You Don’t Have to Enjoy Every Moment

enjoy every moment

“Enjoy every moment.”

It’s a phrase most parents have heard. Whether it’s by a total stranger touching your pregnant belly at Target, a well-meaning friend or family member over the holidays, or a meme doing the rounds on social media… it’s often unavoidable. And it seems to be everywhere. 

The goal of this phrase is to remind you that life is short and your kids will only be small for so long. But do parents really need to be reminded of this? It’s an ever-present thought in our heads. What good does this phrase really do?

Here’s a common scenario: you’re in the checkout line at the grocery store. Your toddler is throwing a tantrum at your feet because you won’t buy yet another Frozen toy. The older lady in front of you smiles as she grabs her bags and says “Enjoy every moment. They grow up so fast.” When you leave the store you will have to fight to get your flailing, screaming toddler into their car seat because they just wanted an Elsa doll. You came to get groceries yesterday, but your child dumped a whole container of eggs on the ground so you left. Your cart with the weekly necessities was abandoned in the freezer aisle. You feel embarrassed and like a bad parent. 

Or you are adding cream to your coffee at the local coffee shop, because you’re out of coffee and forgot to add it to the list when your partner went to the store on their way home. You have a screaming baby in your arms, bags under your eyes, and spit-up down your back. The barista tells you “Babies are so precious. Enjoy this time while they’re small.” You haven’t slept for more than 3 hours straight since the baby was born. You don’t have support at home while your partner works 60 hour weeks. You feel exhausted and barely human. 

What about when you’re enjoying a walk with your family around the lake and a stranger comes up to you, puts their hand on your belly, and tells you to “Enjoy your pregnancy, not everyone is so lucky.” What they don’t know is that you’ve been throwing up since you found out you were pregnant and can’t wait to be done. You can count the number of foods that stay down on one hand. This pregnancy was so wanted after two losses but now you almost wish it hadn’t happened. You feel like you don’t deserve to have this baby.

So while this simple phrase may seem innocent enough, how does it really make people feel when they hear it? Some words that come to mind: guilty. selfish. hopeless. invisible. 

Those three little words can have such a huge impact. And here’s the truth: you don’t have to enjoy every moment of pregnancy or parenthood. That is a ridiculous and impossible expectation. Some moments – or days, weeks, even years – just straight up suck. They challenge us, push us to our limits, make us miserable, and sometimes break us. And that is okay. It’s normal. It can’t be rainbows all unicorns all the time. It’s just not realistic. 

So what can you say instead of “enjoy every moment?”

Why not try:

“We’ve all been there.”

“You’re doing a great job.”

“Do you need a hand?”

“Let me help you…”

“Can I stop by with a meal?”

Every moment is not meant to be enjoyed. So stop telling people it is. 

What to Eat and Drink During Labor

Eating during labor is really important! A steady intake of calories can help you keep your energy levels up, nourish your body, and help you stay hydrated. Eating during labor can help you be comfortable and prevent nausea. Here are some tips and options for what to eat and drink during labor.

Feed yourself the way you would feed a toddler.

Some of my favorite snacks for labor are “toddler snacks.” They’re portable, quick, and easy to eat. Applesauce pouches, crackers, fruit, trail mix, juice, popsicles, and granola bars are all great options! Honey sticks are one of my FAVORITE things for labor – they give a quick burst of sugar and are super easy to eat. And delicious! Kids love them too.

Hit up your local REI or another outdoor recreation store.

Another great way to find snacks is to hit up your local REI store and browse through their snack section! They have lots of snacks for people who like to backpack, bike, run, or hike. Again, pouches are quick and easy to eat. There are many different varieties available so try a few out and find your favorite! Granola bars, snack bars, jerky, electrolyte mix… the options are countless!

Remember the protein!

Protein packs a powerful punch and can help you stay full and refuel your muscles during labor. These options will vary according to your diet, but meat sticks or jerky, string cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, hardboiled eggs, hummus, and protein drinks or bars are all great options!

Mix up your drink choices!

Water is obviously a great choice (our bodies are up to 60% water, after all!) and I encourage all birthing people to drink as much water as they can. But there are other ways to stay hydrated! You can add fruit, herbs, and vegetables to your water –  I love to add citrus like lemon and lime, cucumber, berries, watermelon, rosemary, mint, etc. Other great drink options are coconut water, smoothies (bottled or homemade), broth, and electrolyte drinks such as Gatorade, Nuun, Powerade, Smart Water, etc. You can even find recipes to make your own “labor aid!”

Eat smaller meals (or snacks) more often.

Sometimes you won’t feel super hungry during labor, especially in the later stages, but it’s still important to eat! This is why I suggest people keep small, quick meal or snack options on hand. All of the ideas mentioned above are great, but you can think about other things you might want to eat during your birthing time!

Make sure to eat during early labor!

You might be too excited and distracted to eat when you’re in early labor – this is really happening! You’ll be meeting your baby soon! – but having a hearty meal before your labor gets intense is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Early labor is a great time to have a bigger meal. Eat whatever you feel you can handle and want! We went out for bagels and a smoothie when I was in early labor and it was a great breakfast. You’ll thank yourself later for nourishing your body!

Make your own meal plan for labor!

There are so many great options for food to eat during labor. These are just some ideas to start – take these choices and add to them! Some other great options are oatmeal, sandwiches, soup, leftovers, breakfast foods, and whatever YOU are craving!

Remember food for your partner/support people, and postpartum too!

While you’re planning and making a list, be sure to add your partner or support people’s favorite foods and snacks too. Just maybe avoid anything super fragrant, or bring extra mints! Be sure to think about what you’ll want to eat postpartum as well. Many of the above options are great for postpartum but it can be wonderful to treat yourself after all of your hard work. You deserve it!

