Body After Baby

I have to thank Soap Opera Digest for their latest interview where Mara Levinsky got me talking about body after baby (on stands now- with a blurb on the cover!). I haven't written much about this topic because in no way do I feel like an expert. However, I think it's good to talk about the reality of life and getting in shape after having a baby. Or the reality of what it takes to get in better shape for anyone: discipline and work. The article goes in depth about the things that I didn't expect, the struggles and the joys of postparatum. Let me know what you think!

This photoshoot was two weeks after giving birth, right before I went back to shoot GENERAL HOSPITAL. I was EXHAUSTED and emotional and elated simultaneously. 

I took long walks several times a week and kept as active as my energy level allowed during the pregnancy, trying not to gain unnecessary weight. Hayden got fairly big toward the end (I wrote this post after the baby shower, and this post was three days before I gave birth). I admit, I was lucky I initially lost some of the pounds I gained, but it started to creep back. I had to eat more to keep breastfeeding and wasn't working out enough. The struggle to get back in the same shape I was in pre-pregnancy has been real for me. I haven't done it yet, as I discuss in the article. My body looks different. One of the biggest struggles has been learning to accept myself for where I am in life today. A reader (thank you Cara Sue!) left a comment in another post about resolutions for 2017. She simply said she wanted to have "more self care." I love this because it encompasses more than just vanity; it's a whole lifestyle practice mentally, emotionally and physically. My priority now is my baby and my family. This used to sound like an excuse to me when other people said it, and it is to an extent, but it's simply the truth. Do you feel like you have time to workout? I don't want to be that person with excuses! My husband reminds me it's all about prioritizing the day, making smart choices.

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So, I am trying to look at this as an opportunity to adjust to a new lifestyle! I strap the baby on and go hiking or walking. I use my Joovy jogger to jog if I'm not too tired. I have grand plans to escape to yoga, but my membership doesn't get as much use as it used to. So, I go when I can. Some days I feel like I'm running around in circles not being as productive as I'd like. I have to let my preconceived expectations of the day go as I step over full laundry baskets and Huck's toys. I have a feeling some of you can relate?  

I try to stay well so I have energy by implementing super simple tips I learned from Dr. Oz! I have to say, my whole household has been sick, but I have not! I still take Proglucamune, the immunity supplement from Usana.  I promised myself I would drink two glasses of water with my supplements every morning. I'm proud I have made that a habit. My mom recently reminded me of a tip we both learned from Ronn Moss (from BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL) years ago... hot water with lemon first thing every morning to detoxify the body. I remember him drinking it during the day on set, too. He swears by this habit. Healthy (and free) habits are the best! 

In order to make progress for tomorrow, I have to do something different today. Doing the same thing every day and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. So, I am making a list of easy, healthy habits to incorporate change in my life as part of my new year's resolutions. I'm going to force myself to try them--- wanna do it with me? Leave a comment of things you'd like to try. Drink more water? Vitamins? Less soda? Less sugar. Take more steps (literally walk more)? I'm thinking I'd like to start one habit at a time and build from there. 

In the meantime, in honor of the Golden Globes tonight, I'm sharing my favorite tricks I've learned over the years from wardrobe, makeup and hair that have helped me during this transition period of body after baby.  Read them HERE! 

Allergic to Mornings?

Oh My, oh my. Only two years ago, weekends were for lounging and sleeping in...Amazing how much has changed! This morning, I woke up to my 4-year-old stepson, Huck, staring over me. When I got startled, Huck woke the baby (finally sleeping soundly in the Halo next to us after a slightly restless night) and then the dog started stirring. Basically, there was no going back. It was time to get up. And OH MY GOODNESS. WE ARE OUT OF COFFEE. Anyone else familiar with this scenario?

I happen to know a few people going through it right now, so I think this Peanuts, snoopy shirt is hilarious. (I ordered a few for holiday gifts). Everyone seems to be discussing allergies, too. Introducing solids to the babies, weather changing and inducing allergies, etc. Well, I figured out my allergy! Ha. Mornings!! Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love sleep. I just don't have that luxury during this phase of life. 

This t-shirt is also super cute over a long sleeve tee in any color. THIS ONE is only $25. I love the option with stripes. I've been wearing the snoopy tee around the house this morning with my Olian Maternity pj bottoms and robe.  I got these "house clothes" to wear in the hospital when I had the baby and then to wear around visitors at home. The top works well for nursing. They're so pretty and soft, they make me happy! Read my  post about my hospital bag clothes HERE. What a great gift for anyone, but works so well if you have a friend that's a new mom or pregnant!  Inevitably, this time of year, family will be visiting and/or we'll be traveling visiting them; I love having appropriate lounging clothes! It's also one of my favorite gifts to give. I linked some other, budget friendly options below. 

Thanks for stopping by today! My team and I are gearing up for some fun posts, so stay tuned. I'm off to get the family ready for Sunday school. What are y'all up to today?

XO ASHLEY

SIMPLICITY "wraps" up the day (with a drop of bliss- read more!)

