Top Posts of 2018

The top blog posts of 2018 for the Courtney Kramer Blog. This past year a lot of my writing centred on being a mom. My writing has evolved over the years as my life has changed.

 

First of all, thank you for reading my blog! I appreciate every comment, view and share of my posts more than you know. I started this blog back in 2013 because I had so many thoughts floating around in my head that I wanted to share with others. I have always been into journaling so blogging was a natural extension of my love of writing.

Continue reading “Top Posts of 2018”

What I Wish I’d Known as a New Mom

Becoming a mommy has been the most incredible experience. It’s a feeling I cannot describe. Even on my darkest days postpartum as a new mom, I felt such a deep love for my baby. Now a year later I have a much broader view of the first year. I have perspective compared to in the thick of newborn days. I’m not going to lie bringing home a new baby was a total shock. I remember going into our church nursery at 4 weeks postpartum and asking how mom’s with multiple kids did it. A year later I know it’s possible to make it through the infant stage to the cuddly, kisses on our face, hugs around the neck, starting to talk stage.

Continue reading “What I Wish I’d Known as a New Mom”

How Do You Know You’re Ready to Have a Baby?

Deciding to try for a baby is a big decision for any newlywed couple. Although there is no perfect time there are better times to try for a child.

There is no perfect time to have a baby but there are better times. This post is by no means a checklist of things to have in place before having a baby. Rather it’s a list of things a couple may find helpful to discuss before starting their family. As I note at the end only God is the one who gives life and each life is a precious gift. 

Full disclosure we got pregnant nine months after our wedding while I was in my last semester of university. Looking back I wouldn’t reccommend being pregnant while in school because it was very stressful. However, it can be done and I did have the benefit of a very flexible schedule to accommodate all my appointments. 

Continue reading “How Do You Know You’re Ready to Have a Baby?”

Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2

To read Part 1 of my birth story click here

We arrived at the hospital at 1 pm and met our primary midwife in the maternal triage area (we also had a second midwife assist during the birth). She lead us across the hall to the delivery room where I changed into a gown and laid down on the bed. I looked out the window and noted our nice view of autumn coloured trees covering the city. The distraction was a good way to start the day.

Continue reading “Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2”

What to Eat While Breastfeeding

A few posts back I wrote about Healthy Pregnancy Snacks and some general guidelines of what and how much to eat during pregnancy based on recommendations from Health Canada and Registered Dieticians.

In response to that post, I was asked to create a followup post on what to eat while breastfeeding. Like pregnancy, lactation requires increased calories + nutrients to support milk production. Since I am planning to breastfeed Baby K I thought this would be a great opportunity to share some insight on how I plan to stay nourished while lactating.

How Long Should I Breastfeed?

First, off Dieticians of Canada recommends that breastmilk alone be given until six months of age and then in concert with other foods till at least 12 months of age (although Health Canada and the World Health Organization recommend breastfeeding until age 2). As mom is the primary food source for at least the first six months it is imperative that her diet contains an adequate amount of calcium, healthful fat, fibre, fruits, vegetables, and water. No matter what type of diet one is on, such as vegan it is still possible to fortify the body with these nutrients. If you are having trouble planning an adequate diet be sure to speak to a Registered Dietician. EatRight Ontario is a great place to get started in contacting a dietician or to ask a question by email.

You may not be aware of this but breastfed babies also require a daily vitamin D supplement in order to prevent a deficiency which could lead to rickets. Formula fed babies are exempt from this recommendation because their food is fortified with this vitamin. Vitamin D drops for infants can be found in the vitamin section of the pharmacy.

What Should I Eat While Breastfeeding?

One recommendation for lactating mothers is to consume about 500 more calories per day than pre-pregnancy. Although for some women this may be too much or insufficient. One’s caloric intake depends on how active they are and how much body fat is present.

As more calories are consumed more nutrients are provided to the body. Furthermore as one breastfeeds the metabolism becomes more efficient. Plus the extra pounds on a new mom will also be used to supply nutrients while breastfeeding.

