The Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide

Breastfeeding is tough. Which is part why 60% of mothers do not breastfeed for as long as they want to. While there are many reasons for this, one reason is that breastfeeding becomes too inconvenient and too difficult when life gets busy.

If you want to be successful and nurse long term, creating a breastfeeding-friendly wardrobe is essential. Cute and versatile breastfeeding clothes will make nursing discreetly quick and easy regardless of where you are.

And the good news is that there are sooooo many amazingly cute breastfeeding clothes out there right now (see below for a comprehensive list). We’re basically in a renaissance for breastfeeding clothes. It’s an exciting time to be alive, ladies!

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide #breastfeeding #nursingclothes

It’s worth the investment

Let’s just be honest for a sec–popping the ladies out isn’t exactly convenient in most clothes. You may be able to get away with what you have for the first month or two when you hardly ever leave the house.

It makes nursing easy and convenient

But once you are back into the normal routine, nursing quickly becomes incredibly inconvenient in most normal clothes. I have seen my fair share of moms who’ve had to pull their entire dress up to nurse their baby. And–let’s face it–I’ve been there too. It’s not pretty. 

But you can completely avoid that hassle. Breastfeeding clothes (and nursing-friendly clothes) make discrete nursing easy and convenient. They also increase your chances of successfully breastfeeding for as long as you choose.  

It can SAVE you money

And that means saving literally thousands of dollars on formula. Formula costs on average $1800 for a year’s worth. Yikes! In the end, investing in your breastfeeding success will save you money. For other breastfeeding tips, check out my post 6 Essential Tips for Breastfeeding Success.

Been there and done that

But alas, I can be a very slow learner at times.

While I am a major breastfeeding clothes advocate now, it took breastfeeding 3 kids to figure out how much easier life is with them. With my first three kids, I looked at nursing clothes online, and while they were cute, I felt like they were a little expensive.

I’ll get by on what I have, I thought.

But “getting by” meant many uncomfortable and awkward situations as I strained to get the milk bags out of uncompromising clothes. I’d be sitting in my car nursing a child with a dress or blouse pulled all the way up exposing my tummy.

Or awkwardly trying to nurse with a cover while trying to navigate through about 5 articles of clothing, pushing this one that way and that one this way just trying to feed my child.

It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t fun.

So once I was pregnant with my 4th, I finally decided to splurge and buy actual straight up, honest-to-goodness breastfeeding clothes. And I’ve never looked back.

Welcome to Shang-ri-la, ladies!

It completely changed my breastfeeding experience. It was a whole new and wonderful world. It was awesome. And I pretty much told anyone who would listen that breastfeeding clothes are amazing. 

No more awkwardness and stress while trying to nurse in public. No more fumbling with 6 articles of clothing and intense discomfort as I try to feed my child.

Not only was nursing very convenient, but nursing clothes are designed to make it discrete. Most are designed so that very little of your breast is exposed while you are nursing–and what is exposed is covered by your baby. I found that while in public, I could quickly, easily, and very discreetly nurse my little one (with no cover) without getting any looks whatsoever. Not only was it soooo much easy for me, but it’s like people didn’t even notice.

I’m still nursing my 14 month old and wearing nursing clothes every single day.

So, now that you know you need some breastfeeding clothes, let’s dive right in!

Breastfeeding Clothes: The Basics

Nursing clothes are made to make nursing convenient and discreet. Clothes in your closet may already fit the bill (hello, deep-v’s!), but investing in some great nursing pieces are totally worth it. 

Assuming that you do laundry about once a week (if you do it more, then hats off to you, milady), here’s a basic guideline for what you will need.

  • 5 + Nursing Bras (regular & sport)
  • 5-7 Casual tops
  • 1-2 Dressy Tops
  • At least 1 dress
  • Optional: nursing pajamas 

While you don’t need to go out and buy a completely new wardrobe, you do want to make sure you have enough clothes to make breastfeeding convenient.

If it’s not convenient, you’re probably going to stop nursing before you really want to.

Also note that, if you are like most women, the first several months after giving birth you might want some more forgiving clothes as you work back to your pre-pregnancy size/shape.

Breast-feeding Clothes You Need:

5 or more nursing bras

These are absolutely essential. If you can’t whip your tatas out of your bra easily, it won’t matter what you are wearing. Breastfeeding is just going to be awkward. So first things first, get some nursing bras! For more guidance on selecting nursing bras, check out the article from The Bump.

