Postpartum Fitness Series, Week 5

Welcome to Week Five of Pregnancy & Newborn’s 6-Week Postpartum Fitness Series. Here are our goals for the week:

Whether you follow along with the video or use the step-by-step instructions below to complete the exercises at your own pace, know you’re making progress toward your fitness goals.


EXERCISE 1: Mini jumping squats with rotation
10-20 reps

  1. Stand with your feet together under your body. Get started with a little jump up.
  2. Jump out into a deep squat and rotate your torso toward your right leg, as if you were doing a small oblique crunch with your torso. Think left side of your ribcage to your right hip.
  3. Using your butt to help power you, jump and land center with your legs under you. Think soft landing.
  4. Jump back up, landing in a deep squat, and rotate your torso toward your left side to complete the exercise on the opposite side.

Not ready to do any jumping? See the modification below.

Modification: Mini squats with rotation (no jumps)
20-30 sets

  1. Standing in a wide deep squat, rotate your torso toward your right leg.
  2. Instead of jumping, just stand up straight—your feet shouldn’t move at all during the entire exercise.
  3. Return to a deep squat while rotating your torso toward your left side.
  4. Feel like you are scooping your belly in and up as you stand back up.


EXERCISE 2: Lunge side to side
10-20 reps

  1. Stand tall with feet wider than shoulder width apart. Your feet and legs should be parallel.
  2. Keep your feet stationary while you shift your weight to your right leg and butt, moving into a side lunge. Find a range where you can really feel your outer hip and butt working. Complete five small, very slow pulses.
  3. Press with your right leg back to your original standing position.
  4. Shift your weight to your left side with your weight in your heel and butt. Keep your left knee aligned behind your left toes. Using your butt and outer hip, complete five small, very slow pulses.

[good to know] This exercise can is safe for early pregnancy but should not be practiced during in the third trimester because of too much stress on the pubic area.


EXERCISE 3: Combo lunge butt kick
10-20 reps

  1. Start in a lunge position with your right leg forward and left leg back.
  2. Use your right leg to push your body into a standing position.
  3. Kick your right leg back, squeezing your butt and hinging your body forward. Try to get your body parallel to the ground.
  4. Lunge through back to your starting position with your right leg forward. Repeat for 10-20 reps then switch sides.


EXERCISE 4: Side arm reaches *
2- to 4-pound dumbbells, 20 reps

  1. Stand tall and keep a soft bend in your knees. Draw  your shoulders draw down and away from your ears, bend your elbows into your side, and face your palms upward.
  2. Feel as if you are reaching your arms out then up in one smooth slow motion.
  3. Pull with your middle back to draw your elbows back to your side.
  4. For an extra challenge after 20 reps, add 10-20 pulses at your end range when your arms are straight.


EXERCISE 5: Straight arm pulses *
20-30 reps

  1. Standing in a slightly bent knee squat, sticking your hips back, shoulders down, and chest out.
  2. Slowly pulse your arms together behind your back, engaging your middle back, shoulders and triceps.
  3. For an added challenge, reach your arms up to shoulder height, adding full range of motion after you pulse for 10 more reps.

Repeat exercises 1-5 another one to three times before moving onto the stretch below. You can add more stretches from previous weeks as well.


EXERCISE 6: Roll down stretch
2-5 reps

  1. Stand tall, reaching your arms toward the sky while taking in a deep breath.
  2. Hinge forward, arching your back, softening your knees, and reaching your arms behind you to stretch your chest. Hinge forward as far as you can without rounding your back. Enjoy a low back and hamstring stretch.
  3. Round your spine forward, letting your head and neck relax. Reach as far to your toes as you can, take a deep breath, and then slowly roll up one vertebra at a time. Engage your abs and ensure your head is last to come up.

* Exercise is also appropriate for pregnancy.

This always is a start to a good conversation, plus a BIG reason I was motivated to do my prenatal DVD’s to start with. I see too many trainers, prenatal DVDs, etc teaching crunches during pregnancy, not to mention those post-pregnancy workouts that mostly just focus on ab exercises. Trust me, I’ve wanted my abs back after each of my 3 pregnancies & with each one it took longer (can’t even say I’m 100% after my 3rd, it’s been 18 months), but it’s the last area that really comes through for us moms. Give yourself credit as you lose the baby weight, fit back into your jeans, sculpt your amazing arms, & lift your booty! Your abs will come, eventually…..

no crunches

I’m the opposite of what you typically see out there for pregnancy & postnatal “ab” exercises. For good reason, unless you want to possible create more abdominal separation (diastasis recti) of course, although I don’t know who wants that!

