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Monday, June 28, 2010

Post-Pregnancy Challenge #2: Aching Back

Is it me or does this kid just keep getting heavier? Don't get me wrong- its a good thing! The first few months of his life I agonized over every ounce he gained or lost and fought to get him back to his birth weight- which finally reached by six weeks or so. Now he's weighing in at about 28 lbs or so. I wish I could tell you more accurately but you try getting him to stand still on the bathroom scale long enough for it to read anything but "ERR"! Needless to say- my back aches on his clingier days and I don't think I'm the only one out there with a sore back... am I?

So what does our "Lean Mommy" author and fitness guru, Lisa Druxman, have to say about how to alleviate post-pregnancy back pain? She recommends safe lifting practices for everyday activities such as nursing and picking up baby and all of his/her gear. This means that when you are breastfeeding you should bring your baby to your breast and not the other way around. When picking up baby and all of their gear make sure you bend your knees and lift with your legs instead of your back.

Lisa also recommends exercises to strengthen your core (abs and back muscles) and keep your torso strong and stable. Here are a few that you can try at home:
1. Supermoms: lie face-down on your stomach with your legs straight and arms out overhead, tighten glutes and raise thighs and upper arms and inch or two off floor, hold, lower, and repeat

2. Plank: Lie on your stomach with legs extended and prop yourself up on your forearms, pull in abs away from floor to engage muscles in entire torso, raise hips and then knees off floor until you are up on your toes with your body forming a straight line from head to toe. Make sure your hips neither sag nor stick up in the air, breathe normally, hold, rest, and repeat!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Post-Pregnancy Challenge #1: Poor Posture

There's no doubt about it- carrying that baby (and later the leftover baby weight) in your belly takes a toll on your posture. Our center of gravity shifts forward to make room for a growing baby which can lead to increased curves in our lower and upper backs, forward tilting of our hip bones and even a slight jutting forward of our head and neck. To make matters worse, mommies (myself included) tend to spend a lot of time hunched over doing things like feeding baby, taking baby in and out of the car seat, crib, or swing, taking things in and out of the dryer and dishwasher, and (ahem) catching up with old friends on Facebook! Our muscles can strengthen to support our mom-posture and if we don't do anything to rebalance ourselves we can become stuck with this poor posture for life!

If you know me, you know this is one of my big things, and I'm reminding myself as much as I'm reminding you: Stand up nice and tall, shoulders back and down, and abs in tight!

Additionally, fitness expert Lisa Druxman, in her book "Lean Mommy", recommends the following stretches and exercises to help reestablish good healthy posture:

1. Stretch the muscles in the chest (clasp hands together behind your back and pull away from your body until you feel the stretch in your chest).
2. Strengthen the opposing muscles in your upper back with a tubing row or a tubing lat pull down.

So stand up tall, roll those shoulders back and down and pull those abs in tight- and come on out and workout with some new friends at a Stroller Strides class near you!

Post-Pregnancy Challenge #3: Too much belly & too many pounds

I had been warned by many who had gone before me not to expect to be able to shimmy into my pre-pregnancy jeans for the post-delivery trip home from the hospital. But I wasn't prepared for how long it took to look and feel like myself again. I remember one particular day when I broke down in tears in my mother-in-law's kitchen because none of my clothes fit. My regular jeans didn't fit up past my thighs, my maternity jeans kept falling down, and my shirts were all too tight or short because of my giant nursing boobs- ahh! It felt like a bad dream- I couldn't even dress myself! Needless to say, sleep deprivation did not help!

Here is a picture of Monty and I a week or so after coming home from the hospital... I'm being vulnerable here people! This is the closest I came to being in front of the camera for several weeks.

The great news is that your stomach, like mine, will naturally recede as you lose your baby weight. Being active and making smart food choices are key to taking off those inches and pounds and following some of Lisa Druxman's tummy-tightening moves will help you do it easily, safely, and in a way that is more likely to result in permanent change. In her book, "Lean Mommy", she recommends the following exercises:
1. Isometric crunch: on your back, knees bent, feet on the ground, hands behind your head to support your neck, raise your upper body (concentrating on bringing your ribcage to your hip bones) and hold for 15 seconds, slowly working up to being able to hold for longer and longer, rest and repeat

2. Oblique crunch*: in same position, cross right ankle over left knee, lift and rotate your torso (leading with your left shoulder) to the right side and hold for 5 seconds, slowly working up to being able to hold for 10 seconds, rest and repeat

*If your doctor told you that you have a split in your abdominal muscles and you should be careful exercising, please inform and consult with your Stroller Strides instructor- we can give you safe modifications!*

10 Common Post-Pregnancy Challenges

1. Poor posture
2. Aching back
3. Too much belly & too many pounds
4. Uncontrolled peeing or leaking
5. Separated abdominal muscles
6. Scrunched shoulders
7. Discomfort or pain in your wrists
8. No time to eat right or take care of yourself
9. Tired all the time
10. Baby blues

Any of these sound familiar? Over the next few weeks I'll tackle them one by one- sharing my experiences with each and what pre and postnatal fitness expert, Lisa Druxman, has to say about how to overcome them!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How soon can you exercise?

