines, schedules, multi-tasking, and having everything polished and buttoned up were my job, which often took over my entire life. I liked planning and executing my work to perfection and that’s how I began my parenting journey as well.

Like many new moms, while I secretly struggled with self-doubt and trudged through the tedious times, I put on my best face and tried to make it all look easy, even though it wasn’t. By design our lives were fairly routine, and I was obsessed with making my child bright, talented, charming and kind by pumping as much knowledge, love and experience into him as possible. Although I started a business from home, most of my time was dedicated to him and only him. Now I realize what a luxury that was.

Second Time Motherhood: Mom-Judging MyselfLittle did I know how things would change when my second baby came along. My business suit and board meeting days were a distant memory and so were many of my regimented ways. It wasn’t that I wanted to let them go, but more like I had to in order to survive, and in some respects to keep the peace in my family.

In looking back to my first-time motherhood days, I recognize that no matter how open-minded I said I was or I wanted to be as a mom, I was judging others who didn’t do it my way. And now as I find myself doing things differently the second time around, I realize I have become those moms I judged so poorly.  And for a type-A, people pleaser like me, I sometimes feel like a disappointment.

I would have judged me for letting my baby put other people’s toys in his mouth and not always cleaning up his drool. I would have judged me for not taking him to a museum, the aquarium, the zoo, the library or story times at least once a week. I would have judged me for letting him still have a pacifier at over one-year of age. I would have judged me for not reading enough books. I would have judged me for not having enough play dates. I would have judged me for letting my son crawl around in public places where people walk with their dirty shoes (which completely grosses me out but I still let it happen). And I would have judged me for toting my baby around to pick up carpool, run errands and take my oldest to his after-school activities.

And as I mom shame myself from the past about the present and incur the mom guilt that follows, another thought dawns on me: as a second-time mom, with all the benefit of my great wisdom (that’s a joke, by the way), I also judge first-time mom me.

I judge me for not being more flexible and reading my baby. I judge me for almost never letting my baby fall asleep on my chest – now one of my most-cherished moments with my second – because nap time was supposed to be in a crib. I judge me for not letting my first get dirtier and be exposed to more germs earlier in life. I judge me for hovering and not giving my first the space to learn to play independently.  I judge me for fretting over every little thing that turned out not to matter. I judge me for staying up to late to get it all done and being exhausted the next day. And I judge me for having judged others.

Although I speak out against mom shaming and mom guilt, by experiencing how I judge myself in both directions, I see how both are so prevalent. But I also recognize that experience and time have given me perspective. All the judging I did when I had the freedom to focus on only one child and now when I look back at myself as a first-time mom is both narrow-minded and lacking of compassion.

In my heart I believe that there are many ways to be a good parent, and I believe children need to be parented differently based on who they are inherently.  Those are the values I remember to tame the judging of myself and others. Because I don’t walk in anyone else’s shoes and frankly, I don’t even walk in my own mom shoes from five years ago when my first son was a baby. I have to accept who I was as a first-time mom now that I’m a second time mom and vice versa.

Fortunately, like many other parenting challenges, looking at my thriving children, holding them, and loving them makes me realize, despite my own criticisms, I must be doing something right.


Written by Erin, Loving Moments by Leading Lady brand ambassador

Mother’s Day Memories

As Mother’s Day draws near, you may be reflecting on your experiences so far as a mother and thinking about your own mother as well. Each of us has a unique relationship with our children, which may be influenced by our own mothers. Before you sit back and enjoy being celebrated on Mother’s Day, it’s a good time to think about how you want to be remembered as a mom.

In 25 years when your children are adults, how do you want to be remembered on Mother’s Day? If you’re not living out those qualities, make some changes so you are the mom you want your kids to have. Which of these memories do you want to create?

Mother’s Day MemoriesFun and Spontaneous: Structure and schedules may keep your lives sane but memories are made from fun and spontaneous moments. Whether it’s a stop off at an ice cream shop before dinner or a surprise trip to Disney World, adding fun and spontaneity to your days will bring joy and smiles to everyone in your family. You can achieve this in small ways every day by breaking out in song when the mood strikes you or turning a chore into a game.

Love of Learning: Your kids may not appreciate all the random facts you share but they will enjoy being smart cookies. If you want to be remembered for all the knowledge you impart on your kiddos, find clever ways to incorporate learning into your everyday lives. Turn following a yummy recipe into a math lesson. Chart the weather in your city. Practice science experiments at home. Keep a map handy to talk about different places in the world when they come up in conversation. And of course, read about everything and encourage your children to ask why.