5-7 casual nursing-friendly tops

  • Nursing Tops: I recommend getting at least one honest-to-goodness nursing top. This top from Undercover Mama is my favorite. It’s long, comfortable, and it actually clips right onto your nursing bra so it is INSANELY easy and convenient to nurse. It’s long and flattering and makes nursing and running around after kids easy. Undercover Mama is a fantastic and reasonably priced brand to get cute and comfortable nursing clothes.
  • The Deep V: These are perfect casual wear and are not nursing specific, so you may already have them around. I’ve really like these ones (note: you will want to order a size up). Pair with jeans, leggings or a cute skirt and you are golden. Personally, I love this skirt–like LuLaRoe but way cheaper and it comes in a zillion patterns/colors. Downside of the deep-v is that the top of the breast is exposed if you are concerned about being super discreet and like to nurse without a cover.
  • The Button up Top: Not nursing specific, but still super convenient for nursing. 
  • Nursing Tank Tops: Wearing these handy tank tops under your clothes make most tops nursing-friendly. Downside is that you have to lift your top up  and fumble with more articles of clothing. But if you are on a tight budget, these are the way to go.

2 “dressy” nursing-friendly tops

At some point, you are actually going to need to dress up somewhat and get out of the house. If you work, I’d get several tops.

Even if baby is not coming with you, chances are you will need to breastfeed at sometime while wearing whatever outfit you are wearing. Even though my baby never joins me while I teach evening classes (obviously), I nurse her right before I leave and right when I come back. 

A nursing dress

You may not wear dresses all that much, but when you need to wear one, chances are it’s going to be hard to nurse unless it’s an actual, honest-to-goodness nursing dress.

Personally, I love to wear dresses. Plus many styles of dresses are quite forgiving and comfortable to frumpy postpartum bodies.

This is probably my very favorite dress and it comes in 4 colors! It’s also Undercover Mama so it clips right into your bra for super convenient and discreet nursing. 

I also REALLY love the dresses at Milk and Baby. I have bought several and while some were kinda pricey IMO, the convenience of nursing clothes seriously makes it worth the price. I’ve sqeezed every penny from those dresses!

Optional: Nursing Pajamas

Nursing pajamas are nice for hanging around the house during the postpartum healing period. During that time I don’t really  “get dressed” yet, but it’s nice to have something comfortable to wear when answering the door and for when people stop by to see the new bundle of joy. 

Recap: My Favorite Items

 

BREASTFEEDING CLOTHES RESOURCES

List of Great Breastfeeding Clothes Websites

  • Milk & Baby: Great selection and super cute clothes. I have a few dresses from here and I always get compliments when I wear them. People are so shocked when I tell them they are nursing dresses! 
  • Milk Nursingwear: This retailer also has a massive selection of great clothes.
  • Latched Mama: While the clothes are pretty simple, they are affordable and well made. My 3/4 sleeve dress has held up really well.
  • Amazon: Amazon has an impressive array of breastfeeding clothes available including many of the above brands plus some very inexpensive options (just be aware of quality and fit issues with cheaper selections).

Clothing Retailers with Nursing Clothes Selection

These are all retailers whose nursing clothes I love. 

Welcome to the world of convenient & discrete nursing!

My friend, learn from my errors and make sure that you have a breastfeeding-friendly wardrobe to set you up for breastfeeding success. Clothes make all the difference in making nursing both convenient, easy, and discrete.

Nursing is hard enough without clothing choices making it inconvenient. By investing a a few items, you can change your whole experience.

Good luck, mama!

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide #breastfeeding #nursingclothes

Getting Started With Self-Care: A Mom’s Survival Guide

Getting Started With Self-Care: A Mom’s Survival Guide

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Getting Started With Self-Care: A Mom’s Survival Guide

“Take time off…the world will not fall apart without you.”  (Malebo Sephodi)

As moms, we often put ourselves last on our list of priorities. With all the balls we juggle daily, we are afraid that if we spend even a little time on ourselves, all the balls will drop and we will fail spectacularly at this whole mothering thing. And even if we do manage to do something for ourselves–like take a nice bath or go out with friends–we often end up feeling guilty about it.

But let’s be honest here: taking care of ourselves is not a privilege we must earn. It’s a human need. And more than that, it’s 100% necessary if we want to be the best moms we can be. We are better equipped to take care of our children, families, and countless duties when we are taking excellent care of ourselves. We don’t need to “earn” self-care. It’s a necessary part of taking care of our bodies, minds, and souls.

Getting Started With Self-Care: A Mom's Survival Guide

Self-care means leaving survival mode behind.

I’ll be honest: I am naturally wired to burn the candle at both ends. I have to work really hard to plan and execute proper self care. But in doing so, I have seen a massive difference in my life and family. I’m a better mom. I’m more patient. My body is healthier and I feel more balanced. And I’m so much better prepared to handle the stress and difficult situations that naturally arise in my day.

