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Supporting mothers in establishing a successful breastfeeding relationship is one of our most important roles as doulas.  

When we talk about the first hours after birth we often tell expectant mothers to trust the baby, they know exactly what to do and the less we mess with the process, the better it goes.





The following YouTube videos show how the slow, gradual process occurs.  We all just need to be patient and let nature take its course.  You and your baby are amazing magical creatures.  If anyone tells you otherwise, come back and watch these.  

The first is a quick highlight reel video by Entrust.  
The second video is from Raising Children Network and has interviews with two mothers.
This third video posted by Jennifer Pitkin is the whole process.  This mom and baby have had immediate skin-to-skin and it seems there has been no interference.  Oh the suspense!!
 
 
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I taught myself to knit and crochet in high school.  MANY moons ago!  My favorite time spent knitting and crocheting was during my pregnancies.  There is something special about knitting baby outfits for your little one.  Each of my littles had a wardrobe by the time they were born.

I also made a blanket for each of my babies while I was pregnant. It kept my mind occupied when I was nervous about giving birth.  It helped keep me sane when I was still pregnant at 42 weeks.  It helped me connect with my baby before the birth.  While I crocheted, I imagined what their personalities would be and what they would look like wrapped in my creation.

Being pregnant in New Jersey during the winter made me feel isolated.  I found a little knitting group that met at the Barnes & Noble so I would have actual human interaction.  I kept up with them after the baby was born, too. It helped pick me up during the baby blues. They were a great postpartum support group of wise, experienced grandmothers.

As a doula, I continued knitting to occupy the "waiting time".  I always have a baby hat in progress in my doula bag, sometimes finishing them in time for the birth.  Clients sent me pictures of those babies wearing their doula hats.  My creation on their creation.  Nothing better than that.

My Stained Glass Blanket above is a version of the Granny Square found here.  It was a stash buster project and I love how it turned out.  It isn't quite a beginner project though, so this link will take you to the Yarnspirations site for an easy Beginner Baby Blanket Pattern.  I hope it inspires you to try yarn crafting!

 
 
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Today's recipe was submitted by the amazing Chiropractor, Dr Kyle Klim of Integrative Wellness Group in Belmar, NJ. We hear some rumors about a pregnancy cookbook.....We will post once we confirm;)

Ingredients:

4 to 6 chicken thighs or breasts, depending on how many servings you need
2 heads of broccoli, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley or dried Italian seasoning
2 cap fulls of Braggs apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Equipment:

2 baking sheets

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On one baking sheet, place coconut oil and broccoli. Season with salt, pepper, and apple cider vinegar. On the other sheet, place the chicken, and season with olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper. Bake broccoli for 15 minutes, until tender. Bake chicken for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of each piece. When finished, plate them up and enjoy!

You can easily substitute lots of different veggies for this recipe such as asparagus, sprouts, zucchini, or anything your family enjoys. 


Dr.Kyle Klim, DC, BS
Doctor of Chiropractic specializing in Pregnancy, Pediatrics, Gymnasts, Webster Technique Certified, International Chiropractic Pediatric Association Member 

Dr. Kyle grew up in rural northeastern Pennsylvania and has been under Chiropractic care his entire life. Dr. Kyle decided as a teenager that he wanted to become a Chiropractor in order to help people achieve the level of total wellness he had been experiencing as a result of being under consistent care. With Dr. Kyle's experience as a competitive gymnast, college cheerleader, and tumbling coach, he understands the needs of the athlete in competition, balance, strength, flexibility, recovery, and performance. Dr. Kyle is also a member of the a international Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) and focuses on keeping the body balanced and aligned during the pregnancy for the best possible outcome during labor and delivery. He is also Webster Technique certified which is a specific Chiropractic analysis, soft tissue release, and adjustment to properly align the pelvis to allow for the best bio mechanical and neurological function giving the growing baby the best amount of room and positioning for the birthing process. Dr. Kyle is dedicated to taking care of the family as a whole in order for everyone to be their best every day.

You can reach Dr Kyle Klim at (732) 359-8263 or visit the office located at 
800 Main Street #109 Belmar, NJ 07719

 
 
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The first day of spring gave us our last burst of winter, here in NJ.  Today's recipe is a great way to warm up during these last few freezing nights!  This recipe is a copycat of the famous Skyline Chili restaurant recipe.

I can't usually wait til the next day to eat it-- it's sooo yummy! Can be served with gluten free pasta, or over rice, and without cheese depending on your dietary restrictions.

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Ingredients:
  • 1 quart cold water
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 cups crushed tomato ( or 1-15oz can)
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Preparation:

  1. Add beef and water to a 4-quart pot. Bring to a simmer while stirring until the ground beef is in very small pieces. Simmer for 30 minutes 
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients.
  3. Continue to simmer on low, uncovered, for 3 hours. Add water as needed if the chili becomes to thick.
  4. Refrigerate the chili overnight, and the next day remove the layer of fat from top before reheating and serving. 

