The brand new Weight Training Plan X (30 min edition) is dropping in one week, so I am kicking off a “preview week” because the plan is that good!
It’s our official summer fitness plan and it will completely transform your body with less time spent in the gym.
I share an exclusive discount on the new plan for those who participate & I do private giveaways, so be sure to drop yours in the sign up below!
This week, you will get a chance to preview the plan with a week of workouts like those found in the new Weight Training Plan (30 min edition). Workouts begin Monday – come back here at LaurenGleisberg.com for your daily workout!
WEIGHT TRAINING PLAN X (30 MIN) DETAILS:
8 weeks of weight training, cardio & ab workouts
highly effective training method for sculpting and defining a fit body while losing fat
30 min edition… all workouts ~30mins (+options to create longer workouts)
cardio add on options
easy-to-follow photo demos of every exercise on the same page as the workouts
HOME VERSION: requires a set of dumbbells and resistance band
GYM VERSION: requires full gym equipment like barbells, smith machine, cable machine, leg press, dumbbells, etc.
My favorite thing about the plan is the workouts are just 30 minutes but sooo effective at achieving a fit and lean body. Plus, there are add on options to extend the workout. The workouts are the ideal combination of supersets/circuits and traditional weight training sets, making the plan as results-driven as possible!
I can’t wait to drop it and for you to have your fittest summer ever!
Be sure to sign up to receive your exclusive discount and giveaway details this week!
I opened up my recipe suggestion box to you and the most requested recipe was: Healthy Chicken + Waffles. First things first, I wouldn’t make a healthier version of anything unless it tasted great; this breakfast recipe will satisfy everyone at the table. The recipe is not only health-ified but also high in protein, making it even more of a beneficial choice. Enjoy!
Healthy Chicken and Waffles Breakfast Recipe
A breakfast favorite turned healthy yet equally delicious
How to reduce stress and anxiety… there are 5 science-backed things I do that work immediately for me to help manage these emotions. I’ve been pretty open about my anxiety that developed this past year.
Some words I would use to describe myself: peaceful, calm, content and happy.
Some words that describe how I feel lately: overwhelmed, anxious and stressed.
Quite a contrast. Not only are those overwhelmed feelings difficult to manage in the moment, but as someone who has never struggled with anxiety, it eats at my sense of self. I am constantly saying to myself: “this isn’t me,” which only adds to the stress level.
I really feel that stress and anxiety is a 2 part battle:
finding the “causes” and seeing what can be done to reduce them
finding ways to manage the emotions when they arise
For me, I struggle a lot with the balancing act… balancing a growing business, being a present mom to young children, wife life, trying to be a good friend/daughter/sister and doing things for myself and my wellbeing in the mix of all of that.
Stress and anxiety are a normal part of life and these emotions vary from manageable feelings that arise on occasion to completely debilitating emotions. I know that the level of anxiety I deal with is in the manageable range and using some of these tips that I am about to share really help me.
1. I CHANGE MY PHYSICAL STATE
That sounds a little bit “out there” and I guess I could better describe this as… get your ass moving. I’m not talking about going to workout- although that does help! When my anxiety peaks the last thing I want to do is arrange childcare, drive to the gym and get in a workout. Also, my stress normally creeps in later into the evening and it’s not the ideal time for a workout.
What I mean by “I change my physical state” is that I introduce some type of movement. Stressed and anxiousness are actually physical states… we hunch over, our breathing gets shallow, etc. When you change your physical state, you can actually change your emotions.
For me, I find picking up and starting a load of laundry to be something that can start to shift my physical state and mood. The first thing I do is I take the sheets off my bed. I gather whatever laundry is lingering around my house and I pop in a load of laundry (more on that in point #3).
My husband loves to go for a walk. My girlfriend will tell me that she just drops to the ground and does a yoga sequence. You could run around with your kids, get the mail, walk up and down your stairs… anything to physically change how you are standing and how you are breathing.
I light a candle or diffuse essential oils to further reduce stressful and anxious emotions. These scents can help you breath deeper and clam you down. I don’t stand there deep breathing and make this some huge thing. I simply light a candle or click my diffuser on and keep on with my movement. The less I think about this as an anti-anxiety step, the more helpful it actually becomes.
There is a lot of research on how particular scents elicit emotions.
Scents for Stress Relief:
Lavender – relaxes instantly both mind and body
Clary sage – lifts mood
Cinnamon – makes you feel refreshed
Orange – reduces stress
Lemon – improves mood
Apple – controls anxiety
Peppermint – wakes up your mind and enhances focus
Frankincense – helps battle anxiety and gives a great stress relief
Sandalwood – relaxes and calms body and mind
Vanilla – increases happiness levels, uplifts your mood and stimulates feelings of relaxation and joy
You’ll read that sleep is one of the most important things for feeling better. BUT, when you’re stressed, it’s also the hardest. There has been one single thing that has been an absolute game changer for me with improved sleep. And, I preach about it all of the time.