Self-care isn’t a one time deal.

It’s something we need to do regularly to reap the benefits. You can’t go to Target by yourself, read a good book and call it good in the self-care department for the year. It needs to be built into your routines so that you are regularly replenishing yourself.

“How Can I Fit This is My Crazy Life????”

Tell me if this sounds vaguely familiar: You’re exhausted, but you are working through your kid’s bedtime routine regardless. You can just smell the freedom that comes when the last snuggles and kisses are exchanged. Though you have a long list of stuff to get done, instead you wander to the couch, snack in hand, and proceed to binge-watch something until you zombie walk to your bed and snag a few hours of sleep.

Then, you wake up fare before you’re ready to a child who needs to be fed/clothed/etc. So you tear yourself from the bed and groggily trudge through your morning.

Been there. Done that. And let me tell ya: there is a better way

Rejuvenating Mornings & Evenings

First off, self care will look different for every mom. It all comes down to what rejuvenates YOU physically, mentally, and spiritually. But as our mom days are often packed with non-stop chaos (or is that just me?), I finds mornings and evenings to be the optimal times for quality self-care. Changing my evenings and mornings has quite literally changed my life. 

Before my kids are up, I almost always read uplifting books, exercise, shower and get ready for the day (hair up, clothes on, and perhaps some mascara). I often meditate and I sometimes write in a journal. These practices nourish my mind, body, and soul and set me up to be a happy, patient mom ready to tackle the crazy that will inevitably come my way.

In the evening, after I put my 4 small kids to bed, I wind down first by unplugging from technology. This is when my husband and I can finally talk and really connect. Almost without fail, I take a hot bath with epsom salt (this is my absolute favorite) and essential oils while I read and relax my mind and body. I breath deeply (this method is pretty fantastic) and will sometimes meditate if I am still having trouble shutting off my brain.  

But that’s me. These practices renew me daily, help me sleep well, and feed my mind, body, and soul.

Self-Care will look different for each of us.

To create your self-care routine, you’ll need to reflect what activities bring YOU peace and relaxation. When can you find time in your day to spend some time on yourself? Before you can do that, there are a few steps you need to take to make room for self-care in your life. 

THREE STEPS TO GETTING STARTED WITH SELF-CARE

Step 1: Create Your “White Space”

Imagine a white piece of paper with writing on it. There are margins on all sides and spaces between the paragraphs. There is clear organization and flow. The white space provide direction and organization.

Okay, now Imagine another piece of paper with crammed writing covering the entire surface. Overwhelming, huh? Not sure where to start or end and there are no white spaces to be found.

Which paper best resembles your life? The one with rests and white spaces? Or the one that is so full it’s impossible to make heads or tails of what is going on?

As moms, we are so busy and maybe even feel overwhelmed from time to time. How can we fit in self care as well? Well, maybe we need to cut out some activities that aren’t important. We need to find white space in our lives. While much of what we do is extremely important, we also fill our lives up with a lot of non essentials.

To say yes to self care and better mental and physical health, you may need to say no to other things.

Step back an evaluate what you spend your time on. What should you cut out? Don’t let good things get in the way of doing THE BEST things. Don’t worry about fulfilling anyone’s expectations for you or what other people are doing. Evaluate what will be best for you and your family. And don’t be afraid to cut out things that are no longer in your best interest.

For me, this meant saying “no” to a lot of outside demands. It also meant not trying to fit in work after my kids went to bed. I used to stay up super late grading papers, cleaning, and working on a host of other things that I could never get to during the day. To get better sleep and make the most of my mornings, I needed to completely change my evening routine.

Step 2: Guard the “White Space” in Your Life

If you’ve cut out the non-essentials from your life, you’ve made room for the white space. If you are anything like me, your natural inclination is to look at that white space and want to fill it all up.

Instead, guard that white space with ferocity. That white space equals balance and your sanity. That white space allows you to fit in the much needed self-care activities that will improve your mental, physical, and spiritual health. 

You may find that this white space actually allows you to accomplish more everyday. The 7th habit in Stephen R. Covey’s super-famous Seven Habits For Highly-Effective People is “Sharpen the Saw.” Which means taking care of yourself and feeling renewed so that you can operate at max efficiency. So if you want to be a “highly effective person,” guard your white space and try some self-care (and read his book–it is UH-MAZING).

Step 3: Build Your Self-Care Routine

Again, your self care routine may look very different from mine. But you want to make sure that you are including activities from the 3 core areas: physical, mental, and spiritual. Below are just a few ideas to get you started. Pick a few of the following and try them out this week.

