Maternity + Cocktail = Mocktail

It’s patio season. That time of the year when the bar blenders run on overdrive, beers are best served upside down in margaritas, and people shamelessly lick the edges of their cups like a deranged toddler. It’s not nearly as awesome when you’re expecting and you can’t order any drinks without putting “virgin” in front of it (which is a little ironic if you think about it).

There is no reason why you can’t enjoy some patio worthy, probably even better than the alcohol filled counterparts, sinfully delicious beverages. So don’t fret my dear mama goddesses, I have scoured the interwebs to find these guilt free summer drinks that are sure to please your tummies and your taste buds. 

1. Non-Alcoholic Sangria
recipe from the kitchyn

  

Serves 8
2 cups boiling water

2 black tea bags (or 2 teaspoons loose-leaf tea in an infuser)

2 cinnamon sticks

1/2 cup sugar

3 cups pomegranate juice

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 orange, sliced into thin rounds

1 lemon, sliced into thin rounds

1 lime, sliced into thin rounds

1 apple, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

3 cups carbonated water

Pour boiling water over tea bags and cinnamon sticks and steep for 5 minutes. Discard tea bags and stir in sugar to dissolve.
In a large jar or pitcher, combine tea, cinnamon sticks, pomegranate juice, orange juice, orange, lemon, lime, and apple. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and preferably overnight.
In a large jar or pitcher, combine tea, cinnamon sticks, pomegranate juice, orange juice, orange, lemon, lime, and apple. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and preferably overnight.

Just before serving, stir in carbonated water. Serve in glasses over ice.

2. Cucumber and Lime Spritzer 
Recipe from Real Simple

  

Serves 4

2 12-ounce cans club soda

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 3 to 4 limes)

1 cucumber, thinly sliced

In a pitcher, combine the club soda, lime juice, and cucumber. Serve over ice.

3. Strawberry Cucumber Limeade
Recipe from A Beautiful Mess

  
serves 1 

fresh strawberry slices
fresh cucumber slices

2 fresh limes

fresh mint or basil leaves

sugar sprinkles for garnish

simple syrup 

club soda 

First, prepare your glass by adding sugar sprinkles to one side of the rim using a little brush of honey or simple syrup. In your glass, combine the juice of two limes, 1 tablespoon simple syrup, and ice. Stir and top off with club soda. Add cucumbers, strawberries, and mint for garnish. Enjoy! 
If you want to get extra fancy, add some cut-up strawberries and cucumbers to your simple syrup while it is simmering to infuse flavor. Be sure to strain out all the fresh ingredients before you use it. 

4. The Consolation Prize (a mocktail)
recipe from The Smitten Kitchen

  
serves 4

A handful of mint leaves

1 cup pineapple juice

1/4 cup lime juice

2 tablespoons honey

3/4 cup coconut milk, well-shaken

Ice cubes

Seltzer, to taste

Lime wedges, sprigs of mint or sliced fresh pineapple for garnish

In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, lightly muddle mint — no need to render it into small flecks, but if you break it up a little, more flavor will be released. Add pineapple, lime, honey, coconut milk and a few ice cubes and shake it well. Pour over ice cubes in glasses, finish with a splash of seltzer and garnishes. Close your eyes and pretend you’re somewhere tropical.

5. Mango Margarita 
Recipe from Fit Pregnancy

  
It gets its kick from ginger, which has been shown to calm queasiness and nausea.

Serves 1
1 lime wedge for garnish (optional)

Ground granola for garnish (optional)
4 to 6 raspberries (or 2 strawberries)

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 teaspoon grated ginger

¼ cup mango juice

¼ cup grapefruit juice

Run the lime wedge around the rim of a glass. Dip the glass in the granola.

Muddle the raspberries or strawberries at the bottom of a glass, and pour in lime juice. Add grated ginger, mango juice, grapefruit juice and ice.

Stir to blend all flavors, and enjoy.

More options for your waterbirth

Earthy Birthy Doula just acquired another birth pool available for rent! I’m happy to announce that I now have an Aquaborn Eco Birth Pool along with the Birth Pool in a Box!

Every pool rental comes with the following accessories:

  • Hose to fill and drain pool
  • Faucet adapter
  • Electric air pump to blow up pool
  • Submersible water pump to drain pool
  • Disposable liner

Here are some specs on the pools available to rent:

Birth Pool in a Box

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  • External max dimensions 76 x 65″
  • Internal max dimensions 56 x 45″
  • Internal depth 26″
  • Maximum water depth 22″
  • Rim width 10”
  • Built-in seat
  • Internal seat
  • Handles on outside 4
  • Handles on top 2
  • Volume when filled (80% full) 172 gallons
  • Pool material 0.55mm PVC
  • Liner material 0.20mm PVC
  • Approx. filling time 40 min – 3 hrs
  • Approx. inflation time 5-25 min depending on how you’re inflating it.

