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Mom Q&As

  1. Expert: Dr. Marjorie Greenfield
    August 10th, 2009
    How can I balance life as a working mom?

    No matter how long your maternity leave was, those first few days, weeks or even months back on the job can be tough.

    First of all, it’s important to remember that once you’re back at work, all the childcare and home responsibilities can't be yours alone. The key is to balance your family roles with your partner–have a conversation early on about how you plan to divide things up so that you both contribute equally.

    And, if you can afford to pay for help, try budgeting a way to buy yourself some extra time. For instance, get your groceries delivered, or hire the teenager next door to come by for an hour so you can run a few errands after work. Or, more importantly, learn to relax your standards a bit and let things go because you simply can’t do it all–and the laundry can always wait another day.

    If you’re finding it hard to cope with juggling the demands of work and family, try negotiating your workday with your employer–maybe you can work fewer hours, work from home some days, or simply adjust your hours to better suit your family’s schedule.

    Most of all, don’t stress yourself out by feeling guilty about all the times you can’t be there with your kids and instead focus on enjoying the time you have together as a family. If you kill yourself trying to be the perfect mom and the perfect employee, you forget that being happy is also part of doing a good job. Eventually, you'll discover a routine that works for you as a working mom.

    Dr. Marjorie Greenfield is a practicing board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist and fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG). She is currently associate professor on the full-time faculty at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and author of The Working Woman's Pregnancy Book. Dr. Greenfield lives in the Cleveland area with her husband and their teenage son. marjoriegreenfield.com

  2. Expert: Renee Kaufman and Natalie Aston
    June 2nd, 2009
    How can I hide my baby weight and look stylish post-pregnancy?
    It takes nine months to put on baby weigh so don't expect it to disappear overnight a là Heidi Klum and other Hollywood anomalies. So what's the best way to mask that muffin top while you shed those last few pounds? Rather than hiding behind baggy clothing, which only adds extra pounds, draw attention to your positive assets by following these simple style strategies:
     
    1. Focus on your waist: Accentuate your waist by drawing attention to the narrowest part of your body, which is often slightly above your natural waistline. Opt for a high-waisted jean or pant, or an empire-waist dress that flows away from the hips. You can also try adding a belt above your waistline over a tunic or button-down top.
     
    2. Layer, layer, layer: Instead of oversized clothing, a long top paired with a structured jacket can hide problem areas while looking hip (not hippy). Details such as seaming will help create shape.

    3. Open up: Higher necklines tend to create a very top-heavy look, so try an open neckline, which will also accentuate your newfound cleavage.

    4. Be happy: Most importantly, focus on eating healthy and enjoying your new bundle of joy. The best fashion accessory is a positive attitude and a smile.

    With combined backgrounds in business and fashion, Renée Kaufman and Natalie Aston co-founded Hatch Maternity after they recognized a distinct lack of stylish, comfortable and versatile maternity wear on the market. Their goal is to create the perfect maternity wardrobe-easy-to-wear, classic pieces in luxurious knits. The Hatch Maternity collection has been tried and tested by Renée, who gave birth to Sam in July 2007. Hatchmaternity.com
     
  3. Expert: Jack Newman, M.D.
    April 19th, 2009
    Now that my baby has teeth, why am I experiencing nipple pain during breastfeeding even though she’s not biting?

    The most common cause of late onset nipple pain is Candida. This type of yeast infection makes the skin of the areolas and nipples less flexible, so the new presence of teeth can cause pain. Talk to a lactation consultant to see if you have Candida and discuss possible treatments, such as Gentian violet or grapefruit seed extract. All-purpose nipple ointment (APNO) can also help.
     
    If you've recently switched your baby to solids and she's breastfeeding less, it may also be possible that your milk supply is decreasing. This can cause the baby to slip down on the breast, which can cause discomfort (especially if your baby has teeth). Try holding your breast in place during feeding and discourage frequent use of bottles or pacifiers, which can alter the way your baby sucks.

