Friday

Happy Healing Day

It's been three years since I experienced the beautiful day of Ezra's birth. We celebrate him and all the fun and love he contributes to our family, but I also have a secret celebration on Aug. 24 each year.

It's Ezzie's birthday, but it's also my healing day.

The birth of my first child was not a pleasant experience. I was scared. I felt pressured, ignored and discarded by the medical staff. My postpartum wishes were not respected and I was too tired and overwhelmed to stand up for myself. My physical healing had issues and I needed support I was not given in the hospital.

Don't come at me with that "A healthy baby is all that matters" bull crap. Of course I am grateful for a healthy baby. But I realize now that my well-being should have mattered too.

I don't often talk about the details from the day of CeCe's birth, because I usually cry from the anger I still feel. Talk about a shitty way to remember your child's first day earthside.

But with Ezra, years had passed and I was ready to reclaim my birth experience. I had switched care providers, switched hospitals and brought in my best friend to be a second birth partner, in addition to my husband.

I entered labor feeling calmer. Every nurse and midwife kept that calming vibe going throughout my labor. The delivery was quick and easy and I remember the peace that wrapped over Ezra and I like a blanket as he laid on my chest.

So today, when Ezzie blows out his birthday candles, I make a wish too. For every baby to be born in an environment of peace where his mother feels empowered, respected and heard by all those around her as she labors.

Happy Birthday, sweet son. Our first memory together is such an important one to me.



My, how he has grown!

Monday

Recipe Success: "Eat at Home Tonight" Review


I consider myself an adventurous eater.  I love vegetables, I love spices, I love different flavors and textures and want to try food from all over the world. Unfortunately, my taste buds did not pass down to my children.

My family would eat boxed mac and cheese every night if I made it. New recipes are always a gamble in my house, especially if I am incorporating produce or fish.

I went through a phase early in the summer where I was depressed over our dinner routine. I would try a new recipe and love it, but my kids wouldn’t touch it. So I started making the same dishes over and over just to forgo their rejection of my hard work in the kitchen.

“Eat at Home Tonight” by Tiffany King came across my desk at work, as do many cookbooks boasting great meals for busy moms. Usually I open the pages to find:
      A)    Super unhealthy casseroles and freezer meals I have no interest in making, or
      B)    A list of ingredients and steps so long I don’t even bother to keep reading.

“Eat at Home Tonight” is exactly the cookbook I needed to feel inspired in the kitchen again. With chapter titles like “I Don’t Have Time for Dishes Tonight,” "I Only Have 15 Minutes Tonight,” and “I Want to Cook for Tonight and Tomorrow Night,” I felt like King gets me. I felt confident these meals wouldn’t stress me out as I cooked with three wild children running around my feet.

My 7-year-old assisted with the first meal we made: White Garlic Chicken Flatbread. I used King’s tip about preparing cooked chicken for the freezer by using my Crockpot to cook several chicken breasts during the day. I shredded enough for the recipe and put the rest in freezer bags for later meals.

The flatbread came together quickly and easily. CeCe measured the ingredients for the sauce, mixed in the chicken, spread the chicken and cheese on the naan and bam! Ready to bake in the oven.

This was the first time in weeks all five of us sat down and eagerly ate the meal that had been prepared. We decided when we make this again we will increase the sauce amount because we wanted even more of that tangy goodness. The leftovers reheated well for lunch the next day.

 CeCe flipped through the entire book and marked several recipes with Post-It notes. Tonight we are making One-Pot Sausage, Corn and Red Pepper Chowder with Parmesan.

I can’t wait for us to work our way through this cookbook and find some new favorites dinners.

Stop Stressing New Parents Out!



At every well-child checkup with our pediatrician we leave with a little booklet that contains our child’s height and weight stats, as well as a developmental guide filled with the do’s and don’ts for their age range.


It’s helpful to see diet guidelines, safety reminders and what physical milestones we can expect. But the last booklet from my child’s 12-month visit contained a tip that made me roll my eyes so hard I was momentarily blind.

This list of “protection tips” seemed all well and good at first:
“Don’t smoke around your baby.”
“Don’t leave your baby alone near a pool.”
“Make sure you change the batteries in the smoke detector regularly.”

The final tip was the kicker:
“Never take your eyes off your baby.”

Never? But how am I supposed to change the batteries in the smoke detector if I can’t look away from my baby?!

That bit of advice is the reason we have helicopter parents and so many anxiety -ridden mothers. We cannot reasonably expect mothers to cram every single thing on their to-do list into baby’s naptimes. Or are we supposed to spend naptime staring at baby as well?

Readers, you will be horrified to know that I often set my children up with toys and then I turn my attention toward something else. Sometimes, I don’t check on them for 10 straight minutes!