Body/Physical

  • Exercise regularly
  • Go for a walk or hike
  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat nutritious food
  • Take a relaxing bath
  • Have a dance party with your kids
  • Ask your partner for a massage
  • Get 15 minutes of sun (with sunscreen)
  • Snuggle with your spouse or children
  • Take a nap
  • Take a hot bath with epsom salts and/or relaxing essential oils
  • Spend time in nature
  • Smell you favorite things

Mind

  • Declutter a problem area
  • Journal
  • Start a file on your computer writing favorite memories of your kids
  • Read
  • Go outside and be in nature
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Go somewhere by yourself
  • Laugh–watch a funny youtube video, read a comic
  • Complete a task that’s been nagging at you
  • Start a book club

Spirit

  • Read something uplifting
  • Go on a date with your husband
  • Try a new type of food
  • Cut out negative people on social media
  • Call/email an old friend you haven’t talked to in ages
  • Unplug from all electronics
  • Meditate
  • Recite Affirmations

Most important: Get started

Mamas, you are so important. So much rides on your capable shoulders. Make sure you give them a break (even it’s a small one) everyday.

In the comments, I’d love to hear from you. What rejuvenates you? Am I missing anything on my lists? What are your obstacles to self-care?

Getting Started With Self-Care: A Mom's Survival Guide

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10 Strategies for Moms to Get Dramatically Better Sleep

10 Strategies for Moms to Get Dramatically Better Sleep

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Sleep literally impacts every area of ours lives, yet how often do we make it a genuine priority?

Most moms are not getting quality sleep. Why? You are balancing children, a home, endless responsibilities and maybe even a job! And what comes last? You.

But sleep deprivation is literally killing people through the associated health problems that come with it. And like the oxygen masks on an airplane, if you want to help other people (ie your kids) you need to make sure your mask is on.

Simply put: You need better sleep.

And making just a few changes to your routine can dramatically increase the quality of your sleep and your life.

10 strategies for moms to get better sleep.

 

10 STRATEGIES FOR MOMS TO GET DRAMATICALLY BETTER SLEEP

1) Schedule enough sleep every night

Adults needs no fewer than 7 hours of sleep a night. While some will proclaim that you can function perfectly well off something like 4 hours of sleep a night, that is complete and utter nonesense.

Sleep experts are adamant that adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Failure to get enough sleep can be disasterous. Sleep deprived people are more likely to get into accidents and make fatal mistakes

And I know that this is so hard for us moms. You’ve put the kids to bed and after a long day you finally have a few seconds to yourself. You want to catch up on Real Housewives and actually have a conversation with your husband. 

Or you wake up with a baby several times a night.

Whatever the case, figure out when you need to go to sleep at night to make sure that you are getting enough sleep. 

2) Avoid screen a few hours before bedtime

Screen are everywhere. And they are destroying our sleep. In our digital age, avoiding screens takes serious planning and willpower.

But you can do it. 

Have a screen cut off time at least 2 hours before you plan to go to sleep. If you can, keep your phone and other screens out of your room entirely.  

I’ll admit, this one was a struggle for me. The hubs and I used to have this nightly ritual of watching an episode (or five) of Forensic Files in bed. It was our time to spend together after a long day and, frankly, it’s crazy good.

BUT it wasn’t great for my sleep. DItching screens before bedtime has dramtically improved my sleep.

3) Stop eating a couple hours before bedtime

Eating heavy foods before bed will sabotage your sleep. Think about the last time you tried to fall asleep with an overly full belly. You probably had a hard time getting comfortable.

Personally, going to sleep on a slightly empty stomach (3 or so hours after eating) is best for my sleep quality.

4) Stop caffeine after mid-afternoon

This one is pretty obvious. Caffeine is a stimulant and it will make it hard to fall alseep. If you rely heavily on caffeine to get through your day, then your body is literally begging you to make sleep a priority.

Better sleep will reduce your dependence on caffeine. Stop the caffeine after the afternoon and then get to bed early.

5) Make your bedroom a sanctuary  

Do you find your bedroom relaxing? Is it a reprieve from stress? If not, making some changes will drastically change your sleep and even your mood.

You can invite amazing sleep into your bedroom by creating a bedroom sanctuary. This means eliminating distractions, lights, screens, mess–whatever will make it hard to shut off your brain and keep quality sleep at bay.