I had a 9 lb 8 oz baby boy in January of 2009 via c-section. It was a matter of fetal distress, lack of dilation, fetal positioning, etc but he came out big and healthy and I have no regrets. Well, maybe I regret gaining so much weight during those 10 months- but thats for another post!

Those first few weeks after my c-section are pretty much a blur in my mom-memory. But I do remember how good it felt to get out of the house and push my new baby around the neighborhood in the stroller. At first I made it only to the corner and back. But day by day I went a little further and felt better and better. Was it the change of scenery? the fresh February air? Regardless- it felt so good and I made it a habit to get out daily for a stroll.

I couldn't tell you what my doctor recommended for exercise those first few weeks (blame the mommy-brain) but I'm pretty sure the advice was simply to wait until my postpartum checkup. Even though I'm not currently pregnant I think a lot about how I want things to go next time around. I think I'd like to try a VBAC (a vaginal birth after cesarean) mostly so I can get back to teaching Stroller Strides class faster. But whichever way it works out for me- what kind of exercises will I be able to do during those first 6 weeks? Here is some great info on that very subject...

Click the link!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Are you getting enough protein in your diet, moms-to-be?

Luna Moms Club Tip of the Week:
Protein provides materials for the growing tissues, including the placenta, the mother's blood, and the baby. You can get more calcium into your diet by adding in eggs, fish (avoid those high in mercury), poultry and beef, tofu and cottage cheese. Aim for 74 grams of protein daily during pregnancy.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Keeping Kids Cool in the Stroller

Starting July 1st (a Friday) we're moving Stroller Strides classes to 9am. This is an effort to keep our moms and kids out of the midday heat. However, it can still be pretty steamy here any time of day in the Raleigh area so I thought I'd share some ideas to keep kids cool in the stroller. Feel free to comment with your own ideas for keeping kids cool in the stroller too!

*Keep baby hydrated with a water bottle or sippy cup of nice cool water- don't forget one for yourself too!

*Bring a snack of frozen fruit to be eaten in the stroller

*Keep your kiddo up to 10 degrees cooler with a Stroll-n-Cool stroller insert ($53 including shipping).

*Provide plenty of shade for baby. If your stroller lacks a large enough canopy to provide shade- try one of these products...

*Shade your baby in the stroller with a fashionable parasol from BabySunX ($42.99).

*Shade your infant in his/her car seat with a darling Airy Cotton Car Seat Cover from BabbCo ($50).

*A "ray" shade (available on Amazon,, Babies R'Us, etc).

Check out these items and more at in the Stroller Strides store under "Stroller and Class Accessories".

Of course, Monty's favorite way to keep cool in the stroller is to dump his water bottle on himself... he's wet, but happy! Whatever works, right?!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A little retail therapy, anyone?

I will be placing a group retail order on Monday, June 28th for Stroller Strides tees, tanks, hats, accessories, etc. Click this link to access the online store.

New Arrivals
Chocolate brown skinny tank
Bamboo tagline tee

And the perennial favorite (all sizes available, berry only), Fit Moms Rock bamboo tank. This is the tank that I am ordering!

Free shipping if we order together. Visa, MC, cash or check are ok! Let me know what you want and we'll have new duds by the following week!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Staying Hydrated During Pregnancy

Luna Moms Club Tip of the Week:
During pregnancy, more fluids are necessary for a multitude of functions including providing for the expanding blood volume that helps to carry nutrients to mom & baby. Nursing moms need the extra fluid to maintain a healthy flow of breast milk for your baby. Drink about eight to ten 8 ounce glasses of non-caffeinated, non-caloric fluids per day. Caffeine in excess can be dehydrating and high caloric drinks such as soda and juice can add up extra calories. Plus the added bonus is that drinking a lot of water is the best way for your skin to get that healthy glow!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Warm fuzzies... and I'm not talking about the humidity!

We always do a warm-up get-to-know-you question in Stroller Strides class. Today’s question was, “What positive change have you seen in yourself or your child since you started coming to class?” And the responses were so uplifting and encouraging I just had to share!

I always go first to give everyone an extra second to think about their answer and mine was this- my son has started to imitate some of our exercises at home which makes me feel like a super role model for an active healthy lifestyle. Next, one mom reported that her daughter had become more interactive and social with other children and adults through class and Luna Moms Club playgroup activities. Another said she has more energy and her arms were sore from class last Friday- what a compliment! The next mom reported that coming to class had helped her son to get on a schedule! Yet another mom proudly declared that she had lost a few pounds- keep it up girl! And it went on and on like that all around our warm-up circle and put a smile on everyone’s face! What a great way to start the week! (Please excuse the obscene amount of exclamation points- I’m just that excited!!!)

