POSTPARTUM HEALTH AND WELLNESS

Last week was fitness week on my Instagram page, and as promised on a few of my feed post, I’m sharing what’s happening with my postpartum fitness journey and the changes I’ve been making for my own personal health and wellness.

The journey to a healthy, happier me is has been long and I feel like after having a baby, that journey has shifted and changed exponentially. One big reality I’ve had to deal with over the past 8 months has been that I cannot spend as much time as I use to on workouts, additionally, meal prep includes meal prepping for 3 people now that Charlee is eating solids pretty regularly. Lastly, with COVID, I’ve really been making an effort to prioritize mental health above all else. So below is detailed list of things I’m doing that have been slowly transforming my health and wellness journey postpartum also, some truth that I’m still just trying to figure things out.

Current 2021 Postpartum Plan

Workouts Postpartum

I try to workout a minimum of 3 days a week. Workouts are usually 30 minutes long and consists of high intensity interval training (HIIT) and if time allows, 30-40 minutes of high intensity cardio (Running, Biking, Power Walking, Kickboxing, Thai Kickboxing). I alternate between these cardio activities so I don’t get bored.

On days where I have no time to workout, I just make sure to move a lot throughout the day, alternating between sitting and standing at home. Since I work from home, I’ve made an effort to leave my computer every hour on the hour to walk on my home treadmill for 15 minutes and sometimes, I schedule virtual walking meetings. My motto these days is just to keep moving.

Nutrition Postpartum

I’ve always been pretty conscious about what I eat. I’ve been on a pescatarian lifestyle for over a decade, only reverting back to poultry for the latter part of my pregnancy and transitioning back to a pescatarian lifestyle at around 3 months postpartum. For the most part, my diet consists of lots of leafy greens, fish or shellfish 2-3 times a week, low carb intake, coffee and water (mostly water because coffee drys you out) and small portions of fruit. I’m working on incorporating more protein and fiber into my diet and have increased my intake of beans, legumes and lentils and want to add a bit more variety to my vegetables during the week. So far, this has worked for me, but with a few minor adjustments and more consistency, I think I will start seeing more results on the outside, but on the inside, my digestive health has been amazing and my skin is not drying out as fast like it use to. I don’t really do restrictions, I eat what I want when I want, but have a conscious attitude about what I’m eating. All that said, if I want a cookie, I eat a cookie, if I want fast food, I eat fast food. I don’t calorie count or worry about gaining weight. I want to maintain a healthy relationship with food, and the best way I know to do that is to lay off the restrictions and eat certain foods in moderation. This approach has worked for me and my mental health. I just want to feel good and not have to worry about food and weight gain, that’s really it.

Mental Health Postpartum

I’ve been shopping for a therapists. There are a lot things that I have spent a lifetime avoiding, trauma from childhood, behaviors that stem from that and unhealthy coping mechanisms that I’m not to proud to say I’ve picked up over my lifetime and it’s time I start taking responsibility for my actions and begin the healing process. I don’t want to just do this for myself, I owe it to my daughter to heal. I think motherhood has allowed me to see areas where I personally need to heal and improve, and if I want to be the best mom I can be, I need to begin to address issues that I’ve put band aids on for so long.

On the flip side of things, I’ve been taking short breaks throughout the day practicing my breathing. Mindfulness is critical to health and well being. Taking these mini breaks has helped me to collect my thoughts, rest my mind and reboot. I’ve realized I’m not a machine and I need recharging and my brain needs consistent breaks throughout the day to function at full capacity so these shorts breaks have been so helpful and have changed the way I approach work and even blogging.

So one thing I need to work on is sleep. My sleep has always been pretty poor. I have insomnia and it’s been like this since college. To be honest, I don’t really have a plan on how to fix this as of yet, but I’m dancing around with the idea of sleep medication. I will try a few things before I consider medication as an option. So far I’ve set a bedtime for myself, I keep the lights dim when it’s time for bed, and have eliminated television and audiobooks after a certain time. I think the last thing I’ll more than likely begin implementing is making my last meal before 7:30PM. Lastly, I’ve been pretty good about having no caffeine past 2PM. Not sure what will come of this plan as all of this is forever evolving to be conducive with my current lifestyle, but I’m trying things until something works. This is really how I’ve always approached a lot of things in life and while it may not be ideal for most, it’s been working for me and I’m doing my best, so there you have it.

So happy to have finally shared this update with you.

I hope you’ve found it helpful. I’m sure everything health and wellness wise will change 10 months or even 1 year postpartum, but for now, this is where I’m at. There is most certainly room for improvement and growth, but the journey to a healthy, happier me is so rewarding.

Till next time friends.