Happy hump day! I love the simplicity of this dress, not to mention the functionality (and the PRICE- it's under $55). It easily shifts from work to dinner or business attire cocktails. We're entering that season of going straight from work to holiday cocktails or parties. I can wear booties or throw on some heels for a dressier look. I actually have on a black sweater wrap, too (not pictured, I guess that part is obvious), which ties in the booties. 

For the holidays, the dress comes in a pastel and a brilliant red color.  It's funny how you change the color and it completely changes the feel of the outfit! And for more of a night out feel, there is a shorter version, also (and check HERE for more sizes). This is a classic wrap dress, which works really well for my post baby body. The wrap dress gives the illusion that I have more of a waist than I actually do at this point. And I add a little extra help, too! (read: spanx!) For the purposes of my meeting today, I'm keeping a more business attire theme and embracing the simplicity of the dress. I wanted to keep the makeup fresh and the jewelry to a minimum. However, I added some flair with these bliss drop earrings (that I end up wearing all the time). They make a statement without being over-the-top. Plus, they're only $20!! How can you go wrong? 

ps- a side note to breastfeeding/nursing moms out there.... wrap dresses are genius (more options here, too) . and PPS- I know sizes are selling out quickly, but I was told new shipments are coming in, so check back if your size isn't there! and finally--- MOMS wanting to share ideas, please do! Check out the latest post!

IT'S FRIDAY, I'M IN LOVE ... AND FULL OF QUESTIONS. HELP!

I wish I could show you what I look like right now... you know...I might try because I just finished breastfeeding and putting Hayden down in his HaloI am now pumping while I'm trying to write this post and shop the last days of the #NSALE! And I need some advice. I haven't kept it a secret that I had some issues with breastfeeding, proper latching and pain. Now, I'm having trouble with milk supply. He's totally getting fed! I'm just supplementing with formula if he's still hungry after I breast feed him- mainly at night.  I'm drinking a lot more water (I was drinking plenty before, but I guess this process requires an abundant amount of H2O) and adding fenugreek oil.  However, does anyone have any advice? One consultant recommended a hospital grade pump to increase supply.  Thoughts?

Also, did anyone else feel like they were gaining weight after they initially lost some of the pregnancy pounds? Is this due to breast feeding? Of course, he's worth all of it a million times over! Just curious if there were something else I should be doing/know about. Like more cardio (ha!!)!

I have more questions, but perhaps I should start with these two topics first. Both are fairly big conversations!  Hope you all had a good start to the weekend. xo

 

NO MORE CRYING OVER SPILLED MILK! What items are saving me (and my milk)!

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First of all, I'm grateful I can breastfeed at all. I know it's a privilege.  With that said, it's been an incredibly trying, challenging, emotional roller coaster. For me and my husband! Sleep deprivation is a real thing! Although it hasn't even been a month, there are a few key materials I wish SO MUCH I had utilized from day one in the hospital. I'm back to work today!!  And these products have helped me save extra milk for Hayden. This is simply my experience... I'm obviously not a doctor (even though I play on one on B&B- ha!), so do your own research and find what is best for you. 

First off, I've had issues. I'll write more in another post for those that are curious of my experience, but to spare you the morbid details, I'll just say my nipples got so raw, I couldn't breastfeed.  I was still pumping, but it hurt. Badly. Finally, I listened to my mother and bought breast shields. Immediately, I was able to go back to breast feeding with Hayden.  It doesn't take away all the pain, but it lessens it by about 75%.  (***Please note: before you use these, do your own research. I believe they can help temporarily, but over time, could lessen your supply of milk.)

                         Medela Breast Shield

                        Medela Breast Shield

Secondly, my husband did his own research and ordered me Milk Savers.  After seeing how desperate I was to produce and save milk, it crushed us to see wasted milk in breast pads or dripping down my clothes.  When I would nurse on one breast, the other one would leak quite a bit.  It would've saved me  a ton of grief, pain and spilled milk!  You know the saying... no sense crying over spilled milk? Well, let me tell you. I've shed a few tears over wasting this precious liquid gold.  Every girlfriend (nursing or about to try nursing) I have told about this product wants it!

While the Milk Savers are great while I'm nursing or even around the house, I am using breast shells inside my nursing bra occasionally between feedings. They collect excess milk and it can really add up. (TIP: if you use the lids with ventilation at the top, be careful when you lean over--- it will spill out!!). This is an easy way to collect milk when you aren't feeding or pumping. Plus, at least for my situation, it protects the nipples while they are healing.  I really used them mainly for that. I didn't love collecting milk in them.

Below, I rounded up the products that have helped me the most with breastfeeding.  I added my favorite nursing bras, too.  They are priced low to high (some, in my opinion, high).  But, so far, the ones I've chosen are worth the money.  (ps- click on each picture if you're interested because some items on sale are not reflected in this post, but will show up when you click).  I'm still in shock how quickly they get messed up and need washing... one minute we're good and the next... oops! We're leaking! Anyhow, check it out... and please--- this takes a village, if there are products you highly recommend, PLEASE leave a comment.  

Check out the nursing tops I have used the most. To read more about nursing, or see where I was wearing some of these, type NURSING in the search box at the top right. You'll see more posts!