World Breastfeeding Week: 10 Benefits of Breastfeeding

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, we’re sharing ten benefits of breastfeeding. Let’s dig in…

1. Increases protection from illness
The cells, hormones and antibodies found in breast milk help protect your baby from illness. Research from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that breastfed babies have lower risks of the following:

  • Asthma
  • Leukemia (during childhood)
  • Obesity (during childhood)
  • Ear infections
  • Eczema
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Lower respiratory infections
  • SIDS
  • Type 2 diabetes

2. Lowers the risk of chronic illnesses
Breastfeeding your baby also reduces the risk that she’ll develop chronic illnesses such as, type 1 diabetes, celiac disease and Crohn’s disease.

3. Breast milk is adaptable 
Another amazing thing about breast milk is that it changes as your baby grows. You start off with nutrient and antibody-rich colostrum, which then transitions into mature milk. And that mature milk will adjust to meet your baby’s changing needs.

4. It’s cost-effective
Two words: no formula. That, by itself, is a huge cost-saver. (In the ballpark of $1,600 to $5,800 per year!)

5. Breastfeeding burns calories… a lot of calories 
If you’re exclusively breastfeeding, you can expect to burn around 400 calories per day. Which is roughly equivalent to running four miles.

6. Aids with postpartum healing
Breastfeeding releases oxytocin, which helps your uterus return to its normal size more quickly than if you don’t breastfeed. (About six weeks versus ten weeks.)

7. Increases the effectiveness of vaccines
Research has shown that breastfed babies have a more effective antibody response to vaccines than formula-fed babies.

8. It can delay menstruation 
Exclusively breastfeeding your baby (sans bottles or formula) will delay ovulation and menstruation. Many breastfeeding mamas can go six months to a year before their periods return.

9. Provides health benefits for you, too 
Research shows that breastfeeding mothers have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, certain types of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

10. It’s friendly to Mama Earth
Formula cans and bottle supplies create excess trash. By breastfeeding, you are tapping into a renewable resource that doesn’t have a carbon footprint.

Want to read more about breastfeeding? Check out 5 Things I Wish I Would Have Known About Breastfeeding and 10 Must-Have Breastfeeding Accessories and Tools.

*At Owlet, we’re advocates of you making the best choices for your situation. So, while this post celebrates the benefits of breastfeeding, we acknowledge that fed is always best. Please make the best choice for you, and don’t feel guilty! Ultimately, you know what will work best for your family.* 

 

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How to Feel Better About Your Postpartum Body

“What a cruel scheme to keep a woman from knowing her power. To put the focus on what pregnancy did to her body rather than focus on what her perfect body just did. Here we sit, creating and nourishing the future and we are diminished to “baby weight.” I will not succumb to your demeaning ideals.” – Amethyst Joy

That. ^

That about sums it up, doesn’t it?

But how do we do that? How do we look past the unrealistic ideals that society has set? The distraction from what our amazing body did to what became of our body?

Here are some concepts and realizations that may help you shift your mindset from one of shame to one of pure amazement and gratitude.

Forget the concept of “normal”

There is no such thing as “normal.” Not a single person is the exact same as another, so rather than try to look like someone else or be like someone else, embrace the unique individual that you are. Your body is yours – there is nobody else like you now, and there never will be. Be 100 percent true to yourself, because this is your time on earth and the only shame comes in wasting any time of your life trying to change who you are.

The naked bodies you’re used to seeing are not the norm

Trigger warning: we’re talking about naked bodies, here.

Society has done something interesting to our mindsets.  We’re generally taught to cover up our bodies, protect our nakedness, yet we stand in line at the grocery store and see nearly naked models line the shelves of the magazine racks. We walk past huge banners of nearly-naked, very skinny women without loose skin or stretch marks at the mall and then go into a dressing room and feel bad about ourselves because we don’t look like them. Why is it okay to plaster uncovered pictures of a very specific body type but not others? We MUST realize that body type is not the norm.

