Mammary Cleavage and a Muffin Top – Lola’s Post-Baby Challenge

The following is a real conversation between me and my husband.

Lola: “Honey, did you buy me a birthday present?  Or did you actually listen to me for once when I told you not to buy me a birthday present?”

Oamteal: “Ummmmm… actually I was going to take you to pick out a brand new pair of boots tomorrow.” 

Lola: “That’s really sweet babe, and maybe we’ll do that.  But really I’d just like to go shopping for some pants.  I’d like some pants that do not give me a muffin top.”

Oatmeal: (outburst of laughter) “Sure honey, go buy yourself some pants for your birthday.”

Well, I found out the hard way that the rumors are true.

I’ve always heard other girls say that having a baby (or babies) will change the overall proportion, or shape, of your body.   They say it’s possible to lose the baby weight without actually gaining back the old “form” of your bod.

I may only be 4 weeks postpartum, but I can definitely see that it is true.  I mean honestly, all things considered I think I look okay in clothes (and by clothes I really mean bohemian style dresses and yoga pants because that’s all I can fit in right now) but the truth of the matter is that I have many more wobbly bits than ever before, even though I technically only have a few pounds of actual pregnancy weight to lose.

Such is life, and there are other priorities to consider, but this is my blog and my chance to vent about whatever I want, so vent I shall.

I have a muffin top.  And I’m not happy about it.

I also have “mammary cleavage” which I am also not happy about.

You all know what a muffin top is, surely, so no need to explain it.  As for mammary cleavage, you probably all know what that is, too.  This is the type of cleavage that you see on a nursing mother, or a mother who has nursed children in the past.  It probably looked good when she was 18-22, or really any time pre-baby, but now it’s just not the same.  Those old tank tops just don’t look the way they once did if you get my drift.


Well, I’ve decided that while I can’t actually do much about the cleavage issue (other than dress modestly of course) as long as I’m breastfeeding, I can do something about the muffin top.  I’m going to go on a primal challenge for the next 4 weeks and hopefully get a little closer to my pre-Poppyseed shape.

My rules:

  • Stick to the primal guidelines: eat meat, veggies, fruit, nuts, eggs, seeds.
  • Avoid grains including wheat, rice, corn, etc.  This means giving up tortilla chips, which is always a standard cheat for me.
  • Avoid white potatoes and potato chips.
  • Drink water, not juice. I’ll also keep brewing my teas in the evenings, I’ve been loving a good cup of iced chamomile at bedtime.
  • Avoid most dairy including milk, butter, and cheese.  (I’m going to continue to eat Greek yogurt for breakfast because, let’s face it, eating breakfast with a newborn in your arms is a challenge and yogurt is easy to scarf down real quick.)
  • Eat as many green things as possible on a daily basis.  Try and make time to make a spinach salad for lunch, or saute some kale with dinner.
  • Stop eating an entire chocolate bar for dessert after dinner.  This is a very bad habit I’ve created since having Poppyseed.  I’ll now reward myself with no more than half of a chocolate bar but only if I worked out that day.
  • Stop buying Starbucks!  Starbucks is my crack, and it’s horrible for my body and my budget.  I literally have not been able to resist a venti iced decaf caramel macchiato the past few times I’ve been out running errands.  First of all that is $5.14 per drink.  TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY.  Secondly, I’m guessing there are roughly 80 grams of sugar in that cup.  Not good if you are trying to work off the love handles.  I will allow myself a cup of keurig decaf coffee in the mornings.   I never even finish the whole cup, but it is a comforting way to start my day.

So, I’m hoping to make these healthy adjustments to my diet.  I’m NOT limiting my calorie intake at all, or depriving myself of eating when I’m hungry.  I’m breastfeeding after all, and I need to keep my protein, fat and carbohydrate intake steady throughout the day.  Otherwise I could negatively impact my milk supply and that’s just not worth it.  So I’m going to eat as much as I want, it just HAS to be the healthy foods I mentioned above.

