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This page features my latest article for new moms. Enjoy!
During Pregnancy: Let me suggest....
I wanted to share with my fellow moms and moms-to-be the products that I found incredibly useful during my pregnancy in 2011. These items were absolute necessities and completely worth the investment because of the relief, comfort and relaxation that I experienced using these products.
Snoogle Original Total Body Pillow
This pregnancy pillow was an absolute life saver! At 10 weeks pregnant I was feeling a lot of ligament pain
at night and had a very difficult time getting to sleep. I bought the Snoogle
that week and used it for the rest of my pregnancy and for several months post pregnancy
. When I used the Snoogle
the first time, I had one of the most relaxing night's sleep that I had
experienced in a long time. I was totally refreshed when I woke up
and my ligament pain was completely gone
. I highly recommend this
pregnancy pillow - it cradled my stomach, my knees, my legs and gave me back support as well.
| Get the Snoogle and avoid the need for all of those pillows!|
For less than $50, this is an absolute necessity, here is the link:http://www.toysrus.com/buy/prenatal-care/snoogle-total-body-pillow-13573-2267435
Prenatal Cradle Best Cradle
After the first trimester, I knew that the weight from my stomach and the ligament pain
was going to be very uncomfortable when walking. I found the Prenatal Cradle Best Cradle support
harness to be very helpful in relieving me from this discomfort. I could wear the Prenatal Cradle Best Cradle
under my clothes to give me relief from the ligament pain
and enable me to walk with comfort during the second trimester.
The Prenatal Cradle Best Cradle support
harness should only be used
during the first and second trimester only
during the third trimester, the stomach is very heavy and the cradle
will be too small to support your stomach's weight. Nevertheless, this
cradle brought me great relief
from the ligament pain
and made walking out to my car or in a store a much less painful experience. They come in a small, medium and a large size.
This cradle was a great product to have during most of my pregnancy and for @ $52
it was worth every penny
! Here is the link:http://www.drugsupplystore.com/servlet/the-9533/Orginal-Prenatal-Cradle-Maternity/Detail#.UUlVVze9t10
ate as healthfully as I could during my pregnancy but still felt that I
lacked enough dark green vegetables in my diet. I bought Amazing Grass Organic Wheatgrass Powder (gluten free) and drank two glasses of it every day with cranberry juice and water. I had used this Amazing Grass Organic Wheatgrass Powder (gluten free) for 6 months
prior to my pregnancy and found that my skin, hair and nails looked a
lot better and I had more energy. Since this product was so helpful, I
continued to use it during my pregnancy and found that it really helped me with energy and skin issues.
I highly recommend this product and you can purchase it here for @ $20:
In the last 6 weeks
of my pregnancy, I really started to feel anxious about the big day.
These feelings of anxiety were very paralyzing and I did not want to
feel this way on the day that my daughter was to be born. I knew I
needed something more than just soft music to relax me and give me some
sense of control over these feelings.
I found www.hypnobabies.com
and downloaded an mp3
from their website to help me relax and prepare for the big event. The video really helped calm me down dramatically.
I watched it 2-3 times
per week for the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy. Hypnobabies.com has an
extensive program to help women relax and feel calmer, especially during
pregnancy. They offer two free MP3s
on their website; the one called 'Relax Me
' is a nice example video of their program (it is now called 'Instantly Calm
'). You can download both example mp3s
directly from here, scroll down the page to the free downloads. You just need to register with the website
Pure Stress Relief by LifeScapes
I also listened to a stress relief CD called "Pure Stress Relief" by LifeScapes. This CD is a 3 box set that includes a piano music CD, a guitar music CD and a pure relaxation CD (this one was my favorite!). You can find it here:http://www.amazon.com/Pure-Stress-Relief-Various-Artists/dp/B007U0VAS4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1453558767&sr=8-1&keywords=pure+stress+relief+lifescape
Both the music CD and the Hypnobabies.com mp3 really helped me to feel totally relaxed and calm during my pregnancy, which ultimately, made my labor a lot easier.
