Breastfeeding Snack Hacks!

Breastfeeding Snack Hacks!

Five Breastfeeding Snack Hacks

Breastfeeding can be so rewarding for you and your baby, but it often feels extremely demanding of your time and energy. Cluster feeding, pumping, toddler gymnurstics… we know how tough it can be at times. Plus, breastfeeding parents need an average of 500 extra calories to keep up with the physical demand of fueling our little babies!  So, here are my top 5 breastfeeding snack hacks to help you fuel your body!

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Pick a super fun water bottle like this one or this one. Breast milk is about 90% water and, while drinking to satisfy thirst (not forcing liquids) is sufficient, we know that with how busy you are it can be easy to forget or ignore the signs that your body is thirsty if there isn’t a cup handy. 

One-handed snacks are your friend!

Congratulations, you’re now a queen of multitasking! Read + feed the baby, chase a toddler + feed the baby, poop + feed the baby… yeah I said it. #beenthere So being able to grab a quick bite for yourself while you’re also feeding the baby can be a huge life saver. Try one of these ideas:

  • Popcorn
  • Edamame
  • Tortilla roll-ups
  • String cheese
A mother breastfeeds while her toddler takes a bite of her snack

When planning out your favorite breastfeeding snacks, remember to account for enthusiastic (and hungry) toddlers who may wander by!

No-bake/no-blend granola bars

Because who wants to heat up the house with the oven, and who wants to wake up the baby with the blender – not me! These are so tasty, and don’t worry if they don’t stick together in bars, you can always eat it with a spoon!

Non-refrigerated snacks

Picture this, it’s 2am, baby just finished a feed and settled back down to sleep and now you’re hungry – I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like hiking down to the kitchen for a midnight snack. Keeping a stash of non-refrigerated snacks bedside can help you calm your hunger and get back to sleep! Try one of these:

  • Dried fruit
  • Whole-grain crackers
  • Trail mix
  • Mini-muffins 

Overnight oats

While there is no secret snack actually proven to increase milk supply (nurse, baby, nurse – it’s all about supply & demand!), oatmeal is a good source of iron. “It is known that maternal anemia/low iron levels can result in a decreased milk supply, so it makes sense that eating something high in iron might increase milk supply in some women.”

There are tons of variations you can try out, but here is my absolute favorite overnight oats recipe. It’s so nice to know breakfast is ready to go each morning! Bonus – they are gluten-free, and peanut butter could be substituted for sunbutter to make them allergy friendly. I’ve also used crasins or mini M&Ms as toppings instead of chocolate chips before!  Enjoy! 

Michelle Petkovic

Social Media Manager, Babymoon Inn

Michelle Petkovic received her degree in International Affairs from Sweet Briar College. She is a mother of one energetic toddler and one newborn, and she loves spending time outside camping, hiking and traveling with her family.

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Visiting the New Parents? Follow These Tips!

Congratulations on the newest member of your family or circle of friends!  We know you are so excited to meet this new little one and visit with his or her parents. Wondering how you can be helpful and make that visit enjoyable for everyone? Check out these tried and true tips on how to support a new family!:

Keep good boundaries.

Whether two people are becoming a family of three, or a family of 10 is expanding to 11, adapting roles and finding a new rhythm can be challenging!  Try to imagine the family as the inner dot in a circle, surrounded by you and other family members or friends in increasingly wider circles.  Everyone in the outer circles should be sending support into the center. This way, the new family can rightfully be a little selfish and focus on their new addition, without trying meet the needs of anyone in the outer circles. Looking forward to that precious four-generation photo? Let’s keep those special and loving ideas to a minimum in the first few weeks. 

Imagine the family as the inner dot in a circle, surrounded by you and other family members or friends in increasingly wider circles.  Everyone in the outer circles should be sending support into the center.

Provide supportive, no-pressure communication.

Know what works best for parents (i.e. text messages, phone calls, or other), but remind them there is no obligation to respond! Set up a schedule where you reach out to them and they can answer whenever they are ready. Pick a designated “communicator” whose job is to send out news and updates or solicit help from the rest of your tribe.   

Check their to-do list.

