Welcome Baby R!

There are so many sweet photos from this little one's arrival, so I'll have to share another post to introduce you to her welcoming committee. 🙂

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Lactation Smoothie (Good for Any Momma, Pregnant or Postpartum)

SmoothiesLactation cookies are yummy, but not exactly the healthiest option. Energy balls are also great for lactation - and healthier, but you may not want to be eating those all the time either. (There's also a granola bar lactation recipe soon to come.) However, here's another option - smoothies! Whether you are expecting your little one still, cuddling your newborn now, nursing a busy toddler, or not nursing anyone and you just want a healthy beverage - this is for you. Bonus, this is such a flexible "recipe" that you can mix it up and have a new taste every day.

Here is what you need - and feel free to mix and match to suit your tastes, of course:

Fruit: I like the frozen mixed fruit bags from Sams/Costco, but you can find them at most grocery stores these days. Whatever sounds yummy to you! Also, while not a fruit you can toss some fresh spinach into the mix for a green lactation smoothie.

Liquid: This can be milk (dairy or almond) for some extra protein or a juice (my favorite is passion fruit, though it's not the healthiest - orange juice with calcium is great.) You can also try pomegranate, cranberry, or truly any flavor that you love. Be sure to get 100% juice, as the "cocktails" are often a bit of juice with lots of sugar added in and sometimes artificial flavorings.

Other protein sources: Peanut butter or almond butter (good with cocoa powder and banana), yogurt - I like vanilla, and greek yogurt has extra calcium, or a protein powder (verify any protein powder/dietary supplement is safe for consumption during pregnancy/lactation.)

Lactation Support: Oats (quick or old fashioned, as it will all get blended) - around 1/4 cup per serving so if you're doing the full blender you can do a cup or more of oats; Flaxseed - around 1 tablespoon per serving, so if you were doing one cup of oats you would do 4 tablespoons of flaxseed. You can also include brewer's yeast, but I admit that's not my favorite flavor so I leave it out. However, just the oats and flaxseed are beneficial for your milk supply.

Hint - if you like thicker smoothies you can either add ice OR you can pour in a bit of oil into the smoothie after it's mixed well and with the blender still going. Oil acts as an emulsifier and will thicken the smoothie to a more ice cream like consistency - it's how some fast food restaurants that shall remain nameless thicken their milkshakes, which don't actually have any ice cream in them. But unlike them, YOU can use a healthy oil like flaxseed oil or another good omega-3 oil.

Recipe options:

peaches, strawberries, mango, pineapple fruit mix (2 cups)
passion fruit juice (1 cup)
vanilla yogurt (1 cup or 1 serving size container)
oats & flaxseed (1/4 cup oats, 1 T flaxseed)

bananas (4)
milk (1 cup)
peanut butter (1/4 cup)
oats & flax (1/4 cup oats, 1 T flaxseed)
cocoa powder (2 T cocoa powder, depending on how dark you like it)

strawberries, peaches, blueberries (2 cups)
orange juice with calcium (1 cup)
blueberry yogurt (1 container)
oats & flax (1/4 cup oats, 1 T flaxseed)
fresh spinach (1 cup)

My kids aren't impressed with the grainier texture of the oats and flax so I recommend combining those in the blender first and pulsing it a few times until they are smooth. Then add in your liquid or yogurt, fruit, and anything else and mix away!

If you decide this is something you'll want to make often you can also pre-mix your oats and flaxseed and keep that in a separate container. When you want to make some smoothies you can then just scoop in a heaping 1/4 cup of the oat/flax mix per smoothie serving. This can be added to ANY smooth to help with increasing milk supply.

I make a blender full of smoothies at once and freeze them in into individual glass jars - my blender can make four good sized servings. Pull one out, microwave for one minute, stir well and enjoy! It's a quick and easy (and healthy!) breakfast for moms in a hurry.

Do you have a favorite smoothie combo?

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Welcome Baby J!

The tiny details - the peach fuzz on her ear, those itty bitty nails, the sweet cheeks and bright eyes... isn't she perfect???

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Comfort Measures | Tips for Doulas

Originally posted May 2011, updated December 2015.

Notes from the book & my own thoughts in addition to help laboring mommas from The Labor Progress Handbook,

- Change positions every 30 minutes. Even something as simple as switching sides if laying in bed can make a difference in helping the baby to descend into the best position. (If mom is laying down, don't forget the peanut ball!)

- Rhythm movement, swinging, rocking, sitting on the birth ball, and a rebozo can also help baby get into a better position for a smooth exit.

- Counter pressure on the lower back or against the hips can alleviate discomfort. This can be done with the partner's hands or a rebozo wrapped around mom's hips. Continue reading

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Sweet Baby Juniper

Words cannot do justice to describe this beautiful family & the gorgeous images their photographer captured, so I'll just say how much I loved being their doula & sharing part of their journey!

(Monica from A Sacred Project is responsible for documenting this precious little arrival.)

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Midwife Katie & Prenatal Visit

It's always fun to attend a prenatal visit with a (repeat!) client and even more so when the midwife is a friend! I'm so excited to greet this little one soon - and you can see how excited the big sisters are to meet their new sibling!

You can learn more about Katie here.

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Sneak Peek – My First Three-Peat!!

