Does Your Baby Have Good Posture?

Posted: 1 day ago in Parenting Pregnancy

baby-posture

Wait. What?

How does a baby have good posture? They barely sit or stand yet!

Well guess what – if your baby doesn’t start out with good posture from the get-go, he or she will surely NOT have good posture when it comes time to sit and stand! Here’s what I mean…

Does your baby’s head always end up in the same position while they sleep, even if you turn it a different way?

Does it flop or turn to one side?

Do they cry when you attempt to put them in a certain position, over and over?

Do they refuse to nurse on one side?

These are all signs that your baby may have structural misalignments, or what we call “poor posture” in adults.

How does that happen???

467588149Believe it or not, poor posture can start in-utero! If a baby is in a breech or transverse position, his or her head does not enjoy the “key-in-lock” relationship that happens when the head is vertex (head down). If baby is in a less than ideal position long enough, this can result in minor postural deviations at the least, and torticollis (‘wryneck’) if it’s really bad.

Even if baby is in a perfect position in-utero, the birth process can be incredibly traumatic for him or her, especially if interventions like Pitocin, epidural, vacuum extraction or C-sections are utilized. Their tiny joints and ligaments can be sprained and strained just like an adults can. Ultimately, if left uncorrected, this can often lead to postural changes, pain, and even health issues like ear infections and colic.

The ability to move freely is really important for development of normal spinal curves and muscle formation. “Tummy time” develops the very important “C” curves of the neck and back. However, spending too much time in an infant carrier can also force baby’s spine into unnatural positions, so you’ll want to watch for that.

Pediatric chiropractors do a great job of treating obvious spinal issues like head tilt and torticollis. More importantly, they can detect subtle shifts before they become even bigger problems. It’s a great idea to get your kids checked preventatively, much like you have a dentist check their teeth as soon as they get them.

After all, ‘An ounce of prevention…’ and all that.

“Pre-You, Post-Baby”

Posted: 6 days ago in Parenting Pregnancy

preyoupostbaby

All women gain weight during pregnancy; it’s a fact of life.

Whether it’s 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, or 100 lbs heavier than before you were pregnant; now is the time for acceptance and understanding. You’ve just delivered a baby into this world!

If you’re lucky, you might lose all of that ‘extra stuff’ immediately, or as a cruel joke, you may leave the hospital weighing as much as you did when you came in.

This post is meant for those women who want to get back to their pre-baby body and I’m here to tell you… let your body be your guide and balance be your goal.

I always suggest that women attempt to go back to pre-baby weight, if it was healthy weight for you to begin with. I’m not talking about how much you weighed after starving yourself for your wedding. I’m saying, look back over the years when you weren’t fanatically dieting and/or gorging yourself; what did you look and feel like? The emphasis here is on finding your natural balance.

For those of you who look at my pictures, and go, “oh yeah, whatever,” I want you to know that I’ve been everything from a size 2 to a size 16 as an adult. I have lived all the issues that surround food, weight, and body image, and it has taken me 45 years to find my balance point. I hope you get the lesson sooner.


First of all, let’s talk about what “baby weight” actually consists of:

  • the baby – average of 7.5 lbs.
  • placenta – around 1.5 lbs.
  • amniotic fluid – around 2 lbs.
  • uterine enlargement – around 2 lbs.
  • increased breast tissue – around 2 lbs.
  • increased blood volume – around 4 lbs.
  • fluid retention – around 4 lbs.
(source: “What to Expect When You’re Expecting“)

Add all of that up and you’re looking at 20+ lbs. of “baby weight”, which means a lot of what you’re looking at isn’t even fat. So be kind to yourself.

My philosophy is nine months on, nine months off.

I don’t think there should be any significant attempts to truly lose weight until after the “4th trimester” (I know, I know. There are only three trimesters of pregnancy, but I like to count the 3-4 months after baby comes as the fourth). Without this buffer zone of continued self-care, mama’s well-being can fall by the wayside, with all attention focused on baby only. During those very early months, your body will naturally find it’s new balance point as you shed all the extra fluids your body has held onto. Not to mention, nursing will burn many of those additional pounds away as you settle into a new routine, feeding yourself and your baby.