(Just as a footnote, I was asked by the maternity ward doctors about
the types of relaxation techniques that I had used during my pregnancy
because I was so relaxed during labor).
Hyacinth Diffuser Oil by Seda France
In the final stretch of my pregnancy, the Pure Stress Relief CD, Hypnobabies.com mp3 and using Hyacinth scented diffuser oil with reed sticks (during early contractions) were an absolute necessity.
Inhaling the strong, sweet scent of hyacinth oil as soon as a contraction occurred significantly reduced the intensity of the labor pain, making the contraction more tolerable for me. A sweet, strong
scent interrupts the brain's pain receptors by activating the brain's
pleasure receptors, resulting in less pain during contractions. Here is
where to find Hyacinth diffuser oil by Seda France: http://www.zanadia.com/Seda-France-Diffuser-Refill-Hyacinth_p_14486.html
Also, here are the diffuser sticks: http://www.amazon.com/Hosleys-Set-Rattan-Diffuser-Reeds/dp/B00UCFY9PA/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1453558638&sr=8-5&keywords=diffuser+sticks
Depend Underwear for Women (Maximum Absorbancy)
In the last month
of my pregnancy, I wanted to be prepared in case my 'water broke' at an
inconvenient time (in a store, in the car, etc.). I came up with the
idea of wearing Depend Underwear for Women (Maximum Absorbancy)
. After I had my daughter, I continued to wear them for another 2 months post pregnancy
I found them very convenient because I could dispose of the Depend
Underwear every day and there was less laundry at the end of each week!
Here is the link to the Depend Underwear in size Large
Also, some women that I spoke to used Doggie Pee Pads
to line the seat of their car
for extra protection in case their 'water broke' while driving. The Doggie Pee Pads
come in many colors, are machine washable, contain absorbent inner layers and a leak-proof barrier.
You can purchase the Doggie Pee Pads
here for @ $21
Other Necessities to Consider during Pregnancy
Buying the Medela Breast Pump Backpack
|My husband, Frank, feeding our 5-day-old daughter. Yum!|
When I was four months pregnant, I decided to begin the shopping for my post pregnancy time and bought the Medela Breast Pump in the Backpack
. This breast pump was an absolute lifesaver
! With this breast pump I never suffered from being engorged and my husband could bottle feed our daughter
me a little break). The backpack version here allowed me to take the
breast pump with me safely on trips and place it on my back which saved
room in my stroller storage bag. I highly recommend buying this version
of the Medela Breast Pump
as soon as you can (also Babies R Us offers insurance for this product
My Brest Friend Breastfeeding Pillow
The My Brest Friend Breastfeeding Pillow
a life saver and wonderful to have when I fed my daughter. It has a
built-in pillow for her head, making access to her food easier for her
and more comfortable. The adjustable strap allows this pillow to fit a
woman of almost any size in the postpartum period. The pillow is stiff
and does not bend
the middle at all (making the breastfeeding easier), is well supported
with comfortable padding in the back and has a removable cover for easy
cleaning (the Boppy
, for example, bends in the middle, does not fit properly around
a women's mid-section and was not originally designed
as a breastfeeding pillow).
Using the My Brest Friend Breastfeeding Pillow allowed me to feed my daughter without having to hold her up all of the time
and wearing down my arm muscles in the process!