Legitimately, these sheets are the most luxurious-feeling bed sheets. They’re only $20ish from Amazon. They feel like butter. And for whatever reason… I sleep like a rock on them. 1000s of you have also purchased these and shared similar, cult-like feelings about them too!
Now my trick is that I love them freshly washed.
When I’m having a night where I am overwhelmed with everything I have to do and further stressing because I am not doing any of it… I stop myself. I get moving, light a candle, collect laundry and snag these sheets off my bed to wash.
If you want to take my bed sheet trick to the next level, splurge on THIS laundry detergent. It’s pricey but I only use it on linens. I’ve never had a house guest not ask about the detergent because it’s that fragrant and smells like a spa.
I usually just run a quick wash, dry and get these back onto my bed in under an hour.
I mean this so honestly… I get my best night of sleep after doing this. I can’t recommend this enough!
4. SMILE + LAUGH
Force it until you feel it. I used to have more of a positive yet passive approach to anxiety: “oh this stinks but it will pass.” I’ve gotten to a more proactive approach, feeling like “okay this stinks but I can do something about it.”
I have several go-tos to make myself smile and laugh. I’ll list a few that work for me but think about what you can turn to.
looking at photos and videos of my littles
watching my favorite comedian… Sebastian Maniscalco (if you’re new to him google his airport check in skit)
news bloopers on YouTube (my husband and I LOVE these)
Maybe this is a bit of changing your physical state too. If I add in things that make my smile an dlaugh, I just start feeling more like my usual, happy self.
5. WRITE IT ALL OUT
I heard a tip on a podcast that when you feel like sending your husband/partner a text of “blah blah blah *insert angry message here*” you should instead type it into your notes section. Get it all out. Then, delete it. You never send the actual message but getting the thoughts out of your head makes you feel better.
Along the same lines, I like to write out what is causing me to stress out. I don’t do this every time more so just when I feel I need to.
Sometimes I’ll write out my thoughts like I am writing in a journal. Other times I’ll list them out. On occasional, I’ll actually create a to-do list based off what I’m thinking and feeling. There’s something about getting your thoughts out of your head and onto paper that helps reduce stress and anxiety.
Basically, I want you to know that if you have stress and anxiety that creep up into your everyday life, you’re not alone. Sometimes it’s too big for you and you should seek professional help. Other times, such as in my case, I cant take seemingly small steps to have big effects on how I am feeling.
This list is more of a mini routine that I do to help reduce stress and anxiety and these 5 things work immediately for me. I wish the same for you!
This is one of my favorite blog posts to write and coincidentally, these posts always appear on my “most read” blog post list as well. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise because who isn’t using Amazon prime for just about every purchase these days?!
I order so much from Amazon that I never have a clue of what is arriving; yesterday, I opened what I thought was a workout top only to discover it was garbage bags. The day prior, I gave my husband a box of what I thought was something he ordered and it turned out to be nursing bras haha. Anything and everything – we order it online!
I am rounding up my 5 best Amazon prime purchases from this month.
So, I purchased this as a “bottle cooler” but it’s become so much more. In fact, last weekend, my husband asked if he could use it to put 2 energy drinks in it for him and his buddy while they went on a little road trip.
If you need a mini cooler or bottle cooler, this is it!
I decided on this one because:
STUNNING -navy stripes, tan accents and gold hardware
the gold top handle is beautiful yet functional; very often, I wear it like a wristlet when I’m holding the cooler, kids, keys and other random things
it can hold 2 full sized bottles/cans + extras (so many I found were for 1 bottle or 100)
I actually saw multiple functions for it. For example, it was big enough to hold Beckham’s bottle and some of Leo’s cold food items like fruit and cheese. It could also entirely serve as a food cooler for when Beckham begins solids. And, my husband uses it for cans.
This is a multiple-time reorder for me! First off, I am a huge fan of the brand and this is totally my miracle zip zapper. Seriously, I apply a dab before bed and my pimple is completely diminished by the morning.
For those who like specific ingredients… it uses salicylic acid, sulfur, and zinc oxide to help draw impurities from the skin.
IMPT, HOW TO APPLY: do not shake the bottle. Once you receive it, let it sit on your counter. The liquid will rise to the top and the sediment will settle at the bottom of the bottle. After I wash, tone and moisturize, I then apply this. I use a cotton swab and dip it into the pink sediment. I then dab it directly onto the pimple. Allow it to dry. Don’t rub it in. In the AM, rinse off and look for the magic.
I had THESE $100 espadrilles in my shopping cart (I still may purchase) but then, I saw this nearly identical look alike.
Fair warning – these don’t have great reviews on Amazon but I think you just have to know how to order them based on the reviews. The reviews state that the shoes run big – almost a full size I found. So just order 1 size smaller than what you are. That worked perfect for me.
The shoes are CUTE! No, they’re not the highest quality (but they’re $16 and I honestly find them to be great). I really wanted a cream pair of espadrilles but knew that meant dirty dirty. I plan on wearing these without fear of marks and then I may get that more expensive pair to wear for nicer occasions.