Overall eating a balanced and varied diet is essential to providing one’s body with the proper nutrients.

Balanced diet: eating an adequate amount of protein, carbohydrate + fat, each macronutrient plays a different role in the body, brain, and metabolism.

Protein: meat, fish, eggs

Protein can increase metabolism and is needed for neurotransmitters in the brain

Carbohydrate: fruit + vegetables

Carbohydrates provide quick energy by raising blood sugar levels

Fat: olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds

Fats keep us full, help with brain function and impair carbohydrates from entering the bloodstream too quickly. 

Varied diet: eating different types of food or trying a new food each week

Try these easy substitutions to add more variety to your diet:

  • using quinoa in a casserole instead of rice

  • making lasagne with zucchini strips instead of pasta

  • subbing in roasted sweet potato for regular potatoes

  • making muffins with half whole wheat flour and half regular flour

  • trying plain yogurt in your smoothie over flavoured

What if I’m not Eating Enough?

The milk produced for baby is made from nutrients within the mother’s body and the food she consumes. If for some reason the mother is not well nourished her body will provide the needed nutrients to produce milk for the infant. In fact in scenarios where mothers were close to malnutrition the milk produced was adequate enough to supply the child and allow proper growth.

Furthermore feeding when baby initially shows signs of hunger (rooting, rapid eye movement, flexing arms or closed fists, sucking on hand) or feeding on cue is imperative to establishing not only an adequate milk supply but to give baby enough food throughout the day. However, each baby is different and as time goes on parents will begin to recognize their own child’s feeding cues.

Crying is a late sign of hunger and could make latching more difficult.

Are There Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding?

Besides the obvious of alcohol and smoking, there are not any specific foods to avoid.

Caffeine intake may or may not affect the baby. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding notes that “the amount of caffeine in five or fewer five-ounce cups of coffee (less than 750 ml) will not cause a problem for most mothers and babies.”  One must also consider the size of their mug (8oz or 12 oz) and all sources of caffeine such as carbonated drinks, some pain medication, some cold medication and other medications.

A baby that is alert, wide-eyed or fussy may be overstimulated by caffeine. However, in about one cup of coffee, the amount of caffeine transferred to the breastmilk is about 1%. Although it is important to note caffeine does accumulate in the baby.

Breastfeeding moms shouldn’t feel pressure to eat certain foods for their nutrient content. Other foods will also contain the same nutrients.

Additionally, milk consumption in the mother is not essential to producing milk. In fact, calcium can be received from many other sources. Such as chicken broth, where the chicken is cooked for an extended time to soften the bones. Other sources include canned fish (salmon or mackerel) that contain the softened bones due to processing, whole grains,  green leafy vegetable, tahini, almonds.

How Much Fluid Should I Consume?

According to La Leche Leauge drinking till thirst is a good guideline to follow. Most new moms find it helpful to have a water bottle nearby while feeding. As long as one’s urine is light coloured fluid intake is sufficient.

Furthermore drinking more than needed or drinking herbs does not help increase milk supply. Only the baby fully emptying the breast regularly and on cue will tell the body to produce more milk.

I’m Vegetarian or Vegan is My Baby Still Getting Enough Nutrients?

A vegetarian diet containing some animal products like eggs or dairy is usually adequate. although when these foods are eliminated as in the case of a vegan diet vitamin B12 must be incorporated somehow, usually through a supplement.

One benefit of eating a vegetarian diet is lower levels of PCB’s (environmental contaminants) within the body as these are stored in the fatty tissue. Vegetarians tend to consume less fatty foods than an animal product based diet.

What About Losing Weight, Is it Safe to Diet?

Generally, it can take up to a year to lose the extra weight accumulated during pregnancy. Part of the weight gained during pregnancy is used to meet the nutrient and calorie needs of breastfeeding. Therefore it is recommended to wait at least 2 months before trying to lose weight. During these first few months, the milk supply is established and the mom’s body is healing from birth. Finally, weight loss should be gradual, about 1-2 pounds per week.