After the 4th trimester, reassess.

If you’ve made reasonable choices regarding food during pregnancy and in the 4th trimester, you will likely find that you’re pretty close to where you started, pre-baby. At this point, I recommend stepping up your exercise, making more significantly wise food choices, and setting a goal for weight loss (or gain, for those lucky few of you who are too skinny to begin. I say “lucky” because I know it’s just as much of a problem for those of you who are too thin, but it’s just more socially acceptable to be thin).

Ultimately, the one-year mark is pivotal. If you don’t lose your extra baby weight by the first year, or before you get pregnant again, those extra lbs. tend to become permanent and/or extremely hard to lose.

Full Disclosure: Even if and when you get back to pre-baby weight, your body will likely be very different. I got back to my pre-baby size, but none of my pants fit! Your hips may be wider or narrower, your butt flatter or rounder. You get the point? Your body will be different. Your life will be different.

Embrace the change!

Tailbone Trauma: it’s a real bitch.

Posted: 8 days ago in Health

tailbone

I don’t mean to come off strong, but truly, you don’t know how good you have it until you can’t. sit. down.


What causes this ‘oh so’ inconvenient condition? Well, most tailbone injuries happen in one of two ways – pushing a big ol’ baby out (aka childbirth), or falling on your arse (aka stupidity and/or ice). 

I can clearly remember when some grade-school bully pulled my chair away just as I was sitting down. BAM! – right onto the concrete cafeteria floor. I couldn’t sit straight for months.

167483643Your tailboneofficially named your coccyx – is a small bone comprised of 3-5 segments, some of which may still be moveable into adulthood. It’s attached to the sacrum; a larger, upside-down triangular shaped bone at the bottom of your spine. Your sacrum begins where the dimples in your back are, and your tailbone is right in your butt crack.

Sometimes the tailbone can be fractured during childbirth or a fall, but more likely, the pain you experience is caused by a sprain in the joint where the tailbone meets the sacrum.

Whether broken or sprained, tailbone issues HURT, and can make it near impossible to sit comfortably.


What’s a person to do with tailbone pain?

  • Stand instead of sit, but when you must sit, sit on a donut. Not of the Dunkin variety, but rather, a special pillow with a hole cut out so there is no pressure on your coccyx when you sit.
  • Ice the heck out of it. The best way to accomplish this? Put on a pair of granny-panties (come on, I know you have a pair or two in the back of your drawer!). Then, tuck a soft ice pack way into your butt crack, so the ice is right up against your coccyx. Finally, put another pair of snug-fitting panties on to hold it all in place. Doing this several times a day for 15 minutes or so can really get the inflammation down and help to manage the pain. As awkward as it sounds, it’s really beneficial, and if you have tailbone pain, you’ll do pretty much anything to help it heal.
  • Seek out chiropractic treatment. The kind of trauma that results in coccyx pain will quite often misalign its joint with the sacrum. Chiropractic adjustments can align this, which will definitely accelerate the healing process.
  • Do your best not to get constipated. Straining and pushing does not feel at all good when you have an issue with your coccyx, so you may want to ramp up the water, fiber and fruit to avoid this.
  • Try not to worry. Very rarely does chronic coccygeal pain (coccydynia) require anti-inflammatory injections and/or surgical removal of the coccyx. Just something to note in case you never thought it would heal.

And most of all, hang in there! Average healing time can be into the weeks and months, making patience a definite a virtue here. Stick to my recommendations above and you should make a full recovery.

Off The Grid Mentality

Posted: 13 days ago in Lifestyle

goneoffgrid-e1411041894501 copyIn this high-tech world we live in, especially in a high-tech business like blogging, it becomes really difficult to disconnect.

It was only just a decade or two ago when you could go on vacation and still be unreachable. No cell phone, laptop, or fax machine. You left a number to the hotel with someone at home in case of an emergency, and that was the last you communicated with home until you arrived back.

These days, isn’t it great that we can work from anywhere? We can telecommute. We are reachable 24/7!

Or is it great??

Most of us are on this hamster wheel of productivity. We hit the ground running, and fall over exhausted at the end of the night — It’s not a sustainable state. Ideally, we’d practice a little of this everyday but that doesn’t discount the need for an extended period of rest and relaxation.

