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Jack's Immune Boosting Pancakes

Jack looooveessss these pancakes! Let's be honest, I do too! They are super simple and filled with lots of nutrients (especially during this COVID-19 craziness)

Let's get right to it...

 

 

Jack's Pancakes 

Yields 12-14 pancakes

  • 2 bananas
  • 1.5 cups gluten free oats (I use Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1 cup coconut kefir (I use President's Choice Organic version)
  • 1 tbsp chia seed
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seed oil
  • 2 tsp spirulina powder 
  • Optional toppings: blueberries, hemp seed + camu camu powder

1.  Mix together all the ingredients (except the topping ingredients- you can if you want though!) until well combined

2.  Next, cook pancakes on a pan with either coconut or avocado oil. Follow the same rules with regular pancakes, and flip once the edges start to brown or the tops bubble. You should cook each side for 1-2 minutes depending on your stove

3. Let cool for a few minutes + serve! I cut them into squares and top with frozen blueberries as it helps cool them down and it is soothing for his (never ending) teething (he is at 8 teeth now). Top with whatever you would like but see below for why I added certain ingredients into these pancakes!

 

Why these ingredients?

  • Coconut Kefir- this is a great food source of probiotics and helps nourish the good bacteria in his digestive system and replace the bad. Yes, there is such a thing as good bacteria! 
  • Oats- make sure you choose gluten free! This is easier for them to digest and full of fibre and protein
  • Spirulina- one of my favourite superfoods! Everyone should be consuming this! It is a green algae (sounds appealing, I know) but it is a super green that has so much chlorophyll, and nutrients packed into it
  • Chia Seed- full of good fats for your brain, digestion + cells! Also fibre too!
  • Pumpkin Seed Oil- this is also a new addition to our nutrition roster as it is FULL OF ZINC! Which is amazing for your immune system and keeping you healthy!
  • Camu Camu Powder- this is a new one for us! My naturopath suggested using this as a source for Jack because it is SO high in vitamin c! We have been using it too!
  • Blueberries- Jack lovessss blueberries (if you have seen my Instagram stories, you know that!) and they are also full of vitamin c. Because he eats so many, I buy the organic frozen ones from Costco or Loblaws and let sit out a bit before he consumes. Or like I mentioned earlier, mix with warmer pancakes to balance eachother out. They are definitely messier, but thats ok! He has so much fun

 

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Stay healthy my friends! XO

 

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10 Things I Did Before I Got Pregnant

10 Things I Did Before I Got Pregnant

Hi there! I touched on this a bit in my blog post "My First Trimester Pregnancy Journey". I truly believe this topic isn't discussed enough. There is so much information out there about how to support yourself during and after baby, but not much out there about what to do beforehand! It usually is not discussed when people start trying to conceive out of fear that it won't happen right away. There is a lot of shame attached to not being able to conceive, or not conceiving fast enough, etc. Us women are very HARD on ourselves. I should also mention that I do not mean for this post to be hurtful to the people having a hard time getting pregnant or those who may not ever be able to. The below list is not going to solve it all, it is just about what I did to work on myself and I was lucky enough to get pregnant.

To be honest, I found the 6 months leading up to when we started to try for a baby (ahhh crazy that we didn't know it was Jack!) sooooo healing, both physically and emotionally. I really focused on getting myself into the best health (I don't mean size WHATSOEVER). I mean health, physical/mental/emotional. One of my new year's resolutions is to be more transparent with you because I really think the world needs more dialogue around topics like this. I finished breastfeeding at 7 months postpartum (if you haven't read my previous posts) and I am back in this mindset about getting mentally and physically ready to get pregnant sometime later this year. So I am going back to the below practises and working towards getting my health in tip top shape, because let's be real, pregnancy/nursing is a lot of work for your body! If you are reading this because you are in that mindset too, YAY THAT IS SO EXCITING! I love chatting about this and am usually a pretty open book, so once again, feel free to message or email me! But here it is...

10 Things I Did Before I Got Pregnant

 

1.  I Balanced My Hormones

Thankfully, I have had a pretty regular period for my adolescent life. I also was never really on the pill (I think a total for 3 months in my entire life, but it made me feel insane) but I still wanted to get my hormones in check. For those of you who follow me on Instagram stories, you may know I go to Energy Tree Studios (in Toronto) to see Anne Matthews for acupuncture and it was extremely helpful. I have said this before and I will say it again, I found it so beneficial before, during + after pregnancy for balancing my hormones and making me feel vibrant

 

2.  I Limited Foods I Knew Were Irritating My Digestive System

I have had different food sensitivity tests done in my life and they always come back the same- showing that I am sensitive to certain nuts, gluten + some forms of dairy (most people are). For the few months leading up to "trying", I made even more of an effort to minimize these foods so my digestion + body would be running as efficiently as they could be. It felt great! I still try to do this when I can because I shouldn't just try and be healthy for when I want to get pregnant, I should try for this all the time- but its nice to not always have to restrict whole foods groups

 

3.  Took a Prenatal

I starting taking this 3 months before we started trying and took Genestra's Pregna Vite. It is beneficial to start taking this before you get pregnant as it allows your body to store some of the vitamins in your body + allows it to run more optimally

 

