THIS IS MY MOTHERHOOD DIARY. A COLLECTION OF ALL MY FAVORITES: SCRUMPTIOUS AND NUTRITIOUS MEALS, STYLISH (BUT COMFORTABLE!) CLOTHING FOR PREGNANCY AND BEYOND, AWESOME WORKOUTS, AMAZING BEAUTY RITUALS, THE PERFECT PRODUCT OR ACCESSORY FOR LIFE WITH BABY, OR JUST GENERAL MUSINGS ON WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A GOOD LADY AND A GREAT MOTHER. YUMMY MUMMY IS MY PLACE TO GATHER IT ALL AND SHARE IT WITH YOU.
What is a Yummy Mummy?
According to Wikipedia, the term describes “young, attractive, and wealthy mothers…” who seem to make the whole thing look effortless. You know them – they bounced right back into their skinny jeans a week after giving birth. Morning sickness? Not for them. Their hair is never out of place, and their makeup is always flawless. Their marital relations are always bliss. They don’t look sleep-deprived, and their children are angels. How do they do it??
Well, I don’t really know. But I’ve decided to defy Wikipedia and rewrite the definition of a Yummy Mummy as a lady with a delicious (yummy) approach to this exciting phase of womanhood and femininity – becoming a mother (mummy)! See how I just did that?! Because, in my mind, being a yummy mummy has much more to do with attitude than resources. And the magic of making it look easy is to make it fun!
Whether it’s scrumptious and nutritious meals, stylish (but comfortable!) clothing, awesome workouts, amazing beauty rituals, the perfect product or accessory, happy marriage, or just general musings on what it means to be a good lady and a great mother, Yummy Mummy is my place to gather it all – and share it with you!
I’m a newbie to this whole pregnancy thing…nearly six months in and still definitely on a steep learning curve! But the best part about it (besides falling in love with this little person I haven’t even met yet) has been license to pester every woman I know with any insight into this process for her favorite tips, insider tricks, best-kept secrets, old-wives tales, fail-proof strategies, and lessons she wished someone had taught her before she was knee-deep in diapers. There have been plenty of men with loads of daddy-wisdom to share, as well! I’m sure my husband, John, will enjoy those…maybe they need a Dashing Daddy page or something.
But in the meantime, come along for the ride. It’ll be fun to see what we uncover along the way. At the very least, we’ll give Wikipedia something new to write about.
Impromptu dance party at the apartment with me, baby, & sister Belly!
I haven’t been the most dedicated worker-outer since I got pregnant. I gave up the really high-intensity cardio workouts that involved a lot of bouncing or hard impact early on – eg. spinning and running – largely because my doctor told me I could do everything as long as I could hold a conversation throughout, and I’m not very good at moderating my intensity when I get going in a fun cardio class because I always want to go all-out.
I try to walk 3-5 miles every day (I get the first mile in on my walk to work each morning, and take it from there with errands around the city). One thing that really makes the time fly on these walks is having a great playlist on my iPhone, or listening to the New Yorker Fiction Podcast or other short stories; you can download amazing apps and catch up on current events, or zone out and have someone read YOU a good story. Walking is amazing for pregnancy because it gently circulates the lymph throughout your body, aiding in natural detoxification, and because the gentle stretching motion of walking loosens your hips where we have a tendency to get tight, keeps leg and butt muscles toned without too much exertion, can be good cardio, and actually may help the baby settle lower in the uterus and abdomen, meaning quicker labor for you down the road (yes!!).
I’ve also been to a few prenatal yoga classes, which are amazing for meeting other new mamas-to-be (you’ll definitely want this homegrown social network for those days and nights when all your other friends are at an all-day rager and you’re reading Good Night, Moon for the 50,000th time! Plus, they’re the best resources when it comes to the best finds for baby in your neighborhood). Yoga may really help when it comes to labor too, since it naturally teaches you to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations, meditate and breathe through pain, and may help stimulate contractions and labor when the time is right so you don’t need to go through artificial stimulation.
But like I said, I haven’t been doing anything crazy except…throwing wild dance parties in my apartment whenever my sister comes over!! My sister is 22 and tapped into all things cool…not fair. But I do get to reap the benefits of her insane music knowledge whenever she brings me a great new song. And then we start dancing, and the baby clearly loves it since as soon as I stop I get pummeled with little kicks until we start up again. Don’t worry, I’m not jumping around or raving…but it gets the blood pumping, makes me laugh, bonds me with family I love, and is just fun! I can’t think of anything better for baby than that.
