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From bump to baby, Valerie's Life

Postpartum pressure to not look like you had a baby, just after having a baby. 

This was my postpartum body just after delivering my 4th baby last summer. I posted it on my personal Instagram last year to remind me of how I felt in that moment, when I was filled with amazement, emotion and love for the magical moment I had just experienced as a mother giving birth, so as to resist the urge to feel the postpartum pressure of not looking like I just had a baby, after just having a baby.

 

July 31st, 2015. “You’d think after 4 babies, the mystery and amazement of a woman’s body recovering from childbirth would be old news to me, but it never disappoints. I took this photo at the hospital Wednesday, just 24hours after Lily was born to remind myself that on the day I felt the most beautiful as a woman, the most strong as a mother, the most loved by an adoring husband, my physical body appeared the most out of shape, ‘ugly’ and ‘disfigured’ to worldly standards that it’s ever been. I wish for myself and for my daughters to always remember that true beauty is living in the truth of what beautiful really is. #postpartum #selfiestrong #BLANQIbeauty ” 

 

 

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There can be an expectation that immediately after having a baby, our bodies should instantaneously go back to it’s pre-pregnancy weight. I believe that this pressure is a real thing. Not just a figment of our female imagination, but a real cultural expectation that is placed on mothers.

If you’re not one of those mamas who has ever struggled with this postpartum pressure, it is a wonderful thing that you have lived without it, but I felt it. I felt it after my first baby, when I felt like I had to prove to myself that motherhood was not going to ‘change me’. (hahahaha) I felt it after my second baby, when I felt I had to prove that I could control two boys and still retain my girly self. (hahahhaha) I felt it after my third baby, because clearly I just had my third baby and people expect you to go downhill from there. (hahahaha) But, by my 4th baby, I didn’t feel it. I felt the most secure in my motherhood, my marriage, my life– I felt like I didn’t have anything more to prove with my body. At this point, I made the purposeful decision that postpartum body shaming was not going to influence my thoughts and decisions this time around. Those unknown fears were not going to be what compelled me to make decisions in my life.

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It’s been just over a year since I had Lily and I’m still carrying some postpartum baby weight. I have a fairly flat stomach, but those last 10 pounds seem to hold onto my hips like a kid holding a cookie until I stop nursing. It’s happened every time, so this fourth time around I’ve not stressed over it as much as I have in the past. It doesn’t matter really what I do– eat less, eat more, exercise less or exercise more. Until I stop breastfeeding, there is no pre-pregnancy body coming back.

And in my life now, I’m okay with that. I’m okay with having a little more squeeze if that means my child is still wanting and needing to be breastfed. I feel lucky it’s lasted so long and been so easy this time around. Lily seems to be one of those babes who would prefer to be a lifetime nurser, so having to gently wean her will come soon enough, but I’m just not in any rush.

That doesn’t mean I have days when I don’t look in the mirror and try to remember what my boobs looked like pre-pregnancy when they didn’t need a support bra. Or what my abs looked like with some definition instead of a defined stretch marks or what my bum looked like without these support leggings  for lift. There is nothing like trying to put on a pair of jeans from my pre-kid days of ages ago to get a real dose of reality. I may fit into them, but the ‘fit’ has changed.

So I wanted to share this as a visual reminder that pregnancy changes our bodies. It makes us gain weight, and lose weight, some bellies get stretch marks, while others have them on their chest, butt and hips. Our bodies can get red, rashy, itchy, shot up with progesterone, swollen, sensitive, cut open, torn, ripped, and stressed to the max.

But, with time and support they heal. It doesn’t last forever, and the scars that do were earned for a love that lasts a lifetime.

xx Valerie

postpartum support

Above I’m wearing my BLANQI Highwaist Postpartum + Nursing Support Leggings just after delivering Lily. I packed them in my hospital bag to help secure my belly with just the right amount of compression so that I was still comfortable. I’ve heard about binding your belly tight just after having a baby, but it never felt comfortable and didn’t work to wear for daily life. Like how can you go to Target wearing a bellybinder?! I would rather enjoy the moments with my new babies, than feel like I couldn’t snuggle them up from the tight and constricting binders. I feel like they make breastfeeding difficult to do and enjoy—and it’s challenging enough those first days, so I prefer these first ever, breastfeeding gamechanger support leggings. The higher waistline, on average, sits about 2 inches higher than typical ‘highwaisted’ leggings, so when I lift my shirt up to breastfeed, my jiggly after-baby belly stays secure and covered. Which always helps when the lactation nurse comes by and I’m all falling out of my gown. Having some coverage helps with feeling a bit more normal in a stressful situation when I’ve had challenges with my baby latching on at first! Just my experience. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before Pregnancy, During and Forever After, From bump to baby, Support

12 Ways to wear highwaist support leggings

Say hello to our coveted highwaist support leggings, here for your cool weather styling needs. Perfect from studio to play date, gym to dinner date.

