Essential Oils and the Postpartum Period

Welcome to part 3 of this three-part blog series about using essential oils during pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period. In part 1 of the series we discussed utilizing essential oils during pregnancy, if you missed it, you can find it here. Part two discussed how to utilize essential oils once you go into labor and keys to making a labor kit, if you missed it, you can find it here.

 

This blog will focus on the postpartum period and essential oils that can assist you in feeling your best, while your body gets back into the normal swing of things. We will also discuss some great hydrosol options for you and that new bundle of joy.

 

So, you’ve made it through your pregnancy and delivery and now are headed into the postpartum period. A woman’s body goes through intense hormonal changes from the moment of conception to well beyond the delivery of that precious bundle of joy. Many women experience postpartum depression after delivery, an experience that can leave you feeling lost and alone. If you are experiencing postpartum depression, please know that you are not alone! What you are feeling is a lot more normal than you may think and it’s ok to ask for help. If you feel that the depression is taking over and feel as if you can’t manage it on your own, be sure to talk with your doula or health provider about options for treatment.

 

Being a new mom is quite a beautiful journey. Some days will definitely feel harder than others, but in the end, it’s all a part of this wonderful and sometimes crazy journey called motherhood. So, what are some things you can do to be your most vibrant self after delivery? Well, I’m glad you asked!! Read on to find out ways to nourish yourself and that new bundle of joy during the postpartum period.

What you need to know about using essential oils around your new bundle of joy

The topic of using essential oils around babies and kids comes up quite often. Typically, I do not recommend utilizing essential oils on children under the age of two years. Essential oils are extremely powerful concentrated plant substances and while they are natural, there may still be some risk when utilizing them on small children and babies. One of the things to keep in mind is that often times a newborn baby or small child cannot effectively communicate with you how an essential oil is making them feel. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) for instance is known as being an extremely calming and soothing essential oil. However, for some it has the complete opposite effect and can make them feel uneasy or on edge.

So, what’s a new mom to do?

Hydrosols are a wonderfully effective option for babies and small children. Hydrosols (sometimes referred to as hydrolats or floral waters) are the coproduct of essential oil distillation and often times can carry similar therapeutic properties to the essential oil. Hydrosols are much gentler and can be used in a variety of ways. Here are a couple of my favorites:

    • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Hydrosol – This hydrosol can be added to baby’s bath to help relax and sooth. It can also be misted in the air, lightly on sheets, or your clothing to help calm at naptime or bedtime. It can help with minor skin irritations and can be mixed with German Chamomile hydrosol for diaper rash.

 

  • German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) Hydrosol – This hydrosol is great for hot and red skin conditions. It’s also known for its calming capabilities. You can add a small amount to baby’s bath to sooth and relax. It can be mixed with Lavender hydrosol for diaper rash.
  • Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum) Hydrosol – This hydrosol is extremely skin healing and can be used for minor, cuts, burns, scrapes and bruising. It can be mixed with German Chamomile hydrosol for skin irritations and rashes.

 

When my daughter was a newborn I used coconut oil as her diaper cream which worked like a charm. If she had diaper rash a 50/50 mix of Lavender and German Chamomile hydrosols were my go to. Sometimes, I would even just use straight Helichrysum hydrosol for diaper rash, which also worked great. I would spray the area first with the hydrosol mix and then follow up with coconut oil. The irritation was typically gone by the next diaper change.

What about diffusing around my new bundle of joy?

When it comes to diffusing I do not recommend diffusing around babies under 6 months of age. From ages 6 months – 2 years, low ambient intermittent (15 minutes on, 15 minutes off) diffusion in a well-ventilated room, as needed, is generally ok as long as you are using nourishing essential oils without any age contraindications. For this age group, less is more and I find utilizing 1-3 drops in a diffuser in a well-ventilated room is all you need.

With this age group, I recommend only diffusing as needed and for short periods of time. If you are looking to diffuse essential oils for peace and calming, one of my favorite recipes would be 2 drops of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and 1 drop of Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). I would still recommend using hydrosols over essential oils with this age group.

How to nurture yourself in the postpartum period…

Above we talked about postpartum depression, a reality for many new mothers. Our hormones are all over the place as our bodies are getting used to not being pregnant anymore. Mood swings and exhaustion are all too common during this time. Essential oils are wonderful for enhancing your mood and bringing about a euphoric state! Making yourself a personal inhaler to have on hand when you feel as if your mood is low is a wonderful way to support yourself during the postpartum period. Personal inhalers are a great and effective way to experience the benefits of aromatherapy. You can use them anytime without having to worry about exposing your newborn to essential oils. They are also compact and easy to carry in your pocket, diaper bag or purse.

Here are some of my favorite mood enhancing essential oils for the postpartum period:

    • Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara) – Distilled from flowers, Neroli is my go-to for those that need strong emotional support. This essential oil is known for its calming effects and may help to reduce anxiety.
    • Orange (Sweet) (Citrus sinensis) – Cold pressed from fresh fruit rinds, Orange is beautifully uplifting, bright, and a wonderful essential oil to use to enhance your mood.
    • Geranium (Pelargonium x asperum) – Distilled from leaves, Geranium is known to relax the nerves and for its calming capabilities. Geranium is also known for its uplifting effects.

