Sex, oh Baby!
Sex! The 3-letter word that can be pleasurable or painful in any relationship. How? Pleasurable when everything is in the right place including being in the mood and painful when become a mom and just birthed a baby. Yes, it’s a love and hate relationship. Well, as beautiful as sex is, it is not completely satisfying as you may think; especially for the new mom during the early weeks after delivery. It is recommended by the Dr. to wait at least 6-weeks postpartum before resuming sex if there were no complications during delivery. This is advised for a few reasons such as allowing the vaginal walls heal before adding pressure from intercourse, which could lead to vaginal hemorrhage or tears and even infection.
So, how is sex postpartum? Well, it varies from mama to so mama. Some have no issues returning to sex after baby while others may hit some roadblocks. Some common issues that happen after delivery include:
Vaginal dryness, soreness, perineal tear, low libido, extreme fatigue, pain and loose vaginal muscles. Let’s face it, your body has gone through a significant shift from the time you fell pregnant till the time baby arrived. This upheaval of hormones has thrown off a few things and caused a lot of imbalance in the body, which in turn affects intercourse thereafter.
Below are some great tips for enjoying sex after baby.
- Take it slow: it was a long process growing a baby so you almost have to re-learn how to have sex again. If you’re not ready, don’t force it. Go with the flow and start slow. You can try intimate activities like cuddling and massages. You will get there. Don’t worry.
- Get that pelvic floor active: as a certified pre/postnatal fitness specialist, I am very passionate about strengthening the pelvic floor, which houses the vagina, bladder and rectum. The weak muscles holding up these organs need time to heal after delivery and can only do so with repeated pelvic floor exercises such as core breathing, kegels, pelvic tilts (to mention a few).
- Create the time: set aside time for sex and be intentional about it. I know it may seem overwhelming trying to have sexy time with a new baby crying non-stop or needing to feed on-demand, however, planning can go a long way. Have a close friend or family member watch baby while you and your partner have some alone time.
- Involve foreplay: your vagina has gone through a lot in birthing a baby, so it is understandable if you don’t want to rock the boat too soon. Instead, arouse the vagina naturally allowing it to produce its own lubrication. If you’re breastfeeding, you are more than likely going to have a lot of dryness down there due to drop in estrogen levels so relax and let the body do what it was naturally made to do. You can also have your partner touch you in areas that will stimulate you both. Remember, sex doesn’t have to be full penetration.
- Have the talk: chat with your partner and be honest. If you’re not feeling it or ready, just be open and have that talk. Tell your partner what you’re ready to do and what you’re not comfortable with as you slowly heal. Sex should be pleasurable and not a chore so if you are not ready, don’t force it.
- Eat well: ensure to consume foods high in protein that will give you energy and make you feel good. Also stay as hydrated as much as possible especially if you’re breastfeeding. Eating the right foods and getting enough rests helps provide the energy needed to get busy in the bedroom.
If you’re worried about resuming sex after baby, talk to your health practitioner on ways to gradually get you back in the zone. There’s nothing to hide or be shameful of. It is normal to doubt and worry if you are up for it, but the most important thing is being open-minded and gradually easing yourself back. Good luck.
So baby is finally here. There is an upheaval of hormones. There is joy in the air. There are baby blues. There is excitement. There is anxiety. And then there is the vagina. Yes, the real MVP that delivers both baby and pleasure. See below five important things that every mom should know about her vagina after a vaginal delivery.
- Your vagina may be wider. Word!!! Your vagina stretches a lot for a vaginal delivery and normally will shrink back down. However, having a baby with a big head or multiple vaginal deliveries makes it less likely for it to return to its former state.
- Your vagina may have scar tissue. This usually occurs if you had a tear or episiotomy (a surgical cut made at the opening of the vagina during childbirth), which could make having sex extremely uncomfortable. Scar tissues will heal over time.
- Your vagina may dry out. After children, your estrogen levels are known to drop. Estrogen keeps the vagina moist. Lack of this moisture causes the vagina to dry out. Adding lube during sex helps relieve the dryness.
