The Myth of the Due Date

Posted: 4 days ago in Pregnancy

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If you are pregnant, fuggedabout your due date.

It’s a myth. Mmm-hmmmm, you heard me right. Due dates don’t really mean anything.

Think of how unique each of us are; we are many different combinations of height, weight, hair and eye color. No two noses look exactly alike, and let’s not even get into how different Kim Kardashian’s rear end is from Chelsea Handler’s.

So why do we think that each and every baby should be born exactly 280 days from the onset of their mom’s last period? That, my friends, is the myth of the due date.

There is, in fact, a window of 4-5 weeks in which babies can be expected to come and be considered full-term, with no complications.

Why babies come when they do is a little-understood science. Some theorize that when a baby’s lungs are mature, this triggers a hormone that starts labor. Others say that since those last weeks are when baby shows the most growth, they come when they are at their peak survival time – fat stores, brain growth and reflexes are ready for the outside world.

So if most babies will be born healthy and happy between 38-42 weeks, why do so many doctors start talking induction 38 weeks (or earlier!)?

I dunno, but I can guess.  

An induced labor is a controlled labor. There is no mystery about when, where or how labor will start. It’s all nice and tidy, tied up in a package of hospital gowns, Pitocin and a 9-to-5 work day. Nice for the doctor, but is it good for the baby or mama? I think not.

The contractions stimulated by Pitocin are waaaaay stronger and more painful than those you would have had if labor had started naturally. The use of Pitocin also necessitates that you have other interventions like an IV and constant fetal monitoring, not to mention it increases the likelihood of the need for a C-section.

Not. Cool.

Who are we to think we know better than nature about when a baby should be born? In a complicated, high-risk pregnancy, perhaps yes. But in the vast majority of healthy pregnancies? Step away from the induction, please!

Our belly buttons may pop out toward the end of pregnancy, but alas, it’s not the same as the turkey thermometer. There is no “done” button.

Only Mother Nature knows when the time is right for your baby to come. So, Listen to your mother, ya hear?

Empty Calorie Foods

Posted: 11 days ago in Lifestyle

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We all know what empty calories are.

They’re foods that you can eat a lot of, and shortly thereafter, feel hungry again.

What about those times, though, that you just have a light snack, and surprisingly, it gets you through the day? What’s up with THAT?

What’s up is this: if the food you are consuming isn’t actually nourishing your body, you will feel hungry again until you give your body what it needs. And what it needs isn’t necessarily what you’re putting in your mouth.

empty-calorie-foods-smallEmpty calories are foods made up of solid fats and added sugars. According to the USDA, “Solid fats are fats that are solid at room temperature, like butter, beef fat, and shortening. Some solid fats are found naturally in foods. They can also be added when foods are processed by food companies or when they are prepared. Added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added when foods or beverages are processed or prepared.”

Though your body is getting an extremely high dose of calories with empty calorie foods — they bring with them little-to-no nutritional value. And our society is running rampant with them! The inspiration for this piece was an ad I recently spotted for Taco Bell that was luring customers with their new “waffle breakfast sandwich”; because who wants to eat a waffle OR a breakfast sandwich when you can have them at the same time?!

TacoBell_Breakfast_sign_300If this isn’t shocking to you, my guess is, you’re eating too many empty-calorie foods.

On the flip side, if we choose nutrient-dense foods, our bodies can run on them for a good long while. To explain, let me paint a picture for you. Wouldn’t you be pissed if you went in for an oil change and they put sugar in your tank? Of course! Your car needs oil, not sugar. The same goes for your body; it’s looking for vitamins and minerals, not solid fat and sugar.

Case in point? I recently participated in a cleanse – really an elimination diet in disguise – and was super-surprised at how little hunger I experienced. Even though I was consuming far less food, it was of GREAT caliber. Tons of fresh veggies and fruits, healthy grains and nuts and beans. So what if I pooped like 3 times a day because of all the roughage? I slept better, had more energy, and had nary a hunger pang.

And then it all went to hell in a hand-basket.

The cleanse ended, the temperatures dropped and I fell face-first into some bagels and pasta. My body didn’t know what hit it. However, I was close enough to the cleanse to remember how good I truly felt, so I put on big girl panties and reigned in the feeding frenzy.

donutI’m eating more thoughtfully now, and focusing on quality of food, not quantity. Guess what? My body likes it! So regardless of how poorly you have been eating lately, we’re all capable of better.

Resolve to give your body what it really needs — not what it wants on an impulse. If not at this very moment, consider making it your New Year’s resolution.