 

  • Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides) – Distilled from roots, Vetiver is deeply calming and grounding. I love this essential oil since it helps to quiet the mind and allows you to enter a state of deep relaxation.

 

The essential oils above blend together beautifully and will leave you feeling uplifted yet relaxed. Don’t have access to a personal inhaler? No problem! You can put a few drops of the above essential oils on a cotton round and put it into a plastic Ziploc bag to inhale whenever you feel as if you need a little boost.

Other ways to support yourself during the postpartum period

Hydrosols can be used as a peri rinse, sitz bath, or a compress to help ease pain and irritation. 

Some of my favorites include: Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita). You could use one or mix a little of each hydrosol for nourishing results. Pure aloe vera gel could also be added to the above hydrosols for extra nourishing results. If adding aloe vera gel I would recommend a 1:1 ratio to hydrosol. Your recipe may look something like this:

You can use the above mixture as a spray, peri rinse, sitz bath or on a compress.

Sweet Endings

Being a new mother is beautiful, magical, at times difficult, but oh so rewarding! I hope this series helps to give you a better understanding of how to utilize essential oils safely during your pregnancy, delivery and beyond.

Do you have a question that hasn’t been answered during this 3 part series? Feel free to email me at Sara@pneuma.online

Till next time friends!!

 

Essential Oils and Labor

Let’s Chat about Essential Oils & Labor!

Welcome to part two of this three-part blog series about essential oil use during pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period. In case you missed Part One about essential oil use during pregnancy you can read it here.

The female body is absolutely amazing, especially when we consider the fact that we can conceive and give life to another precious human being. From the moment you find out you’re pregnant your view of the world suddenly changes. You start considering all of the things you can do for self-care to ensure your pregnancy is as smooth as possible. You start thinking of how to find the perfect doula, boy and girl names, and what the perfect color will be for the nursery.

All of a sudden you start thinking about how everything is going to go once you’re in labor and what you want for a birth plan. Having a birth plan is key, it will ensure that your loved ones and providers know exactly how you want your birthing experience to be. Now, not everything may go according to plan. However, the birth plan can ensure nothing gets lost in translation once the magic of labor begins. Your doula will also be your best advocate in the labor and delivery room and will ensure that your birth plan is followed, so you can focus on laboring and delivering with ease.

Speaking of laboring with ease, have you ever wondered what essential oils would be best to have in your arsenal once you’re in labor? Well, friends, you’re in luck! This blog post is going to discuss some essential oils to pack and have on hand when the magic begins.

First things first, what do I need to know about bringing essential oils into the delivery room?

Sure, essential oils are natural and can assist with a variety of ailments. However, our sense of smell is uniquely individual. While one person may find an aroma comforting and pleasing, it may not be as pleasing or comforting to someone else. Prior to utilizing essential oils in your delivery room, I would recommend checking with the nursing staff to see if anyone that will be assisting you through the magical process of giving birth has any sensitivities or allergies to any of the essential oils you have brought along. One example I like to use is Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), we know lavender as being calming and soothing. However, for some, it has the complete opposite effect and can make some feel hyperactive, or on edge. We also have to remember that these precious essential oils are distilled from plant material, so if someone has an allergy to a particular plant chances are they may have an allergy to the essential oil as well.

Other considerations when preparing your essential oil labor kit-

I would recommend preparing a small kit for yourself with a couple different blends of essential oils. This way your blends will be easily accessible to you and you won’t have to worry about fumbling with multiple bottles of essential oils while you’re laboring. Not to mention, while in labor, an aroma you find pleasing one minute can be extremely displeasing the next. This is part of the reason I do not recommend bringing your home diffuser with, but rather placing a few drops of a single essential oil or an essential oil blend onto a cotton round and then place the cotton round in a plastic Ziploc bag. This way you can inhale an aroma at your leisure and if all of a sudden you are turned off by the smell, it’s easy enough to seal it up and get rid of it.

You can make multiple bags like this so you have a variety to choose from while in labor, just be sure to label the bags with each different aroma. You could also create a variety of personal inhalers to use in the same manner as the Ziploc bags while you’re laboring. Remember, stress can slow the laboring process so I would be sure to create a blend or pick essential oils that are soothing and relaxing to you.

A 10ml glass roller with diluted essential oils may also be another thing you want to consider for your kit. In the roller, you may want to use essential oils that can help with pain while laboring. This would also be a convenient application method for your partner to apply to your back and give you a massage while laboring.

Hydrosols would also be another thing I would recommend adding to your kit. Often times hydrosols have therapeutic properties similar to essential oils but their aromas are a lot softer. A hydrosol may be beneficial especially if your sense of smell is on overdrive while in labor and the aroma of an essential oil seems too intense.

What are some essential oils and Hydrosols I should consider for my labor kit?

Some essential oils I would recommend are:

  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – Distilled from flowers, lavender is known to calm, sooth and reduce anxiety. Lavender also carries pain relieving properties.
  • Jasmine Absolute (Jasminum grandiflorum) – Solvent extracted from flowers, Jasmine Absolute is known to help regulate mood and may help to relieve back pain in the early stages of labor.
  • Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara) – Distilled from flowers, Neroli is prized for its uplifting, calming and relaxing effects.
  • Geranium (Pelargonium x asperum) – Distilled from leaves, Geranium offers wonderful emotional support.
  • Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) – Distilled from flowers, Roman Chamomile can help to reduce anxiety and calm the mind.
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale) – Distilled from rhizomes (roots), Ginger may help to relieve nausea and help combat burnout.