- Your periods may become heavier or lighter. After pregnancy, if your estrogen levels are lower your postpartum period may be lighter. If the estrogen levels are higher, your periods may become heavier postpartum. Breastfeeding may cause estrogen levels to drop. I was once given some estrogen booster by my doctor while breastfeeding but chose not to use it for fear of losing my breastmilk supply (especially during the early weeks of establishing my supply).
- Your orgasms may become weaker. Because muscles surrounding the pelvic floor are weakened before and after pregnancy, your contractions are weaker down below causing less forceful orgasms. Practicing kegel exercises help tighten the vaginal muscles and great for restoring function to the pelvic floor.
Are there any changes you have noticed in your vagina after having a baby or multiple babies?
As a new or seasoned mom, it can be quite frustrating looking like you are still pregnant even though you had your child 9 months ago. More annoyingly, you notice that your sexy and favorite clothing no longer fit. Below are some reasons why you may not be losing that “stubborn” baby weight.
- Choice of foods: You have probably heard the phrase, “you are what you eat.” In other words, if you eat junk you will look like it. If you eat whole clean foods, that will also show. Cutting down calories in hopes of losing weight is not healthy especially after just having a baby. This is because your metabolism before baby is not the same after baby. For this reason not eating enough of the right foods will slow down the metabolism. What should you really be eating postpartum to help lose the baby weight?
- Green vegetables. Yes, your least favorite had to be the first on the list. Green vegetables such as spinach, pumpkin leaves (Ugwu), kale, broccoli etc are great healing foods. After baby, your body has gone through a tremendous amount of wear and tear, so eating healing foods like these help with repairing the connective tissue exposed as a result of abdominal wall separation (a.k.a diastasis recti). Other healing foods include fruits (kiwis, berries, bananas, walnuts, almonds, protein rich in chicken, fish oil found in salmon and mackerel.
- Good Fats. I am not referring to processed fats but good fats found in avocado, olive and coconut oil, and nuts.
- Protein rich foods. Foods high in protein such as organic chicken, lean turkey, eggs, beans are great for healing the recovering abdominal wall tissues and fueling the body up with energy.
- Water. Water as you already know is a no brainer and should be consumed often to help with detoxification and re-hydration. If you are in the early stages of breastfeeding, drinking a lot of water will help with increasing your milk supply.
It is strongly advised to stay away from sugar (which is found in all processed foods).
- You are exhausted and/or stressed: After baby is here, mom is bombarded with a load of responsibilities added to the upheaval of hormones already on her plate. Stress may also result from lack of sleep, which is very common and normal especially during the early days of being a new mom. However, less hours of sleep drastically decreases our level of energy which in turn makes it harder to lose that baby weight. Ask for help because you cannot do it alone. This will relieve you of a lot of stress and pressure of meeting the challenging demands that motherhood may bring.
- Dehydration: Dehydration is a big issue when it comes to weight loss and many of us are not consuming enough water. It is recommended to drink half of your body weight in ounces. Drinking enough water helps keep the fat off rather than store it. Staying hydrated makes you less likely to eat more.
- You are working out too soon. If you are in a hurry to jump back on the mat or race to the gym after baby, you are likely to run into problems like injury or re-injury. The reason is because postpartum recovery involves targeted exercises aimed at healing the core and pelvic floor first before returning to high impact intensity exercises. Low impact exercises and good nutrition go a long way.
- You’re overthinking it. The more you think about how much weight you want to lose, the more you don’t see changes. As repeated a few times above eating clean and healthy foods and doing the right exercises gets you back to your desired shape in due time. It will happen. It is gradual. Don’t sweat it.
Anyone who has been able to breastfeed their child or been around a mom who has spent hours a day pumping knows that breast milk is like liquid gold. This is more so during the early weeks after the child is born. Breast milk not only nourishes your baby but also protects your vulnerable newborn by helping to fight infection and promote development.
So why in the world did I throw this precious supply away? Plus, 90 oz (2,661 ml) of breast milk is quite a lot.
