Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Running Postpartum: How to get back without hurting yourself

Every time I have a baby I feel like I start back at level 0 with running and exercise. Let me start by saying that I may not be the model of the typical "I just had a baby and can't lose the baby weight". For the most part my body bounces back pretty quickly with all 3 kids so far. So this is NOT about weight loss, this is more about getting my stride back and getting my routine back and regaining my running muscles back and restrengthening my core.

Lets be real here for a moment, women's bodies are amazing, they take 10 months (40 weeks) to grow and support another human life, your organs shift and take new places, your rib cage expands, your core muscles separate and you then give birth to this new life. So if you don't feel like you can go running 5 days postpartum, THAT IS OK!

Then once we have had the baby we are healing a wound inside us the size of a dinner plate. Yes I see you measuring that with your hands right now. Oh and we are then feeding this new little life with the milk we are producing. So our bodies are doing a lot!! Here are my tips on running postpartum.

Be easy on yourself!
Don't feel like you HAVE to get back to running, go back when you know you are ready. If you want to wait till your 6 week visit with your midwife or doctor to make sure you don't have diastasis recti, that might be wise. Any damage you do is harder to repair as opposed to just waiting for your body to recover. 

Enjoy the 'baby moon'
Your little squishy baby is only a newborn for a few weeks, you can't get that time back. The pavement will always be there, your running shoes aren't going to wither away. But your newborn baby will be little and need you for such a short time, enjoy it!! Cuddle, nurse, sleep and be a mom. Running can wait. 

Find your core...its in there somewhere
Strengthen your core muscles before you lace up your shoes. Your pelvic floor and core muscles have been through  A LOT! They need some help going back into place, some good tips on that can be found here

Do a plank everyday for just 1 minute a day to help regain your core. There are a TON of other exercises to do, but start out small. If the baby is napping you can plank for a minute, then do whatever you wanted to do. Sleep, eat, take a shower... ahh the simple things in life...

You know.. squat!
For those pelvic floor muscles, I love the quote from Ina May Gaskin “Squat 300 times a day, you’re going to give birth quickly.” 
So true!!! Granted you already gave birth by this point, what she is saying it build up those pelvic muscles and they will do their job. Post birth we can't see them like we can our flabby stomach or stretch marks on our thighs. But the are so very important!! You don't want to worry about running and realizing you can't control your bladder, or worse.

A great article I found on squats and how to do them propperly is here

Stop Doing Kegels: Real Pelvic Floor Advice For Women (and Men)

So, don't be intimidated by those moms who go running at 5 days postpartum, they are not you! You only have this baby once enjoy it. When you do go back to running take the baby in the stroller or leave them with dad, up to you! Just make sure your core and pelvic floor are tightened then hit that pavement with the confidence that you just gave birth to a baby so you can do anything!!!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Homeschooling with a toddler and a newborn

Yes you read that right! I am homeschooling our oldest who turned 5 in May and have my 3yr old underfoot and a newborn baby. Recipe for crazy? Maybe...

The good thing about all this is that I am not the first one to do this, other moms have done it and will do it in the future. And guess what? They lived! Granted the timing of having a newborn and it be the first year I start homeschool is not ideal, but we will make it work. I really loved reading about Raising Arrows experience on her blog, this lady is a pro! 8 kids and homeschools them all! I got some great ideas from her.

You may be asking:

We have a relaxing 'life is school' approach to school. Can you imagine having a five year old sit at a desk all day everyday and be asked to do book work? That is a recipe for disaster! As we all know boys have a ton of energy, asking them to bottle it up all day in our mind just seems stressful for the parents and torture for the child.

We do a lot of hands on activity work for the oldest. For example: we did a day at the local park brought frisbees, balls, excetera.. and while we were there we did some exploring. We found two snakeskins, cicatia shell and a ton of other bugs. Allowed them to touch, question and investigate these on their own, Science. We estimated the length of the snake skin and then measured it for real to see if their estimation was correct, Math.
When we got home we pulled out our animal encyclopedia and looked up all the things we found, Reading.
Watch videos online about snakes shedding their skin and that concluded our school day. Stressful? No! Educational? Yes!

We do some book work and hand writing too but I try to make it as enjoyable as possible for all. Along with that we use Reading Eggs for the 5yr old and ABC Mouse for the 3yr old.

But when the oldest is working on something that he can do on his own, like writing words or Reading Eggs. I focus on the younger one, maybe doing a puzzle or having him paint.

Keeping a 3yr old busy:
The busy box was one of the best ideas I saw! It's a collection of things that the younger kids can play with and keep busy with while I help the older one. This special box is only pulled out when it's school time, he thinks of it as his school box.
He also is learning how to write and read at the moment. I find that we can combine learning like they did in the days of the one room 'school house'. More on that later too...

The newborn:
We all know new babies sleep alot, I think it's a way to help the moms get used to managing the new dynamics in their family :) I wear the baby in a wrap or sling when I can. As he is getting bigger I can put him on a play mat in the school room too. There have been many days I'm nursing the baby while doing school! Hey its a science lesson!

We bake:
I like to cook if you could not tell.. Baking is my first love in the kitchen though. Once a week I do a baking project with the kids. They have to read the ingredients, follow the directions, measure, mix and I put it in the oven. I will be sharing those recipes soon....
I make them help with clean up too ;)
One day we measured everything in metric!! Talk about a well rounded education.

Why do we homeschool? This is strictly our thinking so please don't be offended if you don't share this thought. We are the parents, who better to teach them. We know them best, how they learn, what they like, what would motivate them. We constantly learn new things everyday, so do they. That is school, life is school. As they get older we will be adding  more structure into the school day,  making it longer if need be. But basically filling in where they need help and helping them excell in what they love.

And my favorite question...
"What about socializing?" 
We do! I promise!! These kids are far from socially awkward. We do play dates, have friends and do our ministry work too. So they get exposure to ones older and younger, knowing how to talk and interact with ones of various ages is important.
We also have a local homeschool group that we do field trips with. It's a large group of families that at least once a month we get together and do an educational field trip. They get to associate with ones that are older and younger than them in that group as well. Plus being able to be part of a school group and all wear matching t-shirts makes them feel special :)

Is homeschool for everyone?  No. But it works great for us and maybe will for you as well.