Some hydrosols I would recommend are:

 

  • German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) – German Chamomile hydrosol is extremely skin nourishing and calming for the mind.
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – Lavender can help to enhance your mood and can also be very calming and soothing.

 

What dilution of essential oils should I use when formulating my labor kit?

If you are utilizing standard size cotton rounds in a plastic bag, I would recommend 4-6 drops of essential oil per cotton round. If you are formulating a massage blend to take with you I would recommend a 1% dilution (5-6 drops) of essential oils per 1 ounce of carrier. When it comes to utilizing Aromatherapy during labor the key is to not overdo it and remember we are simply assisting our bodies with the natural process of labor.

Wondering what a labor cotton round blend might look like? Here is a sample recipe to calm, soothe and promote a euphoric state. 

 

I can smell the lovely aroma as a type and hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Becoming a mother is such a magical time and I am so grateful to be able to share some aromatherapy love with all of you! If the thought of putting together your own labor kit seems a little daunting, I would be more than happy to formulate and put a labor kit together for you. Feel free to email me with any questions at Sara@Pneuma.online.

 

 

Sara is a level 2 AIA & NAHA Certified Aromatherapist, a Certified Aromatherapy Teacher Level 1 and owner of Pneuma, LLC. She resides in Green Bay with her husband Rick, and daughter Viola. Sara began her journey to natural living 8 years ago when she realized that the “food” she was eating, wasn’t really food at all. After cleaning up her diet and cleaning out her cupboards, Sara began to look at other ways to cut chemicals from her life and began making her own cleaning products; lotions, body butters, toothpaste, laundry detergent and more. Aromatherapy always piqued Sara’s interest and with so much misinformation out there, she knew she had to gain her Certification so she could help others utilize essential oils safely in their day to day lives. Sara believes in the bodies innate ability to heal itself, when given the proper tools, and has a passion for helping others live a more naturally minded lifestyle. Sara is also an abstract artist and cosmetologist. In her free time, Sara enjoys swimming with her daughter and husband, writing, reading, going for bike rides and soaking up as much sun as possible.

Essential Oils and Pregnancy

Essential oils are becoming more popular as home based businesses like DoTerra and Young Living, and ItWorks! bring oils into the home, but the misinformation and safety of these products can have positive and negative experiences for the user. It is not within the scope of a doula to use bring or use our own personal oils unless we ourselves are certified aromatherapists. Sara Schoenecker, Certified Aromatherapist, and owner of Pneuma shares her knowledge and expertise on the top things you should know about using essential oils in pregnancy.

 

What is aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the holistic therapeutic application of genuine plant-derived essential oils for enhancing, harmonizing and balancing the mind, body, and spirit.

 

What is an essential oil?

Essential Oils are distilled from aromatic plant material and are the vehicle for effective aromatherapy application.

 

What makes aromatherapy effective?

Our bodies can process essential oils in a variety of ways. Some of the most common uses of essential oils include; direct inhalation (such as utilizing a personal aromatherapy inhaler), diffusing essential oils into a room, or topical application.

 

Direct inhalation is one of the fastest routes of absorption when it comes to aromatherapy application and on average our bodies can absorb about 50% of the essential oils constituents. When diffusing essential oils into a room, our bodies will only absorb what we take in while in the room, so this method is not quite as effective as utilizing direct inhalation. When it comes to topical application our bodies will absorb roughly 5% of the essential oils constituents.

 

Direct Inhalation is one of the fastest routes of absorption due to our olfactory system acting like fly paper where the essential oils chemical molecules get “stuck” and make their way to the brain and to the lungs and then circulate throughout our system. As a human being, we are able to identify 2000-4000 different molecules via our olfactory membrane. A single essential oil can be comprised of 10-200+ different molecules and is what contributes to their unique aroma.

 

One of the things that make aromatherapy so uniquely individual is how we perceive the aroma of a certain essential oil and also the emotions that are tied to a certain scent. Imagine walking into a bakery and smelling freshly baked bread. Instantly you are transported to your childhood in your grandma’s kitchen as she is pulling a fresh loaf out of the oven. All of a sudden you have a huge smile on your face! The power of smell and our psychological well-being truly go hand in hand!

 

Utilizing Aromatherapy during Pregnancy…is it safe?

As a Certified Aromatherapist, this is a question that comes up a lot. Can you utilize aromatherapy while pregnant? The short answer is yes and no.

 

The first trimester is the most crucial in terms of fetal development and as a Certified Aromatherapist, I tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to utilizing essential oils during this time. You see, essential oils are extremely concentrated plant substances and a lot of plant material goes into making a small amount of essential oil.

To put this into perspective:

It takes roughly .42 lbs of fresh lavender flowers to produce only 1 ml or 20-30 drops of Lavender essential oil. Typically, I recommend utilizing herbally infused oils or hydrosols during the first trimester instead of an essential oil. A hydrosol (sometimes called a hydrolat or floral water) is the byproduct of essential oil distillation. Some of the most common hydrosols that people are familiar with are witch hazel and rosewater. The hydrosol often times carries similar therapeutic properties as the essential oil and is a lot more gentle.

