One Hand Open

Parenthood is a time you learn just how amazing you are in so many ways.  You just learn to get things done that previously would have seemed impossible because there’s no other option. Case in point: The other day I was nursing the baby in one arm and cracking pistachios with the other for my 4 year old. All of a sudden, I realized, I am opening pistachios with one hand! I would never have thought that was possible before becoming a mom. That got me thinking… what else do we do with just one arm?

besides walk our goats…
  • Write emails, texts, navigate the web – no 2-thumbed typing here! Heck, I even wrote most of this blog post one-handed.
  • Put on make-up. Because of course they want to be held when the babysitter shows up.
  • Blow-dry hair – actually a great way to soothe a colicky baby
  • Get yourself or another child dressed
  • Carry 17 bags of groceries and a diaper bag
  • Crack an egg – no longer the exclusive skill set of fancy chefs.
  • Heck, make breakfast, lunch and dinner!
  • Open a soda
  • Open a bottle of wine (twist off makes this one a gimme…), pro-tip, hold it between your thighs and be thankful you don’t have a thigh gap!

  • Make a martini. Hendricks, shaken, up, dry, with a twist of lemon.
  • Pay for groceries, put that one card and ALL THE OTHER CARDS back into wallet after baby takes them out
  • Paint toenails. Also a little body-origami required for this.
  • Pick up another child – this one should be a crossfit exercise
what it actually feels like
  • Fold laundry. It may not be KonMari perfect, but it get’s the job done!
  • Pull second child out from under the water at baby pool
  • Administer first aid (aka apply ice packs and bandaids)
  • Give other children reassuring hugs and kisses

  • Go to the bathroom – this is challenging, but when your alternative is sticking your baby on a nasty public bathroom floor or half-broken changing table, yeah, it’s possible.
  • Wash your hand – singular, the one that you wiped and flushed with 😉

I guess the question really is… what can’t parents do one-handed?!

Dr. Annie’s SNOO Review

We do not make babies that automatically sleep well. Our first baby, we also were gifted with prolonged colicky phase and total cluelessness from ourselves and our childcare providers about any form of sleep training. She did not sleep through the night until 15 months of age. At which point, I promptly got pregnant with baby #2. This one was a bit easier and happier and we were blessed with a nanny who helped us with sleep training at about 5 months old. She was then a great sleeper. I was bound and determined to get it right, sooner this time around and started researching everything I could to give us a fighting chance at baby #3 sleeping better.

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Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

I’m a big fan of The Happiest Baby On The Block by Dr. Karp. His 5 S’s of soothing a baby and sleep philosophy is probably the most recommended advice from doctors. When I heard he made a self-rocking bassinet, I started checking it out immediately. It turns out, this magical sleep center does 3 of the 5 S’s: Swaddle, shush and swing for you. The bassinet has an escape-proof swaddle that attaches to the base so baby is super-safely on their back to sleep. The bassinet makes white noise and sways back and forth for the other 2 soothing components. But, here’s the kicker…. it shushes and swings RESPONSIVELY to baby’s cries.

Yes. I’m serious. When baby starts fussing, the SNOO has a sensor that starts swaying back and forth more vigorously and turns up the white noise progressively. It has an app that you can track and control the motion through your smart phone as well. It also has a super cute Scandinavian style that goes with any nursery decor.

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SNOO SmartSleeper, Photo Credit: https://www.happiestbaby.com/

Why would anyone not buy one, you ask?? Well, they cost $1,295.00 and you only use it for the first 5-6 months of baby’s life. Wowza. That was not in the (credit) cards for us. I had planned instead to rent one which you can do for about $100/month. We ended up getting one on Craigslist for $600 which was the same as renting for 6 months and I figured I could resell it for at least part of that. WINNING!