Why? I know you’re asking that right now…..

Well, if you put a lot of added stress directly towards your rectus abdominals (those are the muscles that create that “6-pack” look) you could actually cause ab separation or make it worse when you are pregnant. Plus there is no benefit to doing crunches for pregnancy, it doesn’t give you back support or any of those reasons you may think. I don’t say that to be harsh but I’m just being honest.

Rather I always teach clients, & in my DVD’s, to focus on strengthening your core (I don’t really like the term “ab exercise”). Strengthening your “core” is waaayyyy more beneficial & there’s actually a purpose to it. Here’s why:


  Pelvic Tilts are a great exercise to practice doing your kegels & engaging your transverse abs.

Ab Exercise Guidelines During Pregnancy:


  Reach & Curl is a great core (& balance) exercise both during & after pregnancy

Ab Exercise Guidelines After Baby:

You’ll find more info & exercises regarding this very big topic in both my Prenatal & After Baby DVD’s. Plus, a bonus video in the prenatal & bonus booklet in the after baby, more specifically about deep core, kegels, transverse abs, preparing for baby exercises (prenatal), and abdominal separation (after baby).

I love the inspiration moms have for getting into shape quickly after baby, but there are so many factors that can greatly affect how long it takes for you to accomplish this. First, stop comparing yourself to the celebrities out there who are back “in shape” within the first 3 weeks! If you too had a personal chef to cook for you everyday, a trainer who made you workout 2 hours a day, then maybe, just maybe you could do it that quickly….

6 Reason Patient Image

Reality check! As a new mom your body is going through so much! Did you notice that it took you 9 full months to take on your beautiful pregnant body? Well then, I hate to break it to you, but it’s not coming off in 3 weeks.

The very best advice I can give you is this: “BE PATIENT”! Yes!  You can have your pre-baby body back & even better!  If you ask me, the key is to take it slow. Focus on your day-to-day goals such as getting active everyday & eating healthy, rather than; “I still can’t squeeze into my jeans!” & “What’s with this muffin top!” awwwww!

Here’s why:

  1. Your body needs time to adjust back – remember that 9 months I mentioned?
  2. Your hips & ribcage take time to move back to where they were. Being active really can help this.
  3. Your weight may not be that different after baby but you feel mushy. So now it’s time to focus on putting back on some muscle mass, which also happens to help speed up your metabolism = you burn more calories everyday! Yay!
  4. Skin, this one takes the longest, but the sooner you start strengthening your deep muscles again & eating healthy, you can help this along. You have to wait for your skin to rejuvenate underneath & be tight against your muscles. This takes time & lots of it!
  5. That good ol’ muffin top – gotta love it! This is usually the last area that women finally notice shrinking, due in part to breastfeeding. Your body must hold onto some extra fat (usually a good 5-10 pounds for most) to produce good nutritious milk for your baby. So don’t get too carried away with the cardio & calorie burning just yet.
  6. As soon as you stop breastfeeding, be sure you are super aware of your food intake. Instantly cut the extra sugar & high calorie food for several days so you don’t put weight back on. Pay close attention to how hungry you really are & that you’re not just eating because you’re used to eating so much food. Unless you instantly up your exercise at the same time you quit nursing you’ll actually gain weight.

Oh, and after each pregnancy it usually takes your body longer to recover. Keep up the hard work moms & take it day-by-day, incorporating exercise & healthy eating habits as much as you possibly can. Even small amounts of exercise can add up, so give it a go & do 10 minutes here & there if you can’t squeeze in an entire 30 plus minute workout!

Now get moving with these 6 workouts I designed for Pregnancy & Newborn’s 6-week Postpartum Fitness Series!

Pregnancy & Newborn Postpartum Fitness Series Week1

Are you giving yourself the time you should be?


P.S. Please share this with other mamas you know that need this friendly reminder to be patient and kind to themselves after baby (even if it’s been years!). It’s never too late to get your body moving no matter where you are today – take that first step!

– See more at:

Guest post by Jennifer Stinson, freelancer for Everyday and its recipe and calorie counter tools.


Having a baby is a life changing experience -in more ways than one. Not only is your new focus on caring for your baby, but your body and nutritional needs are much different than they were just ten months ago. It is easy to feel anxious about losing those post pregnancy pounds. While a quick fix diet can sound really tempting, taking the time to properly nourish your body will give you the energy you need to take care of your new little one, as well as get back to your pre-pregnancy weight.

