The Perfect at-Home Workout for Crazy Busy Moms

The Perfect at-Home Workout for Crazy Busy Moms

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The Perfect At-Home Workout for Busy Moms

After the birth of my first kid, I was bound and determined to get into great shape despite cancelling my gym membership. I was carrying 30 extra pounds that I needed to work off.

So with barrels of motivation and a set of P90X DVDs, I set out to work.

But adjusting to mom life and trying to fit in a super long at-home workout was seriously tough. I couldn’t manage 20 minutes without my baby fussing.

Some days, it’d take hitting pause a dozen times to be able to actually get through the entire workout.

Then I found out I was pregnant again. And before I knew it, I had a 14 month old and a newborn. Working out at all seemed daunting with 2 little ones. So how on earth would I be able to block out an uninterrupted hour to fit in a workout? 

That’s when I found Shaun T’s T25, which was a total game-changer. I knew I was involve from the first workout. 

Ten minutes in and I felt like I’d worked out for 45 minutes. And before I knew it, the 25 minutes was up and I felt like I’d just conquered the world.

All I needed to do was muster the energy to hit “play” 5 times a week, and I experienced some incredible changes in my health.

Suddenly daily exercise was far less daunting. With eleven 25 minute workouts to choose from, I had plenty of different options depending on my mood (and soreness level!).

Here’s why I think you might just love T25 too:

T25 is the perfect workout at home for busy moms

T25 is the perfect workout for busy moms

 

What You Get

  • 9 DVDs
  • 11–25 minute workouts that mostly require ZERO equipment
  • Loads of intense cardio
  • strength training for every muscle group
  • 3 minute cooldown after each workout



Why It’s AWESOME

1. The workouts go by soooo fast.

Twenty-five minutes is nothing, my friend. But those 25 minutes a few times a week will bring huge changes to how you feel. Since each workout is broken up into exercises that you do for 30-45 seconds, there’s no time to get bored and the 25 minutes really do fly by.

2. You just have to press “play”.

No need to load up your kids and go to a gym. Or research and plan a workout. You don’t even have to put on workout clothes! Honestly, some days I’d just do it in my skivvies not wanting to dirty any extra laundry. You just gotta hit “play”.

3. Shaun T is delightful.

While I’m sure they exist, I haven’t yet met anyone who doesn’t like Shaun T. He’s engaging and super motivating. I just listened to him on a podcast and it just made me love him more.

4. Modifiers make it so you can do it at many levels.

When I first started, I used a LOT of the modifiers. But as I got in better shape I was able to drop them. It’s great because you can be at a variety of fitness levels and still get a killer workout.

5. You don’t have to follow the 10-week plan.

If following a plan works for you, then you’ve got one included in the DVD set. 

But if the thought of being locked into a plan stresses you out, no sweat. You can create your own routine. You’ve got 11 great workouts to choose from. If your goal is to work out 4 days a week, then pick out 4 workouts you want to do and press play 4 times.

Do the workouts you want to do.  Or you can switch up the workouts with running/walking. The options are endless.

6. You don’t need a bunch of equipment.

Most of the workouts just use body weight and a whole lotta sweat. A few call for a mat (for ab stuff) and a set of weights or a band (which actually comes with the DVDs).

7. You get an hour’s worth of workout crammed into 25 minutes.

With just 24 hours a day to work with, I’m always looking to use my time as efficenitly as possible. WHen it comes to getting a fabulous and quick workout, I don’t know of anything better.

8. Easy to workout before kids are up.

I’m a big believer in making the most of the morning hours and especially morning exercise, especially doing it before your kids are up. Because the workout is so quick, you can get up just 30 minutes earlier and be done with exercise for the day with no distractions and children demanding to be fed breakfast.

T25 is the perfect at-home workout for busy moms

 

Why it may NOT be for you

While amazing, these are legitimately intense workouts. You get a serious bang for your buck, but it’s not for the faint of heart. Literally. If you have a health issue or are completely starting from ground zero exercise-wise, these might not be the best exercises to start with. As always, be safe and smart about how you pursue greater health and consult a doctor is you’re unsure.