You may recall this item from my Amazon Organizational Essentials list. Since then, I’ve ordered another and love it so much that I felt the need to share it again here.
I have cloth-lined, metal laundry baskets that are a farmhouse style. They’re beautiful but bulky and I need an option that was lighter and easier to carry. I wanted a classic basket but picked this one because you can collapse it down to nothing.
I slide it behind my washer/dryer and stand them upright in closets when I’m not using them! They would be ideal for college dorms, apartments/smaller homes or if you just need space-saving options like me.
For mother’s day I purchased my mother-in-law these Ugg slides. She loves a cozy slipper/sock but she’s also always letting their 3 dogs out, so I thought the hard sole was good for that. I was tempted to order myself a pair but then I stumbled upon these.
I LOVE how full of fuzz they are. The open toe is perfect for summer because it’s a little cozy but not too hot. I have to retire my normal Ugg slippers in the warmer months. These aren’t prime but were worth the wait! They are a tiny bit narrow so I would order up if you have a wide foot or are between sizes.
I was once the teenager and 20-something who slept in her make up and went to a tanning bed regularly. Fast forward and now all my fellow tan-aholic girlfriends and I are proactive about healthy skin and keeping our faces out of the sun- oh how times have changed.
I love the sun-kissed, dewy, highlighted look but I want to do it right. I’ve learned it all starts with SPF so today, I’m sharing my picks for the 2 best natural sunscreen options I’ve found and they’re great for those of us with sensitive skin. Then, stick around for how I achieve that “just returned from a tropical vaca” look without actually going anywhere haha.
WHAT I LOOK FOR IN A SUNSCREEN
Here’s a little cheat sheet of what I will elaborate on…
Sunscreen is a nonnegotiable for protecting our skin against harmful ultraviolet rays emitted from the sun.
The sun emits radiation energy in 2 types of UV rays:
UVA: these rays cause a sun tan and premature agains signs (wrinkles, pigmentation, age spots and sagging skin).; their longer wavelengths can penetrate two layers into the skin’s dermis
UVB: these rays cause a sunburn; their shorter wavelengths penetrates the top layers of skin, causing surface burns. They also can interact with the skin’s DNA and are thought to be responsible for most skin cancers
*broad spectrum sunscreen blocks against both UVA + UVB rays
SPF = sun protection factor
Many of us are tempted to think the more SPF the better: “can I get SPF 100, please” Well, it doesn’t exactly work that way. First off, no sunscreen can block all UV rays.
SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays
SPF 30blocks 97% of UVB rays
SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays
So, the difference between 30 and 50 is about 1 percent. Most findings I came across pointed to SPF 30 as being the “best pick” and suggested reapplying every 2 hours as opposed to increasing the SPF.
MINERAL SUNSCREEN VS CHEMICAL SUNSCREEN
I really learned about mineral sunscreen when I asked my son’s pediatrician and my dermatologist about the best options… they both said a mineral suncreen with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as the ingredients are best.
Both of those minerals sit on the surface of your skin to physically reflect sunscreen away from the face.
Side note + benefit: zinc oxide acts as an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory to treat and prevent acne breakouts
Why doesn’t everyone choose mineral over chemical?
Mineral sunscreens can feel thick/sticky, take longer to rub in and appear white on the skin. Chemical sunscreens are easier to apply which is why some women reach for them.
BUT chemical sunscreens contain compounds that absorb UV rays into the skin. The chemicals then transform the UV rays into heat and release them from the skin. To be honest – I only recently learned that and it freaked me out to know that was happening on my skin!
FYI – common chemical sunscreens are oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, and avobenzone
Negatives of Chemical Sunscreen:
takes 15-20 mins after application to begin protecting
the chemical reaction can increase skin temperature
chemicals can cause skin irritation and breakout
added chemicals are required to increase SPF (so many chemicals!)
oxybenzone may be linked to hormone disruption
LOTION > SPRAY
This is a bit more of a preference and something to be mindful of when you’re really relying on sunscreen such as on summer days or on vacation.
I read that spray sunscreen may not provide a thick enough coating to achieve the SPF advertised. Also, some sprays may have harmful chemicals in order to allow them to physically spray.
MY PICKS FOR BEST NATURAL SUNSCREEN
These 3 are my tried and true picks for sunscreen and also work well with my sensitive, breakout-prone skin
This is my classic choice for both myself and my family. Just a note – they offer both mineral and classic sunscreen options.
I choose supergoop because of the quality, variety of product offerings and affordable price for natural sunscreen. The goal of Supergoop is to infuse SPF into products you’re using so that you remember to use it daily.
WHEN I USE SUPERGOOP: days when I need extra sunscreen, such as when I’m outside for long periods of time, at the pool, on vacation, etc.
WHEN I USE COOLA: when I need sunscreen for a day where I still want to smell really nice (like a couple’s trip – not that I take many of those lol or when you’re meeting a friend for an outdoor lunch… that type of stuff)
TAN, DEWY, GLOWING SKIN
Finally, I want to direct you to THIS BLOG POST because it summarizes the facial tanning drops I mix into my moisturizer.