If only from a young age we saw a true representation of bodies on these covers, or better yet, we didn’t see bodies being the focus of covers at all. This may seem like an unconventional suggestion, but educate yourself about the truth of the human body. Study art. Go to a women’s spa, or the beach or the pool, even the grocery store, where you can see various body types. (Obviously not in a creepy, staring way, but just look around and take notice of how different every single person is from the next. And not everybody is a cookie-cutter copy of those on the magazines).

That is the norm. These are the regular people in your life, in the world, and our bodies are all different. The body types propped up on display are not, although yes, some women look like that, too, and hopefully they are happy in their skin like everyone else should be. However, one thing to point out is that more people than not have stretch marks – men and women, mothers and non-mothers, people of all sizes, shapes, ages, overweight people and people who have never been overweight. They aren’t worth a single thought of shame, so don’t waste a single minute worrying about them.

Without the weight gain your baby MAY have been less healthy, be grateful

Healthy weight gain is a normal part of pregnancy. It is usually essential for your baby to grow and your body to regulate the growth of the baby and still take care of itself. If your baby was born healthy, realize that your body did its job, and be proud, and grateful. Realize that there are several women whose bodies struggle during pregnancy to provide for itself and their baby, and women who struggle to get pregnant at all. Your beautiful, postpartum body is a testament to an incredible, miraculous feat and opportunity not afforded to everyone.

*Talk to your doctor about healthy weight-gain during pregnancy, as the weight gain and medical needs for each woman is different (because our bodies are all different, whaddyaknow?!)

What would you say to your own daughter? How would you want her to feel?

Perhaps the most eye-opening train of thought when I find myself in a body-shaming mindset is how I would want my own daughter to feel. My heart breaks at the thought of her staring in the mirror at her stretch marks or loose skin while her new baby sleeps in the next room. I cringe at the thought of her scrolling through the internet at these idealized body types with a sad expression on her face as she realizes she doesn’t look like them. Thinking about my own daughter snaps me back to reality real quick and empowers me to set an example of self-love and acceptance, with the hope that she never questions her worth or abilities based on her appearance.

Our lives are short. We each have a mere 100 years, give or take, on earth. Then that precious baby of yours has their time, and so the world goes on. Change is an inevitable part of life, so rather than spending our time and efforts focusing on changing what we look like for our short time here, do what makes you happy. Spend time with those you love, serve those around you, travel, read books, engage in your hobbies, and become so caught up in what your body can do that you never get caught up in what it does or doesn’t look like.

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Swimsuit Guide: For Expecting Moms, New Moms & Babies

Moms, your bodies are miracles. Seriously, the ability to bring life into this world is amazing, and there is absolutely no shame in any part of the process of pregnancy, including the changes your body goes through. That being said, change in general is simply uncomfortable. Just like a new haircut that takes time to get used to, you might not feel like yourself for a while during pregnancy and after you give birth as notice the changes in your body, especially in a swimsuit where the changes are more visible. Begin embracing your strong, changed body by jumping right back into your usual hobbies and activities, including spending time at the pool or beach in the summer. Here are some very cute and functional swimsuits for pregnant moms, new moms, and those perfect little babies your incredible body just created.

Maternity Swimsuits

This suit from Nordstrom is timeless, with its classic black silhouette, supportive bust and stretchy ruching. This will be your go-to suit during pregnancy, and would also be flattering for your postpartum body!

 

This wrap tankini from Target features ruching and a removable strap for comfort and style! And that royal blue color is gorgeous!

 

If you already have a bikini or tankini top that you love, these foldover maternity bottoms from Nordstrom are perfect to adapt your current swimwear to your current body.

 

This high-neck one-piece from Target is everything. When you need that extra coverage to feel secure, the recent high-neck trend is your best friend.

 

Draped tops create the perfect silhouette for pregnant women, and give you more room to move without tight material. This crochet tankini from Target is a winner.

 

Postpartum Swimsuits

This high-waisted bikini with a draped, flowy top is perfect for that postpartum, recovery time. It’s flattering and stylish with plenty of coverage. Get it on Amazon here. 

The perfect postpartum tankini: maternity AND nursing friendly, adjustable straps, and two color options. What more could you want? Get it on Amazon here.

 

Swimdresses are a great option for postpartum swimwear to achieve comfort, security, and coverage. We love these swimdresses on Amazon, and can’t decide on our favorite color combo. What’s yours?

