This post was sponsored by EverlyWell through my partnership with Fit Approach. As always all opinions and test results are my own.Our sweet baby girl has finally arrived and so has the return to breastfeeding. It also means having to be mindful of what I eat and drink, how hydrated I am and that I am getting enough nutrients to support my body and my growing babes.
That being said I have had my concerns about a few things including my DHA levels. It’s estimated that 75% of Americans are deficient in DHA and I feared that due to my diet and lack of supplementing that I would be deficient in DHA.
But what is DHA?
DHA is a vital Omega 3 Fatty Acid for a baby’s health as they grow during their first 2 years.
DHA is crucial in a child’s early development, in particular for their visual acuity and cognitive development
What does the EverlyWell Breast Milk DHA Kit Do?
Measures a Mother’s DHA Levels.
Identifies whether or not your own diet is sufficient to supply your breast milk with a DHA level within the recommended, healthy range for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.
To take the test it was fairly easy all that is required is a few drops of breast milk, which I easily collected in my manual breast pump (this one is a serious game changer). Place a few drops of the breast milk on a sample card, let it dry briefly and then package it up and return it to be tested. Results are then emailed to you in just a few short days.
So what did my results say?
Let’s just say I have a bit of work to do. I will be having my yearly physically in about three months and I will be making sure to ask to have my DHA levels retested once I have increased my daily DHA intake.
So how does a vegan get DHA?
Supplements. I personally take (err….I’m getting back to) a vegan omega that includes DHA.
Algae. I know not the most appetizing of sources but these days they come in powdered form and can easily be added to a smoothie.
Would I recommend the test?
I found the test to be really eye opening. I knew that my levels would probably be on the lower side due to my plant based diet but I had no idea they would be so incredibly low. This test has encouraged me to talk more with my doctor about ways I can increase my DHA levels as well as give me the kick in the butt I needed to get back to taking my supplements.
Monday June 26, 2017 was just like any other Monday.
12pm: After lunch I put the kids down for their nap and decided to lay down myself. I was hot, tired and just not feeling great. I was looking forward to a nap but Edith and Alder had different plans. They decided that a nap sounded like a terrible idea and spent “nap time” talking and jumping and tossing things in their room until I finally waved my white flag and said go watch a show while I lay here and rest.
12:45pm My body also had other ideas. Shortly after that I started to feel a bit crampy and had a bit of low back pain. I didn’t think much about it at first since I had been experiencing both for the past few days but then something clicked and I started to notice that the back pain was coming in waves, mild, but waves nonetheless.
1:25pm: I told Neil he should head home just in case this turned into something.
1:45pm: I decided to call my midwife to let her know what was going on. She said she would get her things in order, call Joy (the student midwife) and be over shortly.
1:50pm After I got off the phone with her I felt a wave of panic rush over me as I looked around our messy house. I headed straight to the kitchen and unloaded and loaded the dishwasher. I then went around the house picking up things off the floor and attempting to get things in a semi-clean state.
2pm: Neil arrived home and Joy showed up just a few minutes later. Together they got right to work on getting the birth pool set up and ready for when I needed it. I decided to grab my phone and head out for a walk. Walking has been my preferred way to labor with all of my births. As I was heading out my midwife pulled up and she told me to wait while she brought her things into the house and that she would join me on my walk.
2:30pm: We started with a walk around the block. We did one loop with ease and then I stopped for a pee break and to let our sitter know that I was in labor but if she was up for it we would still like her to come to help with the kids [if you remember from my last post we were supposed to be having a date night.]
3pm: We head out and do another loop. Things are starting to progress and I have to pause a bit during contractions but they are pretty easy to work through. After we walk for a bit I bring up that I am feeling a bit more pain near my right hip than on my left and my midwife says it might be that the baby just is still working on getting in position as they drop and that if we could go do some stairs that it might help with things. We walk over to the school near our house and we do the short set of stairs over and over and over and over. Up and down and up and down, again. During each contraction I pause and step my right leg up a bit higher so that I am in a lunge and circle my hips to help encourage the baby to get into position. After about an hour of walking and stair climbing I’m ready to return to the house for some water and another pee break.
4:15pm: I decide not to return to walking and move to the birthing ball, you might know it in the fitness world as a Swiss ball. I sit, bounce, rotate my hips and work through each contraction as they come. At this point they are coming on a bit stronger but I am still able to talk through them…that is until I’m not. At this point the timeline starts to get a bit blurry. My contractions start to get stronger and I find myself needing Neil to press on my lower back during contractions. Eventually I find myself banging my hand on the coffee table during a contraction as they get stronger. Once this starts to happen Joy and my midwife check in with the second midwife who is to attend my birth. They let her know things are progressing and that she should make her way over. I continue to labor with the contractions getting a bit stronger each time.
