A Letter to Mothers From A NICU Mom

I wish there were magical words that I could write to make this situation better, but I know from experience that there are no words to do that. What I can do is share with you from one NICU mom to another, some words of encouragement for both mom and family and friends based on my experience.

When you are a parent of a NICU child, your hero or heroes sit before you every day. Much like a police officer saving you from a everyday crime, my child has saved my life. He is saving his own life and he is only a few months old. I have become a very strong woman, an extremely proud and devoted mother, and a person that is grateful for each passing day.  I try my best to thank God for my boys because I have now seen miracles happen right before my eyes. I go about my day as all other people do and I have my simple challenges and my crazy moments. I deal, I move on, and I live my life. Not everyone knows I am a NICU Mom, but I know that it makes a difference in the woman I am each day. I think we all live a fairly normal life, but our experience in the NICU plays a huge role in my everyday. All of us have both external and internal battle scars.  My husband and I have memories that could most likely be compared to those suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. Sometimes, when a friend mentions anything related to a hospital experience, without invitation I immediately start telling my story and give details about my little tikes stay at the NICU. The memories come flooding and my mouth starts speaking even before I know what I am saying. I think most of my friends have heard my stories, but they just allow me to talk because it is polite and because they love me. We are a family of miracles. Even though I am tougher than I was before the NICU stay, I am still as fragile as the first time they told me that he would be born at 28 weeks and then he told me that 40% of the children born at my son’s due date do not survive and if they do they have complications. I am fragile as the time I was holding my breath when my son’s ventilator was removed for the first time.  I am as fragile as the time that they took my son out of his isolette when he weighed less than 5 lbs. Even though I am tough, even though we are warriors, I am forever fragile because I know that life is fragile and I know that every second with my children should be cherished because they were gifts given only to us. All that being said, I am a regular mom.

 

I live a regular life and I think regular thoughts for most of my days.  I have the occasionally slip ups every now and then, but it’s not easy being a mother and knowing my baby is at the hospital.  People often ask me how I do it, and I know how I do it. I do it because I would never want to do it any other way. I need these two boys like I need to breathe. I have the guilt of not carrying my child to term. I have the memories of each roller coaster moment from my 36 days in the hospital before he was born, and continuing days in the NICU right now.  I have found strength in the eyes of my child, and I have learned to be compassionate for all. The NICU is like the teacher of a class you never wanted to take, history for me. It gives you lessons that you will remember forever. Many of my memories from the hospital stays are horrible but I have a few that are great. I am forever thankful for the nurses and doctors that raised my children for those months when I could not.  I will never forget the names or the faces of the nurses and doctors that saved my son’s life and I remember the love you showed me. I have met countless heroes along the way and I think I can honestly say that I am grateful for this crazy journey. One nurse in the NICU said to me “Ya know, one thing I learned about the NICU is that every person’s journey affects them the same way. Whether you are here for one day or nine months, all parents are affected.  The fear that you have is the same.”

Awareness is key, as an outsider you want you celebrate the new life. However We have a hospitalized child fighting to survive. The scene isn’t jubilant yet. We are neither physically or mentally prepared for the usual frozen meals, cute onesies or requests for photos. Please don’t pry. We might not know why the baby was born early but as a parent we do feel shock and guilt about it. Talking about our baby’s health issues and roller coaster of the NICU is too scary and everything is unknown. The same discretion goes for mom’s body and health status. If we share, listen. Until then your curiosity must go unsatisfied. Offer us help however don’t be do proactive. Please understand sitting in the NICU inventing errands or shopping lists to make loved ones feel useful is a burden. Let us focus. My favorite texts were question-free and read, “Thinking of your family. Here to do anything when you want help. No need to reply now.” If we don’t respond, be patient. You might be on standby for a few days—or weeks—but we’ll probably take you up on the offer. Be calm and cautiously optimistic in front of preemie parents. Crying to us on the phone or telling us you’re worried sick makes things worse. Be zen. Our parents kept their cool and it reassured us. Skip asking when the baby will come home. The due date is the target and we’re more impatient than you are. We’ll share when NICU staff give the green light, I promise. Most of all, tell preemie parents you believe in them. Friends and family told us we were good parents doing everything right. Your love is powerful medicine and we need it now more than ever.