For more information on breastfeeding in general and tips and advice on breastfeeding be sure to check out the La Leche League Website or the book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (I found this to be really helpful in preparing to breastfeed).


Breast-Feeding Success. (2017). Todaysdietitian.com. Retrieved 17 October 2017, from http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/100112p52.shtml

Canada, P. (2014). Breastfeeding & Infant Nutrition – Canada.caCanada.ca. Retrieved 17 October 2017, from https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/health-promotion/childhood-adolescence/stages-childhood/infancy-birth-two-years/breastfeeding-infant-nutrition.html

LLLI | NB Maternal Nutrition during Breastfeeding. (2016). Llli.org. Retrieved 17 October 2017, from http://www.llli.org/nb/nbmarapr04p44.html

LLLI | What effect does the mother’s consumption of caffeine have on the breastfeeding infant?. (2016). Llli.org. Retrieved 17 October 2017, from http://www.llli.org/faq/caffeine.html

PFC Balanced Eating Part 1: What is PFC? – Dietitian Cassie. (2014). Dietitian Cassie. Retrieved 17 October 2017, from https://www.dietitiancassie.com/pfc-balanced-eating-part-1-what-is-pfc/

Breastfeeding can be challenging for any new mom especially when you're sleep deprived. One thing that shouldn't be confusing is what to eat while nursing.


To read more pregnancy updates check out the following posts:

2nd Trimester Update (21W2D)
3rd Trimester Update
Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)
Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)
Baby K’s Birth Story + Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2
Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum
What to Eat While Breastfeeding

3rd Trimester Update

In lieu of being 37 weeks tomorrow (third trimester) and officially early term over preterm, I thought it was time to give one last pregnancy update.

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I was thinking about my third trimester experiences compared to previous trimesters and I think this trimester just may be my favourite. Although at times I feel really uncomfortable, hot, tired and don’t sleep through the night because I’m up to pee around five times a night, I am sort of loving third trimester.

A few reasons why the third trimester has been my favourite are:

I finally look pregnant.

At my last appointment, the midwife noted I have a long torso and therefore I carry pretty small. Yet I’m still within the normal range of measurements at each appointment so there is nothing to worry about. Nonetheless, people have only started recently commenting that I’m finally showing in an obvious way. While I appreciate their comments I’m not bothered that I tend to carry small. As long as my midwife is not worried and I’m continuing to gain weight I’m happy with my bump.

On the plus side, I can still wear most of my pre-pregnancy clothes and don’t have too much trouble maneuvering around. Although sometimes when I lean forward to grab something my stomach hits the spacebar on my laptop and pauses Netflix :p

We’re almost ready for Baby K to come

In the last few weeks, we’ve set up our crib, stroller and installed the car seat. Plus we’re all registered at the hospital and I completed my breastfeeding class (which I highly recommend, it was so helpful having proper breastfeeding techniques explained and being able to ask questions of the public health nurse). Seeing all these visible reminders that soon there is going to be a baby here with us is a bit surreal!

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I still have to wash all of her clothes, we need blankets and newborn diapers but other than that we have lots of wipes, diaper cream, her bath, baby soap, and lotion among other essentials. I’m feeling mostly ready but I’m waiting till after our shower to see if there are any last minute things we might need.

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Shoutout to my mom for washing Baby K’s clothes for me <3

I can feel big movements from Baby K

In previous trimesters I felt little kicks, jabs, and somersaults from Baby K. Now I can feel her pushing against my stomach. Sometimes I can feel her little foot poking my right side. At other times she makes my whole stomach move almost in waves. It’s so cool knowing she’s growing bigger each day and is almost ready to come out.

Overall this third trimester has gone fairly well, especially considered to the first trimester, I really am feeling pretty good.