Here’s what happened.
I started to pump from the day my daughter was born and will save stashes of breast milk in the freezer cause I was paranoid that my supply may drop and my baby would be left with nothing to eat. Or have some saved so another caregiver was able to feed her while I was away.
The first time I tried giving her freezer thawed breast milk was at 2 months old. She repeatedly refused to take it. I later found out that once breast milk goes into the freezer, refrigerated and thawed, the taste of the breast milk goes soar due to excess lipase present. Ah Ha! I thought I had found the reason so I tried to fix and found out you can scald the milk before putting it in the freezer. Scalding is a process of heating your breast milk and allowing it cool before putting it in the freezer. This will help remove the soar taste. After thinking about it I decided not to do it because I was concerned that the amount of heat applied to the breast milk may destroy nutrients in it.
I made a few more attempts to give her pumped breast milk from her freezer stash but she remained adamant. I then decided there was no point pumping if she would keep refusing. I not only realize she didn’t like the freezer stash, but also discovered she didn’t want to take (even freshly pumped breast milk) from her bottle. We then went on on-demand breastfeeding. It was quite a stressful period for me and the family because in the middle of this, we had to relocate.
I didn’t want my frozen stash to go to waste and I didn’t want to deal with the stress of traveling with it if she was refusing it.
I reached to a breast milk bank to see if I could donate it.
They came back with a ton of questions, assessments and said they will need to run a series of test before they could accept it. The deal breaker was that the smallest amount they could take was 100 oz and I had 90 oz. I was very disappointed as I knew many babies in the NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit) could use it. Amid moving, I unwillingly decided to throw the stash away. After doing this, I realized I could made breast milk soap bars and use on my daughter and for the family but it was a little too late.
There are other ways to make use of your thawed frozen stash of breast milk that your child is refusing to consume.
- Breast milk can be used to clear up diaper rashes.
- Mix breast milk with coconut oil and use to remove cradle cap scales.
- Use the breast milk to clear up acne.
- You can use your breast milk to make soap bars for the household.
One thing I appreciate about motherhood is being able to make mistakes and learn repeatedly just to give our kiddos the best. Have you ever been in a similar predicament such as this?
Just under 3 weeks ago, my daughter (18 months old) and I made a trip oversees for a few days to spend some time with family and friends. It was not the first time traveling with her alone but the toddler stage was different. I learned a few things on this trip that help me and will prepare me for future trips when traveling with little mama again.
- Travel LIGHT. This might sound cliché but it isn’t. Let me explain what I mean here. It can be very stressful especially if you are traveling alone with a baby so I would advise you carry a good size diaper bag as your only hand luggage and stuff it with only what you need. The last thing you want on a trip with your baby or toddler is constant crying and fussiness throughout your flight while having to carry so many things at the same time. Ditch the strollers especially if it’s for a short trip and take a baby carrier (depending on your child’s age and weight).
- Allow baby/toddler breastfeed or suck from bottle or pacifier before take off and during landing. This helps reduce earaches for baby due to altitude and aircraft pressure.
- Wear comfortable clothes: This is important for both mama and baby. You want to be able to move around easily and feel light as you navigate thru the airport and handle your luggage(s). You also want to make sure your child is dressed in an outfit that’s easy to change when they have an explosion and you need an urgent diaper change.
- Don’t over pack: It is more than likely that you would want to shop for a thing or two during your travel even if it primarily involves buying more diapers that you may need to travel back with. Don’t try to stuff all your toddler’s favorite books and or toys in your luggage. Pack a light weight toy or coloring book for older kids to keep them entertained during the flight. Your child is not going to care if he doesn’t have all his toys with him when away. He really just needs his mama and maybe one toy that usually helps him self soothe like a comfort blanket etc. Lastly, pack just enough extra clothing incase of accidents depending on the age of your baby. Having just the right amount of diapers onboard is equally important. If your child goes through 5-6 diapers a day, I suggest grabbing 3 to 4 more extra.
