Get Snacking: Labour Snacks for the Birthing Person

Labour Snacks

Whether you're a snacker or not, eating during labour is mostly done in the form of snacking (it's difficult to eat a full meal while labouring)! To make snack prep easier, we thought we'd give you a list of great snacks for labour:

  • cut up fruit - we love bananas, apples, watermelon, and cold berries, stay away from citrus as it doesn't feel good coming back up (throwing up during labour is common)
  • cut up veggies - we love carrots and cucumbers
  • nuts and seeds - watch our for allergies
  • dried fruit (unsweetened)
  • popsicles - we love natural fruit juice popsicles and tea pops 
  • miso soup - fantastic umami snack! 
  • broth - veggie or meat, make sure it's clear (i.e. doesn't have chunks)
  • protein balls (see recipe below)
  • crackers, pita, naan, toast - you can have some dahl with it too! 
  • smoothie - dairy free

Recipe for Protein Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 scoop chocolate/vanilla protein powder 
  • 1/3 cup of nut butter 
  • 1/3 cup of shredded coconut (unsweetened) or more as needed
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup pure maple syrup 
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • add ins (depending on consistency): 2 tbsp ground flax sees/chia seeds, 2 tsp maca powder, etc.

Directions

In a food processor/blender mix protein powder, nut butter, and coconut until they are mixed well.

Add maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and sea salt. Pulse until combined - if the consistency is too runny/moist add some add-ins.

Rolls into balls - if they're still a little sticky you can roll them in shredded coconut, cocoa powder, crushed nuts, etc.

 

These are nutritious and delicious snacks for labour, but if all you can hold down is a bar of Snickers and fries have those instead ;) 

xo,

The Spectrum Team

Beyond the Bio: Meet Rose

Lactation Consultnant

Meet Rose - our newest team member! Rose joined us after Laura and her family left the country to embark on their new adventure! 

Rose's work into the perinatal world began after the birth of her children, when she became a postpartum doula. While working with families during the postpartum period she saw need for support for families who choose to breastfeed/chestfeed and decided to fill that role by becoming a Lactation Consultant. Rose is incredibly passionate about her work and family - it's the first thing you notice about her! Get to know Rose better below:

WHAT DREW YOU TO PERINATAL WORK?

My interest in supporting families with breastfeeding comes from my own experience - my struggle to find good care during such a trying time.

IF YOU WEREN'T A PERINATAL SUPPORT WORKER WHAT WOULD YOUR ALTERNATE JOB BE?

MD focusing on women's health

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL?

Veterinarian

IF YOU COULD GO ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD TOMORROW WHERE WOULD YOU GO?

Zanzibar


WHAT WOULD THE PERFECT OFF-CALL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

A morning sleep in followed by lots of time to enjoy a coffee at my local coffee shop. Cuddles with my kids and a long walk in a park with my partner.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE THING (OR TWO) THAT YOU HAVE NO GUILT ABOUT INDULGING IN?

Red wine and a big piece of dark chocolate - they go so well together!

Name one thing...

... YOU LOOK BACK ON IN YOUR LIFE THAT MAKES YOU FEEL PROUD:

I birthed and raised three beautiful children.

... THAT USUALLY SURPRISES PEOPLE ABOUT YOU:

I don't like french fries...

... THAT'S ALWAYS IN YOUR FRIDGE OR PANTRY:

Chocolate!

What is your favourite...

COLOUR?

Turquoise

ANIMAL?

Elephant

SEASON?

Summer

TORONTO CAFE?

Cherry Bomb

BIRTH/PERINATAL BOOK?

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

 

What should you ask during a doula interview?

doula interview

This is one of the most frequent questions we get asked during doula interviews. If you google it you'll find a lot of questions to ask your potential doula - sometimes too many. Getting information is important but we suggest that getting a feel for the person you're interviewing is also important. Someone may look fantastic on paper and be a nice person but it doesn't necessarily mean that they're the best fit for you. 

During your perinatal journey you have a limited choice (if any) of health care providers. Maybe you like them, maybe you don't. Maybe you chose them for their particular skill set or location. In choosing a doula you can go with your gut feeling. Here are our tips on what to ask and do during a doula interview:

1) Think about what's important to you before the interview or even before contacting a doula. 

A while back we wrote two blog posts about what to consider when thinking about hiring a doula.  Do you want a certified doula trained with a specific organisation for insurance purposes? If you answered yes to this question than this is something you can easily find out before meeting the person - saving yourself a whole lot of time and emotional and mental energy. 

While we are on the topic of saving time and energy we highly recommend figuring out the doula is available and around for your estimate due date (if you're hiring a birth doula) before meeting them. Why meet with someone who may be unavailable or potentially away?

2) Pick a place where you feel comfortable. 

We can't stress this enough - you should feel comfortable chatting about yourself and your perinatal journey. No super public noisy rushed cafes! 

3) Ask about relevant experience and perinatal philosophy. 

A new doula might be as good as an experienced doula - there is no way to really know unless you hire them. That doesn't mean you can't ask a doula about their experience and take them into consideration. Some great questions are:

  • How many births have you attended?
  • How long have you been a doula?
  • Have you worked at X hospital/birth centre?
  • Why and how did you become a doula?
  • How do you see your role in this experience? How would you describe your support? 
  • What is your birth philosophy? 
  • Do you have additional training?

4) Ask about logistics. 