Ask if the new parents have a to-do list you can help with. (If not, help them write one!) They can put their to-do list on the front door or on the refrigerator. Ideas include chores, pet care, a grocery run, or anything that weighs on a mind and keeps it from napping! Visitors can check the list to see what they can help with.

Follow these guidelines for good visits:

  • Before you visit, call to find out if they need you to pick something up on your way over (diapers, groceries, etc).  If nothing else, meals are always appreciated!  You can provide a whole meal, but some chopped-up fruit or veggie sticks in baggies or a peanut butter sandwich ready for one-handed snacking is a big treat.
  • When you arrive: Put your food offering away, or set it out if they’re hungry. Ask if the newly postpartum (and probably parched) mom would like a refill on her drink.   

  • Check the to-do list and offer to complete a chore. They may not know what to assign you or may not feel comfortable asking (i.e. they’ll never ask someone to pick up the dog poop!) but helping with those small tasks will be greatly appreciated.
  • Admire the baby and take some pictures to give the new parents (who often forget to take pictures that include themselves). We know it’s so hard, but try not to ask to hold the baby! Baby needs this skin-to-skin time with his parents more than anything else in the first few weeks.  However, if they ask you to hold the baby so they can shower or move a little bit – lucky you! Wash your hands, please, and refrain from kissing newborn babies!

  • Keep the visit short.  Unless otherwise requested, limit the length of your visit so the new family can have time to bond, breastfeed, and rest!

Offer emotional support.

Both parents can suffer bouts of anxiety, irritability, or depression in the days and months after baby is born.  Ask how they’re feeling emotionally and lend an ear to listen.  If you’re concerned, it is okay to say so and to suggest they call their midwife or doctor. You can even call us on their behalf!  Postpartum Support International’s hotline is 1-800-944-4773.  There is loving and professional treatment available.

Offer one-on-one time with older siblings.

Consider coming prepared with an idea for an activity that you might both enjoy: a card game, a game of 20 questions, I spy, finger-knitting, a trip to the zoo, and so on!

Think outside the visit.

As much as new  parents love to show off their bundle of joy, they’re trying to balance that with establishing a rhythm in the home. Let’s get creative about ways to share the love but not the germs!

  • Create a chain of prayer flags or well wishes that can be delivered to the house and express the greetings of each family member or friend in a colorful yet quiet way!

  • Schedule a video call for extended family to visit and see the new baby. If there are siblings, you can set these calls up for every day, but let mom and baby play hooky and stay in bed if they need to.   

  • Set up delivery of meals, and designate a delivery person who is comfortable getting it to the front door and not staying! 

  • Send mail. We’ve lost the art of letter writing and patience in waiting for physical mail, but it feels so good to get real mail!  Bonus – it can be saved in a baby book for reading later!

  • Create a family time capsule for baby to open years from now. You can include pictures, notes, and things that you’re enjoying as a family. Top ten lists of your favorite movies, books, music, family recipes, and restaurants can be fun. Have fun with this!

  • Pitch in together on a gift that may be outside anyone’s individual budget. A lactation consult, a massage, a postpartum doula package, a housecleaning package, diaper service, portrait package, a month’s car payment or home rent – these are all ways to team up and help the new family feel the love of their tribe.

 Thank you for supporting your friends, family, and their new baby!

Olga Ryan MS-NL, RN

Director, Babymoon Inn Tucson

Olga has been in Perinatal nursing since 1995 and in birth center nursing since 2006.  She has been studying leadership her whole life and recently joined the Babymoon Inn team as director of the Tucson location.

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Bringing Home the Newest Baby

Bringing Home the Newest Baby

Bringing Home the Second Baby

Tips from a Mother of Three

When I prepared to bring home my second child, I had a laundry list of concerns.  I chalked most of these up to pregnancy hormones, but there were two questions I didn’t have answers for until the time came:

How will our only child adjust to being a big brother?

How will I do with two, and later three, young kids?

Our days, our camera roll, our everything revolved around our first born. We knew that once we brought home “Baby MacDos,” it would be up to our oldest to let us know how those early days would go.

Coming from large families on either side, we knew that they would have fun together and grow up with a lifetime friend. But we also feared our eldest’s reaction because of one too many stories from individuals who told us their not-so-positive Bringing Home Baby stories.

Now as a mother of three and a birth doula, I’ve collected some no-pressure tips that I applied to my family and have advised over the years to ease the transition to becoming parents of more than one child.