This past year, I’ve received more compliments on my skin than ever before – not because it’s perfect but because it’s improved so much.
I used to have really dull skin, large pores, regular breakout and now I really feel that my skin is radiant, smooth, clear, all those good words you hear on skincare commercials.
THESE tanning drops help give the sun-kissed appearance and I’ll be sure to share my skincare products in a post soon!
I have a sweatshirt trick for how to have a great workout that I’ve been obsessed with lately. You may have heard me share about it on social but in case you missed it, I wanted to create this dedicated blog post with all the details. Let’s get into it…
WHAT YOU NEED:
classic crewneck sweatshirt
workout to follow
WHAT TO DO:
wear your sweatshirt throughout your entire workout
…yes, that’s all. It’s really that easy and let me tell you why it works.
WHY DO WE SWEAT?
What exactly does it mean when we sweat during a workout?! Sweat is one of the body’s cooling mechanisms. When we workout, our core temperature rises. Our bodies are constantly working to keep things within “normal ranges” so when that core temperature increases, a thermoregulatory response signals to body to begin perspiring (such a fancy term for sweating). The act of thermal sweating (did you know there are different types of sweating?!” is what can help cool down the body.
IS SWEATING A SIGN OF A GOOD WORKOUT?
Yes and no. Sweating during a workout is influenced by certain things out of our control: genetics, gender, age, etc.
Also, the type of workout highly depends on how much we sweat. If you’re doing a restorative yoga class in an air conditioned studio versus doing an LG leg workout with heavy weights and a plyometric finishing circuit… your sweat level with vary drastically. Yet, both are still good workouts!
WHY I WEAR A SWEATSHIRT DURING MY WORKOUT
It’s mental. This isn’t realscience like I normally share rather LG science.
When I workout in a sweatshirt, I obviously increase my core temperature quicker than if I were working out in a tank top. Therefore, I begin sweating quicker and produce more sweat overall.
Here’s the LG science… for some reason when I am physically hot (thanks to my sweatshirt), I swear I have a better muscle pump. I feel the contraction deeper. My blood flow is great, furthering the muscle pump. The visible sweat I am producing makes me feel like I’m crushing it. In my head, I’m like “yes, girl… keep it up!”
It’s bizarre because I really hate sweating. I don’t like the way it feels and in the back of my head, I’m thinking “ugh, this is ruining my hair” but I am addicted!
I am so into an intense, sweaty workout. I love leaving the gym feeling like I gave that workout all I had. And, it all starts with a sweatshirt.
Hence… my sweatshirt trick for how to have a great workout.
It’s simple. There’s nothing to it. It’s really just mental But, for me, it works!
I would love to hear if you try it out and what you think, so keep me posted!
MY FAVORITE SWEATSHIRTS FOR THIS TRICK
Oh what do you know… I have my own LG sweatshirts that work perfectly for this (shamless plug! haha), but seriously you see me wearing these all of the time for my workouts because they do the job perfectly!
MY 2 FAVORITES:HERE (LG Sisters, bold), HERE (LG Sisters, subtle) + HERE (Mom)
Welcome to my Full Day of Eating + Meal Planning series. I hope this resource helps you meal plan for your week and give you ideas for a full day of healthy eating. I will keep up with these all throughout the challenge to better help you get to those goals.
If you haven’t yet started the challenge, it’s definitely not too late… join in HERE!
EAT YOUR WAY LEAN MEAL PLAN:
Many of the recipes that I will reference in these eating + meal planning posts can be found in my Meal Plan. As part of my meal plan, I send weekly meal menus out each week of the challenge, so this is how I am incorporating those recipes into what I am eating this week.
I HIGHLY recommend this plan to those women who want to see results through food. It’s an easy-to-follow eating approach that teaches you macro combinations, portions + even optimal timing. Yet, you’ll still be eating your favorite foods like pizza, pasta, cookies, chips and chocolate (seriously!)
Here is a sample of what I will be eating this week throughout the entire day.
MY DINNER TRICK: I like to cook a fresh, different dinner each night. This approach is magic because…
I actually get to enjoy a just-made delicious dinner (that’s quick to make, typical LG style)
my cravings kick in at night and having a delicious dinner helps curb my PM cravings + snacking
I double the recipe so that I always have leftovers for the follow day’s lunch
Like I mentioned, I cook a fresh dinner each night. Here’s what I’ll be cooking this week. If you’re following my approach, don’t forget to double your serving while you cook to have a healthy, reheatable lunch option for the next day.
Just a reminder that recipes I reference below are found in this Meal Plan.