When editing birth photos there are many times when I see an image and it takes my breath away - I'm just so in awe of the sacred moments I'm able to witness, and these beautiful families welcoming their child.

This birth was extra emotional for me, as I go through the photos - I blocked out the entire month to be on call, and made sure I had flight plans for a trip to Canada coordinated the month prior so that I would be home long before baby was due, just in case. This little one is my first three-peat birth! I met her parents years ago when helping them welcome their first daughter, was giddy to attend when their twin boys arrived, and now was here to meet this perfect little bundle of joy. Three births, FOUR babies, and I saw them all come earthside. My cheeks hurt from smiling!!

Here's a quick sneak peak of the new darling... (and to this family - THANK YOU for letting me witness your story unfolding.)

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Baby Essentials & Not

Essential Baby Gear Newborns(This is from our family blog, we've been asked what sorts of things we thought were crucial and what we ended up not using with our six babies. Here you go! Disclosure, some of these links are affiliate links and if you purchase through them I receive a small return - so thank you!!) Written May 2011, updated November 2015.

Kit says to add olive oil to the list, I think it's become a joke now but we keep a little bottle of olive oil to rub on the baby's bum immediately after birth, it lets you wipe the meconium off really quickly instead of traumatizing you and baby by having to scrape it off their tender rear. We use it for the first couple days, until all the meconium passes. I know, sounds odd but IT WORKS. Take some to the hospital with you.

- Lansinoh Nursing Pads but the pink ones, NOT the white "ultra soft" ones which fell apart for me. I use cloth pads after the first couple months when my milk supply becomes less extreme but with my hyper-lactation super power the only thing I don't soak through in the beginning are the Lansinoh ones with their crazy absorbent core.

- A baby carrier, and it's best if you try on a variety because they are so unique to you depending on body type, what you want it for (around the house or exercising?) and so on. I love Ergo Baby Carrier, which we got initially for a back pack type carrier. I've also heard good things about the Mei Tai carriers, though I've never tried one. The most comfortable carrier I've ever worn (to include taking walks with) has vanished and it looks like the company went out of business, but this Sleepy Wrap looks like it's the same design, but it's a stretchier fabric. The Moby Wrap seems to be the closest fit I see now available. I love that it is great from the tiniest baby up through a toddler. Worth trying some on and getting lots of opinions on types! And I've heard from a lot of couples that Mom may love one type of carrier and Dad love another, the fit can be really different so try on many. This saves my sanity when a fussy baby needs to be held and I need to be able to do something with my hands (like eat!!)

Continue reading

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Writing the Story of Your Baby’s Birth

BetterBirthDoula.orgDuring the childbirth class I help teach we encourage parents to write up their thoughts soon after the birth - whether it's a detailed journal entry, a letter to their child, or just their random thoughts about what happened. So quickly those memories that seem vivid at the time can start to fade and shift due to the sleep deprivation and just time passing. Having at last a few notes jotted down can give you a reminder when you have a few minutes to write up the birth story.

This applies to moms AND their partners. The other parent's have a unique perspective on the birth and are witnessing and experiencing things the laboring mom may not have even noticed. My husband wrote up the story of our fourth baby's birth and she LOVES it, having that in her scrapbook lets her read through it and it's become one of her favorite bedtime stories, to hear her dad's thoughts about the day she was born. Imagine being able to go back and read what your parents were thinking as they welcomed you into the world? Not to add to the long list of things the exhausted new parents already feel like the should be doing, but truly - it will be a priceless gift you give to your partner and your children.

If you've not written up your baby's birth story yet then it's not too late! Joy created a list of questions for The Birth Interview Project, which is currently on hold (as Joy is busy tackling some amazing new adventures) but she's given me permission to include the questions here. I didn't fill them out until over a year later for my sixth baby, and it was still a wonderful way to reflect on the experience. You can read the interview about my littlest here.

And here are the questions:

What was your due date, and what was your baby’s birth date?

Please give a brief, one paragraph synopsis of your birth.

What did you do to prepare for your labor and birth? Did it help?  

What did you like about your birth experience, if anything?

What did you not like about your birth experience, if anything?

What surprised you about your contractions/labor?

In reflection, would you do anything differently, either before the birth, during or after?

What do you remember the most about your birth?

How was your birth experience different from what you imagined it to be?

What were your immediate emotions about yourself and or your birth experience after the birth?  

How would you describe your recovery?

How has your perspective of your birth experience changed in the last year since the first week of having her?

Did you learn anything about yourself through this experience?

Any further thoughts, comments or advice you would like to share?

If you've not done so already, write up your birth story! Even if you did write it up soon after the birth, consider going through the interview questions above to see what your thoughts are now. Encourage your partner to also write up THEIR version of the birth! Your children will one day thank you!

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Samaritan Ministries & Doulas

Several clients have been participating in Samaritan Ministries as a health insurance alternative. If you are also with them (or a doula whose clients use this organization) I wanted to make sure you know they will reimburse you for part of your doula's fee. You'll need a letter from your doula that includes information about her (certification, contact info, billed amount, business address and contact number) and I added onto that letter a statement of receipt/payment. My clients have been grateful for that extra support from Samaritan Ministries in helping with their birth!

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