This pillow was suggested to me by the instructor for my breastfeeding class
that I took prior to my daughter's arrival. She told me that the My Brest Friend Breastfeeding Pillow
was the only one that was actually designed as a breastfeeding pillow
so I bought it right away! I highly recommend this pillow and
purchasing it well in advance of your baby's due date. Here is the
link to the pillow: http://www.target.com/p/my-brest-friend-nursing-pillow-green-sunburst/-/A-10539010?lnk=rec|pdpipadexsrch|related_prods_vv|pdpipadexsrch|10539010|2
Also, here is the link to the green cover shown above:http://www.target.com/p/my-brest-friend-covers/-/A-10678953?lnk=rec|pdpipadh1|related_prods_vv|pdpipadh1|10678953|5
Lansinoh Nursing Pads
I initially bought the Lansinoh Nursing Pads
and found these to be the most absorbent. These pads do not break down
when wet, leaving part of the tissue lining on your skin. This can be
an annoying problem
when breastfeeding because the tissue lining sticks to your skin and
has to be removed quickly before feeding. If your child is crying and
hungry, you don't need layers from a cheap breast pad sticking to your
chest and making more work for you at that moment.
Pads have a quilted lining, are individually wrapped and have
self-stick tape on the back to prevent them from shifting in your bra. http://www.walmart.com/ip/Lansinoh-Disposable-Nursing-Pads-100ct/19477403
Think of Creating new Storage Space
|My daughter's nursery prior to her arrival!|
During the second trimester
my pregnancy, I decided that new storage space would be a necessity in
the nursery beyond the closet storage. I needed it to be easily
accessible and I wanted to be able to see
all of the products and supplies that I had purchased as well. I went to Home Depot and bought 3 inexpensive wire closet shelving pieces
(these ones can support 20-25 pounds
of weight) and placed them behind the door to the nursery (which is normally a useless space
). The diaper boxes were too heavy
for the shelving which is why I placed them in the floor area of the storage space. I bought an asian-style room divider
and used that to create a wall around the shelving so that it looked attractive, but hidden.
|The newly added storage space!|
I also bought several 8 1/2 x 11 inch pre-cut
plexiglass pieces and placed them on the shelving. This allowed me to
place bottles and other small items on the shelving without having them
fall over or fall through the prongs of the shelving - it also allowed me to line up all of the products in order
to see them better (see picture above).
Home Depot can cut these closet storage shelving pieces to fit your space
- just measure the space out beforehand. To cover the sharp, cut edges
of the shelving, I bought ClosetMaid Large and Small Shelf Caps
. This shelving/storage project (which I nicknamed "The Store
worked out really well for us and has been very convenient when
accessing our baby supplies and storage. In addition, it made a great
storage area out of a completely useless space in the nursery. (I also
had the room painted 6 months before
our daughter arrived with a low-VOC paint/primer
called "Southern Beauty
" - however, Behr
now makes Zero-VOC paint/primer
, you can find my paint color sample here:http://www.homedepot.com/p/BEHR-Premium-Plus-Ultra-8-oz-140C-1-Southern-Beauty-Interior-Exterior-Paint-Sample-140C-1U/202181806#.UY-cNUo9Pnk
Piccolo Universe.com parenting website
Piccolo Universe - http://piccolouniverse.com/en/
by Ricky Martin. Mr. Martin is the father of twin boys and created
this parenting website for members to share information, experiences and
tips, just sign up
In addition, parents can post questions on the forum to seek advice
from other members. Comments can also be added to any article. In
addition, Mr. Martin joins the diverse group of contributors on http://piccolouniverse.com/en/
with his own parenting experiences.
|Ricky Martin, father of 2.|
Mr. Martin, a Grammy winner and long time
children's advocate, is committed to the well-being of children around
the world through the Ricky Martin Foundation
that serves as an advocate for children in the areas of education,
health and social justice. In 2014, they completed the Tau Center
building in Puerto Rico, which serves victims of child trafficking and
|Tau Center for Children, Puerto Rico, U.S.A.|
I found these products to be very helpful during my postpartum period:
Dealing with Stretchmarks
During my pregnancy, I found Jean, a fellow 'mompreneur', who sold a kit to help reduce the look of stretch marks after pregnancy. Her kit included St. Ives Blemish Control Apricot Scrub, St. Ives Timeless Skin Collagen Elastin Moisturizer, Aloe Life Aloe Vera Skin Gel and a hand-held wooden massage brush.
applied the scrub to my stomach and scrubbed my stomach in a circular
motion with the massage brush 3 times per month (every 10 days), after a
20 minute bath on each side of my stomach until my skin was slightly
red. I then wiped my stomach clean with a wet cloth and mixed in a bowl
a small spoonful of the skin collagen and a small spoonful of the Aloe
Vera. I applied this mixture to my stomach with my hands. Every day I
applied a small mixture of the Aloe Vera and the collagen to my stomach
to help with the healing.