    Jack Newman, M.D. is one of North America's most respected breastfeeding experts. He is the author of Newman's Guide to Breastfeeding (Canada) and The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers (United States). Dr. Newman's breastfeeding information is available at www.drjacknewman.com

  4. Expert: Jack Newman, M.D.
    March 23rd, 2009
    Is it okay to have a drink while breastfeeding?

    Although alcohol does pass from a mother's blood to her breast milk, that doesn't mean she can't have a drink or two with dinner. Here's why:

    If you have a drink, the concentration of alcohol in your breast milk is the same as the concentration of alcohol in your blood. But even if you were to drink to the point of legal intoxication (0.08 blood alcohol in most areas), your breast milk will still only contain the same amount of alcohol as your blood, so 0.08 percent. But that doesn't mean you're baby will have a 0.08 blood alcohol level.

    This means your baby is only getting a tiny percentage of the alcohol you consumed. (Even non-alcoholic beer actually contains 0.6 percent alcohol–which is more than seven times the amount of alcohol that would appear in a mother's milk if she were legally drunk.)

    Considering wine contains up to 12 percent alcohol, beer up to 5 percent, and hard liquor approximately 40 percent, the bottom line is that breast milk with an alcohol content of 0.08 is negligible and will not harm your baby. While you should avoid getting drunk for various reasons, most importantly so that you are capable of caring for your child, an occasional glass or two of wine is nothing to worry about.

    Jack Newman, M.D. is one of North America's most respected breastfeeding experts. He is the author of Newman's Guide to Breastfeeding (Canada) and The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers (United States). Dr. Newman's breastfeeding information is available at www.drjacknewman.com

  5. Expert: Dr. Cheryl Fraser
    September 7th, 2008
    I'm worried about having sex after giving birth. How can I make it easier?

    This is an important question that affects most new parents–namely, how can you and your partner keep being lovers, as well as parents? All too often, new parents become so overwhelmed by their new joys and challenges that they stop relating to each other as a couple in love.

    But fear not, the very fact that you care about your sexual life and want to resume lovemaking is a sign that you value your partner for more than his ability to change a diaper. Here are a few pointers to help you get the lovemaking back, now that the baby-making is done:

    1. Once your medical doctor tells you intercourse is safe, have sex as soon as you can. It is important to simply make love without it being a big deal.

    2. If you have already waited long enough that sex is starting to be a big deal, see the previous point, and make love today.

    3. If that feels like something you are reluctant to do, please take solace in the fact that you are absolutely normal. Having a baby is a huge thing, and creates a big psychological shift for most people. As a woman, your breasts now give milk, your vagina gave birth, you may still be sore, your body may not be the shape and tautness that used to help you feel sexy, and you may be emotionally overwhelmed with the enormity of the responsibility of motherhood. Of course it can be difficult to transition from all of that to a place of mental desire and sexual motivation. That is why I encourage you to simply grab your man, head for the bedroom, and explore together. The longer you wait, the bigger a "deal" it becomes.

    4. For moms who are still too sore for intercourse, make love without it. He can give you an orgasm with oral sex, fingers, or love toys, and you can do the same for him. You will still reestablish your lover status and reassure each other that there is room in your hearts for each other, and that your baby shares that heart space joyfully. If you find you're still a bit "dry" or tender the first time you have intercourse, try using a lubricated condom or personal lubricant, such as K-Y Jelly.

    5. A word about Daddys: often it is the man who is reluctant to make love after the birth of the first child. He saw you in the delivery room, he may have witnessed vaginal pain and tearing, and those images can haunt him. He is also struggling with his new identity; as a father, he may feel an increased sense of responsibility and may be experiencing some doubts as to whether he can provide adequately. In other words, he craves reassurance, love, and connection right now as much as you do. So, no matter how tired you are, or how odd it feels to be virgins together, take time to make love.

    If you really want to get your mojo back, visit Dr. Cheryl's website at becomepassion.com to order her CD series Creating Life Long Passion, a home study course for building intimacy, thrill and sensuality that last a lifetime. Justthefactsbaby readers receive a $200 discount. Simply enter the word metta in the promotional code line of the online order form. (Metta, by the way, is a Buddhist word that translates as Loving Kindness.)