View my blog about the best snacks to eat while breastfeeding!

Babywearing Has…

Babywearing has been an incredible tool for me as a parent as well as a birth worker. We started wearing our baby when she was a week old… and we were still wearing her when she was 3.5! I also love wearing babies as a postpartum doula – it’s such a great tool for comforting, bonding, daily activities, travel, and everything in between! I absolutely love it when families ask me for help to wear their babies, and they love it too! The benefits (for everyone) are endless!

We love our local babywearing chapter, Babywearing Twin Cities. We have met so many amazing friends through meetings, tried and checked out different carriers, gotten tips and help for wearing our daughter, and learned so much from this group! I’m so happy we have such an incredible resource in our area! Their purpose is “building the bond between babies and caregivers through baby carrier education and support.”

This year marks the 10th year of International Babywearing Week and the theme is “Babywearing Has…” so I thought I would highlight some of the amazing things that babywearing has done for our family over the years! Here are some of my favorite photos!

What has babywearing done for you? Here’s some of what it’s done for us…

Babywearing Has…

… let us hike together as a family. In state parks, nature centers, and on vacation in places like Canada, Colorado, and the North Shore.

babywearing colorado

babywearing north shore

… kept us calm during sickness and doctor visits.

babywearing          babywearing

… helped us exercise our civic duty!

babywearing vote

babywearing vote

… taught our child to love live music.

babywearing concert

babywearing concert

… accompanied us on road trips, through airports, and to landmarks.

babywearing mt rushmore

babywearing lighthouse

 

… let us enjoy activities like farmers markets, running errands, and taking walks together!

babywearing farmers market

babywearing walk

… provided endless snuggles and fun!

babywearing snuggles

babywearing fun

AND

… made our daily lives, activities, and experiences even better.

tandem babywearing

babywearing pool

babywearing museum

babywearing

Contact me, check out my services or learn more about me!

doula du nord

 

12 of the Best Snacks to Eat While Breastfeeding

If you’ve ever fed a baby from your breasts – whether that looked like exclusively breastfeeding, pumping, or a combination – you know that it makes you hungry. Really hungry. First, your body likely recently grew and birthed a human being. Maybe more than one! That is hard work and you did a great job. Now, your body is working hard to produce milk to feed that human being. No wonder you feel hungry all the time!

In order for you to feel your best and to create milk for your baby, you need to eat. And you need to eat well. Sometimes that can feel extremely difficult, but it’s so important! Many of the best breastfeeding snacks are ones that are easy to eat one handed and easy to keep stocked near where you will be pumping or breastfeeding.

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What Does an Antepartum Doula Do?

Have you heard of an antepartum doula, or a “pregnancy doula?”

Pregnancy can be tough for a multitude of reasons. Maybe the pregnant person has a young child at home, or are simply overwhelmed. Maybe they are the one in charge of handling everything during the pregnancy, or their partner/support person is away for some reason. Maybe they’re dealing with horrible morning sickness or other symptoms, or even suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, HELLP syndrome, or preeclampsia. Maybe they’ve been placed on bed rest, are pregnant with multiples, or have a pregnancy-related illness/injury. No matter the reason, pregnancy can take its toll!

Fortunately, pregnant people who are dealing with a high-risk pregnancy or complications during pregnancy generally have their medical needs met, with lots of monitoring and support from their medical team. But there are many areas in which pregnant people in these situations don’t get extra help and support.

It can be hard for a pregnant person to relax when they are on bed rest, lacking support, or not feeling well – there are so many things to deal with that they need to learn to “let go.” What if they have another child to care for during their pregnancy? What if they’re doing it all alone? Maybe they’re struggling with their pregnancy not going how they had expected, or don’t have the best resources for their current situation. An antepartum doula can help take away some of this pressure and stress and make it easier for the pregnant person and their family to cope.

Emotionally, it can be difficult to deal with or “come to terms with” the fact that this pregnancy is possibly not going as expected, or is proving to be more difficult than imagined. Helping the pregnant person feel that they are supported and in control can greatly improve their experience with pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Having a non-biased person who will listen to the highs and lows, celebrate the good days and offer support and encouragement on the difficult days, and talk through the fears and concerns that the pregnant person and their support person have can be incredibly helpful during this time.

Physically, and practically, antepartum doulas can make a huge difference in the pregnant person’s life, as well as their family’s. Small things that others might forget – running errands, taking care of the pets, lending a hand with other children, taking the trash out – are all tasks that the antepartum doula specializes in. Preparing freezer meals, organizing the nursery, helping to prepare a plan for birth and postpartum, and other similar tasks can help the pregnant person and their partners to relax and feel more in control. This can be especially important in high-risk pregnancies where the birthing person needs to stay in bed or control their stress levels.

Support is crucial in pregnancy, and especially in high-risk situations. An antepartum doula can provide specialized, non-biased support to families going through these situations during the pregnancy and beyond!

Contact me to learn more about the antepartum/pregnancy services I offer or view my services here.

The Value of a Postpartum Doula

Basically everybody who has kids knows the value of having help in those first few months after bringing  baby home. Your family and friends love to come over and hold the baby or drop off a meal – but the first few weeks can feel like an endless whirlwind of visitors. Entertaining guests plus adjusting to life with a new little one can be draining and stressful! This is when you will be most thankful for your postpartum doula.

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Don’t Let the “Witching Hour” Scare You!

Ghosts, goblins, and spooky creatures of all kinds will roam the streets this Halloween – but maybe the scariest thing of all for new parents is the “witching hour.” Does the phrase send chills down your spine and make your hair stand on end? It doesn’t have to be that way!

baby-1767958_1920

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