For instance, if you are in the first trimester and are having a hard time sleeping, instead of reaching for Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil, you could use Lavender hydrosol instead.

Now, if you have a wicked case of morning sickness, could you inhale a pregnancy safe essential oil like Ginger (Zingiber officinale) to help? Yes, but only as needed. It wouldn’t be something that I would recommend using every day.

In the first trimester, other ways to combat morning sickness would be to eat something small right when you awake. I know for me personally, apples were my go to. Eating a couple slices of an apple right when I woke up helped me immensely with morning sickness. If my stomach felt off during the day I also loved a cup of ginger tea with lemon.

During the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, essential oils should still only be used as needed and be properly diluted at 1% or less (5-6 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier) for safe application. Proper dilution is key, especially while pregnant. Properly diluting an essential oil for topical application will minimize the risk of an adverse reaction or skin sensitization. As always you want to be sure you are using essential oils that are considered safe for pregnancy.

 

Can I Ingest Essential Oils While Pregnant?

As a Certified Aromatherapist, I do not recommend ingesting essential oils during pregnancy, this would include the vaginal or rectal use of essential oils as well. I would recommend a cup of tea for trying to combat a certain issue while pregnant. Teas do contain small amounts of essential oils and would be a much safer option. Remember, a lot of plant material goes into producing a small bottle of essential oil. Sometimes 1 drop of essential oil could be compared to the equivalent of 40-50 bags of tea. Think about this for a moment, if you had an upset stomach, you wouldn’t brew 40-50 bags of ginger tea in one small 8oz cup, would you? That would definitely be a bit of overkill since one bag of tea would be sufficient. “Neat” use (applying essential oils directly to the skin), is also not recommended during pregnancy.

What are some essential oils that should be avoided during pregnancy?

When the need arises to utilize essential oils during pregnancy, one of the key factors to take into consideration is that you choose an essential oil that is extremely gentle and nourishing. You would want to steer clear of any essential oils that are potentially fetotoxic. Here are some essential oils not recommended during pregnancy…

Please note this is not an exhaustive list, be sure to research each essential oil prior to utilizing it during pregnancy. If you are unsure about an essential oil choice, you can always email me at Sara@Pneuma.online. Also, a great book to add to your essential oil collection would be Tisserand and Young’s Essential Oil Safety 2nd Edition. If you are looking to learn more about hydrosols I would recommend Suzanne Catty’s book Hydrosols The Next Aromatherapy.

 

Not all oils are created equal and although natural, you want to make sure you are making the best choice for your family. The Green Bay Doulas are there to help you navigate your options and know the available resources for you and your family.

 

Sara is a level 2 AIA & NAHA Certified Aromatherapist, a Certified Aromatherapy Teacher Level 1 and owner of Pneuma, LLC. She resides in Green Bay with her husband Rick, and daughter Viola. Sara began her journey to natural living 8 years ago when she realized that the “food” she was eating, wasn’t really food at all. After cleaning up her diet and cleaning out her cupboards, Sara began to look at other ways to cut chemicals from her life and began making her own cleaning products; lotions, body butters, toothpaste, laundry detergent and more. Aromatherapy always piqued Sara’s interest and with so much misinformation out there, she knew she had to gain her Certification so she could help others utilize essential oils safely in their day to day lives. Sara believes in the bodies innate ability to heal itself, when given the proper tools, and has a passion for helping others live a more naturally minded lifestyle. Sara is also an abstract artist and cosmetologist. In her free time, Sara enjoys swimming with her daughter and husband, writing, reading, going for bike rides and soaking up as much sun as possible.

Freezer Ready Meals

Preparing for a new member of the family we get asked all the time, what is the number one thing you suggest we do now? We always respond with a quick… MEAL PREP!

Meal prep is perfect for quick dinners with a little prep work, you can save time later and still have an amazing meal with minimal effort.  This round of recipes are all quick freezer ready meals for the crockpot, casseroles in the oven, and one pot meals. Easy for those who also want to make something for a friend as the best postpartum gift you can give!

Teaming up with local food blogger Ashley Lecker of Cheese Curd in Paradise for some of her favorite and easy meal prep ideas. If you love these ideas, she does regular meal planning on her blog, giveaways, and I have to say I’ve never had a bad meal when she’s suggested it. Ashley has been featured in Taste of Home, Wisconsin CSA, Festival Foods, Reader’s digest,  featured in various sponsor recipes for national brands and her blog has 25,000 views monthly.  Enjoy these 5 simple recipes and stay tuned for more meal prep ideas!


CROCKPOT

Tex-Mex Chicken

Instructions

Place chicken breasts in the slow cooker and sprinkle taco seasoning over the top. Layer the other ingredients evenly over the chicken, except the cream cheese.

Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 8 hours.

Remove chicken from slow cooker, shred and return to slow cooker. Add cream cheese, stir, cover and continue to cook on high for 30 minutes.  Stir well and over rice with desired toppings.