Baby Torin was born and followed in his sisters’ footsteps, not wanting to sleep more than 45 minutes at first, longest sleep stretches were about 1.5 hours and always being held. We didn’t start using the SNOO at first because it was kind of loud when it started the soothing white noise and we had to have the baby in our room since we had family staying with us to help out. By week 3, having tried alllllll the different swaddles, the bouncer chair, the swing, the bassinet, the safe co-sleeper and having still not had the baby sleep longer than 2-3 hours, I was motivated to get him in his own room and Snooing (see what I did there) longer stretches.

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SNOO SmartSleeper, Photo Credit: https://www.happiestbaby.com/

At first, Torin was really fighting the swaddle. He would get mad as soon as I started strapping his arms down. Fortunately, Dr. Karp and his team anticipated this. They have helpful advice that pops up in the app including how to help teach your baby to stop fighting the swaddling. I did as I was told and lo and behold, he did learn to tolerate and then love the swaddle – hooray! Also important to note – the baseline settings include a VERY vigorous (near violent) swinging action at the top level of soothing. It seemed too extreme to me, so I put on ‘motion limiter’ which keeps it to the level below that.

At first, we were still only getting 3 hour stretches of sleep – but much more consistently. After ab out 4 days, however, we started getting 4 hour stretches. Then 5 hours a few days later and a GLORIOUS 6 hour stretch after that. It keeps track of the sleeps and wakes so you don’t have to try to log it in your middle-of-the-night-zombie-mom state and puts it in a nice visual format for showing your partner how much they should appreciate you if they’re not waking up with the baby.

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By 9 weeks old, Torin was consistently sleeping at least one 6 hour stretch and usually an 8-9 hour stretch. Other than my boobs being full to bursting, we basically entered a state of parenting bliss. The SNOO soothes the little wake-ups without me having to go into the nursery and when Torin actually needs attention, it’s a quick feed and right back down. Now, we also have been more consistent about doing eat-wake-sleep cycles a la Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby. And, we started Evivo probiotics which seemed to make his tummy much happier. So, I can’t say it’s been all the SNOO. I can say with confidence, he doesn’t sleep long stretches without the 3 S’s the SNOO does for us.

It’s recommended to also use the SNOO for most naps, which we haven’t really done consistently. With 3 kids, it’s been hard to get him on a regular daytime nap schedule that doesn’t involve some carseat naps, some swing naps and some naps in my arms because I just LOOOOOOOVE himmmmmmmm. He usually does 1-2 naps there in the day happily. We will be starting the built-in weaning program soon, but he already naps well without swinging so I’m hopeful that won’t be too bad – I will be sure to update you all when we get there!

Summary:

Pros:

  • Safest swaddle because baby can’t roll over
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Helps to sleep-train baby through soothing not just cry-it-out
  • App tracks sleep-wake pattern

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Loud

Bottom line is if we have another baby, I will for SURE be using a SNOO and from earlier on. Highly recommend if you can make the budget work.

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Dr. Annie is a family doctor and mom of 3 in California. This is not sponsored and not personalized medical advice, just my honest opinion as a mom 🙂

Spring Soups to Warm Your Soul

Spring has sprung! Well, on the calendar at least. Mother nature may or may not have gotten the memo. Rainy, cold days plus a desire to stay on track for a healthy summer bod call for healthy comfort food. Enter, soup.

adult autumn beauty blue

 

Annie’s Pick: Caldo Verde aka Portuguese Green Soup

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Don’t be fooled, this is no watery kale snooze. When I was younger, we were stationed in the Azores islands for a few years and this is one of the recipes we brought home. This is a hearty potato-leek soup with added linguisa and winter greens. It’s made to warm you from the inside out when Atlantic Ocean hurricanes come howling across the island and it. is. amazing. It’s also pretty dang healthy if you get good quality sausage, but we won’t dwell on that.

Tip on leeks: Slice before you wash, throw into a bowl of water, swish around and then let sit so the dirt settles, scoop the leeks off the top of the water into a colander, voila! Clean leeks.