- Make friends while traveling. If you can try making friends with fellow travelers so they can be willing to assist you were necessary. I remember when I was flying with my daughter alone for the first time. A lady walked up to me and asked if I needed help because she knows how it can be quite challenging doing it alone with a baby. I was grateful and very appreciative as it went a long way. More help could come from someone willing to get your luggage off the carousel or getting you a luggage stroller etc. s
- Snacks, snacks and some snacks. Make sure to stuff your bag with as many healthy snacks as possible for the kiddos. You can grab some granola bars, crackers and/or fruits (clementine, apples, bananas etc) are good fruits to travel with.
- Read up on Airline and Airport policies. Traveling with children is very different than traveling as an adult as rules and regulations vary by age of passengers. Do your research on if you child is old enough to travel as a lap infant or if you are allowed to cross security with a certain amount of breastmilk or already made formula or cereals. If you have to call to ahead to be sure do so to prevent disappointments and delays.
- Relax. If you are spending time with your little one alone either for the first, second or third time enjoy the highs and lows and embrace the chaos. Your child isn’t looking for a perfect mom. He is looking for a present mom. Travel and explore the world with them while you can. They grow up fast.
We are often told to plan and prepare for things in life, but I have found out that we can’t plan for everything. One of them being motherhood. I didn’t know what questions to ask before I became I mom. I lost my mom at the tender age of 14 years shortly after I got my first period. Obviously, I had no business trying to understand what birthing me was like or learn how my mother coped postpartum. One, because it just never occurred to me to ask and two, I believed like many things in life, we just figure it out like everyone else.
Below are 6 things I wish I was privy to before I became a mom.
- Your social life will go down the drain. This is true for the most part (at the beginning) if you have more than one child. Not to discourage you but if you do get a social life again it will be way after the kiddos are done potty training. For some, the girl’s night out trips may come to a complete halt or require you to return home earlier than usual to resume mom duties.
- Your bedtime will change. If you like your sleep, motherhood will teach you that sleep is overrated (haha). Your body becomes used to your new sleep cycle and adjusts accordingly. You may start to go to bed earlier to get in some hours before baby wakes up or you might sleep later to catch up on alone time.
- Your sex and intimacy life will change. This is something you and your partner should be prepared for. You will sometimes choose sleep over sex because of how exhausted you are. Whatever you do, try to keep sex alive and intimacy going, even if you have to schedule it. Once the kiddos are all grown and leave the house, you don’t want your sex life to have suffered so much that it has become almost non-existent at the time your children are in college. It happens.
- You will never think you can love someone as much as you love your child. This is so true. No one will have to explain this or go into much detail here. Having a child will give you a new perspective and outlook on life. Especially for the new mom. You will not only love your child so much but also be loved by them tremendously. It’s such a beautiful feeling.
- Your marriage/relationship will be tested. This is where having a child with the right partner pays off. As a new mom, all you need is support and some more. When you have a partner, who doesn’t help or support your motherhood journey, it could be dangerous. It is advisable to discuss what kind of parenting style you two want to adapt to raise your child(ren) ahead of time. It is also imperative that your goals and values align otherwise a raising a child differently can tear you both apart.
- You become an afterthought. Your self-wellness regimen and regular self-care treats will reduce. Not because you don’t feel like being pampered or taking care of yourself but because life as a mom is hard work and consumes a lot of your energy and time. Nonetheless, try to squeeze in time for yourself and stay healthy. Because a healthy mama means a healthy and happy child.
Moms, stay encouraged, you are doing just fine. Your life will become so different but in a good way. Live it.
Hey mama! They say when you become a mother for the first time, you become a new person. In fact, some describe motherhood as being “re-born”. So, in other words, when the child is born, the mother is also born. A new you. A fresh you. A mature woman who sees life differently. Her new identity is formed. She has a new perspective and outlook on life. She’s stronger and wiser. She’s fearless and resilient. She thought she knew what it meant to love until she loved her little one.
So, is who she’s becoming her new identity? Is who she’s becoming all she is?