  • How would you work with my partner(s)?
  • How many births do you take a month? 
  • Do you work with a back-up? Could I/we meet them?
  • What's covered in your pricing? Does your pricing change if you are at my labour for a prolonged period of time? 
  • When do I call you if I'm in labour? What if I just have a questions?
  • When do you join me in labour? How long do you stay postpartum? 

5) Get to know the person. 

We think finding a doula so much more than asking doula related questions. Make small talk! Get a feel for their personality! Notice if they're receptive to that - mindfully listening and asking engaging questions in return. Have a meaningful conversation - this person may part of an important time in your life. 

6) Check in with yourself. 

This is the most important piece. Did you feel comfortable with the doula? Did they seem interested in you and what you want beyond answering questions? Does it "feel right"?

We know "feel right" is a hard feeling to quantify, sometimes though some people just click. If it doesn't happen, that's OK. It may build over time. 

7) Don't interview too many or too few doulas. 

Take it one at a time and sit with it a little while - unless you really clicked or you really didn't. Some people find their doula after the first interview, some find them after 2-3. We wouldn't recommend interviewing more than though as people will blend into each other. We suggest figuring out what's important to you and filtering doulas before contacting them. 

These are all our tips! Hope they help!

Love, 

The Spectrum Team

 

Book Review: Green Kitchen at Home

Green Kitchen at Home

It's hard to find inspiration sometimes, especially when cooking. If you follow a specific diet - like vegetarian, gluten free, or vegan - it can be even more difficult to find inspiring, easy recipes without too many specialised ingredients, which is why we are so excited about the Green Kitchen at Home cookbook.

This book was written by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl, the family behind the Green Kitchen Stories blog. It's full of versatile recipes for all types or meals and snacks. We picked up this book a couple of months ago and have been testing it with great (and delicious) success! 

Where this book Succeeds

Delicious food! The recipes in this book showcase and combine veggies in new and delightful ways - it made us love cauliflower and fennel like nothing else! We also love the side tips on how to elevate the recipe. We especially love the Mediterranean Tray-bake with Halloumi Chunks and the Green Pea, Broccoli, and Mint Soup with Puy Lentil Topping. 

It reads like a narrative. We weren't familiar with the Green Kitchen Stories prior to picking up up this book, but now we feel like we've known them for a while. The authors do a great job talking about why they picked these recipes and how their family (they have 3 little ones) feels about every dish they talk about. 

Versatile recipes! They have options for everyone - whether you're vegetarian, gluten free, or vegan! If you are an omnivore, you can easily add meat to most recipes as well! 

Points worth noting

Some recipes require a lot of ingredients. They're not necessarily speciality items but they also may not something you have on hand or shop regularly for, which can add up if you're getting them on top of your usual grocery list. 

Many recipes also require more prep work than others, which may be difficult or hassle full for some folks. We found most recipes we had to plan for - it wasn't something we do in the spur of the moment. 

If you want to check it out but are unsure about committing to purchasing it, the Toronto Public Library has several copies on hand! 

Love, 

The Spectrum Team

 

Move: 6 Evening Yoga Poses to tuck you in

Evening Yoga.png

Sometimes we need a little extra something to unwind in the evening - whether it's a cup of tea or a good book (though, if you're like Corina a good book will keep you up until 5am). Sometimes a little bit of movement is all we need. 

Here is a gentle sequence you can do* before bed at any time during your perinatal journey:

Find a comfortable seat - you can be on the bed, on the couch, in a chair, on the floor with aa pillow or blanket under your bum, etc.

1) Breathe

With eyes closed or open, bring your attention to you breath - without trying to change anything, notice where you feel your breath (maybe it's in the movement of your chest or belly, maybe you can feel the air flow through your nostrils).

Take 3-4 deep breaths in and out. 

Continue to breathe normally - whatever normal is to you. 

2) Neck and Shoulders

On a deep inhalation lengthen your spine - as you exhale draw your chin to your chest while keeping your back long and shoulder blades on your back. Hold for 5-10 breaths. Rolls your head to right, hold for 5-10 breaths. Repeat on the left. 

Bring your head back to center. Circles your shoulders forward 3-4 times, then backward 3-4 times. 

3) Side Stretch 

While still seating, inhale and lift your arms overhead. As you exhale, lower your right palm by your right side and take a side stretch to the right. Soften your right shoulder.

Hold for 5-7 breaths. Repeat on the left side. 

4) Twist

Inhale and lift your arms overhead. As you exhale, gently twist to the right, releasing your arms to ground. Hold for 5-7 breaths. Repeat on the left side. 

5) Cat/Cow

From your seat, move onto all fours (or table top position in yoga). Make your sure that you knees are comfortable - maybe place a blanket underneath. 

If you are pregnant or recently postpartum - inhale to lengthen your spine, keeping your back flat. As you exhale, round your back and hug baby in. 

If you are not pregnant/recently postpartum, inhale to arch your back, gently dropping your belly. Exhale to round your back, drawing your belly in.

Repeat 7-10 times. 

6) Child's pose

From table top, open your knees wide and touch your big toes together. Inhale to lengthen your spine. As you exhale, drop you bum to your heels, round your back, and bring your upper body and forehead to the ground.

You can stack your fists or palms and rest your forehead on them or you can use a book (or a pillow) for your forehead. You can stretch your arms forward or have them alongside you, resting on the ground. Hold for 10-20 breaths. 

Slowly come out of the pose, and tuck yourself into bed. If you're looking for more movement in the morning, check out our AM sequence. 

Love, 

The Spectrum Team