Freezer modification: Place all ingredients in a freezer-safe zip lock. When you are ready to make it, thaw and follow preparation directions.

 

Pesto Ranch Chicken

Ingredients

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 cup prepared pesto

1 package Ranch Dressing Mix

1/2 cup chicken broth

Instructions

Place chicken breasts into crockpot. Mix pesto, ranch dressing, and chicken broth into crock pot. Stirring gently to combine all seasonings. Cover with the lid and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. Tip: Sprinkle some feta on top!

Freezer Modification: Place all ingredients in a ziplock and freeze. To cook, thaw and follow prep directions.

Teriyaki Chicken

Ingredients

2 1/2 lbs chicken breasts

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup soy sauce

½ cup pineapple juice

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp minced fresh ginger

1 medium onion, chopped

Instructions

Place chicken breasts into crockpot. Sprinkle onions evenly over chicken.  In a medium bowl mix all other ingredients. Pour over the chicken.  Set temperature on low for 6-8 hrs.

Serve with rice.

Freezer Modification: Place all ingredients in a ziplock and freeze. To cook, thaw and follow prep directions.


Casseroles

Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole

Ingredients

1 – 1 1/2 lb Italian Sausage

1 (28oz) crushed tomatoes

1 1/2 tsp sugar

1 Tbl Italian Seasoning

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup cottage cheese

8 oz cream cheese softened

1/4 cup sour cream

2 Tbsp parsley

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 lb spaghetti

2 cups mozzarella cheese

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet brown Italian sausage. Drain fat from skillet. Stir in crushed tomatoes, sugar, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and onion powder. Simmer 7-10 minutes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine cottage cheese, softened cream cheese, sour cream, parsley and garlic powder.

In a lightly sprayed 9×13-inch pan, place half of the cooked pasta in the bottom of the dish. Spread cream cheese mixture over noodles. Top with remaining noodles. Pour meat sauce over noodles and top with mozzarella cheese.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Freezer Modification: Prepare casserole in a freezer friendly pan with a cover. Thaw before baking and follow baking instructions.

 

Meatball Sub Casserole 

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Cut biscuits into 8 pieces and spread evenly into the baking dish. Pour marinara sauce over the biscuits and stir to evenly coat. Evenly layer meatballs over the biscuits and sauce. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly and biscuits are cooked. Remove from oven, garnish with chopped parsley, and serve.

 

 

King Crown Burrito Casserole

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 casserole dish and set aside.

In a large rimmed skillet, brown beef with onions, peppers, and garlic. Drain excess grease. Add corn, beans, and tomatoes. Add seasonings and allow beef mixture to cook for a few minutes.  Spread beef into the casserole dish and top evenly with cheese. Arrange tater crowns over the casserole.

Bake 35-40 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Freezer Modification: Prepare casserole in a freezer friendly pan with a cover. Thaw before baking and follow baking instructions.

 

Chicken Bacon Ranch Tot Casserole

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 casserole dish and set aside.

Mix cream of chicken soup, ranch packet and sour cream. Gently stir in the chicken. Spread chicken mixture evenly into the casserole dish. Top evenly with grated cheese and follow by topping with chopped bacon. Evenly arrange tater tots on top of the casserole.

Bake uncovered in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Freezer Modification: Prepare casserole in a freezer friendly pan with a cover. Thaw before baking and follow baking instructions.


One-Pot

 

One Pot Chili Mac

Instructions

In a medium to large pot, brown the ground beef. Drain excess grease and add remaining ingredients besides the pasta.  Lightly simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the pasta, cover and cook till pasta is tender stirring a few times to avoid sticking while the pasta cooks. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Serve immediately. Top portions with sour cream and grated cheese.

 

 

One Pot Chicken Feta Alfredo (source: Plain Chicken) 

Instructions

In a large rimmed skillet or medium pot cook the pancetta and drain the fat. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook 15-20 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

One-Pot BLT Tortellini Skillet

Instructions

Place pasta, cream, water and garlic powder into an oven safe skillet. Simmer 8-10 min until the liquid has reduced and thickened.

Add spinach, cheese, 1/2 cup tomatoes and gently stir until cheese melts. Season with salt and pepper (remember you will add bacon at the end so careful with the salt).

Top with remaining cheese and Romano.  Broil for 3-5 minutes. Watch the pasta carefully because it will burn easily and you want a nice light brown top.

Remove from oven and top with remaining tomatoes and chopped bacon.

 

 

Skillet Sweet and Sour Meatballs with Pineapple (Source: All Recipes) 

Instructions

Open pineapple, drain, and  juice. Set pineapple aside. Add water to juice if needed so it equals 1 cup; and pour into a large skillet. Add 1/3 cup water, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar and cornstarch; whisk until smooth.

Cook over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly. Add the pineapple, meatballs and green pepper.

Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until heated through. Serve with rice.

 

One Pot Baked Ziti 

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a dutch oven or other heavy bottom pot, add the olive oil and cook the beef and sauce till no longer pink. If there is a heavy amount of grease, drain a bit from the pot. Add the garlic and gently stir in the uncooked pasta and marinara sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

Add the water and the cream. Stir well. Bring to a slow simmer and cook for 6-7 minutes or until pasta begins to soften. Top with cheeses and cover. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and serve with a crisp green salad and crusty bread.


