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Losing Pregnancy Weight

It takes 9 months to put it on and many people will tell you it never all comes off. Pregnancy weight. The first trimester of my pregnancy I actually lost weight.  While I never had morning sickness, I barely had an appetite. My stomach would be telling me "I'm hungry" but it would also be screaming "eww, don't even think of eating that!" My lack of weight gain concerned me, how could my baby be growing and developing if I wasn't gaining weight. But as everyone promised, the weight finally did catch up with me. 
      5.5 weeks       12 weeks                           27 weeks
I gained about 22 pounds with my daughter who was 5 lbs, 14 oz when she was born. 

Of course, I lost about 10 pounds immediately after delivery and then returned home baby in tow, but still looking 6 months pregnant (and a few stretch marks to go along with the belly).  

I still have a membership to my local gym even though I haven't been there since I was about 5 months pregnant. I was too tired, working the overnight shift and busy getting ready for my baby. Now I'm a busy new mom who is lucky to get a shower some days, let alone get away for an hour or two to workout. 

But I have found a way to lose the pregnancy weight in about 5 months without stepping into the gym. Almost immediately after my daughter was born I started taking her on walks in the stroller. I was lucky enough that the weather was warm when my baby was born so I could walk with her outside. I walked everyday while I was on maternity leave. I'm also breastfeeding which I swear has helped me shed pounds quickly and without really trying. Not just because nursing taps into some of your fat reserves, but also because it's forced me to eat as healthy as possible because I know what goes in my mouth, also goes in my daughters.  When I have time, I also pop in a Pilates DVD and do a little weight training and toning with a Swiss ball in my living room. I've also found my baby acts as a great "weight" when I can't squeeze a quick workout in, I just use her to lift up and down a few times. And hey, lugging that carseat around with her in, that's got to be toning some muscles and burning some calories. 
I'm happy to report that 4.5 months after delivery I'm not only back to my pre-pregnancy weight I'm actually a little under...and without hitting the gym or starving myself. Now, don't get me wrong my belly needs a little toning, but that will come with time and work

Oh yeah, and the stretch marks have all but faded!

For more ways to lose pregnancy weight without really trying check out this article.  Here's another article with great ways to workout at home. 

Crying It Out: The Last Resort

I'm one of those moms who swore I wouldn't let my baby cry it out. For the first four months I did it...never allowing my daughter to cry more than a few minutes.  (With the exception of one day where I was at my wits end, got in the shower and stayed there until the monitor went silent.) Instead, I decided I'd follow advice I found in several books Happiest Baby on the Block and Good Night, Sleep Tight: The Sleep Lady's Gentle Guide to Helping Your Child Go to Sleep, Stay Asleep and Wake up Happy.  The methods worked for getting my daughter to sleep...but it was staying asleep that was the main problem. She'd nap fine...sometimes I'd even have to wake her if her nap went 2.5 hours or more. But at 18 weeks she still isn't sleeping through the night. We did have four consecutive and gloriously peaceful nights when she slept through, waking up at 6:30. For the record, these were nights when I was still working overnight, and therefore didn't get to enjoy.  But since then and before then it's been a struggle. 

I believe part of the problem is just as she was learning to sleep through the night, she got sick. She had a cold which developed into an ear infection for three weeks. She got better for a week (hence the nights she slept through) and then developed another cold and stuffy nose which has gotten us to this point.  I also believe part of the problem is she's sleeping too long at daycare. (If you're thinking, "I thought you were a stay at home mom?" well I am, but I had to keep her in daycare until the end of the year because we signed up for it.) There are days when she'll sleep 5 hours before 2pm. Most babies at her age don't need more than 4-5 hours of sleep ALL DAY.  And I KNOW part of the problem is me and inconsistencies.  I'm enabling her to do this...her knowing that I'll come running. But no more. All this has landed me at my last resort: cry it out.  Here's how it's gone so far. 

Night 1:  Baby wakes up crying at 1:15 am. I give in and feed her (problem #1, I know) she falls asleep in my arms. As soon as I put her down, she cries. I pick her back up, take her down to the swing (problem #2, I know) that doesn't work. It's now 2:30 and I feel I have no other choice...I decide for the first time to let her cry it out.  By 2:56 she's asleep...and stays that way until 7am. 