6) Exercise

Research shows that exercise significantly helps people to sleep better. If you aren’t a regular exerciser, it’s best to start out easy. Vigorous exercise might zap you of your energy during the day. For ideas on how to fit in exercise, check out my post 6 Gym-Free Ways For Busy Moms to Fit in a Quick Workout.

7) Practice deep breathingMeditate

Do you have trouble relaxing and shutting off your brain? Even if you’re exhausted, is is a struggle to quiet your busy mind? Then try deep breathing exercises.

A simple one to try is 5-5-5 breathing. Breathe in for 5 counts, hold for 5 counts, and breathe out for an additional 5 counts. Repeat a few times and you will feel your body starting to relax.

8) Meditate

Meditation is also fabulous.  It’s great at any time of the day, but it’s especially helpful for relaxing and preparing for sleep. There are so many great guided meditations for sleep on the internet. I personally love the UCLA guided meditations. Here’s one for sleep.

9) Go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday

Research shows that creating a reliable body clock where you go to bed and rise at the same times each day improves sleep quality. Your circadian rythym(the body’s 24 hour internal clock) works best when you have regular sleep habits.

As a busy mom, this will take planning and willpower.

I have found that moving my “me time” to the mornings as opposed to after the kids are in bed has had a really positive result. For tips on maximizing your mornings, check out my post here.

10) Create a relaxing bedtime routine

Just like creating bedtime routines for your kids helps them fall asleep, relaxing bedtime routine will help you fall asleep and sleep soundly. Some examples of nightly rituals include:

  • Take a relaxing hot bath: When you get out of the bath, your body’s rapid temperature drop naturally relaxes you and will help you sleep deeper.
  • Read a book: Reading can be relaxing and put you right to sleep.
  • Lay out your clothes: preparing for the day can help calm your mind
  • Sexy time: Studies show that sex before bed will help you sleep more soundly.  

11) Keep room nice and cold

Love to keep your bedroom freezing and pile on the blankets? Well, you’re in luck! It’s actually good for you. Sleeping in a cold room helps you sleep better and is actually better for your overall health!

Get better sleep tonight

Mama, your sleep is so incredibly important. You are the engine for your home and family. Making sure that engine is running well means that you need to get quality sleep.

You don’t have to try every single strategy above to start seeing really positive results. A few changes to your routine can be lifechanging. Pick a few strategies that seem doable and try them for a week and see what happens.

You deserve a good night’s rest. You can do it!

    9 Tips to Make Waking Up a Breeze

    9 Tips to Make Waking Up a Breeze

    *This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

     

    Despite wanting to wake up early, many of us find the task overwhlemingly difficult. Like, climbing Mt. Everest difficult. But you know that waking up before your kids will help you rock your to-do list and your goals.

    Considering you can snooze-button your way through an entire morning, you desperately need some new strategies. Luckily, these 9 tips will turn a hopeless night owl into a chirping morning songbird.  

    Tips to wake up early

    These tips are divided into 2 categories:

    1. preparation
    2. once the alarm goes off in the morning.

    If waking up is a struggle, it’s never going to change without preparing the night before.

     

    9 tips to make waking up early easy

     

    PART I: THE PREPARATION

     

    1) Go to bed early

    This is essential since you don’t want to be operating on a sleep deficit. Sleep deprivation basically leads to a host of health issues including weight gain (ugh) and even a shorter lifespan. Yikes!

    Most adults need at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night. Decide what time you want to wake up, subtract 8 and you’ve got your bedtime!

    2) Make sure you are getting quality sleep

    Quality sleep is essential to feeling well-rested, yet it’s not always easy to come by as a busy mama. Check out my post 10 Strategies For Moms to Get Dramatically Better Sleep.

    3) Have everything set out for the morning

    Have everything you can possibly think of ready to go (check out this post to help develop your own awesome morning routine).

    I work out every morning, so I lay out everything: socks, shoes, clothes, sports bra, and headphones. If I’m going for a run, I leave out my house key lanyard. I even have a big glass of water ready and waiting by my bathroom sink (see step 8).

    This also makes it less likely that I will skip out on my workout!

    4) Set your intentions for the morning the night before

    To make you morning happen, you need to mentally prepare yourself to pop out of bed when your alarm goes off. This can take many forms:

    • Visualization: This is a powerful strategy that I use. I visualize myself smiling and popping out of bed and going through my morning routine step-by-step. If you are grumpy in the mornings, visualize yourself happy and energized. Repeated visualizations will have a major impact on your morning outlook.  
    • Plan: Create a written plan with what time you will get up and each thing you plan to accomplish in the order you plan to do them.
    • Use an accountability partner: Get someone to hold you accountable for waking up early. This could be an early morning exercise buddy, or someone that you simply check in with to stay accountable. Letting someone else know of your plans makes you more likely to keep them.