Here are some healthy ways to alter your diet to help you be the best mom you can be:

Take time to eat regular meals and snacks

It goes without saying that you feed your baby when he is hungry. However, most new moms forget to feed themselves! Certainly, life is busy with a new little one, but there is no way you will have the energy you need without nourishing your own body. This is even more important if you are nursing. A good rule of thumb is to have breakfast within 90 minutes of getting up, with meals four to six hours apart. Having healthy snacks in between meals, just when you begin to feel hungry will prevent you from making the wrong choices when you are tired and hungry. Here are some easy, healthy snack ides to keep you satisfied through out the day:

  1. Low fat Greek yogurt and an ounce of nuts
  2. Veggie sticks and hummus
  3. Whole grain crackers and low fat cheese
  4. Low fat cottage cheese and fruit
  5. Whole grain cereal and fat free milk
  6. Whole grain toast and natural peanut butter

Banish sweets and junk food from the house

What is easier to grab when you are hungry and tired than sweets or salty, fatty junk food? These types of foods really sound good when you have pulled an all nighter with a newborn. However, junk foods contain little nutrients that will fuel you up for the energy you need to make it through the day. It is best to get them out of your house, so you won’t be tempted when you are feeling hungry and tired. Some healthy alternatives to junk food that get the green light are:

  1. Plain popcorn
  2. Whole grain pretzels
  3. Baked kale chips
  4. Roasted garbanzo beans.

Stock up on Superfoods

It will be especially important to make healthy choices if you are nursing. Even if you are not breast feeding, you will need to plenty of energy, stamina, alertness and strength to get you through those first few months with a newborn. This means paying special attention to the food choices you make, so you can maximize your nutrition for you and your baby. Superfoods are rich in antioxidants, phytochemicals and typically not processed, leaving them packed full of nutrients that your body needs to keep you going. Superfoods include the following:

  1. Green, leafy veggies
  2. Blueberries
  3. Broccoli
  4. Beans and legumes
  5. Salmon
  6. Walnuts
  7. Oats
  8. Yogurt
  9. Oranges.

It can be a challenge to focus on your own nutrition after having a baby. Take one day at a time and remind yourself that getting in all the nutrients your body needs is good for both you and baby!

To learn more about healthy eating and nutrition check out

Having a baby is a highly anticipated event and most parent-to-be plan ahead for their new arrival.  The evidence of this planning can be seen through gift registries, baby showers and prenatal class attendance.  All of these activities and rituals help parents adjust to the idea of having a baby and at the same time accumulate all the gadgets and gear their baby will need.

What expectant parents sometimes forget is that you must also plan for your daily life once baby arrives and figure out how you will accomplish your usual daily tasks like making meals or doing the laundry.  Life with a newborn can be overwhelming due to sleepless nights, insecurity and the significant life change that happens with a new baby.  Here are a few tips that will help you feel more in control during the first few months.

  1. 1. Rally all the help you can manage, but spread it out

If you are lucky enough to have family around, one thing you can do before baby’s arrival is work out a schedule to ensure you have help consistently for the first few weeks or even months if needed.  I was lucky enough to have a large extended family and was able to have regular help after my husband went back to work.  The period when your partner goes back to work can be daunting as you are now alone with your new baby and this can be quite scary.  To have a support system to help you over this hump is invaluable.  It is also nice to have someone there to make you a meal, let you have a nap or for adult conversation.


  1. 2. Breastfeeding Support – Don’t wait until after baby to research what is available

If you intend to breastfeed your baby, it is a good idea to find out first if your hospital has lactation support before baby arrives.  If your hospital does not have a lactation or breastfeeding clinic, research what other support is available through organizations such as La Leche league  They have chapters all over the country and can be a great resource in helping you establish a good breastfeeding relationship with your child.  By being proactive, if you do need the additional support, you will already know where to go to get it.

  1. 3. Tracking your baby’s daily details

Another helpful tip is to be prepared to track your baby’s feedings and diapering.  “Every baby is different! Due to individual differences, healthy full-term babies may breastfeed as often as every hour or as infrequently as every four hours and thrive, according to LLLI Breastfeeding Answer Book (BAB) Third Revised Edition, page 26. Daily breastfeeding patterns will vary from baby to baby and from day to day.”  Being that breastfed newborns do not stick to a schedule the only real way to ensure that baby is getting enough milk is to write down each feed to ensure they are feeding the recommended 8-12 feeds per day.  It is also important to write down each diaper and whether it was wet or soiled to ensure they are having the appropriate number of diapers based on their age.  Tracking other details such as their baths, vitamins or if you have any questions for your doctor can also be helpful.  With sleep-deprivation comes forgetfulness and by writing things down you will have the information you need to ensure your baby is getting what they need.  Glow Baby has a journal perfect for this

  1. 4. Meals – Other options

With a new baby in the house it can be difficult to ensure that mom is taking care of herself and eating healthy meals.  One option is to create freezable meals before baby is born.  This is a great way to ensure that you have a number of healthy meals ready to be put in the oven just before dinner time.  A second option is to ask the helpers you have lined up to do grocery shopping or the cooking for you.  A third option would be to use any online grocery service where you can select what you need and they will do the shopping for you and deliver the items to your door.  There are also companies who create healthy frozen meals that can be delivered to your door ready to be cooked in the oven when needed.

