Why Doulas Love The CUB

As doulas we are told to have our tips and tricks with us in a birth bag. But the reality is I only have a change of clothes, some snacks for myself, a phone charger, a water bottle and the CUB.

 

We stumbled upon the CUB about three years ago in a Pinterest board and haven’t looked back.  Here is our the top reasons why the doulas of Green Bay Doulas love the CUB.

Starts Conversations

When we bring a CUB to a clients house, the older siblings love to play on it, which helps to get everyone comfortable with it and us. Who doesn’t love a new toy?  Nurses and Doctors stop, look and ask lots of questions, all conversations end with “well that’s wonderful, we need some of those!” Wausau Aspirus Hospital currently has one for their labor and delivery unit after we supported a client while using a CUB.

Stability

Unlike a birthing ball which can put pressure on the sacrum, and requires some balancing, our clients like that it is more stable than a birthing ball, but still offers movement if needed.  When we would use birthing balls on the bed for gravity based positions, it would be hard to find the right size, where if our clients are using the CUB we can use both or just one chamber and the belly fits right in there to let them just layout and rest while feeling supported.

Versatility

From end of pregnancy to in the laboring room on the floor (sitting), in the bed (hands and knees) or even in the shower on its side on top of a chair so they have a perfect height to learn against, we can set the CUB up to support our clients when needed.

Ease of Use

It takes seconds to inflate, seconds to deflate, folds up small and it’s lightweight. Also, it’s easy to sanitize or dry off.

Affordable

For the benefit it brings it’s a great tool for all families. I was so excited when I heard the CUB was coming to the USA. No more international shipping! It can be also used well beyond pregnancy and labor, as I said the kids love it, and provides a great alternative to a couch or chair while providing support.

 

If you are ready to join the Green Bay Doulas and experience the CUB you can at https://www.the-cub-usa.com/

 

I Don’t Want A Doula

Things I hear on a daily basis: “I don’t want someone else in the room with my partner and I” “I just can’t afford a doula, maybe next baby we can plan better” “I really wish I would have hired you, even just to have that support before I had the baby.” and  “I don’t want a doula, I’m getting an epidural” 

 

This got me thinking about how our role as doulas is to offer our clients options. Options in hospitals, doctors, laboring techniques, and inductions. Options in pain management from hydrotherapy to epidurals, options in navigating vaginal birth after surgical birth and even surgical birth itself. Options in community resources from photographers to chiropractic care, massage to hair dressers, and even dog trainers!

 

SO WHY NOT OFFER AN OPTION IN THE LEVEL OF SUPPORT MANY WISH TO RECEIVE?

 

One of the cornerstones that Green Bay Doulas was built on is to listen to the birthing community, and be and bring the change that they long to see.

 

We listened to the desires of our community, and we are excited to announce Everything But the Birth: Your personal concierge through pregnancy. You are matched with your perfect doula who will become your best friend and confidant for your pregnancy. She will help you navigate questions, comments, she will celebrate with you, and lift you up when needed. She will help you navigate your options with her insider knowledge. She will provide a prenatal planning session where you discuss what to expect, help you build your birth plan, and teach your partner or friend/family member some hands on approaches to help support you during labor. She will also provide a postpartum visit once you are home and settled with the new baby.

 

So how is this different from a labor doula?

 

We don’t attend your birth.

 

This option will bring the support you desire throughout pregnancy, without the larger investment. But what happens if along the way you decide you’d like birth doula support during your birth? You’d just need to make that decision by 34 weeks, and your initial payment is applied to your remaining balance. We work in teams of two when supporting laboring clients so we want to make sure your entire team is at your prenatal.

 

Photo: Timeless Touch Photography

Our goal is to make doula support accessible to every laboring family, surrogate, and individual. We want you to have access to the knowledge we have and feel supported, secure, and empowered to make the best choices for your family. This is the very heart of Green Bay Doulas, to give our clients options to decide what support option works best for their family.

 

Contact us today to get started!

CHOOSING A PROVIDER

You’ve found the courage to look at the pregnancy test.  There it is.  The BIG FAT POSITIVE. The plus that you’ve been hoping for. The smiley face that you’ve waited weeks, months, or even years to see. The word PREGNANT is the first sign of proof – you’re having a baby!

It’s time to call the doctor. Or maybe the midwife? With so many providers and options, how do you know which to choose? It’s important to find the right provider for you.  This is your birth. This is your baby. This is your body. And you should find a provider that aligns with your birth philosophy and individual needs.

Keep reading as we discuss a few of the big ideas to consider

Does your Birth Philosophy align with that of your provider?

I’m not going to lie. This is a big one. Really figure out what birth is to you before selecting a provider.

Some women believe birth should be managed and monitored to ensure safety of baby and mom. Others believe birth is a natural process and should be treated as such, rather than a medical emergency. Some people want to make their own decisions regarding their pregnancy, labor, and delivery.  Other women just want someone to tell them what they need to do.

Most of the complaints about a provider or an experience boils down to this question.  Having a birth philosophy that aligns with that of your provider can help ensure a positive experience and outcome for you.

How secure does the hospital culture make you feel?

Some people find comfort delivering in a hospital, regardless of pain medications used. They like knowing that should anything happen to them or their baby, doctors and nurses are ready and waiting to do everything they can to remedy the situation.  Other women become anxious or intimidated when in a hospital setting, maybe because of a previous experience, or even because of their birth philosophy.