     

    5) Have the right alarm situation

    Making sure you have an alarm set that you will not “snooze” til the end of time is essential. Luckily, there are a lot of options:

    • Alarm across the room: This serves 2 purposes–it gets lights and technology away from you when you’re trying to sleep (thereby improving sleep quality) and it makes you actually get up and out of bed to turn it off. This was a game changer for me.
    • Alarm across the room AND alarm on phone by your bed: This is my preferred way to wake up. I keep a really soft alarm on my phone by my bed that gently wakes me up. My alarm across the room is set for 3 minutes later. Since I don’t want to disturb my husband, I get up easily with my gentle alarm and turn off the other alarm before it even goes off. 
    • Use Step Out app: This app is completely genius. If you can hit snooze a million times without even thinking, this is the app for you. You can set it up so that in order to turn off the alarm, you actually have to take 10 or 20 steps. And by that point, you are awake! It’s awesome.

    BTW: Try and get an alarm that isn’t horribly annoying. If the sound is too grating, it’ll put you in a bad mood the minute you hear it.

     

    PART 2: THE MORNING

    So you’ve done everything that you need to do the night before to prepare. Clothes are laid out. Alarms are set. You’ve visualized your morning and you have some accountability set up. You slept a solid 8 hours and the alarm goes off.

    Here’s what’s next:

    6) Smile first thing

    I know it sounds super cheesy, but smiling and telling yourself how excited you are to wake up (even when you feel like you want to die) really works. It actually will help make you happy and excited to wake up. Fake it til you make it, baby!

    7) Pop out of bed, turn off the alarm, and beeline straight to your bathroom.

    Don’t even let yourself think about getting back into bed. You’re already up if you had to get up to turn off your alarm. Make it second nature to then head straight to the bathroom without even giving it a thought. . 

    8) Drink a glass of water and brush your teeth right away

    This is going to start to really wake you up and get into your morning routine.

    Drinking water starts getting your body systems revved up and will give you some energy.

    Brushing your teeth not only gives you something to do as you are trying to wake up, it actually wakes up your mouth. By this point, you are at least halfway woken up.

    9) Put on your exercise clothes/clothes and get busy with your morning!

    You’re still probably waking up, but getting dressed and physically preparing for the day is going to really help you keep waking up.

    To make the most of your day, I HIGHLY recommend working out first thing and getting it out of the way.


    For more one making the most of your mornings, check out my post here

    You can do it!

    Trust me, if I can train myself to be a morning person, absolutely ANYONE can! These tips will leave your snooze button in the dust and walk you through exactly what you need to do to make early mornings happen.

    You’ve got this!

     

    7 Healthy & Delicious Make-Ahead Breakfasts That Will Change Your Morning

    7 Healthy & Delicious Make-Ahead Breakfasts That Will Change Your Morning

    *This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

    7 Healthy & Delicious Make Ahead Breakfasts That Will Change Your Morning

     

    No matter how you slice it, mornings are especially crazy if you have a young family. With kids and babies demanding to be fed, it’s all too easy to turn to processed foods like eggo waffles, sugar-laden cereals, or perhaps slip through a drive thru before you head to the school drop off line.

     

    If you want healthy, simple, budget friendly alternatives make ahead breakfasts will absolutely change your life. Make ahead breakfasts can be prepared in bulk and will alleviate much of the stress of crazy mornings by providing healthy, filling, food for the whole family.

     

    Honestly, I couldn’t survive 4 kids 5 and under without preparing breakfasts in advance. My 4 small children always seem to need me at once and let me tell you, they are crabby before they have been fed.

     

    Once they wake up, I’ve got to get food in their little bodies or we are barrelling down the road to disaster.

     

    However, it’s really important to me that my family eats healthy food. So I try to avoid the processed junk, but there is no way I could make a nice healthy breakfast every morning without losing my mind.

     

    So these recipes literally start my day off on the right foot. We get to start the day will fantastic healthy breakfasts that have been prepared ahead of time.

     

    These recipes can all be prepared quickly in bulk, and frozen or stored in the fridge. My whole family loves them and they can even double as a snack during the day!

     

    Crazy mornings with no time for a healthy and quick breakfast? These will save the day! These are 7 super yummy AND healthy breakfasts recipes that you can make ahead and eat in the days and weeks to come.

     

    7 Healthy and Simple Make Ahead Meals

     

    From A Sassy Spoon

     

    1) Protein Banana muffins — A Sassy Spoon

     

    Holy smokes, we love these guys. Not only does every member of my family love them, they always disappear very quickly at potlucks. I quadruple the recipe and put them in gallon freezer bags. In the morning, it just takes 30 seconds in the microwave and–boom–delicious breakfast! 