  1. 5. New Moms Groups

No one knows better what you are going through as a new parent as other new parents.  It is very helpful to connect with moms whose babies are the same age as yours.  By searching out available moms groups in your area before baby you can see what is available to you and even connect with other expecting moms waiting for their new baby to arrive.  You can even test these groups out to see which one will be the right fit for you.  These moms groups are a great resource after baby arrives and will give you a great excuse to get out of the house.

Editorial provided by Lindsay Harris.  Lindsay is the Owner of Glow Baby – For the Organized Family  Glow Baby products are designed to help parents stay organized through all stages of parenthood to help make life easier after baby.  She is also the proud mom of two beautiful daughters ages 5 1/2 and 3 1/2.


Breastfeeding is a learning process for both you and your baby, since neither of you have done this before. It takes time, and you learn by doing it—and doing it, and doing it some more. Here are a few things to keep in mind during the first few weeks of breastfeeding.

You’ve just spent 9 months focusing on labor and the delivery. Now it’s time to learn the mom-and-baby breastfeeding dance. Breastfeeding is a learning process for both you and your baby, since neither of you have done this before. It takes time, and you learn by doing it—and doing it, and doing it some more. Here are a few things to keep in mind during the first few weeks of breastfeeding.

What your baby takes, is what your body makes

Think of a large marble that’s roughly the size of your newborn’s stomach. So keep in mind your baby needs to eat at least every 2 to 3 hours (see ‘How Often your Newborn Should Feed‘ for more info). In other words, your baby isn’t eating more often than others.

If you have concerns about milk supply to keep up to his demand, don’t worry! What your baby takes, is what your body makes; you will have enough milk. Did you know that the size of your breasts has nothing to do with the amount of milk your body produces?

Learn more: How to know if your baby is getting enough overall (DiapersWeight Gain, andInfant Behavior)

Ouch!! Seek help for pain

Yes, breastfeeding might hurt and cause sore nipples in the first few days, but it should not hurt for the whole feeding or over a period of a few days or longer. If pain persists, don’t tough it out—seek help. We have resources and support available to support breastfeeding success. Roughly 95% of the time, the problem of sore nipples can be solved by simply improving your latch.

Learn more: How to LatchHow Latch FeelsHow to know if you have a good latch.

Are these my breasts?

If you didn’t think your breasts could ever be this big and feel as hard as Mount Everest, don’t worry, they will settle down after the first few weeks, and when you’ve established a nursing routine , they’ll settle down in size and weight. In the meantime, enjoy and love your enhanced cleavage.

Learn more: EngorgementCare Plan: Sore Nipples, and How your Breasts will Change.

Make peace with dust bunnies

Leave the dust bunnies and dirty dishes alone for the first few weeks. The world won’t stop revolving if you have a messy house or you don’t make a gourmet dinner every night. Now is the time to focus on your baby, to get to know one another, learn to read his cues and sing silly songs to him. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, either, or to accept it when someone offers. Friends and family are marvelous at folding laundry, making meals or running to the store. All you need to do, is ask!

Listen to your instincts

If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re tired, nap. If you want to wear pyjamas all day, do so. If you’re too tired to welcome visitors, don’t. In other words, it’s essential to take care of yourself as well as your baby during these first few weeks.

Master the Breastfeeding Dance

By about 6 weeks, you and your baby will have learned the breastfeeding dance and settled into somewhat of a routine. Life will feel more familiar, your breasts will look more familiar. Remember that breastfeeding takes time. Give yourself and your baby time to transition, to learn, to relax and to fall in love.


Guest Blog Post by Bravado Designs


For me, the first few weeks and months caring for a newborn has always meant many days spent at home, adjusting to our “new normal”, and simply trying to survive from day to day. My survival skills typically kick in around 7 months pregnant, where I start to collect all the parts and pieces I’ll need once the baby arrives. I nest, therefore I shop. I always stock up on a few essential wardrobe pieces that I know I’ll be comfortable living in both during the day and night.