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I’m getting really excited to finally meet Baby K but at the same time, I’m anticipating some big changes. At times life feels a little daunting and overwhelming. I know that all these changes are good and definitely things to be thankful for.

Nonetheless having a baby for the first time is daunting because I’ve never done this before. However, I’m thankful to have a lot of support from family and friends.

If you have any tips for being a new mom please leave me a comment below. I am very open to any advice people want to give me, because I am very new at this and want to be prepared as best I can. 

I was thinking about my third trimester experiences compared to previous trimesters and I think this trimester just may be my favourite. Although at times I feel really uncomfortable, hot, tired and don't sleep through the night I am sort of loving third trimester.


For more on my pregnancy and postpartum journey read:
1st Trimester Update
2nd Trimester Update (21W2D)
3rd Trimester Update
Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)
Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)
Baby K’s Birth Story + Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2
Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum
What to Eat While Breastfeeding

Healthy Pregnancy Snacks

In a previous post, I mentioned a few of the foods that are helping me get through my pregnancy, stay healthy and keep me filled between meals. As a nutrition student about to graduate and become a PHEc, I have some knowledge on the nutrition requirements during pregnancy and what constitutes a healthy snack. Today I wanted to share a few of my favourite snack ideas and why they are a great choice during pregnancy!

Healthy Pregnancy Snacks

First, I want to note some important nutrients to consume during pregnancy and why you need them.

Iron

Health Canada recommends taking a multivitamin that contains 16-20 mg of Iron (along with 400 mcg of folic acid). Although some women may require more, be sure to consult your doctor.

One’s diet should also contain iron from a variety of sources.

There are 2 types of iron: heme and non-heme.

Heme iron is available in meat, poultry, and fish and is more bioavailable to the body. Whereas non-heme iron is found in eggs, plants, legumes, vegetables, grains, and nuts.

To better absorb iron from non-heme sources consume inhibitor foods along with the non-heme foods. For example, vitamin C (found in broccoli, potatoes, or sweet peppers) greatly increases absorption along with calcium over 300 mg or phytate (found in breakfast cereals or legumes) or heme sources of iron (poultry). Be sure to avoid consuming caffeine within one hour of eating iron-rich foods as it decreases the amount of iron able to be absorbed.

Why do I need iron?

Iron is an essential part of proteins such as enzymes and hemoglobin.

Hemoglobin moves oxygen to our cells to facilitate metabolism, so basically, oxygen provides energy for our cells to function.

During pregnancy the amount of blood in a woman greatly increases to support the developing baby, therefore more iron is needed daily.

Once the baby is born it has a 6 month supply of iron, that is why at 6 months of age it is recommended by dieticians to feed your baby iron-rich foods.

How do I get more iron in pregnancy?

Aside from obvious sources of iron like red meat, iron can also be found in legumes and vegetables which are a great way to save money and increase your fibre and vitamin intake.

For example:

lentils: 3/4 C contains up to 4.9 mg

chickpeas: 3/4 C contains 2.4 mg

spinach: 1/2 C cooked, contains up to 3.4 mg (also a source of vitamin C which aids in iron absorption)

For a more complete list of foods that contain iron click here.

To increase my iron intake I like to make the following salad. It’s great to store in the fridge for a quick lunch or as a side to supper (pairs great with salmon). It also contains cheese to aid in calcium consumption.

Savory Lentil Salad:

Ingredients:

1 cup lentils, black beans, or chickpeas

2 cups spinach, chopped (or substitute frozen)

2 cups carrots, grated

1/3 cup raisins

1/3 cup sunflower seeds

2 tablespoons sodium reduced soy sauce or tamari sauce

1-2 teaspoons ginger, chopped

1 clove garlic

1 cup diced cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, Havarti or gouda, I typically use what I have on hand)

Preparation:

Drain beans thoroughly under cold running water or cook according to stove top instructions on package.

Mix remaining ingredients in a large bowl.

Toss beans with mixed ingredients to cover in dressing.