T25 is Awesome

But if you’re ready for some uh-mazing workouts that you can quickly fit in whenever you want in the privacy of your living room, then T25 might be answer you’re looking for. It’s the perfect way for crazy-busy moms to get in regular exercise without forking over the money for a gym membership.

Have you tried the workouts? Let me know what you thought of them.

 


Not Giving Up: Getting into Shape after 4 Pregnancies

Not Giving Up: Getting into Shape after 4 Pregnancies

It was pretty much my worst nightmare. Except it was really happening.

People swarmed around me while I stepped on a scale and a muscly guy with 8% body fat recorded my weight and my body measurements. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Mr. Muscles then proceeds to stare in disbelief at the numbers he’d just jotted down.

“But I see you in here all the time,” he said, genuinely perplexed.

And I had nothing to say.

I’d been working with a personal trainer for a whole month, giving everything I could to getting into shape after 4 pregnancies and yet there was absolutely no discernable difference in any of my measurements. Like any.

Not a pound. Not an inch.

Nothing.

My kindly trainer could not figure out what was going on. Not only did I show up in beast-mode daily at the gym (he was a witness!), but I was breastfeeding, right? Hadn’t he read like EVERYWHERE that breastfeeding just melts away body fat? Why wasn’t I melting?

I could feel myself slipping into a junior high-like feeling of insecurity. Deflated and disappointed.

Well, I explained, it didn’t work that way for me. In fact, I usually gained weight while I nursed.

We finished the workout, my usual enthusiasm absent. And like the little leaguer after the last game of a losing season, I went home ashamed and defeated.

Weight loss after 4 babies

Couldn’t shake it

Days later, I couldn’t help but replay the humiliation of the scale and the measuring tape.

What was I going to do? I was exercising daily and changing how I eat. Basically, I was giving everything to getting in shape. And apparently, it wasn’t getting me anywhere.

I’d mulled over my failure for a week when the thought suddenly dawned on me: Actually, things had really changed.

First off, I was nursing and I wasn’t gaining weight.

Wait a minute…this is HUGE!!!!

Also, I had more energy, slept better, and I simply felt better.

While the fruits of my labor were invisible, things were actually changing for me. I realized then that my hard work was indeed paying off.

And I wasn’t about to quit.

The Dreaded Fourth Baby Body

Just a few months earlier, I knew I was ready for a serious lifestyle change.

Looking in the mirror shortly after the birth of my 4th child December of  2016, I was shocked by how drastically 4 pregnancies in under 5 years (and a whole lotta stress) had altered my body.

To begin, I was the heaviest I’d ever been not pregnant. And more than the weight, my body showed all the signs of 4 years of not making exercise a priority. Nothing remained of a once-toned body.

But my belly. Oh, my belly.  

While pregnancy always left my tummy soft and droopy, this time it was different. My stomach basically looked like a huge pile of discarded pizza dough. While the 1st three pregnancies certainly impacted my belly, the fourth pregnancy seemed to have made a bet that it could blow away all the others in level of destruction.

And it clearly won.

Now, I firmly believe in loving your body–scars, stretch marks and all. But because I love and respect my body, I was resolved that things were going to seriously change. Perhaps my pizza dough mom belly would never completely go away, but I was determined to have the healthiest body possible.

Getting into shape after 4 pregnancies would not be easy, but I was like a toddler fixated on an unreachable toy. I was bound and determined to get what I wanted.

Once the 6 week postpartum mark approached, I swallowed my fears and insecurities and marched straight into the gym and got a membership. Determined to change (and a sucker for a well-honed sales technique), I even signed up for a personal trainer.

And nearly every single day, I showed up at the gym. The sweaty sore spot in a sea of fit and fashionable gym goers.