You’re pregnant! Now what? Lots of healthy eating & prenatal vitamins
At the bottom of this post I’m going to tell you all about the prenatal vitamin I’ve discovered that I absolutely love, but first I’m going to explain a little bit about why I thought this post was so necessary and how crazy and confusing it can be to make smart choices even as a well-informed pregnant consumer, and even with a great Ob/Gyn and tons of MDs and alternative wellness practitioners on hand in your family, and even if you have made healthy eating and lifestyle your, well, job…and then we’ll get to the fun stuff.
I’ve always been pretty good about taking my vitamins, and I think of myself as having a well-balanced diet – after all, it’s what I talk about everyday on ABC’s The Chew! Ideally, the vits are only there to supplement eating that is already packed with nutrients: talking lots of whole, fresh fruits and veggies, leafy greens and cruciferous veggies especially, plus healthy fats (nuts, fatty fish, olive oil, coconut oil), lean protein – I rely on eggs, beans, and lentils for the most part, but organic turkey, chicken and fish are also all healthy choices – and whole grains that are naturally low in gluten or gluten-free (quinoa, millet, amaranth, brown rice, gluten-free oats). As an aside, even if you don’t think you’re gluten-averse, try a week avoiding it: chances are, you’ll be amazed at how much deeper you sleep, how much more rested and energetic you feel, how clear you’re thinking, and all those little digestive troubles you thought were just a natural part of your life? They can disappear, too.
Where were we? Ahh, yes. Healthy, balanced eating: Throw a little dairy in there (my doctor advised 5 servings a day while pregnant) if you’re into that sort of thing for calcium and vitamin D – I’m a yogurt fiend for the probiotics (GREAT for digestion and good skin!) and fill-‘er-up protein. Whole or 2% organic tastes best and is better for you because a) organic means you’re skipping all the nasty hormones and antibiotics poor conventional dairy cows are so often exposed to, and b) the little bit of fat helps you stay full and ensures you don’t get a massive blood sugar hit from the lactose sugar in dairy. And I love cheese – who doesn’t? Yogurt and cheese are fermented in some way, but I don’t know how great it is for humans to be drinking other mammals’ pure milk in mass quantities (after all, cow milk is naturally loaded with enzymes and antibodies intended for a new calf, biologically very different from a human!), so I’ve switched over to almond milk for most of my straight-up milk needs (um, cereal pretty much, and a little baking) except for organic cream or whole milk in my coffee, but since I’ve given up coffee for these next nine months anyway, that’s an easy sacrifice.
Now obviously I’ve left off all the delicious indulgences that make any diet worth eating – yes, I cave for gluten-packed bagels regularly at the weekend, and I’ve been known to enjoy delicious desserts when we’re out to dinner (also not always gluten-free), plus the occasional cheeseburger with onion rings or a delicious slice of pizza…but I digress. Mainly, I try to stick with the 80:20 rule – 80% so healthy Dr. Oz AND your momma would be proud, 20% have a little fun and be bad. And believe me, pregnancy cravings will give you good reason to exhaust that 20%!!! In fact, here’s what I’m snacking on as I write this – baby knows what it likes!!
All this to say that when it comes to eating and vitamins, I didn’t expect to have nearly so many questions about how to be healthy!! But as soon as I found out my husband, John, and I had a little one on the way, I wanted to make sure I was doing everything right. News flash: there is no such thing as “the right way,” and there is no one who has all the right answers for YOU. Your body is different, your baby is different, your cravings and lifestyle will be different, and the most important thing is to keep yourself relaxed, as healthy as can be, and enjoy the ride.
There are some basic rules of thumb when it comes to smart prenatal eating/drinking:
- drink more water than you ever thought possible, at least half your body weight in ounces of water every day. Your blood volume is basically doubling as the baby grows, so plenty of water will supply for this, keep you from getting dehydrated and the headaches associated, and help move everything along in your digestive tract
- obviously no hard alcohol/drugs…duh.
- America has a big thing against wine drinking when pregnant, but most doctors I’ve spoken with say that drinking like a European adult (eg. a glass of wine sipped slowly with dinner) won’t do any harm if you’re just dying for that Barolo
- little-or-no caffeine. I have one glass of green tea each morning, lightly brewed and with a squeeze of half a lemon to help boost the body’s absorption of the natural antioxidants. The studies I’ve read say as long as you’re drinking significantly less than you did before you got pregnant, and you’re not at any increased risk for miscarriage or complications, you should be fine.