Adapted from: All You Need is Cheese, Spring 2012

Folate

As I noted above it’s imperative to take a prenatal vitamin prior to conception in order to supply your body with adequate folate (400mg). Also, ensure your prenatal vitamin contains B12.

Why do I need folate?

Folate is a B vitamin essential for cell division, spinal cord development and synthesizing nucleic acids like DNA and amino acids. Furthermore, folate also prevents the risk of developing a neural tube defect such as spina bifida or anencephaly.

A neural tube defect (which can occur in the first 3-4 weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman knows she is pregnant) is when the neural tube does not close properly.

How do I get more folate in pregnancy?

In light of folates important role for fetal development, the Canadian government has mandated fortifying white flour, enriched pasta, and enriched cornmeal.

However, Health Canada recommends that in addition to taking a prenatal vitamin pregnant women also consume folate from their diet. Some sources of folate include:

  • lentils 175 mL
  • black beans 175 mL
  • okra 125 mL
  • asparagus and spinach, cooked 125 mL
  • orange juice from concentrate 125 mL
  • eggs 2 large
  • corn 125 mL
  • kiwifruit 1 large
  • clementine 1 fruit

A great tool to use to ensure your eating is on track is the My Food Guide Servings Tracker or the website or app eaTracker. The eaTracker app helps with meal planning, setting goals, analyzing your food intake and tracking activity.

My Favourite Pregnancy Snacks + Why They are a Healthy Choice

  • veggies (cucumbers, carrots, peppers) + hummus
    • the vegetables provide fibre which is important to help combat constipation during pregnancy and the hummus is a great source of folate, iron, protein, and fibre
  • bagel with peanut butter
    • a whole wheat bagel contains fibre and is fortified with folate, plus 2 T of peanut butter contains 8 g of protein
    • try to buy all natural peanut butter because it contains just peanuts without added sugar, be sure to store it in the refrigerator after opening to prevent the oils from separating
  • plain yogurt with 1 tsp honey, berries + ground flaxseed or chia seeds
    • plain yogurt is a source of calcium and contains no added sugar, plus 1 C contains 8.5 grams of protein and yogurt contains probiotics essential for digestion
    • the berries are a source of antioxidants
    • the flaxseed + chia seeds both contain omega-3 fats needed for brain and eye development
  • overnight oats
    • oats provide soluble fibre which aids in digestion and controlling cholesterol levels, plus it helps you feel full and avoid snacking on less nutritious foods
  • smoothie with 4 T peanut butter, 1 banana, 1/2 C oats, 1 C plain yogurt, 1/2 t cinnamon, 1/2 C liquid (almond beverage, milk)
    • the peanut butter contains 16 g of protein
    • calcium is provided in the yogurt which aids in heart, nerve and muscle growth along with bone and teeth development
  • pancakes
    • these pancakes include both protein and fibre to keep you feeling full and energized all day long
    • I like to make a batch of pancakes and then snack on them when I’m feeling hungry
    • this recipe is a high protein mix, you can save money instead of buying the store version, plus it’s a lot healthier!
  • sliced apple with cheese + whole grain crackers
    • the apple with skin on contains fibre + vitamin C
    • the cheese contains protein and calcium
    • a whole grain cracker provides fibre
  • popcorn
    • not only is this snack cost effective, it’s low in calories (without butter), and this whole grain provides fibre
  • oatmeal bites
    • besides the source of fibre, these bites contain protein from the peanut butter or chia seeds and omega-3 fats from adding ground flax seed or chia seeds
    • These are so easy to make and are great to snack on when you have a craving for something sweet!

Remember you are growing a baby and as you progress through pregnancy and even as you breastfeed your caloric intake is higher than before pregnancy. The dieticians from Eat Right, recommend the following calorie intake each trimester:

1st trimester-no increase

2nd trimester-an additional 350 calories per day

3rd trimester-and additional 450 calories per day

Try to include foods such as lean meats, whole grains, dairy, vegetables, and fruit to ensure you are getting adequate nutrients.