We’ve all heard of nursing tanks, but make breastfeeding even easier on yourself with these must-haves. We designed them to smooth and conceal a postpartum belly, allowing you to comfortably wear your favorite bra and pre-pregnancy top, just lift up to nurse. Plus, feel skinnier with its fitted, but not too snug fit, and without a tight waistband giving you muffin top or aggravating c-section scars as you recover.

Check out how these lovely ladies style their BLANQI maternity leggings, proving that versatility is king 😉

Emily of The Freckled Fox:

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“I get questions about items that will work weather you’re pregnant or not (probably since I’ve been pregnant four times in the last four years.haha ), and these leggings my friends are in the top items on all those lists.  These babies are great for every season, they work for just about any occasion, they’re extremely easy to style, and they’re comfortable enough that you’ll find yourself living in them all the time.haha I love to pair them with short dresses and heels for date nights, with baggy t-shirts for lounging around the house, with my knee boots and a cardigan for running errands, and with my favorite tank-top for working out! So so versatile.

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Little Blonde Book:

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Beautiful BLANQI girl Aubrey Kinch wears our ‘Motherhood Is My Muse’ longer length white tunic tee and Highwaist Maternity/Postpartum Support Leggings in Deepest Black “for the days when a topknot and baby watching is all that gets done, and that’s okay… Take it from a legging lover, these are built to perfection. I’m so sick of the styles that are too thin and are sheer if bending over but I also don’t want something heavy and bulky since I’m all about comfort and these are just right.”

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Sydney of Zack & Sydney – “I wanna stock up on all of their soft pieces! You will not regret it! I absolutely love everything about this brand/company!”

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Makelle Ahlin of The Native Love – “thank you so much @blanqigirls my postpartum belly loves you guys!”

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Caroline of Sew Caroline – “leggings from @blanqigirls ( ah-mazing, gives great support for my c-section)…Will probably be my go to outfit for a while”12093669_900616189974650_1290860804_n10818074_1472913409682384_518197418_n

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Babes + Beauty:  “These leggings completely change the game in my eyes. They have so many features that others do not and I basically want to live in them. The greatest feature of these leggings in my opinion is the hight waist support band. I am able to wear any shirt, and simply lift it up to breastfed littly Huxxy man. It eliminates the need to always have an undershirt to avoid showing your postpartum belly to the entire world while feeding. Its simply genius! Plus it slims everything and makes everything feel super held together which I love with no bulky seams! hallelujah!!

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Jen Anderson of Little Wife Powerhouse – “Dressing after the bump: I’m wearing the best shape wear leggings from BLANQI that keeps my belly looking tighter! This shirt from Nordstrom I wore my whole pregnancy and now it’s loose + super comfy. Everybody’s bodies are so different and it’s all about finding what makes YOU feel good. Love all of you beautiful mamas!”

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From the weekend to the weekday, Mrs Coco Wyse looks effortless chic postpartum wearing BLANQI high-waist support leggings. 10732025_354196428094407_283519699_n

 

Day in the life, From bump to baby

Emily’s triplet journey – life with 3 newborns!

This is Emily’s story.  Beautiful mother of four, wife, entrepreneur, photographer, and writer of Zee + three .  We previously asked her to share some of her experiences to shed some light on her multiple pregnancy, and now life with newborn triplets, Daniel, Summer, and Taylor!   xx Sabina & Valerie

Emily - zee plus three - newborn triplet photography session - BLANQI blog

Would you mind telling us a little about the birth?  

Sure! From the first moment we met with our OB (he’s a specialist in multiple births and high risk pregnancies), we had a goal of making it to 34 weeks. He said that this would be the best outcome for me and the babies if we could make it this far, so I was determined to get there. As we drew closer to the date, he booked us in for a ceserean at 34+1 which was a Tuesday. However, on Sunday night, the babies had other plans. I went into labour on Sunday night, however the contractions were really far apart, so I stayed at home until morning. Then our OB said to come in and have the babies straight away. The operating theatre was very busy and a little overwhelming – but the team were amazing and helped me feel comfortable …. There must have been 15 people in the room, not including me and my husband. It was all pretty quick once it started… I think once we got into theatre, we had our first baby (Summer) within half an hour, our second (Taylor) a minute later and our third (Daniel) a minute after that! I got to hold all three of them for a couple of minutes before they were taken to the Special Care nursery and I was taken to recovery. The whole experience was pretty surreal but I do remember feeling weightless after the operation and the babies had been take out… I was so big in my pregnancy, and there was a lot of pressure on all my internal organs – I  remember feeling like I could breath again.