4.  Detoxed Negativity

I worked a lot on emotional healing and clearing up (and out) any baggage. I give my homeopath a lot of credit with this as I consider her to be somewhat like a therapist to me- pointing out negative patterns in my life and getting an outside perspective. With that being said, I worked on minimizing the toxins in my life, and that involved relationships too. Not everyone will bring out the best in you and you will not bring out the best in everyone. By minimizing these relationships in your life, you are removing stress, anxiety and emotional toxins

 

5.  Minimized Alcohol

I am not a big drinker, at all! I drink once a month at most (unless its wedding season). If you knew me in university (or high school hah), you will probably be like SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! The night after I drink, I feel SO incredibly down (and naturally I am a pretty upbeat person I would like to think) so I have just stopped doing it. I am finally at a stage in my life where I respect myself and my health too much to feel like crap. I am not saying everyone needs to do this, but if something makes you feel terrible- whether it's alcohol, gluten/dairy, a person, a job, you name it, just remove it from your life!  In university, I was not secure enough in my own skin to do that, but I am now. If something is not making me feel my best, then it is simple, I minimize it. Because let's be real, sometimes I want a glass of red wine, so I have it!

 

6.  I Got Up to Date with my Health

Figure your SH*T out! Pregnancy is a lot of work, children are a lot of work, so try and get your health in order as much as you possibly can before the sh*tshow begins! LOL I do not mean that in a bad way, but let's just say, you and your health are put on the back burner for a period of time after baby arrives... so focus on you. I saw my naturopath, homeopath, acupuncturist, doctor, masseuse, got blood tests up to date, had sensitivity tests done, etc. Typing that makes me sound SO high maintenance... I guess I am when it comes to my health! 

 

7.  Got My Husband on Supplements

My acupuncturist Anne (I talked about her earlier in this post ) mentioned it is beneficial for the husband to take supplements beforehand too as it is not just 1 person making the baby. HOW DID I NEVER THINK OF THIS!!?? It takes two to tango, so why wouldn't it be important for my husband to get on certain beneficial supplements too!? GENIUS. ANNE IS A GENIUS! I love her in case you have not picked up on that

 

8.  Switched to All Natural Make Up Products

For the past 5-7 years, I have been very good about using clean products in my skincare routine and in my home, but I still had not made the full switch to cleaner make up products. I kept putting it off thinking I would never find natural make up that I liked/that worked, but I was wrong! I get most of my make up from The Detox Market and use brands like Alima Pure, RMS, W3LL People, Sappho, the list goes on. Stay tuned for a blog post coming your way soon on that though! Your skin is your largest organ on your body. YES, it is an organ and YES it absorbs things you put on it, so if you are putting make up on it, some chemicals may enter your blood stream. I do not mean for this to scare you, it is just food for thought!

 

9.  I Saved Money!

I get asked this question a lot so I will be honest, I never went on "maternity leave" and did not collect EI because I do not pay into EI. As I am self employed, paying into EI is optional, so I chose to put that money aside on my own instead. Even if you are not self employed and will collect EI, it is wise to save some extra money (if you can! I cannot stress that enough) because the EI payments may not cover all of your expenses (and babies can be expense, HELLO- some breast pumps are $500+). If you are not Canadian and wondering what the heck "EI" is, it stands for Employment Insurance and it entitles you to receive a set amount of maternity (or paternity) pay. It also covers a lot of other areas, but we will not get into that! 

 

10.  Decluttered!

You may notice a trend with this list. There is a lot of minimizing/detoxing/removal of things that were not creating positivity in my life. I worked on internal decluttering and I also working on external cluttering. Have you ever done a spring cleaning and felt AMAZING after, wondering why you did not do that sooner?! Well I did a prenatal cleaning (thank you Marie Kondo) and I got rid of possessions I was not using. Things like clothes and furniture that I kept telling myself "would use one day", I either sold or gave to family/friends. I knew other people would appreciate things more than I would. My friends and I have done "clothing swaps" before, where you bring clothes you no longer wear and trade them for your friends clothes they no longer wear. It is like going shopping! Someone else can put a better use to it. Doing so clears out more room in your own life + creates good karma. (spoiler alert: all this decluttering may turn to cluttering when you realize babies accumulate a lot of stuff hah)

 

Thank you again for stopping by and feel free to message me if you have any questions xo

 

 

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10 Things My Mom Was Right About

10 Things My Mom Was Right About

Hi friends! Thanks again for popping by my blog.

For those of you who don't know, I lost my mom almost 5 years ago to cancer. How time flies, I am blown away even typing that. My mom was a wonderful woman, and I am not just saying that because I have to, or because she was my own mom. She was very special and had the ability to make others feel seen and heard... and laugh! She was so funny and quirky! When I close my eyes and imagine her, I always imagine her laughing. The more I think about it, the more I realize how that is such a special way to be remembered. As more time passes, I can still hear her in my head with all the wise words she said and I catch myself saying, HOLY SH*T, SHE WAS RIGHT! 

Here we go...

1.  "As you get older, you will be able to count your good friends on one hand"

She didn't mean you will only have 5 friends, but as you get older, it definitely becomes about quality over quantity

 

2.  "You will love your natural hair when you are older"

This might seem shallow when just referencing hair, but I think it is a metaphor for loving yourself entirely as is. As you grow up, you may go through phases of trying to be something you are not, trying to look/act way whether that comes from insecurities, people pleasing, whatever! But as you get more confident in your own skin, you will see you love the things you had inside (or outside) all along 

  

3.   "When things feel off, do something normal"

She said her dad used to say this often and I found myself following this when Jack was a newborn (when life is far from normal). This could mean washing my face, watching a movie I love, having a hot bath. Doing something that is normal can be very grounding and allows us to mentally refresh. I was having a conversation with one of my friends the other day and she said during hard times she finds that taking her dog for a walk makes her feel like everything will be ok and I immediately thought of my mom. 