Now comes the topic of exercise.  I am sort of intimidated to begin an exercise routine right now.  First of all, I’m technically not supposed to do anything other than walk until I have my 6 week appointment.  BUT, I feel like I can do more than that.  I worked out throughout my pregnancy and do not have any issues lingering from the birth.  But, here are my challenges.

  • Time – I have a newborn.  When she is sleeping I find myself doing things I really need to do – eating breakfast/lunch/dinner or else prepping these meals, doing laundry, taking a shower, returning phone calls, etc.  I could probably do 15-30 minutes of working out after Oatmeal gets home from work in the evenings, or maybe an hour or so here and there during the week if my mother-in-law were watching the baby, but that’s about it.
  • Energy – again, I have a newborn.  I have not slept for more than 3 consecutive hours in the past 4 weeks.  This is not the time of my life to wear myself out during a workout, but at this stage in the game I feel like a long or intense workout would do far more harm than good.
  • Location – the nearest gym is 15 miles away.  I live on a gravel road, and my baby’s head bobbles all over the place if I attempt a stroller walk.  I could get the the gym every once in a while if my MIL were watching the baby, which she has graciously offered to do on occasion, and I could drive a few miles to pavement where I could go on a walk that is comfortable for me and Poppyseed.
  • I do have some basic things here that I could use to work out:  I have 2 kettlebells (15lbs and 25lbs), a yoga mat, an exercise ball, 8lb hand weights, and Oatmeal’s bench press set outside in the garage.  So I could do something with that.
  • Recovery – I am without a doubt still recovering.  My stitches have not dissolved yet, and actually the most limiting thing is that that my chest is SO sore from getting used to breastfeeding.  This is actually what is holding me back from doing some light jogging or jump roping.  Any type of bouncing is just not worth it right now.  So… running and bouncing of any kind is just out.

So, with all of those limitations, I don’t know where to start.  Should I just set aside 10-15 minutes a day to try and do some air squats, planks, pushups, or kettle bell swings, in addition to some long walks down the road with Poppyseed in her stroller?  If you have any ideas, please comment below and give me some tips!  I love to work out – it clears my head and makes me feel refreshed, but again, lots of limitations at this stage in my life!

Typical quick dinner at our house - grilled steak and sweet potatoes with sliced bell pepper and avocado.




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  1. Jamie Lin says:

    The way that I got away with working out early on was to take Joanie to the gym, put her in the moby and walk on the treadmill for a good 30 minutes (put her straight to sleep every time). Then I could do squats and dumbell stuff with my arms, while strengthening the core (without the unneeded stress of situps or crunches so early on). And it was nice and cool, and there was a tv. 🙂 Even though you feel like you can handle the situps and such, you don’t know what’s going on inside or if your stomach muscles have separated, so you have to be super careful. If they’ve separated, there are ways to tell, and if you go at it too soon, they may not go back together.

    Also, I hear Sealy’s getting a pool again. You should check into water aerobics there… I bet there will be a class. Mom is a great babysitter and basically just sits around and waits to be asked to help (in my mind, anyway). 🙂

  2. I wore my maternity jeans for a year after having Paxton because they concealed my new muffin top the best. That was by far the worst after affect of pregnancy. I kept on the weight until Paxton was down to nursing only once a day (he was 15 months) but I was 2 months pregnant at the time and after a month of losing weight and my boobs shrinking everything got fat again because of the pregnancy! So I had a month of almost having a decent body. I exercised from month 6-15 of Paxtons life very intensely…gave me muscle but I kept all the fat I guess to keep producing milk.

  3. Take it slow! It is hard to see a muffin top, but all the cool moms have one. 🙂 Losing It takes time and though you may lose the weight quickly, the body fat percentage stays high for awhile. When Micah was about 6-8 weeks old, I decided walking was too hard with three kids, so I got a Jillian Michaels dvd and did that for a few weeks before starting back into some scaled crossfit workouts. Please wait until your stitches are dissolved before doing a lot of squats! Grilled sweet potatoes?!!! You guys are brilliant. You are slowly revolutionizing my use of sweet potatoes… first breakfast, now this!

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