Today's recipe was submitted by the fabulous WBC doula Cornelia Mazzan, she can be reached at cornelia@wisebirthchoices.com


 
 
This week on Bold and the Beautiful the Forresters and Spencers talk homebirth, midwives & doulas.
 
 
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Today's recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free.  Prep time approx 10 minutes.  Cook Time approximately 30 minutes.    This is a great lunch option, too.  Make a large batch and eat throughout the week.


Ingredients
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
2 white onions
3 cloves or 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
½ cup red lentils*
2 cups of water or broth**
1 – 10 oz package frozen spinach or 10 oz fresh (one bag)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
________
4 cups water (approximate) Depending on brand of rice 
2 cups basmati rice

Directions *If you choose to use larger lentils it will increase the amount of cooking time.
**If you choose to use a broth, vegetable or chicken is suggested.

1. Saute Onion in a deep skillet over a medium heat until onions become translucent.  
   Add garlic and saute for another minute.
2. Add lentils and water/broth and bring to a boil then reduce to low and cover for
   approximately 20 minutes until lentils reach desired tenderness.  
   (It may be necessary to add more fluid while cooking.)
3. Begin to cook rice.
4. If using frozen spinach:  While lentils are simmering, cook frozen spinach in
   microwave.
5. Once lentils are desired tenderness, add spinach, salt and cumin.  
6.  Add additional toppings/seasonings to taste.

Today's recipe is contributed by the Fabulous WBC doula Anna Gourlay-Irons.  Anna can be emailed at anna@wisebirthchoices.com


 
 
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My family loves this recipe because it feels like a special treat. I love this recipe because it tastes like tacos without all of work and has a good amount of protein.

You could substitute or add meat to the beans. Personalize this to suit your family.  

This would be great for #familygamenight ! It will become a quick favorite!







Ingredients
3 cans cooked black beans
One packet of taco seasoning or 3 T. Homemade taco seasoning
6 oz shredded cheddar cheese
2 avocados cubed
1 jar of salsa
8 oz sour cream
Chopped green onions (optional)
One bag of tortilla chips

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Warm up beans on stove top and season with taco mix
3. Spread beans into the bottom on a 9 x 11 pan
4. Top with shredded cheese and warm in oven until cheese is melted
5. Top with cubed avocados, a jar of salsa, sour cream and chopped chives.
6. Serve immediately with tortilla chips


Today's recipe was submitted by the fabulous WBC Doula Tzipi Sutin.  Tzipi can be reached at tzipi@wisebirthchoices.com

 
 
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I admit, the Royal Family fascinates me!  According to Life & Style Weekly, Kate is expecting baby #3 with Prince William.  If it's true, congratulations to the growing family!

Like many of us regular non-royal moms, Kate has had rough pregnancies dealing with hyperemesis and bed-rest.  I was sick through the entire duration of pregnancy #2.  It was horrible.

However, Kate is a future Queen.  She is provided unending support by nannies, midwives, Ladies Maids and chefs...(ahhhh Downton Abbey season 6 starts soon in the US!)   

While I may be Queen of my Castle here in Morganville NJ, the staffing is sadly inadequate. If this was a Vlog, I would pan the camera.  You would see, my maid sucks and the chef did not show up again today.

So how can we get the royal treatment for our pregnancy and early days after the baby arrives?  Here are my 3 quick suggestions:

1.  Plan ahead for time to rest.  Kate has planners and schedulers whose sole purpose is to plan her day.  I have my datebook.  It's sad we have to plan to rest, but we do, so learn to use the crock-pot, follow-our Menu Monday Blog and sign-up any older kids you have for some activity that takes them out of your space for an hour or two.  We all benefit from some child-free time and they benefit from some mommy-free time.

2.  Surround yourself with people who are positive support.  A good friend who just agrees because she know it's what you need to hear, and then gently nudges you in the better direction.  ie:  Me:  I am going to eat this entire box of Ghirardelli chocolates and follow them with a bottle of wine! Friend: Sounds AWESOME!  How about I take you for a milkshake and a pedi instead?

3.  Plan for "after birth support".  If you can afford a nanny, hire one.  If not, this is the time to put some cash aside for a postpartum doula.  Kate has them, we should all have them.  A Postpartum Doula comes to you and does all the things that Kate's staff does for her. She helps mom with self-care, she helps care for baby, she helps you spend time with older siblings, she makes sure you are eating and showering, she listens to you and makes sure you are healthy in body and mind!  She gets it.

Most importantly she treats you like a queen.  