- light on the refined sugar – depletes the immune system, spikes blood sugar, acidifies the body (potentially meaning poor digestion/nutrient absorption), and can pack on pounds you and your baby don’t need
- cut out all raw and unpasteurized dairy, no raw fish, no undercooked meats, no cold-smoked meats/fish, no processed meats (mostly because of the nitrates/packing materials, but also because they’re not generally the healthiest items on the menu)…basically, anything that could potentially be carrying harmful bacteria or chemicals that could hurt the baby
Got all that? Not so bad. But here’s where the tricky part comes in. Chances are you’re also going to be adding a prenatal vitamin to your daily regime if you haven’t been taking one already (as soon as you start trying to conceive, it should be part of your routine – but at the very least, most menstruating women should be taking a folic acid supplement just in case). So you walk into the health food store and – OH MY GOSH!!!! Why are there 14,000 options to choose from?? This one is raw and fermented, this one is biologically identical to your food, this one is recommended by and comes with a year-long subscription to any number of mommy-to-be magazines. How’s a lady to choose?? You’d think there would be some consensus on the best prenatal we should be taking, with a few variations to account for specific needs. This was just madness.
Now, back before I was pregnant, I had a lot of vitamins on hand that I would interchange depending on if I felt I needed more immune boosting, or more energy, or more minerals, etc. If I forgot them one day – or one week – not really a huge deal. Also, I didn’t have to read a ton of labels to worry about possible complications for fetal development back then. But it turns out everything from Echinacea to lavender can potentially be harmful for the baby, so now taking vitamins is a very serious undertaking, not to mention you really shouldn’t forget to take them…ever.
So I read as many nutrition-labels as I could and found the prenatal multi and prenatal DHA pills I thought looked most balanced. Then my doctor told me I needed to supplement with extra folic acid, plus B6 for help with morning sickness and B12 because I don’t eat a ton of red meat (I do get B12 shots that I love though – great for a natural energy boost and to keep my body in balance). Then I realized I wasn’t getting nearly enough calcium-magnesium or other minerals for the baby’s growing skeletal system. So back to the store I went, but I couldn’t find a pill that didn’t have more iron that I wanted to be taking with the multivitamin I already had, or potentially too much of another mineral already supplied. So I got a bunch of different isolated minerals and checked all these by my doctor. She said I was good, but now I’ve got, like, 10 pill bottles I need to sort through regularly to pull together my vitamin plan. Especially difficult when I need to be out of the house by 6am on weekdays and travel for work all the time. Can’t we streamline this a little bit??? Luckily, yes!
Now, I’m not endorsing this product, I’m not getting paid, and I am certainly not advocating that you do anything but what you and your doctor discuss is healthiest and safest for you. But I am telling you Metagenics Wellness Essentials for Pregnancy is what I take every day, and I am thrilled. As a company, Metagenics used to only be available through doctors, but they’re universally available now and really high quality. The pregnancy pills come in easy, pre-sorted packets I can take with me on the run. Each packet has 2 Advanced Prenatal tablets, 2 Calcium/Magnesium tablets, 1 Choline softgel (a nutrient that is helpful to baby’s brain development and may improve his/her learning and memory down the line) and, 2 OmegaGenics EPA-DHA 720 softgels (also crucial for proper brain development, and helps ward off some of the symptoms of forgetful “pregnancy brain” in mom), all color coded. Click the link below to read some more of the product reviews online and order for yourself.
There are only two negatives I can think of: first, they are a tad pricey ($63/month), but that is worth it to me for convenience and peace of mind – and all the other pills I had been taking were by no means inexpensive. Second, they are roughly the size of horse pills. Swill them down with lukewarm water, follow with a little warm pregnancy-safe tea (I love rooibos…another post on that coming soon) if you like to help everything dissolve and relax your throat, and you’ll be fine. Make sure you take the packets in the morning with breakfast since multivitamins especially can aggravate the stomach and/or cause nausea if you haven’t eaten recently. And there you have it!
Most of my posts aren’t going to be this long, promise…but I had a lot to say! And I know, as a first-timer myself, I’m so curious about everyone else’s best practices and favorite products, so I wanted to share the knowledge I’ve been gathering with you. Hope you enjoy! Tweet me @daphneoz if you have any thoughts/questions/just wanna chat.