 

Have you ever seen anything as cute as this bow swimdress? We can’t get over the bow detail, the flared skirt, and the accentuated waist that makes this the perfect postpartum swimwear. Get it on Amazon here.

 

 

Baby Swimsuits

Boys

This print is adorable, and your little guy will be the most stylish guy at the pool in these from H&M.RuggedButts sells exclusively baby boy clothes, and their swimwear is unbearably cute. Check out these geometric plaid swim shorts, we can’t get enough of them!

 

The contrast print on these shorts are to die for, and at only $10 it’s Target for the win again!

 

Keep little mister safe from the sun with the coordination rash guard/swim short combo, also from Target.

 

 

Girls

Ruffles and polka dots are staples for baby girl fashion. This swimsuit from H&M has them both.

 

Stars, stripes, and bows. A rashguard/swim bottoms combo for your patriotic baby girl this summer. Get it from Target here. 

 

RuffleButts (the girl version of RuggedButts) has the most adorable seersucker peplum swimsuit for baby girls that you’ve ever seen. And you can choose to add your baby’s initials if you want.

 

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3 Ways to Prepare for Postpartum Recovery

While many expecting moms put a lot of time and effort into preparing for labor, many fail to adequately plan for what happens next. (Maybe it’s because it’s more fun to focus on the excitement of your child’s arrival, and not on the mesh underwear and diaper-thick pads you’ll most likely be sporting for awhile. Just a thought.)

Never fear, we’re here to help you with three ways to prepare yourself for postpartum recovery. (And don’t forget to check out our tried and true postpartum recovery guide here.)

1. Have a realistic recovery timeframe in mind.
You can never be 100% sure how your body is going to handle your delivery, especially if your birth doesn’t go exactly as planned. So make sure that you’ve allotted yourself plenty of time to heal and recover. Whether it’s tacking on a little extra vacation time to your maternity leave, or planning to have family come and assist you with your baby, it’s vital that you create some “me-time” to allow your body and mind time to heal.

2. Make sure you have all the necessary supplies to aid your recovery.
I mentioned mesh underwear above, because that’s not always something that’s talked about. Given the fact that you’ve just birthed a child, whether vaginally or via C-section, there are going to be some items that will be helpful postpartum. Here’s a little list of items to consider:

  • Mesh underwear
  • Heavy flow maxi pads
  • A peri bottle
  • Ice packs (for your nether regions)
  • Tucks pads and/or witch hazel pads
  • Dermoplast (a must if you have any stitches from a vaginal delivery)
  • Belly binder (this is especially important if you’ve had a C-section)
  • Red raspberry leaf tea
  • Nursing pads (if you plan on breastfeeding)
  • An electric pump (also if you plan on breastfeeding)
  • Donut pillow
  • Nipple cream

Try to stock up on all of the items they provide you with at the hospital (e.g. mesh undies, maxi pads, peri bottles, tucks pads, Dermoplast, etc.) so you don’t have to buy them yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for extras, either. This will save you time and money.

3. Prepare yourself emotionally.
While you’re not going to know exactly how you’ll feel once baby has arrived, you can mentally prepare yourself for what is to come. Some of the best advice I received before having my oldest was from my mother, who told me, “Honey, you’re probably going to feel like an alien for a little while after having your baby. That’s normal, and you’re not going to feel like that forever.” Your hormones are going to be a little overactive, and you might not feel like yourself. Don’t freak out, it’s totally normal.

Typically, you are going to feel a little weird, because of said hormones, lack of sleep and the fact that your body is healing. Once baby has arrived, try to take care of yourself by showering daily, putting on fresh clothes (even if it’s just another pair of pajamas) and spending some time outside every day. You’ll be amazed how much that can help.

**However, if you are experiencing issues with overwhelming depression or anxiety, or having trouble bonding with your baby, please seek help immediately. Postpartum Depression and Anxiety are no joke, and should be addressed by a professional who has the tools to help you.**

 

Hopefully this information will help you better prepare for your child’s arrival, and help you arm yourself with the knowledge you need to make your postpartum period as successful as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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