  • Linguisa or other spicy sausage, to make non-spicy can use sweet Italian, cut into coins. If thick casing, remove.
  • Olive oil
  • 1 leek sliced and washed
  • 4 Cups Chicken Broth (bone broth is great)
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 1 Bunch Kale shredded into 1/2 – 1 inch strips, thick stems removed
  • Salt and pepper, optional apple cider vinegar and hot sauce

Heat Dutch Oven or other heavy bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Sauté sausage in olive oil until browned, remove and set aside. Add leeks, season with salt and pepper and sauté in rendered fat until soft and beginning to be translucent, then remove and set aside. Add broth to hot oil and use wooden spoon to deglaze all the browned bits. Bring broth to a boil. Add Bay leaves. When boiling, add potato and cook about 10 minutes or until very soft. Add kale and cook 10 more minutes at a simmer. Stir in reserved sausage and leeks. Add salt and pepper to taste. If thinner consistency is desired, can add more broth or a splash of apple cider vinegar. If you want extra spice, add a splash of hot sauce on top. Serve piping hot with garlic toast.

Christiana’s Pick: Vegetarian Bisque

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This soup is creamy, rich, and all of the things a bisque means to me, somehow achieved through the magic combination of roasted vegetables, broth, cream, and (you guessed it) wine. I’ve recently pumped up this soup with added protein by sautéing tofu in an herb-butter sauce that is nothing short of divine. This soup is our go-to comfort food for its hearty nutrition and incredible flexibility. You can really use almost any combination of vegetables here, (basically whatever is left in your fridge) centered around the staple, a sweet butternut squash. And since all the veggies are blended, chopping doesn’t have to be fine or precise. You can also roast all of the vegetables hours (or days) in advance and blend & warm on the day of serving. Easy, peasy, veggie squeezy. 🙂

Tip on Butternut squash:  To easily prep this beastly gourd, simply halve lengthwise and remove seeds. Smother in olive oil, herbs (like herbs de provence), salt, and fresh ground pepper, and roast at 400 until fragrant and lightly browned, about 50 minutes. No hacking and chopping required. Line pan with foil for easy clean-up.

  • 1/2 large butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • Roasting vegetables such as:
    • 1 red pepper
    • 1 zucchini
    • 2 potatoes
    • 1/2 bunch of cauliflower
    • 2-3 carrots
    • 1 onion
    • 1 head of garlic
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2 package of tofu, cubed
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 bunch of fresh rosemary and thyme stems (or another dried herb blend such as herbs de Provence, if fresh are unavailable)
  • 3-4 tbsp olive (or other desired) oil for pan and drizzling
  • a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Optional garnishes: a dollop of greek yogurt, fresh herbs, or for the carnivores in your life, crumbled Italian sausage.

Instructions:

Coat a roasting pan or cookie sheet with olive oil and preheat oven to 400 F. Place desired roughly chopped roasting vegetables on prepared pan and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and fresh herbs. (I don’t bother chopping the herbs at all, the leaves will crumble easily after roasting.) Halve and core butternut squash, smother with olive oil and herbs.IMG_9877 2

Roast vegetables in preheated oven for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through. (Do not flip butternut squash.) While vegetables roast, heat dutch oven or preferred soup pot over medium-high heat and add butter, herbs and tofu. Sautee until tofu is lightly browned, 5-7 minutes.

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Transfer sauteed tofu and any herb-butter remaining in the pot into a blender or food processor, and reserve the pan. (I have found our vitamix works best.) When vegetables have roasted, allow them to cool and crush roasted herb leaves into your mixer, removing stems. Scoop cooled butternut squash into the blender, discarding the skin. Add half and half, vegetable broth, white wine, and crushed red pepper (if desired) to the mixer, and blend with lid insert removed and dishtowel over hole in lid until creamy, adding more liquid as necessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the creamy soup back into the dutch oven and warm. Serve hot with your choice of garnish and of course, my homemade herbed bread. Voila!