Try these recipes out and let us know which ones were your favorite! If meal prep seems daunting, the postpartum doulas here at Green Bay Doulas are professional preppers! From making the grocery list, getting the items, and assembling them. We can help you get a leg up and fill up that freezer! 

Celebrating You This Mother’s Day

Celebrating You This Mother’s Day

Looking for the perfect way to celebrate Mother’s Day? Whether you want to give a gift or receive a gift, we have rounded up a few of the many events happening to honor that special woman in your life or yourself!  A mix of family based or mom’s only, you can’t go wrong with these offers.

Pampering:

Elite Wellness and Spa: Gift certificates work but so does their “My Amazing Mom Packages” which includes a Himalayan Foot & Leg Treatment, 90 min Aromatherapy Massage, Goddess Body Wrap w/ Facial and Spa Lunch!

Pure Barre: Bring your mother, or your child to a class this weekend and it’s complimentary for them! Sign up today, these will fill up fast! 

Weiler Academy: Their Mother’s Day WOW MOM Package includes a Soothing Hand and Foot Treatment, Weiler Academy’s exclusive energizing Chromalift facial and an Au Naturale makeup touch up! Only $199.00!

YMCA Mother’s Day YogaSunday at 10:15 AM – 11:15 AM Free Class at the East Side YMCA S. Huron Rd.  Contact: Sarah Voet 920-436-1250 or Sarah.voet@greenbayymca.org

Shopping:

Mother’s Day Out Event: The Heritage Village Shoppes  

Eats:

Seroogy’s Chocolate will be giving $10 gift cards with every $30 purchase and other great deals like build your own baskets!

Zesty’s – Free custard for Mothers with any purchase.

Brunch at Hagemeisters: Enjoy downtown Green Bay!  

Brunch at Thornberry Creek :  The menu is nothing short of amazing so check this one out!

Reservations Required: 920-434-7501 Ext.101

Out of Town

In Kohler, they will be hosting a Mother’s  Day weekend with toddler yoga, mommy and me tea and we can’t forget to mention the American Club for an amazing Mother’s Day Brunch.

Free Admission for Mom

Green Bay Botanical Gardens: Mother’s get free admission and the tulips are in full bloom! 250,000 blooming flowers cannot be missed and are perfect for those family pictures to celebrate the special women in your life.

DeYoung Family Zoo:  This zoo is a must for those who like to be up close and personal. I love the animal encounters where you can meet and hold some of the newest members of the zoo. Where else can you feed a Hippopotamus? It’s only about 25 minutes north of Marinette in Wallace, Michigan. 

Mulberry Farms: Baby animal, baby animals…. Did I mention baby animals? This is an all day activity for anyone to enjoy! Milk a cow, take a tractor ride, cuddle with some kittens, and enjoy this amazing farm. 

N.E.W. Zoo Another family outing and close to coming is at the NEW Zoo & Adventure Park, mothers get in free and also will get free gifts and family-friendly fun. Feeding the giraffes is one of the many highlights! 

If you want a family day or a day to yourself, there are a plethora of things to suit your individual taste!

Happy Mother’s Day from the Green Bay Doulas.

Let’s Talk Anatomy: Pelvic Floor

A huge thank you to Jeanette Knill, PT for guest blogging for us on this important topic!

I am a Physical Therapist that specializes in treating women with pelvic floor disorders (PFD) which means most of the women I see in the clinic have UI or pain in the pelvis, especially during intercourse.

Here are some research findings related to UI:

  •    Nearly 30% of the female population in the US has a problem with urinary incontinence.
  •    It takes the average woman up to 7 years before she tells her healthcare provider that she has a problem. Why? She is embarrassed or thinks it isn’t a problem because many of the women she knows also pee in their pants.
  •    Kegel exercises are only part of the solution to help you regain continence.

Let’s talk anatomy: The pelvic floor muscle is the bottom of the body. In a female, it is the muscle structure that supports the uterus, vagina, bladder and rectum. It controls when we use the toilet and is important in sexual satisfaction. This muscle is like a hammock. It attaches in the front to the pubic bone and in the back at the tail bone. The sides attach to part of the hip bone and a hip muscle (obturator internus) on each side of the body. Other hip muscles that attach near the pelvic floor muscle are the gluteal muscles (your butt) and the piriformis muscles. The low abdominal muscles attach to the pubic bone, just above where the pelvic floor muscles attach. Your low abdominal muscles and hip muscles are very important in the function of the pelvic floor.

Usually, the first recommendation for women who report UI is to do Kegel exercises, tightening the pelvic floor muscles like you are trying to stop pee or gas from escaping. Why gas? Remember I said the pelvic floor is a hammock from front to back. When you tighten the muscle in the front-around the urethra (where pee comes out) you also tighten the muscles in back around the anus (where gas and poop come out). The person next to you knows when you pass gas but you can hide pee in a pad! Thinking about stopping gas can send a stronger signal to the brain and gets a better contraction. Do not tighten your butt cheeks when doing a Kegel exercise.

Some other Kegel tips for success: When you tighten your pelvic floor it is a squeeze and lift. Imagine you are sitting on a grape and you want to pull it up into your vagina. Silly, right? I bet you just did it!