It’s not a badge of honor to say that you haven’t taken a day off in 10 years. Don’t get me wrong, though; it’s great to be a ‘company man’ or ‘woman’ — to an extent. No one ever says on their deathbed that they wish they had put more time in at the office. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. They say that they wished they had spent more time with the ones they loved.

During our “prime time,” when we are entrenched in the business of making a living, or organizing the lives of our family members at home, it is absolutely wonderful to be fully reachable. However, it’s during our “playtime” that I think it’s critical to be virtually unreachable.

Rest and rejuvenation are crucial to maintaining high levels of productivity.

So, if we always have our contacts and emails within an arm’s reach, might we not be as well-replenished as we think? Without the distraction that electronic communication, email, texts, and phone calls bring, we create head space to appreciate that which we have come to see and experience for ourselves. It also helps us to communicate with ourselves, and each other without distraction.

In my family, we look at our calendar around the New Year and schedule our “playtime” in the form of family and couple vacations. In ink. So 2-4 times a year, we go off the grid. I leave my emergency contact info with my family and office, but encourage them not to call!

Because truly, if my house burns down, I’m going to need to be rested and rejuvenated to deal with that when I come home.

So if you’re taking the time and money to plan a vacation, then I applaud you. Just make sure you’re getting what you pay for. Don’t take your busy life with you, because it does no good to live your busy life remotely. Frankly, it’s just a change of venue and probably more difficult, a.k.a. all of the stress and none of the conveniences.

Wishing you much rest and relaxation, OFF the grid!

Katharine Hepburn Quote

Posted: 14 days ago in Inspiration

katharine-hepburn-quote

Gluten Free Me (Part II)

Posted: 15 days ago in Health Lifestyle

gluten-free-me-p2Gluten is not my friend. 

I am grateful that I don’t have Celiac disease, but I do have a wicked intolerance for the stuff. What does that look like? Well to start, if you haven’t already read Part 1 of ‘Gluten Free Me’, please do.

When I eat gluten, I feel like I have a big ball of dough in my belly – which, I guess is true. I feel poofy and gassy, topped off with a dose of sluggishness and dopiness.

Snow White’s dwarves have nothing on me! 

Worse, since gluten is found in so many products, I end up feeling like that most of the time, and not just after eating pizza or Italian bread. A lot of people complain of feeling like I do after eating gluten, so I thought I was, ya know, ‘normal’. Then a nutritionist friend suggested I do a gluten elimination diet, and so I rose to the challenge.

Holy gluten free transformation, Batgirl! I felt like a new woman!

I committed to eliminating all sources of gluten for one full month. In addition to the obvious sources such as breads, crackers, cereals, cookies and pasta made with wheat, barley or rye — I was careful to avoid the hidden sources as well. Can you believe that there can be gluten in:

  • Deli meats
  • Sausage
  • Dressings and sauces
  • Beer. Sigh, beer
  • Flavored coffee and tea

It was tough for the first few days, but I started feeling great fairly quickly, which motivated me to keep it up. I had much more energy, less brain fog, more regular bathroom habits and a tummy that was no longer feeling like the Michelin man’s twin sister.

The kicker at the end of an elimination diet is to do a ‘challenge’ – eat some gluten and see how you feel. Well, it was like someone stuck an air hose in me with sleepy gas. The bloat and fatigue came back with a vengeance.

My take on eating gluten-free is fairly simple. Instead of focusing on what I can’t eat, I make a list of what I can eat, and find, easily.


Here’s what I had to eat for the last 2 days of living gluten free:

Day 1:

  • Nonfat Greek yogurt, blueberries, gluten-free (GF)d granola.
  • Cashews and an apple
  • Kale salad with chicken, oil and vinegar
  • Clementines
  • Peanut butter and a banana
  • Grilled fish and asparagus
  • Ice cream…oh yes you can, but only the good stuff!

Day 2:

  • Omelet with spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes
  • Almonds
  • Salad with walnuts and feta
  • GF protein bar
  • Clementines
  • GF sausage with cauliflower and potatoes
  • More ice cream

For a more comprehensive list of foods containing gluten, check out this article by WebMD.