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Kristy’s Pick: …Flu Fighter Chicken and CousCous Stew

This soup is adapted from a recipe that my neighbor sent to our family when I had a nasty case of a “Flu-Like” virus that had me couch ridden for almost 10 days. This savory, flavor and nutrient dense soup had me back in action before I could say “hand me another tissue”

  • 2-3 TBSP Olive oil
  • 1 Red onion Diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 inch grated ginger root
  • 2 Sprigs Thyme
  • 1 TBSP Turmeric
  • 1 TBSP Kosher Salt
  • 1 TBSP Black Pepper
  • 1 TBSP Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 TBSP Morroccan Spice mix
  • 12 oz bone broth
  • 1 Sweet Potato diced
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, pulled
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower cut in half and sliced into florets
  • 1 cup Large Pearl CousCous
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 bunch kale, torn, large stems removed
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk
  • Cilantro (for garnish)
In a pan over medium heat, add cooking oil and sauté the onion until soft. Add garlic and ginger a cook for one more minute or until fragrant. Add all spices except bay leaf to pan and stir for one minute on medium heat.  Remove pan from heat.
In a crock pot on low, add broth, chicken, couscous, all vegetables (except Kale), bay leaf, salt, pepper and cook on low for 8 hours.
After 8 hours, lift slow cooker lid and stir in kale and coconut milk. Serve with cilantro garnish.

 

group of vegetables near stainless steel cooking bowl
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Warm wishes to you and yours!

Save Our Water Series Volume 3: Filtering out Fluoride

As a mother, I want to ensure that, as much as possible, what my children ingest leads to their best possible health. I am grateful to be part of a community that is knowledgeable about healthy food, sustainable farming practices, and responsible waste practices. I am also hopeful that soon we can go even farther and follow in the footsteps of some countries that are banning GMO foods and many other know toxins from their food markets altogether. But, with all this progress, I’ve still yet to hear much talk amongst mothering groups about what, for me, is a giant elephant in the room.

What about the safety of our drinking water?

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Photo of Painting by Lead Saulnier: The Painting Maniac

It’s fairly common knowledge that water in most American cities is treated with fluoride, chlorine, and other chemicals to keep it “safe.” The Environmental Protection Agency has been in charge of the safety of our water since 1978 (1). Today, the United States has some of the safest water supplies in the world in terms of preventing outbreaks of disease (1). But, let’s take a closer look at what we are adding to our water, and what that means for those of us ingesting it.

Water Processing

So what is really done to “keep our water safe?”  The details become very chem-heavy so, for brevity’s sake, I’ll sum up what is done in most city-treated water (aka not well water).  When water is collected, a chemical is added that has an extra positive ion. That ion bonds with dirt to form sediment that has a higher density (makes it heavier) than the water and can be filtered out via gravity. Then, we add another chemical, usually chlorine (Um…like bleach? Yup….like bleach) to kill any bacteria or parasites that may be lurking. While the idea of drinking bleach water is a little alarming, we also don’t get cholera outbreaks, so that’s good. THEN, we add fluoride, a mineral that exists in nature and is considered safe in small doses.

woman drinking water

The good news there, folks, is that fluoride is a great tooth enamel strengthener, decreasing cavities by up to 25%. The CDC touts water fluoridation as one of the 10 “great public health achievements of the 20th century” due to its “contribution to the large decline in cavities in the United States since the 1960s”. However, they, in the same beat, go on to say that “cavities are still one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood.” They also review all the ways you can get the benefits of fluoride if you don’t live in an area with fluoridated water, like, ahem, brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste that you then spit out. (2)

The Trouble with Fluoride

In 2014, the well respected medical journal, Lancet Neurology published this review of Neurobehavioral effects of developmental toxicity which was completed in a joint endeavor with the National Institutes of Health. They had previously warned about 6 toxins in a 2006 review. In this update, they add six additional developmental neurotoxicants to the list: manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene, and the polybrominated diphenyl ethers …..(3).<record scratch>

Hold up, I’m all for the prevention of cavities, but did you say… NEUROTOXICANTS??? 