Seeking Adventure:  For the adventure-loving mom, spread your free spirit to your kids by involving them in your wild journeys. From backyard adventuring (think camp outs and scavenger hunts) to travel across the globe, your little ones will remember your adventurous nature. Risk-taking is a hard skill for some kids to learn, but you can help your kids safely take risks through adventure activities.

Leader in your Community: Whether it’s school, a scout troupe, a religious organization or a community group, demonstrating your leadership skills is something your kids will remember. Getting involved to make your world (in the most micro or macro sense) a better place can be ingrained in children at a young age. Show your kids how people coming together can make a difference. It’s a memory they will carry with them and probably emulate in their own lives as well.

Fostering Independence: Mother’s are usually nurturing by nature and that’s a wonderful thing. We’re hard-wired to be a safe and secure “home” for our children. But fostering independence will also serve them well in life. Making mistakes in the name of learning and teaching your children to be resourceful are necessary skills for productive citizens of the world. That’s not to say you have to choose tough love if that’s not your way. However setting your kids on a path to independence is a gift they will remember and thank you for in the future.

We wish you a very happy Mother’s Day full of beautiful memories – both the ones you have from your past and the ones you choose to create.

Wonderful Support for Breastfeeding and Motherhood

“In my family breastfeeding was normal. My mother nursed, my sister and sister-in-law nursed. From an early age I expected to nurse my children. I took a breastfeeding class at the hospital while I was expecting my first and thought I was ready to go. I was NOT ready for nursing!

Wonderful Support for Breastfeeding and Motherhood Looking back the one thing I would have done differently is attended La Leche League meetings while pregnant. It would have given me more time to absorb the information than just one night of a class. And I would have sought help sooner if I knew the Leaders and had a better idea of what is normal and when something is wrong. I had a very difficult 6 weeks and it took some time after that to heal and get breastfeeding to a comfortable level. The La Leche League Leader I called was a big part of helping me learn to make breastfeeding work for me. She invited me the local meetings and I started attending when my daughter was 3 months old.

I went on to nurse my daughter until she was ready to wean and I continued to attend the local meetings. I found La Leche League mothers to be a wonderful support; not just for breastfeeding but also for motherhood. I learned from the meeting topics, from the other mothers’ experiences and their questions. I enjoy being able to share my experience with others. It was so much more than just making nursing work. I learned about nutrition and developmental stages and weaning, all of which helped me as I learned to be a parent.

With my second child I attended meetings through my whole pregnancy and had a good support network. Then I was surprised at the difficulty I had nursing my second. It was a mother sharing in the meeting about her child that got me on the right track to identify the nursing issue with my second. The LLL Leader and local IBCLC helped us get the diagnosis and treatment we needed to make breastfeeding work the second time.

Being around other nursing mothers, sharing ideas and resources, supporting each other through the difficulties and celebrating successes is what makes La Leche League great and why I still love attending meetings.”

Alina, La Leche League Montgomery, AL Area

Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal YogaAs your pregnancy progresses, aches, pains and a latent fear seem to be progressing with it. Soon that adorable baby bump will be a ninth month old pregnant tummy that’s read to pop; and then you’ll undergo contractions, labor pains, child birth and, of course, motherhood. Anxiety-ridden questions begin swirling around in your head – will child birth hurt, will something go wrong, am I cut out to be a mother, will all this stress somehow hurt my baby?

Instead of letting your concerns overpower your excitement, consider trying one of the most relaxing, deep-rooted practices for soon to be mothers: prenatal yoga. This well-established exercise focuses on toning your mommy muscles, improving your balance, keeping you limber, bettering your circulation, and educating key breathing techniques.

Yoga classes will generally begin by teaching you to rejuvenate your pregnant body through the core inhalation and exhalation method called ujjayi pranayama (ooh-jah-yee prah-nah-yah-mah). Ujjayi shows you how to fill your lungs while tightening your throat and breathing through your nose. It is believed that controlled breathing will bring positive changes to your emotional, mental, and physical health as a mother. Unlike alternative breathing techniques, Ujjayi is performed through all poses, assisting you in releasing any repressed feelings or sensations.

Instead of allowing your fears to take over, this helps to maintain a balanced, consistent breath to relax your mind and focus completely on the present moment. When fearful, your body produces more adrenalin and less oxytocin, the hormone that helps your labor progress. Ujjayi will teach you to relax and dismiss the urge to tighten up due to pain or fear. This, in turn, will help you face the physical and mental demands of labor, childbirth, and motherhood.