I do try to make the best of available food choices always, but I also try to balance that with living a full life – and for me that sometimes includes an amazing loaf of Italian bread slathered in butter, a big slice of pizza from a New York City street corner, or ice cream two nights in a row (it’s summertime people!).

Life is so damn short, and I want to eat it all up, literally!

To keep that balance in check, I try to go gluten-free for a month a couple of times a year, and that really works for me. But remember, if you have Celiac disease, you MUST avoid gluten at all times.  

Best of luck, let me know how it goes!

Gluten Free Me (Part I)

Posted: 16 days ago in Health Lifestyle

gluten-free-me-p1What’s all the to-do about gluten free, anyway?

Gluten is a protein that is found primarily in wheat products, though it sneaks in to some other grains like barley and rye, and products like soy-sauce.

Soy sauce? Yup.  

A small segment of the population has an autoimmune disorder called Celiac disease. Celiacs suffer damage to the lining of the small intestine with the ingestion of gluten. Think of gluten as ‘glue’, which is how it acts on the hair-like cilia of the intestine, interfering with the absorption of food.

Though only 1 in 100 people have Celiac disease, it is theorized that many more of us have a gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance.

What are some indications of gluten sensitivity, you say?

  • Chronic digestive issues like gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Musculoskeletal pain liken to Rheumatoid Arthritis

Laboratory tests can rule out Celiac disease, but the only way to determine if you have a gluten sensitivity is via an elimination diet. I did one for grins and giggles many years ago, and was happily shocked by how much better I felt without gluten in my life – and I felt pretty damn good with gluten in my life, so that’s saying something!

Since life is short and pizza is so, so good, I don’t practice living gluten free all the time. There is a price to pay for indulging though, so I try to do a gluten-free month once or twice a year. Mainly to give my body a break, but also to hit the ‘reset’ button on my diet so I’m less inclined to eat the stuff.

So, alas it’s time for another little gluten free cleanse in my life.

Interested in doing a gluten elimination diet yourself? I’ll talk more about that later this week, and give you an idea of what I’ve been eating in lieu of bagels, pasta and bread.

Currently eating gluten-free? Let me know what your go-to meals and snacks are!

xo.

Have You Been Bitten by the Travel Bug (Part II)

Posted: 19 days ago in Lifestyle

haveyoubeenbitten-partIIOkay Goldilocks.

Earlier this week we talked about moving your bowels too little. Now we will talk about moving them too much.

Ideally, I’d like for you all to get it juuuuuust right.

Traveling to a foreign land, or even a different part of your own country can have you spending most of your time in the bathroom if you don’t play your cards right. Or perhaps, you may just be plain unlucky. Whatever the reason, nothing like explosive diarrhea to ruin a long-awaited vacation, huh?

Before you travel, investigate the water quality of where you’ll be going. More and more large hotels, even in exotic locations, have great water filtration systems. If you are going off the beaten path, however, assume that the water is unfiltered and unfit to drink. Which means, you’ll need to provide your own H2O.

Even if the water you are drinking is clean, chances are it has different microorganisms than your body is used to. What’s a girl to do?

  • Use some common sense. Stick to bottled drinks – hold the ice! – in remote locations. I shy away from produce that doesn’t have a peel or rind, even in big hotels, as kitchens may use unfiltered water to wash produce.
  • Overindulgence in rich foods and alcohol are sure to upset your tummy. I’m all about a good time on vacation, but not at the expense of spending most of it in my room. Pace yourselves, grasshoppers.
  • I’m not big on medications, but I have been known to take a preventive Pepto-bismol to coat my stomach on a remote road trip in Mexico. Montezuma did not have his revenge on me, and for this I am very grateful.

If you do end up with the runs on vacay, revert to the old BRAT diet: Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast. It’s a bland-food diet that helps to settle your stomach and firm stools, while putting lost nutrients back into your body.map-passport

OTC meds can help to stop the cramping and frequency, but remember this: if there is something in you that wants OUT – best to let that happen! You’ll want to make sure you don’t get dehydrated, so keep the fluids coming.

Best of luck, my out-of-commission peeps (…and/or those on vacation with them).