 

4.  "Compartmentalize"

When you are feeling overwhelmed, compartmentalize. I wrote a blog post touching on that last year. I often think about this concept, stop what I am doing and take baby steps. Ironically, this "baby step" approach has helped me with being a new mom

  

5.  "There is a Solution to Every Problem" 

When I find myself in a crappy situation, I hear her saying those words and I take a step back and realize there always is. It might not be the initial plan or the best course of action, but there is ALWAYS a solution of some sorts.

 

6.  "Take Care of Your Skin Now!"

She was a broken record with this one and always told me how my grandma would always wear a hat, sunscreen + had a diligent skin care routine from a very young age. I did not fully care about this idea until the past 5 years + keep thinking that I wish I listened earlier! I am very diligent with my routine and try not to get much sun during the summer but I used to love getting as tanned I could without fully grasping the impact it was having.

 

7.  "SH*T HAPPENS!"

My mom always said she wanted to write a book about life lessons. She wanted the opening page to tell the story about how she lost both of her parents before she was 25, and on the way home from one of their funerals (when she felt the lowest she had ever felt) a bird sh*t on her head and how she couldnt help but fall to the ground, laugh + take it as a sign from the universe that sh*t happens but it will be okay! Which brings me to my next point...

 

8.  "Laughter is the best medicine" 

If you know me or my family personally, you know we LOVE to laugh and make others laugh. Seriously, there are so many members of my extended and immediate family that are hilarious. We have an ongoing debate as to who is the funniest (and the fastest swimmer) in my family. I personally think it is me for both of these categories hehe. Anyways... it became very apparent how much my family laughed when my mom was sick and how much it lifted all us up. I have said this before and I will say it again, I really think laughter extended my mom's life. When diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, she was given 6 months to live and lived for 16 months. It did not break her spirit and many, many laughs were had along the way. 

  

9.  "Always Take The High Road, You'll Be Better Off For It"

I talked about this in a post last year, it is one that I am still working on hehe. It takes a lot of strength and energy, but she was right! Taking the high road doesn't mean you are less of a person or that you lose.. it means you care more about your own inner peace than anything. Once again, still working on this one! 

 

10. Finally, when I asked my mom during her cancer battle what she learned the most, she said "people are good". They really are. I felt that a lot when people rallied around me when she passed away. Which brings me to my next point...

 

11. BONUS ONE! Go to that funeral or visitation

This may seem pretty random, but this is something I strongly believe makes a bigger impact than you think, because I know firsthand how it feels. My mom was the queen of reading the obituaries (not in a twisted way, in a truly genuine way). She wanted to make sure she knew when her parent's friends, etc. passed away. She would go to funerals or visitations for everyone to show her love and support (and when she did, she made people feel so comfortable). My husband sometimes thinks it is weird when I want to go to visitations for people's loved ones that I had never met. My response is that I will always remember the faces that showed up to my mom's visitation/funeral and it meant the world to me. People I hadn't seen in decades, people who I barely knew, people who I did not expect in a million years to be there, showed up to support me and my family, and it was so touching. Thank you to any of you reading this, you made more of an impact during the hardest days of my life than I could ever articulate. So I will leave you with this... if you avoid going to these events because of fear, social anxiety, going alone, not knowing what to say, feeling awkward, etc. JUST GO. You will never truly realize the impact it makes until you are in that situation. 

 

LOVE TO YOU ALL + ESPECIALLY TO MY BEAUTIFULLY WISE MAMA xx

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5 Things I Wish I Could Go Back + Tell Myself As a New Mom

5 Things I Wish I Could Go Back + Tell Myself As a New Mom

Hi friends! In case you are not noticing the trend, I have been writing a lot of blog posts with top 5's or 10's. I find this super helpful for organizing my thoughts and I know it's easier to read for you guys too, so it is likely sticking! Anyways, I have a lot of new moms in my life right now and I have been getting a lot of questions on Instagram about early motherhood, so it is bringing up a lot of memories from the very early days (it is still VERY early but time moves extra slow in the first few months). The first few months of motherhood are EFFING HARD!!!! There I said it and you can too. If I could go back and tell myself a few things, I would.

Here we go...

1.  Accept Every Ounce of Help!  I don't know about you, but I did not accept much help at all. I am stubborn, I am independent, I am proud of these traits, but they probably made it harder on myself in the first few months of motherhood. People dropped off a lot of food which was amazing (thank you to any of you reading this!) and offered to do a lot (laundry, dusting, watch Jack while I slept), but I did not accept it! I had the "I am fine, I got this" mentality. Looking back, I would tell myself to accept every ounce of help. People want to help! I am at a point now where I accept so much more help and it feels great! So I look back and think, oh my gosh, if I accepted more in the beginning, it would have been so helpful! What I can promise you, is that when I have my second child, I will be accepting every offer! It does not make you a better or a worse person, it just makes your life easier and people TRULY want to help and be a part of your journey. If you are reading this and you are in the same boat, accept the help. Even ask for it! It will take even a little bit of your plate, which goes a long way. Trust me!