Although Jean's kit is not sold online, you can buy the St. Ives products online at Walgreens.com, the Aloe Vera Gel at iHerb.com and the same massage brush at Amazon.com. Also, see pictures of my postpartum stomach below during the healing process.
|My stomach, 1 month post pregnancy.|
I used the kit regularly for 6 months
|My stomach, 1 1/2 years post pregnancy|
post pregnancy and
over the next 12 months (in some cases only using the cream after
bathing). This remedy was very effective in reducing the look of my
stretch marks. At 1 1/2 years post pregnancy, my stomach looks a lot
better and the dark scars
have significantly faded
|My stomach, 28 months post pregnancy|
I resumed using the kit (at 1 1/2 years post
pregnancy) for 4 months straight. I used the healing cream for the next
few months and took this picture to the right
at 28 months post pregnancy. As you can see, the remaining dark scars have faded
my stomach skin no longer looks as severely scarred and damaged. I am
happy with the result from using this kit, especially since it did not
involve special skin treatments or surgery.
I found a great service for postpartum women
looking to alter their old, pre-pregnancy jeans that don't quite fit anymore. This company recognizes that a lot of women are tired of ill fitting maternity jeans
or are not able to find the right fitting jeans to fit their waist!
The website www.Belly-Jeans.com
is owned by another fellow 'mompreneur
Cheryl Holst, who, after her 5th pregnancy, decided to use her sewing
skills to make her jeans more comfortable during, and after, her
Cheryl can convert almost any pair of jeans into comfortable maternity jeans using a special elastic band, known as the 'Belly Band
She offers different styles, fabric choices and other sewing services
such as V-Fly extension, hemming and patching. She can also convert
shorts, skirts and other 'jean-cut' style pants.
|Half DemiBand with V-fly extension|
The average Belly Jeans maternity conversion runs $20 - $25 per pair of jeans
including shipping). If you are looking to convert your old or new
jeans to fit you better in the waist, check out her site and salvage
your favorite jeans! Don't forget to mention NetworkforMoms.org
|My Belly Jeans conversion, 10.2.12|
Here is a pair of my old jeans
altered by Belly-jeans to fit my postpartum waistline (see picture to the left).
As you can see, my jeans have a fun waistband color
that will compliment my baby's clothes and my stroller.
I chose the 'Full DemiBand
' Belly Band with the V-fly extension
. I just love my Belly Jeans and am so thankful for this service. Thanks Cheryl!
According to the old Isis Parenting.com blog
(now only on Facebook), "During pregnancy the two halves of the outermost abdominal layer, the rectus abdominis
, can become separated. This separation is called diastasis recti
and the separation happens because the growing baby and uterus put a
forceful pressure on the connective tissue that holds the two halves of
the muscles together, causing the connective tissue to stretch apart and
become weak." (To read a copy of this article, see it below at the end of this blog post)
Unfortunately, left uncorrected, this condition can cause long term back pain. There are ways to reduce the stretched muscles
and connective tissue in order to correct the diastasis. I know of three: Yoga
and crunches at home
using a split. I provide more information and useful videos in my June, 2012 post about Diastasis Recti
and how to correct it here:http://networkformoms.blogspot.com/2012/06/welcome-to-networkformomsorg.html
|The Belly Bandit|
In addition, the Belly Bandit
is a popular splint used by women who are trying to get their stomach back in shape. The Belly Bandit
can be found here:
Child Development Classes!
Sign up for child development classes!