5:45/6pm[ish]: At this point I have finally decided to labor in the birthing tub. Our sitter arrives and takes over with the kids. At this point, I am well into laboring and haven’t been checked but I am sure that I am in transition or more likely even past. Contractions are getting more uncomfortable and I find myself leaning over the side of the birth tub and biting down on a towel that has been draped over the side while Neil puts pressure on my back. At this point I am also in need of someones hand to hold and squeeze during each contraction.
At some point with all this happening my second midwife shows up and takes over as hand holder. I remember having this one incredibly strong contraction that just doesn’t seem to want to end and I’m asking ‘why isn’t it stopping, why?’ and eventually it does. At this point I still haven’t been checked so I am not sure where I am at or when pushing will start but am feeling a ton of pressure like I might need to push. I tell my midwives that I feel like I might need to push and they say go for it. I try to push but my body just isn’t quite there and so I work through one more contraction and then that urge to push I thought I was feeling intensifies and I know its really time to push. I push through one contraction and then again. I move my body a bit and push twice more (I think?) and then I feel her leave my body and I reach down and bring her to my chest.
Immediately after Ingrid was born – a bit blurry but what a moment
6:29pm: Our baby is born. I was told after that I pushed for approximately 6 minutes, although it felt more like twenty.
During the entire birth Edith was right by my side watching it all unfold just like she had almost three years before with Alder. Since we had chosen not to find out the sex I invited Edith over to be the one to reveal whether she had a new brother or sister and to her delight she was able to announce to everyone that we indeed had a girl.
After I birthed Ingrid it was time to birth the placenta, take a ton of photos and cut the cord once it stopped pulsating. Another special moment for Edith who was able to help Neil cut the cord. We invited Alder to help as well but he was content to sit on the couch and eat crackers with hummus.
Once the exciting part of birthing was over it was time to get out of the tub and head to bedroom to get checked out. Shortly after this we sent a reluctant Edith and Alder outside with our sitter while I got my checkup and such done.
Checkup complete and the kids return to see our new baby. We cuddle up and read books and then the kids get ready and are off to bed. Once the kids are asleep I hand Ingrid over to Neil and take shower before our midwife leaves. After a shower I return to bed, our midwife gathers her things and heads out and our Chinese takeout arrives. Neil and I end the night in bed with takeout and our sweet new baby girl.
Note my recollection of this day is a bit of a blur at points so if you are so inclined I encourage you to head over to Naturally Family and read Neil’s perspective on Ingrid’s birth [I will come back and link his post when it is *finally* live].
Photo from October 2016 -imagine me now with my hair in a messy bun, yoga pants & a milk stained nursing tee.
Let’s start of this post by making it clear that I am no fashion blogger. Honestly my sense of personal style has been limited to black t-shirts and jeans for approximately the last 5 years. That isn’t to say that I don’t appreciate fashion or feel like I don’t have any sort of eye for it but rather I just don’t know what my personal style is or how to dress my body.
After becoming a mom I feel like my perception of style has changed – I mean what do moms where anyways? I don’t even know. I don’t even know what people my age are wearing (I’m 31… almost 32 for reference) or does it even matter?
Also, what does a personal style really look like? How does one find it? And most of all how does one dress a postpartum body that they just don’t love?
So here I am on a journey to find my personal style and build a closet with pieces that help me feel confident. A journey I thought I would share it with you and I’d love your help. Where do you go to for style inspiration? What bloggers fashion inspire you?
Share your tips for developing your personal style and where to you like to shop in the comments below.
This weekend felt like something out of a dream. For the first time in 9 months I felt good enough to get out with my family and get back to nature. We started our Saturday running a bit behind schedule, that was until I reminded myself that we had nowhere to be so schedules were unnecessary. After gathering ourselves and the kids we headed to Trillium Lake not without a quick stop to Target to pick up a pair of shoes because apparently pregnancy makes my feet grow.
Once we made it to Trillium Lake we spent the day wandering slowly walking the loop around the lake. Letting the kids set the pace and stopping for long playing (and nursing) sessions in the woods. We completed the loop, ate our packed lunch and then let the kids splash around in the lake until it was time to head out.
We decided that the thought of heading straight home sounded awful and we made a detour to Hood River for dinner and playtime at the waterfront park. We enjoyed a great meal, the kids while tired were in great spirits and despite the awful sewage smell at the park we all had a nice time soaking up the last bits of sun and watching the kite boarders.
As I drove home I couldn’t help but feel so full of love and happiness. It felt amazing to get out, explore and go back to our normal routine after months of sickness due to pregnancy, feeling so anxious about birth because our baby girl was breech up until 36+ weeks and then all that time I spent healing and not leaving the house. I am slow moving still and everything takes extra effort but I am reminded how much nature can heal the heart, the soul and fill us up. So here is my request to all of you – spend more time in nature and let nature nurture your soul and heal your heart.