2.  Your Body REALLY Will Heal in Time. We have this idea in our head that at 6 weeks your body should be back to normal because that is usually when you get the go ahead from doctors, right!? With exercising, normal activities, sex, etc. There is about to be some TMI coming your way, so any family members or people who are squeamish, you can stop reading this now... The "6 Week Go Ahead" IS HORSESH*T! If you felt great at 6 weeks, all the power to you! But most women I speak to do not feel normal until much, much later- AND THAT IS OKAY!!!! Think of what your body just did, why in the world would we think it would magically be better in 6 weeks!? I keep deleting what I am about to write (to avoid a vulnerability hangover + I worry people will be like "ew gross TMI!" but I am not going to keep it because I have had this question asked SO many times. It needs to be said so it can help others who are too afraid to ask or feel shameful about it!), your downstairs is going to look and feel VERY different for a long time. I finally felt normal at 6 months, not 6 weeks! We did not even attempt anything until 12 weeks (if you catch my drift) and let's just say it was a rare, scary + slightly painful experience that often required some wine. BUT, it really did get better with time. I did pelvic floor therapy to help but I can honestly say, I think time really was the most helpful. I was terrified I would never feel normal again + that I just had to accept that fate. It will get better! Your body just needs time, and a lot more time than we think!

 3.  You Are a REALLY Good Mom! People did tell me this, but it is different coming from yourself and when you truly believe it. I wish I reminded myself this more instead of focusing on what I was not in control of, or what I could improve on, etc. At the end of the day, all babies really need in the beginning is to be fed, loved, kept warm + their diaper changed. They do not come with an instruction manual, so any "hurdles" you are overcoming is trial/error, they do not make you a bad mom for not knowing what to do! If you are reading this and it is resonating with you, repeat after me, "I AM A REALLY GOOD MOM" and again, and again. Until you believe it, even if it makes you cry. You are a great mom and your baby adores you.

4.  This Too Shall Pass! I was told this over and over again but I am only starting to see now, that it is 10000% accurate. When I was going through any hurdles with Jack (ex. sleep regression, digestive issues, dislocated elbow), it is hard to see the big picture. You think that things will always stay the same and this difficulty will be your new norm. Babies change, evolve, learn, grow, go through phases. I don't know about you, but no phase has been the same for us! And that is so reassuring and an excellent reminder on the more difficult days. It is much easier to see this in retrospect, but this mantra is sticking with me!

5.  FEEL THROUGH IT ALL! You will cry, you will yell, you will feel anxiety, you will feel guilt, you will feel discouraged, you will feel insecure. FEEL THROUGH IT ALL! This is normal, this is needed + this is OKAY! (as long as it is not directed maliciously at someone). There are highs, there are lows, there are in betweens. Life with a newborn= uncertainty + lack routine/control/sleep + raging hormones. That is all happening while you are trying to maintain some sense of normalcy in your day to day life (with other kids, spouse, a business, family, etc). You are going to FEEEEEEEEEEEEEEL hard. It will allow you to grow and learn, it will be hard. But girrrrrrl, you got this.

 

If this post resonates with you, I am sending all the love + good energy your way! If you have any questions, I love chatting with you so feel free to message me on Instagram @kale.ahhh or email me directly at kayla@kale-ahhh.com xx

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10 Things I Do When I Want To Reset

10 Things I Do When I Want To Reset

My list might not be what you are expecting! These are not quick fixes to lose weight, they are my own personal tricks to feel GREAT whenever I am not feeling my best. There are a bunch of links in here to my favourite products that I have found work wonders for me. These are in no way endorsed! Just a lot of years of trial and error and me finding what works best for ME! That could be very different than what works best for you. Here we go...

10 Things I Do When I Want to Reset

1.  Exfoliate + Moisturize. when I feel like my skin is looking a little dull and I am not feeling great, I up my skin care routine (especially in the winter). I usually wash my face every day and night with Consonant Foam Washer (I have been using this for years, it is the BEST and made in Toronto- natural, effective and supporting local business!). In the winter time, my skin gets SO dry and I feel like a lizard if I do not stay on top of my routine, so every morning + night along with cleansing I use a drop of serum mixed with moisturizer. I will exfoliate 3 times a week as well with Odacite Matcha CleanserI have sensitive skin and this makes it GLOW! Feel free to try your own products out or even these ones. Everyone reacts differently with different products so find yours!

2.  B Vitamins! My supplement routine varies, but I am always consistent with my B vitamins. They help me feel energized and sharp. I take a B12 and a B Complex. I found these especially helpful when I was a vegetarian and not getting much B12 from my diet + when I was pregnant/nursing as both use a lot of your nutrients!

3.  Probiotics. This is another supplement I am pretty darn diligent about and I will take HMF probiotics daily, but when I feel like my stomach is off, I up the strength. For example, after Christmas (when my diet and routine was off), I started taking HMF Intensive for a month. Probiotics help replace the bad bacteria in your digestive system with the good and help make your whole body run more efficiently  (such as fighting off infections, absorbing nutrients better + overall feeling more energized)

4.  Water, lots of water! There are days when I am bad with this and days where I am great with this, but one of the most important things you can do, is make sure you are drinking good quality water! Tap water is filled with lots of metals + gunk so trying your best to remove those from your water source is so important. I use a Santevia filter (it looks like a Brita jug but you can also get the larger filter as well). I keep mine on the counter at all times, so its accessible and at room temperature (I do not like cold water and room temperature is better for your system as well). Side note: we also have their shower filter and bath filter for Jacky boy! I also keep one of these in my Swell bottle to have on the go. I LOVE THEIR PRODUCTS!