Weight loss after 4 babies

Getting into Shape after 4 Pregnancies

Babe Ruth once said, “You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.”

After the disappointing weigh-in, I resolved that I was not about to be be beaten by a scale and a measuring tape. My journey to health was just too dang important.  

So on I plowed, more determined than ever.

While I only continued with the trainer for a few more sessions, I continued to workout regularly and research health and fitness topics. After getting the go-ahead from my pediatrician, I started intermittent fasting while I nursed.

Suddenly, the changes started to happen more rapidly.  I gradually developed healthier habits. And, lo-and-behold, the number on the scale actually started falling.

Just this week, almost a year to the day of the catestrophic weighin, I ran into my old trainer at the gym. Mere feet from the scale and drawer that held the measuring tape. .

But this meeting was waaaay different from the year before. My determination and hard work paid off: I had lost 30 lbs while gaining a ton of muscle, completely reshaping my body.  

“Wow. You look great!” he said. “Smaller every time I see you.”

We stood and chatted for several minutes and caught up on each others’ lives.

It wasn’t until after we said our goodbyes that I realized that it had been almost exactly a year since that intensely disappointing day when I could see no discernable impact of all my hard work.

Ironically enough, I realized that I was even wearing the exact same shirt (that fit much looser now).

What I couldn’t see the year before, but saw so clearly now was that my hard work did pay off. From the moment I started my health journey, even though I couldn’t see the results, I had started on the path that led me to very real changes.

Weight loss after 4 babies

Determination is everything

When you are determined to change a habit–whether it’s not yelling at your kids, eating healthier, reading more, waking up earlier, exercising more, keeping up wth your laundry–the most important thing you can do after you decide to change is to never give up.

Even when the results are invisible and you feel like you’re going nowhere.

If you are actively working towards your goal, getting back up after you fall, reassessing your strategies, educating yourself, big changes will come.

Even if you’ve failed a million times before.

Results may come slowly, but they will come if you keep trying and never give up no matter how many times you fall.

Honestly, I still haven’t reached my health goals. I still have about 20 more pounds to lose and there are still habits I want to change. I’m not per definitely mess up. (In fact, I may have eaten half a wheel of brie today…)

But this I know:

You just can’t beat the person who never gives up

Stick with it, mama. If I can do it, so can you. You’ve got this!

 

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12 Steps to Combat Picky Eating and Create Healthy Mealtime Habits

12 Steps to Combat Picky Eating and Create Healthy Mealtime Habits

This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience.  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

 

12 Steps to Combat Picky Eating and Create Healthy Mealtime Habits

We all want to be good moms. Which means feeding our kids nourishing food and helping them have healthy eating habits. Or at least, theoretically that’s how it’s supposed to go down.

The reality is that meal time can be a battle ground of wills. 

This was how meal time went down at our house:

  1. I’d have spent serious time preparing a bunch of delicious food.
  2. I call my family to the table.
  3. My kids devolve into tears and gagging noises, convinced I’m are trying to poison them.
  4. My pride dashed, I turn into Cranky Mommy 

And thus the mealtime battle begins.

Needless to say, I’ve struggled mightily to get my kids to eat healthy foods.

And it seemed like my efforts to get them to eat (e.g. “no dessert until you finish” or “5 more bites”) only seemed to keep the food battles raging.

So I started reading everything that I could and trying stuff out on my kids.

Turns out, all that conventional wisdom (“you have to clear your plate before you leave the table!”) is entirely unhelpful for creating kids with healthy eating habits.

After some great books (this one was my absolute favorite), I found a much better way to tackle the meal-time troubles. As I eliminated the struggle and conflict from our meals, my kids automatically started to be more exploratory with foods and developed healthier habits. 

But I’m not alone in my struggles. 

Picky Eaters Are Everywhere

As many as 50% or kids, at least for a period of time, fall into the category of “picky eater”. As a parent, this is incredibly frustrating. You’re going to great pains in trying to nourish your offspring and instill healthy eating habits while your child wants to just eat fishy crackers and Doritos.