The first thing on my list is always one or two nursing bras comfortable enough that I can sleep in, as well as lounge around during the day, during those first few weeks postpartum. I’ve always loved the Bravado Designs original nursing bra, because the structure of the bra easily allows for changing breast size, which makes it a perfect choice for the end of pregnancy as well as newly postpartum. I have always waited to buy a more “fancy” under-wire daytime bra until the baby has arrived and I know exactly what my new cup size is.


In addition to a all-purpose nursing bra, I always try to have a couple other wardrobe essentials ready and waiting for me postpartum.

A few of my favorite essentials:

Yoga pants I could leave the house in. Not to be confused with yoga pants not appropriate to leave the house in, because I have a few pairs of those too. I always make sure to have a fresh pair of comfortable lounge pants on hand that are nice enough that if I need to run a few errands around town, I can slip these one quickly.

Water bottle. I find if I have a fresh and new water bottle, I’ll be reminded to carry it around with me everywhere I go. Breastfeeding makes me crazy thirsty, and carrying around a filled bottle has proven to be key.

Zip-up sweatshirt. In the colder months, wearing a sweatshirt that can easily be zipped down for frequent feedings is so helpful.

Comfortable shoes/slippers. Knowing I’m going to be spending much of my days at home, I always wear a cute and comfortable pair of house shoes. My favorite slipper shoes are from Smartwool (link: They provide a bit of support, keep my feet warm, and I can even run out to the mailbox in them if need be.

Layers. Newly postpartum, my body temperature fluctuates like crazy. I’m hot, I’m cold, I break out in the sweats. I often couple the Bravado essential nursing tank with a warmer cardigan or zip-up sweatshirt. I stay warm, yet have quick access to breastfeed.

Light Scarves. When I do leave the house, I find scarfs the perfect solution to both dressing my outfit up and playing double duty as a coverup for breastfeeding in public. My favorite simple and light scarf is the super sheer circle scarf from American Apparel (link:

Breathable pajamas. Right after birth, I’ve always had visitors. While I’m not going to get dressed up by any means to greet them, I still want to look nice. My favorite pajamas are ones made from bamboo fibers, because they are so soft and wick away moisture, which is awesome for the postpartum sweats.

How about you? What are your favorite postpartum wardrobe essentials?

Guest Bravado Design Blogger: Emily Elling

Emily lives in downtown Indianapolis with her husband of 10 years and her four unintentionally hilarious children, Piper, 7, Nola, 5, Gage, 2, and baby Paul, born January 2012.


~ Happy December! ~

This month we have so much to celebrate and be thankful for.  We are thrilled to announce that we are now the Community Ambassadors for ParentsCanada. What does this mean?  Basically, we will be their ear to the ground to truly connect them with their clientele – you, the parents!  We will be blogging about events and happenings in each of our 20+ communities across Canada as well as representing ParentsCanada at tradeshows across the country.  ParentsCanada Group is Canada’s oldest and largest publisher of parenting magazines. At ParentsCanada Group it is their mission to provide Canadian parents with the most timely and important information for the many stages of parenthood, from pregnancy through to the teenage years.

ParentsCanada magazine is a broad-based parenting magazine available by subscription and on newsstands exclusively at Chapters, Indigo and Coles stores. All of our other magazines are available free through select medical outlets across Canada. They also have 7 additional mini-magazine; Expecting, Labour & Birth Guide, Best Wishes and the Baby and Childcare Encyclopaedia, as well as 3 additional French publications. Their website is rich in resources including everything from Pregnancy to Tweens, plus Health, Food and Family Life information.  If you love contests, they always have a wide variety of great contests with amazing prizes!  You can even connect directly with experts like Dr. Marla Shapiro.  If you are looking for an online tool, they probably have you covered – Pet Picking tools, Due Date, RESP/Growth/Ovulation and Life Insurance calculators and more are all available through their website.

There will be much more amazing collaboration with ParentsCanada in the coming year.

We will keep you posted!

I’m so happy to be a part of the growing Mommy Connections team and bringing the program to Oakville, Ontario! There are so many wonderful moms that I have met through the program and that I’m now working with.

Recently the Ontario Directors got together for a photoshoot with our little ones and I thought I would share the result. I think it turned out great despite some unhappy campers. Thanks Small Ant Productions! We also got to wear fantastic jewelry from stella & dot, and had our makeup done by Julia from Arbonne. Thanks for making us look amazing!

Ontario Regional Directors


From left to right: Sarah (North Toronto), Karen (Toronto West), Mary-Catherine (Oakville), Danielle (Toronto East), Lisa (Mississauga South). Missing: Karen and Monica (Hamilton), Marianne (Etobicoke Centre)

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