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Yups. Yes, they did. The scientists concluded that,

Neurodevelopmental disabilities, including autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, and other cognitive impairments, affect millions of children worldwide, and some diagnoses seem to be increasing in frequency.
Industrial chemicals that injure the developing brain are among the known causes for this rise in prevalence. (3)

According to this study published in The Journal of Environmental Health Perspectives in 2012, researchers found that children tested in areas where water fluoride is higher have “significantly lower IQ scores than those who live in low fluoride areas.” (4)

The National Academies Press published this review by the National Research Counsel (NRC) on Fluoride in drinking water in which they discuss research in both human and animal models showing:

  1. Fluoride has a direct effect on the brain’s areas involved in memory. “Recently, the number of receptors for acetylcholine has been found to be reduced in regions of the brain thought to be most important for mental stability and for adequate retrieval of memories.”
  2. Fluoride exposure decreases lipids and phospholipids (which coat the brain cells), phosphohydrolases and phospholipase D, and protein content of the brain. These substances are responsible for neurotransmission, regulation of sugars that the brain uses for energy potentially impairing function.
  3. Fluoride exposure also increases free radicals in the brain (nasty substances that go around damaging cells) in several ways. “These changes have a bearing on the possibility that fluorides act to increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.”

The NRC completed this large scale review in 2006. There was also a Harvard review article published in 2012 in which the author of the study, Philippe Grandjean, concludes, ““Fluoride seems to fit in with lead, mercury, and other poisons that cause chemical brain drain”. (6)

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Holy…..Canoli

But the controversial debate that remains is this: Is preventing cavities worth the mass administration to over 70% of the population with a known neurotoxin (7)? After all, the lethal dose is said to be 5-10G for an adult and 16mg/kg body weight for children (7). The dose in the water is much below that, but the IQ study referenced above strongly suggests a dose-response. Meaning, a lower dose has less negative effect than a higher dose, but still has an effect. The CDC and other large organizations think that small negative effect is worth it.

Not to go totally Erin Brockovich over here, but… I. Ain’t. Buyin’. It. While the CDC celebrates that fluoride was great in the 1960’s, I’m gonna go ahead and ask that someone raise the bar to today’s standards.  I mean, in the 1960’s, cigarettes were also advertised by that same era of physicians. Cigarettes?!

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Photo credit: Cigarettes.Stanford.edu

 It turns out that the original dogma proposed in the 1940s and 1950s that fluoride had to be ingested in childhood to strengthen teeth before they erupt was mistaken. This 2004 review in the journal Caries Research concluded that topical fluoride (like the one you get at the dentist office) is a safer and more effective method than ingesting fluoridated water (8). Other factors also play a large role in cavity risk such as what bacteria grow in your mother’s mouth (9). This 2017 study in Frontiers of Pediatrics concluded that,

The major contributing factors for the for the high prevalence of ECC are improper feeding practices, familial socioeconomic background, lack of parental education, and lack of access to dental care (10).

The final argument proposed is that many people can’t afford to take their children to the dentist for fluoride varnishing or maintain satisfactory dental care at home due to socioeconomic factors. I would argue that it seems like it would be a good idea to ask the parents of those children whether they are more worried about cavities or the increased risk of neurological toxicity before mass public action is taken like fluoridating the whole cities-worth of water.

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Sup, Erin Brockovich….Photo Credit Take Part

While I am picking on fluoride here, the second overarching point is the introduction of more and more chemicals via pesticide and herbicide treatments of irresponsible industrial farming into our water system (See: Volume Two of Save Our Water Series for more on that). While treatment plants do their best to filter and treat it, we have to decide if that is a risk we are willing to take with the information we have gathered about the amounts of these chemicals that exist our food, water sources, and the quality of the air that we breathe.