5.  Sweat.  I cannot emphasize this enough, but everyone is different! We like different things, our bodies react very differently to foods, exercises and supplements. For me, I LOVE CARDIO! For the majority of my youth, I was a competitive swimmer, so cardio makes me feel so good! I also go through phases of being obsessed with yoga too but cardio is my go to. Right now that means using my Peloton 3-5 days a week. I give my legs a break almost every other day because I find it makes me feel better. You do not have to own a Peloton to do this, you can go to group classes, your own gym, even walk around the block a few times, just get that heart rate up!

6.  Get up to date with my health. For me, that means booking appointments with my roster of health care professionals. Dentist, acupuncture, homeopath, naturopath, chiropractor, massage therapist, doctor. This year it happened to coincide with the new year when benefits renew which is even more of an incentive!

7.  Stock my fridge + cabinets. I invest in myself. Instead of buying one more outfit or eating out a few times, I stock my fridge and cabinets with healthy selections and staples. For example, coconut oil, healthy teas + coffees, lots of frozen organic vegetables and fruit, healthy snacks, super seeds, etc. I am more likely to opt for healthy choices if I have the options at home

8.  Get more sleep! The past week (after we finished season 2 of YOU- that was counterproductive), we have been going to sleep at 830pm. Normally we go to sleep around 9-10pm which is still pretty early but sometimes I need a few nights of even longer sleeps to help me reset. It makes me feel SO much better, mentally and physically!

9.  Get quiet. This seems to be one of the hardest for me. Even when I go to my acupuncture appointments which are in the dark, quiet + in a zen environment, I am on my phone, catching up on work, writing, etc. So when I want to get quiet, I have to be very intentional and put extra effort into it. The last few nights, I have tried even harder to unwind before bed. Candle lit room, minimal technology (or none is even better), my Saje diffuser running, a hot epsom salt bath, a calming tea. This is so simple, but not easy! We live in a fast paced world and getting quiet is often very difficult for most people to do. So carve out some time to do nothing! You will thank yourself later

10.  Do my 5 Day Refresh! My 5 Day Refresh is a gluten free meal plan (with minimal dairy). It includes 3 meals + 1 snack per day and is delivered to your door. The food is clean, diverse, wholesome + nutrient rich! See this month's dates + menu here!

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10 Things That I Did NOT Know About Breastfeeding + Pumping

Hi friends! I am blown away at the support + love I received from my last blog post “5 Things I Did NOT Expect To Happen Post Partum” that I wanted to share even more of what has been on my mind lately, in hopes that it will help at least one person! As of January 1st, I finished my breastfeeding journey with Jack. It was a bittersweet finale, but we got to 7 months together! My milk supply started to drop at 6 months once my period returned + when he started eating solids. Jack lost some weight and became fussier. After lots of back and forth, mom guilt + questioning my own judgement, we introduced HiPP formula (a European brand that I purchase locally) and it was the BEST decision for us! He is thriving and I am so happy I put my pride aside and did what was best for all of us. From 7 to 7.5 months I was still feeding him once a day but again, my supply dropped and I would still have to top him up with formula. Once again, I did what was best for all of us and decided that New Year's Eve of 2019 would be our last feed, so we could start of 2020 with a new chapter. 

I have done a lot of reflecting in the past month about breastfeeding, pumping, bottle feeding, etc. so I wanted to share it! A lot of the feedback that I received from my last blog post was from people in similar situations who felt some relief too when sharing the not so glamorous or obvious sides to motherhood. Let's be clear here, I am not an expert, I am just a new mom sharing her experiences! I personally find it so beneficial talking to like-minded people about their experiences and using the community around me for support! So here it is...

 

10 Things That I Did NOT Know About Breastfeeding + Pumping

 