If being in a hospital is stressful for you, look into midwives who do homebirths or deliver at birth centers. 

Have you had a previous Cesarean Section?

If you’ve had a Cesarean Section, some doctors may require you to have another Cesarean. If you would like to try for a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC), find a doctor that is comfortable with this.

What (if any) Pain Management options are you interested in?

  • Nitrous Oxide – some providers are uncomfortable with the use of Nitrous Oxide. It is not available at all hospitals
  • Hydrotherapy – not all hospitals have laboring tubs; no Green Bay hospitals the have capabilities of water birth.

The provider I choose will deliver my baby, right?

Unfortunately, the only way to guarantee that the provider you choose will actually be there to deliver your baby is to schedule a Cesarean Section or induction. If your provider is on call – Great! If not, however, the doctor on call may say and allow different things (some may not be comfortable with the use of Nitrous Oxide, for example).  It is a good idea to get to know the other providers in the practice to help you pick a provider AND a PRACTICE.

You should also consider your insurance and location (are you willing to drive 45 minutes or more to the hospital?)

So when you set up appointments to meet with doctors and midwives, ask these questions. If you want to ask the Facebook Hive for suggestions, explain your birth philosophy and needs first to get better suggestions, rather than a slew of names that might not be the right fit for you.

Better yet, ask someone who knows all of the providers and who can give you a few tailored options to choose from.  The Green Bay Doulas are knowledgeable about the birth culture in Green Bay and have worked with many of the areas providers. You can also join the “Green Bay Birth and Postpartum Options” Facebook group for more information and a safe place to ask questions about providers and options available to you.

 

-Melissa is originally from Buffalo, NY and came to Green Bay in 2013. She holds both her bachelors and masters degrees in Viola Performance from the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, OH, and an Artist Diploma from Ball State University in Muncie, IN. In her spare time you can find Melissa running around with her pup Louie, taking road trips with her husband and daughter, cooking, and playing board games.

 

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

Plane Ticket For One Please!

I took a vacation this summer and I didn’t take my family. Having young children is hard and you start to lose your identity between all the drop offs, pick ups, activities, kids birthday parties, doctors appointments, household chores and juggling a career. Not to mention growing with your partner through all of these changes as well. I needed a break. I needed some respite. I needed to reconnect with me. Who am I? Who have I grown into as I settle into my 30’s?  I heard everything from: “How will your husband survive?”, to “You must not breastfeed if you aren’t taking your baby!”, and “You’re leaving your children?!”

Yes, I took a 4 day trip out the country to have some me time. This is the hardest (and most rewarding) time in our lives with young children, being an entrepreneur, a wife, maybe in that 

order sometimes… In 10 years when I look back, it will just be a skid mark in my life’s story… but how many of us feel like we are drowning at times? How many of us take the time for self-care? In the last 5 years of my life, I’ve gotten married, moved back into my childhood home,  I’ve carried two humans over 40 weeks each time, I’ve had a cesarean, a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), I’ve breastfed a total of 3 years and counting. My body has new curves, my clothes fit differently, my taste in food has only gotten spicier, my circle of friends has shifted and evolved, and who have I become in all of this?

I took a trip to Canada, to the land of nice people. True story, my friend literally got into a “you go first, no you go first” match with a pedestrian who was in the middle of the street, while trying we were waiting to make a right turn! Her husband took their children up to their cabin for the time I was there. Two mothers, with a total of 4 kids under the age of 6, without children or husbands for 4 days…. what do you do?! You go to the movies!  You get your nails done! You spend over 2 hours eating at an all you can eat brunch buffet with live jazz music and chat with other adults! You stand in line for almost 2 hours just to get on the elevations at the CN Tower, in Toronto.  You go to Niagra falls and eat a fancy dinner, 77 floors above the falls in a revolving dining room, where your waiter is French and you can order escargot, and drink wine. You sleep in. You sleep without having anyone waking you up. You take long showers, and sit on the patio for hours talking, without worry, without judgment, and reconnect with yourself.

One thing doula work has taught me is the art of unbiased support. Imagine if we all lived our lives with non-judgmental mindsets. There would be no more ‘mommy wars”. Instead, when I got on that plane I would have heard: “Good for you taking some time for yourself.”, “Enjoy your vacation!”, and “Send lots of pictures!”

As mothers with young children I want to give you permission to enjoy life, don’t get caught up in the judgment. Take time for you and forget the double standards. Taking a break from all the responsibility is healthy, it’s normal, and we need to do it more often!

When I touched back down in Green Bay I was refreshed. I was reconnected, but who am I kidding– my checked luggage was filled with souvenirs for my kids, 100 oz of pumped breastmilk, and Kinder Eggs. Take time for you, get to know yourself again, and enjoy the chaos that is having young children.

 

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

 

 

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.


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.

Q & A – The Belly to Baby Expo

Twice a year Green Bay Doulas brings 50-70 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, The Marq- Lineville Rd and the fall expo will be at The Meadows Conference Center. 

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! We have amazing raffle prizes from local and national companies. New this year we will be hosting a free prenatal Yoga class before the expo. We also have added a lactation and quiet lounge for those mothers who need a break or to feed their child with less distraction. 

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 11th Belly to Baby Expo and if you can’t make this one, you are in luck, the next one will be March 2018.  We hope to see you there!