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Parenting Hacks for New Moms | How to Fight Back Against Mommy Failure Feelings


Babies, Parents


August 16, 2018

It didn’t take much for me to feel like a mommy failure when I was just starting out on my parenthood journey and I know I’m not alone. The feeling creeps in when we struggle with breastfeeding, when we don’t have all the “right” gear, when we don’t have all the “right” information or when we don’t handle every situation perfectly.

One mom in my office put it so well:

“I handle multi-million dollar sales transactions on a daily basis. I sit in a conference room with other business leaders and can influence their decision-making at the drop of a hat. But getting my toddler to put on her shirt? Somehow, I fail every day at doing that without getting flustered and losing my cool. It’s so demoralizing. I’m scared of what I’ll mess up when she gets older and it really counts.”

Our friends, our parents, social media, our significant others – pressure and guilt can come from all sides, piling on a sense that it’s all or nothing. That good enough is never enough. That only the best will do. That we are mommy failures.

The Real Secret to Successful Parenting

But the real secret to successful parenting is understanding and dealing with our own personal struggles and pain points, not pretending they don’t exist or acting like, if we just smile a little brighter, others won’t notice our humanity. Going to therapy, or to lactation or to our pediatrician for help. Understanding we are not as in control as we think we are most of the time. That sometimes we do our best and take all the classes and read all the books and IT STILL DOESN’T WORK. Taking a look at our own “weaknesses” and fears – these are the things that really make a difference.

What To Do When You Feel Like a Mommy Failure

Stop beating yourself up if you don’t always feel like you are the parent that you hoped that you would be. None of us are. Try your best. Deal with your own issues head-on, get the help you need to support yourself and give you the parenting tools that will allow you to rise above your most challenging days. Your children will thank you for it when they’re navigating their own parenting insecurities years down the road.

Want more solid parenting and mommy advice? Check out our free parenting resources here.

new mom, newborn, tips for new moms, new mom guide, lactation, pumping, breastfeeding


Parenting Hacks for New Moms | Why You Need to Designate a Soother-in-Chief




August 10, 2018

Breastfeeding mama? Your partner should be the soother-in-chief if you are the feeder-in-chief. Here’s why: If you are breastfeeding, you have a full-time job that requires rest, fluids, and patience to learn and perfect. You’ll do your fair share of baby soothing as a function of that job. But your partner should take the lead on soothing so you can accomplish your main mission.

Dr. Harvey Karp, in his book, Happiest Baby on the Block, wrote all about what he refers to as the fourth trimester. The basic premise is that babies are not quite ready to be in this world when they come out and that, given their neurodevelopmental immaturity, they are more easily stimulated by and irritated by the stress of the outside world.  Our goal as parents should be to try to mimic the intrauterine environment from which they just came, which is dark, very loud (think blood rushing around and a loud heartbeat), is almost constantly in motion (except when you are sleeping – that’s why babies tend to be more active in the evenings!) and is quite compact and secure. 

The 5 S’s

Your partner (and you) can re-create that same feeling of security by using what he calls the 5 S’s when baby soothing: Swaddling, Side or Stomach, Shhh, Swinging, and Sucking.

Letting your partner take the lead on baby soothing will help him/her bond faster with your baby and will help you both to see parenting as a team effort, minimizing resentment and building confidence for both partners. But, it still may take longer for your partner to bond with your baby. If you’re in that boat – don’t worry. It will come in due time.

My husband was always loving and in love with our daughter. He played with her and cuddled her every day. But it wasn’t until a year after her birth that he told me, “It was when she started laughing and reacting to me that I felt connected to her. That’s when we bonded.” 

The Benefit of Designating a Soother-in-Chief

Looking back now, it’s true. At about the two-month mark when he started asking me to send him pictures when he was at work and I was home with her. He started being sad when she was already in bed by the time he got home and he couldn’t participate in her bedtime routine. He missed her and he didn’t just love her now, he liked her, too! I’m so glad we made him Soother-In-Chief.