But you can create a healthy home and instill healthy eating habits–even in your pickiest eaters.

Here are 12 tips to help you do just that.

12 Steps to combat picky eating & create healthy mealtime habits

12 Steps to combat picky eating & create healthy mealtime habits

1) Get your husband on the same page.

Nothing will sabotage any new parenting endeavor then being undermined by the other parent. However, I’ve found that this is usually because I didn’t fully inform him of the new strategy I was trying.

Sit down with your partner and determine what kinds of foods you want to be eating and your plan of action. Sending mixed messages to your kids will just communicate that you aren’t serious. 

2) Involve your child

Ask your child what you should make. At the grocery store, have them help you pick out foods. Kids love picking out produce. Have them help you in the kitchen preparing the meal.

This was really helpful in our house. Involving my pickiest eater in the cooking process has not only been fun and bonding, but she’s now much more likely to eat something she helped prepare.

3) Never force kids to eat

Forcing kids to eat just ensures that kids will have negative associates with mealtime and the food you are forcing them to eat.

But taking all the fight, forcing, and negotiating out of your meals will make your child more comfortable and secure. When they’re more comfortable and secure they are more likely to eat the foods you offer.

But I know it’s so hard. When your kid is refusing to eat anything but Skittles, your first inclination is to dig in and win the battle (at least for me). Problem is the more you battle, the more your child resists. Resisting and refusing is how your child exerts control.

Which is why they start refusing foods they used to like!

This was especially true with my second daughter. Even mentioning that I was making dinner, she would start pouting and exclaiming that she didn’t like what I was making.Never mind that she wouldn’t actually know what I was making!

But because we battled and negotiated our way through meals in order to get healthy foods in her body, the mention of dinner geared her up for a fight.

When we changed our strategy (thanks to this amazing book that I highly recommend, It’s Not About the Broccoli), we stopped all forcing and negotiating. Instead, we provided lots of healthy food options and let her pick. At first, she ate a lot of rice. But with the pressure gone, over time my ultra-picky daughter began trying new things.

Ironically, her diet has improved immensely by turning the power over to her.

Forcing kids to eat just ensures that kids will have negative associates with mealtime and the food you are forcing them to eat.

12 Steps to combat picky eating & create healthy mealtime habits

4) Set a good example

Children are much more likely to do what you do and not what you say. Our children are walking testaments to our actions, not our words. This applies to how we eat as well.

I’ve also found that if I am eating anything around my kids, they will want to try some. From salads to smoothies packed with kale, if I’m eating and enjoying something, my kids want a piece of the action. And I’ve been really surprised by what my children will not only try, but end up really liking.  

5) Keep only healthy options around your house

If there aren’t unhealthy options littering your kitchen and pantry, then your child will have little else to beg for in place of the meal they’ve been presented.

For example, I never have juice or soda around the house and I only buy dense whole grain bread. They think white bread is candy. So all sandwiches or toast is made with heavy fiber and nutrient-packed bread. I try to keep all snack foods they healthiest options available.

6) Make meals fun

Making mealtime fun is will go a long way in having your associate healthy eating with positive emotions. If mealtimes are a always a battle, everyone is trained to get frustrated at dinner time!

Get your kids to help out, experiment with fun dips and sauces, and switch it up (like breakfast for dinner).

7) Don’t make a seperate meal

Making a seperate meal for your child–while it may keep the peace at dinner time–only ensures that picky and limited eating will continue.  When one of my kids outright refuse everything (rare), they are always welcome to have any raw vegtables, nuts or seeds, and sometime fruit. But no seperate meal.

8) Don’t bribe with dessert

This just teaches kids that healthy food is bad, but must be suffered through to get to the true reward: dessert. If dessert is the reward, then dessert is always the goal–not healthy eating habits.