 

 

NICU mom,

you are a regular mom, tho most days it doesn’t feel like it. You got this. Do not feel you are over sharing with telling people about your bundle of joy. Write down the good and bad, it helps to get it out and have a place for people to read about what is going on so you don’t have to repeat yourself over and over again. This helped me not relive the moments again and again. I used Facebook to keep my friends and family up to date. Mainly because you’re likely going to be bombarded with folks who care about you dearly. Folks who want to help you. Folks who want to fix the situation and take away your pain. Occasionally they’ll say things to you that will hit a nerve. They may be under the assumption that your baby is just in the NICU because he/she needs to grow a little more (not knowing the battle your child is in). They may demand you stop grieving and ask you to be glad that your baby is still alive. Some may go as far as to say to you horrible things such as, “At least you didn’t have to go to the end of your pregnancy and be miserable” (True story.)

But the truth is, unless they’ve been there, unless they’ve walked this, they won’t know that your heart is broken. They won’t understand that you’d do anything, go through anything if it meant you could just carry your child to term and save them this pain. It will take some getting used to, but often times you’ll juggle being thankful for your child’s life while being scared to death for their future. That’s ok. You see, some of us have been there. Some of us are still there. And we want to tell you one thing: all those feelings, those conflicting and sometimes awful feelings, they’re normal. Yep, totally normal.And no, you don’t need to explain them to us. We get them. We’ve had them. We’re still having them.

Plain and simple: the NICU is traumatic. All of the uncertainties, the obstacles your child faces, the pain, the statistics— it all takes it’s toll. But you will emerge. You will find a hidden strength that you never knew you had. And you’ll see the strength of your child. You’ll grow amazed and proud of them as you watch them win their battles.

As you navigate these new waters, Don’t be afraid to speak up and speak out. Find your voice and share your feelings and concerns. Allow yourself the opportunity to correct others who may misjudge your fears of the future as an inability to appreciate the miracle of your child. Grieve. Lots of things have been lost along the way- a normal pregnancy, a normal birth, a normal departure from the hospital… the list goes on and on. Grieve it all. You’re experiencing loss, a huge, unimaginable loss. Know that you can’t prepare yourself for the future (after all, no one can predict it) and force yourself to stay in the present. Deal with the hurdles of the day. But when your mind does start to ask the “what ifs” about the future (and it will), when you start to doubt the path you’re on, don’t beat yourself up for it. Face those “what ifs” with courage and know that the strength you’re discovering will emerge as you face each and every new trial. Remember that your child, not statistics will determine his/her course (these stubborn NICU babies rarely follow the predicted path). And finally, know that you’re not alone. Some of the most therapeutic times are found in the NICU when moms begin to connect. Share stories with each other. As you begin talking, you’ll likely find that these women who you thought were so different from you, have now become the only ones who understand your heart. Don’t be afraid to talk to them. Chances are, they’ll appreciate knowing that they’re not the only ones feeling this way either.

This journey that you’re on, it’s a battle. It’s likely to take some turns. You’ll make advances and retreats. Sometimes it will feel like you haven’t left the trenches in weeks. But you will emerge. You will make it. The battle will end. And one day, you’ll look back on this time and it will be a blur. A new normal will emerge, you’ll begin to find happiness and good times again and you’ll look on your scars knowing that each one represents something you have conquered.

 

– Alyssa Queensberry is a Green Bay resident who gave birth to Preston Scott , born 12 weeks early on July 19th, 2018. He weighed 2lbs 11 oz & 15 inches long. 

Mothers Day Self Care

Mother’s day is filled with brunches, free admission for mothers to family events and adorable handmade presents from school and daycare. But what about some alone time too? Here are my top three ways you can refill your cup in Green Bay by supporting local and spoiling yourself!

Hope Della Skincare

801 Hoffman Road

Green Bay, Wisconsin

 

If you haven’t heard of this brow magician you are truly missing out. Hope is a lovely person with a talent for making you look your best. She’s offering a limited edition Blackberry Vanilla Bean Facial available only the week of Mother’s Day! Savor the bursting fruit scents of blackberries followed by soothing vanilla bean aromas with this anti-aging, hydrating, and firming treatment.

For $65.00 ($80+ value), you’ll be treated to a mimosa (or sparkling cider), a 60 minute limited edition relaxing facial, a complimentary brow wax, and a special gift to take home.

Available by appointment only May 14-May 18. To schedule this special, please TEXT Hope at 920-403-0013 or EMAIL hope@hopedellaskin.com


Mother’s Day Spa Retreat May 16th 

Mom Tribe and Stephanie Rudolph 

I can’t even describe my excitement when I heard that Mom Tribe, Stephanie, and Lodge Kohler were teaming up!  Take the evening to yourself and indulge in some serious SELF CARE! Join Mom Tribe along with the Green Bay Area Mom’s Blog & Stephanie Rudolph to chat about the importance of community & self care all while enjoying some R&R.