    Since I legit make breakfast muffins A LOT, I started using these amazing silicone muffin tins and no more scrubbing metal baking pans. Wahoo!!!

     

    Tip: Prepare the muffins according to directions, but don’t add the choco chips. Instead sprinkly a few on the top before baking. This limits the chocolate and really helps with equal choco distribution (I found that they tend to pool in the bottom) 

     

    From Clean Food Crush

     

    2) Green smoothie prep packs — Clean Food Crush  

     

    Green smoothies are a great way to start your day with a blast of plant-based vitamins. This is a fantastic recipe to start you out with freezer smoothie packs. And you can take the concept and literally put in any smoothie ingredients that you want. Before blending, I also love to add various seeds and nuts to add a bit of protein. 

     

    From Real Mom Nutrition

     

    3) Whole Wheat Freezer waffles — Real Mom Nutrition

     

    As easy to prep as eggs waffles, but sooo much healthier! I pop them in the toaster and top with PB and a little bit of maple syrup. Kids love them!

     

    From Organize Yourself Skinny

     

    4) Blueberry Coconut Almond Overnight Oats — Organize Yourself Skinny

     

    Oh my gosh, these oats in mason jars are genius. She has loads of different recipes at her site (I also seriously love her mason jar salad recipes) and I’ve yet to try one I didn’t like. My husband and I really love this particular recipe and it’s just so stinkin’ easy. Just throw some ingredients into a mason jar, mix, and stick in the fridge overnight. You eat these oats cold and they last for up to 5 days.  I love to add chia seeds and substitute steel cut oats (I just add a bit more almond milk).

     

    From Eat Yourself Skinny

     

    5) Healthy Veggie Egg Muffins — Eat Yourself Skinny

     

    Oh my gosh, I love these! These are great veggie-filled egg muffins. Protein and fiber for the win! I like to use spinach (since that is a staple I always have) and sharp cheddar cheese along with plenty of zucchini. Again, these silicone muffin trays are heaven sent–scrubbing eggs off metal pans is no fun. 

     

    from Thriving Home Blog

     

    6) Protein blueberry muffins — Thriving Home Blog

     

    Another muffin favorite at our house. These blueberry muffins are packed with fiber and flavor! Freeze in gallon freezer bags. Microwave for 30 seconds and you’re good to go! I also love them as quick snacks during the day.

     

    from Thriving Home Blog

     

    7) Whole Wheat Pumpkin Freezer pancakes — Thriving Home Blog

     

    My kids are obsessed with these pancakes right now. They are so tasty! The pumpkin adds a tasty alternative to plain pancakes. I freeze them in gallon bags between sheets of parchment paper so they separate easily.  Microwave or toast for a quick breakfast! We top ours with PB and maple syrup. So yummy.

     

    Which recipes look best to you?

     

    So which one are your going to try out the week?Try one and let me know what you think!

     

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    Loving My Post-Pregnancy Body

    Loving My Post-Pregnancy Body

     

    I was right in the middle of running a 10K turkey trot on Thanksgiving Day 2015 when the way I looked at my body completely changed.

    It was then that I began to truly love post-pregnancy body for what it was–not just for what it could be on some magcial day when I got my act together and miraculously looked like a fitness model.

    My 3 kid bod

    I had just given birth via c-section a few months earlier to my third child in just 3 years. While I had a full marathon and about 7 half-marathons under my belt, I hadn’t raced since before having children.

    Honestly, I was just trying to finish without walking or needing an ambulance. My body was easily carrying 30+ extra pounds from the last few years of perpetual pregnancy.

    And like many with the postpartum “mom bod,” I was not particularly thrilled with what I saw when I looked in the mirror. And like many women, I put qualifications on when I could love my body.

    I would say and think things like: I’ll be happy with my body when I lose 30 lbs. Or 40 lbs. Or when I fit into a size 6 again.

    loving my post preg body

    The Race

    When I began the race that crisp Thanksgiving morning, just praying that I could finish, I did not feel comfortable in my own skin.

    But there I was, lumbering along at about mile 3 when to my surprise, I realized that I was actually passing people—people who looked far more fit than me. People who were not carrying around all this extra baggage.

    That shocking realization sent a flurry of thoughts racing through my mind and I began contemplating this ol’ body of mine.

    My body had gone through 3 pregnancies and 3 c-sections in 3 years. It miraculously provided food and comfort for my babies and kept up with 3 small kids. My body could pump milk while making dinner and keeping a 2 year-old occupied. It could (and often did) snuggle 3 kids at once.