Aquaborn Eco Birth Pool

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  • Material Thickness 0.60mm
  • External Dimensions 72″ × 64″ × 31″Internal Dimensions 52″ × 44″
  • Interior Depth 27″
  • Inflated Floor Thickness 3.3″
  • Floor White, anti-slip
  • Handles 6
  • Number of Persons Two
  • Approx. Inflation Time 6 min
  • Approx. Filling Time 45 min
  • Volume when filled 170 gallon

Pools are rented out for a 4 week period for $185. Additional weeks can be added on for an extra $25/week. Pools are dropped off usually 2 weeks before your due date, with a planned pick up for about 2 weeks after your due date.

If you would like to rent a pool, please contact me to inquire about availability.

5 Natural Ways to Increase your Milk Supply

I talk to new moms all the time about their breastfeeding experiences, and a fairly common complaint is that they are not producing enough milk. First let me start with how to tell if you are actually producing enough for your baby or not. Your baby’s output will be the best indicator of what is going in to your baby’s body. So check for pees and poos, and as long as those two things are happening on a regular basis daily, your baby is eating and drinking. Next, just pay attention to weight gain/loss. This does not mean weighing your baby 5 times a day before and after feeding, but just a simple weekly check is good. If your baby is gaining weight, you are making enough milk. And once your baby is consistently gaining weight, you don’t need to continue weighing weekly, unless indicated.

Remember that todays hunger/need to breastfeed is actually going to be tomorrows (or the next day) supply in most cases, so even though it may feel like baby is not satisfied and they want to eat all the time, that is okay. The constant nursing will increase your supply for the following day or day after. So I guess that brings me to the first way to increase your milk supply:

1. Breastfeed as much as possible

The physical action of having a baby on your breast will increase your supply. Remember that this takes time though, and can be somewhat frustrating, but it is definitely a tried and true method. This also means feeding on demand, unless there is not a strong demand, then every 1.5-2 hours for sure. A breast pump is helpful to use at the end of a feeding or between feedings, but don’t use it to replace a feeding (ie., pump and then bottle feed). A pump does not do the same thing as a baby on the breast, so you will likely not see the same effects from pumping, and you may feel a little discouraged if not much milk comes out. Some women just aren’t able to pump the same amount as while breastfeeding, this is normal. The reason you should use it afterwards is to drain your breast of all milk. It is also recommended to pump for a few more minutes after the last drop of milk. This tells your body to make more milk.

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2. Hydrate

In the early stages of breastfeeding, your water intake is incredibly important. If you are dehydrated, your body will not make as much milk as it would when hydrated. Try to always have a bottle of water with you, and remember, if you feel thirsty, you are dehydrated.

water

3. Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle

Fenugreek alone can increase your milk supply, but taken in conjunction with Blessed Thistle, it works much faster and more effectively. This method of increasing milk production should prove successful within about 24 hours. You can purchase both of those herbs in pill form, or you can also find them in teas made specifically to increase milk supply. You can find dosage information on Jack Newman’s incredibly helpful breastfeeding website.

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Other herbs that have been said to help include:

  • alfalfa
  • spirulina
  • goat’s rue
  • raspberry leaf
  • fennel
  • stinging nettle
  • shatavari
  • brewer’s yeast

The last herb listed there brings me to the next method of increasing breastmilk:

4. Sit back, relax, and have a beer

One of my favourite natural milk production aides is beer. In all honesty, I cannot give a personal account of it 100% working for me (more because I didn’t need to use it for that), but I have absolutely no issue trying. Something in the barley and the hops stimulates prolactin production and therefore can increase milk supply. That means the dark and hoppy beers will be the ones you want to try. Also, this is not a free pass to get shmammered right before nursing, but please don’t feel guilty for having one or two a day.

Another bonus to the beer method is resulting relaxation. Sometimes if a new mom is really stressed, it can affect milk production. So relaxing and having a beer can help with that side of the limited milk supply as well. WIN WIN

Reasonable alcohol intake should not be discouraged at all. As is the case with most drugs, very little alcohol comes out in the milk. The mother can take some alcohol and continue breastfeeding as she normally does. Prohibiting alcohol is another way we make life unnecessarily restrictive for nursing mothers.” ~ Dr. Jack Newman

Craft-Beer

5. Oatmeal

Eating a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast has been reported to increase milk supply. Other ways to consume the milk boosting food is by eating oatmeal cookies. There are several recipes on the internet for oatmeal lactation cookies if you’re feeling inspired to bake, or you can purchase premade cookies even!

bowl-of-oatmeal

If you feel like you have tried everything to increase your milk supply but you would like more help, consider visiting a lactation consultant and giving a phone call to your local La Leche League leader. Those two resources can come up with more ideas and provide support throughout your entire breastfeed journey.