  • Read books about becoming an older sibling.

Keep the books together and make a basket mixed with your child’s favorites. Read throughout pregnancy and in the early postpartum days when you are sitting and resting frequently. This is a perfect time to enrich their growing brain and get that cuddle time from Mom or Dad.  (You can find some of our favorite books in our Amazon shop)

  • Have realistic expectations.

Don’t build up expectations of your kids’ reactions when they meet their newest sibling. Our gentle and sweet first born was sleep deprived and bewildered by the hospital environment he walked into when he met his new brother. Looking back, We realize just how bizarre and jostling that all can be. Your eldest could embrace their new sibling the moment they meet them, or it may be a process.  Both are normal.

  • Allow and talk about all the emotions.

Just like us as adults, your child has to say goodbye to the old way of life. And just like us, they have their own way of dealing with it. You could be experiencing new outbursts and emotions you have never seen come from you child. Allow those emotions. What better gift to have than to know that your child feels safe enough with you to allow you to know how they feel. Talk about the normalcy of feeling sad, angry, frustrated, overwhelmed, etc. When we discuss those emotions we allow our kids to feel them and then make room to have positive emotions and experiences with their newest sibling.
  • Speak your child’s love language.

My first born loves quality time. This speaks to him more than words or physical affection or gifts “from the baby.” When his sibling was born, we didn’t need to take elaborate trips out of the house. Quality time for us meant trips to the backyard while baby napped, and 15 minutes of pushing him on a swing and chatting. Our second born feels most at peace with physical touch, which made those story time cuddles that much more important.

  • Include them in the care of their newest sibling.

Maybe they can grab a “cuddle toy” for baby or turn on the sound machine. You know your babies best. Whatever would speak to their heart, ask them to join you in on that! When Baby MacDos became a big brother last year, he wanted to sing to the new baby. His choice of song? The Pirates of the Caribbean theme song. Maybe it wasn’t the song I would have chosen for that picture perfect moment, but it came from his heart and we let him express his love in his way. 

  • Take a sibling class.

Many hospitals and birth centers offer sibling classes to help prepare for the new baby and to help spark conversation about the upcoming changes to the family dynamic. Sibling classes also offer an opportunity for the oldest child to spend quality one-on-one or one-on-two time with their parent.

  • Give yourself grace.

You just became a parent to a whole new person. Don’t let the fast paced culture we live in bend you into guilt-ridden sobs and negative thoughts over what you aren’t doing.

If getting your toddler in the car has taught you anything, it is that we can’t rush the process.

Embrace the whimsy of your child. Hold onto the weird blend of days as a new chapter in a grand adventure. One day, really soon, you’ll cherish that photo of your older child in his mismatched outfit and pout in the newborn photos. You’ll have a story to tell and it might even be your favorite photo among the files of perfectly posed pictures.

Raquel MacDonald

Doula, Babymoon Inn

Raquel is a mother to three boys and a certified Babymoon Inn Doula. She loves working in her community to reach and educate new parents on all things birth and postpartum care.

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Mother’s Day at Home

Mother’s Day at Home

Celebrating Mother’s Day at Home

With a little creativity, you can still celebrate the moms in your life this Mother’s Day

While Mother’s Day may look a little different this year, you can still make it an amazing day creating some awesome memories to look back on together.

Remember, celebrating Mom isn’t canceled.

In fact it’s the perfect time to do something extra special!

In the morning

Start the day off right by letting Mom sleep in while you make an easy, but delicious french toast brunch in the crockpot. When mom wakes up, serve a hot pot of coffee or even a mimosa with fruit. If you’re not able to be at home with Mom, another option is to order a coffee delivery from a local spot right to her door. 

While your kiddos might not be bringing home any handmade gifts from school this year you can still make sure Mom’s card is on point with this handmade cactus card.  

Spend some time together talking about all the things you love to do as a family and all the reasons you love Mom with these I love you flowers.  

In the afternoon

Spending time outside soaking up some vitamin D is a great way to lift everyone’s spirits and get out of the house for a while. Having a picnic tea party lunch with simple sandwiches or delivery from your favorite local restaurant is a great way to relax. 