We have a special block of appointments from 4-8pm 

Book your appointments directly with Olive Galiano at

(920)327-4605 or OLIVE.GALIANO@kohler.com

ENJOY 20% OFF your booked service for the event!

Never been to the Waters Spa at The Lodge Kohler? Well, you are in for a treat! Book any service to have access to the entire facility from 8am-8pm (remember, book a service during our event and also score 20% OFF)! Would like to attend the event but skip a service? For only $40 you can enjoy all the amenities and mingle with the ladies!

Check out the menu of services here: https://www.lodgekohler.com/menu-of-service



Weiler Academy   You have heard me talk about the float pods but did you know there is more waiting for you? Great gift options for you and a friend or spoil yourself!  They look all the hard work have selected our favorite services designed to let her rest, rejuvenate and relax.  Their spa services utilize award-winning natural and holistic products and services from top European and domestic spas to create a special oasis here in Green Bay. 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Mothers Day to all of you! 

5 Tips When Saving For Baby

When planning a wedding it’s not uncommon to spend $10,000-$30,000 on a one day event. Having a child is no different. Being financially responsible from the start can help you get to where you need to be and take stress off of you by being prepared. We teamed up with Jenna Reimer of Northwestern Mutual, and a fellow GBD client and mother of 4 (including a set of triplets) to give us some pointers on creating a financial plan for parenthood. Connect with Jenna on Facebook, and learn more about Nothwestern Mutual.

1. Prioritize your needs
We all want the latest and greatest in baby gadgets and let’s be real, walking the aisles of Target with the scanning gun to create your baby registry is an overwhelming and fun date! Keep it simple. Identify your needs vs the wants. We have taken the hard part out of this, and here are our suggestions to the most basic baby checklist: Get Your Baby Registry List Here

Another thing to consider is considering who will be your village. Your mother? Mother-in-law? Sister? Friends? Most will have their own families and will be able to help as they can but when it comes down to counting on someone consider looking into postpartum care. From extra hands, self care (like a nap, shower or be able to just run some errands), and having continuous connection to an expert in baby care that gives you the space to have a gentle recovery from childbirth. Prioritizing your early parenting time and recovery, is a way where saving can be a very good idea. Our most popular package is the maternity leave 100 hour package. A doula will come to you a few times a week for your entire time of leave to help you grow in your confidence as a new parent and catch up on sleep!

2. Use your already available resources
Call your insurance and ask questions to see what is covered and what is not. From how many ultrasounds, to your hospital stay, you will feel confident knowing exactly what your plan covers so there are no surprises. Learning your options for what can be covered with your HSA and FLEX spending accounts can be beneficial too. If you are really ahead of the game, you can change your insurance plan ahead of time to include a HSA plan or FSA, purchase supplemental insurance, and in some cases daycare and postpartum care can actually be built into these as well. A financial planner can also help you navigate the insurance world, if you need some direction in how to go about all of this. For a breakdown of what costs to expect, review this article that breaks down The Cost of Having a Baby.

3. Creating a Budget and the Emergency Fund
No one wants to sit down and admit how much they spend at Starbucks in a given month, but it can be eye opening when you see just where your money is being spent. Starting to save now even if it’s $10-15 a week, will help your budget stay on track and your fund to grow. Maybe something fun, such as the penny challenge where you start saving a penny on day 1, 2 cents on day 2, and so on and so forth. At the end of 365 days, you’ll have $667.95. And no, we aren’t saying you need to give up Starbucks entirely. Use these Budgeting Tips to help you get started.

4. Get Your Affairs in Order

We get it, no one wants to think about worst case scenarios, but by taking the time to put these three things in order it can save you money, stress, and time in the long run.

Life Insurance can be budgeted, depending on what your goals are. From term to full life plans, you will want to think of covering lost income, funeral expenses, and college funds. It can be built into almost any budget, and is something very important to think about.

Drafting a will is another must have, and we’re not talking about just writing your wishes on paper and putting in the safe. Sitting down with a professional, which starts at around $600-800.00. It’s worth every penny, and could even likely be covered by your penny jar savings. Start thinking about Estate Planning here.

Talking to a financial planner about disability insurance is another thing to consider. Here is a great article about how stay at home parents should have disability insurance (we were surprised too!)

5. Partner Communication and Connections
Last but not least, make a plan to take care of you and your relationships! From date nights, massages, to that weekly therapy appointment, make sure you are a priority. Make time to be with your partner, and to really be present with them (maybe a phone free date). After months of Netflix nights, it might be good to get out and do something. Even something fun like a date night subscription box where each month is a different theme and idea. Find a way to have fun and connect.