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad – my favorite meal menu recipe of the week. I’m a huge pasta salad person and I love the cool contrast on a warmer spring/summer day. Although, here in Houston it’s totally summer temps. This recipe is an ideal lunch option as well because it’s very easy to take in a food storage container.
recipe found in this week’s Meal Menu
Simple Spaghetti – an absolute HIT in our house. We all like it because it’s tasty but as a busy wife and mom, I like it most because it’s easy to make a big batch and then reheat throughout the week
Instant Pot Chicken Risotto – this is the first Instant Pot recipe I’ve ever shared and I can’t wait to hear what y’all think of it.
recipe found in this week’s Meal Menu
Dinner for Breakfast – I like to do this at least once per week because breakfast is my favorite type of food and it’s so quick to make.
My Usual Breakfast for Dinner:
2 eggs, 1 egg white
Bunch of veggies mixed in the eggs
2 slices all natural, uncured bacon
Dave’s Killer bread bagel w/ PB + natural fruit spread
Mediterranean Chicken with Salsa Fresca – a spin on a classic chicken dish. I’m strategically assigning this recipe to Friday because I plan on grilling out with this one and enjoying a patio dinner. At home date night!
recipe found in this week’s Meal Menu
TREAT MEAL! I use Saturday night as a time to enjoy treats – go ahead and enjoy! Share what you’re indulging in on social and tag me because I am all about it haha.
I never thought I would be the mom attached to her breast pump but that’s exactly who I am. I am considered an exclusive pumping mom. I did it for an entire year with my son, Leo. And, now I want to share everything I’ve learned in hopes of saving you some time and a whole lot of stress that I certainly went through.
OVERSUPPLY: why I began pumping
To give you some background- with my first son, Leo and my second son, Beckham I was fully committed to breastfeeding. As a new mom, I had no idea just how challenging the feeding portion of newborn care could be. In all honesty, it was the most overwhelming part for me and so many of my mom friends have shared the same feelings.
For the first month with both of my boys, breastfeeding was going wonderfully. I worked with a lactation consultant in the hospital. I highly recommend this! They’re FREE in the hospital. I called them at almost every feeding just to be monitored and ask for tips. They absolutely love what they do and in my experience, they were thrilled to help.
With both Leo and Beckham, I struggled with an oversupply. I was actually warned by the LC in the hospital with Beckham that if I had an oversupply with my first child, it was more likely to return and to be stronger with my second child.
An oversupply sounds like a wonderful problem to have, right?! I can see how it seems that way especially if you are a mama who struggled to produce enough milk. Well, it’s honestly a huge challenge for both mama and baby.
For mom- you constantly feel engorged. Remember how uncomfortable you were when your milk came in?! That’s every day with an oversupply. Your breasts are tingling and uncomfortable around the clock. You have uncontrollable letdowns throughout the day, soaking shirts left and right.
For baby – he or she receives too much foremilk and not enough hindmilk, which is a big problem from a nutrition standpoint. Baby is constantly hungry. The excess foremilk can cause tummy problems and lead to them feeling very uncomfortable and fussy. Excess foremilk changes the color/consistency of a baby’s stool, so I was constantly monitoring dirty diapers.
Also, an oversupply is often accompanied by a strong letdown, which I had as well. For a mama, it feels like a thousand needles poking your breasts. For a baby, this is traumatic as well; the milk listerally sprays them in the back of their throat. Maybe this is TMI but let’s keep it totally transparent here… when my let down would happen, milk would literally shoot 3+ feet straight out in front of me in a constant stream.
While feeding, my boys would chock, pull off, spit up and get gassy. The greatest concern (which happened with Leo) is that they associate nursing with an unpleasant experience and they don’t want to latch or feed. This can then result in a baby not gaining enough weight.
Between my two boys, I worked with 6+ lactation consultants and spent countless hours with them. They watched me nurse. They texted me around the clock. I was sending photos of my pumped milk and poopy diapers, waiting for an “update” on what to do next to control the oversupply.
I did everything:
different feeding positions (feeding seated, baby on top of breast, etc.)
pressure techniques to slow the let down
hand expressing & putting baby on after let down
^imagine holding your screaming, hungry baby as you’re like “oh sweetie, it’s okay just wait a few minutes while I sit here, express and wait for the let down” it was chaotic
pumping at certain feeds and nursing at certain feeds per the LC’s instructions
nursing only on one side at a time
double sports bras
You name it… I’ve probably tried it.
Eventually, I, alongside my lactation consultants, decided that pumping and bottle feeding was the best solution for both mama and baby.
I was able to get my oversupply under control with very tailored advice. I am always hesitant to share exactly what I did because I worked so closely with LC both times to make tweaks.
If you’re familiar with block feeding… I did a hybrid of block feeding and block pumping, which is basically when 1 feed or pump is taken exclusively from one breast. The feedback mechanism in the opposite breast tells the body “hey, I’m not being emptied so don’t produce so much milk.”
You have to be VERY careful with this approach as this can slow your milk production too much and then you risk not producing enough. This is why I only suggest this if you have a LC to assist you.
Pumping allowed me to control what milk I took to reduce the oversupply and then to maintain a healthy supply. Bottle feeding became the pleasant feeding experience for my sons. A win for all involved!
PUMPING VS NURSING – mom guilt?