Since the weather is warming, it’s the perfect time to plant flowers or start some fresh herbs in pots for a kitchen counter garden. 

If you can’t take a trip to the pool or beach right now, you can still help mom have a mini getaway in your own backyard. Cool down in a mini pool, serve up a fun icy drink and let Mom read a book (without getting splashed 😉).

In the evening

This one-pan Mexican quinoa casserole can be easily adapted to fit the pantry supplies you have on hand by using rice or any variety of canned beans or vegetables. You could also add in your choice of ground meat if you wanted to switch up the protein. 

Or, keep it simple and order in from her favorite restaurant.

Before bed, let Mom pick the movie for family movie night and snuggle up on the couch with some popcorn. If you can’t be with Mom, plan to watch the same movie at the same time and then call each other afterwards to catch up and talk. 

Give her some time to soak in the bath alone while you get the dishes and craft supplies cleaned up from the day so that they’re not left out to clean up tomorrow. Starting and ending the day with a good clean will be SO appreciated! Taking pictures throughout the day (and every day for #proofofmom) can be a fun way to create a Mother’s Day photo album to look back on later. 

It might not be advised to visit grandmas, aunts, or the other special people in your life this year, but try one of these ideas to make their Mother’s Day extra special as well:

  • Have a family FaceTime or Zoom call with everyone to wish them a happy Mother’s Day and spend time catching up with each other. 
  • If you live nearby, you can drive by their window to wave and blow kisses from the car. You could even make colorful signs to hold up for them to see or decorate their door with a cheerful sign or wreath. 
  • If you live farther away, mailing a hug and a handwritten letter is a great option to send some love their way this season.

What activities are you planning to help make Mother’s Day extra special this year?

Michelle Petkovic

Social Media Manager, Babymoon Inn

Michelle Petkovic received her degree in International Affairs from Sweet Briar College. She is a mother of one energetic toddler and one newborn, and she loves spending time outside camping, hiking and traveling with her family.

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Social Distancing with Kids

Social Distancing with Kids

What is Social Distancing and Why is the CDC recommending it?  

The CDC defines social distancing as, “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.”   

Because the CDC believes COVID-19 spreads easily throughout communities and we all have an important part to play in slowing the spread.  “Community-based interventions such as school dismissals, event cancellations, social distancing, and creating employee plans to work remotely can help slow the spread of COVID-19.  Individuals can practice everyday prevention measures like frequent hand washing, staying home when sick, and covering coughs and sneezes.” https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html  

With school closings and many employers choosing to implement remote work options you may find yourself wondering just what to do to keep your family happy and healthy while staying home and practicing social distancing.  


Stimulate Your Mind
  

  1. Enjoy a walk through art galleries from The Met in NY to The National Gallery in London with a virtual museum tour that will let you explore art from all over the world without ever having to leave your couch.
  2. Don’t stress the mess – just take your creative kiddos outside! While some basic supplies might be sold out right now, craft supplies are still available – stock up on sticker books, play doh, puzzles, pom poms, and a big roll of craft paper for endless, inexpensive and messy fun. Find more craft ideas here.
  3. Check out what other animal families are up to by checking in on some live animal cams at the National Zoo or the San Diego Zoo!
  4. School’s out, but you can keep the classroom fun going at home with Scholastics 20 days of free activities all based on engaging stories here   

Strengthen Your Body     

  1. Take your meals to the backyard to enjoy a picnic-style lunch while you absorb the natural benefits of sunshine, fresh air and Vitamin D.
  2. Make a fun hand washing sign for your sink to learn about the importance of proper hand washing techniques and then make a video washing your hands to your favorite funny song for 20 seconds and share it with us!
  3. Just add water! Make bathtime extra fun with bubbles, bath crayons or even add an unusual toy like legos to the tub to mix it up. If the weather is warming up, you can even take a dip in the pool outside!
  4. Get the wiggles out with a backyard or indoor camping trip in a blanket fort with a battery-powered candle “camp fire,” microwave s’mores and sleeping bag naps!   