As moms, we sometimes get lost in our new role and forget the person we were pre-motherhood and the things we used to enjoy doing. We are obsessed with what baby will wear, eat and how they will survive. We are their ecosystem. We are now responsible for another human’s life. But, is that all we are? Caregivers?
Who is she now? Who was she? She’s a woman. A woman who has ambitions. A woman who is a mother and or wife. A woman who believes she can be it all. A woman who has chosen to be a mom and so much more. This is the woman she is becoming and I love HER.
This may be one of my favorite posts written thus far as it pertains to many if not all first-time-moms. Mommy brain and losing yourself.
What is mommy brain? When does it start? What causes it? Is it a real thing?
This past weekend my friend and I went to the spa to unwind while the kiddos stayed home with their dads (yes, yay!)
We got to talking about how our lives have changed since baby and how post pregnancy is different from your pre-pregnancy days. Wait what? You mean I am not the same person after childbirth? No, mama! You’re aren’t. Your mental state is not the same and does not automatically return to its former self for a while.
Research concludes that the mommy brain can be attributed to an upheaval of hormones. The new responsibilities that comes with being a mother are endless. Because there is a huge learning curve of taking care of a newborn, you are gathering a lot of new information and worried about keeping your baby well-fed. This consumes your brain. Thoughts like: How many wet diapers does she have? Is she breathing? How can I tell if she is hungry? She has a diaper rash, what caused it? When do I sleep train and what method do I use? Should baby sleep on her back or tummy? You get the point. Amid the chaos, you tend to lose yourself. Any mom with experience would agree. So how can you find yourself again? The below are some tips that have helped me gradually get back to my pre-motherhood mental state of mind.
- Asking for help: this is number one because you can’t do it alone. NO matter how much you think you can. If you are able, you can hire mother’s helper or have a friend willing to help occasionally. They can get you grocery or cook for you. They can spend 2 hours with your child while you relax.
- Find a hobby: there were some things you used to enjoy doing before you became a mother. Try and see if the excitement will return if you resume the activity. Examples, practicing yoga or crafting.
- Embrace your new life and make it better: Explore and learn new things. Afterall life with a new baby is a new season so spice it up by taking advantage of the new experiences you are learning along the way.
- Take care of yourself: this is the BIGGEST one for me. Think about it this way. Can you take care of your baby if you are not your best? Nope. It’s that simple.
- Connect with new moms: find a circle of moms going through a similar journey as you and find times to meet up and do something fun together. It makes a whole lot of difference when you are able to open up with someone who actually understands what you mean and can empathize.
Yay! Baby has finally reached their 12 month milestone; the moment mom and dad have been waiting for. But let’s face it, isn’t baby’s first bash for the parents and their friends? It’s okay mom. You and dad are just overly excited that you survived the first 12 months without giving up. We totally get it and you deserve a pat on the back.
But what does a 1-year old really know about parties? How much work do you want to put into planning a party that they will not remember? What of baby’s nap scheduling? Does the party ruin that for a few hours of fun? Do you think baby will be overwhelmed with too many new faces? Check out the below tips that will help make baby’s first bash memorable rather than miserable.
- Invite mostly close relatives and a few close friends. keep the faces of strangers to a minimum to avoid baby being cranky unnecessarily. With familiar faces around baby, it is easier for them to relax and have fun naturally.
- Avoid clowns, please. I think this is so cliché and unnecessary. Why scare baby or any other younger guests? Keep the clown or magician away. Babies are unpredictable and can be happy one minute and uneasy the next. Don’t risk it.
- Record the party. This goes without saying. Baby only turns one once so make sure to get it on camera for keepsake and memories.
- Take it easy on the décor. At one year old, your not so little one is now mobile as ever and pulling unto objects, and throwing things around. Keep in mind safety when handling tiny tots and rubber scraps as they can pose as choking hazards. Instead, make the décor light and easy to maneuver not just for the celebrant but for the young guests too.
- Serve up safely. Avoid party nibbles that can pose a choking risk such us M&Ms, nuts, skittles etc. Instead, choose a party menu that is friendly and out of the children’s risk.