Want more information about caring for new a new baby without losing yourself in the process? Know a new mom or mom-to-be who needs some guidance or encouragement? Check out our book, The Newborn Baby Blueprint: Preparing to Care for Your Baby and Yourself.

…and check out our Newborn Gift Boxes, designed to give information, inspiration, and a little love to all the modern mamas and mamas-to-be we know.



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Introducing Modern Mommy Doc Newborn Gift Boxes




July 31, 2018

Each Modern Mommy Doc Newborn Gift Box is designed to give new mamas information, inspiration, and a little love as they start their motherhood journeys.

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We pair the valuable guidance they need with the cutest, curated babywear and toys we’ve found. We know new parents don’t need unnecessary gear—they need credible advice and want timeless pieces to commemorate their babies’ births.

Clothing and accessory products are specific to new babies, with clothing sized newborn or zero to three months. Toys and developmental accessory items span the first twelve months. We include a variety of different products, including baby toys, baby accessories, development products and self-care finds. Each Newborn Gift Box contains 4-7 products, plus our signature book, The Newborn Baby Blueprint: Preparing to Care for Your Baby and Yourself. These  boxes are available in essential and deluxe styles in baby girl, baby boy, and gender neutral:

Deluxe Baby Girl Gift Box

A baby gift box for the sweetest little babes and the most modern moms.

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Deluxe Baby Boy Box Gift Box

A baby gift box for the sweetest little babes and the most modern moms.

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Deluxe Gender Neutral Gift Box

A baby gift box for the sweetest little babes and the most modern moms.

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Essential Baby Girl Newborn Gift Box

A baby gift box for the sweetest little babes and the most modern moms.

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Essential Baby Boy Newborn Gift Box

A baby gift box for the sweetest little babes and the most modern moms.

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Essential Gender Neutral Newborn Gift Box

A baby gift box for the sweetest little babes and the most modern moms.

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Guest Blog | A New Mom’s Guide to Postpartum Nutrition While Breastfeeding




July 23, 2018

What to Eat for Healthy Weight Loss and Postpartum Nutrition, Without Sacrificing Milk Supply

This week, we’re saying thanks to our friends at Alavita for giving us some awesome nutrition tips for new moms!


As a new mama, it’s natural to be chomping at the bit to feel like yourself again. 

Yes, your body performed a miracle and you’re overflowing with love for your sweet new baby. But, you’re also tired of being tired, eager to fit into your jeans, and ready to climb the stairs without getting out of breath. 

As a breastfeeding mama, it’s equally natural to have a lot of worries clogging up your brain. You’re worried about compromising your milk supply, concerned it’s selfish to take time for yourself, and not sure how you’re possibly going to return to your normal weight because you’re hungry enough to eat a horse. You’re worried about postpartum nutrition. 

Here’s the good news- you can return to your fit, powerhouse-self while breastfeeding. 

You can also be the best mama ever, not in spite of taking time to eat well and workout, but because you prioritize self-care. It will all happen… just not immediately. The name of the game is baby-steps. 

And patience. 

It took 9 (ish) months to grow this new human, give yourself at least that much time to recover and renew. Fill your thoughts with reminders that you got this. And, good things, including postpartum nutrition, take time. 

Now that you’ve got your mindset in place, here are some guiding principles for your postpartum nutrition plan. 

Your Seven-Step Postpartum Nutrition Plan: 

1. Eat Enough

In the excitement to lose the baby weight, it’s tempting to whip out your calorie calculator and start skimping on food. This strategy will likely backfire. Here are just a few of the reasons why we don’t recommend focusing on cutting calories: 

  • Relying on willpower alone is unreliable in the face of sleep-deprived food cravings.
  • Undereating slows down your metabolism and shifts metabolic pathways to prioritize storing rather than burning fat. 
  • Although some amount of cutting back is safe, over-doing the calorie restriction can compromise your milk volume, and your health. 
  • Going around hungry will make you miserable and cranky. 

So how much is enough? Trust your body to tell you. If you feel hungry, it’s likely you need fuel.  Your nutrient needs are higher while breastfeeding than while pregnant! You’re still growing another human! 