Sources:

http://www.lalecheleague.org/llleaderweb/lv/lvdec97jan98p123.html
http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/content.php?pagename=doc-HRMS
http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supply-worries/oatmeal/

Adventures in placenta prints 

I have been experimenting with Tree of Life placenta prints lately. I love art like crazy, so adding various mediums to placenta prints is really appealing to me. First I tried just straight up paint, and painted on roots, branches, and a little heart. I really love the way this one turned out. 

  
The next placenta I played with, I used chalks. I decided to add some colour for the tree, and then use a little paint for the branches. 

  
Another medium option for my placenta art is watercolours. I use watercolour crayons and then go over the colours with water. In this option, and really any of the options, the colour combinations will be completely in the clients hands. Maybe a rainbow tree? 

  
Of course there is always the traditional placenta print with nothing added. 

  
When you are booking placenta encapsulation services, please let me know if you’d like a print done a specific way. I am happy to add anything that I have already done, or try something completely new! 

A real look at postpartum depression 

d43a276e6dbe0a7f5529a4e31d1e4b23Postpartum depression (PPD) is often talked about as something that is normal following childbirth. While PPD is definitely something that can happen after childbirth and is fairly common, it is far from “normal” and should not be taken lightly. The term PPD is used synonymously with “baby blues”, and generally just overlooked and under treated. Baby blues is quite different, and while it is difficult to navigate at the time, it does pass relatively quickly. However, if it doesn’t, it may have progressed in to PPD and you’ll want to act accordingly.

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I have decided to share my most recent experience of PPD to give my readers a real unedited look at how PPD is experienced. I had PPD with all of my babies (I have four), with my 4th  being the worst for me. What I realized is that if you leave PPD untreated, it will compound with every birth, and naturally progress in to your every day depression. That is my theory anyways.

Soon after having my fourth baby, I became pretty weepy. This is really not anything unusual, but it didn’t end. Thoughts would go through my head about how I never should have had children, and I had made a terrible mistake. I stopped wearing any sort of makeup (because it just got cried off anyways), and frankly, I just didn’t give a fuck. I went in to survival mode.

I knew it was bad when I would spend most of my day dreaming about dying. I would come up with these grand schemes of how I could kill myself, but have it look like an accident. I spent hours writing in my journal about my plans. Here is one page from my journal dated June 6, 2008, just 5 months after having my baby.

“If I had to choose, I’d eat a bunch of sleeping pills and drink myself to sleep. I’d have to make sure the kids were all taken care of first, and then I’d consider leaving town and killing myself in some random hotel room, or maybe in my vehicle at the side of the road.

Sometimes I just wish for an escape route. This whole life thing is making me insane.”

When my fantasies of death turned in to an actual plan, I realized I had two options. Option one was to die by my own hand, and option two was to call the mental health clinic and get help. I opted for the latter and phoned the mental health clinic. They told me to come straight in to their office and they would assign me a psychologist, which is exactly what happened.

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I spent the next 4 months going to see a psychologist 1-2 times a week, and she helped me realize that it was PPD I was experiencing and that I needed a plan of action. She gave me a list of things I need to do daily, even if they seemed minor. The initial list was simple, and included:

  1. Go outside for at least 10 minutes
  2. Journal
  3. Drink water
  4. Do something for myself (bath, read, garden, whatever)

Depression_quoteYou’d be surprised how hard it is to do the most simple things when you’re depressed. Going outside for at least 10 minutes does not seem like something that would be challenging, but when you can hardly even get out of bed every day, going outside feels nearly impossible. Regardless, I followed her instructions and also sought advice from a Naturopath. The ND was very helpful too, instructing me on what supplements I should be taking and what foods will help with my mood. I took a combination of items including Vit. B complex, Calcium Magnesium, Fish Oil, and St. John’s Wort. If you’re considering taking supplements to help with your PPD, I would suggest seeking out a ND to make sure you’re taking to correct dosage and best combination for you.

So with the weekly counselling, the supplements, and following the list of daily items to do, I began to feel better. I started doing more once my energy level rose. I returned to kickboxing, starting hula hooping and also started roller derby. Physical activity is incredibly helpful for PPD, although it is so hard to just jump in to something while feeling so terrible, and that is why I worked to get my energy up a little before taking on any activities. That said, I have often said that “roller derby saved my soul,” and that is the truth. After joining roller derby, my mood increased so much that I didn’t even need to go to counselling anymore. It was amazing.

So if you’re currently experiencing PPD, I definitely recommend reaching out for help. Call your local mental health office and book yourself in with a counsellor, and begin your journey to recovery. If you’re in Calgary, call the Access Mental Health office at 403-943-1500 Ext 2, or get in touch with the Women’s Mental Health Clinic (they specialize more in birth and PPD) at 403-944-5872. Also, you may be surprised that many women keep their experience of PPD a secret, so break the silence and talk to anyone who will listen. And if you feel there’s no one, drop me a line. You are not alone.

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