Pregnancy is a lot of work! Eating healthy, nutritious foods will only make your experience better and give your baby the best chance of thriving.

What are/were some of your favourite pregnancy snacks?


Sources:

Canada, H. (2013). Prenatal Nutrition Guidelines for Health Professionals – Folate Contributes to a Healthy Pregnancy – Canada.caCanada.ca. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/reports-publications/nutrition-healthy-eating/prenatal-nutrition-guidelines-health-professionals-folate-contributes-healthy-pregnancy-2009.html

Eating for a healthy pregnancy – Eat Right Ontario . (2017). Eatrightontario.ca. Retrieved 11 September 2017, from https://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Pregnancy/Eating-for-a-healthy-pregnancy.aspx

Food Sources of Iron. (2016). Dietitians of Canada. Retrieved 13 July 2017, from https://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Minerals/Food-Sources-of-Iron.aspx

Healthy Weight during Pregnancy. (2017). www.eatright.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/pregnancy/prenatal-wellness/healthy-weight-during-pregnancy

Thinking About Having a Baby. (2017). Dietitians of Canada. Retrieved 13 July 2017, from https://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Pregnancy/Thinking-of-having-a-Baby.aspx

Prenatal Nutrition Guidelines for Health Professionals: Iron Contributes to a Healthy Pregnancy [Health Canada, 2009]. (2017). Hc-sc.gc.ca. Retrieved 5 April 2017, from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/pubs/nutrition/iron-fer-eng.php


To read more pregnancy updates check out the following posts:

2nd Trimester Update (21W2D)
3rd Trimester Update
Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)
Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)
Baby K’s Birth Story + Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2
Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum
What to Eat While Breastfeeding

Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)

In part one of this series, I talked about everything I didn’t expect during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy. Now that I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy I thought I’d share a few more tidbits I’ve been learning about pregnancy and birth.

To read Part 1 click here

In part one of this series, I talked about everything I didn't expect during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy.

You Don’t Need a Ton of Maternity Clothes

Prior to being pregnant, I dreamed of the day I would start buying cute maternity outfits. Then I realized a lot of my clothes would work just fine aside from jeans and a few tops.

If you think about it most longer sweaters and tank tops, shorts and stretchy dresses can still be worn while pregnant. The only major purchases I’ve made have been for jeans (these ones from Old Navy have great reviews + don’t forget to sign up for Ebates to earn 4% cash back!), leggings (also from Old Navy), and a few dresses (one bodycon, a chambray with buttons perfect for breastfeeding and a black and white polka dot dress). Plus a few tanks for layering which will also be great for postpartum and nursing.

The Second Half Goes by Way Faster!

Before 20 weeks and really before I started showing the weeks sort of dragged by very slowly. Now that I’m in the third trimester and in the 30’s for weeks time is moving faster. The baby also feels a lot bigger now and I’m much more aware of her presence than in previous weeks.

I also have midwife appointments every two weeks. Checking up on the baby this often has given me something to look forward to and made the imminence of birth more prevalent in my thoughts.

As time goes on we’re also taking more steps to prepare for the baby, like registering for gifts, building our crib, getting a stroller and setting dates for showers.

Feeling Your Baby Kick is the Most Exhilarating and Comforting Experience

The first time I felt Baby K move I was sitting in my chair working on my online school courses. It felt like nothing I have ever felt before in my stomach so I knew it was the baby making little movements. As the weeks went on her kicks became more pronounced and my husband was able to feel them as well. One time he put his head on my stomach and she kicked him hard on the ear!

It’s such an incredible experience to know your baby is alive inside of you and so powerful in their little movements. It’s also reassuring to feel them move around rather than having to wait to hear the heartbeat at each appointment.

