Postpartum recovery essentials + checklist

Finally. After 40 weeks of sweat pants, hairy legs,  awkward sleeping positions and intense labor — you’re finally ready to take home your little bundle of joy…hooray!

But if you find yourself overwhelmed with your postpartum experience, you’re not alone. Many first-time mothers are so occupied with planning for their baby’s arrival, that the discussion of after birth recovery is all but forgotten.

While every woman’s birthing experience is different, here’s a list of postpartum recovery essentials to keep in mind. Mamas, take note!

  •  Ask for help, and don’t be afraid to receive it. No one expects you to be Super Mom, and overexerting yourself will certainly delay your recovery. If you have the support, let your partner, family members and friends bring you meals, run to the grocery store or do a couple loads of laundry.
  • Don’t be afraid to say “no.” Naturally, everyone is super excited and can’t wait to meet the little bundle of goodness. However, it’s exhausting to play hostess. Give yourself space when you need it, and your loved ones will understand.
  • Disposable undies are your new BFF. I always advise new Mamas to take a bunch of these home from the hospital if they can — they are great! Postpartum bleeding can last up to six weeks, so avoid the extra laundry and spot cleaning if you can.
  •  Stock up on ice packs incase of tearing during birth or swelling after.
  • Buy some super absorbent pads.  It’s kind of a war zone down there after birth, so be prepared! If your hospital has ‘em, ask for extra thick pads to take home (some women prefer using Always overnight pads — but anything thick, long and absorbent will do the trick). Once the heavy bleeding subsides, thinner pads and panty liners will do.
  • Take some me-time. This may be the hardest lesson new Mamas have to learn. While you may want to be there for every moment, you will quickly wear yourself down being everywhere at once. A big part of recovery is taking care of your own emotional and mental needs. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself to whatever luxuries you can afford, whether it’s a soak in the tub, a massage or catching up on “The Real Housewives…”
  • Take care of your postpartum bod. Whether you have a C-section or vaginal birth, one thing is true: your body is changing once again! It’s critical to begin a healthy after birth diet and proactive skincare regimen during this transitional period. For example, early treatment of stretch marks and C-section scars, will greatly reduce healing time and appearance.

What’s on YOUR postpartum checklist? Share below!

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C-section skincare & scar recovery

After safety and recovery concerns, Mamas prepping for Caesarean sections will commonly ask the same question: “But Doc, won’t I shave a nasty C-section scar for the rest of my life?”

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After two Caesareans, I can tell ya Mamas: it’s not that bad.

With patience and proper postpartum skincare, you can minimize healing time and reduce the appearance of scars.

Here’s everything you need to know about C-sections and your skin:

Every year, approximately 1/3 of pregnant women in America deliver via Caesarean section. In fact, it’s the most common operation in U.S. hospitals. If you want a overview, here’s one of my favorite articles on what to expect with C-sections.

How big will my C-section scar be? Most Mamas imagine the worst; however, incisions are surprisingly small. A majority of cuts are four to six inches, running parallel below the bikini line. With this incision, many Mamas find they can cover their scar even in a skimpy bikini! In rare cases, doctors will do a vertical incision below the belly button — but again, that’s in emergencies only.

What will my C-section scar look like? Like most wounds, the healing process for a C-section will be the same. At first, the incision will likely ooze a small amount of clear fluid discharge, and – like pregnancy stretch marks — be raised and red or purple in color. As it heals, itchiness, sensitivity and soreness is common. After several months, the wound will shrink and fade to a flat, silvery scar.

Can I make my C-section scar heal more quickly? Yes M’am! Once you get the thumbs up from your doctor that your wound has closed, you can begin treating the  scar. Most women use a combo of vitamin E and cocoa butter, while others head straight for the Mederma. For me, I continued using Tummy Butter, our cocoa butter for stretch marks and Caesarean scars.

Tamanu oil has been been used on scrapes, cuts and scars for centuries. Not only does it relieve sharp pain, it's antimicrobial and helps healthy skin regeneration!
Tamanu oil has been been used on scrapes, cuts and scars for centuries. Not only does it relieve sharp pain, it’s antimicrobial and helps healthy skin regeneration!

Unlike Mederma, Tummy Butter also helps subside the insane itching that can accompany the healing process. Tummy Butter also contains amazing tamanu oil, which has been used for ages to treat scrapes, cuts and accelerate wound healing.