  1. The number on the inside of the nipple of a baby bottle indicates what age it is for. Most nipples will have a clear number on it between 1-3. That signifies the flow speed. 1= 0-3 months, 2= 3-6 months and 3= 6+ months 
  2. A lot of people believe you can introduce a bottle/soother too soon, but you can also introduce too late. Whether you want to introduce either of these to your babies or not is your decision! I learned through family and friends that some babies refuse both options if you wait too long (all babies are different but this thought had never crossed my mind)! Trial and error people!  But apparently the sweet spot is between 6-10 weeks once breastfeeding has been established and before they get too set in their ways! Babies should really come with instruction manuals!
  3. Size matters... flange size that is! LOL wtf is a flange you may be asking?! For my pumping ladies out there, it’s essentially where you put your nipple in the pump. So flange size is essentially nipple size... and it makes a big difference! I’m about to over share with you, so family members, etc. you can stop reading now! My freestyle Medela pump comes with 2 flange sizes, 24mm and 27mm which is the measurement diameter of the nipple. What I didn’t know is that these could be too big or too small!! Most people just use whatever it comes with but I found when I found the right fit, my pumping output improved significantly! I had to try multiple different sizes before finding the perfect one. I ended up with a 17mm (yes 3 sizes down from what they give you LOL) which I purchased from May Moms (because Medela only makes to a size 21mm- which I tried). I also purchased 19mm inserts from Amazon that were too big. You'd think after spending $500-600 on a pump you would have all sizes, nope! You might be wondering how you know what is the perfect fit and what size you are?! There are online rulers you can download, but this is a good guide from Medela
  4. Clogged milk ducts hurt! Just when you think you + baby have mastered it, your boobs start throbbing and hurting and get lumpy. Soooo cute... I was very prone to them on my left side (no clue why) so I used Sunflower Lechithin from Legendairy Milk. It helps break down fats within your breast tissue and made a difference! I also used these warm compresses too!
  5. When pumping, if your flow slows down after a few minute, go back to "stimulation mode" and it’ll tell your body to make more.
  6. Power Pumping is the new Cluster Feeding. It basically lets your body know to make more, it’s like cluster feeding but with a pump. Here is how to do it: for 3-4 days straight at the same time each day, pump for 20 mins, take 10 mins off + then 10 on + 10 off. By day 3 you should notice more output! I did this a lot, especially nearing the end of my BF journey when it was slowing down
  7. There are symptoms to Breastfeed Weaning! I just thought my milk would stop and I would carry on my merry way.... nope! Night sweats (I don’t think I’d ever really had these before but they were intense!), nausea, lethargic, dizzy at times. Apparently a lot of weaning symptoms mimic early pregnancy symptoms which I have realized! 
  8. Breastfeeding supplements helped me a ton! I used Legendairy Milk's supplements and noticed a huge difference, especially at the beginning. I played around with them to see which worked best, but like I mentioned earlier, I used Sunflower Lechithin (to prevent and help clogs), Pump Princess (I noticed this helped produce more milk) + Lechita (when Jack was having digestive issues in the beginning). Their instagram account is also BOMB and so full of useful tips, go give them a follow! They also have a private Facebook group as well that I joined when I had questions!
  9. There are so many milk storage and sterilizing rules! Maybe most people know this one, but I had to figure them out. From 0-6 months, sterilize all bottles + breast pump parts after each use (with a sterilizer, I used Baby Brezza or with boiling water), after that 6 month mark, you can just clean well by hand with hot water and soap. As for storage guidelines for breastmilk, Medela has another good resource:

  10. Finally, feeding a child is hard effing working! No matter if it’s formula, breastfeeding, pumping, solids. You name it! It takes time, care, commitments, research, constant work! So however you’re feeding your child, kudos to you! You are a superstar and are growing a human- no matter how!
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5 Things That I Did NOT Expect to Happen Post Partum



Let's be clear, I love Jack, I am very lucky to have him! I am also very lucky to have had a wonderful healthy pregnancy and a baby. I am SO grateful but I wanted to share some things that are often not talked about for a new mother, as the journey can often be a struggle and even a lonely one at times because you feel like you may be the only one experiencing it. So here it is, 5 things that I did NOT expect to happen post partum...

  1. I would gain weight. You know those before and after pictures you see on Instagram? Ya mine was different. I gained 15lbs in 3 months from 3-6 months! I didn’t gain much weight in my pregnancy, so almost immediately I was back at my pre baby weight. Nice right? I never really talked about that because everyone is so different and I know the comparison game can be a b*tch. I really have no secret to why my body did that. But let me tell you, I did not expect to gain weight after 3 months! I was told everyone loses weight while nursing, you can eat more, yada yada. For me, that was the opposite, I was hungrier- yes, but my body was holding onto everything. I didn’t change anything in my diet, if anything I was more active and packing on the pounds. I am starting to get my hormones back in order but boy oh boy, I did not expect that!
  2. I would grieve my mom more than ever. I knew I would feel her absence, but becoming a mother without a mother ripped off the bandaids on all those wounds that I thought I healed. I miss her, I need her, I appreciate her more than ever. When I’d be nursing Jack in the middle of the night my mind would wander and imagine to her doing that for me when I was a baby and suddenly I felt how much she loved me, because that is how I felt about Jack. To be completely honest, that is what the hardest thing for me has been, doing this without her here. I saw how great she was with my niece and nephew and I often imagine what she would be like with him. It hurts, but I find a lot of comfort knowing many people go through this and much much worse. We are never alone.
  3. I would get my period back. Ummmm I was told as long as you were nursing you wouldn’t get your period. Wrong wrong wrong (for me at least)! I got mine at 5 months post partum (side note: post partum means post baby, many people think it means depression. Post partum depression means post baby depression, I had to clarify with at least 4 people I know). Anyways, my period came back 5 months after giving birth (and then I didn’t get it again for another 50 days and thought I was pregnant again- wowwwwwyyy I was not ready for that). But with my period, my hormones slowly started to regulate again which brings me to my next point...
  4. My breastmilk supply changed when I got to 6 months. I know that getting your period back helps your body try to balance your hormones, but for me it also meant it decreased my milk supply. I also did not expect to feel extreme guilt when cutting back with breastfeeding... followed by extreme relief. Let me say this first- whatever option you choose, fed is best! I’ve said this before but breastfeeding is a lot of work and takes a toll on your body. I’ve had people I know breastfeed for a couple years and some for a couple weeks (or not at all) and I can honestly say that I never have judgement towards it and understand all decisions. But when it came to me- suddenly I felt huge mom guilt when my supply started to drop and I couldn’t give him enough. Not only did I feel guilty as a mom, it brought up underlying deeply rooted insecurities of not being “enough”. That combined with fluctuating hormones in my body with getting my period back and with nursing, stirred up lots of deeply rooted emotions. BUT WAIT THERE IS A SILVER LINING, when I introduced formula, I also had a sense of relief and happiness come over me. Suddenly I knew I was giving him enough and doing what was best for him. I felt like a new human, and right now I nurse him once a day and give him organic formula (hipp from the UK- more on that later) and solids each day and he is SO happy and thriving. I may not be exclusively breastfeeding anymore, but I am giving Jack what he needs and that brings me so much comfort.
  5. I would feel extremely out of tune with my body. I don't know about you, but I found the 6 months post partum had more of an impact on my body than pregnancy did! At around 3 months my hormones started to shift drastically and I started to lose hair, my hair was always greasy and my skin was dry + dull, I gained 15lbs, my appetite increased, I was still very much healing internally and did not know what the heck was going on! I am not trying to scare people or paint a bad picture, but my body did not feel like my own. I felt very out of control and out of tune with my body which was upsetting. I also started working again at 3 months which did not help my cortisol levels! BUT don't worry, there is a happy ending! I started going back to acupuncture and homeopathy, I invested in a Peloton so that I could work out at home, my period came back (this was a good thing, it was my body's way of trying to get back to normal!) and Jack was in more of a routine which helped me feel so much better! I am still on a journey, but now that I am breastfeeding significantly less, my hormones are starting to shift even more. It is definitely a process! There are times when I feel extremely critical of my body, my journey, my self and then I have to try and snap out of it and remember what I just did. I grew a human, I continued to grow that human for 7 months with milk my body made for him, and now I am continuing to grow and nourish him with nutrient rich foods and formula. I am doing what is best for him and me. And the latter is not often emphasized... what is best for YOU. One of my best friends pediatricians often checks in with her at appointments and not just her child. She asks how she is doing and always stresses how her decisions and journey impact her (not just her child). I wish my doctor was like this! (side note: if any of your know a good paediatrician in the GTA who is like this, let me know!). Often times our own feelings and well being get dismissed because we are doing what is best for baby. What I am slowly starting to realize is that sometimes you have to do what is best for you, so you can show up even better for the people around you. For me that means introducing formula, taking more "me" time and focusing on my own goals and achievements without feeling the "mom guilt"
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Meatless Monday: Lentil Burritos