Energize Your Spirit 

  1. Practice mindfulness with some parent-and-me yoga. Find free yoga pose printables here, cut them out and tape them to a die, roll and strike a pose! You can also adapt this to funny animal walks – bear crawl, waddle like a penguin or stomp like an elephant – as you go on a walk around your neighborhood. Social distancing does mean staying away from others, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your backyard, a walk down the street or keeping the windows open for fresh air!
  2. Everyone will react differently to stressful situations requiring social distancing, but you may feel anxiety, frustration, boredom, loneliness or uncertainty. Help combat these feelings by staying connected to family and friends with a virtual playdate and mental check-in day through FaceTime or video chat.
  3. Take a break from the news and social media and instead spend that time journaling about your thoughts and feelings. When you check back in to the news, make sure to use only credible sources.
  4. If you regularly attend therapy or take medications, make sure to have a full supply on hand and talk with your provider about continuing through teledoc sessions.    

If You Also Find Yourself Working Remotely From Home

  1. Make sure you have all necessary equipment to work from home and then organize a dedicated office space. This will help you keep your work area contained and make it clear to other family members when you have “stepped into your office” for uninterrupted time.
  2. Stick to your normal office hours when possible to minimize any disruption to your normal routine.
  3. Be realistic about what chores will and won’t get done while you’re working from home and set expectationswith the entire family about how these tasks will be accomplished.
  4. Finally, if kiddos or pets end up walking in behind you on a video call play it cool, and odds are you will find some comradery with your fellow co-workers also practicing #socialdistancing because we really are all in this together!       

Michelle Petkovic

Michelle Petkovic

Social Media Manager, Babymoon Inn

Michelle Petkovic received her degree in International Affairs from Sweet Briar College. She is a mother of one energetic toddler born at a birth center and loves spending time outside camping, hiking and traveling with her family.

Yes, You Still Need a Doula!

Yes, You Still Need a Doula!

Even if you’ve found yourself saying any of these things while you’re preparing your birth (and postpartum!) plans, there’s a good chance that you will still benefit from having a doula support you throughout your pregnancy, birth and postpartum! Do any of these apply to you?

My partner says, “I’ve got this!”

First, let’s be clear, we can’t say this enough – A. Doula. Does. Not. Replace. Your. Partner! Your partner is amazing – we can already tell that by how involved and engaged they are. However, a doula can help support your partner or free them up to help you. Your partner knows you better than anyone, and while a doula will work to get to know you better throughout your pregnancy, they cannot provide the same level of intimacy that your partner can. Doulas know birth. They are trained in the physiological aspects of the natural birth process and can be like a handy cheat sheet of all the things you learned in your childbirth education classes. There’s no pressure to remember every phase and stage of labor on your own! It’s also important to remember that your partner is going through an emotional transition too and may benefit from doula support or even just a reminder to drink some water or use the restroom from time to time. Just like they’re looking out for your needs, a doula keeps your partner’s needs in mind as well.

“It’s not my first rodeo.”

Just like each baby is different, no two birth experiences are exactly the same. Your first birth may have left you with high expectations or a need to emotionally heal, but either way,  your first birth experience will have an impact on how you enter this one. Those are all things that you can talk through with your doula leading up to birth that will help them provide the most personalized support possible. The second time around you may also be thinking about how your oldest child can be involved in your birth experience. A sibling doula can be a dedicated support person for your first child by getting to know them ahead of time and being on-call for when you need them during labor. They can help children feel safe when mom is “roaring like a lion” or even help them to bake a birthday cake or draw a birthday card to welcome baby.

“My midwife already supports my choices, so I don’t need additional support.” 

Shout out to all of the supportive, loving and knowledgeable providers who engage in shared decision-making and honor your choices! It is SO important to have a care team that fully understands and respects your wishes.  A midwife and doula work together, but actually hold very different roles. They’re both professionals who understand the physiology of birth and work to make sure you and your baby are fully supported throughout your pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Midwives are medically trained to examine, diagnose and provide medical support and care for healthy, low-risk pregnancies. Doulas provide emotional, physical (such as touch and massage), and informational support for the birthing person and their family.

Why did you decide to hire a doula? What impact did that decision have on your birth?  Tell us in the comments.

Michelle Petkovic

Michelle Petkovic

Social Media Manager, Babymoon Inn

Michelle Petkovic received her degree in International Affairs from Sweet Briar College. She is a mother of one energetic toddler born at a birth center and loves spending time outside camping, hiking and traveling with her family.

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