After birth our digestive systems are slower and weaker so it’s important to focus on foods that are easy to digest. Ideally you would be enjoying warming soups, stews and broths that help to heal the body and replenish the body of liquids. As we all know the ideal and the reality do no always aline especially postpartum. We are sleep deprived, riding a wave of hormones and often just trying to survive so food is often whatever is easiest to grab in a hurry. If you’re lucky you’ll have a group of friends or family who can set up a meal train for you so that you are well fed and can focus on healing and bonding.
When it has come to postpartum periods I have learned not to rely on others to help feed us. While we had a few friends drop by food for us [thank you to those two families who did] we were mostly on our own. To prepare I made a number of freezer meals and stocked the pantry with healthy snacks and essentials. I also went in search of a meal service that offered foods that were plant-based, nutrient dense and involved little to know preparation and that is when I found Splendid Spoon.
Okay so Splendid Spoon isn’t specifically a postpartum meal service but it checks off many of my personal postpartum meal “requirements”. Splendid Spoons meals are vegan, gluten free, high fiber, low in sugar and nutrient dense. The best part they are ready to eat so all I have to do is quickly heat them up on the stove (or microwave if you have one – we don’t) or grab straight from the fridge to enjoy.
The Splendid Spoon Program 2.0 has been perfect for my postpartum recovery because it provides 4 smoothies, 4 drinkable soups, 1 breakfast bowl and 6 plant-based bowls. If you were to do the Program 2.0 as a cleanse you would do five days of smoothie or the breakfast bowl for breakfast, a plant-based bowl for lunch and a healthy dinner of your choice. You would end the program with a soup cleanse day which would be all of your drinkable soups and a plant-based bowl – see more here.
Since I am not doing the program as a cleanse I have have done a oats for breakfast, a smoothie as a snack, a plant-based bowl for lunch and a drinkable soup as an afternoon snack along with a healthy fat such as half avocado with a bit of salt and pepper, a handful of nuts or a scoop of nut butter. For dinner I usually had a grain bowl, salad, or pasta.
Let’s get on to what you really want to know….
So how does it taste?
I have been so impressed with how everything tastes. The plant-based bowls have all been really delicious. I absolutely loved the chipotle black bean chili and could have eaten it everyday. I also was so impressed with the drinkable soups and those where by far my favorite off everything. The cauliflower coconut and the celery plant where my favorite drinkables. For the drinkables you can drink them without heating but I chose to heat mine on the stove and then drank from my giant mug- seriously the perfect afternoon snack.
Lastly, there are the smoothies which ranged from delicious to meh. I loved the blueberry coconut smoothie and the cacao almond but the two that included greens just were not great. I found the texture to be a little off for me so I ended up putting them in a blender with a frozen banana and almond butter which resulted in a delicious nutrient dense smoothie filled with the extra calories I needed for breastfeeding. A side note on that you make sure you are eating enough calories throughout the day and are not just relying on these soups and smoothies [when doing the Program 2.0 as a pregnant or postpartum mama]. Add healthy fats like avocado, coconut and nuts to your meals to help increase calories and keep your milk production up.
and the other thing you want to know….
Is it worth the cost?
Based on my experience it is so worth the cost. I felt at peace when it came to food because I didn’t have to worry about anything. I knew that I was going to have healthy, nourishing meals and snacks and I didn’t have to plan, cook or really do anything I could just grab and enjoy. It also meant my husband could focus on our two older children and all he had to do for me was heat meals up for me. I left the first weeks of my postpartum feeling nourished and my digestion and healing was on point. This has seriously been the easiest postpartum period of my three and I completely attribute that to dedicating the early weeks to rest, bonding, having little to worry about (like making my own meals) and eating foods known for healing and nourishing the body.
This post isn’t sponsored by Splendid Spoon, but I am a brand ambassador for them and the links are affiliate. Thank you for supporting brands that make Running With Tongs possible. As always all opinions are my own.
Immediately after Edith was born my sweet tooth went into overdrive. I just couldn’t get enough sweets and found myself binging on sweets all the time. Neil and I got into a terrible habit of making Oh She Glows chocolate chip cookies and we would easily eat the entire batch in less than a day.
After Alder I am honestly having a harder time remembering what my sugar cravings were like but I do remember a few batches of those Oh She Glows cookies making their reapperance.
This time around I have had no sugar cravings. None. It’s been the strangest thing and I’ve actually just been waiting for the craving to hit but rather than craving sugar I feel in control of it. I had a coupon for a free pint of Nadamoo and one bite into the pint and I was over it. Not because Nadamoo isn’t good – it really is delicious but just had no interest in ice cream.
