Sweet Cravings

As I sit here sipping my “Earth Mama’s No More Milk” tea, I recall my experiences with breastfeeding. I just weaned my son two days ago. Wow was it a struggle, no not for him but for me. I miss our bonding time. I’m happy to know that some moms are able to breastfeed as long as they can, but for me it wasn’t an option. With twelve hour work days, breastfeeding had to go. I plug my nose and drink up hoping not to taste the strong hint of peppermint. My milk will be all gone soon. My little one is a toddler now, and not as dependent on me as before.

Breastfeeding is a hard job, but I love it. It fills you with so many emotions and brings your little one and you closer. The love hormone, Oxytocin, plays a big part in that. Even though, breastfeeding is different on everyone’s body, for me it was something that didn’t allow me to lose any weight.  People say that you shed pounds incredibly fast while breastfeeding but that wasn’t the case for me. I also had such a hard time eating healthy when I just had my baby. I was in a dilemma. I wanted to lose weight but also be able to produce enough milk so we wouldn’t have to use formula. Being a mom that just went back to a full time school schedule, it was very difficult. Somehow eating a lot of food correlated with producing more milk. I am happy to find out that it’s not just my body reacting that way. After discussing breastfeeding with other moms I found out that they too had the same problem. During breastfeeding I would just get really thirsty and hungry. The breastfeeding weight loss program that everyone keeps talking about didn’t work for me.  Now I have gained insight to keep healthy snacks nearby while breastfeeding.

Did you know that the food you eat will affect your baby? Whenever I ate cabbage my baby would cry for three hours non-stop and his tummy was gassy. Most veggies were out of the question unfortunately. Green beans, garlic, onions, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage can make a small baby gassy. Trust me it’s true! I can recall my first mother’s day, my husband decided to surprise me with some Russian food. It was a little restaurant by the beach where I just finished my pediatrics seminar across the street. In the excitement of Russian food, I forgot and ate Borsche. Borsche is a soup filled with lots of veggies including shredded cabbage. Not soon after I breastfeed my little one and we headed back home did the three hour session of crying start. He usually didn’t have crying fits but this one was bad. We paced room to room to find a solution. Carried him, rubbed his belly, put a warm compress on it, and soothed him. Nothing helped until a couple of hours later.

So what can you eat during breastfeeding? Good healthy options are steaming some veggies that won’t upset your baby’s tummy such as asparagus, carrots, and zucchini. Green morning smoothies are a good option (see recipe below). All types of salads are a great option as well. My favorite became the Greek salad. I honestly craved sweets during my early breastfeeding months like a madman. It was so difficult to focus eating healthy. I wanted chocolate all the time! Cocoa powder was another option that I tried and put it into my shakes but it wasn’t the best choice for me it tasted a little strange. My favorite sweet was cottage cheese with either melon or strawberry jam. A good option is to also make sure that you are getting enough vegetables in your diet. If you fill up on 3 cups of veggies and 2 cups of fruit it will be really filling and you won’t crave sweets. I know that’s what I will do next pregnancy. What are your healthy alternatives?

MY GREEN MORNING JUICE:

Handful of Kale,  handful of spinach, 1 carrot, half a cup of blueberries, 3 strawberries, ½ cucumber, hint of lemon, hint of ginger. Shake it and drink up!

MY GREEN MACHINE SMOOTHIE:

Same ingredients as above but compile everything in a blender instead of a juicer. Add one cup of either coconut milk or almond milk.

HEALTHY SNACK:  Kale chips

Rinse kale and dry it.

Put it on a baking sheet spread with coconut oil and sprinkle some olive oil and sea salt

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until edges begin to brown

Eat up!

Look out for how to increase breast milk production in my next blog.

Happy Wednesday to all my readers!

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A Special Moment

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Since there’s only a few days left until our special day it only felt right to write about it…

I slammed the car door. I just got out of clinic and finished up a ten hour day. I couldn’t wait to head home and relax something that has been hard to do this past week. My last patient of the day was a handful to say the least but I put that all behind me as I thought about the conversation I had earlier that day with my doctor. I drove my five minutes back home and finally sat on my recliner couch with my huge swollen feet in the air. I was exhausted. As I stood to grab some food I had left over from my lunch I just felt like I peed my pants. A whoop of wetness just trickled down my legs. I went to change and ignored it. I was leaking all day but the doctor said that was normal so I proceeded to eat my Mediterranean wrap. As I got up the second time I had to go change my clothes again, this time I started feeling anxious. This is not normal. They describe when your water breaks usually it’s like a hose and spills everywhere but that’s not how mine was so I didn’t think of it being anything all day. I called my doula just in case and she told me to call my doctor, then it all started. Anxiety hit. I was by myself and my husband was probably on a rig in Los Angeles driving a patient somewhere. He was an EMT at that time and definitely far away when I called him. He was able to only get back home by ten o’clock at night but luckily for me I had friends that stayed and calmed me down while we waited. This was scary. This is not how I wanted my birth to go. This was not how I wrote it all out. We were supposed to have early labor at home and then drive to the hospital during active labor. I wasn’t getting any contractions.