Sincerely,

Deidra Marie


CHARLEE’S JOURNEY TO SOLIDS

We’ve reached that critical age in a infants life where they begin to show signs that they may be ready for solids. Like I suspected, as early as 3 1/2 months, Charlee was showing clear signs that she was ready to start eating solids. She was sitting upright with minimal assistance, showed a lot of curiosity in what her father and I were eating at the dinner table and she started grabbing at my fork and spoon during meal time. My husband and I couldn’t wait for this journey to begin simply because we thought starting her on solids would improve her sleep and help her sleep for longer stretches. Sadly, at her 4-month wellness appointment, her pediatrician informed us that starting her on solids wouldn’t change her sleeping patterns and that at her age, infants sleep schedules are pretty much established. This was the saddest news for us because Charlee loves waking up at 3am for a meal and as new parents who work full-time, we value our sleep and 3am wake up calls aren’t our jam. The pediatrician also recommended we wait until 6 months to begin her on solids, but she provided a plan to follow in the event we decided to transition Charlee to solids earlier than the recommended 6 months.

So far the journey to solids has had it’s challenges, but we’ve had some successes as well and for that, we feel like we’re finally winning in the parenting department. Charlee is currently 4 months and 3 weeks old. We started her on the Gerber Organic cereal at 4 months and 1 week old and have slowly started introducing baby puree and here’s what we have learned thus far:

  1. It’s best to start feeding baby from the spoon with baby cereal when they aren’t hungry. We fed Charlee an hour or so before her regular feeding time that way she wasn’t very hungry and wasn’t focused on her hunger and could put her attentions to the new experience of eating from a spoon.
  2. Be patient. I have to keep reminding myself that she’s getting use to the swallow reflex and still trying to learn how to use her tongue. With all these new experiences, it is taking time for her to get this eating from the spoon business down, so patience is key.

3. Babies won’t like everything you feed them and that’s okay. Charlee is very vocal about the foods she doesn’t like. I have to remember that she has likes and dislikes too and just because I’m feeding it to her doesn’t mean she’ll eat it. This was hard at first because I had conditioned myself into thinking that anything I gave her she wouldn’t reject only because when she had breast milk she didn’t reject that. When I started supplementing with formula she didn’t reject that either, so naturally I’ve been spoiled and had this idea that she just likes to eat, no matter what it is. ALL LIES. I gave her some butternut squash puree and it wasn’t her fave. However, I’ll revisit the butternut squash at a later date to see if her mind has changed. It was the very first puree she tried, so I think it deserves a second chance.

4. When they turn away that doesn’t always mean they are rejecting the food. I remember Charlee’s pediatrician specifically stating that when baby turns their head away from the food it sometimes just means they are trying to get the tongue and swallow reflex down. They are experiencing so many new things when transitioning to solids and giving them time to decide and figure out how their tongue works and how to swallow is key. With this info in mind, I’ll be revisiting the butternut squash puree.

5. We are going to try out a transition/weaning spoon. We’ve been using a regular baby spoon up until now, but after talking to a few seasoned parents, they recommend a transition or weaning spoon. Charles and I will be ordering one off Amazon just to see how Charlee takes to it.

6. Feeding is still bonding time. I have to keep reminding myself that feeding time is still bonding time for Charlee and I. Sometimes I can get so wrapped up in the mechanics and logistics of transitioning her to solids and spoon feeding that I forget that this is our special mommy-daughter time together. The journey of breastfeeding to solely pumping to supplementing and now solids has always been about our time together, its the one part of my day where I relax and nourish this beautiful human I created and the one thing I don’t want to do is poison it by getting too bogged down with the challenges of transitioning her to solid foods .

I hope this info has been helpful. I’ll keep you updated on her solids journey as we go along.

P.S. all food featured in these pics as well as on my IG page are from Yumi, an amazing baby food delivery service. You should check them out.

Sincerely,

Deidra Marie


PROS & CONS OF RAISING AN INFANT DURING A PANDEMIC + A FEW HOME DECOR UPGRADES

Let’s face it, 2020 was one of the strangest years to date. In 2019, I never would have thought I’d be at home as much as I am now, but then again, in 2019 I didn’t have an infant to care for and there was no COVID-19 and therefore, my schedule was jammed packed with things to do: graduating from grad school, pageant stuff, traveling, blogging and just living my best childless life, LOL. Staying at home all the time was definitely a foreign concept to me. Staying at home all the time with an infant was something new too. Almost 10 months of quarantine and counting and I can say there is some good and some bad, so here’s my list of pros and cons of raising an infant during a whole global pandemic. Also, these are just some random pics of my sweet Charleekins and hubby Charles and a few home decor upgrades for our bedroom.

Pro #1 FREE DAYCARE

What daycare? I’m not an essential worker and thankfully, I can do my entire job from home. What does that mean, I’m with Charlee at home, that means free daycare. Everyone knows daycare is crazy expensive, so staying home with my child is the most cost effective thing a new parent can do. There are so many dollars we have kept in our pocket because I’m home with the little one and thinking about all the money I’m saving is nice too.

