babymoon

So, You Just Had a Baby

It is such a strange but liberating feeling to go from heavily pregnant, to holding your baby in your arms. Suddenly you’re no longer unevenly balanced from carrying a constant, heavy load in front of your body. You're FREE! I’ve always thought it was a bit like taking off skates after you’ve been on the ice for a couple of hours…you know that feeling? It’s a sweet sigh of relief. (I might tie my skates too tight.)

This new freedom might come with some feelings of sadness, but mostly you're enjoying the ease of being able to move, walk, bend, or tie your shoes! And as the early days pass, the busyness builds: the piles of laundry, the  meals needing to be cooked, the dishes needing to be washed, the floors needing to be swept, the toddler needing to be pushed on the swing, and the list goes on, and on. 

But try, if you can, to take a breath, take a break, put the lists down and the aspirations aside, and slow your pace for just this brief space in time. And not because, “you’ll never get this time back”, and “these days will pass you by”; do it for you; do it for your healing; do it for your body, mind, and soul. 

 

You’ve just accomplished a major physical feat, and not just for one or two laborious days, but for 9, long months. I encourage families to try and block out at least two weeks; two weeks of rest, two weeks of zero obligations, two weeks of rooming in, laying low, and gently adjusting. Why? : 

You’re going through an intense, hormonal shift. You’re body is re-regulating it’s hormones. Your emotions might be a bit unstable, your mood might shift, your whole internal endocrine system is adjusting to this life on the outside. 

You’re producing a food supply and learning to use your body to feed a baby; nourishing food, rest, and time, are all necessary pieces to this process. 

You’ve become a whole new unit; perhaps two has become three, or four, or more. Let that sink in a while.

You’re running on a lot less sleep, with much greater demands; you’re everything to one small person, don’t undermine all that you give and do by just being what your baby needs. 

The dinners can be made by someone else. The laundry and dishes will be there tomorrow. The eager visitors can lend a hand. Your loving partner can carry the load for a while. Honour you, relish this time, hold this space for a while, the rest of it can wait. 

{Also - we know a few great doulas that can lend a hand with each and every one of these things, and it’s one of our favourite things to do.}

- Andrea

 

The Truth About Your Babymoon

 

It sounds blissful, doesn’t it? A babymoon; laying in with your sleepy newborn, nursing, cuddling, smelling their sweet fragrance while counting tiny fingers and toes over and over again, filled with days of warm, healing baths, breakfast in bed, while gently easing yourself into cozy walks around the neighbourhood…

CUE THE STATIC FUZZ.

Cue reality.

There absolutely is an unquestionable sweetness about the early days. Coming face to face with the baby you’ve co-created is indescribable. Perhaps it’s a relief to be un-pregnant after suffering some of the hardest symptoms like pregnancy depression or hypermesis gravidarium, or maybe you are wistfully remembering the feeling of your baby inside of you after a energized and fairy tale 10 months. It doesn’t matter anymore, because your baby is finally in your arms.

But let’s stop romanticizing all of it, because it’s not all baby bliss. Let’s talk about the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, because the days postpartum are all of these things at any given moment.

Your baby-moon will involve sweet, sleepy cuddles. In one moment you’ll be admiring each crease and curve of your tiny miracle. In another moment, you may be a hot mess of hormones, crying because your husband put the glass of water just out of reach on the table in front of you rather than placing it in your hand. Doesn’t he realize you’re one-handed, breastfeeding, insatiably thirsty, and now you can’t even reach your water?!? It happens, it really does.

If you are in the days and weeks postpartum, your babymoon may really be...

Watching your baby peacefully dozing in the bassinet…and hours of crying (both of you), trying to figure out if you should swaddle, nurse, rock, wrap, drive, push, bounce…

Counting fingers and toes while cradling your baby at your breast…or curling your toes because you haven’t figured out the latch while your baby ravenously roots for your raw, blistered nipples…

Friends who come by to peek at your newborn, with a meal in hand and a mop for your floor…and company that comes too early, stays too long, and brings flowers, not food…

The elated feelings that come with staring in to the eyes of a little piece of you...or the waves of intense emotion that leave you a milk-drenched, weeping mess of a mom who isn’t sure this will get easier…

Skin to skin in a warm tub for baby’s first bath…or your first shower in a week, in desperate hopes that hot water pouring down on your chest will bring some relief to your hugely engorged, throbbing breasts…

Sitting in the quiet buzz of your favorite coffee, reading a book while baby sleeps peacefully in the carseat next to you…or breastfeeding your screaming, overtired, hangry baby in a bathroom stall at the mall in fear of a nip-slip in front of a dozen strangers…

Pumping milk for a bottle so that someone else can take a turn while you nap…and hand expressing milk while massaging out a blocked duct to avoid a second bout of mastitis…

Your babymoon is blissful and brutal. It will be picturesque and poop up to the neck. Through the highs and lows of this amazing and overwhelming season, enjoy the beautiful moments, know you aren’t alone in the struggle, and remember that you are enough. 