Not in the creepy "smoking in the alley complaining about uppity nonsense" way.  In the "I will listen and support you without judgement" way.  It's time we all got treated like Kate.  
It takes a special kind of person with a great deal of patience and compassion and training to support a new mother.  And we have plenty of them!

Call us now at 732-754-9551 to see how we can treat you like a Royal.






 
 
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Soup is the most versatile meal for families with a #newbaby.  This is a great option to prepare as a gift for that new family you are visiting, too!

Just ladle into a mug and you can eat it anywhere at any time.  Keep it in the refrigerator and microwave a cup throughout the day.  

If you dice the ingredients small enough, you won't even need the spoon! (Great for those times when you only have one hand!)

Today's recipe comes from the SheKnows blog site.  They have a cool daily recipe blog that can be delivered to your inbox.

Tomato Escarole Orzo Soup

Serves 6

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 35 minutes | Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can green beans
  • 2 cups chopped escarole leaves
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup orzo pasta
  • Parmesan, for garnish
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish


Directions:
  1. To a pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and onion, and cook for 3 – 4 minutes or until the onions are soft.
  2. Add in the minced garlic, and cook for an additional minute, until the garlic is fragrant.
  3. Add the vegetable broth, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, vegetables and seasonings. Mix well, then cover the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Stir in the orzo, and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Ladle into bowls, garnish with Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley, and serve warm.


Original post can be found on the SheKnows website  

 
 
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Bone Broth

We have received a few requests for a Bone Broth Recipe as we head into the winter season.  This is a more labor intensive recipe, as you need to skim the broth over the course of cooking.  This is a great recipe to prepare before your little one makes their debut! You can add it to your freezer meal stash.


It's also a great energy boost during labor, when your appetite is low.

Broths and stocks have been used in Europe and Asia for centuries and they are essential in gourmet kitchens. I often have a cup of warm broth as a snack, and it is great to keep in the freezer for those "under-the-weather" days.  You can use broth as a substitute for water when cooking rice or quinoa, or use it to make a quick homemade gravy

Additionally, the soaking of the bones in an acidic water draws out the calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other trace minerals, making them more readily absorbed by our body. It is more budget-friendly than buying glucosamine-chondroitin and mineral supplements at your local Vitamin store. 



Prep: 5-15 minutes 
(See Cook times below)


Ingredients
  • 2 pounds (or more) of bones from a healthy source
  • 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Water

Optional additions***
  • 2 chicken feet for extra gelatin
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 2 cloves of garlic for last 30 minutes of cook time
  • Salt/Pepper/Herbs for flavor

You will need a large stock pot (or crock pot) to cook the broth and a strainer to remove the pieces when it is done.

If you are using raw bones, especially beef bones, it improves flavor to roast them in the oven first. I place them in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes at 350.

The first step in preparing is to gather high quality bones. Many butchers will sell bones; mine saves me “chicken backs” which is just the frame after he has removed the breasts, wings, and drumsticks. 

***I also keep a large zip lock bag in my freezer and put all the bones in it when I roast a chicken at home. This usually works out to 2-3 full chicken carcasses. If possible I’ll also add 2 chicken feet per gallon of water, this is only if you can find them and can tolerate them in the pot (optional!). 

***You can also add some organic vegetables for flavor. These are optional but will add extra flavor and nutrition. Again, I have a large zip lock in my freezer where I save all my onion ends, onion skins, carrot tops, leafy parts of the celery, and any bits that would get tossed otherwise.  1 onion, 2 carrots, and 2 celery stalks can be used if you do not have a scrap bag in your freezer.

Instructions
Place the bones in a large stock pot (I use a 5 gallon pot). Pour (filtered) water to cover the bones and add the vinegar. Let sit for 20-30 minutes in the cool water. The acid helps make the nutrients in the bones more available. This can also be done in a crock pot.

***Rough chop and add the vegetables (except the parsley and garlic, if using) to the pot. Add any salt, pepper, spices, or herbs, if using.

Bring the broth to a boil. Once it has reached a vigorous boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer until for the following cooking times: 

Beef broth/stock: 48 hours
Chicken or poultry broth/stock: 24-36 hours
Fish broth: 8 hours

During the first few hours of simmering, you’ll need to remove the foam that floats to the surface. A frothy/foamy layer will form and it can be easily scooped off with a big spoon. 

***During the last 30 minutes, add the garlic and parsley, if using.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Strain using a fine metal strainer to remove all the bits of bone and vegetable. When cool enough, store in a gallon size glass jar in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for later use.  


For more info on making broths, or the health benefits visit The Nourished Kitchen or 
Traditional Cooking School.

Todays recipe was submitted by the Fabulous WBC Doula Shea Coffey.  Shea can be reached at shannon@wisebirthchoices.com