What to do

Even if it is deemed “safe”, I cannot help but cringe when I’m thirsty and take a sip of water fountain water, or watch my kids drink a mouthful that smells like the pool at the YMCA (you know what I’m talking about). But there’s a simple solution!

If you have city water, there are filtration systems that can be used in your home for ingesting: cooking or drinking. The one I most commonly recommend is the Berkey Water Filtration System. This has fluoride filters, chlorine filters, and the test results of the filters efficacy are posted on the website. One of these filters is good for a family of two to four to provide clean, chemical free, drinking and cooking water for a span of 12,000 gallons. We have been filtering our family’s water this way for nearly 7 years.

1917041.jpgOne of the ways to filter water that has made a buzz in health food stores is reverse osmosis water.  The concept here, is the process takes water with bigger molecules in it, i.e. saltwater or water treated with chemical molecules, and pushes it through a membrane that only fits the water through and not the other molecules.  It’ll filter out any added minerals or heavy metals in your water as well, such as mercury.

Additional options from Pure Water Freedom include a variety of filters that directly hook to your kitchen sink and/or refrigerator, along with reverse osmosis systems. Take a look!

So I have to ask again… should our health goals should be prioritizing a small improvement in prevention of cavities versus the brain health of the citizens?  Just because it isn’t close to the lethal dose, doesn’t mean the dosage in our water supply isn’t still dangerous. Particularly for smaller bodies.

If you’re as passionate about this as my husband and I tend to be, another proactive thing you can do is contact your local state Representative. Voicing our concerns for public health may take a lot of noise, but hopefully the squeaky wheels will get the grease eventually.

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Photo Credit Quick Base Blog
The decision to filter out your water is categorically just that, YOUR decision. If you are drinking city water, however, the decisions are being made FOR YOU, and it was my goal of this post to make you an informed consumer. Choose wisely what you want to do, my friends….but remember that it is your right to be fully informed when you make said choice.

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Kristy is a wife, mother of 2 children, one with no cavities and one with 6 (where were you on that one fluoride?)

 

 

 


References

(1) CDC Drinking Water FAQ https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/
(2)CDC Flouridation Information page https://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/basics/index.htm
(3) Philippe Grandjean, Philip J Landrigan. Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity. Lancet Neurol 2014; 13: 330–38.
(4) Choi AL1Sun GZhang YGrandjean P.Developmental fluoride neurotoxicity: a systematic review and meta-analysis.  2012 Oct;120(10):1362-8. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1104912. Epub 2012 Jul 20.
(5) Doull, John, et al. FLUORIDE IN DRINKING WATER:A SCIENTIFIC REVIEW OF EPA’S STANDARDS. pages 205-223.
(6) Dwyer, Marge. Impact of fluoride on neurological development in children. Harvard School of Public Health. July 25, 2012
(7)  Hrefna Palsdottir, MS. Fluoride: Good or Bad? Healthline. August 17, 2016
(8) Hellwig E1Lennon AM. Systemic versus topical fluoride 2014 Mar;93(3):238-44. doi: 10.1177/0022034513517713. Epub 2013 Dec 19.
(9) Chaffee BW1Gansky SAWeintraub JAFeatherstone JDRamos-Gomez FJ. Maternal oral bacterial levels predict early childhood caries development.
(10) Anil S1Anand PS2. Early Childhood Caries: Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Prevention.  2017 Jul 18;5:157. doi: 10.3389/fped.2017.00157. eCollection 2017.

Respect

Motherhood is full of lessons. Starting with learning to aim your pee at a stick, then how to put on shoes with a basketball belly, how to not get peed on changing a diaper, and how to strap a screaming, squirming toddler into a car seat… it goes on and on. One of the biggest lessons for me by far has been learning to respect my body.