I’ll admit that I tried this…a lot. And the result was that my children would constantly try and negotiate “how many bites” until they earned dessert. It wasn’t about eating until fullness. It was all about the dessert.

If your goal is to help your children enjoy healthy eating, bribing with dessert will not get you there. 

We eliminated dessert entirely for a while just to avoid any temptation to have dessert as a reward.

9) Introduce 1 new food at a time with foods they already like

I have found time and again that of I have 2-3 things I know my kids like at a meal and a third or fourth thing that they will try for the 1st time, they are much more likely to try the new thing than if I just try and give then a plate of full of new and strange food.

10) Offer fruits and vegetables with every snack and meal.

First off, if you want to get kids to eat healthy foods you have to offer it to them. A lot. Kid have to be exposed more than 10 times to a food before they may like it. That means the more your expose them, the faster they can develop a taste for these foods.

Secondly, if you are constantly offering fruits and veggies to your children it will help eliminate that urge to force them to eat vegetables at dinner because they haven’t eaten a plat all day. Knowing that they’ve had bites of healthy foods during the day can put your mind at ease and keep the food battle far from your house.

11) Stick to a Routine

Keep meals and snack times at roughly the same time everyday. If a child isn’t hungry for a meal or snack, then they should be hungry enough once the next one comes around.

12) Be consistent

Children’s brains are pattern seeking. If the pattern is that you enforce something new for a day or two and then forget about it, they pick that up quickly. But if you maintain consistency with your expectations and practices, they will pick that up and develop healthy eating habits.

For most people, healthy eating habits aren’t just going to manifest overnight. But through consistently encouraging healthy eating through these steps you can help your children try new foods, enjoy healthy eating, and create habits that will serve them for life. You can create a home of healthy eaters.

If you’re looking for additional reading, I highly recommend It’s Not About the Broccoli: Three Habits to Teach Your Kids For a Lifetime of Healthy Eating. It completely changed how my children eat. No more food battles and a lot of healthy eating. 

You’ve got this, mama.

13 Tips for Intermittent Fasting While Breastfeeding

13 Tips for Intermittent Fasting While Breastfeeding

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.

Tips for Intermittent Fasting While Breastfeeding

Intermittent fasting has been a godsend for me. I’ve reclaimed my health, losing over 35 lbs in the year since I started. And I’ve finally lost the baby weight from 4 back-to-back pregnancies. All while breastfeeding. And taking care of 4 busy kids.

For me, intermittent fasting while breastfeeding has been the gateway to healthy habits and establishing a healthy lifestyle (you can read more about my experience here).

Because of my results, I’ve been asked a lot about what exactly I did to successfully breastfeed while doing intermittent fasting (IF). After nearly a year of intermittent fasting and breastfeeding, here are my top tips and recommendations:

13 tips for success doing intermittent fasting while breastfeeding

 1) Start slowly

Be gentle with yourself. This is not a quick-fix solution for weight loss. Your priority is health, both yours and your baby’s.

To ensure you don’t disrupt your milk supply, start slowly. Start with a 12 hour fasting period (for example, 8:00 pm to 8:00 am) and then gradually increase it from there to a 14 or 16 hour fasting window. 

To keep track your fasting/eating hours, download the free printable intermittent fasting and breastfeeding weekly log at the bottom of this post!

Since adjusting, I have mostly done a 16:8 (16 hours fasting, 8 hours eating). My body is very comfortable with that and I rarely feel actual hunger.  I feel best eating between a 6 and 8 hour window.

2) Listen to your body

What is true hunger vs. simply wanting to eat? We spend so much of our life ignoring our body’s signals of true hunger and fullness.

Tune into your body and determine whether you’re experiencing hunger or just in the habit of eating. Pay attention to emotional triggers that send you straight to the fridge, even when you’re not actually hungry.

On this IF journey, I’ve had to wrestle with the fact that I am an emotional eater. My husband has a major work success. So we celebrate with milkshakes AFTER a huge meal.