Fitness for mom, fun for baby (and more) is what we’re about at Stroller Strides! Come join us anytime for a free class and see what positive healthy life changes await you and your little ones!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Black & Blueberry week!

How do you get your little ones to eat blueberries? It turns out that Monty doesn’t really care for blueberries. Well that’s not entirely true. He likes to roll them around in his fingers and then squeeze really hard until they pop and their guts squish out between his fingers. But eating them? No thanks. Maybe he’d eat them frozen… we’ll have to try it and get back to you.
Fortunately he will eat them in something, which gives me the perfect excuse to bake! He likes blueberry muffins (though those ones I blogged about the other day were kind of dry), blueberry pancakes, blueberry yogurt, and blueberry cobbler!
On our Luna Moms Club field trip to the Farmers Market yesterday for Blueberry Day I picked up some blackberries too so I think tonight I’ll surprise the men in my life with a black and blue cobbler (that is blackberries & blueberries). I’ll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Blueberry week!

This week our Luna Moms Playgroup is taking a field trip to the North Carolina Farmers Market for Blueberry Day! Monty and I cruised Strawberry Day back in April and had a blast- hopefully Blueberry Day can live up to that experience!

Our group is meeting at the Farmers Market at 11am on Thursday to taste blueberries from all over the state and hopefully bring home the tastiest ones we can find. So I’m dedicating this week’s blog posts to all things blueberry! (If you want to join us you can find our more info on our site.)

This afternoon I decided to use up all of the blueberries in my fridge by making blueberry muffins from scratch! I used this basic recipe and sprinkled them with a little turbinado (raw) sugar.

They were quick and easy and done in time for a home-baked post nap snack for Monty (and me)! I just find baking quick breads so satisfying. I need to try a recipe for zucchini bread- can anyone suggest a good one?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Doesn’t it feel good to be validated in your parenting decisions?

A few weeks ago the educators from a local pediatric dental office were out at North Hills during the Open Play and Creative Exercise time doing dental education for parents. They cheerfully gave out toothbrushes and answered questions all the while encouraging parents to bring their toddlers to the office for a free preliminary checkup. Great marketing- so smart. And I learned something- or rather I learned that I was right all along and it feels so good!
Monty’s grandmothers love him to death and really want to give him healthy stuff. They really want to give him juice though- and in my book it doesn’t qualify as healthy stuff for toddlers. Why juice, which has loads of sugar, when he loves milk and water? But secretly I wondered if the grandmothers were right… is juice supposed to be on the menu for toddlers?
Well, the pediatric dental educators emphatically said, “No! Please don’t give your child a sippy cup full of sweet sugary juice to carry around all day- think of the sugar and acid sitting on their teeth just eroding away the finish.” Score one for mom! “And brush his teeth for him every night with plain water before he goes to bed”, they said. So- we have that to work on next.
But is juice inherently evil? No. It can be on the menu for a toddler but should be diluted to ½ strength and limited to kids over 1 yr old, and to just 4-6 oz per day. Your child is better off getting his or her nutrition from the actual fruit itself but when that’s not possible juice is a viable alternative. Gatorade, lemonade, sweet tea, and soda? No! We shouldn’t even be drinking them like we do as adults.
Disclaimer: This post was written while sipping a Diet Coke. I’m a work in progress too!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Get a flat belly- Fast!

Just got back from the Harris Teeter and had to share. I pushed my stroller up to Cameron Village to get some exercise and run a few errands (multitasking!). Every time I passed a storefront I snuck a peak at my reflection in the glass and stood up a little straighter and pulled my abs in a little tighter. Then later, as I was standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, I spied the latest “Health” magazine cover. “Get a flat belly- Fast”, it yelled to me from the cover and I almost bought it just to see what miracle ab-work and diets they were recommending.

But… then I thought- I know how to get a flat tummy fast- just lay on your back!

Seriously though- it takes time for our tummies to tighten back up and even longer to get them to look flat if there is some extra padding on top of the muscle. Don’t get discouraged if it is taking some time to get your abs back into their pre-baby shape. Keep doing your core work, your cardio, and eating healthy foods and remember to stand up tall with your shoulders back!

Here are some abdominal exercises you can do with your baby (or without) from our Stroller Strides National Fitness Director, Farel Hruska, to get you jump-started!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Feeding the Family: Banana Oatmeal Bread

Today I think I'll make some Banana Oatmeal Bread. I found this recipe a few months ago on and tweaked it to suit my family and my pantry- who uses shortening anymore anyway?

Its easy 
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Here is my recipe in case you want to bake along with me this afternoon...















1. Preheat


2. Cream 

3. Add 


4. Pour 
in to 


5. Enjoy!