Read Up on Breastfeeding + Birth

As a first-time mom and someone who hasn’t had a lot of experience with babies, I’m not really sure what to expect when Baby K comes. Although a few people have told me your instincts kick in once the baby comes and to not worry. At the same time, I’ve still been doing a lot of reading and asking questions to those who have kids.

One thing I’m really glad I decided to read up on is breastfeeding. I wasn’t really planning to read a book on this subject but while I was at the library a new book from the La Leche League, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding was on display. I thought it would be a good idea to familiarize myself with this topic because I really want to breastfeed for a long time. I know a lot of women can struggle with breastfeeding, so I wanted to make sure I had resources in place before beginning this journey in case I need help down the road.

I’m also signed up for a free breastfeeding class with our public health unit about a month before the baby comes. I know I can’t anticipate what problems I may run into but I can inform myself of strategies to deal with possible obstacles.

In addition to researching breastfeeding, I’ve also tried to learn about labour and birth. Although I understand the biological mechanisms related to birth the actual experience of it can be quite different. I’ve read a lot of birth stories online and watched some YouTube videos on different birth experiences from having an epidural to a cesarian section to having to spend time in the NICU. For me, it’s important to be informed about possible situations that I could encounter and to learn from others experiences. As much as I hope my birth will go smoothly I know that unforeseen situations arise and that’s okay. At the end of the day what I most want and pray for is a healthy baby.

If You Want to Have an Unmedicated Birth Prepare for One

One of the main reasons I chose midwifery care over a doctor for my pregnancy was my desire to have an unmedicated birth. I know that may seem like a lofty goal or unnecessary in the world of modern medicine but I really feel strongly it’s the right choice for me. I also have to credit my mom for inspiring me to desire a natural birth experience and to choose a midwife because she made the same choice for the birth of me and my sister.

Additionally, I’m more comfortable with this model of care since my pregnancy so far has been healthy and without complication. I also find it interesting that most births around the world are attended by midwives and having a doctor present for birth has only become common in the last couple centuries. However, each woman along with her partner has to decide what is best for their particular situation and do what they feel comfortable with. It is also important to research the difference between the midwifery model of care and the techno-medical model of care to be fully informed what one’s options are regarding care during pregnancy and birth.

One book I have found very helpful is Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. As a midwife, Ina May approaches childbirth as a natural part of life that a woman’s body is fully capable of the undertaking without the use of pain medication, and unnecessary medical interventions. Instead, she outlines strategies to cope with the pain such as soaking in a tub, massage, positive affirmations, a dimly lit room, an atmosphere of relaxation and calm, moving around in labour, letting gravity work for you, eating and drinking during labour and trusting the women’s body to perform. Granted not all midwives exactly line up with her views and not all doctors use unnecessary medical interventions.

Nonetheless, as a mom to be I want to be aware of how I can best be prepared and what points I want to talk about with my midwives to ensure we are all on the same page for birth.

The following video is a Ted Talk given by Ina May that better explains her views on birth and why it is not something that needs to be feared.

Research Baby Must-Have Products and What Other Mom’s Regret Buying

Currently, I live in a very small apartment. As such I don’t want or need a ton of baby stuff. The most helpful thing I’ve done to ensure I’m not adding too many things to my registry or to buy list is watching YouTube videos and reading blogs from other first time and more experienced moms on what products have been most useful for them. I also find it super helpful to learn about products that they thought they were going to need but ended up regretting.

A few must-have products I’ve included on my registry are:

Some not as essential products include:

  • wipe warmer
  • diaper genie
  • change table
  • nursing pillow
  • expensive diaper bag
  • bottle warmer

Every baby is different and these lists aren’t universal but before spending a lot of money I like to make sure I’m buying a product that is worth my investment.

My favourite YouTube videos for baby product reviews:

People are Very Generous <3

Finally, when people find out you’re expecting, especially your first they can be very generous. I’ve had a few moms from our church give us hand me down baby clothes and extra baby products they didn’t use. As well our families have been extra generous in supplying the larger baby items we will need.