Food Prep For a Stress-Free Postpartum

One of the simplest ways you can prepare for your postpartum period is by filling your freezer and pantry with nutritious snacks and meals that require the least amount of prep. Your early postpartum weeks should be spent baby-mooning; snuggling up, getting to know your new little person, and allowing your body and mind time to process your birth and heal. Hours spent cooking just doesn't fit the equation.  

Let's face it; snack and meal prep consumes a huge amount of time in our day. Having some quick fixes, frozen and ready to go, will save you time on your feet and a whole lot of undue stress. Better yet - your partner, or whoever you've enlisted to help you, can warm up the meals on hand and give more attention to the other things that need attending to, like preparing you a healing sitz bath , while brewing you a hot cuppa postpartum tea.

So here it is; our postpartum preparation food list:

Granola: We love this Chocolate Covered Katie granola recipe that you can add your own flare too. Amp it up with chia, walnuts, cashews or almonds for some extra protein, and generously sprinkle it on top of greek yogurt. This makes a filling breakfast or an easy snack. Multiply the batches and store it an airtight storage container or ziplock bags and you won't run out for weeks! (Tip: Seal up your ziplock bag and leave just enough room to poke a straw in. Suck out excess air through the straw and quickly pull out and seal to lock in the freshness.)

Galactagogue Cookies (Lactation Cookies): Galactagogues are substances that promote milk production to help increase your supply. While by no means necessary for successful nursing, it certainly doesn't hurt to enjoy nutritiously packed cookies that will help ensure your baby is getting all they need from your milk. This is our favorite tried and true lactation cookie recipe from Dr.Momma. 

Muffins: Yup, more snacks. Why? Because postpartum hunger can be something fierce! And with every snacky moment you'll be asking for water on the side. Your body is producing milk and nutrients for your hungry newborn and you're going to need your fill of food for both of you. This is another fabulous CCK recipe for Oatmeal Muffins. We've added blueberries or chocolate chips for something different, or you can enjoy them without. 

Smoothie Bags: Smoothies are a great way to pack loads of nutrition into a quick snack or meal, and as a bonus, they're a one-hander: easy to enjoy while feeding or snuggling. There are some great smoothie combo ideas here, or you can package up your own favorite combo, freeze them, and throw them in the blender with liquid when you're ready. My personal favorite is this chocolate-peanut butter smoothie:

  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 whole banana
  • 1 tbsp peanut or almond butter
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • Milk of your choice - enough to blend up to the consistency you prefer (I use as little as possible, I like mine milk-shake consistency =)

Precooked Ground Beef or Turkey: This will be your best friend. Get a few kilograms of ground meat and cook it all up (did you know you can do this in a crock-pot or the oven? Separate for different meals, and season appropriately for a variety of combinations:

  • Taco Turkey: Epicure makes a great low-sodium taco seasoning, or you can make a big batch with your own ingredients. 
  • Salt and Pepper: Plainly seasoned meat can be reserved for adding to a marinara for spaghetti or sprinkled on a cheese quesadilla for lunch. 
  • Beef with Hoisin Sauce: Rice bowls or lettuce wraps are a quick and easy favorite in our house. Make up a big batch of hoisin to add to your meat (store the extras in a glass container in the fridge). Defrost and warm up your meat, prepare sushi rice in your rice cooker, chop peppers, carrots, cilantro and green onion, and pile these ingredients on chopped romaine or lettuce wrap them instead. 

Soup: Soup, and more soup. There are so many combinations of delicious soup, so pick your favorites. We love this hearty chicken-vegetable soup, as well as this tortilla soup that is bursting with flavor. Divide large batches of your favorite soups into portions large enough to leave you with leftovers. 

Veggie+Bean Burritos: All you need on hand for these are wraps and some salsa (sour cream and guac go great too). We love this tasty burrito filling, but feel free to add whatever tickles your taste buds. If the carnivore in you can't handle the all-veggie, throw in some of your precooked taco turkey. 

Pizza Dough: Can't go without Friday night pizza night? No problem! Make up as much pizza dough as you can handle and divide it up and prepare for the freezer to add your toppings later. If you'r really keen, do your pizza up with sauce and toppings, ready to pop in the oven at a moments notice. 

What would you add to this list? What were your quick and easy postpartum, go-to meals that you enjoyed the most? We'd love to hear from you!