Con #1 WORKING FULL-TIME WITH A BABY IS HARD

I love Charlee, I do, but being at home with a newborn all day is exhausting! As many of you know, newborns require a lot of attention. I didn’t mind too much in the beginning since I was on maternity leave and didn’t have to worry about work, but maternity leave ended in November and trying to work with a baby at home all day is probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. I will say this though, now that she’s officially 4 months an eating heavier meals, she’s sleeping for longer stretches so it’s not as bad.

Pro #2 TIME FOR SELF CARE

I have time for self care. Sometimes self care just means having time to just be home. Being quarantined there has been so much of that. I’ve really learned that self care should not only be intentional, but what really defines self care is just doing what you love. I’m doing what I love while Charlee sleeps and when she’s awake, I’m loving on her and that is a form of self care for me.

Con #2 CABIN FEVER

WE’RE. ALWAYS. HOME. I’ve had a few instances of cabin fever. It sometimes sucks being at home all day long and when you finally do leave you realize nothing is happening around you because, well, COVID, ugh. I want to travel again, I want to take Charlee out to see our city, see our family and friends. I want her to start being social with other people besides me and her dad, but again, COVID. Charlee’s health and safety come first, so until this pandemic clears up, I’ll be here, in the house, gazing out the window and reminiscing on life before COVID, LOL. 😂

Pro #3 WE’VE MADE OUR HOUSE A HOME

I’ve had time to make my house look like a place someone actually lives in. Here’s the thing, before Charlee and before COVID, my house was literally a place I just rested my head. Charles and I had the basics in our house and it was devoid of any home decor or items to make our house look lived in. We’ve since then cleaned up our act and started adding some personality to the spaces in our home, mostly motivated by the fact that we had to get rid of a lot of items and make room for the baby. Having a baby really encouraged us to make a space that was welcoming, homey and just an all around good space for her to grow up in.

Con #3 NO SPACE

Space is limited at our house right now. Charlee’s baby items take up so much space and because of the pandemic, we’ve opted not to move to a bigger space until we see economically, how things will pan our here in the US. We’ve chosen to stay put, pay off some debt and just purge the house of items we collected over the years that we really don’t need to make space for the items that Charlee uses regularly.

Pro #4 NO MORE FOMO

I feel less pressure to entertain these days. Pre COVID, I was dealing with some serious FOMO, Fear of Missing Out. That being said, I was going all over the place, celebrating major milestones with friends, going out every weekend with the girls, traveling here and there, attending this event and that event and blah blah blah. When COVID shut everything down, I felt this hidden anxiety melting away. Having Charlee slowed me down even more too. My life pre COVID would have never been practical with a newborn. Honestly, I’m not sure how I was functioning pre pandemic with all the things I was doing, LOL, but here we are. I’m resting, relaxing, reflecting and enjoying my little family.

Con #4 WE MISS FACE-TO-FACE INTERACTION

I. MISS. MY. FAMILY and FRIENDS. Being at home with an infant all day is a lot of work and some days the only social time I have. I love Charlee, I do, but I do miss interacting with people my own age. I do Zoom calls with my friends and family, but honestly, nothing will be able to replace face to face interaction and human touch. I for one am not a hugger, but being able to hug my friends and family would be priceless right about now.

Pro #5 WE SAVED A LOT AND REALIZED WE WERE BEING WASTEFUL

We have saved a lot of money. This has helped Charles and I realize that our lifestyle pre COVID was wasteful and not practical for a baby. When Charlee finally arrived, we had a nice nest egg saved up for her to get the things we needed to care for her on top of what was given to us by our amazing family, friends and coworkers. We’ve been extremely blessed and we are so grateful for all the financial blessings we received to welcome our sweet baby girl into the world this past August.

Con #5 NO REASON TO DRESS UP

Shopping is therapeutic for me and I love being able to go out and show off my outfits at work and on the weekends with my friends, but with COVID I’m not dressing up to go anywhere except to my kitchen and other places around the house and even then, I’m extremely careful about what I wear these days because baby spit up is real and will ruin your clothes, LOL. 😂. This is life with an infant. This is also life with an infant during a global pandemic.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my list. Here’s hoping this pandemic ends soon. I know we are all wanting to get back to some sense of normalcy and while I truly don’t believe it will ever truly be “normal” again I have hope that our country and the world will be able to recover from this and most importantly learn from this. There is beauty in hard times. Even during a pandemic, our sweet baby girl has been a light and while I have admitted it’s hard, nothing worth having comes easy. Okay, I’ll stop with all the cliches now and end by wishing you all a happy new year. Please stay safe out there and I wish you all good health and lots of happiness. Happy 2021!

By the way, our newest home project has been decluttering the upstairs and getting rid of items that make our space look less appealing. We’ve been adding little knick knacks here and there to spruce up our bedrooms upstairs so peep the pics from our master bedroom. More pics of the other rooms to come.

Till next time good people.

Sincerely,

Deidra Marie