But…it isn’t just about Kegel exercises. Strength at the low abdominal and hip muscles are also important. Crunches are not an effective way to strengthen the low abdominal muscles. Planks and challenging the muscles with leg movements are more effective. Hip exercises that work your “butt cheeks” are beneficial. Stay tuned for future blogs that will highlight the best way to strengthen your abs and butt.

-Jeanette Knill, PT, works at Bellin Health Generations clinic as a physical therapist specializing in the treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction.

Q & A – The Belly to Baby Expo

Twice a year Green Bay Doulas brings 50 of their best resources under one roof for an amazing event called the Belly To Baby Expo.  I sat down with Emily Jacobson the creator of the expo for some Q & A.

 

Q: What is the Belly to Baby Expo?

A: It’s a grassroots effort to bring local businesses and community resources to expecting mothers and their growing families in the Green Bay Area. It’s run by volunteers and the host, Green Bay Doulas.

 

Q: When was it started?

A: In September of 2012 in the Streu’s Pharmacy  parking lot, we had 17 vendors and about 25 people attended. Now we see upwards of 400-500 families pass through the doors each expo. Former locations included The Art Garage, Rasmussen College, St Mary’s Roller Rink and currently The Marq- Lineville Rd 

 

Q: Why was it started?

A: I lived in Madison for 10 years and did my initial doula training there. When I moved back to Green Bay in the summer of 2012, I realized unlike Madison, no one knew what a doula was or let alone the resources that are available to them outside of the hospitals. If newly engaged couples had wedding expos, why didn’t they have baby expos? I’m not one to sit back and hope someone would create such a thing, I went ahead and did it.

 

Q: Who should attend?

A: Everyone should attend. Those thinking about growing families find they learn ahead of the curve about local resources including those looking into adoption or medical professionals. Those who are currently expecting find cute crafts, baby gear, and an array of  professionals who can support them during their pregnancy. Those with children already find great resources from breastfeeding support to crafters and perinatal health professionals and a chance to meet other mothers, exchange stories perhaps even make a new friend or two.

 

Q: What should we expect?

A: Expect to have fun, and meet new people, all while supporting local businesses! The first 100 families through the doors receive a free gift, and everyone who attends gets a raffle ticket to drop into one of our amazing raffle baskets for a chance to win!

 

Q: What is so special about the Belly to Baby Expo?

A: Money raised by the vendor fees provides fee assistance to families in the Green Bay Area for bereavement and other support services through Green Bay Doulas, Green Bay’s premier doula agency. It’s another way beyond our annual diaper drive – No Child Wet Behind we can give back to our community.

 

We hope you will join us for the 9th Belly to Baby Expo and if you can’t make this one, you are in luck, the next one will be March 26th (time TBA) same place! We hope to see you there!

Adoption: Answering Common Questions

November is National Adoption Month, which is a topic near and dear to my heart, as I was adopted at just 9 weeks old from the Milwaukee area. Growing up I actually had a lot of friends who were also adopted.  Believe it or not, we were often asked the same common questions and I thought I would share those in hopes of bringing awareness throughout the month to many of our readers.

What are the different types of adoption?

There are actually three different forms of adoptions!

Open Adoption:This is where your family may have access to the biological families information or even remain in contact with them.

Closed Adoption: In this case, records are sealed about personal information on the biological family. Once you reach adulthood you can do a records request to see if the biological family would be interested in meeting. Sometimes this information is available and sometimes it’s not. In my case my request was denied, but I was able to get a ton of paperwork about my biological family and medical history. That was informative, but what was most significant and even more special were the papers my parents filled out as they waited for my adoption to be finalized, what they did with me, my milestones, things I never knew existed on paper.

Domestic vs International- Simply means were you born in the USA or adopted from overseas?

Was it difficult to family trees or family related school projects and activities?

Sometimes yes, and others no. My family was my family. I tailored all of my presentations to my family. My grandpa was of syrian descent and my grandmother german. I knew I was german and hungarian, but that’s about it.  When you don’t have the information it’s hard to go off of, but I did my best with the info at hand.

And of course, my friends always wanted to know…

Do we really have two birthdays?

Sorta! We celebrate our birthdays and also my “gotcha day” growing up. I called this my special birthday, but others call it a Gotcha Day. Gotcha Day is the day we came home with our parents.

How do you explain adoption to children?

My mother always said it best. “You grew in my heart not my belly.” My outlook on being adopted is different then others may feel. I’m a firm believer that I was meant to be with my family and just needed a way to get there. So, yes, I grew in my mothers heart.

What local support is out there for children who are adopted?

The Post Adoption Resource Center of Brown County is a great place to start! 

Also having playdates with other children and classmates who were adopted as well was probably the most beneficial part to me as a child.

So on this national adoption month do you know someone who’s adopting, was adopting or has adopted? Reach out, let them know you are glad they are in your lives!

So the all important question,

How do we, as doulas, support adoption?

Before Baby: We are available before baby is welcomed as Antepartum Support Doulas. We can help create an amazing space in the home of the family adopting the newest addition by setting up furniture, the nursery and helping you talk through feelings and emotions. We can also provide support to the biological mother or surrogate by talking through or going with her to doctor appointments and supporting her emotionally.