Emily - zee plus three - multiple pregnancy / BLANQI

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Are you getting any sleep?

Well, if you had asked me this last week I would have said, Sleep – what’s that? But in all seriousness, we have been pretty blessed with very settled babies. Usually they sleep for 3 – 4 hour blocks at a time, but now that they’re 14 weeks old, I have started trying some sleep training techniques. Now, instead of waking them for their dream feed at 11pm, I’m letting them sleep until they wake naturally. Now instead of feeding them at 11pm and 3 am, we’re putting them to bed at 8pm, they’re waking at around 2am, and then again around 6.30am – which means Im getting a bit more sleep this week.  I probably average around 6 – 7 hours of broken sleep a night. Hopefully by 6 months we can drop the 2am feed – but for now, it’s manageable!

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How many times a night are you getting up? 

It’s so much easier now… A few weeks ago I would have said up to 10 times a night. But now, apart from the 2 am feed, I sometimes have to get up once or twice to get one of the babies back to sleep. The boys both take pacifiers when they’re trying to get to sleep, but Summer isn’t a fan! She needs a little more help getting to sleep that the boys. I probably get up anywhere between 2 and 4 times a night, but they’re pretty easy to settle at this stage, so apart from the 2am feed which can take up to an hour, the other times I’m usually back in bed in 10 minutes.

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How are you managing their feeding schedule?

They have been on a 4-hourly feeding schedule since they came home from the hospital 10 weeks ago, so feeding times have been at 3am, 7am, 11am, 3pm, 7pm and 11pm. Now we’re trying to drop one of the night feeds that schedule is changing a little. In the beginning, the babies were not able to breastfeed as they were 6 weeks prem. We fed them through a gastric nasal tube for the first 3 weeks, and then started introducing expressed breast milk and formula. Then we started breastfeeding them when they were strong enough. Now we do a combination of breastfeeding, expressed breast milk and formula as I can’t produce enough to feed them exclusively. This combination works really well for us and I hope to continue doing this as long as I can.

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How are you feeding them – one at a time?  Two?  Is your husband helping?

It depends on how tired I am, and if I’m breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Sometimes I will bottle feed two at once but I can only do that with Summer and Daniel, as Taylor needs to be burped multiple times during a feed otherwise we have projectile reflux issues!! I tried tandem breastfeeding, but it wasn’t really my thing, so even though it takes longer, I prefer to feed them one at a time. My husband helps in the morning before work, and then most of the feeds at night too, however some nights I try and feed them without waking him so he can get through the next day at work without falling asleep in a meeting!

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Describe an outing with the family – what does it look like?  What does it involve? ( lots of preparation, we imagine! 🙂 )

My favourite family outing is on a Saturday or Sunday. Every weekend we will try and get all the kids out for a walk to the park (and a detour via the coffee shop for mummy!) We have to plan it so that Zee (our 2 year old) is fed and changed, the babies are fed and changed – then we have a 3 hour window before we have to be home again for feeding & nap time! We take the triplet pram (which I push) and then hubby pushes Zee in his Red Bike, and walks River (our Golden Retriever ) We look like we have our hands full and we do get lots of looks by passing traffic and usually get chatting to people at the park who are a bit surprised that they’re all ours!

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How long does it take to get out the door?

We have to aim to leave an hour before we really need to leave so we can get out the door, and even then we’re usually late! We’re getting better though. We probably only go out as a family once or twice a week, its a bit of mission. Yesterday we went to our nephews 5th birthday party, and it took about an hour and a half to get ready, which wasn’t bad considering!

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 How is your little man feeling about it?

Zee has been an amazing big brother since the very first moment he met them. He had been practicing their names over and over again from when they were still in my tummy. A couple of days after they were born, my husband brought him in and he ran in to the Special Care Nursery and said “Summer, Taylor, Daniel, I love you!” He still tells them everyday and showers them with kisses. He definitely has his moments of jealousy, but that’s directed at me, not at the babies…. But we’re working on special things I can do with him when the babies are napping during the day so he feels special.

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How are you feeling? 🙂

I’m actually feeling really good – especially now that the babies are starting to sleep for longer than a few hours. Its amazing what a little sleep will do for you! I’m starting to enjoy it more now too that we’re starting to get smiles and interaction from the babies. They make me laugh, I just love how Daniel and Taylor can be lying there crying and Summer will look at them and start giggling, or if Taylor is hungry, he’ll slide over to Daniel and start sucking on his forehead. It cracks me up!

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xx Emily

For more adorable photos and to follow Emily’s journey check out her Instagram account here – zee_plus_three

Any questions for Emily?  Ask below and we will forward them to her!!

Newborn photography session by:  Sugar Images

Other images:  Emily /  Zee + three