Besides offering numerous health benefits such as lower blood pressure and improved breathing rates, prenatal yoga also provides the opportunity to become a part of a pregnant community. With other mothers undergoing the same or similar experiences in an encouraging, compassionate environment, you will be given regular motivation to continue your exercise.

Keep in mind that you will need to take common exercise precautions due to your pregnancy. Speak with a qualified prenatal yoga instructor or your doctor before beginning a class to make sure your experience will be safe and beneficial.

New Years Resolutions + The Best Things You Can Do for Your Baby in 2014

Ah, a New Year is upon us!  It’s a time to make some New Years resolutions and start afresh.  As a new or expectant mom, you probably have a ton of ideas about the mother you want to become for your baby and are making plans to implement those ideas.

Just as you might set goals for yourself at work, when trying to lose weight or any other project in your life, mapping out goals as a mom is a smart way to parent, especially when those precious moments with your baby are so fleeting.  We’ve all heard that the first few years of your baby’s life are so important for development.  So take this time when you’re setting goals for 2014 to determine how to be the best mom you can be by knowing the best things you can do for your baby.

Breastfeeding_New Years ResolutionsBreastfeed

Breast is best!  The AmericanAcademy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least the first year of your baby’s life, and acknowledges positive benefits for extended breastfeeding as well.  Not only is breast milk the #1 nutrition in the world for your baby, but studies show the amazing cognitive, physical and social advantages of children who were breastfed.  Plus, breastfeeding encourages quicker bonding between mother and baby, easier weight loss for mom, lowered risk of post partum depression and lowered risk for breast and ovarian cancers in mothers.

Set yourself up for success by having a wealth of support.  Arm yourself with information about breastfeeding through online resources, books, experienced mom friends and classes.  Make sure you and your partner are on the same page about nursing and discuss ways for your partner to be involved in the experience.  Also, be prepared for breastfeeding with the few essential items necessary for the most gourmet, homemade, wholesome food on the planet:  at least three great nursing bras, a nursing pillow and some cooling pads or cream.

Be a Chatty Cathy

Talking and reading to your newborn, infant and toddler is one of the most educational gifts you can give your child and we highly recommend it for your New Years resolutions this year.  Speaking to children constantly makes them more intelligent and will expand their vocabulary…eventually.  Even if your little one is nowhere near saying her first word, chat away at her about anything in the world – the economy, the latest Hollywood gossip or the weather.  Narrate your life for your child.  You will be stunned at what she will eventually learn to say based on your early one-sided conversations.  Also, instill a love for reading early by doing it often.  Be sure to pick age-appropriate books that will capture your baby’s attention and imagination, like those with textures, bright colors and simple storylines.

Show Love and Affection

New Years Resolutions_LoveOne of the most instinctual ways we care for our babies is by simply loving them.  Babies need tons of affection and attention to feel comfortable and safe in this great big world.  Having come from such a warm and intimate place in your womb, that’s understandable!  Many parents make the mistake of trying to teach their babies a “lesson” by not always going to them when they cry.  Save that lesson for older children and always comfort your baby when she requests your attention, however loudly and however often.  Babies cry because they need something.  It may just be that they need to feel your touch, but nonetheless, they need you.  Psychology Today cites that babies who are tended to quickly after crying actually cry less and become more independent, explorative toddlers.  If you have a fussy baby who wants to be held all of the time, we recommend baby-wearing.  It allows for excellent skin-to-skin contact while also freeing up mom to get some things done.

Create a Village

Stress is bad for everyone, including babies.  For independent women, the “it takes a village to raise a child” mentality can be difficult to accept.  But getting some help now-and-then, beginning during pregnancy, is important to relieve stress.  Babies both inside and out of the womb are super sensitive to stress and that is certainly not something you want to transfer.  It can cause developmental and behavioral problems down the road.  Villages are made up of all sorts of people.  If your relatives don’t live nearby and babysitters aren’t in your budget, find some good friends, neighbors or community organizations that can offer a few hours of childcare when you need a moment to breathe.

Interact and Have Fun

Monkey see, monkey do is the name of the game with kids.  Even if babies cannot mimic your actions yet, they will certainly appreciate silly faces and funny sounds.  Make a game out of it.  Use the “peek-a-boo” concept with everything, from sticking out your tongue to, singing a silly song or playing a freeze dance game.  Your baby will delight in stop-and-go motions.  And if you haven’t learned this yet, nothing is better than watching your baby’s face light up from sheer joy.

Have a happy and joyous New Year!