Respect is a positive feeling or action shown towards someone or something considered important, or held in high esteem or regard; it conveys a sense of admiration for good or valuable qualities; and it is also the process of honoring someone by exhibiting care, concern, or consideration for their needs or feelings.  -Wikipedia

Let’s break this down.

A positive feeling towards something held in high regard

Photo credit: Fiona Margo Photography

Your body, as a female, is miraculous. Dudes are cool too, but having ovaries and a uterus means you can GROW A HUMAN. Not all women do it and it certainly does not make you any less phenomenal if you don’t. The possibility and reality of your body as a mother though, is truly astounding.

Lately, I’ve seen so many beautiful stories online of women celebrating their bodies in motherhood. From Katrina Scott of Tone It Up, to Chrissy Teigen, to Bikini Body Mommy, and so many others, stories filled with positivity in celebration of the pregnant, postpartum, and amazing female body are on the rise. And that should truly be the focus of all of us. Not stretch marks, not pregnant cankles, not undereye circles or any of the other criticisms we throw at our poor bodies that work so hard for us. But a freaking cel-e-bration, people.

Hold your body in high regard.

This was a huge area of growth for me. I spent years criticizing every little bit of my poor body. If I was out of shape, I would think negatively about my arms, belly, thighs, or butt practically every time I moved or saw myself. If I was in shape, I would pick on my skin, my nose, my chin, or some other thing. Basically, no matter what I did, my body was never good enough. Becoming a mom, particularly to a little girl, made me realize that is NOT how it should be. Through the lens of motherhood, I finally recognize and appreciate that my body is strong and capable of hard things (like really, really hard things!) and deserves praise, not judgment.

The process of honoring something by exhibiting care for its needs

This was even harder for me. My first pregnancy, I was a resident physician working 80 hours or more a week. I was used to being able to disregard my body’s wants and needs, like, ahem, sleep, food, etc… But then, I was so run down I puked until I needed IV fluids and started having premature contractions. I knew exactly what I would tell my own patients, but it took me sitting in Labor & Delivery triage, watching a monitor show me the effects of my actions, to give myself the same respect.

So then, I had it, right? Nope. Decided to whip my poor postpartum bod into shape after having baby number 2. Went on a crazy diet, worked out like a madwoman and what-do-you-know, my milk supply tanked. I struggled with this, refusing to treat my body with kindness, understanding, and yes, respect. Then, I beat myself up some more about having to give that baby formula too. Guess what, she’s healthy and I eventually, through coaching and kindness and respecting my body’s needs, got into the best shape of my life.

Finally, now, with this third baby, I’m *starting* to get it. I took leave from work when my body needed it in pregnancy. I listened when I needed to change my birth expectations. And today? Today I’m spending the whole dang day resting, drinking tons of water, and nursing my baby because I did a little too much the last 2 days and I’ve learned to listen and treat my body with respect.

Photo credit: Jordan Marie Photography

Moving forward

How can you start to show your body more respect? How can you honor it, show care for its needs?

Step 1: Look yourself in the mirror and say, out loud, “My body is incredible!” Or whatever you want your positive message to be. Not only does this make a difference in how you feel, but we are also teaching our children how to view and treat their own bodies. Setting this intention will guide even your subtle, subconscious actions to show it to them, and the world.

Step 2: Treat your body how you would want a loved one to be treated. For whatever reason, I have to get all 3rd person to figure out what is best for me. My internal drive to just soldier on is not always the best thing. If this is you too, imagine your sister or best friend or even your child telling you how they are feeling. What would you tell them to do? Give yourself the same consideration.

What are ways you all treat your body with care? Tell us in the comments so we can share ideas!

Photo credit: Little Wonders Photography

Dr. Annie is a mama of 3, family doctor and lifelong learner of how to follow my own advice.

 

Life & Littles Podcast!

Exciting news!!!