Becoming a parent is a huge transition, and can take the realities and responsibilities of being an adult to the next level. Taking steps to make it a smooth and easy transition, will not only benefit your family in the short term but in the long term too. Having a successful financial plan in place can lower stress, and you know what less stress means right? More time to do what you love, and more sleep!

Three Day Mom Vacation

I was recently at a friends house letting the kids burn off some energy and my friend is a part time food blogger (on top of mother, wife, and student) so if she says “I’m cooking dinner” – believe me, I’ll be there. We got on the topic of mom breaks and how it’s great when friends or family take the kids for the day or an overnight right? But then they leave and we find ourselves in a crossroads of self care or productivity.  This is a real problem!

My friend declared: We all need a 3 day mom vacation!

So here are the plans for the 3 day mom vacation.

Day One: Run through the house in your pajamas, watch every show, eat in bed, take a long shower… several times. Go on a date or go to something fun for you. Something you never get to do, something you miss doing. Make it the perfect day.

Day Two: Sleep in, then time to conquer all things household. Deep clean, attack the mountain of laundry, (while still catching up on shows) order out so you don’t have dishes to do or have to cook. Do all things productive, all things on that “rainy day list” bust your butt. Whew! You did it!

Day Three: Recover from day two. Finish up the final touches and then one last time- take time for you. Be good to yourself, there is only one you and while you give yourself to others, your partner, children, fur babies, you also need to celebrate you. Do some retail therapy, and take a nap. Then the kids come back that evening and back to the grind we go.

The days are long but the years seem short. Those of us with young children are in the middle of some of the hardest years of your lives. This isn’t forever, it’s just for now and years down the road we will look back and say these were some of the best and hardest years of our lives but we miss them. So enjoy them while you’re in them but don’t forget to take care of you too. 

Winter Safety Tips 

It’s that time of year… time to become bears and hibernate until it is warm again. No? Okay so maybe we cannot hibernate but we can stay warm. We of course know what it takes to keep us toasty and comfortable but a baby may be a little bit more difficult. No worries, check out these tips!

IN THE CAR:
Coats in carseats are dangerous, it greatly increases the babies risk of injury in an accident, but there are other ways to keep your little one warm. Dress you baby in thin layers and tuck a blanket around them once they are correctly secured into their seats. On cold days a fleece sleeper can be used for extra warmth. For more information on winter and car seat safety guidelines from the AAP 
OUTDOORS:
If out and about in the frosty a good rule of thumb is to add an extra layer to what makes you comfortable (reasonably, maybe more if you are a polar bear.) If playing in the snow, ensure you add a waterproof snowsuit with attached feet.
Also, stay aware and watch for signs of discomfort and cold, such as tear filled eyes ( not necessarily crying), shivering, or cold skin. It’s okay if you need to cut your outdoor time short in order to warm up!HOME:
The extra layer rule is also good here. Even though you maybe tempted to bundle baby up, remember the “ideal” temperature is 68-72* F. You can always check by placing your hand on babies tummy or back, they should be warm but not sweaty. Keeping your baby from overheating and using a zip style sleeping sack or a footed sleeper, rather than blankets which can cover baby’s face, are a few of the suggestions made by American Pediatric Associations for the prevention of SIDS.Hopefully these tips will help you and baby enjoy the upcoming winter and holiday season.
-Guest Blog by labor doula Heather Phillips, affiliated doula with Green Bay Doulas and owner of About A Baby Doula & Birth Services

Fall​ ​Family​ ​Fun

Fall​ ​Family​ ​Fun:​ ​Activities​ ​that​ ​Emily’s​ ​family​ ​does​ ​each​ ​year:
Fall is my favorite time of the year and for most of us also the busiest! From getting
back to school, to fall activities and Packers Games, there is never a dull moment. I’m
the type of person who works hard to play hard, so I’m always out and about. Here are
my family’s top 6 fall activities!