If your appetite does not chime in, try eating at least every 3-4 hours, starting within one hour of waking up, to get your metabolism kicked into gear. Since your baby eats every three hours, use this schedule as a reminder to nourish yourself as well. 

Takeaway: Give yourself permission to eat when you’re hungry for optimal postpartum nutrition. 

2. Protein. Every. Single. Time. You. Eat. 

Now that you’re giving yourself the grace to eat, make protein your bestie. It will keep you satisfied to prevent over-eating later in the day. Eating enough protein will preserve your muscles as you shed your fat-stores. If you’re a numbers gal, aim for 10-20g of protein per snack and 20-30g per meal. 

Takeaway: Have three eggs (with the yolk for needed choline) for breakfast, Greek yogurt or jerky for snacks, and 4 oz of fish, chicken or grass-fed meat at most meals. 

3. Include Healthy Fats

Avoiding fat is so 1990s. As postpartum nutrition science has evolved, so has our understanding that eating fat does not make you fat. In fact, quite the opposite. Many nutrients essential to maintaining a healthy weight (and for breastfeeding), like vitamin D, require fats for absorption. 

Healthy fats are especially beneficial postpartum. Omega-3 fats (think fatty fish like salmon) reduce inflammation, encourage recovery and may help stave away postpartum depression. When you eat omega-3 fats, you also transmit more of this nutrient critical to brain development to your sweet babe through your breastmilk.  

Takeaway: Have salmon for dinner, don’t be shy with the extra virgin olive oil and pile on the avocado.

4. Fill Up on Fiber

Fiber is found in nutrient-dense, plant-based foods like veggies, fruits, nuts/seeds and complex carbs. These are all nutrient-dense foods that will give you more energy, and is there anything a new mom needs more of than energy?!? Fiber also feeds the good bacteria in your gut, which in turn, promotes a healthy weight. 

Takeaway: You’re already eating protein every time you eat. Now, add some plants to that plate. 

5. Hydrate

It’s true that sometimes thirst can disguise itself as hunger and that your hydration needs are sky-high to support breastfeeding and postpartum nutrition. Not to mention, dehydration makes you feel irritable, foggy-headed and depleted. 

Takeaway: If you haven’t heard it yet, it’s time to set up a hydration station at every spot in the house where you breastfeed. 

6. Strength Train

This final suggestion to help you achieve a healthy weight while breastfeeding and for overall postpartum nutrition is to incorporate strength training into your fitness routine. As little as 2-3 times per week is all that it takes to build muscle mass, your metabolic engine. Strength training will not make you bulky. It will help you feel toned and strong. 

Takeaway: Whether living room exercises like push-ups and squats, shakes & quakes in a barre class or slinging kettle bells at the gym, make resistance training part of your routine. Follow it up with plenty of water, protein, and plants. 

7. Keep Taking Your Prenatal

Final, final suggestion: Ignore the ‘pre’ in prenatal vitamins and take them before during and after pregnancy. If you know another babe is on the way, there’s no reason to stop taking them. See this guide to choosing a prenatal. 

For more tips on welcoming a new baby, click here to check out our book, The Newborn Baby Blueprint: Preparing to Care for Your Infant and Yourself.


Anna Bohnengel, MS, RD, LD is a dietitian and co-founder of Alavita. Trained at the NIH, she has spent most of her career in clinical research at OHSU and in private practice.

Specializing in nutrition for women’s health, she focuses on helping women feel energized & confident through a fresh, simple and results-driven approach. 

As a new mom herself, her work is now personal as she helps women enjoy a healthy pregnancy and thrive postpartum. 


postpartum nutrition, postpartum weight loss, new baby, new mom, newborn, breastfeeding, lactation, fertility


Parenting Hacks for New Moms | Keeping Perspective




July 10, 2018

This weekend, I learned a powerful lesson in motherhood perspective. My family woke up stressed. Both my kids and my husband were going for a week to the coast with their grandparents while I stayed behind to work. The flight was scheduled for 11:45 a.m., so at 10:15 we were in high-gear trying to get everyone out the door and ready for the big adventure. Like it always goes, my husband and I were a bit curt with each other as one we tried to make last-minute additions to our suitcases and keep the kids occupied at the same time. My toddler kept pulling everything out of the luggage and throwing it up in the air with glee. 