I took several
classes at Mama & Me in Boston, who have increased their number of
classes for the 0 - 3 age group to meet the needs of the Boston community, www.MyMamaAndMe.com
these classes is a great way to meet other mothers with children in the
same age group and to make 'mommy' friends who can join you for play
dates! Also, they still have their birthday parties
!! Here is the link: http://www.mymamaandme.com/parties/
Livestrong.com: My Plate
I had used the "My Plate
" application and database from Livestrong.com 6 months before I was pregnant
to help me successfully lose weight. I absolutely love My Plate
you can set a weekly weight goal using their database, create menus for
each meal in your day and check the database for food that you are not
sure about in terms of calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium,
carbohydrates, fiber, protein and sugars. The My Plate
calculates the amount of each of these items based on your weight goal
and intake. It also displays the correct amount of each item that you
should consume per day! My Plate
on Livestrong.com is a fantastic tool and I highly recommend
this site when you are ready to lose weight (you will lose it the right
away!). Here is the link for more information and you can sign up for a
free account with Livestrong.com
Once you are signed up with a free account
, set your weight goals and start a My Plate menu.
For online weight loss support, go to the tab
', click on 'Lose Weight'
to join the weight loss support thread. This is a very positive and supportive group
- one that I found very encouraging.
International MOMS Club
Happy pregnancy everyone!
- Joy E.
Posted March 23, 2017
article below appeared on the old IsisParenting.com's blog (they set up
a Facebook) and was written by Isis fitness Instructor, Sara Knight,
February 15, 2012.
"The Post-Baby Belly: Identifying and treating diastasis recti
"The infamous "muffin top".
pregnancy, many women notice an unwelcome belly bulge; sometimes called
the “mummy tummy”, the “muffin top” or the “baby bulge”. Even if you
were a fitness enthusiast before, during, and after pregnancy you may
notice you just can’t seem to banish the bump! We often think that this
new belly is from fat, but it’s actually due to changes in our abdominal
During pregnancy the two halves of the outermost abdominal layer, the rectus abdominis
, can become separated. This separation is called diastasis recti
and is the cause of the dreaded belly bulge. The separation happens
because the growing baby and uterus put a forceful pressure on the
connective tissue that holds the two halves of the muscles together,
causing the connective tissue to stretch apart and become weak. Although
not all women get diastasis recti
when pregnant, it is extremely common. Also, the more pregnancies you experience, the worse it may get.
How can you tell if you have diastasis?
find out if you have diastasis, lie on your back with your knees bent
and your feet on the floor. Place a hand over your belly button with
your fingers pointing towards your toes. Relax your abdominal muscles
and lift your head like you are doing a crunch, bringing your ribcage
towards your pelvis. Press with gentle pressure and move your fingers
from side to side to feel the right and left edges of the rectus abdominis
You have diastasis if the gap between the muscle is 2 fingers wide or
more. You may even see a bulge or mound protruding. You can also move
your fingers above and below the navel to see how long the separation
Can you prevent or reduce the separation?
The good news is, you can help reduce the separation of these muscles by avoiding the following movements:
Can I improve the situation?
straight up from a lying position. Instead, roll over to one side
then use your arms to push you up without the help of your abdominal
exercises that work the exterior abdominal muscles, like crunches
and oblique crossovers. These will put additional strain on your
- Lifting and carrying heavy objects or any other movements that cause the belly to protrude out upon exertion.
Yes. Wearing a splint
over your post partum belly will help physically bring the two sides of
the rectus abdominis together. Splinting while performing core
strengthening exercises can help to heal the separation and strengthen
the connective tissue. In addition, be aware of your core muscles. By
engaging your core during movements such as climbing stairs or carrying a
baby, you can prevent further rectus stretching and maybe even help
shorten the gap.
For most women, diastasis recti
from pregnancy is unavoidable. However, knowing is half the battle, and
once you know that you have diastasis, you can be more thoughtful of
your exercises and habits to help get rid of that “mummy tummy”!
Isis Fitness Instructor "