    Dr. Cheryl Fraser is a Registered Clinical Psychologist with a PhD in psychology from Simon Fraser University and post doctorate training at the University of California, San Francisco Medical School. She currently has a busy private psychotherapy practice where she specializes in sex therapy, relationship therapy, and Buddhist psychology with both individuals and couples. becomepassion.com



  6. Expert: Dr. Lisa Kellett, M.D., F.R.C.P.(C), D.A.B.D.
    May 4th, 2008
    Why did my hair start falling out after I had my baby—and is there anything you can do to prevent post-pregnancy hair loss?

    The most important thing to know is that the condition is common–and temporary. Your hair follicles typically produce new hair for a three to four year period, then rest for three to four months. The growth period is known as the anagen phase and the rest, or "fall out," stage is known as the telogen phase. The average person doesn't notice the telogen phase aside from a few extra hairs in their brush or shower drain (we have about 100,000 individual strands of hair and losing around 100 of them every day is completely normal). When you get pregnant, the telogen phase fails to occur in most hair follicles, giving you lush, full hair–which is the good news. But after your baby arrives, the telogen phase kicks into overdrive and most women experience pronounced hair loss one to six months after giving birth.
    For some women, hair loss will simply return to normal after they have their babies (so they lose only five to 10 percent of hairs in telogen phase). Most, however, will have increased hair loss because up to 30 percent of their hair is in the telogen phase at the same time. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to stop post-pregnancy hair loss. Just remember that the enhanced falling out phase is temporary and will return to normal about a year after giving birth.

    Dr. Lisa Kellett, M.D., F.R.C.P.(C), D.A.B.D. is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada, a Diplomat of the American Board of Dermatology, a member of the Canadian Dermatology Association, the Canadian Laser Aesthetic Surgery Society, and the Toronto Dermatological Society. For more information, check out Dr. Kellett atwww.dlkonavenue.com and www.skinlibrary.com 

  7. Expert: Andrea Grace
    December 14th, 2007
    What's the best way to tone my "mummy tummy?"
    The best way to “tone” up your stomach post-baby is to do some aerobic, fat-burning forms of exercise: walking, swimming, dancing, etc. The important thing is to just get moving! Then you can add some core strengthening and abdominal conditioning exercises.

    Just remember there is no such thing as “spot toning.” As new moms, we need some form of aerobic exercise to help get rid of the extra “stuff” lying over top of our muscles. Core conditioning will help tone up the muscles underneath, but in order to actually see a difference, you need to move.

    When it comes to core conditioning, I love the stability ball for new moms. (It’s also great to just sit and gently bounce on the ball while holding a cuddly baby against you. You’ll get a little workout and soothe your baby at the same time!)

    Here are three great core exercises you can do on a stability ball. Start with number one and work up to number three as your core strength increases.

    Exercise 1
    1. Sit on the ball with both feet flat on the floor and check your posture.
    2. Pull your belly button in while focusing on your breathing. Lift one foot off the floor, then lower it back down.
    3. Repeat with the other foot and continue alternating, doing the exercise 10 times for each foot.

    Exercise 2
    1. Sit on the ball and allow your weight to rest on it completely while you slowly walk your feet out away from you, allowing the ball to move down your spine.
    2. Pause, then slowly walk yourself back up to sitting. Repeat eight to 10 times if possible.

    Exercise 3
    1. Sit on the ball, then slowly walk your feet out until your spine is resting on the ball.
    2. Place your hands behind your head and slowly exhale as you lift your upper body up off the ball. Keep your elbows as wide as possible and maintain space the size of a lemon under your chin so that you are lifting your upper body towards the ceiling as high as you can without compromising your neck.
    3. Inhale as you slowly lower back down to rest. Repeat 10 times or more if possible.

    Andrea Grace is a pre- and post-natal fitness expert and the creator of Mommy and Baby Fitness programs with locations across North America. www.mommyandbabyfitness.com