As a first-time mom, being somewhat young and not having a ton of extra income to splurge on baby things I have been so overwhelmed with people’s generosity towards our little family. Once again God has shown us that He will provide for us and we don’t have to worry. God gave us Baby K in His timing and we knew that He would help us provide for this little blessing.

I know that one day when I can help out a young family I’ll understand how much it will mean to them.


For more information on midwifery check out the following resources:

Canadian Association of Midwives

American College of Nurse-Midwives

http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/GlobalMidwifery.asp

The State of the World’s Midwifery


For more on my pregnancy and postpartum journey read:
1st Trimester Update
2nd Trimester Update (21W2D)
3rd Trimester Update
Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)
Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)
Baby K’s Birth Story + Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2
Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum
What to Eat While Breastfeeding

Baby K Gender Reveal!

We are having a GIRL!

 

Paintball Gender Reveal

We are so excited to welcome our little girl this October!

We didn’t paint this tree stump. While looking for parks to host our party we first visited this park. As we took a walk around Mike noticed a message on this tree stump. We walked over and could not believe what it said! This was before we had found out we were having a girl. Immediately we knew God was confirming our intuition and that this was the park for the party. 


Almost from the beginning of my pregnancy, I knew we were having a girl. I was 99% sure, even Michael had an inkling our baby was a girl. We even bought a pink snowsuit on clearance back in February because I was so certain. Now I cannot wait to see our babe in her soft, cuddly snowsuit this winter! <3 I’m also excited to buy tons of bows! If you know of any good Etsy shops (that ship to Canada) please leave a comment! I just adore baby’s in bows.

We also decided early on to host a gender reveal party and we knew we wanted to involve paintball in the reveal. Originally we were going to shoot blue or pink paintballs but it’s nearly impossible to find those colours. Instead, we filled various balloons with pink paint and shot at them with our guns (be sure to watch the video below to see how we did this).

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The grandpa’s with their t-shirts

My  father-in-law’s wife made up t-shirts for the grandpa’s to have as a keepsake since fathers day was the next day. I know the shirts look various colours but that is due to the colour of paintballs we used. Since the paint is water based it will wash out but the pink paint is fabric paint and permanent.

Prior to the party, we had our 20-week ultrasound at the hospital, unfortunately, their policy includes not revealing the gender during the appointment. Following that extremely disappointing day, we had to wait another week and a half to find out from our midwife that we were indeed having a girl.

We were both thrilled to finally find out our baby was a little girl. Especially because we had absolutely no boy names chosen and only a couple girl names we both liked. With that being said, we have chosen to keep our baby’s name a secret until she is born.

After we found out the gender we began to plan for the party. June 17 was the perfect day to gather with family and close friends at an outdoor local park to celebrate. I made strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (adapted from this cake recipe, just cook for 15-20 minutes), and we had hamburgers and sausage along with other snacks brought by our guests.

Another fun thing we did was have our guests wear the colour they predicted of the gender. Surprisingly we had a pretty even split between blue and pink.

Following the reveal, we played some minute to win it games, which are always a hit!

The first game we played involved solving a simple 9 piece puzzle blindfolded with assistance from a partner using limited words. The second game involved blowing up a balloon, placing it under one’s shirt, holding a ping pong ball between the legs and waddling over to a cup and dropping the ball in. This was so hilarious to watch! Finally, we played a game called bottle to bottle where two baby bottles (or 2L pop bottles filled with gum balls) are taped at the opening but a divider is placed using tape and skittles have to be shaken from one side to the other. It’s a lot harder than it looks!

Overall despite getting rained on at the beginning, we had a wonderful gender reveal for Baby K. To see how we executed our gender reveal or to see a demonstration of the games we played be sure to check out our Vlog below!

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To read more pregnancy updates check out the following posts:

2nd Trimester Update (21W2D)
3rd Trimester Update
Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)
Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)
Baby K’s Birth Story + Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2
Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum
What to Eat While Breastfeeding