When I began pumping and bottle feeding, I felt such relief. My babies could feed without crying, without feeling hungry shortly after and without experiencing gas pains.
Also, my husband (and others!) were able to help out with bottle feeding. This became amazing bonding time for my husband and sons. It was also a huge burden lifted off of me as a mom and the sole-provider for their nutrition.
It wasn’t until someone asked me, “are you breastfeeding?” that I first encountered the pumping stigma.
Leo was about 3 months old when another mom asked me this…
Other Mom: “are you breastfeeding?”
Lauren: “I pump and bottle feed” answered without hesitation or doubt
Other Mom: “aw, that’s still okay. at least he’s receiving breastmilk.”
I remember walking away thinking what the heck… of course it’s okay. He’s eating. He’s growing. He’s healthy. What does it matter if it’s breastfeeding, bottle fed breast milk or formula.
This type of conversation was one I encountered regularly. It was as if there was a thought that pumping and bottle feeding was inferior to breastfeeding, which is something I don’t agree with at all.
REAL TALK: I DIDN’T ENJOY BREASTFEEDING
Here’s some mom honesty for you… I was not someone who enjoyed breastfeeding. Well, that’s a partial truth.
Those first few days, I enjoyed it. When my son latched perfectly, I enjoyed it. When he feed without crying, chocking and pulling off, I enjoyed it. When he fed without me having to fumble with a nipple shield in the dark at 2:30 AM, I enjoyed it. When he fed without me having to first pump and then put him on, I enjoyed it. When he fed without me having to rush the feeding in order to hop on a work call, I enjoyed it.
Bottom line… I only really enjoyed it for a brief period and then it wasn’t the best fit for us. An that is okay!
Breastfeeding, for me, was a great amount of pressure. I felt like my body was failing me with the oversupply issue. I became frustrated feeling like the responsibility of feeding was entirely on me. Because I work from home, I technically could breastfeed and work but that is pure chaos.
I want to acknowledge that breastfeeding is miraculous. The ability to feed and sustain a life by what our body naturally produces blows my mind. I did have amazing moments of bonding through breastfeeding and I can totally see how mamas never want it to end.
With that said, when you feel it’s no longer the best fit, it’s okay to stop. The majority of the time, I didn’t love breastfeeding and I am not ashamed to say it. I share this because I don’t want any other mama out there to feel guilty about her decision to not breastfeed.
EXCLUSIVE PUMPING TIPS:
HANDS ON PUMPING: hands down, the best trick I ever learned and it was thanks to my own mother. YouTube videos on how to do this. Basically, you use gentle “massage” techniques on the breast during a pump. This sped up my pumping sessions and allowed me to get so much milk per pump! I can’t recommend this enough! In fact, it was is so effective, I was strictly advised not to do this when I had my oversupply.
QUALITY PUMP: if you’re committed to pumping, the pump you have makes a huge difference. When my insurance provided me with a list of the pumps they covered, I sent it to my lactation consultant and she selected one that she felt was most like “hospital grade” ones.
I’ve used the Spectra S2 for both my boys and it’s amazing. I also have a Willow Pump, which I will do a full review on.
CALORIES: eat. eat. eat. Calorie restriction can affect you milk supply. I know most moms are just doing their best to eat while nursing/pumping but in my experience, the better quality of calories, the more it helped my supply (ex: eating a complete dinner instead of just snacking)
WATER: you literally cannot drink enough water while nursing or pumping. I noticed that any times my milk supply seemed to dip a bit was when I wasn’t drinking enough (being outside on a hot day too long without lots of water); water plays a huge role in milk supply!
15 MINUTE MINIMUM: from my research and the advice shared with my by LCs, a mom should pump for a minimum of 15 minutes, ideally 20 minutes. This ensures that the breast is fully emptying during a pump. The reason that it is important to empty is because that triggers the feedback mechanism telling the body to produce more milk and fill the breast for the need feed/pump.
BABY WEARING: Your milk supply is pretty well established by the first month. For that reason, I wasn’t too worried about my supply when I decided to switch to pumping exclusively. When the baby is not making physical contact with the breast, the milk supply can be affected but I did as much as I could to keep lots of contact. Baby wearing was a huge help for that!
My lactation consultants told me that in order to keep up my milk supply, it was important that I pumped the same number of times that my baby fed. If the baby was taking 8 bottles per day, I should be pumping 8 times per day.
For me, someone who could easily shift back to producing too much milk, my lactation consultants suggested I pump 1x less than the number of times my baby fed. If the baby was taking 8 bottles per day, I should be pumping 7 times per day.
With that said, my pumping schedule varied with the age of my son’s.
LEO 3-6 MONTH PUMPING SCHEDULE:
6:30 AM – pump
I woke up before Leo woke to ensure I got a pumping session as early in the AM as possible
7:00 AM – feed
9:00 AM – optional pump
This is the pumping session I add in if I worry about my supply. Because of higher prolactin levels in the AM, I can get a lot more milk earlier in the day.