Once my husband finally picked me up, it would take us an hour to get to the hospital but we stopped by Carls Jr. before we hit the freeway anyway. At the hospital they tested if it was really amniotic fluid and once they said it was they admitted me. No pressure but this baby needs to be delivered as soon as possible since my water broke. Ok here I am imagining that I am not having any contractions and I am depriving my baby amniotic fluid. No one told me that the placenta makes new amniotic fluid every 3 hours. Did you know that? So here I am 7 in the morning pacing the hallways with my doula. Come on contractions! I keep telling her how I don’t want Pitocin because I know I will have to get an epidural in the end. Tears filled my eyes, I became shaky. I didn’t want Pitocin. Guess what? I got Pitocin and an epidural about ten hours later. I was honestly going to pass out if I didn’t get an epidural.

Looking back I’m wondering if this all happened just because my mind was so set on the cascade of interventions or the fact that I had 12 hour days my whole ninth month of pregnancy and not enough rest. I mean I was just exhausted. They kept checking me to see if my cervix dilated but it was stuck at 4cm. Who does that? Who keeps checking? It made me feel defeated hour upon hour when I didn’t hear any progress. My doula and my husband were great though in the hours that I didn’t have an epidural. I remember when my first contraction started. We were playing a really fun card game to get our minds off of everything. I can’t remember right now what the game was but I was laughing and smiling, trying to concentrate on winning. All of sudden I had to drop those cards, I couldn’t concentrate anymore. Fear set in. Pain came on and so did my sympathetic system. I could feel how tight my whole body was. We tried so many different positions and the birthing ball; nothing seemed to help the pain go away. I don’t regret getting the epidural. I was able to sleep and get ready for the pushing part. Forty hours later our bundle of joy arrived and I do not regret any part of my labor. Yes it didn’t go how I wanted to but I wasn’t as educated on the whole birth process as I am today. I didn’t allow my body to just let go. Having those contractions and going through the birth canal is very beneficial to the baby and looking back I am happy I went through that pain to give him those benefits. Being a mom is a sacrifice and it starts as soon as you’re pregnant. In four days my little one will be one and I still remember some of the details of my birth. If you’re asking if I would do it again? I definitely would even though I know there will be pain involved. I can’t wait to celebrate our first year together. He’s such a funny guy, just like his papa.

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The Importance of a Powerful Mind & a Doula

    As I complete my Doula workshop and become a DONA trained Doula many emotions fill my mind. “Mind over matter” is something I learned at my yoga class that I am currently taking but it was also reinforced during my workshop this past weekend. The mind plays such an important role in not just the birth process but everything else surrounding us. You have to conquer your mind before anything else. Educate your mind and exercise it. Use relaxation techniques. Learn to relax and just let go. These are all important for labor.

When at home lay on a yoga mat. Close your eyes. Turn on some calming music without any words. Focus on yourself. Listen to your breathing. Breathe in through the nose and out through your mouth. Imagine an object and focus on it. Release the tension in your shoulders, arms, hands, legs, and feet. Lay there for ten minutes and don’t think about anything. Train your mind to relax. That’s the first step to preparing for childbirth. I can’t stress how important that is and I wish I knew how to relax in my first birth. I was so concentrated on the fact that I wanted my birth a certain way and I didn’t want a C-section or get induced. I was more stressed over trying to control my body than my mind. Stress creates tension in your muscles and turns on your sympathetic system or in other words your “flight or fight mode.” How are you supposed to give birth when your whole body is tensed ready to run away? You need to relax so that your cervix can open up. Practice relaxation techniques, it’s an art to be able to let go and truly not think about anything.

   I am excited about pregnancy, I’m not afraid of birth anymore. Even though, I feel like I had a traumatic birth experience the first time around I learned from it. I learned what I won’t do for the second birth and what I will do. You need to know your body. You need to know yourself.  You need to embrace the process; birth is such a beautiful event. I can’t wait to be that support system for mothers and their partners. Each birth is different and unique. I definitely learned this weekend how not to share your own birth stories to the new expectant mother. It’s not fair to her. I was in that boat. All I would hear were negative stories of how everybody ended up having a Cesarean. I cried. I didn’t want that. I wanted a natural drug free birth, but my thought process didn’t support it. All I kept thinking was how to avoid getting induced. I knew induction would lead to epidural which may lead to a Cesarean. It’s a cascade of interventions. Think about the positives not the negatives. If you’re a mom-to-be listen to the good stories. It’s okay to tell your friends or co-workers that you just don’t want to hear about the negatives right now. It’s only fair to you, to your baby, and your body. If you want support to have a positive birth experience I recommend hiring a doula.