My child gets injured and we rush her to the ER. So I nervously down a huge bag of vending machine Skittles.

I’m overwhlemed with work, kids, and my many responsibilites. And I find myself in a fast food drive-thru despite the fact I just ate and am not at all hungry.

Cutting through the emotional noise and actually listening to my true hunger cues has been a revelation. I’ve gotten back to my pre-4 kids wedding weight without counting any calories.

I also pay close attention to how what I eat affects my body. After 5 sugar cookies, I am zapped of energy and feel seriously gross. But after the green smoothie, I’ve got all the energy I need to keep up with 4 little kids. 

Not only do I eat fewer calories naturally, but paying attention to how food make me feel had helped me make healthier food choices. 

 3) Drink lots of water

One of the few things my pediatrician insisted on was drinking tons of water. Since I’m never without my trusty, (very banged-up) Hydroflask (the BEST water bottle ever), it hasn’t been a problem.

You need lots of water to maintain your milk supply.  And plus, it also helps navigating true hunger pains. And it makes your skin nice, too!

intermittent fasting and breastfeediing

4) Don’t go nuts with exercise

As your body adjusts to a new eating pattern, don’t overdo your exercise routine. While you should certainly exercise regularly, gradually increase your intensity so as not to shock your body. 

When I started, I would exercise a few days a week for 25 minutes (doing this workout program). As I grew accustomed to IF, I now do a pretty intense weekly regime (heavy weights and HIIT cardio at the gym 3 days a week and running 2-3 days a week). 

5) Exercise right before breaking your fast

Experts recommend exercising immediately before breaking your fast in order to reap the greatest metabolic benefits.

At first, I thought that I wouldn’t have the energy to exercise, but now I feel best exercising on an empty stomach. I have the most energy in the hours before breaking my fast. 

Just make sure that you eat protein-rich food quickly after working out. I often will make a protein and fiber packed smoothie to break my fast (frozen berries, greens, chia seeds, hemp seeds, coconut butter, vegan protein powder).

6) Skip breakfast

Most people find this is the easiest way to do IF.

Because I’d always heard that skipping breakfast was the worst thing your could every do, for years I’d eat breakfast despite not feeling hungry. In listening to my body, skipping breakfast and starting my meals at noon gives me an energized morning.  

7) Plan a satisfying 1st meal

This was especially important in the beginning. Your first meal should be both delicious and satisfying. A meal heavy on protein and fiber will set you up well for the day.

When I first started to do IF, I was just trying to get a handle on my out-of-control cravings. I wanted to eat ALL OF THE THINGS. All the time.

So making a delicious 1st meal was really important to help ease my cravings. As I adjusted to intermittent fasting while breastfeeding and my craving subsided, my meals naturally became healthier and healthier. 

8) Stop eating after dinner

As you go through the day, you are using up your limited store of willpower. After dinner, most of us have very little willpower left. Therefore, eating anything during this time may send us for a ride on the binge-eating train packed to the gills with sugar and carbs.  

9) Take PGX before meals

At first, you may be tempted to overeat. Especially, at your first meal of the day. But that will just leave you zapped of energy and will NOT help you achieve your health goals. PGX can help with that.

I first heard about the supplement PGX when I read Dr. Hyman’s 10-Day Detox Diet (which is awesome) where he highly recommends taking it before each meal. PGX is a soluble fiber from natural sources that helps regulate blood sugar, reduces food cravings, and helps with appetite control.

Since it takes 20 minutes after eating for your body to feel fullness, taking a few PGX fiber capsules with water before eating can help with overeating.

I typically take 3-6 capsules a few minutes before eating a meal (especially my first meal of the day) and it helps me not to go nuts and eat everything in my sight. If I’m feeling especially hungry, it helps me not to feel so ravenous so I don’t eat so much that I feel gross.

intermittent fasting and breastfeediing

10) Get protein and fiber with each meal and snack

This combination has been really helpful in satisfying my hunger without overeating. There are so many possible combinations.