10:00 AM – feed
11: AM – pump
1:00 PM – feed
2:30 PM – pump
4:00 PM – feed
6:00 PM – pump
7:00 PM – feed
10:30 PM – pump
the last pump of the day, I stretched as far as I could because I did not pump in the middle of the night. If my supply was affected, I would have woke up around 5 AM to pump (super high prolactin levels at that time).
Also, because I didn’t pump overnight, at my first pumping session in the morning, my milk was nearly double the amount of other pumping sessions. At that time I really used the hands on pumping!
LEO 6-12 MONTHS PUMPING SCHEDULE:
6:30 AM – pump
7:00 AM – bottle
8:00 AM – breakfast
10L30 AM – pump
11:00 AM – bottle
12:00 PM – lunch
2 PM – pump
3:00 PM – bottle
4:00 PM – early dinner
7:00 PM – bottle
9 PM – pump
When Leo started solids, he went from 5 to 4 bottles. He was still taking about the same amount of milk but just distributed among 1 less bottle. I was able to pump 1 less session and still produced the same amount of milk. There were occasionally times when I felt my milk was dipping and I would add in another session for a few days to get it back up.
With a little bit of time, I was able to build up a stash of milk, so I could “get ahead” on my bottles. I rarely pumped fresh and fed that milk. Each AM, I would make bottles for the day, distributing the average amount in each bottle and I kept those in the refrigerator.
This allowed me to work and pump on my own time. Then, whoever was in charge of feeding – myself, my husband, our nanny, etc. – would grab a bottle, heat and feed.
EXCLUSIVE PUMPING – what they don’t tell you
Exclusive pumping was one of the hardest things I ever committed to. I did it for an entire year with Leo and almost daily, I struggled mentally.
I felt as though I could never be gone from my home for more than I few hours because I needed to get back to pump. If I did have to be gone for an extended period of time, it was a big production to bring the pump, pump parts, something to wash the pump parts, milk storage bags, a cooler, ice packs, etc.
The entire first year, I took only 1 overnight trip away from my son for a funeral and it was very stressful making sure I had enough milk to be away that long.
The physical act of pumping has always been uncomfortable for me because I would get nauseous. Evidently oxytocin is the hormone that causes the let down of breastmilk and it also is associated with gut hormones that cause nausea, so some women do experience nausea during pumping. I was one of them.
The time commitment to exclusive pumping is by far the greatest challenge for me. Between pumping, bottle feeding, washing bottles and preparing the next one, it truly feels like that’s all you do.
Still, it was a decision I do not regret. For all the mamas out there who’ve decided to exclusively pump, I see you. It’s an incredible commitment. It’s time consuming and demanding. It’s a sacrifice. And, I just want you to know that you’re not alone in sometimes (or often times) hating it but I commend you for continuing.
I hope this post offered you help in whatever way you needed it! XO
Have you heard about the Lululemon legging dupes that are on Amazon for just $20? If not, I’ll break it down for you here, sharing the exact links and whether or not I think they’re worth saving the money. Because let’s be real – I love Lululemon but I don’t love the price tag.
My husband just asked me, “what the heck is a ‘dupe'” to which I replied, “it’s a look-a-like as in a similar item but without the high price.”
“So, it’s a fake? That’s horrible.” No Anthony, not a fake. No one is labeling these Lululemon just Lululemon-ish.
When I talk about dupes, I’m referring to 2 similar items: one is higher quality/more expensive and the other has a lower price point/similar look.
LULULEMON LEGGINGS + THE DUPES
I’ve got to toot my own horn for a quick second. I worked at Lululemon in college and one of the things Lululemon prides themselves on is that their employees know the products forwards, backwards and upside down. I knew more details about Lululemon fabrics than I did just about anything else.
I only share that because I’ve heard a lot of “influencers” talking about Lululemon/these dupes and how the fabric and fit feel similar, but I am like… okay, I need to check this out for myself.
Even funnier… my friend and former Lululemon co-worker texted me this one day (thanks, meg!).
LULULEMON ALIGN LEGGINGS:
This may be one of Lululemon’s most popular leggings. They’re COMFY AF! The fabric is technically called Nulu: a signature, patented Lulu fabric. It legitimately feels like butter. It’s a barely there, non-restrictive fit and feel. The leggings are seamless and have a high rise waistband furthering the comfort.
MY REVIEW: I love them. I own 4 pairs. I wear a size 4 (which is kind of like an XS) and the waistband comfortable stretched over my belly during pregnancy & now fits just fine after. In my opinion, they’re worth the splurge
*read below for which one is better suited for you.
1ST OPTION (here):I’ve got to come right out and tell you… I would 100% say these are worth a purchase. In fact, I’ve purchased 3 pairs in 2 months.
They feel amazing- slightly “silkier” than the Lululemon aligns but equally comfortable. The aligns are known for a naked-feel and these are exactly that. You literally feel like you’re not wearing pants. It’s magic.