Successful Nursing Tips

Posted: 16 days ago in Parenting Pregnancy

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Successful nursing starts before the cord is cut.

Best circumstances, you’re going to have the baby on your chest as soon as he/she is born, and while the cord is still pulsating. Unfortunately in a hospital birth, they take the baby after the cord is cut to be cleaned up. So an unmedicated – natural birth – can be in the hospital, but you will need to request that the baby is placed on your chest immediately following the birth. I also suggest requesting to let the cord naturally stop pulsating before it’s cut.

If you don’t believe me when I tell you how miraculous this process is – then watch this breastcrawl video (so long as you’re not faint of heart). It’s of a baby working its way up momma’s chest directly after giving birth. Babies have a rooting reflex where if their cheek and mouth is stimulated, and they feel the nipple, they will move toward it; it’s a natural reflex. Babies are hard wired to nurse, it’s us momma’s that need some training.

Here are some training tips.

  1. Baby positioning is really important – baby’s chest to mom’s breast is the mantra/visual to have when nursing your baby. Many moms make the mistake of holding their baby in a traditional cradle hold (face up in arms) – necessitating that baby should turn its head to nurse. Have you ever tried to swallow with your head turned to one side? It’s pretty hard to do. Position your baby where his or her head is in a neutral position when latching on. For a visual on this, watch the video below.
  1. Make sure that baby’s mouth is really wide open, and literally shove as much of your breast as you can into their mouth. A lot of moms make the mistake of just trying to pry the nipple into the mouth, when really the whole areola  should go into the baby’s mouth.
  2. I’m a big fan of letting the baby nurse on demand in general, but definitely in the first week. The more baby sucks, the more your body stimulates the production of milk – you cannot spoil baby at this age.
  3. Rooming in – i.e. keeping baby close to you is critical for getting to know your baby’s signs, especially those signs telling you that they want to nurse. That’s why I’m not a big fan of babies being in the nursery down the hospital, or being in their own room the first few weeks.breastfeeding
  4. I would avoid giving a bottle at all cost, it creates nipple confusion. A baby has to work in order to get milk from a breast, and has instant gratification of high volumes of milk from a bottle. They will definitely boycott the breast if a bottle is introduced too quickly. Eventually I love the idea of pumping, and letting dad feed but I would hold off for at least 6 weeks or more before bringing a bottle into the picture.
  5. A lot of women feel pressured to supplement with “formula” because they’re told that they are not producing enough milk, or their baby is losing weight. It is very normal for a baby to lose up to 10% of its body weight after birth when nursing. As long as baby is wetting his/her diaper, you should be fine. If you have a serious concern, consult with your doctor.

If you have any other questions, comments, or concerns – I’m happy to help.

Good luck to all the new moms!

The 21-Day Smoothie Challenge

Posted: 22 days ago in Health Inspiration

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If you haven’t met my good friend Lisa Consiglio Ryan of Whole Health Designs, you should, and now is a great time because she’s hosting a 21-day green smoothie challenge!

I am tickled pink green to partner with Lisa to inspire you guys to get more healthy deliciousness in your lives! Lisa and her team are leading a 21-day green smoothie challenge meant to supercharge your health with increased nutrient intakes. How does it happen? Lisa has concocted smoothie recipes to end all smoothie recipes; they’re delicious AND nutritious, all at the same time.

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I THINK LISA EXPLAINS IT BEST:

“Dark leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses. Greens like kale and spinach are packed with tons of nutrients your body needs to boost immunity and keep your organs in tip top shape. Greens contain vitamins A, C, and K plus folate, potassium and calcium. In fact, did you know that greens like spinach have protein, too? And chlorophyll.  This is a special sauce nutrient you MUST have in your diet! Chlorophyll feeds your cells and helps balance out your pH level within in the blood.  Let’s just say chlorophyll eases inflammation. Inflammation causes pain and chronic disease so pumping the green stuff is crucial to our health.  Also if you are active, or an athlete, you’ll notice you’ll get faster and recover quicker due to the chlorophyll magic.”

- Lisa Consiglio Ryan of Whole Health Designs

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If you’re weary of drinking your veggies/anything green – don’t be. I can vouch that her recipes are delicious! And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a delicious smoothie? Did I mention that it’s FREE? And that you can win a Vitamix blender? Oh and yeah – you just might stay healthy, energetic and lean throughout this holiday season!

I was thrilled to jump on the bandwagon with Lisa, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect for me. I’m sure you’ll be able to relate. I’ve been eating really “clean” this fall, but Thanksgiving is just about my favorite holiday. My perfect bite? A little bit of every side dish on one fork. Yup. I want it all. At once. And then the pies. Oh, the pies. And perhaps round 2 of dinner.