To expedite healing, treat your wound before it has completely scarred. While it’s in its pink-purple stage, massage the surface twice a day with Tummy Butter for a few minutes. This increases blood circulation and helps the scar remain pliable. Meanwhile Tummy Butter’s vitamin E and cocoa butter moisturizes dry skin by penetrating the skin’s deepest layers.

Have you had a C-section? How did your scar heal? Share your experiences below!

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Inspiring celebrity Mamas who normalize breastfeeding

Ah, how quickly World Breastfeeding Week has come and gone. This year, Mamas took to social media in full force to share personal breastfeeding stories, advice and — my fave — nursing photos!

After actress Olivia Wilde’s breastfeeding photo went viral this week, it became apparent society needs more exposure to images of women breastfeeding. I mean, it was only two months ago that Facebook lifted its ban on nursing pics in light of the #FreetheNipple movement.

So after oohing and ahhing over hundreds of wonderful images of breastfeeding Mamas this week, here are some of our favorite celebrity nursing photos.

Hopefully they will inspire you to nurse free, proud and often!

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Celeb Mama & singer Gwen Stefani sits in the shadows of the Swiss Alps as she breastfeeds third kid Apollo. On nursing her previous child, Zuma:

“I didn’t want (Zuma to quit), it felt like a total rejection. It was really hormonal, and trying to stop in the middle of the tour was insane.”

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On Aug. 2, our fave 90s rocker Alanis Morissette celebrated World Breastfeeding Week by Instagramming an old photo of herself nursing her baby boy Ever. Look at the smile!

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Actress/model Jaime King looks ethereal on her Instagram as she nurses eight-month-old James Knight. Wrote King, “These are the moments a mother lives for. Breastfeeding should not be taboo — and bottle feeding should not be judged — it’s ALL fun for the whole family :).”

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Funny lady and actress Julie Bowen of “Modern Family” shows off her twins…with the twins! Now that’s some multitasking.

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When your baby is hungry, she’s hungry! Supermodel Gisele Bundchen proves a Mama’s job never stops in this now infamous photo.

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One of our favorite actresses, Maggie Gyllenhaal proudly breastfeeds daughter Ramona publicly in New York City. Last year, she went on “Chelsea Lately” to explain how she managed breastfeeding while working on set.

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Singer Pink considers herself “one of those militant breastfeeder women” — and isn’t afraid to put you in your place if you question her. Said Pink, “I think breastfeeding is healthy and natural, and it’s a comfort to my baby.”

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And finally, the image that got the internet all abuzz this week: Olivia Wilde nursing son Otis. Photographed for September 2014′s Glamour magazine, the actress spoke fondly of the photo shoot:

Being shot with Otis is so perfect because any portrait of me right now isn’t complete without my identity as a mother being a part of that. Breastfeeding is the most natural thing. I don’t know, now it feels like Otis should always be on my breast. It felt like we were capturing that multifaceted woman we’ve been discussing – that we know we can be.”

Which is your favorite nursing photo? How can we further normalize breastfeeding?  Share your thoughts below!

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World Breastfeeding Week 2014 + Giveaway

Happy World Breastfeeding Week, Mamas!

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For the next seven days, we’re joining World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) to celebrate, support and inform nursing Mamas, their babes and the communities around them.

Every year, WABA chooses a theme for the global event that runs from Aug. 1-7. The year’s theme? BREASTFEEDING: A Winning Goal – For Life! 

As WABA explains:

“This year’s WABA World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) theme asserts the importance of increasing and sustaining the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding [...] We call on all celebrants of WBW to Protect, Promote and Support Breastfeeding: it is a vital Life-Saving Goal!

With that call for action, The Spoiled Mama is ready to launch into a full week of special giveaways, promos and events!

Visit our online store to SAVE on our organic breastfeeding essentials. (Except for special occasions, our nursing tea and breastfeeding salve for sore nipples are RARELY on sale, so don’t be afraid to STOCK UP!)

Be sure to keep a close eye on our Facebook and Twitter for daily giveaways, as well. We’ve teamed up with wonderful companies and skilled artisans to bring our Mamas the very BEST in breastfeeding gifts. Chic nursing covers? Delish lactation cookies? Stylish nursing reminders? We’ve got ‘em ALL.

But first, we’re kicking off World Breastfeeding Week 2014 with a giveaway of our bestselling breastfeeding essentials and skincare – woot, woot!