    My “imperfect” body was AMAZING

    With these thoughts, I couldn’t help but see my body in a new light.

    My body was not terrible. My body was actually freaking amazing. It was incredibly resiliant and capable. .

    I mean, I was 4 months post partum and running a 10k, for Pete’s sake!

    Like a jolt, I was filled with an overwhelming gratitude for this body of mine that was doing so much for me and my family. I was immensely proud of my body for what it was and not what it could be.

    That’s when it REALLY hit me:

    How could I have anything but love for my body that did so much for me and for my family?

    I was immediately ashamed of the past feelings of discontent with my body. How unfair and short-sighted I had been!

    Running amidst a mass of people in the Turkey Trot, I was fighting back tears of both gratitude for my amazing machine of a body and regret for not loving my body in every state as I should have.

    So why don’t we love our bodies in every state they are in?

    There’s a growing movement to accept our bodies in every state. I’ll admit, I used to think those in the fat-acceptance movement were delusional at best and dangerous at worst.

    But you are morbidly obese, I’d think. You are not healthy. How can you be happy with yourselves? You should want to change. Perhaps it was jealousy that these people could love their bodies when I couldn’t love mine. (An interesting read by Lindy West about fat-acceptance and her experience that I recommend.)

    But now, I am so ashamed of that line of thinking.

    Because no one is saying that fat = healthy. What they are saying is fat/skinny/whatever = deserve to be loved by self and others.

    Having a body that is not idolized by the media does not mean one is deserving of public ridicule and self loathing. No matter what unrealistic expectations for society says, our body size and our worth have literally NOTHING to do with one another. 

    And why shouldn’t everyone love themselves? What good does hating your body serve anyway? When I see people fighting back against fat-acceptance, I get so frustrated. Think about it: how does hating our bodies help us in any way?

    Hating your body will not be a gateway to greater health. But loving your body as it is, is certainly a gateway to better health, both mental and physical.

    Honestly, once I started loving myself, suddenly making healthier choices was actually EASIER.

    Why We Should Love Our Bodies, No Matter What

    But what can loving our bodies do? It can improve our mental health and happiness. I love my post-pregnancy body, stretch marks and all.

    And folks, that’s 4 whole pregnancies in 4 years which DID NOT leave this body unscathed (for more on my postpartum health journey, click here).

    To be honest, before when I would hear or read about mothers who “loved their stretch marks,” I thought they were absolutely full of crap.

    How can a person love stretch marks?

    But there I was, in a street full of panting runners, and I finally got it: my body bears scars of love. My c-section scar, my stretch marks, my loose soft skin, all bear the signs of carrying the greatest joys in my life: my children. I would never want to erase the signs my body bears from such beautiful experiences.

    Sure, I want to be healthier. I want to be trim and run faster and have firm shapely muscles. But I love myself as I am now. I love and respect the miracle that is my body.

    3 Steps to Loving Our Bodies as They Are

    If you struggle with this, here are just a few ways that you can start to see your postpartum body in a new light.

    1) Recognize all your body does for you

    Get a piece of paper, a pen, and somnversation to be depressie mental juices and start listing.

    Don’t focus on what it looks like, focus on what it does.

    Think about all your daily tasks over a 24 hours period. Think of what your body means to and does for the different members of your family. When one truly considers how amazing our bodies are and all they do, it’s hard not to be grateful for them.

    2) Stop Negative Thoughts About Your Body

    When negative thoughts creep into you head about your body, dismiss them and instead think about something from your list of all your body does for you.

    We can’t always keep thoughts from popping in our heads, but do not lay our the welcome mat and invite them for coffee. Send them packing and focus on positive thoughts.

    3) Change How You Talk About Your Body

    How you talk about your body effects how you feel about yourself and how others feel about themselves.

    If you start complaining about your body in a group of people, you are inviting the conversation to go down Depression Avenue. You may even invite others to subconsciously start being more del-critical of themselves.

    It’s not an uplifting subject. Instead, change that discussion into discussing something you are excited about for improving your health. As always, be very careful how you talk about your body around kids.

    National Eating Disorders Association has an extensive guide of more ways to love your body.

    We All Deserve to Love Ourselves

    Your body is a complex and amazing miracle. Your body, warts and all, is a gift.

    Learning to truly love my body has not only brought me so much peace and gratitude, but it’s also helped me to make better health decisions. Instead of a blight I want to change, my body is a miracle I want to honor and respect by taking care of it.

    I hope you are on a journey to love your amazing body, mama.