Throughout Labor: We support the biological mother or surrogate on her journey to birth in whatever capacity she may need, whether that’s physically or emotionally.

Once Baby Is Born And The Postpartum Period : We help with the transition when parents bring home baby with the use of postpartum care. Working with them to set up a routine or settle into their new parenting roles. We can also aide in the support of the biological mother or surrogate once home helping them with self care for healing both physically and emotionally. We can assist with general recovery, lactation support to either stop or pump, an ear to listen, and our extensive list of referrals. We have even encapsulated for a surrogate who was planning on pumping for the baby.

If you would like to hear more about the support doulas can provide during the adoption process I would be more than happy to answer questions! Feel free to contact us at info@greenbaydoulas.com

Understanding Postpartum Doulas VS Night Nurse

If you are a Shameless fan like we are, you saw in the season 7 premiere that Debbie hired a night nurse so she can get some sleep. Typically a night nurse or night nanny is someone who takes care of the baby in the evening so the parents can get some sleep. But, what if I told you there was such a profession where a trained professional came into your house who

1- Was an expert in newborn care,

2- Knew how to support a mother in recovery from childbirth,

AND

3- Took care of the family as a WHOLE!

 

Enter the Postpartum Doula!

 

A normal daytime shift (averaging 4-8 hours) can look like a number of things, but is not limited to:

An unbiased ear to listen to concerns

Meal prep

Sibling support

Nap for mother

Self care for mother

Breast/bottle feeding, formula feeding, basic lactation support

Light housework

Extra hands for errands or doctors appointments

Cesarean support

Newborn and baby care

Just to name a few!

 

And the support of overnights (10 hour shift) while parents rest:

Breastfeeding support

Bottle feeding support

Meal prep

Light housework

Baby care

And sleep for both parents!

 

What you can expect with a Postpartum Doula? Personalized care! Families often seek support for high needs babies such as colic or silent reflux, special needs, support during teething, transitioning back to work, sleep regressions and sickness, and adjusting to adoption and multiples! The goal of a Postpartum Doula is to support the parenting approach that fits your lifestyle best. Every family’s needs are different which is why we have a postpartum planning session with each family to learn about the family dynamics, feeding style, parenting style and how best to support your family during the first year of a new addition.The beauty of a Postpartum Doula is that they help the family as a whole offering their expertise by lending a hand and helping a family transition into their new roles as parents, siblings and even furbabies!

While postpartum care is typically seen as a luxury item for many families, it’s simply about having a plan and making a budget. You may consider sitting down and discussing a postpartum plan even before your beautiful bundle arrives so that you can be as prepared as possible entering into this new chapter! Everyone plans for the arrival, but what about the weeks and months after your little one is here, Postpartum Doulas are happy to help!

Why make the investment? One of our clients explains it best so we’ll share his quote with you, “My wife is home all day with the baby and when she’s well rested she’s a better mother and wife and that’s what is important to me!” Utilizing a postpartum doula can be different for each family.  Whether it’s full time, part time or as needed; we want you to thrive during this time, not just survive.

If you are interested in more information about Postpartum Support please contact us today at information@greenbaydoulas.com or (920)246-0200

Do Nurses Like Doulas?

 

A Letter From A Labor & Delivery Nurse

“My name is Holli and I have been a labor and delivery RN at Bellin for the past 12 years.  I have always thought we gave excellent nursing care, then one day, I realized how much better it could be.  I had worked with doulas in the past and honestly wasn’t all that impressed.  Then I met Emily, who I learned is not only a doula, but owner of the local doula agency, Green Bay Doulas.  When I walked into my patient’s room for the day, there was an extra smiling face in the room.  She introduced herself and we started our day together, caring for “our” patient.  Emily supported the patient beautifully throughout the labor process, and also respected my role as the RN.  

When I worked with doulas in the past, they always tried to “buck the system” and argue everything we have to do according to our policies.  Emily and I seamlessly care for “our” patients to meet all of their needs.  We work together to decide the next best “game plan”. Are we hopping in the shower?  Going for a walk?  Maybe starting a little Pitocin (it IS NOT the devil) lol, or maybe we are going to run some essential oils through the diffuser that the client brought and take a little rest.  Whatever we are doing, we work together.  I had never before had a doula pull me aside to talk outside the room about what I think we should do next. It is about respect and Green Bay Doulas prides themselves on doing what is best for the family, while also working WITH the healthcare team.  I am so proud to see what Emily has done for doulas in our community, and for herself with her local doula agency Green Bay Doulas.  She is truly a sweet soul and an amazing doula.  She has built an amazing team of doulas, all of which are easy to work with and top notch!”

-Holli Lange RN

 

There is often stigma attached to the word doula and sadly many think our role is to replace the L & D nurse or to stand up against medical choices for the client. In fact our role is to partner with the nurses to create a cohesive support team for you and your pattern while in labor. At Green Bay Doulas we respect the nurse’s role and understand that our role as a professional doula is very different. We are so lucky to have amazing nursing staff in our area and even more grateful for the relationships we’ve built.
To learn more about the support Green Bay Doulas provides visit our website at www.greenbaydoulas.com or email information@greenbaydoulas.com