Stick a fork in my lethargic a$$, I am DONE!

I’ll give myself a few days to nosh on leftovers before I get down to business, lest I end up getting stuck in the chimney by Christmas.

Lisa makes it sooooo easy to get back on the wagon — or stay on without ever having to fall off this holiday season! You’ll get a shopping list, daily recipe and inspiration/guidance from Lisa herself.

The Green-Up Smoothie Challenge is starting SOON – This Monday, December 1st for 3 weeks, so sign up now! Again it’s free, but you’ll be joining a tribe of hundreds who want to be healthier and more energetic this holiday season, and you’ll be able to connect with all of them on the challenge’s Facebook page.

Don’t forget about the very real chance to win that Vitamix blender – to know it is to love it!

Who’s with me?

Thank You. Gracias. Danke. Merci.

Posted: 23 days ago in Parenting

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Wowzers!  

What a difference a year makes! 12 months ago I was doing a back handspring as we approached 3,000 Facebook likes. Can you imagine how excited I was when we hit 10,000 fans recently? I might just have peed my pants a little.

I am humbled. I am excited. But most of all, I am so incredibly grateful for all of you.

Whether you just occasionally read a post or come back day after day after day to support me, you are the reason I have a love affair with my laptop. When something funny or profound happens to me I can’t wait to share it with you. When I stumble upon a great recipe or piece of advice I immediately start working on a way to get it to you, ASAP.

boardYou are my people. And I am so, so grateful we found each other.

I wanted to share a little art project my hubs and I put together last year for Thanksgiving. We love it so much that we left it up all year, and our friends and family continue to add to it. Check it out:

We nailed a few pieces of barn siding together, added tacks and twine, and voila: art with a (grateful) attitude! I find myself going back time and again to feel the love. The love of: pumpkin pie, hot yoga on a cold day, dark chocolate, holding hands with my husband, being fortunate enough to help others, happiness, love.

There’s aren’t guidelines for this sort of thing because what you’re grateful for is unique to YOU. I wish you and yours a day filled with full tummies, close friends and family, and a whole boatload of things to be grateful for.

Hugs and kisses,

Are You a Sucker or an A$$hole?

Posted: 25 days ago in Parenting

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Hopefully, most of the time, you are neither of these.

But in times of conflict or confrontation, I find that most people tend to be consistently one, or the other.

Me? I’ve been a sucker for most of my life, but I gotta tell ya, I think it’s time to start being an a$$hole.

“One of my main regrets in life is giving considerable thought to inconsiderate people” – Jarod Kintz

divider2Some minor examples?

  • Letting the gal with a full grocery cart unapologetically cut you off in the express lane with nary a word or a dirty look.
  • Or, saying “yes” for the hundredth time to picking up the slack for a co-worker when a firm “no” is in order.
  • How about it being someone’s turn to buy snacks for your kid’s team and they conveniently miss that day every. single. time.

Maybe I should have exercised being a little less of a sucker over the years, because right now I’ve got one foot on a banana peel and one on the land of being a permanent a$$hole.banana-peel

I have just plain had it with being a sucker.

So if you are the unfortunate recipient of my a$$hole-ness, I apologize in advance, especially if it’s your first attempt at being one yourself.

My rant is over, but I welcome yours if you have a story or two to share!

The “Other” Coffee Break

Posted: 30 days ago in Everything Else

theothercoffeebreakIf you are like me, you need a little pick-me-up in the middle of the day.

Sure, coffee can do it for you, but what has coffee done for you lately, except give you yellow teeth, bad breath, and the jitters?

Why don’t you try the “other” coffee break?

Let me explain…

A good friend of mine took my advice and invested in a Lelo.  Don’t know what a Lelo is? I suggest reading my post, “Have You Met My Friend Lelo? You Should!

Anywho, she was feeling a little schlumpish one mid-afternoon, like most of us do, so she made an appointment with herself to get to know her ‘new friend’ Lelo.

Well. What do you know? After her little “session”, she was simply bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.  Her skin was glowing, her eyes were sparkling and there was a spring in her step. What a great idea! 

Now clearly, this can only work if you are lucky enough to work at home or can find a private space with a locking door. I don’t recommend that you do it on a sales call (though it might improve your sales if you let them watch). I’m kidding!

I don’t think my little recommendation will put Starbucks out of business any time soon, but it might just get you through the day in a better way!

Cheers-zzzzz!