Our own Dr. Annie is on this week’s episode of Doctor Mommy, MD’s podcast talking about second trimester of pregnancy. The Life & Littles podcast may just be your new favorite listen, friends!

Photo credit Fiona Margo Photography

“Imagine your best friend is a doctor and a mom, what questions would you want to ask her over a glass of wine? What questions would you text her in the middle of the night?” Sound helpful?

Grab a coffee or glass of wine and tune in on iTunes and subscribe to get all the upcoming fun times!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/life-littles-with-doctor-mommy-md/id1451847392?mt=2&i=1000429939961

You can also find Shelly on Instagram and Facebook @doctormommymd and should check out her gorgeous blog while you’re at it!

Xoxo!

Sexy as a M*ther

There’s a new sexy in town friends, and I would argue, it’s even better than before. It’s mom-sexy. We may not have the bouncy bounty of hair and bikini top filling of yesteryear, but we have some new moves that can light the 🔥🔥🔥 of romance like none other. (Literally. Because no one who’s not a mom would do this stuff…)

Wardrobe

Those young folks are all rocking flowy, low-cut tanks and dresses that show a hint of side or underboob here and there. The sexy implication being a nipple could be exposed at any moment. Enter: nursing tanks. This garment has the significant advantage of being able to actually whip out a titty in 1 second flat. Hey-yo!!!!

Shock Value

Sure Victoria would have you think your partner wants you in lacy little get ups 365 days a year. Let me tell ya, when all they’ve seen you in for months is spit-up stained sweats and then you slip on a real nighty? Firecrackers!!!

Naughty Naughty

Remember those teenage trysts making out when you knew your parents might walk in and bust you any minute -so hot, right? Well, as a parent, you get to turn the tables! You never know when a kid might wake up with a need for an escort to the bathroom and discover you and your partner “practicing stretching” or “having a tickle fight” 😳

Exploration

Another level of kink factor is available for all you cosleepers. Kid is in your bed so that’s off limits (at least I hope, because, wow! Boundaries, people). Hello, laundry room! Or take it to the bathroom counter. Nothing makes for creative sexcapades like having a literal cockblocker in your bed.

You said it!

New Turn Ons

Totally aging myself here, but… Remember when Devin Sawa’s bowl cut was the hottest thing (or were you a JTT gal?)? And then a few years later, it was boy band moves, then Abercrombie store dudes in barely-not-showing-pubic-hair-low cut shorts? What turns you on changes with time. And let me tell ya, once you’re a parent, there is basically nothing sexier than your partner going above and beyond with home & childcare.

Tell Me What You Want

What you really really want…. I’ll tell you what I want, what I really Really want. Because I’m a mom. And ain’t nobody got time for that Oh-let’s-pretend-this-is-fun-because-I’m-too-shy-to-be-honest sh*t. We know what works (hopefully!!) and we know how to get it and THAT, my friends is sexy.

Pregnant Sex

Ok, this one is transient, but can be ahhhhhmazing!! Increased blood flow? Yes please! Embracing your new curves? Oh yeah! Those pregnant boobs? 🙌🏻🙌🏻! If comfort allows, this can be one of the biggest perks of gestation. Get. After. It. There is a big ol’ dry spell (literally, so dry down there) coming up after baby. Store up some good times to last you through!

As always, keepin it Real

Real Talk

In all honesty though, it can be hard to feel like your former sexy self as a mom. Your body is different. It might feel better, it might feel squishier, it might feel completely foreign – no matter what, it changes. You may not have time for basic self care, much less a “beauty routine”. But instead of beating ourselves up about it and missing out on the fun, why not embrace it?! Your body can LITERALLY grow human beings. It’s miraculous. This is a special season in life and won’t last forever. Get out there and have a spicy Valentine’s Day, mamas! I, for one, think you’re SMOKIN!!! 😘

Dr. Annie is newly a mom of 3, a family doctor and finding new ways to be sexy all the time 😜