“Rain, mama!” she squealed. 

“Feeling a little on edge?” my husband smirked as I sighed heavily in her direction and tried to pry her fingers off her make-believe tropical storm props. 

I felt myself trying to get back to mindfulness as we raced the clock. 

Finally, we made it out the door but, closing our fence behind us, I saw something was missing.  Something big. In fact, two things. 

“Where are our cars?” My big girl asked. 


A Lesson in Perspective


I looked around, sure we had just forgotten where we parked them the night before but slowly it set in. Our cars were gone. Vanished without a trace. Kaplouf!

Yep, someone stole both of my cars right from in front of my house. Had we dropped the keys on our way in the night before? Our minds raced to retrace our steps. 

As we scrambled to the airport in a taxi and started making calls to the police and our insurance company, my daughter burst out into tears. 

“Someone took our cars? They took our things? Why would someone do that to me? I love our cars!” 

(By the way, our cars are not fancy in the least, she just gets strongly attached to her stuff.)


Losing Perspective


I may not have been in tears, but I was feeling the same exact way: completely violated and totally helpless. 

As we zipped along the highway, though, I realized I had a unique opportunity to reframe our situation, not only for my children but for myself. 


Gaining Perspective Back


Worrying Less About the Small Things


First of all, I saw how petty and small-minded I had been when we were preparing for the trip earlier that morning. Yes, we’d had a plane to catch and yes, my baby was cramping my style and my schedule, but my level of annoyance was in no way commiserate with the level of inconvenience I was facing. It reminded me of how often I handle all the other situations I referee with my kids (squabbles, tantrums, and power-plays) in the same over-the-top, reactive way—and that I can choose to treat my kids’ infringements like life-threatening emergencies, reacting abruptly without perspective, or I can choose to treat them like the minor hiccups that they (usually are). 


Using Bad Experiences to Teach My Kids Resilience


Second, I realized this was an amazing opportunity to teach my kids about prioritizing people over possessions. While my daughter worried about the loss of our vehicle, I worried about the loss of our financial security. My immediate thought was, “Do I have comprehensive coverage? How much will this cost me?” And, though those things are important, my child’s question about why someone would choose to take something that belongs to someone else helped me get to a place of deeper appreciation about what was NOT taken (my children), about what had NOT happened (a house break-in, a major car accident). Because she got so, understandably, focused on our things, it helped me pan out to the wider picture and end up….thankful. 


Making it a Teaching Moment


Lastly, I was able to give my children some insight into why things get taken, opening the door to an in-the-moment conversation about how we prepare for emergencies, accidents, and mayhem. About why we save some money and set it aside just “in case.” About how there are people out there designated to help us when things go wrong. About how sometimes isn’t all about enjoying the roses, it’s also about overcoming the thorns, building resilience along the way.


Back When I Had No Perspective


It made me think back to when I was a new mom, working out the details of breastfeeding, trying to make sense of sleep cycles and colic. I remembered how easy it was in the small, stressful moments, to think small. About how much better motherhood got once I started looking at the big picture, focusing on coping with versus changing my new mom day-to-day reality. About how all of us, when we’re mothering, can’t control everything, but can control our perspectives. 

Life’s not fair. It’s never going to be. And, while I’m not quite sure that “everything happens for a reason” applies to a robbery taking place literally in my front yard, the events of this past weekend, did, in the end, help me gain an even clearer vision of what’s important and what’s really not—and of how to teach my kids to understand why things ultimately don’t matter: the people we love do. 

If you are a new mom or an expectant mom, getting perspective and having the right expectations is one of the most important things you can do. Want more? Check out our book, The Newborn Baby Blueprint: Preparing to Care for Your Infant and Yourself.



new moms, breastfeeding, parenting hacks, top tips for keeping perspective when you're a new mom

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