I’ve said it once and I will say it again (and again and again), sneak more nutrients into meals, even if you’re cooking for yourself! so that’s what this lentil burrito did. 

toppings: whatever you love! we used avocado, pickled onions (I often have a large batch made to add into meals), salsa, cashew “cheese” that we bought from Costco (brand: Le Maison Grand)

 

Lentil Mixture

  • 1 can of lentils (rinsed + drained well)
  • 1 large sweet potato (diced)
  • 1 pepper (diced)
  • 1/4 onion 
  • 1 clove garlic 
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp paprika 
  • 1 tsp chili powder 
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt 

 

 Instructions

  1. heat coconut oil on a frying pan at medium heat
  2. add onions + garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes
  3. add sweet potatoes + spices (paprika, chili + salt) and mix around every couple minutes until they are soft
  4. add in peppers + lentils and mix until combined. you can serve this way, but I took it one step further so the mixture would have a finer texture. I mixed in my food processor and blended on low for 20-30 seconds

I hope you enjoy as much as we did! feel free to sprinkle burritos with some super seeds for even more added nutrients or to blend in some greens into the mixture!

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Pizza Pockets

I'm back in the kitchen! Took me almost 6 weeks to make more than pre-made cookies, pasta, or oatmeal but I made it! WOOOO. I am at the stage with Jack that I "baby wear" him all the time and it makes me feel human again! I feel so much more productive and less confined to the couch, bed or having to figure out where to put him when I want to do something. He loves when I put him in the baby wrap and usually falls asleep within minutes! It's like a snuggle/swaddle/swing all in one as the moving motion is very calming for him. Side note: the baby wearing wrap made me so nervous at first and it took many attempts to get confident with it along with many youtube videos and the help of friends. ANYWAYS... where were we... PIZZA POCKETS! an oldie but a goodie. Let's cut to the chase...

Yields: 16-20 pockets

Ingredients

  • 1 pack large won ton wrappers
  • 1.5 cups tomato sauce (sugar free)
  • 1.5 cups chickpeas (rinsed + drained, I used canned and just rinse extra well)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp. parsley (dried or fresh)
  • 1 tbsp. basil (dried or fresh)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt

 

Instructions

  • Mix together all the ingredients (except the wontons) in a blender or food processor until well combined and resembles a bolognese sauce

  • Next, get a cup of water to use to seal the won ton wrappers with your fingers (ex. dip finger in water and run finger along edges). Lay out one wonton at a time and place 1-2 tbsp of the mixture in the middle of the wrapper 

  • Fold in the two edges and run your dipped finger along the edge (see below)

  • Next, roll in the bottom edges two or three times (see below)

  • Repeat as follows until mixture or wonton wrappers are finished
  • Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper

  • Cook for 10 minutes at 350. Flip and then cook again for 12-15 minutes depending on desired crispness of pizza pockets. Let cool for at least 10 minutes and enjoy!
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Our 10 BIGGEST BABY CHALLENGES (so far!)