Night 2: Pretty much the same thing, except she only cries for 15 minutes before falling back asleep. 

Night 3: Wake up time: around 2am. Wondering if she's uncomfortable in her carseat (where she's been sleeping for months at the dr's advice due to reflux) we move her to her crib. This seems to help. I resist feeding her this night, knowing that's part of why she continues to wake up. At 14-15 pounds she should definitely be able to make it through the night without eating.  I simply re-wrap her in her swaddle  (which she can't sleep without) give her a binky, and place her back in the crib. She cries for about 20 minutes, then goes back to sleep until morning. 

Night 4: I convince my husband he should go in when she cries since she smells me, her food supply. Of course, she doesn't wake up until 6:30 am . Praise the Lord...but will it last???

Night 5: Didn't think so!!! Wake up time, 4 am. My husband goes in reinserts the binky, gives her a little rub, says "love ya" and leaves the room. She cries for nearly 3o minutes then finally falls to sleep.  

Night 6: Same thing as Night 5 except she cried for an hour. I can't take it anymore, something must be wrong. I go in, give her the binky (resist picking her up...small victory) give her a little rub and leave the room.  She stays asleep for an hour until 5:40am then wakes up screaming. I don't go in to feed her until 6am. She goes back to sleep, and we have to wake her up at 8am. 

I'll continue to update you on our progress. I know it's a process and I know we have to break her and our bad habits. But hopefully sooner rather than later she'll be sleeping like a baby. 
Updated: 12/23

Night 7: My daughter woke up crying multiple times, but only because her swaddled got loose and she managed to wiggle her arms out. She can't sleep unless she's swaddled. Yes, I know, she's four months old. That's my next project! Anyway, everytime I reswaddled her, I gave her a little pat, a little kiss and a good night. And she went right back to sleep. She started crying around 5:50 and I thought, okay that's good enough. I went to pump a little before I fed her and by the time I was finished she was quiet. She had fallen back to sleep. She didn't wake up until 8:30!!!

Night 8: Praise the Lord she slept through the night without a peep! 7:45pm - 6:03am. 

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Becoming a SAHM

I'm new at this whole stay-at-home mom thing.  In fact when I had my daughter in August '08 I fully planned to go back to work.  I shouldn't say "planned" I actually did go back to work in November.  Never would I have imagined staying home with my baby.  I wanted to work, to have a career and to raise my family. My husband and I always said after the second baby I'd most likely stop working, but not after the first. 

But after being back to work for a month it just wasn't working. I was working overnights in a busy TV newsroom. I left home at 10:30 at night and got home in the morning at 8am. I'd have to sleep all day, which meant putting my daughter in daycare.  Working overnights isn't for most people, but it's certainly wasn't for me as a working mother. It just wasn't jiving with any of our lives..my daughter, my husband or mine. 

We had to come to a decision and after weighing the options...many of them...(from having an overnight nanny to begging our moms for overnight help) we decided it would be best if I left my job and stayed home. 

The biggest thing holding us back initially was the financial end of it. What would not having my income mean for us? How would we pay the mortgage? How would we buy groceries? How would we pay to fill up the cars? 

Fortunately we're on my husband's health insurance so that wasn't a factor. But we did go over our monthly expenses line by line and with a fine tooth comb. If I wasn't driving 50 miles round trip to work everyday that would save us a lot of money. I'd be filling up my tank maybe every 2-3 weeks instead of every 5 days. If I didn't have daycare I'd be saving a huge amount of money (about one out of every two paychecks for us). If I was home I could pay more attention to grocery specials and clip coupons, make dinner instead of grabbing it on the way home. That proved to be a significant savings..into the hundreds of dollars! We never realized how much money we were spending on food! We cut our bi-weekly spending money that each of used on "want" items in half.  We also changed our tax withholdings which means at least $100 more per paycheck. And even though I'm home now during the day, it doesn't mean I'm not contributing financially. I'm looking for ways to come up with income, no matter how small. I've started writing articles online, I've started selling stuff we don't use anymore (clothes that are too big, etc) on ebay and I'm considering getting into direct home sales.  Check out this article for more ways to make sure you're financially set to survive on one income.

Leaving work was a huge decision for me, as I'm sure it is for most mothers. I now have another job though, and that's taking care of my daughter and our household. I'm glad I can keep contributing even if it isn't attached to a paycheck. 
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