My Favourite Free Pregnancy Workouts

I’ve purchased a few exercise programs and joined some group classes, but some of my favourite prenatal workouts are videos you can find free online.

Here’s my list:

  • Tracy Anderson Arm Workout – 5 minutes
    This one isn’t specifically for prenatal, but it’s all upper body strength and no weights are involved, so I deem it pretty safe. It’s only 5 minutes and isn’t professionally filmed but I like it because I LOVE the song and my arms kill afterwards.
  • FitSugar’s Leg and Butt Workout – 10 minutes
    I like this one because Sophia Ruiz isn’t one of those chirpy, annoying fitness video trainers.
  • FitSugar’s Arm Workout – 10 minutes
    I have an exercise ball and some dumbbells, plus this is another Sophia Ruiz video, so it works perfectly for me.
  • FitSugar’s Heidi Klum Prenatal Workout – 11 minutes
    This is a good total body workout. It has a bit of cardio, a bit of strength training and a bit of core work — all in 11 minutes.
  • Lizbeth Garcia Prenatal Pilates for Flexibility – 10 minutes
    This YouTube video is actually about 50 minutes because it includes all five 10-minute parts of the Prenatal Pilates series. Pilates for Flexibility starts at 44:13.

Add a bit of outdoor walking and you’re all set up for a good prenatal exercise program, without paying a dime!

Farewell, Pump

After almost 8 months of pumping, I’m hanging up my [pump] tubing.

Because of my breastfeeding challenges, I decided to become an exclusive pumper. My baby would nurse for 5 minutes here and there, but I’ve been bottle-feeding him for the most part. While trying to keep sane, I pumped as much as I could (starting off with 8 pump sessions/day and a measley 9ml/session…yes, 9!!) and tried different “remedies” but I was never able to meet his demand.

He is now fully established on solids and growing quite well. However, the EBM to formula ratio was diminishing so after a long internal struggle, I decided to wean myself off the pump. After 1075 pumping sessions and almost 400 hours, I pumped my final 40 ml last week. It was bittersweet.

Goodbye, pump! Here’s to the end of our love-hate relationship.

Learning Infant CPR

Today, I attended an Infant CPR workshop that was taught by an Emergency Response Team member. The topics included SIDS, choking, falls, etc.; it was not a “light” class to say the least. On a positive note, I came out of it feeling a bit more prepared should I ever need to perform CPR or deal with choking (although I hope I’ll never be put to the test).

Here are a few points from the class that resonated with me:

On choking:

  • Biggest choking hazard: No, not grapes. Nope, not even hot dogs. It’s the television (or other distractions)!
  • Best way to prevent baby from choking on food: Never leave him unattended.
  • If an infant or child is choking: Do 5 palm blows to the back and 5 abdominal thrusts, and keep repeating. For infants <1 year, use the football hold to hold the baby upside down for blows to the back and then flip onto back for two-finger thrusts.
  • If you’re alone and choking: Call 9-1-1 and because you can’t talk, tap the phone to indicate that you need help. Do self chest compressions against the edge of a your front door (so help can easily get to you).
  • Bandaids are choking hazards. Infants don’t need bandaids; their blood clots fairly quickly.

On CPR:

  • If an infant or child is not breathing: “30 and 2 will get you through.” Do 30 chest compressions and 2 breaths. For infants, use thumbs for chest compressions.
  • If you are alone with an infant or a child who is not breathing, perform five cycles of CPR before calling 9-1-1. The first few minutes are critical to get the child breathing. (If possible, run outside to start CPR and try to get neighbours’ attention for help.)

On allergies:

  • If your baby is allergic to something, only use Benedryl if you are going to Emergency. Taking Benedryl will mask symptoms, so you may not know the severity of the reaction unless you get it checked out.

On SIDS:

  • Do not overdress the baby for bed. Babies are far more likely to suffer from overheating than being cold. The ideal sleeping temperature for the baby is between 16-20 degrees celcius (I know…cold, isn’t it?!).
  • Put your hand down the back of baby’s shirt to feel if he or she is warm/cold. Don’t judge by their hands.

There’s so much more to learning than just reading, so I highly recommend everyone to learn basic skills through a hands-on class. Although it’s scary to think of the worst-case scenario, it’s always best to be prepared.

Sleep Training a 6-Month Old

One week ago, we started sleep training. Prior to that, baby was sleeping in our bed, falling asleep around 10 or 11PM, and waking every 2 hours to be soothed, and I had enough. The breaking point was when baby rejected my breast. Usually, when he woke in the middle of the night, I’d just stick him on me, and he’d be soothed back to sleep. Well he didn’t want any of it one night, and then again the next. I decided the sleeping arrangement was no longer working for any of us.

Days shy of Jarvis turning 6 months old, we started “training”. My main goals were to have him sleep in his crib and for more than 5 hours at a time.

I read “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” by Weissbluth and decided on graduated extinction (aka modified cry it out or Ferber method). This method involves consoling the crying baby at increasing time intervals.

Day 1 was bearable. We put him in his crib at 7PM and with some crying, he fell asleep 20 min later. He slept until 7AM, waking up once.

Day 2 was more difficult. It took 40 minutes of crying to fall asleep, he woke up twice, and was up for the day at 5:45AM. (I heard Day 2 is supposed to be the worst.)

Day 3 was similar to Day 1.

Each day afterward became less of struggle, and after a week, our baby now sleeps 11-12 hours a night, with very little or no crying. The last two nights, we didn’t have to console him at all. And there was no crying when we put him down at bedtime!

We’re all getting much more rest. It’s a win-win.

Tips:

  • Track everything. From feedings to diaper changes, you want to understand the baby’s natural rhythm. I use an Android app called Bubtrac.
  • Keep to the schedule as much as possible. This includes the whole bedtime routine. Ours is bathtime, bottle and storytime. Hubby has it down pat.
  • Stimulate baby during awake time. The baby will nap and sleep better if he’s been exercising/playing/stimulated all day. Jarvis isn’t very mobile yet, so our awake time is in the exersaucer, on the playmat (trying to crawl) and lots of singing and dancing. I try to avoid long car rides outside of his nap time, as they usually make him sleepy.

Infertility and Loss

A regular commenter on my husband’s blog just posted his very sad story about infertility and miscarriage. Here’s a quote from it:

“It isn’t fair. I was a dad for 17 weeks, and now I’m not. I was going to teach them to cook. Play board games with them. Watch them grow up and experience the world and find their place in life and fall in love. I wanted to spend life time with them, and instead only got 17 weeks, and got to be there when they died in an emergency room.”

It reminded me of how lucky I am to have conceived and gone through a problem-free, enjoyable pregnancy. And most importantly, how lucky I am to have a beautiful, healthy son.

It’s stories like Lorne’s, though, that make me feel slightly guilty for talking about my baby and sharing my happiness. I’m sure his story isn’t about placing guilt on other parents nor is he asking for sympathy; I think it’s one way to cope and to touch others who are going through the same. I truly sympathize with Lorne and his wife (along with anyone who has experienced infertility or loss) and I admire their inner and physical strength. I can only imagine the heartbreak they must be feeling. I have no words that can make them feel any better; I have no words actually. It just truly sucks that some have it more difficult than others without rhyme or reason.

I thank Lorne for sharing his story. For me, it’s another reminder to cherish every moment with my son. For others who can relate, I hope you can take away some sort of strength and encouragement.

Read Lorne’s story here.