Also, this is HUGE. The high-waisted, seamless waistband. It’s what makes the align leggings so great. This is the best dupe for the waistband which in my opinion is the most comfortable part. NOTHING pokes in at you and it’s so high that every part of your tummy feels sucked in. .
This dupe is real deal good – get it! Seriously, you won’t regret it! LG APPROVED!
2ND OPTION (here): The fabric is verrrrry similar, scary similar- feels just like the Lululemon aligns. If you’re looking for a pair of leggings with the buttery feel that the aligns provide, this is it! The best dupe fabric I’ve found!
The waistband is the only reason I like the first option better. This waistband is high rise but it has a seam at the very top and to be honest, it digs into my tummy a bit. When I sit, I get a little bit of that “spill over” on the top. That is getting nitty gritty picky but that’s why I am here, reviewing these. I would recommend these to everyone who loves black leggings – you can’t have enough and this fabric is bomb.com BUT I would also make sure you buy the first pair I suggested!
This dupe is real deal good – get it! Seriously, you won’t regret it! LG APPROVED!
LULULEMON WUNDER UNDER LEGGINGS:
Another very popular, classic Lululemon option. If you would have asked me 5 years ago what my favorite workout leggings were, these were it! They’re comfortable. Available in high-rise and standard waistbands. They have a classic, cotton-ish feel. Breathable. Moveable. Great staple!
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: there are so many offerings of waistbands, lengths, colors & slight style modifications but for comparison purposes I’ll share the crops, 7/8ths (again, my personal favorite) and full length
PRICE: $88 crops | $98 leggings
MY REVIEW: these were my favorite and I still wear them regularly. if you prefer a slightly thicker and more cotton-like material, opt for these! I think the wear slightly better than the aligns but I like the align waistband better.
LULULEMON WUNDER UNDER DUPES (here, full length here, crop):
These dupes are cotton-like, comfy and similar to Lululemon. I would say these are definitely good and worth $21 but I don’t totally feel like they’re that similar to the Lululemon pair. However, that’s not essential – they’re a great pair of workout leggings! If you’re looking for a classic fit black workout leggings, these are a great option!
Today is Beckham’s 3 month “birthday,” so I figured now is the perfect time to share some family newborn photos. He is definitely the second child considering I am just getting to his newborn pictures. More on that below because life with 2 kids under 2 years old is really as crazy as everyone says. Here are some beautiful photos of us looking as though we have it all together and after that I’ll tell you what life with #2under2 is really like ;):)
Really though… there is nothing like newborn photos. Babies are little miracles and their itty bitty-ness captures it so well. Just like Leo, Beckham was bright eyed and bushy tailed during his newborn photos; so far I’m 0 for 2 with those adorable, sleepy newborn pictures haha.
When I was pregnant, I was really worried with how Leo would be as a big brother. This photo shoot was the first time we let him be this close to Beckham for an extended period of time (we had not yet mastered gentle hands lol). Leo blew us away! He kept asking to “hold hold hold baby” “pleaseeee” and was pointing exactly where he wanted him. Leo held, kissed and smiled as Beckham over and over. Our hearts were just exploding. I’ll cherish these photos and the memories behind them forever.
Long answer… when Anthony and I decided that we were going to start trying for baby #2, we said, for the first bit, let’s just be “open” to it and not “try try.” For moms who didn’t get pregnant their first attempt… you know what I mean by “try try.”
With Leo, I was tracking, using apps, peeing on ovulation sticks, trying on the perfect days… it’s honestly a lot of work and not easy breezy fun like how they make it out to be in movies. It can be very emotional.
With Beckham, we didn’t know how long it would take to get pregnant, so we decided that when Leo turned 1, we would stop preventing and be open to whatever was part of our plan. I found out I was pregnant days before Leo’s first birthday.
It was not a total surprise but definitely shocking that it happened so quickly! Immediately, we started counting how far apart the kids would be in age… 19 months. I immediately said, “oh my gosh 2 under 2.”
I looked over and Anthony was googling “2 under 2” and the first article that popped up was something like “surviving life with 2 under 2” haha. What were we in for?!
Life with 2 kids under the age of 2 is FULL. Both kids feel like babies. They each need us for pretty much everything: nap time, bed time, meal time, bath time, diapers, getting in the car, getting out of the car, strollers, baby wearing, everything. They both require pretty much constant attention, so it’s nonstop.
I can’t sugarcoat it… 2 under 2 is very challenging mentally. Each day is a mental marathon. Anthony will often joke with me and say, “babe it’s only 10 AM, let’s pace ourselves.”
I think every age gap between kids has their pros and cons. With 2 under 2, I’ve heard it’s very challenging when they’re little but as they grow up and are into the same things as the same time, it’s incredibly rewarding. That’s what I look forward to most… seeing them as brother playing cars or running around the yard. It’s already started in small ways and it’s absolutely heart-melting.
These first few months with Beckham have been incredibly special. Seeing your two children bond is beyond words. On the most difficult days, I go to bed with a full heart and can’t wait to get my boys up in the morning.