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The prize: The Spoiled Mama’s Fix That Sucker Nipstick + More Milk Please Sippin’ Tea with tea ball strainer

Why bother: Our Fix That Sucker Nipstick is 100% organic breastfeeding cream that helps relieve and heal sore, chapped nipples. The salve comes in an easy push-up tube that makes for easy application (no more icky fingers in the jar!).

With its all-natural formula, our Nipstick can go straight from the nipple to your little one’s mouth.

More Milk Please Sippin’ Tea is 100% organic herbal tea that helps increase lactation. Using whole herbs, our tea enhances the quantity of available milk, alleviates digestive complaints (including gas, indigestion and colic) and provides nutritive vitamins and minerals central to robust and healthy nursing.

How to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck, Mamas! Happy #WorldBreastfeedingWeek!

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The fine print: Giveaway runs through Friday, August 8 at 12 a.m. PDT. No purchase necessary. Winner will be chosen randomly and have 72 hours to claim prize once contacted. Please allow 3-6 weeks for delivery. Shipping is included. Contest is open to Mamas in the contiguous U.S., excluding Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rice.
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Beach Maternity Photos: Tips + Tricks

With summer in full swing, it’s the perfect time to head to the beach with your baby bump and camera. Even if you’re camera shy, you’ll regret not capturing the amazing moments of your pregnancy later — I promise!

We gathered a collection of our favorite maternity beach photos, and analyzed what these Mamas did right. Here are some tips for a beautiful (and fun!) photo shoot:

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1. Maximize your GLOW! Even if you’re not planning to show off a lot of skin, make sure you’re feeling beautiful and confident. This should start with proper pregnancy skincare and beauty treatments before you even head to the beach!

What makes you feel good? Is it a bombshell blowout? A relaxing pregnancy massage or mani/pedi treatment? You know what makes you feel ah-maaazing, so do it! Your confidence will radiate in your photos.

What we recommend? A head-to-toe exfoliating rubdown with our organic sugar scrub. It will make sure your skin looks smooth & refreshed! (Remember: We want to commemorate your beautiful bump, not ashy arms or feet. ;))

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2. Maximize “the Golden Hour.” The golden hour, sometimes called the “magic hour,” is roughly the first hour of light after sunrise, and the last hour of light before sunset, although the exact duration varies between seasons. During these times the sun is low in the sky, producing a soft, diffused light that is much more flattering than the midday sun. 

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3. Don’t be afraid of the dark side. Even if you like the “barely there” look, cameras have a way of washing out makeup. Don’t be afraid to go a wee bit heavier on the blush, eyeshadow and lipstick. Take a couple test shots when you’re on location, and adjust your makeup accordingly.

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4. Let your silhouette tell a story. When it comes to pregnancy photo shoots, there’s nothing more dramatic and artistic than a well-done silhouette portrait. Here are some quick pointers on how to create a silhouette, and even how to do ‘em on your iPhone!

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5. Get creative with props! Maternity beach photos are a dime a dozen (seriously, just Google image search it), but what we love about this one in the creative use of a frame. Whether it’s a crown of flowers, balloons or small chalk sign with your baby’s name on it, you don’t have to put in a whole lotta effort (or money) for photos that are uniquely your own.

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6. Play dress-up. A photo shoot is a good excuse as any to play dress-up. Do you love classic pin-ups? Are you a romantic hippie at heart? Don’t be afraid to don flowers in the hair, wear a dramatic flowing skirt or be a little “over the top.” If it helps, decide on a theme for your photo shoot, and let your imagination go from there!

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7. Tell a story. Let these photos be a snapshot of your life, because remember — everything is about to change! Involve your current children, significant other and even the family pet. If you’re camera shy, involving others is a great way to relax and take some of the pressure off as well.

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8. Just be comfortable, dammit. Many Mamas don’t feel comfortable letting it all hang out — and that’s totally okay! This beautiful set of maternity photos show it’s not all about skin. We think she looks absolutely glowing in a long peach skirt and cozy sweater…gorgeous!

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9. Just have fun! No matter what, the rule of thumb is to relax enough to have fun. There’s no hiding a self-conscious face or stiff posture, so surround yourself with good company and just get silly!

Have you done a maternity photo shoot? Let us know your tips and tricks!

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Thoughts on pregnancy and motherhood from your favorite maternity skincare line

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