If your home is baby-proofed, you shouldn’t have massive guilt about taking your eyes off your baby. Plus, it doesn’t seem healthy for a child to live life with mom always hovering above.

If I could rewrite that booklet, it would go something like this:
“Keep an eye on your baby. Make sure they aren’t playing with knives, eating dishwasher detergent or climbing up the stairs without you. If they are playing alone contently in a safe environment, go ahead and fold the laundry, read that text message, or just look at the ceiling and take a few deep breaths.” 

I remember to feed them and I make sure no one drowns in the water table.
I'd call that good parenting.


Friday

When to Switch to a Maternity Bra and Why?

After three pregnancies and subsequent breastfeeding of three babies, I am well aware that boobs can change size and shape dramatically throughout motherhood.

I'm thrilled to share this guide from Cake Maternity on how to find the right bra for yourself during pregnancy. Because every mom wants to feel comfortable and still look nice.



"Breast health is particularly important during pregnancy.  It is during this time that your breasts go through an obvious change. Some women will experience an increase of up to 3-cup sizes.  The increased size and weight of the breast puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the ligaments that hold the breast in place. If proper support is not provided then more permanent damage can be experienced, resulting in sag.


When should I start wearing a maternity bra?
Most women will start to notice change in their breasts early on in their pregnancy (after 6 weeks).  Your breasts may become tender and swollen as the pregnancy hormone sets in.

It is advised to stop wearing your regular bras as soon as they start to feel uncomfortable.  This is likely to be a sign that they have become too small and are not providing good support or coverage any longer.

It is recommended to invest in a good quality seamless bra at this time. 

Seamless bras have been designed to stretch with your changing body while still providing that much needed support and coverage.
The easy sizing (XS-XXL) allows a number of cups sizes to fit into each bra size, making this the prefect transitional bra.

Cupped sized bras are not the best option during this time, as they may restrict breast growth causing discomfort and providing poor levels of coverage.

At approximately 3 to 4 months of pregnancy, most women will have noticed that their breasts have stabilized in growth.  It is recommended at this time to go and get fitted for a cup-sized bra.

A good fitting cupped size bra will provide greater levels of support now that the breast is larger and heavier than during pre-pregnancy. 

What is the difference between a maternity bra and a regular bra?
 
Regular bra
A regular bra is usually constructed from rigid fabrics that provide little flexibility or room for fluctuation in growth.  The fabrics used are often synthetic and laces are exposed directly to the skin.  The wires are rigid too and the bras are often designed to look good rather than for comfort.

Maternity bra
Maternity bras have been designed with a heavier fuller bust in mind.
There are many different types of maternity bras in the market place.  The ones you ultimately decide on should fit in with your lifestyle and provide you with comfort and support.

A good maternity bra will be rigid in the lower cup and have a small amount of stretch in the top of the cup, which allows for fluctuations in breast size.  The fabrics selected are not only picked for their durability but for comfort too. 

A good maternity bra will contain extra support in areas such as the reinforced shoulder straps; wider double layered back band, durable elastics and accessories.  Some maternity bras will contain flexible wires in them. The flexible wire not only provides extra support and a great shape, but also provides comfort as the wire moves more freely with the body.

The right fit
It is always advised to go and get fitted by a professional bra fitter.  During pregnancy our breasts and bodies change dramatically and it is almost impossible to know what size you have become.

Shop around and find a brand that suits your budget and feels great on.  This way, you will get value for money and all day comfort.

TIP:  If the bra does not feel good on in store don’t purchase it.  It is likely to remain in the drawer at home and will be a waste of money.


Always check:

-        The back band fits firm and is done up on the tightest hook early on in pregnancy.  You want to allow room for adjustment as your rib cage continues to expand.  A good maternity bra will have plenty of hooks and eyes for lots of adjustment.
-        Your breasts should be fully enclosed in the bra.  No breast tissue should be spilling out the top, side of bottom of the cups.
-        The shoulder straps should sit comfortably on the shoulder and should not be digging in.
-        The flexible wire should be sitting under and around the breast tissue.  At no point should the wire be touching or digging into the breast.
-        The breasts should be separated and not be compressed into a mono boob.
-        The bra should feel comfortable and supportive.  Your breasts should be sitting in a natural position.  Try your T-shirt on over the top of the bra to make sure you are getting the desired shape and look you are after."
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   Like many women out there, Tracey Montford is an exceptional multi-tasker! Apart from steering a global business, managing 2 young boys & keeping the clan clean and fed, Tracey still finds time to provide creative inspiration and direction to the exceptional designs of Cake Maternity. From the branding, presentation and delivery, creativity is a big part of what Tracey does so naturally and effectively. Find out more at www.cakematernity.com/ or catch up with her on social @cakematernity .