For a meal, I’ll eat chicken or fish with a ton of baked veggies and maybe some whole grains. Or I’ll have a smoothie packed with greens, seeds, coconut or almond butter, nuts, some fruit, and vegan protein powder. A snack might be an apple with almond butter or some nuts and raw veggies. 

10) Experiment with meal schedule

To find out what works best for you, you may have to experiment a bit before finding what works. For me, this meant a satisfying, protein-rich meal at noon, a snack a few hours later, and then eating a final meal with my family at 6:00 pm or so.

11) Take your Vitamins

Be sure to continue taking the vitamins your pediatrician recommends while you breastfeed. For me, this means continuing my prenatals and taking vitamin D.

12) Quickly forgive yourself when you “mess up”

Don’t let minor setbacks stop you from your health goals. “Messing up” is just how we learn new habits and skills.

My success has come entirely because I refuse to give up, not because I eat perfectly. Seriously, most people can’t do the cold turkey approach.  

Most of us give into temptations as we claw our way to better health. Just get back up every time you fall and there is nothing you can’t accomplish. It may take some time, but you will do it.

Intermittent fasting while breastfeeding is possible

For the last year, I have practiced intermittent fasting while breastfeeding. Through following the tips above, it’s been of one of the most important steps I’ve taken to conquer my cravings, lose my baby weight from 4 pregnancies, and finally reclaim my health.

It was the vehicle through which I have managed to slowly lose over 30 lbs while creating a healthy lifestyle. I hope that what I’ve learned from doing IF will help you on your health journey. Just remember, your biggest priority is health: your health and the health of your baby.

Good luck, mama!

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!

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.  

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide #breastfeeding #nursingclothes

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.

BREASTFEEDING 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.

  • Born to Surf: Tons of cute modern clothes. You’d never guess they were nursing clothes!
  • Roolee: Super cute, hip, and affordable nursing clothes. Favorite part: almost all the nurisng dresses have pockets. 
  • H&M: From bras, pjs, to tops and dresses, H&M has it all. Generally simple, but solid finds.
  • Target Clothes: Not only does Target have a decent collection of nursing clothes, but they ALWAYS have loads of cute button-up blouses that work perfectly (I own several that I use for nursing).
  • Old Navy: A very affordable selection of nursing clothes.

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

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A Busy Mom’s Guide to Getting Started With Self-Care

 

“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 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.

But, of course, it took me a looooong time to figure that one out.

I used to feel like I had to “earn” self care.

There are few things I find more relaxing than sitting in a super hot bath (complete with essential oils and epsom salt) and reading a good book.

I find it soooo relaxing. 

But I’ve always felt like I had to “earn” a nice bath. I had to be really really deserving. Like if I’d run a marathon or something.

Once I had kids, that feeling compounded. Suddenly, in under 5 years I went from zero kids to 4 little girls 4 and under. All while working a job.

And it was just as crazy as you’re imagining.

If I had a hard time making time for myself before, how on earth was I going to do it now? I always had more to do than time to do it.

So making time to take care of myself felt like I was taking away from everything else. It felt like it was taking away from taking care of my kids.

But that was completely wrong.

Taking care of myself = taking better care of my kids.

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

It means leaving survival mode behind.

While it took a huge shift in mindset to actually plan and execute proper self care, it has made such a difference in my life and family..

I’m a better mom. I’m more patient. My body is healthier and I feel more balanced.

Which means I’m so much better prepared to handle the stress and difficult situations that naturally arise in my day.

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

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 fin 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 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. 

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GETTING STARTED

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?

To fit in self care, we need to cut out activities that aren’t important. We need to create the white space in our lives. 

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.  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. 

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, you’ve created the white space in your life. 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. 

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 everyday (even it’s a small one). And remember, self care is not a luxury. It is a necessity. Implement your own selfcare routine and let the benefits seep into your life.

You’ve got this, mama!

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

 

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

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