- Stick to baby’s nap schedule: your baby doesn’t know it’s her birthday so be kind and empathize with her. Keep her napping schedule on track and avoid getting carried away by the festivities. You will be glad you did.
- Take personal photos before guests arrive: I took some time to take a few personal photos of my daughter in her crib before guests started arriving. I was glad I could sneak some family photo pics in before it got chaotic.
- Relax and have fun: remember to eat as you get carried away while hosting. I totally forgot to eat on my baby girl’s birthday (haha). Set a reminder on your phone or have someone remind you. It is so important you are energized and ready for your baby’s special day.
Becoming a mom can be a very exciting and overwhelming experience. You are excited to meet your baby and so is everyone else. You have picked out the most beautiful crib, highly recommended baby bottles, the physician suggested breast-pump to name a few. Yes, you are all smiles just at the thought of bringing your little one home. But you know who else is excited? Your family and friends who may have already provided their welcoming or non-solicited advice. That’s right. Everyone and their brother has some tips and suggestions of how you should raise your child or handle certain things in general. Below are 6 common controversial topics every mama will face at some point in her journey.
- Co-sleeping vs. Crib/Room Share: At some point in every mama’s life, usually the first time you become a mom, the decision of where your child sleeps from the moment baby is born to toddler age and beyond will be a topic of discussion. The way you put your child to sleep tends to get a lot of people riled up. The questions you should ask yourself are, do I want my baby to sleep with me on my bed, or in her crib/bassinet or in a separate room? The moment you are discharged from the hospital and ready to take baby home, one of the few questions the hospital will ask is where your baby will sleep. This means you must, plan ahead and do what you believe is the safest and most convenient for you both.
- Formula vs. Breastfeeding: There are so many ways to feed your little one and you must do what works for you. Are you willing to give breastfeeding a try? Do you have enough breast milk? Are you pumping long enough and eating right to help increase your supply? Are you able to supplement with formula should your milk come in late? Are you concerned that baby is not getting enough? Is the baby having a hard time latching? Can you exclusively pump or breastfeed? These are questions only you will be able to answer so do your research about breastfeeding and formula ahead of time. Is the breast best or is just feeding your child all that really matters to you?
- When to start solids: You will have mom-friends and family members give their wanted or unwanted opinions about when they believe your child should start solids. But don’t forget that the only pace you are following when feeding your child is your child’s not a friend whose baby started solids at 4 months old or a family member that demands they start at a certain age. Always follow the pediatrician’s recommendations and follow your baby’s cues as every baby is different.
- Epidural vs. Natural/Vaginal vs. C-Section: Every mama-to-be will need to make this decision at some point and every mama will have a birth story to share. Some questions you should ask yourself regarding these subject areas are: do you have I birth plan? Do I want to be induced? Do I want a vaginal or c-section? Are there any harmful effects to baby and I if I got an epidural? Do I need to take a birthing class? What’s the recovery like should I choose to get a C-section? Thankfully, you can ask your doctor about any concerns you have but you must also plan ahead to better prepare yourself.
- Who do I want in my delivery room? Unfortunately this is always a sensitive area for mom-to-be. As if the whirlwind of emotions is not enough, determining who will be in the delivery room is just another thing to add to the list. Are you comfortable having specific people in the room like your siblings or in-laws? What happens if I tell my mother-in-law I don’t want her in the room? Will she be hurt and will this cause problems within the family? I personally suggest you talk to your partner ahead of time so you can both agree on who will be in the room with you. Most importantly, you don’t need extra stress added to your plate so always do what you feel is right.
- Immunizations: Vaccinations have been around for years and many parents still question if it is necessary or just causes problems for the child down the line. Again, do your research outside discussing and following your doctor’s recommendations. Are there side effects? Should I space the vaccinations out or follow the recommended health schedules (per country or region)? What happens if I choose not to vaccinate?
In the end, always do what works best for you. There is no wrong way to take care of your child if you are following your mama instincts and surrounded with a strong support system. There just isn’t.