 

10.  Jack had mild jaundice. I didn’t know that 50% of babies had this and I felt like a horrible mom that he got it! Was it my fault? Is it something I did? Was he not feeding enough? He had to get 4-5 blood tests (his foot pricked) which made me cry (more than him) the first time it happened. He only had a mild case of it so they just monitored it, and if it gets bad the baby usually needs light therapy. He did not end up needing light therapy, but even if he did it is not a big deal and very normal! I had no idea this was a thing! He ended up getting it out of his system through breastfeeding and peeing/pooping it all out.
9.  He didn’t poop from days 3-5 and we were so worried! This happened when we were trying to get rid of the jaundice and they say “pooping” helps get rid of it so that added to my mom guilt. He eventually pooped on day 5 and hasn’t stopped since! Almost every diaper change now! He had he meconium poops for the first few days and when my breast milk came in, it took his body a few days to adjust. We did some tummy oil massages, warm baths, tummy time, even thermometer in his bum (a nurse did it, not me), bicycle legs, so it all eventually worked!
8.  He hated his bassinet! For the first week he would barely sleep in it (and it made me so sad seeing him in it alone) so he slept on mine or Jesse’s chest, in his swing or in his boppy pillow. People warned me to be careful which we were but I realized quickly, as long as you are being safe, you gotta do what you gotta do!
7.  He has baby acne. Ok, this is totally normally but I didn’t know it lasted so long! He still is working through some pimples here and there as his skin is getting accustomed to the outside world but most babies get it!
6.  He grunts and snorts when sleeping. I was warned about this by friends and even my midwives but until you put your child to sleep and hear these noises coming from them, you have no idea! You worry about their breathing, if they are comfortable, if they are sick! I asked every health professional I’ve come in contact with and they’ve told me how normal it was, I even sent multiple videos of him sleeping to my mom friends. When babies are on their backs they have more pressure on their teeny diaphragms and it makes their breath heavier. He usually only does this when falling asleep and gets quiet after that- but then the quiet scares you too! I still find myself putting my hand gently on his chest to check for breathing some nights.
5.  Painful gas. Oh my gosh, you feel so bad when this happens! Did you burp them enough, was it something you ate?! I find when I eat spicy food and when he eats quickly and I don’t burp him extra then he gets more gas. I avoid spicy foods now and when he eats super quickly I try to slow him down and I’ll burp him longer/ hold him up right longer. When that doesn’t work, I use a homeopathic store bought remedy from Boiron for upset stomachs and “colic”, see here. He isn’t a colicky baby but it helps usually within 15 minutes with his gas. I love this stuff and even keep it in my purse and diaper bag just in case!
4.  Cradle cap/dandruff. He has very mild dandruff but I’ve heard it can get worse if you don’t address it so I bought the FridaBaby brush and I use with some olive or calendula oil on it to massage his head. I follow it with his regular shampoo/body wash (I use Shoosha Naturals shampoo as well as their calendula oil. It is a great line of natural products that is even made in Toronto!). He loves the massages so much that so I even use on his body too and he gets so relaxed!
3.  Baby reflexes. Babies have so many startling reflexes which really affects their sleep! They move their hands a lot and it impacts them greatly. A few people recommended to try different swaddles and my best friends swore by the “Love to Dream” swaddle, which works wonders for us. It hugs their sides so they feel snuggled and comforted but also allows them to sleep with their arms up (which they say is great for development). It really has helped him get better at sleeping! I don’t want to jinx it but at 4 weeks he started sleeping 5-6 hours at the beginning of the night.
2.  “Sucking to Sooth”. I sometimes find this little guy loves to be on the breast just to sooth. You can tell when they are hungry as they are more keen on eating but I find he just kind of hangs out when he is "sucking to sooth" and uses me as a human pacifier. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I let it happen as they do find it comforting. But most of the time I put a soother in his mouth. I introduced that at around 2.5 weeks and didn’t want to until at least 4 weeks as I didn’t want to create “nipple confusion”. I’m happy I threw that idea out the window (with the help of family and friends)! I had to play around with a couple soothers as well and eventually the MAM newborn soothers worked for us. It took a few tries for him to figure out what the heck it was but I find it helpful for calming him to sleep, during car rides or when he is sucking to sooth.
1.  Bottles! I also had the idea in my head to not introduce bottles too soon to create "nipple confusion" but my sister in law (who is currently expecting baby #3) brought up a great point that I had never even heard or thought of- sometimes if you introduce too late they won’t ever take one. With that being said, I started using my Haaka (manual pump) and bought a Medela Freestyle around 3 weeks so that I could give him a bottle when I was not around or for Jesse to give him (so they can bond + give me some down time). I’m so happy I also threw this idea out the window to not introduce a bottle too soon. A lot of people suggested just waiting until baby is a good eater and latcher to introduce a bottle (which Jack is thankfully) but sometimes you do not have a choice and once again, you do what you gotta do! I have learned very quickly that motherhood is alllllllll about adapting. We also tried a couple bottles as wel before we found one that worked well (he was taking all bottles but I found some flowed out too quickly and made him gassy or choke)! We ended up going with Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Newborn Set and I like giving him a bottle before he goes to bed (it really calms him down/gives me time to get the house cleaned a bit/for Jesse to be a part of the process). Because I’m not feeding at that time, once he’s down for the night I usually pump for storage (i.e. pump my milk and freeze it for later use when I am working or not around). I’m still playing around with pumping and figuring it all out but I usually do once at night and once in the morning, sometimes I use the Haaka for a midday one as well!

So that is the 10 biggest challenges we have had- SO FAR! Every day with a baby is different and just when you think you’ve figured them out, they develop and change a bit more and there is a new thing to figure out! I know there will be many more teachable moments to come but I find asking questions and leaning on my support system around me has helped a lot! It’s a lot do trial + error and persistence! 

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