Blasers Acres
This is my “quick, we have a morning free or an afternoon, any day of the week and I
wanna enjoy this crisp fall air” go to place!
Petting Zoo, pumpkin bowling, hay slide, corn box (sand is overrated by this time of year) and corn maze. I can grab my pumpkins, apples, seasonal veggies, decorating gourds and corn stalks. They also have a hay ride that runs at select times.
When:​ ​Now​ ​through​ ​ ​Halloween
Where:​ ​ ​2556​ ​School​ ​Ln​ ​Suamico,​ ​Wisconsin,​ ​WI​ ​54313
Cost:​ ​Free​ ​Admission,​ ​corn​ ​maze​ ​is​ ​$4.00

 

Delzer’s Pumpkin Farm
When my husband and I met in Madison we went to all the pumpkin patches, corn mazes and Halloween activities we could. When we moved back to Green Bay I wanted to make sure we still had a pumpkin patch to visit and I found Delzers. I can’t say how much I love this place! You pay a fee when you arrive and receive a punch card, each activity takes 1-2 punches. From haunted hayride, to tracker train pull, haunted granary
and the corn maze. If you have leftover punches that equals $1.00 to put towards the pumpkin patch! This will be our 5th year and it’s one we look forward to!
When:​ ​September​ ​30th​ ​-​ ​Halloween​ ​11am​ ​to​ ​4pm​ ​on​ ​Saturdays​ ​and​ ​Sundays
Where:​ ​9581​ ​Delzer​ ​Cir,​ ​Oconto​ ​Falls,​ ​WI​ ​54154
Cost:​ ​$7​ ​/​ ​Ticket​ ​(2​ ​years​ ​and​ ​under​ ​is​ ​FREE)​ ​-​ ​Includes​ ​4​ ​Punches​ ​(Hayrides​ ​are​ ​2 punches​ ​/​ ​All​ ​other​ ​activities​ ​are​ ​1​ ​punch)

 

15th​ ​annual​ ​Spooktacular
Another great indoor activity for all ages, from live performances to a pumpkin carving
competition, decorate your own pumpkin and other crafting stations, balloon animals and face painting.  Come for an hour or stay for the day. The photo ops were impressive!
When:​ ​Saturday,​ ​Oct.​ ​7th​ ​2017​ ​ ​9​ ​a.m.​ ​to​ ​3​ ​P.M.
Where:​ ​ ​Lambeau​ ​Field​ ​Atrium
Cost:​ ​Free
Note: Those who attend the event are also encouraged to bring new or gently-used winter coats to Lambeau to donate to the Coats for Kids program.

 

Bellevue’s Trick or Treat Trail
Walking in the woods of Josten park on a beautiful fall day just can’t get any better, or can it? There are local businesses and resources set up through the trail for your littles to get some treats! Photo ops, pick your own pumpkin and so much more. Registration is required so don’t wait on this event, it’s one of my favorites. Learn more and sign-up for the event here
When:Saturday,​ ​October​ ​21st​ ​(registration​ ​ends​ ​Friday,​ ​October​ ​20th​ ​4:30​ ​P.M.)
Time: 10:00am​ ​-​ ​12:00​ ​P.M.
Where:​ ​Josten​ ​Park​ ​(sign-in​ ​at​ ​shelter​ ​upon​ ​arrival)
Cost:​ ​Free

 

Sweet Street at Shopko Hall

Sweet Street is an indoor halloween focused event where weather dependent activities
aren’t even a problem. It’s the largest and most popular Halloween events in Northeast Wisconsin. You are able to see local resources and participate in kids activities like: bounce houses, box maze, fire trucks, petting zoo and live performances, all while your child trick or treats to each booth.
When:​ ​ ​OCTOBER​ ​27,​ ​2017​ ​11:00-8:00​ ​P.M.​ ​and​ ​ ​OCTOBER​ ​28,​ ​2017​ ​8:30​ ​-​ ​4:00 P.M.
Where:​ ​Shopko​ ​Hall
Cost​ ​ ​$5.00​ ​advance​ ​or​ ​$6.00​ ​at​ ​the​ ​door.

 

It’s a Magical Halloween at Heritage Hill
Every year is a different theme with two things I love, history and candy! Explore the buildings, go to story time in the church, enjoy a bonfire, apple bobbing and lots of spooky fun. Plan accordingly, there are shuttles and street parking. It’s a lot of walking so come prepared, but oh so worth it! This year witches and wizards are taking over the park!
When:​ ​Saturdays​ ​October​ ​21​ ​&​ ​28​ ​ ​@​ ​3-8​ ​P.M.
Where:​ ​Herritage​ ​Hill​ ​State​ ​Park
Cost:​ ​ ​$7 admission, Children 3 and under are FREE. Members free for Traveler level and above

 

 

 

We hope to see you out and about this fall season celebrating family and creating memories. Happy fall everyone!

 

Emily Jacobson is a certified doula and owner of Green Bay Doulas. Her certifications include; Labor Doula, Postpartum & Infant Care Doula, Certified Newborn Care Specialist, Certified Postpartum Placenta Specialist, and Certified Childbirth Educator. 

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!!

 

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.


Also, check out this great article from our friends at Groom & Style, called Awesome Recipes That Freeze Well 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! 


				

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.

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