“What is a doula anyways you might ask? Why do I need her? I’m just going to get an epidural and be done.”

   A doula is a support system for the mother and for the partner. It is a person who will be there to physically and emotional support a mother throughout the birth. Doulas learn different techniques how to soothe a mother during labor and how to comfort her through her pain. Even if a mom doesn’t want a natural childbirth a doula can still be helpful. You cannot just get an epidural right away; you must be dilated to a certain point. There are breathing exercises that the doula can do with you while you wait for the anesthesiologist to come to you. Trust me it takes a while. I remember from the moment I screamed “GIVE ME AN EPIDURAL NOW” to the moment I got it must have been at least an hour. I was fortunate though to have a doula as well as my husband by my side to support me throughout my whole birth. Together with my husband they worked as a team to reduce my pain during my contractions. A doula doesn’t replace the partner, but instead shows the partner how to help the mom work through the pain. Doulas usually come in during active labor and stay until the baby is born. We got pretty lucky because we didn’t know what was even happening and our doula stayed with us from the beginning to the end. Yes my doula stayed for 40 hours! Every woman who wants a doula should have a doula by her side!

Practice relaxation techniques this week!

Close your eyes and repeat these words as my yoga teacher says “Peace to the mind. Peace to the body. Peace to the soul. Peace surrounding me everywhere.”

Check out my amazing doula at http://allisongunn50.wix.com/birthofthefamily

*Unfortunately she has left California but is in Utah now. I highly recommend her if you’re there to look her up!

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Late Night Cherrios

As my little one turns one in two weeks, I sit back and reflect on the past year. It has been the most life changing year of my life and I wouldn’t change anything. It has been a marathon in itself. As I reflect, I wish I could only change one thing and that was to spend more time with my little one. I envy the moms who are at home with their kids watching them grow. I was a part time stay at home mom over the summer. I chose to prolong my studies by four months to be with my son. It was a trade off, something I do not regret doing and never will. Those were the best months of my life. I was able to share everything with my baby. I knew everything about him. I knew his schedule to the minute when he would wake up to when he would go down for a nap. I taught him sign language starting at four months and he learned it by 6 months. I knew when he was hungry or when he wanted to play. Those were special months. Considering that I didn’t get to spend the most crucial weeks with him in the beginning. I jumped straight back to school a week after I gave birth. A lot of people told me to slow down and take seventh term off, but I kept pushing through. Looking back I honestly don’t know how I did it. My husband and I didn’t have much support either even though we hired live in nannies which were more of a burden than anything. Yes I said nannies, plural to nanny, we went through about ten nannies total before we found the right one, but that’s another story for another day.

I wish I could capture my baby’s every moment and be there for every single milestone, but unfortunately I can’t. I know that I am building for his future later but everyday it’s a struggle. I am saddened to come home to find out he walked six steps, but I wasn’t there to see it or how now he laughs when he farts. He’ll probably be embarrassed one day when he reads this that I just told the whole world he does that but he’s such a boy. I miss him. I miss knowing what his favorite toys are or what his favorite food is. I myself was raised more by my late grandmother rather than my mom. I don’t blame my mom for not being there as I became older but I think I definitely missed her presence when I was younger. It was a trade-off for her as it is a trade-off for me. Many stay at home moms say that they don’t receive the gratitude or the feeling of achievement when their at home with the kids. I think it’s the most rewarding job. You’re raising humans! That’s a hard job and I respect those women. It’s definitely a hard choice for the working mom to get up every morning and leave her baby as he wave’s goodbye. We still have our special moments. We shared cheerios last night. He fed me and I fed him. It was a moment I was grateful that I got to spend with him. The guilt will never subside but I hope I’m making the right choice. I hope he won’t grow up to resent it. What do you think moms?

Snack of the day for your little one:

When they’re ready to chew solids buy the happy puffs purple carrot and blueberry puffs. I love the happy bellies baby food line. All of their meals/snacks are organic, healthy, and tasty for your little one. I try everything before I give it to my little one. Try it! It does really make a delicious treat for them!

*Check back on Tuesday for some Chiro talk. I will be discussing pregnancy and Chiropractic! Image

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