So how did I prevent these cravings?
I truly believe it’s because I changed my eating habits before baby arrived. At my 36 week appointment I was told that my fluids were high and was put on a semi-strict high protein, high veggie, high plant-based fat diet and was told to avoid simple carbs like pasta, crackers, rice, and breads. If you know me you know that my craving for bread and pasta is real so doing this was a huge challenge but I had to do it for baby.
During my last four weeks of pregnancy I avoided my favorite foods (bread and pasta) and stuck to the plan for the most part. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have a bite of my kids bagel on our weekly coffee shop dates or that I didn’t have some pretty amazing pizza from Virtuous Pie but overall six days a week I followed my no pasta/bread diet. I even had my four year old checking in on me and reminding me anytime I did go for bread or pasta that I can’t have it. She is seriously my little mama.
So now here I am 3 weeks postpartum and no sugar cravings. I honestly haven’t had any major cravings for bread or pasta either, even though I am now “allowed” to return to my normal diet. While I haven’t been craving it I have had pasta and bread since Ingird was born but not in the quantities that I was eating them previously. I don’t find myself reaching for them as easily as I once did. I also have NO sugar cravings at all.
So my tip? Look at what you are eating during your pregnancy. Are you focused on whole foods or are you reaching for processed carbs and sugary sweets? If you are reaching for the latter than consider making some adjustments so when baby comes and your hormones are all over the place and you’re in new parents survival mode you can continue to gravitate towards those foods that will nourish your body. Also once baby has arrived make sure you (or your friends and family) keep your fridge and pantry stocked with healthier options like fresh fruit, sweet vegetables and treats that are naturally sweetened. Most importantly keep yourself hydrated and give yourself a little grace. Life is about to be turned upside down so don’t stress about a cookie or five just do your best and focus on healing, and feeding and bonding with baby.
PSST…if you are craving cookies why not build your milk supply while you’re at it and try these cookies.
I know it might sound surprising that we registered for gifts for our third baby but it is true. Our third baby was a bit of a surprise. Not a surprise like Alder was but rather we were convinced that we were done having kids after baby #2 so we sold nearly everything. When we finally decided in November 2015 that we weren’t actually done expanding our family all of our baby stuff was gone.
The reality is however that by baby #3 you’ll likely need to replace some items. I have a few friends who are on baby #3 and are finding that their most loved items and clothes are worn to pieces from their first two so registering for a third isn’t so crazy.
When you have 2 & 4 year old diaper bags start to become less necessary. Instead I just stick a few snacks, a diaper and travel wipes in my backpack style purse and we go. Since we often drive places I’ll leave things like a few toys, books, and a change of clothes for the kids in the car. When a newborn comes into the picture though they need just a few extra things on demand like diapers, wipes, changes of clothes, burp clothes and a swaddle.
Once we moved both kids into their own room we got rid of our old bulky crib that has been moved across the country and into 4 different homes here in Portland (it was just time for it to go) and decided that at least for the short term a DockATot was perfect for our setup. Both of our other kids co-slept and it worked so well for us so I loved the idea of a safe place for baby to sleep with us. Of all the things we registered for this was our one absolute must have.
I know this is something that might seem a little strange especially if you haven’t had a baby yet but when I saw the Fridababy Fridet I knew I had to have it. Things down there need a little extra attention and isn’t always easy to get at so this bottle helps. Many people purchase a simple peri bottle or are sent home with one from the hospital/birth center but the difference with this bottle is that it is angled so in theory it should make it easier to use. If you have used this let me know what you think!
Swaddle blankets are a must have with new babies. Whether you choose to swaddle or not they have so many uses from blanket, nursing cover, burp cloth, a changing “pad”, a scarf for mama, and so much more. You can never have enough either because babes tend to have blowouts, spit up and just generally you’ll find yourself going through a few per day so having a nice stock is always great.
Whether it be that we need to cook, clean, take a shower or tend to one of our other children we need somewhere safe to set baby down. It also is perfect because it can be moved from room to room easily. I think our bouncer was one of our most used baby items with both kids and my arms are always thankful that we have one.
Since we have no baby clothes and we didn’t find out the sex of baby #3 we registered for a few gender neutral options to get us started. The nice thing about a summer baby is that they spend so much time in a diaper that a lot of clothes are necessary just a few outfits until we meet them and then I get to order all the baby boy or girl clothes that I have been lusting over for months.
So why The Baby Cubby?
– They always price match, even Amazon (and you know how much I shop on Amazon), so you know you’re getting a great deal.
– They carry only the highest quality and safest gear so that you can shop confidently.
– They actually test out items such as all the strollers they sell prior to adding them to their shop. It’s all about quality, safety and meeting the parents needs.
– They offer Free Shipping everyday at BabyCubby.com over $49
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